Dec 9, 2016
5:17 pm

Super Bowl Ads Almost Sold Out as the Price Rises (Variety)

The average price of a 30-second spot on the upcoming Super Bowl, which will air Feb. 5 on Fox, has climbed to more than $5 million, Variety reports, and the inventory is close to sold out.

Fox has apparently sold almost 90% of the ad inventory, the story reports, citing a source who’s familiar with the negotiations. But Fox’s work isn’t done yet.

“Over the next few weeks, the 21st Century Fox-owned outlet must sell two handfuls of some of the most expensive ad inventory in the industry: 30-second Super Bowl ads that cost on average more than $5 million each,” Variety reports, noting that Fox may have less than 15 slots remaining, according to one source. Typically a little more than 70 Super Bowl ad spots are sold in total.

Fox’s reported asking price of more than $5 million per spot is up a bit from this year’s Super Bowl, where CBS reportedly aimed for between $4.5 million and above $5 million.

Dec 9, 2016
4:57 pm

Is NBC Back in Business With Donald Trump? (Bloomberg, Variety)

More than a year after NBC cut its business ties with Donald Trump over his comments about Mexican immigrants, the network appears to be having a hard time letting go.

“Trump’s role as executive producer on NBC’s reality show ‘The New Celebrity Apprentice’ means the network is indirectly connected to him once again,” Bloomberg reports.

The show begins airing Jan. 2, with Arnold Schwarzenegger in Trump’s old job as host. “That means that when NBC pays Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which owns the program, MGM can then issue a payout to Trump for his portion,” the report notes.

“NBC executives don’t see that as a contradiction to their policy, since the network isn’t paying Trump directly, according to a person familiar with the matter,” Bloomberg notes. “More problematic was NBC’s relationship with Trump as co-owners of the Miss Universe organization, a joint venture that ended when the network broke off ties, the person said.”

The report notes that even after severing ties with Trump last year, the network had him on “Saturday Night Live” as a guest host.

Variety, which initially reported Trump’s executive producer credit in an exclusive, notes: “The president-elect’s status on the 15th season of the reality series that made him a household name has been a question since Trump launched his presidential campaign in June 2015. In the credit sequence, Trump’s name will air after that of ‘Apprentice’ creator Mark Burnett and before Schwarzenegger, who is also an exec producer of the new incarnation along with Page Feldman and Eric Van Wagenen.”

The Variety report adds: “It’s unclear what his per-episode fee is, but it is likely to be in the low five-figures, at minimum. NBC has ordered eight episodes of ‘The New Celebrity Apprentice.’”

Dec 9, 2016
4:44 pm

Critics Choice Awards Host Arrested Two Days Before the Gig (TMZ, USA Today, TVWeek)

The actor and comedian who is scheduled to host the Critics Choice Awards on Sunday, “Silicon Valley” and “Office Christmas Party” star T.J. Miller, was arrested this morning, TMZ.com reports.

“Law enforcement sources tell us T.J.’s driver picked him up from the GQ Men of the Year party early Friday morning, and during the ride they got into an argument about President-elect Donald Trump,” TMZ reports. “The driver claims T.J. slapped him in the head when they got to his house.”

The driver, who reportedly did not have any visible injuries, called officers and made a citizen’s arrest.

“T.J. was released without having to post bail,” TMZ notes. “Our sources say he seemed intoxicated.”

Miller’s new movie, “Office Christmas Party,” opened today.

USA Today reports that Miller has lashed out in the past about Trump, calling him a “madman” and “lunatic” on Twitter back in July. The publication also reports that Miller was ordered to appear in court Jan. 9.

“Joey Berlin, president of the organization that bestows the Critics’ Choice Awards, says Miller will remain the host for Sunday’s show,” USA Today adds.

Miller plays Erlich Bachman on the HBO series “Silicon Valley.”


Dec 9, 2016
4:01 pm

Michael Moore, Who Predicted in July that Trump Would Win the Presidency, Has a Controversial New Prediction About Trump (Business Insider, TVWeek, NBC)

Filmmaker Michael Moore, who predicted over the summer that Donald Trump would win the presidential election — and even detailed exactly how it would happen, with the Rust Belt states swinging toward Trump — has made a controversial new prediction about Trump.

Business Insider reports that Moore, appearing Wednesday night on NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” predicted that Trump might not end up assuming the presidency — or might quit the presidency soon after taking office.

Moore ran through a number of possibilities during his appearance on the show, even hinting that Trump’s election might still be blocked in the Electoral College when it votes on Dec. 19. But his main point appeared to be that Trump might not want to be president.

“He’s not president until noon on January 20 of 2017,” Moore said. “So that’s more than six weeks away. Would you not agree, regardless of which side of the political fence you’re on, this has been the craziest election year? Nothing anyone has predicted has happened. The opposite has happened. So is it possible that in these next six weeks something else might happen, something crazy, something we’re not expecting?”

