TVBizWire

TVBIZWIRE
Aug 21, 2014
2:38 pm
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NFL Taking Heat for Pay-for-Play Super Bowl Halftime Plan (B&C)

The NFL is under fire for asking potential performers for its Super Bowl halftime show to kick back a share of their earnings to the league. B&C reports that the American Federation of Musicians has added its voice to the chorus of complaints.

The report quotes AFM International President Ray Hair saying:“It’s not like the NFL and its Super Bowl organizers don’t have any money and can’t afford to pay for halftime show performances; it’s about the insatiable thirst for profits at the expense of great musical entertainment and those who create it. You can find kickback schemes like this coming from unscrupulous bar and nightclub owners, but for the NFL to descend to such depths would be unconscionable.”

The article adds: “The league has reportedly narrowed down its list of potential acts to Rihanna, Katy Perry and Coldplay, asking for a portion of post-show tour earnings to secure the booking.”

The AFM noted that the halftime artists are not paid for their appearances, while the Super Bowl receives huge revenues from advertising during the game and has an annual revenue topping $9 billion.

The report adds: “The AFM said it would bring the matter up for discussion with the AFL-CIO’s Department of Professional Employees, which includes representatives from all U.S. art and entertainment unions, including the NFL Players Association.”

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Rihanna

TVBIZWIRE
Aug 21, 2014
2:37 pm
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Hallmark Channel Creates Its Own Football League — Sort Of (LA Times)

Hallmark Channel has rolled out plans to launch a new football league. The Los Angeles Times reports that the cable channel is making arrangements for Kitten Bowl II as counterprogramming to the Super Bowl, and during the runup Hallmark will run something called the Feline Football League.

The league will build on the success last January of the first Kitten Bowl, which was an answer to Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl.

“The first Kitten Bowl was hosted by Beth Stern and saw the furry sports stars leaping, pouncing, snuggling and cleaning around a miniature football field,” the story reports. “We saw such sports stars as Mr. Whiskers, Crazy Legs (an all-pro out of ‘Neuter Dame’), Midnight and Hairy Rice strut their stuff to glory. Final score saw the North Shore Bengals top the Cedar Cove Cougars 24-20.”

The new league will expand on the Kitten Bowl concept with a draft, an unknown number of teams and an online presence. “Beginning in November, animal-based-sports junkies will be able to follow along with the league’s latest games through Hallmark Channel’s website and social media as the teams march on toward Su-Purr Bowl Sunday on Feb. 1,” the story reports.

kitten bowl

TVBIZWIRE
Aug 21, 2014
2:36 pm
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Former ‘Scandal’ Star Arrested (TMZ)

An actor who was a regular on the ABC political thriller “Scandal” has been arrested. TMZ.com reports that Columbus Short, who has had a series of run-ins with the law lately, was taken into custody today in a Van Nuys, Calif., courtroom.

“Short has been a wanted man since last month when he failed to appear in his criminal domestic violence case. Short chose to go to Barbados instead. The judge issued an arrest warrant and set bail at $40K,” the story reports. “That same judge became enraged earlier this week when Short skipped another hearing … he was still vacationing in Barbados. The judge upped the bail to $500K.”

When Short appeared in court today to deal with the situation, he was immediately arrested, TMZ reports.

The report adds: “Now get this … Short had another hearing today in a criminal case involving a bar fight, but he didn’t show because he was in custody. So the judge in the bar fight case issued a SECOND arrest warrant and set bail at $250K.”

Short left “Scandal” in April, reportedly to deal with his personal issues.

columbus short

Columbus Short

TVBIZWIRE
Aug 21, 2014
2:34 pm
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Real Sex on TV is Coming to WE tv (TVWeek)

A new reality show is about to go all the way on TV, with WE tv announcing today that it has greenlighted “Sex Box.” The cable channel plans to premiere the program in early 2015.

“‘Sex Box’ is an extreme therapy reality concept that lets couples discuss their relationship issues with a panel of experts and then retire to a camera-free, soundproof box on the show’s set to have sex. They emerge to immediately discuss their experiences in the box and most intimate personal issues with the experts, as the cameras roll before a studio audience,” the network said in announcing the show’s green light.

