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TVBIZWIRE
Nov 22, 2017
6:01 pm
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Comcast and Disney Remain Focused on Possible 21st Century Fox Acquisition — Even as Government Fights AT&T-Time Warner Deal (Variety)

“Comcast and Disney are staying focused on the prospect of bidding for key 21st Century Fox assets despite the concern about the climate for media mergers raised by the Justice Department’s decision to fight the $85 billion union of AT&T and Time Warner,” Variety reports.

“Sources say Fox is continuing to engage in very preliminary discussions with Comcast, Disney, and other potential suitors about a sale process of the 20th Century Fox film and TV studio, the FX Networks and National Geographic cable group, Fox’s 30% stake in Hulu, and international TV platforms including Star India and its 39% interest in Euro satcaster Sky,” the report adds.

Variety cites a source saying executives at Comcast and NBCUniversal are “being very serious” about studying the Fox assets and crunching the available numbers. “Fox is not believed to have progressed to the point of sending out briefing books or asking potential bidders to sign non-disclosure agreements,” the report notes.

TVBIZWIRE
Nov 22, 2017
5:44 pm
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Court Throws Out Suit Over Erotic Fiction Based on NFL Star (AP)

“A federal appeals court has spiked an Ohio couple’s case against companies that distributed an erotic fiction book about a woman’s desire for New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski,” the AP reports. “The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling Tuesday upheld a lower court’s dismissal of the case against Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble Inc. and Smashwords filed by a couple referred to as John and Jane Roe.”

“The couple says an engagement photo that shows them embracing was pulled from their photographer’s website without their knowledge and used on the cover of ‘A Gronking to Remember,'” the story reports. “The book was self-published using the defendant companies’ online services by a male author writing under the pseudonym ‘Lacey Noonan,’ according to court records.

“The couple’s lawsuit describes the 2014 book as raunchy and distasteful and says their privacy rights were violated.”

The report also notes: “The book began showing up in Gronkowski’s media appearances, including at the Super Bowl media day in 2015 and in a jocular reading he gave on ABC’s ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live.’”

 

TVBIZWIRE
Nov 22, 2017
5:29 pm
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Harvey Weinstein Scandal Inspires TV Drama (EW)

In one of those “ripped from the headlines” storylines, the Harvey Weinstein scandal will be getting the “Law & Order: SVU” treatment. Entertainment Weekly reports that the Weinstein case is the inspiration for an episode of the NBC drama series expected to air later this season.

But the episode won’t be set in Hollywood. Rather, it will focus on the airline industry.

Executive producer Michael Chernuchin told the publication: “We are hitting Harvey Weinstein head-on, but it’s not in the realm of the entertainment business. It’s a real important episode about the rape culture in an industry, and we wanted to try [to] stretch the law to criminalize that sort of environment.”

The report notes that writers on “SVU” had already been at work on the episode when the Weinstein scandal broke.

Said Chernuchin: “We were actually working on a story about airline pilots and what a boys club that is. We were beating the story out and said, ‘Wow, this is exactly what the actresses go through in Hollywood. It’s the same environment.’ So we got all of our Harvey stuff out with airline pilots.”

TVBIZWIRE
Nov 22, 2017
5:11 pm
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Why Ratings for ‘The Walking Dead’ Just Hit a Six-Year Low (Deadline)

AMC’s blockbuster drama series “The Walking Dead” has consistently been one of television’s highest-rated shows, but Deadline reports that the Nov. 19 episode fell to a six-year ratings low for the series.

“With a 3.4 rating among adults 18-49, TWD had its worst result since November 20. 2011,” Deadline reports. “That Season 2 ‘Secrets’ episode drew a 3.1 among the key demo. Week to week, TWD was down 13% among the key demo.”

The story notes that the show’s live+same day results have been trending downward since the Oct. 22 season premiere. The latest episode settled for 7.9 million total viewers, the least since the second-to-last episode of season two back on March 11, 2012, when the “Better Angels” episode delivered 6.89 million viewers. Sunday’s episode was down 10% in viewers from a week ago.

The report cites some fierce competition for the episode “The Big Scary U” on Nov. 19, including a rising “Sunday Night Football” on NBC and the American Music Awards on ABC. The report also notes that the first four episodes of the season have been getting a bump of about 40% in live+3 numbers.

TVBIZWIRE
Nov 22, 2017
3:01 pm
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Three More Women — This Time With CBS News — Say Charlie Rose Sexually Harassed Them (THR, TVWeek, Washington Post)

Following a story in The Washington Post in which eight women accused now-fired CBS News and PBS personality Charlie Rose of sexual impropriety, other women are coming forward with allegations against Rose.

In the original story, Rose was accused of a variety of inappropriate behaviors including exposing himself and groping the women’s rear ends, breasts and genitals without permission.

“Now, three additional women have come forward, preferring to stay anonymous but who have been identified as employees at CBS, CBS News’ evening news first reported,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“While two of the women said they weren’t ready to publicly detail their claims against Rose, a third woman alleges Rose whispered a sexual innuendo while touching her inappropriately at a work-related event,” THR adds.

