Apr 1, 2015
1:37 pm

NCAA Final Four Blackout Averted as Turner and Dish Come to Terms; HBO Also in Play (WSJ)

Time Warner Inc. and satellite provider Dish Network have agreed to a new distribution deal in time to spare Dish subscribers from having this weekend’s Final Four NCAA men’s basketball games blacked out.

The deal will also make Time Warner’s HBO available as part of Dish’s new online television service, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“The two companies negotiated through Tuesday evening, past the deadline of their current short-term agreement, to wrap up a deal that will keep Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting channels such as TBS, TNT and truTV in Dish homes,” WSJ reports.

HBO is becoming available as part of Dish’s Sling TV, as we reported separately.

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Apr 1, 2015
1:31 pm

ABC Family Greenlights Three New Series (TVWeek)

ABC Family today took the wraps off plans to ramp up its lineup of original programming with three new unscripted shows: “Startup U,” “Next Step Realty: NYC” and “Monica the Medium.”

The new programs join previously announced shows “Becoming Us” and “Job or No Job,” with all of the series set to roll out this summer.

Making the announcement were ABC Family President Tom Ascheim and Executive Vice President, Programming and Development, Karey Burke.

Please click here for full details.

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Apr 1, 2015
1:17 pm

‘King of Queens’ Star Kevin James Lines Up New Sitcom (Deadline)

Kevin James, known for his starring role on the hit CBS comedy series “King of Queens,” has another sitcom lined up. Writing on, Nellie Andreeva reports that James signed a new deal with Sony, the studio behind “King of Queens,” that includes a starring role in a comedy series.

“James and his Hey Eddie Productions have made a two-year first-look deal with Sony Pictures Television to produce projects for television, including a sitcom that he would headline,” Andreeva writes. “Additionally, Columbia Pictures has renewed its first-look deal with the comedian-actor-producer-writer and his company through 2017.”

Following his run on “Queens” from 1998-2007, James worked with Sony to create the “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” film franchise. The second movie in the series opens April 17.

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Apr 1, 2015
1:11 pm

E! Putting Emphasis on Originals — Cable Net Brings Back Three Franchise Shows, Orders Three New Series (TVWeek)

E! broke news on the programming front today, announcing three new series along with renewals for three of its franchise shows.

The cable channel rolled out plans for the new shows “Stewarts & Hamiltons,” “WAGS” and “Dash Dolls” (working title), with summer and fall 2015 premieres planned.

E! also announced it has ordered new seasons of “#RichKids of Beverly Hills,” “Total Divas” and “Christina Milian Turned Up”

Please click here for full details on the shows.

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Apr 1, 2015
1:07 pm

Sling TV Adds HBO for $15 a Month (USA Today)

In time for the return of the popular HBO series “Game of Thrones,” the pay cable channel is being added to the Sling TV service.

USA Today reports that subscribers to Sling’s $20-per-month core TV service can add HBO for $15 a month. Those who sign up will have access to HBO’s main channel and to its VOD library.

In a statement, HBO’s president of global distribution Tom Woodbury said: “It has always been our desire to make the HBO subscription widely accessible. Sling TV is a part of that ongoing evolution and we believe HBO is a great addition to the platform.”

The start date has not been finalized, but will be before the April 12 “Game of Thrones” season premiere.


Apr 1, 2015
9:27 am

Sony Goes After ‘American Idol’ Stars (THR)

Sony Music on Tuesday filed a breach-of-contract counterclaim involving “American Idol” stars on the 19 Recordings label, home to Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Clay Aiken, The Hollywood Reporter’s THR-Esq. reports.

“In new court documents, Sony asserts that it has overpaid at least $2 million in royalties for these star musicians and is demanding recovery of the money” the story reports.

The action comes in response to a February 2014 lawsuit filed by 19 Recordings accusing Sony of using accounting tricks to shortchange the “Idol” stars.

“19 took issue with how Sony was treating income from streaming services like Spotify, how Sony was doing the math for television advertising deductions, and how Sony was interpreting bonus royalty escalators when consumers bought tracks off an album from Apple’s iTunes,” THR reports.

Parts of the 19 Recordings suit were upheld in a recent ruling, prompting the response from Sony. Among other parts of the original claim that have survived, THR reports: “The judge wouldn’t disqualify the big claim that Sony’s licensing agreements mischaracterize the distribution of music on streaming services as ‘sales’ rather than ‘broadcasts’ or ‘transmissions.’”

Please click on the link near the top of this story for additional details in the THR report.

