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TVBIZWIRE
Oct 1, 2014
9:49 am
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FCC May Issue Fines for Use of the Word ‘Redskins’ (Reuters)

The Federal Communications Commission may begin fining broadcasters who use the term “Redskins” on-air, amid controversy over the name of the Washington NFL team and complaints that the term is offensive to Native Americans. Reuters reports that the agency is considering implementing the fines.

The story reports: “The FCC, which enforces broadcast indecency violations, has received a petition from legal activist John Banzhaf III, asking that regulators strip local radio station WWXX-FM of its broadcasting license when it comes up for renewal for using the name ‘Redskins.’”

The petition says the term is “akin to broadcasting obscenity.”

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler told reporters that the agency will be “looking at that petition; we will be dealing with that issue on the merits and we’ll be responding accordingly.”

Wheeler added: “There are a lot of names and descriptions that were used over time that are inappropriate today. And I think the name that is attributed to the Washington football club is one of those.”

If the FCC formally considers the name to be indecent, a ban would be effectively imposed on TV and radio, the story notes.

The Reuters report notes: “Some TV football analysts, including CBS’s Phil Simms and Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy, have said they will no longer use the term Redskins. On the other side, former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka, a Hall of Famer, says the issue is ‘so stupid it’s appalling.’”

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TVBIZWIRE
Oct 1, 2014
9:37 am
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NBC Developing Legal Drama (Deadline)

NBC has a new legal drama in the pipeline. Deadline.com reports that the network is developing a project called “Justice,” from Matt Lopez, a former lawyer, and John Glenn.

The project is about District Attorney Logan Archer, an excellent prosecutor who has some secrets, the story says. Lopez and Glenn are executive producing through Universal TV, where they both have overall deals, the piece adds.

Lopez has written for film projects including “Race to Witch Mountain” and “Bedtime Stories,” while on the TV side he wrote “Gothica,” an ABC pilot last year, and developed NBC’s “One Kick” last season.

Glenn has two other network projects in the works, both at NBC. They are “The Possession of Maggie Gill” and “Critical,” the story adds.

TVBIZWIRE
Oct 1, 2014
9:31 am
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Report: Elisabeth Murdoch to Leave Shine Group (Variety)

Elisabeth Murdoch plans to step down from her role as non-executive chairman of Shine Group after 21st Century Fox completes its joint venture with Apollo Global Management to combine Shine with Apollo’s Endemol and Core Media Group, Variety reports.

“The former News Corp. bought Shine Group in early 2011, but the company has continued to operate autonomously from 21st Century Fox’s other TV businesses. Murdoch had stepped away from a hands-on exec role more than a year ago,” the story notes.

The article adds: “Speculation about Murdoch’s future in the company controlled by her father, Rupert Murdoch, and the Murdoch family trust heated up on Sunday after word surfaced that former BSkyB topper Sophie Turner Laing has been tabbed to serve as global CEO of the combined Shine-Endemol-Core. With Laing’s appointment, it was confirmed that Alex Mahon will step down as CEO of Shine and Just Spee will exit as Endemol topper.”

With Murdoch’s departure, it’s possible she will be able to pursue independent business ventures, the article notes.

elisabeth murdoch

Elisabeth Murdoch

TVBIZWIRE
Oct 1, 2014
9:21 am
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Cable Provider Drops Viacom Over Fee Dispute (Bloomberg)

A cable provider has dropped Viacom’s channels amid a dispute over fees. Bloomberg reports that the cable company, Suddenlink, has 1.4 million residential customers.

Suddenlink said in a statement that Viacom is demanding an almost 50% hike in programming fees. The audience for Viacom’s main networks has declined recently, the story says.

The article adds: “Viacom in a statement accused Suddenlink of rejecting its own proposal and said its networks attract the greatest share of viewing of any cable programmer. Viacom said it would accept for one year an offer Suddenlink made last week.”

A statement posted by Suddenlink, dated Sept. 30, says: “Suddenlink has had considerable success in reaching new agreements with the likes of AMC, Fox, Turner, Disney, Discovery, and many other channel owners. However, despite our repeated requests for Viacom to reconsider, Viacom rejected every offer Suddenlink made and then removed its channels.”

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TVBIZWIRE
Oct 1, 2014
9:17 am
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‘Community’ Actress Leaving the Show (TVGuide.com)

An actress who has been a part of the comedy series “Community” for five seasons is leaving the show. TVGuide.com reports that Yvette Nicole Brown, who portrays Shirley Bennett, asked to be released from her contract for personal reasons.

The actress told the publication that she needs to take care of her ailing father.

“My dad needs daily care and he needs me,” Brown said. “The idea of being away 16 hours a day for five months, I couldn’t do it. It was a difficult decision for me to make, but I had to choose my dad.”

Her character won’t be part of the cast as the show moves from NBC to Yahoo for the sixth season, the story notes. It’s not clear how the character’s departure will be handled, although there’s a chance she could return in a guest appearance, the story adds.

With Brown’s departure and that of Jonathan Banks, who is committed to AMC’s “Better Call Saul,” the producers are casting two new characters. The story notes: “One is described as a woman who’s brought in as a consultant to help shape up the school. The other is a retired salesman who comes to Greendale to reinvent himself.”

yvette nicole brown

Yvette Nicole Brown

TVBIZWIRE
Oct 1, 2014
9:09 am
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CBS Ordered to Pay Up Over Death of Guard (TMZ)

CBS has been hit with a multimillion-dollar judgment involving the death of a security guard on the set of “NCIS.” TMZ.com reports that the network was ordered to pay $10.4 million to the family of the guard.

