Oct 23, 2017
4:51 pm

CBS Pulls Plug on Drama Series (THR)

A CBS drama series has just been canceled. The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed is reporting exclusively that the network pulled the plug on the summer series “Zoo” after three seasons.

“Produced in-house at CBS Television Studios, the show was based on the best-seller by author/executive producer James Patterson about a wave of violent animal attacks against humans,” THR reports. “‘Zoo’ was one of the network’s pricey scripted series that used the business model created by ‘Under the Dome’ where Netflix signed a deal with CBS Television Studios to stream the show after its seasons were completed.”

The report adds: “‘Zoo’ averaged 2.65 million viewers in its third season, down nearly 2 million viewers from season two, which averaged 4.45 million viewers. In the demo, the Sept. 21 season three finale drew a 0.5 rating among adults 18-49, even from the season three opener but down two-tenths from the season two finale.”

Oct 23, 2017
4:03 pm

Well-Known Actress Exits CBS Series
(Twitter, TVWeek)

An actress who has been a part of a popular CBS drama series is leaving the show. Bebe Neuwirth announced her departure from “Madam Secretary” in a series of tweets, commenting that the show had written “a beautiful exit” for her character.

Neuwirth has been playing Nadine Tolliver, chief of staff to Tea Leoni’s Elizabeth “Bess” Adams McCord, since the show premiered in 2014.

Neuwirth is a familiar face on television, going back to her role as Lilith on “Cheers” and “Frasier.”

Here’s a look at her tweets …

Oct 23, 2017
3:57 pm

Game 7 Sets Ratings Record (Newsday)

Game 7 of the American League Championship Series between the New York Yankees and Houston Astros, in which the Astros knocked off the Yankees 4-0 to reach the World Series, set a ratings record for FS1. Newsday reports that the game, televised Saturday night, averaged 9.92 million viewers.

The number represents the largest audience for any telecast in the network’s four-year history, the report notes.

“Fox said the total average audience for the game, including FS1, Fox Deportes and Fox Sports Go, was 10.5 million,” the report adds.

The game was also the most-watched league championship telecast on any network since 2010, when a game between the Giants and Phillies on Fox averaged 11.64 million viewers, the report adds.

“Fox said average overall viewership for the ALCS was 6.52 million, up 95 percent over a five-game series between the Indians and Blue Jays last year,” Newsday notes.

Oct 23, 2017
2:11 pm

Investigation Launched Into The Weinstein Co. (AP)

Amidst a torrent of sexual assault allegations against The Weinstein Co. co-founder Harvey Weinstein, a civil rights investigation into the company has been launched by New York state’s top prosecutor, the AP reports.

“Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the probe Monday. His office says it issued a subpoena seeking all company records,” the story reports. “The Democratic attorney general says his office wants to know whether any New York employees were subjected to pervasive harassment or discrimination at the company, which is based in New York City.”

Weinstein was fired by the company earlier this month after allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault surfaced in stories reported by The New York Times and The New Yorker.

“More than three dozen women have publicly accused the entertainment mogul of abuse,” the AP notes, adding: “Weinstein has denied allegations of nonconsensual sex.”

Harvey Weinstein is already the focus of sexual assault investigations in New York, London and Los Angeles.

Oct 23, 2017
1:31 pm

Influential Music Producer and Songwriter Dies — He Co-Wrote One of the Big Hits of the ’60s (TVWeek, Facebook, YouTube)

A musician, songwriter and music producer who was a mentor to the famed rock band AC/DC and who co-wrote the Easybeats’ 1966 international hit “Friday on My Mind” has died. AC/DC announced on its Facebook page that George Young died Sunday. He was 70.

Young was the rhythm guitarist for the Easybeats in the 1960s when they had a worldwide hit with “Friday on My Mind,” co-written by Young and bandmate Harry Vanda. He was the older brother of AC/DC founders Angus Young and Malcolm Young, and mentored their hard rock band along with producing some of its material.

“It is with pain in our heart that we have to announce the passing of our beloved brother and mentor George Young. Without his help and guidance there would not have been an AC/DC,” the band wrote on its Facebook page. “As a musician, songwriter, producer, advisor and much, much more, you could not ask for a more dedicated and professional man.

“As a brother, you could not ask for a finer brother. For all he did and gave to us throughout his life, we will always remember him with gratitude and hold him close to our hearts.”

The Scottish-born George Young moved to Australia as a teenager and became a fixture of Australian music, including co-writing the iconic Aussie hit “Love Is in the Air,” recorded by John Paul Young (no relation).

Here’s a clip of the Easybeats performing “Friday on My Mind” …

Oct 23, 2017
1:19 pm

Bill O’Reilly Fires Back After Report Surfaces That He Settled Sexual Harassment Claim for $32 Million Just Before Fox Renewed His Contract; Megyn Kelly Goes After O’Reilly
(NY Times, CNN, Washington Examiner, NBC)

Former Fox News Channel fixture Bill O’Reilly lashed out after a story broke over the weekend on an alleged $32 million settlement O’Reilly reportedly struck over sexual harassment allegations.

The story, published by The New York Times, reports: “Last January, six months after Fox News ousted its chairman amid a sexual harassment scandal, the network’s top-rated host at the time, Bill O’Reilly, struck a $32 million agreement with a longtime network analyst to settle new sexual harassment allegations, according to two people briefed on the matter — an extraordinarily large amount for such cases.”

The Times also reports: “Although the deal has not been previously made public, the network’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, acknowledges that it was aware of the woman’s complaints about Mr. O’Reilly. They included allegations of repeated harassment, a nonconsensual sexual relationship and the sending of gay pornography and other sexually explicit material to her, according to the people briefed on the matter.”