The show, from Relativity Television, is adapted from a U.K. series of the same name. Season one will consist of nine episodes of one hour each.

Said WE tv President Marc Juris: “’Sex Box’ is one of the most unique and compelling show concepts we’ve ever seen, and we can’t wait to bring it to WE tv. Our featured couples will get a once-in-a-lifetime experience, while our viewers will get the kind of bold, break-through-the-clutter programming they increasingly associate with WE tv.”

Please click here for more background on the program in the full announcement from WE tv.

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TVBIZWIRE
Aug 21, 2014
1:34 pm
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Is a Female Time Lord in the Future for ‘Doctor Who’? (Variety)

Fans of “Doctor Who” who want to see a female in the lead role of the Time Lord may be encouraged by a comment floated during a panel at the recent Edinburgh International Television Festival.

Variety reports that Danny Cohen, the BBC’s director of television, was asked whether he would like to see a female Time Lord at some point, and responded, “I hope so.”

“Some fans of the show called for a female lead after the previous incarnation of the Doctor, Matt Smith, announced he was leaving the show in June 2013,” the story reports. “Helen Mirren announced her desire to play the character in 2011, saying, ‘I would like to play the new female Doctor Who. I don’t want to be just his sidekick.’”

“Doctor Who” executive producer and head writer Steven Moffat, meanwhile, has also hinted that he’s open to the idea, but he added that a female wouldn’t be cast in the role purely as a response to pressure.

Moffat is quoted as saying in May: “Do you know how it will happen? It will not happen that somebody sits down and says we must turn the Doctor into a woman. That is not how you cast the Doctor. A person will pop into the showrunner’s head and they’ll think. ‘Oh, my God, what if it was that person?’ And when that person is a woman, that’s the day it will happen.”

Smith was replaced by another male, Peter Capaldi, whose new “Doctor Who” launches Sunday on BBC America.

Helen-Mirren

Helen Mirren

TVBIZWIRE
Aug 21, 2014
9:19 am
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‘ET’ Names New Host — Prompting a Change at a Another Newsmag (TheWrap)

“Entertainment Tonight” raided another entertainment newsmagazine to find its newest co-host. TheWrap.com reports that “ET” is bringing over Kevin Frazier from “The Insider” to fill the vacancy left by former CNN meteorologist Rob Marciano.

Frazier will co-host “ET” with Nancy O’Dell starting Sept. 9, the report notes.

Marciano joined “ET” 18 months ago but is headed to a spot on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

The move marks a return to “Entertainment Tonight” for Frazier, who was previously a correspondent and weekend anchor on the syndicated show.

Frazier’s exit left a spot open at “The Insider,” which will replace Frazier with Louis Aguirre, the co-anchor of the Miami entertainment show “Deco Drive,” the story adds.

Said “ET” and “The Insider” executive producer Brad Bessey: “Kevin lives and breathes entertainment news; he is the ultimate professional and has a phenomenal relationship with Nancy. When searching for a new co-anchor, we realized Kev, who gives 110 percent every day, is the perfect fit and are thrilled to welcome him home. And, we’re just as excited to have Louis join ‘The Insider.’ He is a dynamic broadcaster with a strong point of view, which will be key as he and Thea [Andrews] offer perspective on the hottest trending entertainment news and pop culture topics of the day.”

kevin frazier

Kevin Frazier

TVBIZWIRE
Aug 21, 2014
9:07 am
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‘Jeopardy!’ Spinoff Ready to Roll Out Next Month (B&C)

The long-running syndicated game show “Jeopardy!” is about to spawn a spinoff. B&C reports that “Sports Jeopardy!” will debut Sept. 24 on Crackle and its platforms.

The spinoff is produced by Sony Pictures Television, as is the original game show. The new version will star NBC “Football Night in America” co-host Dan Patrick as its host and is set to air 52 episodes a year.

“Sports Jeopardy!” is “the only game show that rewards you for the hours you spend on your couch watching sports and being anti-social, so reward yourself, tune in, and play along,” Patrick said.