A CBS production van that was carrying crew members for the show crashed into security guard Julio Villamariona, 52, after the driver lost control following a medical emergency, the story says.

The report adds: “CBS admitted during the lawsuit the driver had a medical condition it should have known about, so the trial was really about the amount of damages the family would collect.”

TVBIZWIRE
Oct 1, 2014
9:01 am
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Tracy Morgan Suffered Brain Injury in Crash, May Never Perform Again (NY Post)

The attorney for Tracy Morgan said the comedian and actor may never perform again, following the deadly limo crash in June that left him with a brain injury, reports the New York Post’s Page Six.

Asked when Morgan might be able to perform again, attorney Benedict Morelli said, “The jury’s still out.” He added, “The doctors don’t know the answer. I don’t know the answer.”

Morgan is undergoing daily speech, cognitive, vocational and physical therapies, according to the report.

As previously reported, Walmart has said Morgan is to blame for his own injuries in the crash, which involved a Walmart truck crashing into the limo that the comedian was riding in. The impact killed fellow comedian James McNair, known as Uncle Jimmy Mack, a friend of Morgan’s. Walmart claims Morgan wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.

“These people are despicable,” Morelli said of Walmart. He’s also representing two other passengers in Morgan’s limo, Jeffrey Millea and Ardley Fuqua.

“They knew that they changed these people’s lives forever and killed somebody,” Morelli said.

In a statement, Morgan said he did “nothing wrong.” He said, “After I heard what Walmart said in court I felt I had to speak out. I can’t believe Walmart is blaming me for an accident that they caused.”

tracy-morgan

Tracy Morgan

TVBIZWIRE
Oct 1, 2014
8:49 am
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Emmy-Nominated TV Writer Dead at 93 — He Was Known for Soaps Including ‘Dark Shadows,’ ‘Santa Barbara’ (THR)

A longtime soap opera writer who worked on shows including “Dark Shadows” and “Santa Barbara” has died. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sam Hall died Friday at 93.

Hall died after contracting pneumonia, the story says, citing his son, Matt.

The story reports: “Hall, a five-time Daytime Emmy Award nominee and Peabody Award winner, was married for 33 years to the late Grayson Hall, who received a supporting actress Oscar nomination for playing Judith Fellowes in John Huston’s ‘The Night of the Iguana’ (1964).”

Hall joined “Dark Shadows” in 1967 and wrote more than 300 episodes of the Gothic soap opera, and he also worked on a 1991 revival of the show for NBC.

Of his work on “Dark Shadows,” Hall said in an interview for a DVD feature release, “We stole things right and left from all the horror classics, including the werewolf, which worked for a while, and a lot of the great American short story writer [H.P.] Lovecraft. I only wish that Stephen King had been [known] then, because he could have kept the show going for a hundred years.”

After “Dark Shadows” was canceled in 1971, Hall moved to ABC’s “One Life to Live,” where he took over as head writer from Agnes Nixon, who created the soap. Hall sued ABC earlier this year, claiming he hadn’t been paid royalties for the online reboot of the show from Prospect Park. The story notes, “His original agreement did not spell out whether ‘broadcast’ was restricted to network television.”

Hall worked on “Santa Barbara” in the 1980s and worked for “General Hospital” before he retired in the 1990s, the piece adds.

sam hall

Sam Hall

TVBIZWIRE
Oct 1, 2014
8:37 am
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FX Renews Two New Comedies (LA Times)

FX has renewed two freshman comedies series, although one of the shows will be shifting to sibling network FXX. The Los Angeles Times’ Show Tracker reports that the cable network picked up “Married” and “You’re the Worst,” with the latter headed to FXX.

“Married” has been given a 13-episode second season, and it will remain on FX, the story notes. The comedy stars Nat Faxon and Judy Greer. “Married” has averaged 1.96 million viewers.

“You’re the Worst” stars Chris Geere and Aya Cash as two cynical people who fall in love. The show has averaged 1.65 million viewers.

you're the worst-fx-title

TVBIZWIRE
Oct 1, 2014
8:31 am
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Where Do the Networks Stand on GLAAD’s Annual Network Responsibility Index? (Deadline)

With GLAAD releasing its eighth annual Network Responsibility Index, which grades networks on LGBT content during the 2013-14 television season, there are some standouts and some failures, reports Deadline.com.

The networks that earned a failing score are A&E, History and TNT, the story notes.

NBC ranked as the most inclusive broadcast network, with 37% of prime-time programming including LGBT images, the story says. Fox was in second place, with 36%, which marked a decline of 6% from last year. Cable networks that scored high in the study included MTV and FX, with both having 49% of their prime-time programming including LGBT impressions, the story says.

ABC, The CW, Fox, NBC, FX and Showtime received “good” scores, the piece adds.

The story reports: “GLAAD’s other report released today, titled ‘Where We Are on TV,’ which counts the number of LGBT characters in the 2014-15 television season, found that 3.9% of scripted prime-time broadcast series regulars will be LGBT, up from 3.3% last year but down from the record high of 2012.”

Said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis: “Television networks are playing a key role in promoting cultural understanding of LGBT lives around the world and are now producing some of the best LGBT-inclusive programming we’ve yet seen.”

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