Jan 19, 2017
1:07 pm

Showrunner Shakeup on Two Amazon Drama Series (TVWeek, Amazon)

A shakeup has taken place behind the cameras on two Amazon original drama series, with both “Bosch” and “The Man in the High Castle” getting new showrunners.

Eric Overmyer, who has been overseeing “Bosch,” will become the new showrunner on “The Man in the High Castle.” He will also remain an executive producer on “Bosch.”

Daniel Pyne, who has been an exec producer on “Bosch,” will add showrunner on that series to his job description. Meanwhile, John Mankiewicz, who has been a frequent collaborator with Pyne, joins “Bosch” as an executive producer.

The detective series “Bosch,” starring Titus Welliver, is currently in production on season three, which is due to premiere later this year. The show has already received a pickup for season four.

The key players in the showrunner shuffle have extensive resumes in television and feature films. Please click here for details in the announcement from Amazon.

Jan 19, 2017
12:31 pm

Fox Rejects Super Bowl Ad That Includes a Giant Border Wall (Ad Age)

A commercial submitted to Fox to run during the Super Bowl was rejected for being too controversial, Ad Age reports. The spot for the family-owned construction supply company 84 Lumber reportedly included a depiction of a border wall.

The imagery was apparently too reminiscent of Donald Trump’s pledge to build a huge wall along the Mexican border.

The report quotes Michael Brunner, CEO of the Brunner agency that created the spot, saying: “Fox rejected our original commercial because they determined that some of the imagery, including ‘the wall,’ would be too controversial. So we went back and revised the spot to make it acceptable to them.”

Fox has reportedly approved the new version, and 84 Lumber is expected to run its first Super Bowl ad, a 90-second spot that will air before halftime of the Feb. 5 game — with the airtime valued at about $15 million.

Brunner said the rejected ad will still see the light of day, with 84 Lumber planning to release it online the day before the Super Bowl.

Jan 19, 2017
12:17 pm

Cable Channel to Shut Down (AP)

A cable channel that has been in business since 2013 announced that it will shut down its cable operation and move to a digital-only distribution model.

The AP reports that the Esquire Network broke the news Wednesday. The channel, which is a partnership of NBCUniversal and Hearst Magazines, will launch the Esquire online network in the spring, shutting down the cable channel around the same time.

The network launched in the cable spot that was previously occupied by Style Network, and was seen as an extension of Hearst’s Esquire magazine, with a focus on delivering programming aimed at young men.

Esquire “had struggled as major cable providers dropped it from their lineups,” the AP notes.

Jan 19, 2017
10:31 am

Producer of Upcoming Movie ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ Is ‘Horrified’ by Footage of Dog’s Treatment on the Set; PETA Calls for Boycott of Movie (TMZ, Deadline, TVWeek, PETA)

After video surfaced from the set of the upcoming Universal movie “A Dog’s Purpose” showing a dog apparently being traumatized over a water stunt, producer Gavin Polone said he was “horrified” by the footage and the animal rights group PETA called for a boycott of the movie.

The video was first posted by TMZ.com — you can see it by clicking here. The dog “desperately resisted shooting a risky scene, but chilling footage shows filmmakers apparently forcing the animal into rushing water,” TMZ reports.

The incident reportedly took place near Winnipeg during filming in November 2015. The movie is due in theaters Jan. 27.

“You can see a trainer forcibly shoving a German Shepherd — one of at least 5 dogs used in the production — into the frothing water, but the animal wanted NO part of it … and repeatedly clawed at the pool’s edge,” TMZ reports.

The report notes that director Lasse Hallstrom was present throughout the shoot.

Deadline.com reports that producer Polone, an outspoken animal rights activist who has written about the need for proper treatment of animals used in the entertainment industry, reacted strongly after learning of the incident.

Polone is quoted by Deadline saying: “I’m horrified by this. The first thing I asked was, ‘Is the dog OK?’ He’s fine. But if I had seen that, I would have stopped it in a minute. People have to be held responsible for this. It was someone’s job to watch out for this kind of thing. Why didn’t they?”

Amblin, one of the producers of the film, released a statement Wednesday night saying: “Amblin production team followed rigorous protocols to foster an ethical and safe environment for the animals. While we continue to review the circumstances shown in the edited footage, Amblin is confident that great care and concern was shown for the German Shepherd Hercules, as well as for all of the other dogs featured throughout the production of the film. There were several days of rehearsal of the water scenes to ensure Hercules was comfortable with all of the stunts. On the day of the shoot, ‪Hercules did not want to perform the stunt portrayed on the tape so the Amblin production team did not proceed with filming that shot. Hercules is happy and healthy.”

PETA, meanwhile, was calling for a boycott of the movie, with the organization’s focus mainly on the animal supplier for the film, Birds & Animals Unlimited, based in Acton, Calif. PETA has had run-ins with the company before, and posted a video earlier this month about BAU, which you can see below.

PETA released a statement about the latest incident, noting that BAU was the supplier of dogs for “A Dog’s Purpose” and saying: “New footage shows a terrified dog who is forced into churning water on set. At one point, a dog who is in danger of drowning has to be rescued. PETA is calling on dog lovers to boycott the film in order to send the message that dogs and other animals should be treated humanely, not as movie props. PETA’s investigation at BAU revealed that animals are denied veterinary care, forced to sleep outdoors in the cold without bedding for warmth, made to live in filthy conditions, and more.”

