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TVBIZWIRE
Apr 29, 2016
3:11 pm
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‘Blockbuster TV Package’ From Sylvester Stallone on Fast Track (Deadline)

Sylvester Stallone has put together a high-octane team to create what’s being described as a “blockbuster TV package” that will soon be shopped to networks seeking a series commitment. Deadline.com reports that the project is an adaptation of “Omerta,” the final novel by “The Godfather” author Mario Puzo.

The Weinstein Company is behind the project, in which Stallone is set to appear in the lead role as mob boss Raymonde Aprile. Antoine Fuqua, who is currently directing a feature remake of “The Magnificent Seven,” is on board to direct.

Deadline reports that the project is coming together quickly. “A pilot script and a bible are already in place by Justin Herber and Adam Hoff, and a writers room is quickly being assembled,” the report notes. “A showrunner and a female lead actress will be in place shortly. The networks will soon have their shot at it, with the expectation one will bite for a full series commitment.”

omerta book cover mario puzo

TVBIZWIRE
Apr 29, 2016
2:44 pm
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‘The West Wing’s’ C.J. Cregg Crashes White House Press Briefing (MSNBC)

Correspondents at a White House press briefing got a surprise when C.J. Cregg, the press secretary from the NBC drama series “The West Wing,” came out to begin the conference. Actress Allison Janney, who played Cregg on the series, delivered a few opening remarks before the real White House press secretary, Josh Earnest, showed up.

Janney eventually revealed her reason for appearing at the briefing, which was to discuss opiate addiction in the U.S.

Here’s a clip posted by MSNBC …

TVBIZWIRE
Apr 29, 2016
2:11 pm
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Marvel Project Gets Series Order (TVWeek)

A new project based on the Marvel universe has received a series order, with the project, “Marvel’s The Punisher,” expanding the collaboration between Marvel and Netflix.

“Jon Bernthal will reprise his role as Frank Castle, introduced to fans earlier this year in the second season of the Netflix original series ‘Marvel’s Daredevil,’ with Steve Lightfoot (‘Hannibal’) serving as executive producer and showrunner in addition to writing the series’ first two episodes,” Netflix announced.

Said Jeph Loeb, executive producer and head of Marvel Television: “We want to thank the fans who are clamoring for more of Jon’s stunning and powerful performance as Frank Castle from ‘Marvel’s Daredevil.’ Now combined with showrunner Steve Lightfoot’s compelling writing, we’re thrilled to bring ‘Marvel’s The Punisher’ to Netflix.”

“Marvel’s The Punisher” marks the sixth series in the collaboration between Marvel Television and Netflix, including the upcoming “Marvel’s Luke Cage,” “Marvel’s Iron Fist,” “Marvel’s The Defenders” and the Peabody Award-winning “Marvel’s Jessica Jones.”

“Marvel’s The Punisher” is produced by Marvel Television in association with ABC Studios for Netflix.

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TVBIZWIRE
Apr 29, 2016
2:01 pm
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Home Entertainment Spending Slips (Variety)

Consumer spending on home entertainment was down in the first quarter of the year, according to a Variety report citing new data from DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

The total was $4.55 billion, off 1.8% from $4.64 billion in the year-ago period.

“Subscription streaming, spearheaded by Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, topped all digital spending at more than $1.4 billion, up 19% from $1.18 billion a year ago,” the report notes. “Transactional VOD rental spending increased 7.3% to $561 million, from $523 million a year ago, while Digital HD increased 4.4% to $505 million, from $484 million.”

Meanwhile, packaged media sales dropped 13.2% to $1.38 billion, vs. $1.58 billion a year ago. Sales of 4K Ultra HD television sets surged, with 1.5 million sets sold in the quarter, a 210% increase from a year ago.

TVBIZWIRE
Apr 29, 2016
11:17 am
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Will Ferrell Backs Out of Reagan Alzheimer’s Comedy (NY Post)

“Saturday Night Live” alum Will Ferrell is scrapping a comedy about Ronald Reagan’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease, saying he had been considering starring in and producing the movie but is no longer involved.

The project, “Reagan,” sparked outrage from the family of the former president, as we reported yesterday.

The New York Post’s Page Six quotes a spokesperson for Ferrell saying: “The ‘Reagan’ script is one of a number of scripts that had been submitted to Will Ferrell which he had considered. While it is by no means [an] ‘Alzheimer’s comedy’ as has been suggested, Mr. Ferrell is not pursuing this project.”

Reagan’s daughter Patti Davis is quoted in the report saying: “There’s nothing funny about Alzheimer’s. It is terrifying for the families of those who suffer from it. They live with the fear [of] what will change next, they have to live with this terror and grief every day. This movie is cruel, not just to my father, but to the millions of people who have the disease, and the millions more who care for them and watch them suffer every day.”

TVBIZWIRE
Apr 29, 2016
10:44 am
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Teacher Says She Was Fired for Using a Particular Word in Class (Detroit Free Press, MLive)

A Michigan middle school teacher says she was fired because of a word she used during a lecture about art history. The Detroit Free Press reports that the word is “vagina.”