The report also notes: “The three CBS employees allege Rose’s unwanted sexual advances continued after 2011, later than had been reported in the Post and during his time at CBS News.”

Rose was fired Tuesday by CBS, while PBS announced it would no longer distribute the interview show “Charlie Rose.”

TVBIZWIRE
Nov 22, 2017
1:21 pm
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ABC Announces Special Installment of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ (TVWeek)

ABC unveiled plans for a special edition of “Dancing with the Stars,” featuring a lineup of 10 athletes from “all corners of the sports world.” The all-athletes lineup will debut in spring 2018.

In keeping with the show’s usual format, the athletes will be paired with the show’s professional dancers and will compete on the ballroom floor for a chance to win the coveted Mirrorball trophy.

Hosted by Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews, the special edition of “Dancing with the Stars” will air live. The athletes’ choreographed dance routines will be judged by a panel of ballroom experts, along with viewer votes.

“Dancing with the Stars” is produced by BBC Worldwide Productions. Ashley Edens-Shaffer and Joe Sungkur are executive producers.

TVBIZWIRE
Nov 22, 2017
12:57 pm
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Doctor for the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team Pleads Guilty to Sexual Assault Charges (NY Times)

“The team doctor accused of molesting scores of young athletes while working with the United States Gymnastics Team and Michigan State University pleaded guilty to seven counts of sexual assault on Wednesday in Ingham County (Mich.) Circuit Court,” The New York Times reports. “He is expected to face at least 25 years in prison.”

“Dr. Lawrence G. Nassar, 54, was charged with the molestation of seven girls, most of whom were gymnasts, but he has been accused of various levels of inappropriate or abusive sexual behavior by a group of more than 130 women and girls, including the Olympic gold medalists Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Gabby Douglas,” the report adds

Nassar is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 12, at which time his victims will have the opportunity to speak.

Nassar released a brief statement today in which he said he entered the plea “to move the community forward and stop the hurting.”

He added: “I pray every day for forgiveness.”

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina told Nassar: “You used your position of trust in the most vile way: to abuse children. I agree that now is a time of healing, but it may take them a lifetime of healing while you spend your life behind bars thinking of what you did by taking away their childhood.”

TVBIZWIRE
Nov 22, 2017
12:44 pm
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HBO Executive Sues TV Academy (THR)

An executive with HBO filed a lawsuit against the Television Academy and others stemming from an incident at the Emmy Awards. The Hollywood Reporter’s THR, Esq. reports that Nancy Lesser, the executive vice president of media and talent at HBO, is accusing the academy of failing to take sufficient safety precautions, creating dangerous conditions around the venue.

“In a lawsuit filed on Tuesday in LA Superior Court, Lesser says she experienced a terrible fall last year when exiting from the Microsoft Theater,” THR reports. “Her injury, she adds, caused her to miss out on HBO’s after-party and take eight months to rehabilitate.”

“Lesser was the executive in charge of coordinating that party, where she expected to mingle with Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts and others nominated for awards. But she never got there. Instead, she ended up being transported to the emergency room at Cedars-Sinai Hospital,” the story reports.

Lesser’s complaint names the Television Academy, Anshutz Entertainment and the City of Los Angeles, who Lesser says share responsibility for laying out the red carpet at the awards ceremony.

THR reports: “Lesser says those responsible for the red carpet knew based on past and present experience with awards shows that ‘even celebrity attendees to the Emmy Awards could be expected to exit in a throng-like manner, which would create extreme congestion and severely diminish any forward visibility and certainly diminish and preclude visibility of conditions that may exist on the walkway itself.'”

 

TVBIZWIRE
Nov 22, 2017
10:47 am
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‘CBS This Morning’ Co-Host Gayle King Reacts to the Firing of Charlie Rose (TVWeek, CBS)

Just hours after Charlie Rose was fired by CBS amid allegations of sexual misbehavior, his former colleague at “CBS This Morning,” co-host Gayle King, appeared Tuesday night on CBS’s “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” to talk about Rose, sexual harassment and the changing climate in Hollywood in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

Here’s the clip, posted by CBS …

TVBIZWIRE
Nov 22, 2017
10:17 am
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It Was One of the Most Gripping News Events of the 1970s, and Now a New TV Production Goes Inside the Patty Hearst Saga (TVWeek)

Soon to be married college student. Blue-blooded heiress to a family fortune. Kidnap victim. Terrorist sympathizer. Bank robber.

Patricia “Patty” Hearst was all of these things as the case of her February 1974 abduction and subsequent transition to an active accomplice in a crime spree with a left-wing urban guerrilla group dominated the news for 19 months.

The latest installment of Smithsonian Channel’s “The Lost Tapes,” premiering this Sunday, tells the inside story of this riveting episode in American history. TVWeek Open Mic writer Hillary Atkin sat down with series producer Tom Jennings of 1895 Films to get the rest of the story — please click here to read the interview.

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