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Apr 1, 2015
9:21 am

Joni Mitchell Rushed to Hospital, in Intensive Care (TMZ)

Singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, known for music that helped define the Woodstock generation, was in intensive care early today after being hospitalized Tuesday. reports that Mitchell was said to be “awake and in good spirits” in a Los Angeles-area hospital.

The 71-year-old singer known for “Big Yellow Taxi,” “Woodstock,” “Both Sides Now,” “Chelsea Morning” and other defining songs of the late Sixties and early Seventies was reportedly rushed to the hospital after paramedics received a 911 call about an unconscious female.

The nature of her medical situation was not known.

Here’s a clip of Mitchell performing “Both Sides Now” during a 1970 appearance:

Apr 1, 2015
9:17 am

New ‘Daily Show’ Host Already Embroiled in Controversy (NY Times)

Less than 24 hours after news broke that Comedy Central had found its replacement for Jon Stewart as host of “The Daily Show,” the new guy, Trevor Noah, found himself at the center of a firestorm.

Comedy Central was defending Noah, who hails from South Africa, after an Internet controversy erupted over old posts on his Twitter account. The New York Times reports that some Internet users took offense to his comments about women and Jews.

“In several posts, Mr. Noah came across as mocking or derisive of women,” The Times reports. “In one from 2011, he writes: ‘Oh yeah the weekend. People are gonna get drunk & think that I’m sexy!’ a quote that he attributes to ‘fat chicks everywhere.’”

Noah’s posts cover a wide range of interests such as global politics and race issues, the report notes, and have at times tested the boundaries of good taste.

The Times notes: “Mr. Noah has also posted jokes about Jews and about Israel. As he wrote in 2009, ‘Almost bumped a Jewish kid crossing the road. He didn’t look b4 crossing but I still would hav felt so bad in my german car!’”

Comedy Central released a statement Tuesday in which it said: “Like many comedians, Trevor Noah pushes boundaries; he is provocative and spares no one, himself included. To judge him or his comedy based on a handful of jokes is unfair. Trevor is a talented comedian with a bright future at Comedy Central.”

Noah also responded to the controversy, writing on Twitter: “To reduce my views to a handful of jokes that didn’t land is not a true reflection of my character, nor my evolution as a comedian.”

trevor noah 2Trevor Noah

Apr 1, 2015
9:01 am

Judge Hands Victory to ‘Three’s Company’ Parody in Copyright Case (Deadline)

A U.S. District Court judge has ruled in favor of a parody of the 1970s sitcom “Three’s Company” in a copyright infringement case.

“In a significant free-speech victory, Loretta A. Preska, Chief United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York, ruled Tuesday that ’3C,’ a play that parodies the 1970s sitcom ‘Three’s Company,’ does not infringe on that copyrighted program,” Jeremy Gerard writes on

The case has been in court for almost three years, Gerard notes. In the ruling, the judge supported playwright David Adjmi’s claim that his use of elements of the original ABC sitcom is protected under the doctrine of fair use.

Preska wrote in her ruling: “’3C’ is a fair use of ‘Three’s Company.’ The play is a highly transformative parody of the television series that, although it appropriates a substantial amount of ‘Three’s Company,’ is a drastic departure from the original. … Equating the two to each other as a thematic or stylistic matter is untenable; ’3C’ is a fair use ‘sheep,’ not an ‘infringing goat.’”

three's company“Three’s Company”

Apr 1, 2015
8:49 am

From the People Who Brought Us ‘Dating Naked’ … Here’s the Latest Far-Out VH1 Reality Show (TVWeek)

VH1 is back in business with the producer of the controversial reality show “Dating Naked,” and the new project is likely to be another hot topic of water cooler chat.

“Space D.A.T.E,” from VH1 and Lighthearted Entertainment, takes the dating show format and sends it into space — or more precisely, to Mars. The “D.A.T.E” part of the title stands for “Dating Above the Exosphere.”

The cable channel says it’s currently looking for “able-bodied adults who are willing to go the distance for love.”

VH1 says in its announcement: “Would-be space travelers who apply to be a part of the mission will submit to myriad tests, including an objective evaluation to determine if they are ‘hot or not.’ VH1 … will analyze this data to select 20 sexy contestants to enter a Martian ‘Love Pod,’ where they will complete a number of challenges in the hopes of finding something more stimulating than just evidence of alien life forms in outer space.”

VH1 is also readying for season two of Lighthearted’s “Dating Naked,” due this summer.

Please click here for additional details from VH1.


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