May 29, 2015
1:27 pm

Breaking News: Reports Say Dennis Hastert Paid to Hide Sexual Relationship With Male Student (NBC News)

“Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert paid a man to conceal a sexual relationship they had while the man was a student at the high school where Hastert taught, a federal law enforcement official told NBC News on Friday,” reports NBC News.

The story continues, “The official spoke on condition of anonymity. Tribune reported earlier in the day that two unnamed federal officials said that Hastert paid a man from his past to conceal sexual misconduct.”

Hastert made national news yesterday when he was indicted “on charges that he structured bank withdrawals to avoid federal reporting requirements and later lied about it to the FBI,” NBC News notes. “The indictment said that Hastert was paying an unidentified person from his past to conceal Hastert’s ‘prior misconduct.’ The indictment did not specify the alleged misconduct or name the person.”

Hastert, an Illinois Republican, was a teacher and wrestling coach from 1965 to 1981 in Yorkville, Ill., before he entered politics.

To read more about his story we urge you to click here, which will take you to the NBC News story.

May 29, 2015
12:44 pm

HBO Picks Up Animated Series (Variety)

HBO has placed a two-season order for a new animated series. Variety reports that the pay cable channel picked up “Animals” from sibling producers Mark and Jay Duplass.

“The first two episodes screened this year at Sundance, generating buzz that led to the HBO pickup, Variety notes. “HBO has acquired worldwide rights to the first batch of episodes produced and has ordered a second season. The half-hour series is targeted for a 2016 debut.”

The Duplass brothers are executive producing through their Duplass Brothers Television banner.

“The brothers are already in business with HBO on the domestic comedy ‘Togetherness,’ which wrapped its first season in March and is set to return next year,” the report notes.

Variety adds: “’Animals’ was created by New York-based advertising creatives Phil Matarese and Mike Luciano as a series of animated shorts revolving around downtrodden creatures — pigeons, rats, bedbugs, etc. — living in New York City.”


May 29, 2015
12:31 pm

Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Other Providers Smacked Down in Customer Satisfaction Study (Time, Consumer Reports)

A new report on customer satisfaction with pay television and Internet providers brought scores that Time magazine says are horrible — “even for cable TV.”

The survey by Consumer Reports finds Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications, which are working on a merger, near the bottom of the rankings, along with Comcast, whose recent attempt to merge with TWC fell apart.

“Ratings for the value provided in the TV and Internet components were especially awful: 38 out of the 39 Internet services, and 20 out of the 24 TV providers, received the lowest scores possible,” Time reports. “What’s more, 19 out of the 20 bundles rated in the survey earned poor scores as well in terms of value.”

Consumer Reports notes: “Along with death and taxes, lousy cable service seems to be one of life’s certainties.”

The survey had consumers rating TV, Internet, and phone services, along with bundled offerings combining the services.

The report notes that many consumers were able to get better deals from their cable companies by negotiating with them.

consumer reports-dot-org

May 29, 2015
12:17 pm

Mariah Carey Bashes ‘American Idol’ (THR)

Mariah Carey, who spent much of season 12 of the Fox singing competition “American Idol” clashing with fellow judge Nicki Minaj, has opened up about her time on “Idol,” calling it “the worst experience of my life.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Carey ripped the show in an interview for the Australian radio program “Kyle and Jackie O.” Asked whether she would consider returning for season 15, Carey said: “Hell no! Absolutely not. That was the worst experience of my life.”

Carey alluded to the conflict with Minaj, hinting that it was part of the producers’ plan. “I’m not going to get into what it was, but let’s just say I don’t think they had any intentions for us to have a good experience doing that show,” Carey is quoted as saying. “Pitting two females against each other wasn’t cool.”

She also said of her stint at the judges’ table: “It’s so boring and so fake, I’m sorry. When I say it’s fake, I mean, I have to make up things to say about everybody. Half the time, the performances are good, you’ll just be like, ‘It was good.’ ”

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May 29, 2015
12:09 pm

Sitcom Creates UCLA Science Scholarship (CBS News)

A popular comedy series is behind a new scholarship that has been set up to help students in the sciences at UCLA. CBS News reports that the Big Bang Theory Scholarship Endowment has attracted funding of $4 million, with many of the people behind the show leading the way.

“The Big Bang Theory” co-creator and executive producer Chuck Lorre has been a driving force in establishing the endowment through his family foundation. Among those who have also reportedly contributed are series stars Jim Parsons, Mayim Bialik, Kunal Nayyar and Johnny Galecki, along with executive producers Bill Prady and Steven Molaro.