Meyers asked: “Do you think it’s possible that he now realizes this job is way more work than he wanted it to be?”

“Oh, he is so bummed out,” Moore said. “He may decide that he wants to quit before he even takes office. Everyone in the audience is saying that’s not possible. Everybody in this audience at some point in their life on the first day of their job knew they had taken the wrong job.”

Moore also lashed out at Trump for failing to become engaged in daily security briefings leading up to the inauguration. Here’s a clip of that part of the interview, posted by NBC …

Dec 9, 2016
3:39 pm

Judge Reinhold Explains His Arrest at a Dallas Airport (Reuters, TVWeek)

After being released from a Dallas jail Thursday night following a disturbance at a local airport, actor Judge Reinhold — known for “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” “Beverly Hills Cop,” “Gremlins” and other movies — issued a statement today explaining what happened.

As we reported Thursday, Reinhold, 59, was arrested following an incident at an airport security checkpoint at Dallas Love Field. He was reportedly charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct after becoming belligerent over the security screening.

“Police records did not indicate that Reinhold posted bail before his release, according to a spokeswoman from the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office,” Reuters reports. “Melinda Gutierrez, a city police spokeswoman, did not say whether charges against him were dropped.”

In a statement released today through his attorney, Reinhold said: “I have to say that the past 48 hours have been the most unusual, hair-raising and regrettable two days of my life. At best, it’s a cautionary tale.”

Reinhold also said in the statement that he was prescribed antibiotics on Wednesday. He had originally planned to travel on that day, but had a negative reaction to the medication, according to the statement, and went to a hospital for treatment and observation.

“Rescheduling his flight for Thursday, Reinhold said he reacted wrongly after his bag set off the alarm and a trainee agent stopped him for a pat-down,” Reuters notes.

Reinhold took responsibility for the incident, saying in the statement: “Two Dallas police officers came over and gave me every opportunity to keep my mouth shut. I didn’t comply with the pat down or their suggestions. This led to my arrest. I knew better; I just didn’t do the right thing.”

He added: “I feel especially embarrassed about self righteous indignation when I’ve enjoyed 30 years of support and camaraderie with law enforcement.”

Dec 9, 2016
11:01 am

Lawmakers Voice Concerns About NBC’s New Boston O&O (B&C, NBC)

Some powerful Washington lawmakers are paying close attention to Boston, where NBC is about to launch its newest owned-and-operated station.

“Elizabeth Warren has joined Edward Markey, her fellow U.S. senator from Massachusetts, in calling on Comcast for proof that the company’s new NBC O&O in Boston will cover the entire market,” B&C reports.

Warren sent out a tweet Thursday saying: “Many in our communities rely on free broadcast TV. I share @SenMarkey’s concerns about NBC signal loss in MA & call on @comcast for answers.”

The new NBC station, WBTS, is due to launch Jan. 1.

“On Monday, Markey expressed his interest in a letter to Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts, asking for detailed information showing how the network plans to deliver the station to the entire Boston market, even though it doesn’t have as great a reach as the current NBC affiliate, Sunbeam’s WHDH,” B&C reports.

Dec 9, 2016
9:49 am

NBC’s Live Production of ‘Hairspray’ Sets a Ratings Mark for the Network — But It’s Not a Happy One (NY Times)

Will NBC’s “Hairspray Live!” be the production that convinces the broadcast networks to rethink their strategy of pouring resources into high-profile live musicals? Probably not, The New York Times reports, even though Wednesday night’s broadcast delivered the lowest viewer numbers of NBC’s four live musical events aired in the past three years.

“Hairspray Live!” settled for 9 million viewers, the story reports — still enough to make it the most-viewed show of the night, topping Fox’s “Empire” and CBS’s “Survivor.”

“Though it garnered mostly good reviews, ‘Hairspray Live!’ saw a big drop from NBC’s production of ‘The Wiz Live!’ last year, which had 11.5 million viewers,” The Times reports. “’Hairspray Live!’ also had a smaller viewership than 2014’s ‘Peter Pan Live!,’ which had 9.2 million viewers, and the 2013 live production of ‘The Sound of Music,’ still the highest-rated at 18.6 million. The second-most-viewed of the recent spate of live musicals was Fox’s ‘Grease Live!,’ with more than 12 million viewers, in January.”

With NBC now carrying “Thursday Night Football,” the network moved “Hairspray” to Wednesday, instead of the usual Thursday slot used for NBC’s three previous musicals. The move may have contributed to the erosion, but the report notes that all of the three previous productions aired opposite football on other networks.

“TV executives have used live events in recent years as an antidote to eroding ratings that have affected all networks,” The Times adds. “But even those events have taken a hit this year: Awards show ratings — like the Oscars, the Emmys and the Golden Globes — have been down, and NFL prime-time ratings have nose-dived.”

