Dec 18, 2014
1:59 pm

One Show on Broadcast Is Celebrating 26 Years in a Row at No. 1 in Its Category (TVWeek)

One of the major broadcast networks announced today that one of its shows is marking a stunning 26 consecutive years as the top-rated show in its category.

CBS announced that its long-running soap “The Young and the Restless” accomplished the feat, notching 26 years as the top daytime drama. The announcement follows Nielsen live plus same day results for the week ending Dec. 12.

“For the week, ‘The Young and the Restless’ averaged 4.76 million viewers, up +4% over last week,” CBS announced. “The program also led the week in both women 25-54 (1.8/12) and women 18-49 (1.2.09). Season-to-date, ‘The Young and the Restless’ is daytime’s #1 drama in viewers (5.04m), women 25-54 (2.1/14) and women 18-49 (1.4/10).”

The program, which is currently in its 41st season on the air, started its winning streak the week of Dec. 26, 1988.


Dec 18, 2014
1:47 pm

Another North Korea-Themed Movie Is Pulled From Theaters (LA Times)

In the wake of the cancellation of the release of “The Interview” by Sony Pictures, a second movie about North Korea has been pulled from theaters, the Los Angeles Times reports. This time it’s an older release — “Team America: World Police,” from 2004 — and it has reportedly been blocked by Paramount from special screenings.

The report cites theaters in Cleveland and Atlanta saying Paramount pulle the plug on screenings of the movie, which is a marionette-based action satire targeting Kim Jong Il, the now-deceased North Korean dictator who was the father of the nation’s current leader, Kim Jong-un. The movie comes from “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

The newspaper reports: “David Huffman, director of marketing at Cleveland Cinemas, told The Times that Paramount contacted the theater chain and said ‘Team America’ had been pulled from release. The Capitol Theatre had booked the film in October as part of a midnight screening series in June, Huffman said.”

The report also cites a Twitter post by the Plaza Theatre in Atlanta saying the movie was pulled from all theaters by Paramount Pictures.

As we reported previously, Sony canceled the release of the Seth Rogen-James Franco movie “The Interview,” which had been due for release on Christmas Day, after threats of violence against theaters showing the movie were issued by hackers believed to be connected to North Korea.

“In addition to the Capitol and Plaza theaters, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema’s Dallas location, which had planned a screening of ‘Team America’ to replace ‘The Interview,’ said on its Twitter account, ‘Due to to circumstances beyond our control, the TEAM AMERICA 12/27 screening has been cancelled. We apologize & will provide refunds today.’” the Times reports.


Dec 18, 2014
1:39 pm

Sarah Silverman Lands Starring Role in HBO Project (Deadline)

A new project from the creator of “Secret Diary of a Call Girl” will star Emmy winner Sarah Silverman. reports that the actress and comedian, who just picked up an Emmy for writing for her HBO special “We Are Miracles,” snagged the lead role in an untitled half-hour comedy pilot from Lucy Prebble.

The project “is described as a comic look at a pathologically honest woman having a modern mid-life crisis,” the story reports. “Prebble and Silverman executive produce with Ash Atalla, Amy Zvi and Dan Hine.”

Silverman’s early career got a boost from her work on HBO, on “Mr. Show With Bob and David” and “The Larry Sanders Show,” the report notes.

“She went on to headline her own comedy series on Comedy Central, which earned her an Emmy nomination for best comedy actress,” the story adds.

sarah silverman

Sarah Silverman

Dec 18, 2014
1:27 pm

MTV Series Casts the World’s Last Druid (THR)

The MTV project “Shannara,” a 10-episode adaptation of Terry Brooks’ “The Elfstones of Shannara,” has cast actor Manu Bennett in a co-starring role as the world’s last druid, The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports.

Bennett’s character, Allanon, is a wise man who gets Wil, played by Austin Butler, to fulfill his destiny and save the world, the story says. It’s not the first fantasy role for Bennett, as he plays the orc king Azog in “The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies.” He also played Crixus on Starz’ “Spartacus.”

MTV gave the project a straight-to-series order in June. The book series now has more than two dozen books, and is considered the highest-selling unadapted fantasy series in the world, the piece adds.

manu bennett

Manu Bennett

Dec 18, 2014
1:01 pm

One of the Most Popular Sitcoms of All Time Goes Online — With an Innovative Way to Navigate It (TVWeek)

A major streaming service is ready to roll out one of the most popular TV sitcoms of all time, with the long-running NBC hit “Friends” about to make its debut on Netflix. The online streamer will offer all 10 seasons — 236 episodes — of the series, which went off the air 10 years ago.

“To celebrate the show’s debut, Netflix has ‘mapped out’ some fun ways for viewers to enjoy the series,” the streaming service said in its announcement. “Do you just want to see episodes where Joey says, ‘How You Doin?’ You can do that. Only interested in watching episodes where Phoebe sings ‘Smelly Cat?’ You can do that too!”

Netflix released a subway map (see below) guiding viewers to particular episodes, with titles season numbers and episode numbers.

The show is set to go live on Netflix on Thursday, Jan. 1.

netflix friends guide netflix friends map

Dec 18, 2014
8:17 am

Meteorologist Shot in Front of TV Station (KCEN-TV)

A TV meteorologist was reportedly shot multiple times outside the station where he covers the weather on the local news. Central Texas station KCEN-TV said Patrick Crawford was shot early Wednesday in front of the station’s building, and was in stable condition after surgery.

