Dec 15, 2017
5:26 pm

Netflix Series to Wrap After One More Season (TVWeek, Netflix)

Netflix announced plans to wrap up a series after its upcoming third season. The streaming service will roll out the final season of the Judd Apatow series “Love” on March 9.

Said Apatow, the comedy’s co-creator and executive producer: “I am really excited about the third season of ‘Love.’ I think it is our sweetest, funniest season and ends our story in a beautiful way.”

Cindy Holland, Netflix Vice President of Original Series, added: “We couldn’t have hoped for better companions to go on this journey of ‘Love’ with than the incomparable Judd Apatow, Gillian Jacobs, Paul Rust, Lesley Arfin and the rest of the fantastic cast and crew who have brought this special series to life. Over three seasons, viewers around the world have laughed, cringed, and cried with Mickey and Gus, and we are excited to share this concluding journey with their fans.”

The show was created by Apatow along with Paul Rust and Lesley Arfin, and produced with Legendary.

Dec 15, 2017
4:56 pm

Russell Simmons Under Investigation by NYPD as He Mounts #NotMe Defense
(USA Today, TVWeek, Instagram)

Music and TV mogul Russell Simmons is under investigation by police in New York amid a flurry of sexual misconduct allegations, USA Today reports.

Meanwhile, Simmons is taking his case to social media in an effort to defend himself, mounting a campaign under the #NotMe banner.

The report quotes NYPD spokeswoman Jocelyn Clarke saying: “The NYPD has received information regarding allegations involving Russell Simmons in the NYC area and our detectives are in the process of reviewing that information.”

USA Today adds: “Their investigation comes as 10 new accusers of Simmons stepped forward in various publications, and as Simmons unveiled his #NotMe campaign on Instagram, aimed at fending off the mounting allegations against him.”

On Instagram, Simmons said: “Today, I begin to properly defend myself. I will prove without any doubt that I am innocent of all rape charges. Today, I will focus on ‘The Original Sin’ (Keri Claussen), the claim that created this insane pile on of my #MeToo. Stay tuned! We’ll share information today… And tomorrow the case of Jenny Lumet. My intention is not to diminish the #MeToo movement in anyway, but instead hold my accusers accountable. #NotMe Again, this is not a movement against or even in conjunction with #Metoo . It’s just a statement about my innocence.”

USA Today adds: “One of Simmons’ latest accusers is Kelly Cutrone, the fashion PR powerhouse who’s appeared on reality shows like ‘The Hills’ and ‘America’s Next Top Model’ and her own ‘Kell on Earth.’ On Thursday, she told The New York Post that Simmons attempted to rape her in 1991.”

Cutrone said she’s starting her own hashtag campaign, tweeting “#YesYou.”

Dec 15, 2017
4:27 pm

George Clooney Series on Political Scandal in the Works at Netflix (Deadline)

Netflix is working on a limited series focusing on one of the biggest political scandals in U.S. history: Watergate. Deadline reports that the project has “Bridge of Spies” writer Matt Charman partnering with George Clooney and Clooney’s Smokehouse Pictures partner Grant Heslov.

“Watergate,” an eight-part limited series, landed at Netflix for development after what Netflix describes as a “competitive situation.”

“The potential series will be produced by studio Sonar Entertainment, which last year inked a first-look deal with Smokehouse,” Deadline reports. “We hear that each episode of ‘Watergate’ would focus on an individual surrounding the 1970s scandal such as former Attorney General John Mitchell and Richard Nixon counsel John Ehrlichman. It is styled after famous Japanese period drama ‘Rashomon.'”

Dec 15, 2017
2:31 pm

More Dustin Hoffman Accusers Come Forward — Hoffman’s Camp Denies the Allegations (Variety, THR, TVWeek)

More women have come forward to accuse two-time Oscar-winning actor Dustin Hoffman of sexual impropriety, including three women whose allegations are detailed in a report published Thursday by Variety.

