Aug 27, 2014
11:39 am

Veteran TV News Anchor to Take Leave After Cancer Diagnosis (NY Daily News)

A TV news anchor announced to viewers that she will take a leave of absence after being diagnosed with colon cancer. The New York Daily News reports that Roma Torre, 56, an anchor and theater critic for NY1, “broke the shocking news to her viewers Tuesday morning.”

In a statement, Torre told the publication: “Anyone who knows me is well aware I don’t seek public attention. And so when I received a diagnosis of cancer, my inclination was to keep it private. But if there’s any good to come out of all this, it’s the hope that sharing my story can spare others the pain of my experience.”

Her family has no history of the disease, and Torre said she leads a healthy lifestyle and had no symptoms. Because of that, she said, she thought “I could safely assume I would remain healthy and cancer free. Obviously I was wrong.”

Torre, who has been with NY1 since 1992, earned an Emmy for reporting on the Avianca plane crash disaster in 1991, and has won more than 25 broadcasting awards.

“The majority of patients with colorectal cancer have no genetic history and are symptom free,” Torre said. “There really is no way to detect colon cancer in most people without a colonoscopy, which is generally recommended at age 50. I foolishly waited too long. So, I urge anyone who’s procrastinating, as I did, to get screened. Nothing would make me happier than to hear someone say ‘After hearing your story, I finally made an appointment to get checked.’”

She is taking a leave to undergo surgery and treatment, which will be undertaken at Memorial Sloan Kettering, the story adds.

roma torre

Roma Torre

Aug 27, 2014
11:27 am

Report: NBC News Boss Apologizes After Ruffling Feathers Among Her Execs (NY Post, NY Times)

NBC News President Deborah Turness ruffled feathers and reportedly “had to apologize after infuriating top execs and talent” when she told The New York Times the news unit “had gone to sleep,” reports the New York Post.

Turness made the comments in a Sunday article, where she told The Times’ Bill Carter, “People in the organization from top to bottom recognized that NBC News hadn’t kept up with the times in all sorts of ways, for maybe 15 years.”

She added, “I think the organization had gone to sleep.”

The Post reports that Tom Brokaw, the anchor and managing editor of NBC’s “Nightly News” from 1982 until 2004, as well as Turness’ predecessor Steve Capus and CNN chief Jeff Zucker, a former top NBC executive, were upset about the comment.

Turness was reportedly “forced to send out apologetic e-mails to staff addressing her comment,” the Post notes.

Representatives for NBC, Capus, and Zucker didn’t respond to requests for comment, the publication adds.

Deborah Turness

Aug 27, 2014
11:21 am

ABC News Shuffles Its Lineup (TVNewser)

ABC News is implementing a number of lineup changes among key production executives. TVNewser reports that “Good Morning America” senior executive producer Tom Cibrowski is receiving a promotion to senior vice president of programs, newsgathering and special events.

With Cibrowski’s promotion, “World News” executive producer Michael Corn will take his place on “Good Morning America,” the publication notes. At “World News,” “Nightline” executive producer Almin Karamehmedovic will take Corn’s place, the story adds.

“Karamehmedocvic, a native of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has deep roots in international reporting for ABC,” the publication reports. “In 2001 he was one of the first journalists to gain access to Tora Bora, Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden was holed up, and in 2003 was a U.S. Army embed during the invasion of Iraq. A replacement at ‘Nightline’ will come later, we hear.”

Almin Karamehmedovic

Almin Karamehmedovic

Aug 27, 2014
10:59 am

CBS Is Sued Over Farting Hippo (THR, TheWrap)

CBS Broadcasting has been hit with a lawsuit over a farting hippo. The Hollywood Reporter’s Hollywood, Esq., reports that the company was sued for alleged copyright infringement for selling a farting hippo puppet that has been featured on the network’s “NCIS.”

The plaintiff, Folkmanis Inc., says it created a version of the Hippo in 2002, with CBS using it as a prop the following year. The complaint says, “It was often accompanied by a dubbed sound effect of a fart attributable to the Hippo 1 puppet, and the show puppet was referred to and came to be known as ‘Bert the Farting Hippo.’”

