Sep 18, 2014
8:42 am

Moonves: CBS May Be Offered Via Direct-Over-Internet Subscription … and Showtime Too (Deadline)

CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves told an audience at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference that some of his company’s top programming outlets may be headed for a direct-over-Internet subscription model. reports that Moonves said there’s a “very strong possibility” that Showtime will be offered to consumers in an Internet subscription, adding, “and possibly CBS as well.”

The service might be “like HBO did with HBO Nordic. … And there could be some kind of offering direct to consumers here. It’s something we’re looking at,” Moonves is quoted as saying.

The story adds: “Asked about how it might be offered, Moonves said it could be [an] online service. But he added that ‘there are ways of going direct to consumer in different packages. … Maybe we make it easier for consumers to get Showtime without a lot of the other stuff’ — apparently referring to the pay TV bundle that consumers have to buy first in order to subscribe the premium network.”

“It all goes to the bottom line,” Moonves added.

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Leslie Moonves

Sep 18, 2014
8:31 am

Veteran TV Writer Dies — His Work Included ‘Max Headroom,’ ‘Scarecrow and Mrs. King,’ Lorne Greene’s ‘Code Red’ and Other Shows (Variety)

A television writer who worked on shows including “Scarecrow and Mrs. King” and “Max Headroom” has died. Variety reports that David G.B. Brown died Sept. 6 at age 67.

Brown’s credits include seven episodes of the CBS series “Scarecrow,” which starred Bruce Boxleitner and Kate Jackson, and he wrote seven episodes of the Lorne Greene show “Code Red,” which aired in 1981-82.

His other work included writing for “Flo” and “Tales of the Golden Monkey.”

Sep 18, 2014
8:10 am

A ‘Parks and Recreation’ Favorite Is the New Voice of Grumpy Cat (EW)

A popular cast member from the NBC comedy series “Parks and Recreation” will do some moonlighting as Grumpy Cat.’s Inside TV reports that Lifetime cast Aubrey Plaza as the voice of the grumpy-looking feline, who has become an Internet meme, in the cable channel’s new live-action film.

Plaza, who plays April Ludgate on “Parks and Rec,” will provide the voice for the cat in “Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever,” which is written by Tim Hill of “Alvin and the Chipmunks” and Jeff Morris of “The True Memoirs of an International Assassin.”

The film follows the cat, whose real name is Tardar Sauce, as it becomes grumpy living in a mall pet shop. A 12-year-old girl who can communicate with the animal rescues the cat from the shop on Christmas Eve. The movie will debut Nov. 29 at 8 p.m.

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Sep 18, 2014
7:02 am

Live, From New York, It’s a New Era for ‘SNL’: A Popular Cast Member From the Past — the Longest-Tenured Performer in the History of ‘Saturday Night Live’ — Is the Show’s New Announcer (NY Times)

“Saturday Night Live” dipped into its own history to find a replacement for legendary announcer Don Pardo, who died last month after working as the show’s announcer for virtually its entire run.

Writing in The New York Times, Bill Carter reports that the venerable NBC late-night show named Darrell Hammond, who was a performer on “SNL” from 1995 through 2009, as Pardo’s replacement. Hammond ranks as the longest-serving performer in the history of the show, the story adds.

“He also had the distinction of quietly subbing for Mr. Pardo on several occasions when the announcer could not do the show for health reasons. Mr. Hammond, who was among the best impressionists in the history of ’SNL,’ read … the introductions in the famous Pardo voice,” the story adds.

Replacing the longtime announcer was something that Lorne Michaels, the show’s creator and executive producer, said he never wanted to do.

“There were a lot of sweet ideas about carrying on with Don somehow,” Michaels told the publication. “Because everyone has a Pardo impression. But he had the greatest run and he’s a completely beloved figure. So I thought: Don’t turn this into something else. That period ended.”

darrell hammond

Darrell Hammond

Sep 18, 2014
6:42 am

How’s the New Lineup on ‘The View’ Getting Along? Not Very Well, According to Report (NY Post)

While ABC’s daytime talk staple “The View” returned this week with its best ratings in eight years, two of its new co-hosts are already clashing on-air and behind the scenes, reports the New York Post’s Page Six.

Rosie O’ Donnell and Nicolle Wallace reportedly had an “off-air spat after clashing on-air,” the publication notes.

The story reports: “On Tuesday, token Republican Wallace, a former George W. Bush spokesperson, and human wrecking ball O’Donnell clashed on-air after Wallace claimed President Obama ‘doesn’t love people.’ O’Donnell swung back, ‘When Kanye West says, ‘I don’t think President Bush cares about black people,’ it’s like an international incident. But you can say that you don’t think Obama likes people?’”

Their argument reportedly continued behind the scenes, with executive producer Bill Wolff stepping in the get them to calm down.

Executives at ABC also have reportedly been getting worked up over the show. The story quotes an inside source saying: “ABC News head James Goldston and Daytime head Lisa Hackner are fighting over who gets control of ‘The View.’ The situation has become so fraught that [Disney/ABC senior VP] Abra Potkin had to step in. It is a monumental clash of egos.”

A rep for the network poured cold water on the rumored clashes, attributing the story of the Wallace-O’Donnell blowup to someone “just trying to stir up controversy,” and noting that “The View” comes under the purview of ABC Entertainment boss Paul Lee, with Hackner reporting to Lee.

