Feb 23, 2018
4:58 pm

Three-Time Emmy-Winning Actress Dies
(NY Times, TVWeek, YouTube)

An actress who was a fixture on TV in the 1950s and 1960s, winning three Primetime Emmys, has died. The New York Times reports that Nanette Fabray died Thursday at her home in Palos Verdes, Calif. She was 97.

“Ms. Fabray was 28 when she received the Tony for best actress in a musical for her performance in ‘Love Life,’ a collection of sketches with lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Kurt Weill,” The Times reports. “It was her seventh Broadway show and followed her success in Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn’s ‘High Button Shoes’ the season before. Brooks Atkinson, writing about that musical in The New York Times, had called her ‘a neatly designed show-shop ingénue with considerable crackle.’”

She won two Emmys in 1956, for Best Comedienne and for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for “Caesar’s Hour,” Sid Caesar’s follow-up to “Your Show of Shows.” Fabray followed up with another Emmy win in 1957, again for “Caesar’s Hour,” for Best Continuing Performance by a Comedienne in a Series.

“Ms. Fabray nearly gave her life for the show,” The Times notes. “In 1955, she was hospitalized for almost two weeks after being knocked unconscious by a falling pipe backstage during a broadcast.”

Fabray had a number of film roles, including “The Band Wagon” in 1953, but was best-known for her stage and TV work. She had a run on “Westinghouse Playhouse” in the early 1960s, and became known to a new generation of TV viewers as Grandma Katherine Romano on “One Day at a Time” from 1979-1984.

Here’s a clip of Fabray recounting her accident on the set of “Caesar’s Hour” …

Feb 23, 2018
4:36 pm

HBO Sets Date for ‘Paterno’ — Here’s Al Pacino’s Take on the Controversial Coach (TVWeek, HBO)

HBO today released the official trailer for “Paterno,” starring Al Pacino as legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno. Directed by Barry Levinson, the project premieres April 7 on the pay-cable channel.

“The drama centers on Penn State’s Joe Paterno in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal. After becoming the winningest coach in college football history, Paterno’s legacy is challenged and he is forced to face questions of institutional failure in regard to the victims,” HBO says in today’s announcement.

Along with Pacino, the HBO Films presentation stars Riley Keough, Kathy Baker, Greg Grunberg, Annie Parisse and Larry Mitchell.

“Paterno” is a Levinson/Fontana production of a Barry Levinson Film; executive produced by Barry Levinson, Jason Sosnoff, Tom Fontana, Edward R. Pressman, Rick Nicita and Lindsay Sloane; Amy Herman produces; produced in association with Sony Pictures Television.

Here’s a look …

Feb 23, 2018
4:21 pm

Chevy Chase Gets Into Roadside Altercation (AP, TVWeek)

Chevy Chase, one of the original cast members from NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” got into a beef in a traffic incident, resulting in the 74-year-actor being kicked by a New York man, authorities say.

“Chase told police he was cut off by another driver on Feb. 9. Thinking his car might be damaged, he followed the car across the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. Both drivers pulled over in South Nyack,” the AP reports. “A truck passenger, Michael Landrio, tells the New York Post that his friend tried to make peace, but the former ‘Saturday Night Live’ star got into their vehicle and tried to punch him.”

Landrio is saying he kicked Chase in self-defense during what’s described as a profanity-laced dispute. The kick reportedly sent Chase flying.

“Landrio was charged with harassment. Chase was not charged,” the AP notes.

Feb 23, 2018
4:17 pm

Ad Inventory for Oscars Telecast Sells Out at Earliest Time Ever (MediaPost)

The Oscars, set to air on ABC on March 4, have sold out the advertising inventory for the broadcast, which ABC says is the earliest the ceremony has ever sold out, MediaPost reports.

“The network also notes total Oscars’ advertising revenue hit a record — although it did not reveal specifics. It added that the price for a 30-second advertising unit has climbed by ‘high single-digit’ percentages versus last year,” the story reports.

The average price of a 30-second spot in last year’s Oscars was $1.9 million, MediaPost reports, citing the Standard Media Index. “The 2017 movie awards show was estimated to have pulled in around $123 million in national advertising sales,” the report adds.

Feb 23, 2018
1:31 pm

Fired Talk Show Host Sues Broadcaster, Says Allegations of Sexual Misconduct Were Just ‘Pretext’ to End Distribution of His Show (CNN)

A talk show host who was taken off the air amid allegations of sexual misconduct isn’t going quietly. CNN reports that Tavis Smiley has filed a lawsuit against PBS alleging that the broadcaster used the claims against him as a pretext to end a “tense” relationship.

PBS suspended distribution of “Tavis Smiley” in December, citing “troubling allegations” against Smiley.

“Following an investigation into the accusations, PBS said Smiley had ‘multiple sexual encounters with subordinates over many years,’ and engaged in conduct that was not consistent with the organization’s standards,” CNN reports. “The complaint, filed in superior court in Washington, D.C., accuses PBS of breach of contract, saying the investigation into Smiley was ‘biased’ and carried out ‘in violation of norms and procedures for conducting workplace investigations.'”

The report quotes Smiley’s complaint saying: “PBS was prepared to make its decision to suspend distribution of the show without interviewing Mr. Smiley and providing him with an opportunity to respond to specific allegations.”

The lawsuit adds that “over the years, PBS has acted in a racially hostile manner” against Smiley, and that he has been “the only person of color to have served as the solo host of a daily national show in the history of PBS.”