Folkmanis said it created a second version of its Hippo in 2009, which it calls Hippo 2, while CBS decided to start selling farting puppets to “NCIS” fans. The network reportedly contracted with Folkmanis to make a new version, which included a mechanism inside that makes a farting sound.

According to a report on TheWrap: “For a few years, everyone was happy. Folkmanis’ business was booming; they produced 30,000 farting hippos to CBS to sell in its online store and at other retailers, which meant a nice profit for the network and delighted, fart-loving fans. In 2011, the network even commissioned a smaller farting hippo keychain, so people could take Bert and his gas wherever they went.

“Then, everything (allegedly) fell apart.”

The lawsuit alleges that CBS then hired two companies to contract a Chinese manufacturer to make the toys, ending its deal with Folkmanis.

“This did not please Folkmanis, which is suing the defendants for copyright infringement,” TheWrap reports. “They are looking for $733,000, the alleged profit made on the faux-Farting Hippos, as well as piece of the profits made as an indirect result of the infringement.”

CBS reportedly responded to the suit with a statement that said, “We believe this to be a flatulent abuse of the legal system, and we intend to clear the air on this matter immediately.”

bert the farting hippo-ncis

Aug 27, 2014
10:47 am

Host of Emmy-Winning News Program Dead at 87 (NY Times)

A TV news pioneer and filmmaker who hosted an Emmy Award-winning program has died. The New York Times reports that William Greaves, who was the host of “Black Journal,” died Monday at his Manhattan home. He was 87.

“Black Journal,” which debuted in 1968 after the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders recommended more coverage of black issues, was the only national telecast focused on black affairs in that decade, The Times reports. Greaves was its co-host and later its executive producer.

In 1969, The Times television critic Jack Gould wrote that the program “has earned its rightful niche as a continuing and absorbing feature of television’s output.” He added, “Mr. Greaves is simply covering a story that should be covered and covering it with distinction.”

The show won an Emmy in the “magazine-type programming” category in 1970.

Greaves, who was also a documentarian, left that year to pursue other projects. The show was later renamed “Tony Brown’s Journal,” after the host who replaced him.

One of Greaves’ documentaries is “The Fighters,” about the 1971 Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier fight. He also created a 1968 film called “Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One,” which had a complicated structure and took nearly four decades to get released. It was “warmly praised as ahead of its time” when it was released in 2005, the story adds.

william greaves

William Greaves

Aug 27, 2014
10:31 am

Netflix Renews Series Just Days After It Debuts (THR)

Just days after the show debuted on the streaming service, Netflix has given another season to the animated comedy “BoJack Horseman,” The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports.

The cast includes Will Arnett, who provides the voice for BoJack, and “Breaking Bad” actor Aaron Paul, who voices the horse’s human sidekick. The series is about a former TV animal star who is trying to figure out his life after the family comedy, “Horsin’ Around,” is long over.

The renewal gives the show another 12 episodes, and comes as Netflix is making a push into comedy, the story notes. Netflix is also working on a live-action comedy starring Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda called “Grace and Frankie,” as well as a late-night program from Chelsea Handler.

bojack horseman-title

Aug 27, 2014
10:27 am

New Deal Between Studios and Hollywood Guilds Unlocks Thousands of Hours of TV (NY Times)

With new residual agreements struck between studios and the three largest Hollywood guilds, thousands of hours of classic and more recent television shows will become available to air on digital services and cable networks, reports The New York Times.

“The shows now freed from ‘residual gridlock’ include old broadcast series like ‘Charlie’s Angels’ and ‘The Flying Nun’ and newer made-for-cable programs like ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Sons of Anarchy,’ according to John Weiser, president of United States distribution for Sony Pictures Television,” The Times reports.

Weiser told the publication: “The guilds were open to it because they fully understand how the TV landscape is evolving. They also know there are fans who want to see this material.”

The residual changes were approved by the Directors Guild of America, the Writers Guild of America, and SAG-AFTRA.

The story notes: “Under the old deals, if a cable network wanted to acquire reruns of a made-for-cable show (say, FXX was interested in buying reruns of ‘Breaking Bad,’ which was made for AMC) it triggered fixed residual payments. As a result, reruns of dozens of made-for-cable shows never sold: The fixed residual payments were too high compared with what an acquiring cable network was willing to pay for rerun rights.”

