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TVBIZWIRE
Apr 19, 2018
1:38 am
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Former FBI Director James Comey Tells ‘The View’ What He Regrets Including in His New Book (Deadline.com)

James Comey, the FBI director famously fired by President Trump, said on “The View” on Wednesday that there was one passage he now regrets putting in his new book, reports Lisa de Moraes at Deadline.com

It’s the paragraph in which he describes Trump. “‘If I had to do it over again, I would not put that paragraph in, because it gave people a hand hold….to attack the book,’ Comey told the Ladies of ‘The View’ of the one paragraph in which he talked about meeting Trump and observing his orange hue, his carefully coiffed hair, and making note of size when they shook hands.”

Comey’s book is titled “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership.”

Later in the article de Moraes notes that up until his appearance on “The View,” Comey was defending the paragraph. “In one of his first two interviews with ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos, the ex-FBI director insisted he was not trying to mock Trump, but be an author, and had in mind when he typed it his editor’s advice about drawing viewers into a scene with detail.

“On Stephen Colbert’s show Tuesday night, Comey continued to defend the paragraph, noting he also described in the book how skinny President Obama was, and described John Ashcroft’s skin color when he was in intensive care, insisting, ‘I’m not trying to make fun of Ashrcroft, or Obama or even Donald Trump.’ To Colbert’s audience, Comey introduced the ‘hand hold’ motif, speculating critics who have glommed on to his paragraph about Trump’s physical appearance likely ‘haven’t read the book and are looking to criticize the book and me. So they’re looking for a hand hold, and it’s an easy hand hold.’”

James Comey on ABC’s “The View” on Wednesday

TVBIZWIRE
Apr 19, 2018
1:24 am
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Yet Another Series Coming From ‘Downton Abbey’ Creator Julian Fellowes—a Sports Drama for Netflix (Telegraph; TVWeek)

“Julian Fellowes showed us the upstairs-downstairs world of an English country house in ‘Downton Abbey,’” writes the U.K. newspaper the Telegraph, adding, “For his latest television project, Fellowes is taking his fascination with the class divide in a more surprising direction: the invention of modern [soccer].”

“The English Game,” which will be “set in the late 19th century, is billed as ‘part Etonians, part factory workers, coming together to create the world’s most popular sport,’ the story says.

The program will be a six-part series for Netflix and “will focus on the battle to professionalise the game,” the article explains.

The story adds, “‘It is not only going to be about football, but about the human drama. They were sitting on a powder keg in the last quarter of the 19th century. What was happening in football was also happening in society,’ Fellowes said of the era’s class struggles.”

Earlier this week we reported that Fellowes is also developing a TV series about the Rothschild banking dynasty.

TVBIZWIRE
Apr 18, 2018
5:41 pm
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Former Playboy Model Settles Lawsuit Over Alleged Trump Affair (AP)

“A former Playboy model who said she had a 10-month affair with President Donald Trump settled her lawsuit Wednesday with a supermarket tabloid over an agreement that prohibited her from discussing the relationship publicly,” the AP reports. “Karen McDougal’s settlement with the company that owns the National Enquirer ‘restores to me the rights to my life story and frees me from this contract that I was misled into signing nearly two years ago,’ she said in a statement Wednesday.”

The report notes that the Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc., paid McDougal $150,000 in August 2016 for the rights to her story about the alleged affair, but the story never ran. McDougal filed a lawsuit last month seeking to invalidate the contract.

“The suit alleged that the company didn’t publish the story because AMI’s owner, David Pecker, is ‘close personal friends’ with Trump,” the AP reports. “It also charged that Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, had inappropriately intervened and was secretly involved in discussions with AMI executives about the agreement.”

The report adds: “Federal agents raided Cohen’s office and residence last week seeking any information on payments made in 2016 to McDougal and porn actress Stormy Daniels, according to people familiar with the investigation but not authorized to discuss it publicly. Daniels has said she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006.”

TVBIZWIRE
Apr 18, 2018
5:29 pm
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First Lady Barbara Bush Was Not a Fan of ‘The Simpsons’ — Until She Received a Letter From Marge Simpson (THR)

Former first lady Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday at age 92, wasn’t a fan of “The Simpsons” when the animated show first went on the air back in 1989, but a letter to Bush from Marge Simpson helped change her mind, The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports.

In an interview at the time, Bush called the show “the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen” — after her husband, President George H.W. Bush, had already let it be known that he didn’t like the show.

“However, it seems a letter sent to the first lady from Marge Simpson made the former see the cartoon family in a different light,” THR reports. “In the letter, Marge told Bush she was ‘deeply hurt’ by the criticism of her family.”

Marge Simpson is quoted saying in the letter: “I always believed in my heart that we had a great deal in common. I hope there is some way out of this controversy.”