“The shooter, as of this note, has not been caught. We do not know who the shooter was or if he is connected in any way to KCEN or its employees,” the story reports. An update today added that law enforcement officials had taken a man into custody, but were not saying whether he was the suspected shooter. The man is described in the report as a “person of interest.”

Crawford has worked with Gannett-owned KCEN, an NBC affiliate, for more than two years, after leaving the NBC affiliate in New Orleans. His wife, Heather Crawford, is also a KCEN employee.

The suspect reportedly exchanged words with Crawford, then pulled a semi-automatic handgun and fired multiple times, the story notes. Crawford managed to drive away and flag down a construction worker, who called for assistance.

patrick crawford

Patrick Crawford

Dec 18, 2014
8:01 am

How Did CBS’s Scott Pelley Make It to Cuba in Time for Breaking News? (TVNewser)

Some viewers were “stunned” to see “CBS Evening News” anchor Scott Pelley, dressed in a crisp suit and tie, broadcasting from Havana on Wednesday, making him the only evening news anchor in the country on the night that President Obama announced he would move forward with normalizing relations with Cuba, TVNewser reports.

How did Pelley make it to the country in time? TVNewser writes, “On air, Pelley may have made it look effortless, but it wasn’t. Not at all. The decision to go for it was made shortly after the Cuba story broke. CBS execs decided it was worth the risk of having Pelley absent from the newscast on a major news day — Norah O’Donnell was slated to fill in on the anchor desk in New York — for the chance to make a bold statement by having Pelley in place in Cuba.”

Pelley began his day in Washington D.C., but headed directly to the airport once the decision was made. He tweeted that he had “just landed” in Havana at 6:22 p.m. ET. By 6:41 p.m., he was on-air from Havana, the story reports.

The article notes: “For the show’s producers and technical team, it was one of those liveshots that produces instantaneous newsroom applause merely for happening — just the way they hoped it would.”

scott pelley-cbs evening news

Dec 18, 2014
7:57 am

Broadcast Nets Are Seeing a Not-So-Jolly Holiday Trend (Medialife)

One staple of the broadcast networks’ holiday season is having a less-than-jolly time of it in the ratings. Medialife reports that children’s holiday specials, traditionally a sure-fire audience draw at this time of year, are struggling to find viewers.

Seven years ago, the debut of “Shrek the Halls” drew an 11.6 rating with kids 2 to 11 years old. But this year, new specials such as “Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas” and returning shows such as the classic “A Charlie Brown Christmas” have seen ratings decline.

The top-rated holiday special this year among children 2-11 is “Rudolph,” which drew a 4.0 rating on CBS. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” was in second place, with 3.4, while “Toy Story That Time Forget” drew a 3.3.

The most recent holiday special, NBC’s “Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas,” posted a 1.7 in the demo Monday night.

So what’s going on? Kids are watching less TV, the article notes.

“There’s been a well-documented decline in kids ratings for top cable networks such as Nickelodeon in recent years too, so broadcast is hardly alone,” the story points out. “One big reason is that streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Instant Video target kids with repeats of hugely popular shows such as ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ and, increasingly, their own originals.”

elf-buddy's musical christmas-title

Dec 18, 2014
7:49 am

U.S. Officials Tie North Korea to Sony Hack (NY Times)

American officials have concluded that North Korea was “centrally involved” in the hack on Sony Pictures’ computers, which led to the studio’s cancellation of the release of “The Interview,” a comedy about the fictional assassination of North Korea’s leader, reports The New York Times.

The movie’s plot is believed to have sparked the cyberattack from the country. As previously reported, threats from the hackers prompted Sony to shelve the movie.

The White House is debating whether to accuse North Korea of cyberterrorism, the story adds.

“Officials said it was not clear how the White House would respond. Some within the Obama administration argue that the government of Kim Jong-un must be confronted directly,” The Times writes. “But that raises questions of what actions the administration could credibly threaten, or how much evidence to make public without revealing details of how it determined North Korea’s culpability, including the possible penetration of the North’s computer networks.”

North Korean officials may be seeking a direct confrontation, and Japan has argued that a public accusation could impede negotiations between the countries for the return of Japanese nationals who have been kidnapped.

The hackers warned that if “The Interview” were to be released as planned on Dec. 25, “the world will be full of fear.” The warning added, “Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.”

The Times adds, “It is not clear how the United States determined that Mr. Kim’s government had played a central role in the Sony attacks. North Korea’s computer network has been notoriously difficult to infiltrate.”


Dec 18, 2014
7:47 am

Universal Studios Exec Dies at 82 — He Was Behind ‘Hill Street Blues’ (Variety)

A development executive at Universal Studios and other companies who brought shows such as “Hill Street Blues” to television has died. Variety reports that Stuart Philip Erwin Jr. died Nov. 22 after a brief illness at his home in Solana Beach, Calif. He was 82.

“Erwin had a long, successful career in the entertainment industry, beginning as an assistant director on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ in New York City, running the advertising division at Ralston Purina in St. Louis, then moving on to long stints as a development executive at Universal Studios, MTM Enterprises and GTG Entertainment,” Variety notes.

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