Mar 5, 2015
4:31 pm

Breaking News: Harrison Ford Injured As Plane He Was Piloting Crashes into Golf Course Next to Santa Monica Airport (NBC News)

“Actor Harrison Ford was injured Thursday when a vintage [single engine] World War II training plane he was piloting crash landed on a Mar Vista, California, golf course,” NBC News reports.

The story continues, “The actor, who was conscious and breathing when rescue crews reached him, was stabilized and taken to a hospital, where he was in fair to moderate condition, authorities said. Sources said he sustained cuts to his head. There was no word on other injuries or what caused the plane to crash about 2:20 p.m. (5:20 p.m. ET). It appeared he was flying solo.”

According to KNBC-TV, the plane had just taken off from Santa Monica’s general aviation airport, circled, and then crashed into a golf course next to the airport. Ford, 70, is known to be an experienced pilot, the TV report said.

Mar 5, 2015
12:51 pm

Viacom Shakes Up Ad Sales Unit (WSJ)

Media giant Viacom has shaken things up among the executive ranks of its advertising sales unit, putting Jeff Lucas in charge of a consolidated group, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing people who are familiar with the situation.

“Mr. Lucas, who currently runs ad sales for Viacom’s group that includes channels like MTV and VH1, will add to his purview the Kids and Family Group, which includes the Nickelodeon fleet of channels,” WSJ reports. “Mr. Lucas will now have ad sales responsibility for Viacom’s entire portfolio of channels except for the BET unit, which will remain separate, the people say.”

The move comes amid a broader cost-cutting and restructuring effort for Viacom, the report notes. “Viacom last month pared down the company’s organizational structure from three groups to two, as MTV Networks Music & Logo Group President Van Toffler stepped down,” WSJ adds.

The company is dealing with recent ratings declines across much of its cable holdings.


Mar 5, 2015
12:39 pm

Will CNN Give Advertisers a New Venue in the News? (Variety)

A high-ranking advertising executive at CNN says the cable channel is open to allowing advertisers to place a logo on the news ticker that scrolls across the bottom of the screen, Variety reports.

Katrina Cukaj, executive VP of ad sales for CNN, is quoted saying in a recent interview: “If it’s financial information, if it’s actual data from the markets, I could potentially put a financial advertiser on there.”

The statement appears to be part of what the report describes as CNN’s “newly aggressive ad stance,” which Variety calls “a bet on the future of how TV news will be experienced.”

Variety adds: “In years past, CNN shunned such stuff, in the belief that mixing editorial and advertising too closely could foster a perception that CNN’s journalism was swayed by a sponsor. Throughout 2014, however, CNN seems to have, well, gotten over itself: The network has looked for more ways to weave ad messages into programming not so tied to breaking news, such as its ‘New Day’ morning show — where a logo for General Mills’ Fiber One cereal shows up during weather reports — or its original documentary series slated for prime time.”

The report quotes Larry Chiagouris, a marketing professor at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business in New York, saying: “You could use the same model as sports, in which the scoreboard is not just a scoreboard, and when you look at it on television, it is sponsored by different brands at one time or another. You could look at this and say that’s what news television is going to become. I don’t think we are looking at five years from now. I think that this is all happening very quickly.”

The report notes that the idea isn’t exactly untried, pointing out that weather and sports segments on local news outlets are often sponsored by a single advertiser.

“CNN isn’t the first to tread these waters, of course,” Variety notes. “Yet its embrace of these concepts may be the biggest indication yet that concerns about mixing advertising and journalism seem less pressing when the ad dollars that fuel reportage are migrating away from some TV outlets.”


Mar 5, 2015
12:31 pm

Broadcast Season’s Breakout Hit Continues to Grow (LA Times)

A freshman show that has been declared the breakout hit of the broadcast season continues to build on its ratings momentum. The Los Angeles Times reports that the Fox drama “Empire” topped the Wednesday night ratings, expanding on its total viewership and its numbers in the key 18-49 demo.