“The Simpsons” showrunner Al Jean revealed Tuesday that the first lady wrote back, opening her letter with: “How kind of you to write. I am glad you spoke your mind; I foolishly didn’t know you had one.”

Bush also wrote, “Please forgive a loose tongue,” and added in a P.S.: “Homer looks like a handsome fella!”

TVBIZWIRE
Apr 18, 2018
5:17 pm
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NBC’s ‘Saturday Night Live’ Plans Strong Season Finish — Guest Lineups Revealed for Last Three Shows (TVWeek)

NBC revealed the guest hosts and musical guests for the season’s final three installments of “Saturday Night Live,” including a big finish with Tina Fey returning to host the season finale on May 19.

Nicki Minaj will be the musical guest that night.

Actor, writer and director Donald Glover will make his “Saturday Night Live” hosting debut May 5, with Childish Gambino as the musical guest that night.

On May 12, Amy Schumer will host and Kacey Musgraves will be the musical guest.

May 5 – Donald Glover/Childish Gambino

May 12 – Amy Schumer/Kacey Musgraves

May 19 – Tina Fey/Nicki Minaj

TVBIZWIRE
Apr 18, 2018
5:09 pm
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Amazon Reveals Number of Prime Subscribers as It Reaches a Milestone (Fortune)

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed today for the first time how many subscribers the Amazon Prime service has worldwide, saying the number has surpassed 100 million, Fortune reports.

“In the past, Amazon has only disclosed vague information about the number of Prime subscribers, such as it having ‘tens of millions of members,'” Fortune reports. “The updated number highlights the growth of the company’s subscription service, which Amazon has pushed heavily over the years as a way to retain customers that in turn fuel its core retail business with each purchase. Still, Amazon stopped short of full disclosure of its Prime subscriber service, like how much revenue it generates.”

Amazon first rolled out Prime 13 years ago as a way for customers to receive free two-day shipping along with access to the company’s video streaming library.

“In addition to membership numbers, Bezos said in a letter to shareholders that the company had shipped over 5 billion items in 2017 as part of its Prime service and that ‘more new members joined Prime than in any previous year,'” Fortune adds. “However, he didn’t say how many people signed up in past years.”

TVBIZWIRE
Apr 18, 2018
3:11 pm
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‘Dance Moms’ Star, Recently Released From Prison, Undergoes Emergency Surgery After Almost Dying (USA Today, People, Extra)

“Dance Moms” star Abby Lee Miller, who was recently released from prison after serving a 366-day sentence for bankruptcy fraud and has been living in a halfway house, is now recovering from a spinal infection that caused her to be paralyzed from the neck down, USA Today reports.

People reports that Miller almost died from the “extremely unusual” infection.

“Dr. Hooman M. Melamed, an orthopedic spine surgeon who treated Miller, tells People the former ‘Dance Moms’ star went into the emergency room after she experienced ‘excruciating neck pain’ and weakness in her arm,” People reports. The news was first reported by Extra.

Miller was treated in Cedars Sinai Marina Del Rey Hospital. “Over the next two days, her condition started deteriorating,” Melamed told People. “Not just her pain, but her weakness started getting worse. In the span of 24 hours, which was something that I have not seen, her condition rapidly deteriorated. She was completely paralyzed from the neck down.”

Melamed added: “If we didn’t do something, she was going to die. Her blood pressure was bottoming out. She was not doing well.”

Following the five-hour surgery, which reportedly required an 18-inch incision in her back, Miller has been recovering in the intensive care unit, according to media reports.

TVBIZWIRE
Apr 18, 2018
2:59 pm
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‘House of Cards’ Star Michael Kelly Opens Up About Kevin Spacey’s Exit From the Show (Variety)

Actor Michael Kelly, who plays Doug Stamper on the Netflix drama series “House of Cards,” talked about how things are going on the show after the exit of Kevin Spacey, who was booted six months ago amid allegations of sexual assault and harassment.

In an exclusive interview with Variety, Kelly said he “couldn’t be happier” that the series was able to carry on — putting the crew back to work and enabling the key players to end the show on their own terms. He also noted that the central role played by Spacey has been taken over by his former co-star, Robin Wright.

“The crew was out of work for a long time, and when everything went down, it was sort of like, ‘How do we do it? How do we keep it going?,'” Kelly said, adding: “But it all worked out, and Robin is so frigging talented. I don’t want to say effortless because she works her a– off, but the way she portrays that character, it just … you work with her, and now the two of us have a lot together, where everything before was with Francis (Underwood). Now everything is with Claire, and it’s really been an interesting time.”

Kelly added: “To have all those years to have learned from Kevin, and now all this time to learn from Robin, it’s just like as an actor, you can’t ask for anything more than that, to learn under those two people. (It’s been) the greatest acting classes for the last six years.”