The chance to audition for the show prompted more than 30,000 contestants to register online, the story notes.

“Each contestant was then presented with a qualifying test of 30 clues in 30 sports-related categories for the first phase of the audition process,” the piece reports. “For those who passed that initial test, the second phase of auditions featured mock game play and a short interview. Qualified contestants who passed the test and interview and met all eligibility requirements went on to appear on the show.”

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TVBIZWIRE
Aug 21, 2014
9:01 am
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It’s Time to Find FXX on Your TV Dial, as the TV Marathon to End All TV Marathons Is On Right Now (NPR, TV Worth Watching)

TV critic extraordinaire David Bianculli calls it “a great show, a great idea and a TV viewing event of unprecedented scale.”

He is referring to the unprecedented 12-day (and 12-night) TV marathon that started this morning on FXX. “[H]ere’s your chance to see all 552 episodes of ['The Simpsons’] in the longest single-series marathon in TV history,” reports NPR.

Bianculli also tells NPR, “There’s something about the sense of watching at the same time as other people that makes it special. That certainly goes for a marathon — and that’s why I predict this 25-season Simpsons marathon will indeed steer people towards FXX.”

On his own website, TV Worth Watching — which TVWeek urges you to check out regularly — Bianculli calls the marathon a “ ‘Simpsons’ miracle. Starting at 10 a.m. ET [this morning, Aug. 21, 2014], the gang’s all here — every single installment of ‘The Simpsons’ series, beginning with the 1989 Christmas special and moving on from there.”

Adds the NPR story, “ ‘The Simpsons’ sparked a renaissance in TV animation that led to ‘South Park’ and ‘Family Guy.’ One writer, Conan O’Brien, found fame as a talk show host. Celebrities providing guest voices on ‘The Simpsons’ included most major movie stars — and Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. Its ‘Treehouse of Horror’ Halloween specials have become one of TV’s most inventive annual traditions.

“And along the way, year after year, ‘The Simpsons’ has served up occasional flashes of comic genius, according to TV critic David Bianculli. There was the Season 4 episode that presents a Springfield community-theater musical production of ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ — and the Season 2 episode that has Marge Simpson, voiced by Julie Kavner, so upset about the violence in the ‘Itchy & Scratchy’ cat-and-mouse TV cartoons her kids watch that she goes on TV herself, on a ‘Nightline’-type talk show, in protest.”

We urge you to read and/or listen to the entire NPR report, which also has some other terrific interviews. You can find it here.

the simpsons

TVBIZWIRE
Aug 21, 2014
8:57 am
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In Surprise Move, AMC Renews Drama Series (EW)

AMC is committing to another season of a drama series even though it hasn’t caught fire in the ratings. EW.com’s Inside TV reports that that cable channel made the unexpected move, resisting the temptation to hit the ESC button on its modestly rated freshman 1980s computer series “Halt and Catch Fire.”

The drama has drawn an average of 1.3 million viewers for its first 10 episodes, including 7 days of DVR playback. The network believes the show has room to grow, the story notes. Its renewal may have also been boosted by its ranking with upscale audiences, as it placed third in wealthy viewers, behind “Mad Men” on AMC and “The Good Wife” on CBS.

“This is a show about invention, experimentation, and the inherent risks in trying to break new ground — themes that really resonate with us as a network and attracted a passionate audience,” said AMC President Charlie Collier. “We have a history of demonstrating patience through the early seasons of new shows, betting on talent and building audience over time.”

“Halt” will return in summer 2015 for a 10-episode second season.

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TVBIZWIRE
Aug 21, 2014
8:49 am
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With the iPhone 6 Reportedly to Be Available Next Month, Walmart Puts the iPhone 5c on Sale for 97 Cents. It’s Our Non-TV Story of the Day (CNET)

“A Walmart spokesperson told CNET that starting Thursday at 9 a.m. local times, the retailer is dropping the price of the iPhone 5S to $79 and the iPhone 5c to a mere 97 cents,” reports CNET.

The story adds: “These new prices apply to all available colors of the smartphones and can only be used with a two-year contract on AT&T, Verizon, Sprint or US Cellular.”

 

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