Wednesday’s results marked the eight consecutive week of growth for the series.

The show delivered a 5.7 rating in 18-49, rising 6% from last week, the report notes, citing Nielsen data. It rose 2% in total viewers, to 14.2 million.

“Created by Academy Award nominee Lee Daniels and Emmy Award winner Danny Strong, the show follows music tycoon Luscious Lyon (Terrence Howard),” the Times notes. “After being diagnosed with a terminal illness, Luscious has to decide how to divvy up his business among his three sons: Jamal (Jussie Smollett), Andre (Trai Byers) and Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray).”

The program is up 50% in total viewers since its premiere episode. Fox said the premiere continues to attract about 100,000 views daily on Hulu, Fox Now and VOD.

Fox was No. 1 in prime time Wednesday night among the broadcast nets with 11.5 million total viewers and a 3.8 rating in the 18-49 demo.

“The network also aired ‘American Idol,’ which fell 19% in the key demo from last Wednesday’s episode,” the Times notes. “The singing competition tied for seventh with a rating of 2.1 in the key demo. It was seventh-most-watched overall with 8.75 million viewers.”

ABC came in second in 18-49 with a 2.2 average, and fourth overall with 7.2 million viewers. CBS was second in total viewers with 10.2 million, while placing third in 18-49 with a 2.0.


Mar 5, 2015
12:17 pm

Fox and AT&T in a Beef Over Sports Programming (B&C)

Customers of AT&T’s U-Verse service stand to lose out on certain sports programs as AT&T and Fox wage a dispute over carriage, B&C reports.

Certain auto racing, college basketball and golf events are at stake in the corporate feud.

“According to Fox, U-Verse customers already missed last Saturday’s NASCAR XFinity Series race from Atlanta, and will miss this weekend’s NASCAR XFinity Series race in Las Vegas if a deal isn’t reached,” B&C reports. “If the dispute drags on, U-Verse customers could miss Big East Conference college basketball games, the first two rounds of the USGA U.S. Open and U.S. Men’s and Women’s soccer matches.”

Fox Sports 1 is reportedly seeking an additional fee to carry the disputed programming.

nascar xfinity series-logo

Mar 5, 2015
12:11 pm

HBO Sets Up Project Based on Shocking Murder Case (Deadline)

HBO is moving forward with a project centered on a shocking murder case. Writing on, Nellie Andreeva reports that HBO Films is developing “Preserve, Protect, and Defend,” based on the story of a former Texas Justice of the Peace who was convicted of murder.

The project “tells the true story of 47-year-old Eric Williams, a disgraced Texas Justice of the Peace, who enlisted the help of his wife to plot and murder the two district attorneys who prosecuted him, in an escalating avalanche of firearms,” Andreeva writes. “Williams was convicted, and last December he was sentenced to death in the murders.”

Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer, who created HBO’s “Big Love” and developed and executive produce the HBO show “Getting On,” are writing the project with Craig Zobel, with Zobel set to direct, Deadline notes.


Mar 5, 2015
12:01 pm

Popular ‘Bachelor’ Personality Heads to ‘Dancing With the Stars’ (TV Guide)

A reality star from ABC’s “The Bachelor” is going “Dancing with the Stars.” TV Guide reports that 33-year-old Chris Soules, who’s at the center of the current 19th season of “The Bachelor,” is joining the cast of season 20 of the ABC dance competition.

“ABC would not comment on the casting rumors, but it’s likely that Soules will be officially announced as the 12th celebrity on ‘Good Morning America’ next week, after the ‘Bachelor’ finale airs Monday,” the story reports.

TV Guide adds: “Soules will be partnered with Season 19 champ Witney Carson. ‘Dancing’ host Tom Bergeron hinted at Soules’ participation during the cast announcement on ‘GMA’ last week, when he said of Carson’s mystery partner: ‘Her partner couldn’t rose — I mean, rise so early to be here.’”