“Cori Thomas was in high school when she says Dustin Hoffman exposed himself to her in a hotel room,” the story reports. “Melissa Kester was a recent college graduate when Hoffman allegedly sexually assaulted her while recording audio for the film ‘Ishtar.’ A third woman, who asked to remain anonymous, said that Hoffman assaulted her in the back of a station wagon and manipulated her into a subsequent sexual encounter that left her traumatized.

“Speaking to Variety, the women described predatory incidents involving Hoffman that fit into a pattern of alleged behavior that has emerged in the wake of previous sexual-misconduct claims against the now 80-year-old actor.”

The report notes that representatives for Hoffman did not make him available to comment for the story, but Mark A. Neubauer, an attorney for Hoffman, wrote a letter to Variety owner Penske Media Corp. in which he called the accusations against Hoffman “defamatory falsehoods.”

Thomas, who was 16 at the time of her alleged encounter with Hoffman in 1980, and a high school classmate of Hoffman’s daughter Karina, told the publication that after a walk with Karina and Hoffman in Manhattan she found herself in Hoffman’s hotel room waiting to be picked up by her parents.

“He came out of the bathroom with a towel at first wrapped around him, which he dropped,” Thomas told Variety. “He was standing there naked. I think I almost collapsed, actually. It was the first time I had ever seen a naked man. I was mortified. I didn’t know what to do. And he milked it. He milked the fact that he was naked. He stood there. He took his time.”

Actress Kathryn Rossetter became the third woman to accuse Hoffman of sexual misconduct when she detailed allegations about a week ago stemming from work on “Death of a Salesman” in the 1980s, as we reported previously.

The Hollywood Reporter details accounts by a total of five women accusing Hoffman of impropriety, including Thomas. As we reported previously, Hoffman was confronted recently by TV host John Oliver about allegations of sexual misbehavior by the actor in a panel discussion that has gone viral.

You can see some of that confrontation by clicking here.

Dec 15, 2017
1:59 pm

Guess Who Will Be the Largest Shareholder in the New Disney (Deadline)

With Disney set to acquire film and TV assets from 21st Century Fox, the largest individual shareholders in the reconfigured version of The Walt Disney Co. would be Rupert Murdoch and his family, Deadline.com reports.

“The 86-year-old media mogul and his family would emerge as the single largest individual shareholders in Disney once the proposed $66 billion deal for 21st Century Fox’s film and television assets closes,” Deadline reports. “Only the mutual fund Vanguard would have more significant holdings in the Burbank media giant.”

The Murdoch family stands to receive almost 88 million Disney shares in the all-stock deal, the story reports, based on the number of Fox shares he and his family trust reported in regulatory filings.

“That’s more than the 64 million shares owned or directly controlled by Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Steve Jobs,” Deadline reports. “The late Apple co-founder became Disney’s largest individual shareholder in 2006 with the $7.4 billion sale of Pixar Animation Studios.”

The report notes that the Murdochs may have their sights set on running Disney following the retirement of CEO Bob Iger.

Dec 15, 2017
1:41 pm

Sinclair Faces $13.3 Million Fine (Reuters)

The Federal Communications Commission is planning to fine Sinclair Broadcasting Corp. $13.3 million after the company failed to properly disclose that paid programming running on local TV stations was sponsored by a cancer institute, Reuters reports, citing three sources who have been briefed on the situation.

“The proposed fine, which covers about 1,700 spots including commercials that looked like news stories that aired during newscasts for the Utah-based Huntsman Cancer Institute over a six-month period in 2016, could bolster critics of Sinclair’s proposed $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media Co.,” the story reports.

Sinclair and the FCC weren’t commenting.

“Sinclair, which has told reporters previously the violations were unintentional, disclosed the investigation in financial filings,” Reuters reports. “Sinclair, which owns more than 170 U.S. television stations and is the largest U.S. operator, announced plans in May to acquire Tribune’s 42 TV stations in 33 markets as well as cable network WGN America and digital multicast network Antenna TV, extending its reach to 72 percent of American households.”

The proposed acquisition is currently under review by the FCC and the Justice Department.