The report notes that the agreement was at least the sixth made by either O’Reilly or the company, and by far the largest, to settle harassment allegations against O’Reilly. “Despite that record, 21st Century Fox began contract negotiations with Mr. O’Reilly, and in February granted him a four-year extension that paid $25 million a year,” The Times reports.

O’Reilly went on the offensive against The Times in response to the story, with CNN quoting him saying the paper “obviously hates me.”

“But he has not disputed the facts surrounding his $32 million settlement with longtime Fox News colleague Lis Wiehl, who was a legal analyst for the network,” CNN reports, adding: “Saturday’s story in The Times about the incredibly expensive settlement has caused widespread speculation about why O’Reilly was willing to agree to such a deal. He says he didn’t want to subject his family to an embarrassing lawsuit and trial.”

O’Reilly, who has reportedly been trying to arrange a TV comeback, talked about the Times story this morning on Glenn Beck’s radio show, alleging that The Times is trying to ruin his career, CNN reports, quoting O’Reilly saying: “The end game is, ‘Let’s link Bill O’Reilly with Harvey Weinstein'” and “take him out of the marketplace forever.”

“He also suggested there is a conspiracy against him involving CNN, the liberal and anti-Fox press watchdog group Media Matters for America, and others,” CNN reports.

Megyn Kelly, a former colleague of both O’Reilly and Wiehl, offered a strong commentary on O’Reilly this morning on her NBC show “Megyn Kelly Today” in response to the latest allegations. You can see a clip of her comments below.

In response to Kelly’s commentary, The Washington Examiner reports, an attorney for O’Reilly published thank-you notes from Kelly to O’Reilly in which she expresses gratitude for his support.

Here’s today’s Megyn Kelly commentary, posted by NBC …

Oct 23, 2017
12:57 pm

After Just Six Episodes, High-Profile Series Is Renewed (TVWeek, CBS)

Six episodes into its initial run, a high-profile series has picked up a renewal for a second season. CBS announced today that it will bring back “Star Trek: Discovery,” which airs on the network’s CBS All Access digital service.

The network noted that the show’s launch fueled record subscription signups for CBS All Access for single day, week and month.

“In just six episodes, ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ has driven subscriber growth, critical acclaim and huge global fan interest for the first premium version of this great franchise,” said Marc DeBevoise, president and chief operating officer, CBS Interactive. “This series has a remarkable creative team and cast who have demonstrated their ability to carry on the ‘Star Trek’ legacy. We are extremely proud of what they’ve accomplished and are thrilled to be bringing fans a second season of this tremendous series.”

Please click here for additional details in today’s announcement.

Oct 23, 2017
12:44 pm

Showtime Offers Free Premiere of New Series — Here It Is (TVWeek)

Showtime announced the release today of the full premiere episode of the pay-cable channel’s new comedy series “SMILF,” which is available now for sampling.

“‘SMILF’ follows Bridgette Bird (Frankie Shaw), a smart, scrappy, young single mom trying to navigate the realities of motherhood with an extremely unconventional family,” Showtime says in promotional material accompanying the video, which also includes an exclusive look at “Shameless” Season 8 at the end of the episode.

The release comes ahead of the scheduled premiere of “SMILF” on Sunday, Nov. 5. The show has an eight-episode order.

Click here to watch the premiere episode and see additional details about the show.

Oct 23, 2017
12:31 pm

Oscar-Nominated Filmmaker Accused of Sexual Harassment by More Than 30 Women (LA Times)

As the fallout from the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct scandal continues to spread throughout the entertainment industry, The Los Angeles Times reports that 38 women have come forward to accuse filmmaker James Toback of sexual harassment.

Toback, who has a string of writing, directing and producing credits going back to 1974, received an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for the 1991 film “Bugsy.”

“He prowled the streets of Manhattan looking for attractive young women, usually in their early 20s, sometimes college students, on occasion a high schooler,” The Times reports. “He approached them in Central Park, standing in line at a bank or drug store or at a copy center while they worked on their resumes.

“His opening line had a few variations. One went: ‘My name’s James Toback. I’m a movie director. Have you ever seen “Black and White” or “Two Girls and a Guy”?’”

Toback would follow with an invitation to meet with him privately, the story reports.

“Then, in a hotel room, a movie trailer, a public park, meetings framed as interviews or auditions quickly turned sexual, according to 38 women who, in separate interviews, told the Los Angeles Times of similar encounters they had with Toback,” the story reports.

The Times adds: “During these meetings, many of the women said, Toback boasted of sexual conquests with the famous and then asked humiliating personal questions. How often do you masturbate? How much pubic hair do you have? He’d tell them, they said, that he couldn’t properly function unless he ‘jerked off’ several times a day. And then he’d dry-hump them or masturbate in front of them, ejaculating into his pants or onto their bodies and then walk away. Meeting over.”

Toback, 72, has reportedly denied the allegations.

Oct 23, 2017
12:27 pm

Renee Zellweger to Play Showbiz Legend (Deadline)

Oscar-winning actress Renee Zellweger will take on an iconic role after being cast to play singer and actress Judy Garland. Deadline reports that Zellweger, who won an Oscar in 2004 for her supporting role in “Cold Mountain,” will play Garland in the film project “Judy.”

The movie from Pathe and Calamity Films focuses on Garland’s final concerts in London in 1968.

“A February 2018 start date has been earmarked for principal photography with British stage director and Tony nominee Rupert Goold helming,” Deadlne notes.

“The film is based on a script written by Tom Edge (‘The Crown’) and will be produced by BAFTA winner David Livingstone (‘Pride’) for Calamity,” the report adds.

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