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Sep 18, 2014
6:25 am

Warner Bros. Bracing for Layoffs, as Work Force May Be Cut by More Than 10 Percent; One Unit Is Expected to Be Hit Hardest (Variety)

Warner Bros. Entertainment is gearing up for a hefty layoff as the studio seeks to cut costs. Variety reports that the company will cut as many as 1,000 jobs, with the Home Entertainment unit to be hit hardest.

That would represent more than 10% of the studio’s 9,000-person workforce, the story notes. The cuts are expected to be made in late October or early November. The studio had been widely expected to cut jobs, after Warner CEO Kevin Tsujihara warned in a Sept. 4 memo that layoffs were coming.

“Senior managers are currently assessing their businesses to come up with ways to trim overhead. Only at the end of that process will an exact reduction figure be known. It could be somewhat lower than the current numbers being speculated, but cuts are expected to be substantial,” the story notes.

Movie and TV production units will be the least impacted by the cuts, the story reports.

“There is no head count target or percentage reduction target,” said the studio’s executive vice president of corporate communications, Dee Dee Myers. “This is a budget issue, not a head count issue.”

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Sep 18, 2014
6:23 am

E! Sets Joan Rivers Tribute, Marathon (LA Times)

The late comedian Joan Rivers will be the focus of an all-day programming marathon on E!, with the network airing episodes of “Fashion Police” on Friday, Sept. 19, beginning at 7 a.m. ET/PT, reports the Los Angeles Times’ Show Tracker.

The airings will lead to a tribute special called “Fashion Police: Celebrating Joan,” which will air at 8 p.m.

“The 90-minute special will feature Rivers’ daughter Melissa Rivers and her ‘Fashion Police’ co-hosts Kelly Osbourne, Giuliana Rancic and George Kotsiopoulos. It will also include behind-the-scenes footage, commentary from friends and family and some of Rivers’ best moments on camera,” the story notes.

Special “Fashion Police” episodes that will air during the marathon include an 80th birthday celebration for Rivers and her final MTV Video Music Awards and Primetime Emmys specials.

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Sep 18, 2014
6:22 am

New Study Finds Familiar Results: Directing on TV Is Dominated by White Men; Which Shows Are the Top Offenders? (THR)

While America is increasingly diverse and women make up half the population, those facts are not reflected in who’s behind the camera directing prime-time television episodes, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which cites a new study from the Directors Guild of America.

The study found that 69 percent of the episodes in the 2013-14 television season were directed by white men, a figure that’s little changed over the past four seasons.

“And grabbing the first rung of the directing ladder is no easier. Out of 776 directors who directed DGA-covered episodic television in 2013-2014, 108 (14 percent) of those directors were directing episodic television for the first time — but 68 percent of those first-timers were white males,” the story reports.

In a statement, DGA President Paris Barclay said: “Unfortunately, it can be shockingly difficult to convince the people who control hiring to make even small improvements to their hiring practices. People often say, ‘Everybody is responsible for diversity,’ but in the end, that often means that nobody takes responsibility.”

While there was some improvement in the number of male minorities directing episodes, which stands at 17%, that was entirely due to Tyler Perry directing all the episodes of the three TV series that he also produced, the report said.

Ten percent of the series hired no women or minority directors, while 17 percent hired women or minority directors, but they helmed fewer than 15 percent of the episodes. That means about one-quarter of all TV series make the DGA’s “Worst Of” list, with those shows including “Boardwalk Empire,” “Castle,” “CSI,” “Hot in Cleveland,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “Supernatural,” among others.

The series with the most gender and racial diversity among directors include “The Game,” “Warehouse 13,” “Drop Dead Diva,” and “Mike & Molly.”


Sep 17, 2014
6:02 pm

Drama Series Shuts Down Production After Death on the Set (Deadline)

Production on a science-fiction drama was shut down after a fatality occurred on the set. reports that the TNT series “Falling Skies” shut down following the death of a Teamsters security guard.

The guard was hit by an unattended truck, which rolled down a hill and pinned him against a tree, the story says. The incident happened in a park in Burnaby, British Columbia, where the show is taping its fifth and final season.

“A five-ton truck parked on a 6% slope had been left unattended,” said WorkSafeBC spokesman Scott McCloy, whose group is investigating the death. “The vehicle tailgate was lowered for off-loading of equipment. The truck rolled backwards down the slope and the deceased worker was caught between the tailgate and the tree.”

TNT said it is “deeply saddened by this tragic event, and on behalf of the producers and TNT, we wish to express our heartfelt condolences to the family of the security guard.”


Sep 17, 2014
5:58 pm

Ken Burns’ Latest PBS Series Looks Like a Blockbuster (TVWeek)

As were “The Civil War” and “The War” before it, master documentarian Ken Burns’ latest PBS documentary series, “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” is turning out to be a massive blockbuster for PBS.

The program’s first installment, which premiered Sunday, reportedly delivered 9.06 million total viewers for PBS, based on Nielsen Fast National Live + SD figures.

Please click here to read TVWeek Open Mic blogger Hillary Atkin’s full report on the series, which continues its run through Sept. 20, with streaming on a number of platforms through Sept. 29.

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