But live theatrical events still have legs on the broadcast nets. NBC has announced that it will air a live production of “Bye Bye Birdie” in December 2017, and the network also has a live production of “A Few Good Men” in the pipeline. Fox, meanwhile, has been working on a live musical for next year and ABC has expressed interest in a live production.

Dec 9, 2016
8:49 am

Why Denzel Washington Is Lashing Out at Mainstream Media (The Hill, USA Today)

Denzel Washington had some harsh words for the media during an appearance this week at a special screening of his new movie, “Fences,” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American Museum of History and Culture in Washington.

The Hill quotes Washington saying: “If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you do read it, you’re misinformed. In our society, now it’s just first — who cares, get it out there. We don’t care who it hurts. We don’t care who we destroy. We don’t care if it’s true. Just say it, sell it. Anything you practice you’ll get good at — including BS.”

USA Today reports: “Washington’s remarks about the alleged sins of the mainstream media  come months after he himself was the center of a phony story that circulated online this fall: It falsely claimed Washington had dropped his support of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to endorse GOP nominee Donald Trump.

“The fake story was shared thousands of times before it was removed — after the mainstream media debunked it.”

Dec 9, 2016
8:39 am

Celebrate Kirk Douglas’ 100th Birthday Today by Watching Him in One of His Best Roles (TVWeek)

By Chuck Ross

Kirk Douglas turns 100 today, and there’s no better way to commemorate the milestone than by watching him in one of his best roles.

I’m talking about “The Bad and the Beautiful” (1952) in glorious, Oscar-winning black & white (courtesy the talented cinematographer Robert Surtees), starring Douglas and a wonderful supporting cast in my favorite movie about Hollywood.

“The Bad and the Beautiful” is available on YouTube for three bucks , or you can get it on Amazon or iTunes for $10.

Besides winning an Academy Award for Best Cinematography, it also won for Best Supporting Actress (Gloria Grahame), Best Adapted Screenplay (Charles Schnee, based on a story by George Bradshaw), Best Art Direction (Cedric Gibbons) and Best Costume Design (Helen Rose). Douglas was nominated for Best Actor, but lost out to Gary Cooper in “High Noon.”

Besides Douglas and Grahame, the movie also features Lana Turner, Walter Pidgeon, Barry Sullivan, Gilbert Roland and Dick Powell, all at the top of their game. The movie was produced by John Houseman, and directed by Vincent Minnelli.

The venerable critic for the New Yorker magazine Pauline Kael didn’t like the movie much, but she had a couple of great lines about it: Minnelli, she says, gives the material “an hysterical stylishness,” and Robert Surtees’ cinematography “is more than dramatic, it has temperament.” Both of those comments ring true, but I would argue that those qualities just add to the enjoyment of the movie.

I also agree with The New York Times movie critic Bosley Crowther, who said in his review of the film, “Kirk Douglas is best as the producer — a glib, restless, unrelenting gent whose energies and resources are matched only by his perfidy and gall.”

“The Bad and the Beautiful” is exceedingly fun, popcorn-chomping entertainment. Mr. Douglas, we wish you live another 100 years.

Dec 9, 2016
8:27 am

The Current Version of ‘Jeopardy!’ Has Been On-Air for 34 Years, and This Has Never Happened — Why Next Tuesday’s Episode Will Likely Tug at Your Heartstrings (NY Post)

The episode of the long-running game show “Jeopardy!” scheduled to air Tuesday, Dec. 13, will include the show’s first posthumous appearance by a contestant.

The New York Post reports that the episode will include contestant Cindy Stowell, who died of cancer Monday at the age of 41.

“Stowell, a science-content developer from Austin, Texas, taped the quiz show back in August, and the episode is set to premiere on Dec. 13, a ‘Jeopardy!’ spokesperson confirmed,” The Post reports.

Host Alex Trebek commented on the situation in a statement, saying: “When Cindy Stowell taped her appearance on ‘Jeopardy!,’ she had Stage IV cancer. Competing on ‘Jeopardy!’ was a lifelong dream for Cindy, and we’re glad she was able to do so. Sadly, Cindy died on Dec. 5. All of us at ‘Jeopardy!’ offer our condolences and best wishes to her family and friends.”

The Post adds: “Her death and forthcoming ‘Jeopardy!’ appearance was first announced on Twitter by her longtime boyfriend Jason Hess, who posted that ‘She was fighting a high-grade fever (which turned out to be a blood infection) and was on painkillers while taping.’ Stowell competed with the goal of donating her prize winnings to cancer-related organizations.”

Trebek and a select group of staffers reportedly were the only ones involved in the show who knew that Stowell was sick at the time of the taping. “She was able to tape three weeks after qualifying, on Aug. 31, after she informed a show producer that she had recently been told by her doctor that she had about six months to live,” The Post reports.

Older Articles