Corporate partners CBS and Warner Bros. Television have also chipped in, UCLA announced Thursday.

Said Lorre: “We have all been given a gift with ‘The Big Bang Theory,’ a show that’s not only based in the scientific community, but also enthusiastically supported by that same community — this is our opportunity to give back. In that spirit, our ‘Big Bang’ family has made a meaningful contribution, and together, we’ll share in the support of these future scholars, scientists and leaders.”

The report notes: “The merit and need-based scholarship will benefit low-income undergraduates in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields (STEM) who would not otherwise be able to afford to study at the university.”

big bang theory-title

May 29, 2015
8:47 am

CNN Marks Anniversary With a Blooper Reel for the Ages — Check It Out (CNN)

CNN is celebrating its 35th anniversary, and the cable news channel has posted an epic blooper reel in honor of the event.

Here it is:

May 29, 2015
8:31 am

Key Holdout Signs On for ‘Full House’ Reboot (TVWeek)

One of the mainstays of the original “Full House” will be a part of the reboot, “Fuller House.”

Bob Saget is now on board, according to a tweet from John Stamos, who is involved with the Netflix project as both a star and a producer.

Stamos tweeted Thursday night: “Last but not least-best piece of casting yet. The great @bobsaget will be joining our show on @netfilx – this completes the perfect [reunion]!”

Saget played Danny Tanner, the father of the “Full House” clan, on the original ABC series, which aired for eight seasons before it wrapped in 1995.

full house-cast-title

May 29, 2015
8:17 am

A Familiar TV Studio Is Poised to Come Back (Deadline)

A banner that was once a familiar sight on television is preparing for a comeback. Writing on, Nellie Andreeva reports that Sony Pictures Television is set to revive the TriStar Television brand.

Sony is reportedly bringing back the banner as a boutique production unit.

“I hear it would be run by Suzanne Patmore Gibbs, who would segue to the new position after a three-year stint as EVP drama development for Sony Pictures Television,” Andreeva reports. “The new division is expected to tackle a small number of projects, including Sony’s 1970s drama ‘The Good Girls Revolt,’ which is being picked up to pilot by Amazon.”

The TriStar Television banner, with its familiar flying horse logo, was behind TV shows on all of the major broadcast nets from the banner’s launch by TriStar Pictures in 1986 through the 1990s. Among them: NBC’s “Mad About You,” CBS’s “The Nanny,” Fox’s “Ned & Stacey” and ABC’s “The Dana Carvey Show.”

tristar television-flying horse logo

May 29, 2015
8:14 am

Comcast Getting Heat From Regulators (NY Post)

Officials at the Justice Department and the FCC may take action against NBCUniversal owner Comcast over allegations that the company violated agreements going back to 2011 that made it possible for the cabler to acquire NBCUniversal, Claire Atkinson reports in the New York Post.

“The allegations were made during the public comment period of the review of Comcast’s now defunct plan to acquire Time Warner Cable,” Atkinson writes, citing Washington insiders.

Among the alleged complaints being examined, the story reports, is one that “Comcast tied linear programming negotiations with digital deals — forcing programmers to sell to Comcast digital rights to their content on the same or better terms than they sold it to other online video distributors — when they promised not to,” Atkinson reports.

Another possible problem is that “NBCUniversal’s just-announced deal to use Comcast set-top box data to help it win advertising creates an uneven playing field,” Atkinson notes.

Additionally, Comcast, which has been fined in the past for violation of one of the 2011 agreements, may have interfered with the running of Hulu after agreeing not to do so. Comcast co-owns Hulu with Disney and 21st Century Fox, and has reportedly suggested that the other co-owners not sell the streaming service.

comcast logo

May 29, 2015
8:11 am

Thriving Media Site Closes In on 40% of All Internet Traffic (Time)

One Internet site now accounts for almost 37% of all downstream Internet traffic — and that number is growing.

Time magazine reports that Netflix is now in the ballpark of 37% in North America during peak evening hours. That number is up fom 35% as recently as November. The figures are included in a new report by Sandvine.

“The company’s share of online traffic has been ticking up steadily as it has built its subscriber base over the years,” Time notes. “Netflix now has more than 40 million members in the U.S. and more than 60 million globally.”

The Sandvine report also noted spikes for the HBO streaming platforms HBO Go and HBO Now.


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