Soules may not be a natural fit for the dance competition. “Bachelor” host Chris Harrison is quoted saying of Soules in a recent interview with “I don’t see a connection between Chris and rhythm. He is the worst singer, dancer, rapper — he’s so horrible.”

chris soulesChris Soules

Mar 5, 2015
11:47 am

Three of the Four Main ‘Seinfeld’ Cast Members Reunite (NY Post)

Almost 17 years after the long-running NBC comedy “Seinfeld” went off the air, three of the show’s main cast members — Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander and Michael Richards — reunited Wednesday at a charity event in L.A.

The New York Post’s Page Six reports that the actors got together and mugged for cameras at the Inaugural Los Angeles Fatherhood Initiative Lunch to Benefity Baby Buggy.

The “Fatherhood” theme may explain why the fourth cast member, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, skipped the event. However, Gwyneth Paltrow was among the other celebrities on hand, along with Jay Leno and Kevin Hart.

Jerry Seinfeld’s wife, Jessica, founded Baby Buggy, which helps out families in need with baby supplies.

seinfeld cast

Mar 5, 2015
11:01 am

TV News Crew Attacked (Deadline)

A news crew from a local television station was reportedly attacked Wednesday while covering a story in the skid row area of downtown Los Angeles. reports that the attack on a cameraman for Fox O&O KTTV led to a fight in which a number of LAPD officers received minor injuries.

“The crew was filming outside the Midnight Mission on 6th Street, near the scene of a fatal officer-involved shooting Sunday, when a man grabbed the photographer’s camera, breaking it,” Deadline reports. “The cameraman called 911, and officers arrived quickly.”

The report quotes LAPD media relations officer Jack Richter saying: “A local Fox TV affiliate was shooting B-roll at about 12:07 PM at 6th and San Pedro when a guy on the street approached the cameraman and tried to grab the camera. The camera was broken, and the cameraman and suspect started to fight. Police were called. Two officers showed up, and the officers started to fight with the suspect. The suspect went for the officer’s gun and began fighting with the officers. Three officers were injured and treated at the scene. The suspect is in custody. The news crew was shaken but unhurt.”

KTTV reporter Phil Shuman explained the crew’s visit to skid row in the aftermath of Sunday’s shooting death of a homeless man during a robbery call by LAPD officers. Shuman said on the KTTV website: “I wanted to try to give our viewers a sense of the challenges that everyone, especially the police, deal with every day in that area.”

kttv-fox 11-logo

Mar 5, 2015
10:49 am

HBO Ready to Roll Out True a la Carte Service Next Month (Bloomberg, International Business Times)

HBO is finally ready to take the wraps off its long-awaited a la carte service. Following up on its HBO Go service — which has been offered as part of the Apple TV service, but has been available only to HBO subscribers — the pay-TV provider is reportedly close to rolling out a service tentatively called HBO Now, which is planned as a true a la carte streaming version of the premium channel.

Bloomberg cites a source who’s familiar with the situation saying that HBO Now will enable consumers to watch HBO content through Apple TV without paying for a cable subscription.

HBO is reportedly negotiating with Apple and Google to distribute the over-the-top service via the Internet.

International Business Times reports that HBO will roll out HBO Now in April. The launch is set to be timed to coincide with the premiere of the fifth season of the HBO hit “Game of Thrones.”

“TiVo Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tom Rogers said in an interview Tuesday that his company, which makes digital video recorders, is in discussions with HBO about distributing the service,” Bloomberg reports.

Bloomberg also cites a source saying that HBO “is in talks with other potential distributors, including Cox Communications Inc. and Cablevision Systems Corp., which sells high-speed Internet service in some markets.”

Pricing is not set, but the report notes that the price of the Web-distributed version of HBO is likely to be comparable to that of the pay-cable channel, or about $15 a month.

Bloomberg adds: “By offering its channel outside the cable bundle, HBO could prompt more consumers to cut the cord and threaten the TV ecosystem. The move pits HBO directly against online streaming service Netflix Inc., which has more than 57 million subscribers worldwide.”


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