Dec 15, 2017
1:27 pm

Director Peter Jackson Says Harvey Weinstein Blacklisted Two Actresses
(Stuff, Twitter, TVWeek)

Two well-known actresses who are among the accusers going public with allegations against Harvey Weinstein thanked director Peter Jackson after he revealed in an interview with the New Zealand media outlet Stuff that Weinstein told Jackson to blacklist the actresses, Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino.

Jackson describes the Weinstein brothers as “second-rate Mafia bullies” and accuses them of orchestrating a smear campaign against Judd and Sorvino, Stuff reports.

Jackson said he had “no direct experience or knowledge of the sexual allegations” against Weinstein, but had decided long ago not to work with him again. Back in the late 1990s, however, Jackson was interested in casting both actresses in his “Lord of the Rings” films and Miramax was involved.

“I recall Miramax telling us they were a nightmare to work with and we should avoid them at all costs. This was probably in 1998,” Jackson told the publication. “At the time, we had no reason to question what these guys were telling us — but in hindsight, I realize that this was very likely the Miramax smear campaign in full swing.”

Jackson added: “I now suspect we were fed false information about both of these talented women — and as a direct result their names were removed from our casting list.”

Both Judd and Sorvino responded on Twitter, thanking Jackson for his revelations. You can see Sorvino’s tweet below.

Dec 15, 2017
12:59 pm

Actresses Reportedly Plan to Protest at Golden Globes (THR)

At the upcoming Golden Globe Awards ceremony scheduled to take place Sunday, Jan. 7, actresses including nominees and presenters plan to wear black to protest gender inequality and to acknowledge recent allegations of sexual impropriety, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“Following the cultural awakening in Hollywood over sexual harassment and gender inequality, industry insiders are trying to figure out how best to acknowledge the #MeToo movement during awards season in 2018,” THR notes.

The news comes after the Screen Actors Guild announced this week that all of the presenters at the SAG Awards, set to take place Jan. 21, will be female.

“In a recent meeting at CAA about how to achieve gender equality in the industry (the agency is also taking the 50/50 by 2020 pledge), there was talk of a new protocol for the red carpet, one of the biggest platforms for women in Hollywood,” THR adds, quoting a source saying: “There was discussion of crafting some sort of talking points.”

Dec 15, 2017
11:59 am

Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year Unveiled — We Haven’t Heard Anyone Use It Lately, Have You? (BBC News)

A lot of people seem to be surprised by the Oxford Dictionaries’ 2017 Word of the Year, which many of us either have never heard or only heard so long ago that we’ve probably forgotten it. BBC News reports that the word is “youthquake.”

The story reports that the choice of the word, which was coined in the 1960s by Vogue editor Diana Vreeland, reflects a “political awakening” among millennial voters in 2017.

The report quotes Oxford Dictionaries’ Casper Grathwohl saying it was “not an obvious choice.” He also said the term’s use in everyday speech increased five-fold during 2017.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines “youthquake” as the “series of radical political and cultural upheavals occurring among students and young people in the 1960s.”

Other words that were reportedly in contention in 2017 include antifa, broflake, kompromat, unicorn and milkshake duck.

Please comment if you think “youthquake” is a lame choice for word of the year — or if you think we’re lame for never hearing it used.

Dec 15, 2017
11:57 am

‘Thursday Night Football’ Ratings Plummet (Variety, TVWeek)

NBC’s “Thursday Night Football” broadcast had a tough night in the ratings last night, when the game featured two teams with losing records. The Denver Broncos beat the Indianapolis Colts, 25-13, to improve to 5-9 on the season while the Colts fell to 3-11.

Citing Nielsen data, Variety reports that the game delivered “some of its lowest numbers of this season,” including a 7.4 rating in metered market households, down 27% from the 10.2 rating for last week’s game.

“That is also down significantly from the comparable game last year, which drew a 10.1 metered market household rating,” Variety notes. “This week’s game is also currently averaging a 2.1 rating in adults 18-49 and 8 million viewers, though those numbers are subject to adjustment later today.”

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