“Allison Wint, who had been teaching art at Harper Creek Middle School since January, says she was speaking about a broader topic of controversy in art when she held up reproductions of paintings by Georgia O’Keefe, some of which have been seen as erotic,” the paper reports.

“She was hoping to have a thoughtful dialogue with a class of about two dozen eighth-graders [last week] — but school officials have said her lesson ran afoul of policies,” the report notes. “Through the course of the lecture, she went on to use the word vagina ‘maybe 10 times,’ she said. ‘But it was never in a vulgar capacity.’”

Harper Creek Superintendent Rob Ridgeway told the paper that Wint was actually fired for straying from the curriculum and failing to give the principal a heads-up that she intended to discuss controversy in art. “She was also fired for other policy violations that he declined to detail, he said,” the report notes.

Here’s a clip posted by MLive in which Wint talks about her firing …

TVBIZWIRE
Apr 29, 2016
10:41 am
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Anderson Cooper Addresses Rumored Move to ABC’s ‘Live! with Kelly and …’ (Bravo, TVWeek)

CNN mainstay Anderson Cooper responded to talk about whether he might be replacing Michael Strahan after the former NFL great leaves ABC’s “Live! with Kelly and Michael” in a couple of weeks. Cooper has been one of the most prominent names among those rumored to be in line for the co-hosting gig alongside Kelly Ripa.

Cooper was asked where he stands during an appearance on “Watch What Happens Live” with Bravo’s Andy Cohen. He appeared to throw cold water on the rumors, saying, in part, “I’m very happy at CNN.” But he also gushed about Ripa, adding, “It would be a dream to work with Kelly.”

Here’s a clip of Cooper’s full response to the question …

TVBIZWIRE
Apr 29, 2016
10:37 am
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Former New York Times Restaurant Critic Names the Best Sandwich Ever — And Tells You How to Make It (NY Times)

One of the major voices in food journalism has revealed his choice for the best sandwich of all time — but it may not be for everyone. Sam Sifton, former restaurant critic for The New York Times, writes in a new report in the publication: “My most favorite sandwich is fried eggplant, mozzarella and roast beef on an Italian hero, with hot peppers and a slash of mayonnaise.”

Sifton reports that the sandwich comes from Defonte’s Sandwich Shop, “on Columbia Street in Brooklyn, near the exit to the Hugh Carey Tunnel that leads from Red Hook to the Battery in Manhattan.” While warning that the sandwich is “huge and outrageously rich,” he describes it as “a beautiful torpedo of food — crunchy, silken, sweet and spicy all at once.”

He goes on to provide instructions for duplicating the sandwich at home. For the complex step-by-step procedure, please click on the link to The New York Times near the top of this story.

TVBIZWIRE
Apr 29, 2016
10:17 am
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How Much Will Jeffrey Katzenberg Make Off the Sale of DreamWorks Animation to NBCUniversal? Plenty (LA Times)

A new report says the impending sale of DreamWorks Animation to Comcast’s NBCUniversal will bring a payout of nearly $400 million for DreamWorks founder Jeffrey Katzenberg.

“In addition to rewarding the 65-year-old mogul handsomely, the $3.8 billion deal could provide a secure future for the studio he led for the last 22 years,” the Los Angeles Times reports. The article adds: “Being forced out of Walt Disney Co. two decades ago may have been the best thing to happen to Jeffrey Katzenberg.”

Film producer Michael Helfant, a former Marvel Studios executive, is quoted in the story saying of Katzenberg: “He goes out with a swan song. From his standpoint, it looks like a great move. He’s got a great price, and he’s going to have a great payday. I think it sounds like a great strategy for him.”

dreamworks animation

TVBIZWIRE
Apr 29, 2016
9:19 am
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Why California Lawmakers Rejected a Proposal to Declare ‘John Wayne Day’ (AP, Playboy)

A proposal to honor movie icon John Wayne with a statewide John Wayne Day in California was rejected Thursday by the state Assembly after the measure sparked a heated debate, the AP reports.

Much of the discussion focused on comments the actor made decades ago, including in an interview with Playboy in 1971, that have been characterized by some as racist.

In the Playboy interview, Wayne is quoted saying: “We can’t all of a sudden get down on our knees and turn everything over to the leadership of the blacks. I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don’t believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people.”

He also commented on the treatment of Native Americans, saying: “I don’t feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them, if that’s what you’re asking. Our so-called stealing of this country from them was just a matter of survival. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves.”

The AP report notes that Republican State Assemblyman Matthew Harper of Huntington Beach proposed declaring May 26, 2016 — Wayne’s birthday — to be John Wayne Day. Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, objected, launching a 20-minute debate.

Said Alejo: “He had disturbing views towards race.” Alejo then cited the Playboy interview.

After the proposal went down on a 35-20 vote, Harper blamed “the orthodoxy of political correctness,” according to the AP report. In a statement later, he said: “Opposing the John Wayne Day resolution is like opposing apple pie, fireworks, baseball, the Free Enterprise system and the Fourth of July!”

true grit movie poster 1969

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