With the new agreements, residuals will be based on a percentage of the licensing deal for the reruns, the publication reports.

breaking bad-title

Aug 27, 2014
10:19 am

Toned-Down VMAs: No ‘Miley Moment,’ But Cyrus Makes Her Presence Felt (TVWeek)

This year’s MTV Video Music Awards were lower-key — and lower-viewership — than the 2013 ceremony, when Miley Cyrus captured worldwide attention with her foam finger twerking. But Cyrus made her voice heard again this year — even while speaking through a 22-year-old homeless man.

TVWeek Open Mic blogger Hillary Atkin takes a look at the highlights, and the viewership numbers, in her latest column, which you can read by clicking here.

mtv video music awards

Aug 27, 2014
10:14 am

Award-Winning Producer Mistaken for Bank Robber, Arrested (KTLA, TheWrap)

A television and film producer who was in Beverly Hills for a pre-Emmy Awards party was arrested over the weekend after police officers mistakenly accused him of “armed bank robbery and accessory to robbery of a Citibank,” reports, citing a Facebook post from Belk.

Charles Belk was detained for about six hours Friday evening before police realized they had the wrong person, the publication reports.

A photo on his Facebook page shows him sitting on a curb in handcuffs, while two police officers stand nearby.

“Within an evening, I was wrongly arrested, locked up, denied a phone call, denied explanation of charges against me, denied ever being read my rights, denied being able to speak to my lawyer for a lengthy time, and denied being told that my car had been impounded. … All because I was mis-indentified as the wrong ‘tall, bald head, black male’ … ‘fitting the description,’” he wrote on Facebook.

He added, “I get that the Beverly Hills Police Department didn’t know that I was an award nominated and [award] winning business professional, most recently being recognized by the Los Angeles Business Journal at their Nonprofit & Corporate Citizenship Awards. They didn’t need to because, they saw someone fitting the description.”

Belk told TheWrap that while he was detained, he thought of the “Ferguson and New York situations,” referring to the deaths of two black men, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in Staten Island, who died after a police officer put him in a chokehold.

Belk, a freelance television producer whose credits include “The Greatest Song” and “Douglass U.,” said, “I did not want to give them any reason to question my interest in cooperating.”

On Monday, the police department said his detention was due to misidentification, TheWrap notes. “The Beverly Hills Police Department deeply regrets the inconvenience to Mr. Belk and has reached out to him to express those regrets and further explain the circumstances,” the police said in a statement.

Belk’s biography on IMDb includes this description of some of his community activities: “Committed to community service, Charles has served on the Board of Directors for the inaugural Downtown Film Festival — Los Angeles, the University of Southern California BAA, the Silverlake Film Festival Board of Directors, and the Chaka Khan Foundation ‘I Believe’ Gala Committee. While in Atlanta, he served on the boards of the Hughes Spaulding Childrens Hospital, House of Love for the Homeless, Georgia CASA, Jomandi Theater, United Way of Greater Atlanta Volunteer Initiate Program, Cobb County Transit Advisory. Prior to that, the Durham City / County Zoning Commission, and the Durham Country Transportation Commission.”

charles belk-detained 2014

Charles Belk, detained in Beverly Hills

Aug 27, 2014
10:14 am

Comcast Says Time Warner Cable Purchase Will Close Early Next Year (Bloomberg)

In a regulatory filing, Comcast said it expects its $45.2 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable to close in early 2015, Bloomberg reports.

The timing is based on Comcast’s expectations about when it believes it will receive regulatory approvals. The company had previously forecast the completion of the purchase by the end of 2014.

“Comcast has been asked by the Federal Communications Commission to provide information on a range of its business practices, from programming agreements with sports leagues to Internet traffic management and data caps imposed on customers,” the story reports.

The report notes: “The FCC’s demand for data, common as part of any agency review of an acquisition, posed many questions to Comcast that get to the heart of objections raised by consumer groups, competitors and some customers. The queries included whether Comcast slows or hinders programming by rivals, has studies about how consumers view the company’s services and how the merger would effect its carriage of local sports broadcasts.”


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