Here’s the video posted earlier this month by PETA …

Jan 19, 2017
10:19 am

Ellen DeGeneres Makes History at People’s Choice Awards (TVWeek)

Comedian and daytime talk juggernaut Ellen DeGeneres made history Wednesday night at the 43rd People’s Choice Awards, held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

DeGeneres won three awards at the ceremony, bringing her lifetime total to 20 and making her the most decorated People’s Choice Awards winner of all time. DeGeneres won for Favorite Daytime TV Host, Favorite Animated Movie Voice (for “Finding Dory”), and Favorite Comedic Collaboration (for “Mall Mischief” with Britney Spears).

Awards were presented in TV, movie, music and digital categories. Among the winners in some of the key television categories were “Outlander,” for Favorite TV Show; “The Big Bang Theory,” for Favorite Network TV Comedy; Jim Parsons, for Favorite Comedic TV Actor; and Sofia Vergara, for Favorite Comedic TV Actress.

“Grey’s Anatomy” won for Favorite Network TV Drama and “Bates Motel” won Favorite Cable TV Drama.

Please click here to see the full list of winners in the TV, movie, music and digital categories, along with all the nominees.

Jan 19, 2017
7:44 am

‘Sherlock’ Finale Leak Triggers Investigation After Russian Version Surfaces (Deadline)

BBC Worldwide and Channel One Russia investigated the leak of the season four finale of the BBC One/Masterpiece drama series “Sherlock” after a Russian version of the program was leaked online. Deadline.com reports that the leak occurred ahead of last Sunday’s U.K. and U.S. airings of the show.

The investigation “determined it was an isolated and unintentional security lapse on the part of a Channel One employee,” Deadline reports.

Channel One issued a statement saying: “We regret to confirm that one of our employees non-maliciously broke our strict security protocols. As a result of this gross dereliction of duty, the file leaked online. We would like to reassure our partners and viewers, that as a result of this incident, we have completely revised our content security procedures to ensure that this does not happen again and we apologize to Hartswood Films, BBC Worldwide and Sherlock fans everywhere who have been impacted by this leak.”

Jan 19, 2017
7:31 am

Time Spent Showing Ads Continues to Increase on TV (TVWeek)

The portion of TV time spent on advertising continues to rise, according to a new report from Pivotal Research Group.

The report, released this week, found that national commercial loads industrywide rose to 10.9 minutes per hour across all programming tracked by Nielsen during December 2016. That figure was up from 10.7 minutes per hour in December 2015 and 10.4 minutes per hour in December 2014.

“Most network groups increased or held constant their commercial loads during the month, with Scripps and Time Warner notably reducing loads across their networks,” the report notes.

Meanwhile, total use of television across all sources was up by 0.4% on a total day basis among adults 18-49 in December, and up 0.8% among households.

National TV commercial impressions delivered to adults 18-49 fell by 0.7% from a year earlier on a total day basis, with prime time falling 0.4%.

You can read the complete report, “TV Trends December 2016,” by clicking here.

Jan 19, 2017
7:17 am

Can FX’s ‘American Crime Story’ Top Its O.J. Simpson Storyline? Maybe So (THR, TVWeek)

FX’s “American Crime Story” reportedly has one of the biggest sex scandals in U.S. history lined up for a future cycle of the show.

In an exclusive, The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports that the anthology series is preparing to tackle the Monica Lewinsky-Bill Clinton scandal, a storyline with the potential to outdo even the show’s widely acclaimed O.J. Simpson installment.

Showrunner Ryan Murphy and producers Fox 21 Television Studios and FX Productions have reportedly optioned the rights to Jeffrey Toobin’s book “A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President.”

Toobin also penned “The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson,” which served as source material for season one of “American Crime Story.” The season was a critical sensation, including racking up nine Primetime Emmys (among a total of 22 nominations).

Reporting on the Lewinsky project, THR notes: “Sources tell THR that Murphy and producers are fast-tracking the drama and already are meeting with actresses to portray Lewinsky and colleague Linda Tripp, who secretly recorded Lewinsky’s conversations about her alleged affair with then-President Bill Clinton. Lewinsky claimed to have intimate relations with Clinton between November 1995 and March 1997. The scandal and its repercussions included impeachment hearings. Clinton was ultimately acquitted by the Senate, while two other charges of perjury and abuse of power failed in the House.”

Seasons two and three of the FX series are already in the works, with season two expected to focus on Hurricane Katrina while season three will examine the murder of famed designer Gianni Versace.

Jan 19, 2017
6:17 am

Awkward: Rick Perry and Al Franken Share an Accidental ‘Saturday Night Live’ Sound Bite During Perry’s Confirmation Hearing (Fox 10 Phoenix)

An awkward — and unintentionally hilarious — moment was caught on video during Senate confirmation hearings for Rick Perry as Secretary of Energy, when Perry and Sen. Al Franken chatted about a recent visit by Perry to Franken’s office.

Here it is …

Jan 19, 2017
5:57 am

Acclaimed Dan Rather Interview Series Returns With Rocker to Kick Things Off (TVWeek, AXS TV)

The well-received interview series that longtime “CBS Evening News” anchor Dan Rather has been hosting and producing since 2013 is set to return for its fifth season.

AXS TV announced that “The Big Interview with Dan Rather” will have its season premiere Tuesday, Feb. 14, with Kid Rock scheduled for an hourlong sitdown with the legendary newsman that night.

Other interview subjects who are lined up for the upcoming season include country star Crystal Gayle, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Sheryl Crow and Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn. Eighteen new episodes are on tap for season five, with other interview subjects to be announced later.

Here’s a teaser for season five …

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