On Spacey’s exit, Kelly adds: “There’s obviously a million emotions that I went through, that I processed during this whole thing. I don’t want to talk too much about it because it was heartbreaking in so many ways.”

We encourage readers to click on the link above to Variety to read the full interview.

TVBIZWIRE
Apr 18, 2018
2:47 pm
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CBS’s ‘Late Show’ Hits a Ratings Milestone, Thanks to High-Profile Guest (TVWeek, CBS)

Tuesday night’s installment of CBS’s “Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” which featured an eagerly anticipated interview with former FBI Director and “A Higher Loyalty” author James Comey, pulled in big ratings, continuing a hot streak for the late-night staple.

CBS announced today that Tuesday’s program, which also featured Wu Tang Clan, delivered a 3.5/9 overnight rating, which CBS said was “its highest overnight rating this season and the third-highest metered market rating for the show ever (since Sept. 22, 2015). Additionally, ‘The Late Show’ beat the combined rating of its other two competitors in the metered market household rating (‘Tonight Show’ — 1.7/5, ‘Kimmel’ — 1.5/4) and won the night in adults 18-49 (0.6/4).”

In the latest weekly results, CBS noted that “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” delivered 3.93 million viewers, 0.8 in adults 25-54 and 0.6 in adults 18-49 for the week ending April 13, according to Nielsen live plus 3-day ratings.

CBS also noted that in L+7 results for the recently completed first quarter of 2018, the show was up +20% in viewers (4.02 million, from 3.36 million) vs. first quarter 2017.

“‘The Late Show’ posted its largest first-quarter audience since 2007 and beat ‘Tonight’ in viewers by +46% (4.02m vs. 2.76m),” CBS reported. “‘The Late Show’ also improved its lead over ‘Tonight’ in viewers by almost a million viewers (+1.26m viewers in first quarter 2018, up from +290,000 in first quarter 2017).”

Here’s a clip from Colbert’s interview Tuesday night with Comey …

TVBIZWIRE
Apr 18, 2018
1:57 pm
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ABC Brings Back Sunday Programming Block (TVWeek)

ABC announced plans to bring back its “Sunday Fun & Games” programming block, featuring the shows “Celebrity Family Feud,” “The $100,000 Pyramid” and “To Tell the Truth.” The block returns Sunday, June 10, starting at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Here are details from ABC about the shows:

“Celebrity Family Feud” (8:00 – 9:00 p.m. EDT)

Hosted by television personality and best-selling author Steve Harvey, “Celebrity Family Feud” returns for its fourth season on ABC. A celebrity version of “Family Feud,” the 10-episode series will feature celebrity families and their immediate family members or their extended TV families, competing against each other to have fun and win money for charity.

Celebrity family teams that will be playing for charity this season include the following: Team Kardashian vs. Team West, Steph Curry vs. Chris Paul, Ice T & Coco vs. Vivica A. Fox, Tori Spelling & Dean McDermott vs. Amber Riley, Team Grey’s Anatomy vs. Team Station 19, Team NBA on TNT vs. Team MLB All-Stars, and Laurie Hernandez vs. Shawn Johnson, amongst others.

“Celebrity Family Feud” is produced by FremantleMedia North America and is taped in front of a live audience in Los Angeles, California. Gaby Johnston and Jennifer Mullin are executive producers.

“The $100,000 Pyramid” (9:00 – 10:00 p.m. EDT)

Hosted by “Good Morning America” co-anchor Michael Strahan, “The $100,000 Pyramid” is the timeless word association game in which two celebrities and their partners face off in a race against the clock to make it to the winners’ circle and take home $100,000.

“The $100,000 Pyramid” is produced by SMAC Entertainment in association with Sony Pictures Television and is taped in front of a live studio audience in New York. “The $100,000 Pyramid” is executive produced by Michael Strahan, Constance Schwartz and Vin Rubino.

“To Tell the Truth” (10:00 – 11:00 p.m. EDT)

Hosted by the star of ABC’s hit comedy “black-ish,” Anthony Anderson, “To Tell the Truth” is a funny re-imagination of the beloved game show that first aired in 1956. This version takes the excitement to another level, featuring fun characters from pop culture. Anderson’s mother, Mama Doris, is also part of the fun as a commentator.

In each round, the panel is presented with three people who all claim to be the same person with the same incredible talent, job or achievement. One is sworn to tell the truth while the other two use every trick they can to deceive the panel. The panel of celebrities has a chance to grill each participant before taking turns deciding who they think is telling the truth.

“To Tell the Truth” is produced by FremantleMedia North America. Alycia Rossiter, Jennifer Mullin, Jeff Gaspin, George Moll and Anthony Anderson are executive producers.

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