PBS responded by saying the lawsuit is unfounded. CNN quotes Jennifer Rankin Byrne, vice president of corporate communications for PBS, saying in an emailed statement: “Today’s meritless lawsuit is yet another example of Tavis Smiley’s attempts to distract the public from his pattern of sexual misconduct in the workplace.”

Feb 23, 2018
1:11 pm

Report: Tensions Are Running High at NBC as Lester Holt’s News Ratings Slip (NY Post)

“ABC News has been crowing about its flagship ‘World News Tonight with David Muir’ taking the gold medal during the Winter Olympics, putting rival Lester Holt and his ‘NBC Nightly News’ in the silver spot,” The New York Post’s Page Six reports. “But sources tell Page Six that, with Muir passing Holt in overall audience and closing the gap in the all-important 25-to-54-year-old demographic, Holt’s bosses at NBC are beginning to sweat.”

The report notes that Brian Williams — who was replaced by Holt on the flagship show after Williams was caught telling some tall tales about his exploits in Iraq — is thriving over at MSNBC, which makes NBC’s situation that much more awkward.

“Sources tell us that if Holt’s stats were ever to get into terminal territory and the network needed to make a change in the anchor’s chair, the Peacock Network’s recent crises would put them in a major bind,” The Post reports. “We’re told that Savannah Guthrie — who has been a huge hit as ‘Today’ co-host with Hoda Kotb since Matt Lauer was fired for alleged sexual misconduct in November — ‘would absolutely be a contender [for the “Nightly News” gig],’ and that ‘before Matt was fired, you could make a case to move Savannah to [“Nightly News”], but it’s impossible to do that now.’”

The report adds that Megyn Kelly, whose morning show is struggling, would not be a contender for the “Nightly News” job.

Feb 23, 2018
12:59 pm

White House Correspondents’ Association Names Host for Annual Dinner (TVWeek, Comedy Central)

The White House Correspondents’ Association announced that its annual WHCA Dinner will be hosted by stand-up comedian and “Daily Show with Trevor Noah” correspondent Michelle Wolf.

The organization said in a statement: “Our dinner honors the First Amendment and strong, independent journalism. Her embrace of these values and her truth-to-power style make her a great friend to the WHCA. Her Pennsylvania roots, stints on Wall Street and in science and self-made, feminist edge make her the right voice now.”

Here’s a look at some of Wolf’s work on “The Daily Show” …

Feb 23, 2018
12:29 pm

Golden Globe-Nominated Actor Battling Cancer (TVWeek, YouTube)

An actor who has a long list of credits both on television and in feature films revealed that he is battling cancer. British actor Stephen Fry made the revelation in a video posted on YouTube in which he describes his recent medical experiences in considerable detail.

You can see the video below, in which he reveals that he has been dealing with prostate cancer. Fry says he has had surgery, adding: “So far as we know, it’s all been got.”

Fry, who has a long track record on British television — including a run on “Blackadder” — was nominated for a Golden Globe for best performance by an actor in a motion picture, drama, in 1999 for playing Oscar Wilde in “Wilde.”

Here’s Fry’s announcement …

Feb 23, 2018
12:17 pm

Date Set for the Sixth and Final Season of ‘Nashville’ (TVWeek)

The endgame is all set for “Nashville,” which will wrap after a six-season run spanning two networks. CMT announced plans for the show’s midseason premiere on June 7, leading up to the series-ending finale on July 26.

Down the stretch, the series will feature two new recurring roles with the additions of Ronny Cox and Mia Maestro.

The network also released a short teaser, which you can see by clicking here.

The final stretch for the show, which began life on ABC back in 2012 before moving to CMT following its fourth season, will consist of eight episodes.

Please click here for additional details, and to watch the teaser.

Feb 23, 2018
12:01 pm

Netflix Announces Three New Originals From India (TVWeek)

Netflix today announced a slate of three new Indian original series, which will join a larger slate of original productions out of India that includes “Sacred Games,” “Selection Day” and “Bard of Blood.”

The new shows are “Leila,” “Ghoul” and “Crocodile.”

Here’s how Netflix describes the projects:

  • “Leila,” from writer and executive producer Urmi Juvekar, based on a book by Prayaag Akbar, tells the story of Shalini, a free-thinking woman in search of the daughter she lost upon her arrest 16 years earlier. Set in the near future, this inventive, boundary-breaking story centers around longing, faith and loss.
  • “Ghoul,” a horror series based on Arabic folklore, is set in a covert detention center. Nida, a newly minted interrogator who turned in her own father as an anti-government activist, arrives at the center to discover that some of the terrorists held there are not of this world. Written and directed by Patrick Graham, and starring Radhika Apte and Manav Kaul, this unique and gripping series, with a supernatural twist, traces Nida’s battle for survival.
  • “Crocodile,” written by Binky Mendez, is a young adult murder mystery thriller series set in the seaside state of Goa. When her best friend goes missing, Mira sets out on her own investigation, uncovering secrets among her friends, romantic relationships and community.

Erik Barmack, vice president of international original series for Netflix, commented in the announcement: “We are proud to continue to invest in original content in India. These three series, from the scary to the supernatural, represent the tremendous diversity that Indian storytelling holds for a global audience. We are thrilled to work with some of the world’s most talented writers and producers to bring these stories to life for India and the world.”

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