Oct 21, 2016
2:47 pm

Massive Cyber-Attack Hits Major Websites (USA Today, TVWeek)

Websites including Netflix, Amazon, Twitter, Spotify, Tumblr and Reddit were hit with a massive cyber-attack today, with USA Today reporting that the attack was coming in “multiple waves.”

The attack made it impossible at times for users on the East Coast to access many sites.

“The cause was a large-scale distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) against New Hampshire-based Internet performance company Dyn,” USA Today reports. “The attacks made it difficult for users to access many popular sites beginning at 7:10 a.m. ET and continued throughout the day.”

Kyle York, Dyn’s chief strategy officer, talked about the attack this afternoon on a conference call with reporters, saying: “It’s a very smart attack. We start to mitigate, they react. It keeps on happening every time. We’re learning, though.”

USA Today adds: “The attacks used Mirai, an easy-to-use program that allows even unskilled hackers to take over online devices and use them to launch distributed denial of service, or DDoS attacks. Malware from phishing emails can infect a computer or home network, then spread to everything on it, taking over DVRs, cable set-top boxes, routers and even Internet-connected cameras used by stores and businesses for surveillance.”

Other sites that have been impacted by the attack, according to media reports, include HBO Now, news sites such as the BBC, CNN and The New York Times, Yelp, Pinterest, NHL.com, GitHub, Paypal and Soundcloud.

Oct 21, 2016
2:07 pm

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Roast Each Other at the Annual Al Smith Dinner — Here’s the Video (Fox 10 Phoenix)

The two major party presidential candidates traded in their usual stump speeches for comedy material at the annual Al Smith Dinner, seizing on the opportunity to take broad swipes at each other — including occasionally going too far, according to some observers.

Here’s what Clinton had to say …

And Trump’s speech …

Oct 21, 2016
2:01 pm

‘House of Cards’ Adds Two Key Players (THR, TVWeek)

Two familiar Hollywood faces are joining the cast of the Netflix drama “House of Cards.” In an exclusive, The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports that Patricia Clarkson and Campbell Scott will have major roles in the upcoming fifth season.

Clarkson is known for a string of roles in feature films including “The Green Mile” and ‘Far From Heaven,” and received an Oscar nomination in 2004 for “Pieces of April.” She won two Emmys for her work on “Six Feet Under.”

Scott has chalked up a long list of credits both in film and on TV, including work on “Royal Pains” and “Damages.”

“Details of their roles are being kept under wraps, though both will be featured heavily in the new season,” THR notes.

house of cards-netflix

Oct 21, 2016
1:21 pm

A&E Delays Series Launch (TVWeek)

A&E announced today that it has pushed back the premiere date for an upcoming series. The docuseries “The Killing Season” will now premiere Nov. 12, one week later than previously announced.

The series, which examines the unsolved Long Island Serial Killer case and other crimes, will bow with back-to-back episodes. The cable net did not give a reason for the date change.

Executive produced by Alex Gibney, the series “follows documentarians Joshua Zeman (‘Cropsey’) and Rachel Mills as they investigate one of the most bizarre unsolved serial killer cases of our time — ten dead sex workers discovered on Gilgo Beach, Long Island,” the network notes in its announcement. “Authorities believe these killings are the work of the Long Island Serial Killer, who after five years remains at large. Forging relationships with cyber-sleuths, journalists and victims’ families, Zeman and Mills uncover connections that suggest Long Island is just the beginning.”


Oct 21, 2016
12:57 pm

Cable Drama Series Canceled (Deadline)

A cable drama series has been canceled, with the show’s recent season finale to stand as the last episode for the series. In an exclusive, Deadline.com reports that Freeform pulled the plug on the mystery thriller “Guilt.”

The show, which starred Daisy Head, Emily Tremaine, Cristian Solimeno and Naomi Ryan, wrapped its 10-episode freshman in August. The series premiered to just under a half-million viewers on June 13, and the numbers went down from there, settling around the 300,000 mark.

“While the August 22 Season 1 finale revealed who the killer was, it set up several new cliffhangers, including who shot Prince Theo and will he survive,” Deadline notes.

The program was created and executive produced by Kathryn Price and Nichole Millard, with Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer as executive producers and showrunners. Stephen McPherson also executive produced.


Oct 21, 2016
12:44 pm

‘Live With Kelly’ Names Winner of Viewer Co-Host Search (TVWeek, ABC)

The “Live with Kelly and You” co-host search contest is over, with the morning show “Live with Kelly” revealing today on the air that the winner of the viewer contest is Richard Curtis.

Curtis, a high school teacher from Perkasie, Pa., joined Kelly Ripa as the co-host of today’s show.

“The big reveal was made this morning when he walked out hand-in-hand with Kelly Ripa to co-host the show,” the program announced in a press release today. “Curtis was a co-hosting natural, from shooting the breeze with Ripa during the opening ‘Host Chat’ segment, to interviewing actors Elijah Wood and Sullivan Stapleton, to ‘meeting’ America’s Biggest Pumpkin.”

The release notes that “Live” received thousands of entries in the search contest, adding that “Curtis’ creative video submission and written pitch, in which he described himself as ‘positively positive’ and a ‘motivational madman,’ stood out. After making it to the top five, he competed on-air all week long for his chance at snagging the coveted co-host spot for the day.”

Meanwhile, the permanent co-hosting position remains open, and the show continues to bring a rotating lineup of guest hosts on board.

102116-kelly-ripa-richard-curtis-live-with-kelly-abcKelly Ripa and Richard Curtis on this morning’s “Live with Kelly”

Oct 21, 2016
12:27 pm

Time Warner-AT&T Merger Talks Heat Up (WSJ)

The rumored Time Warner-AT&T merger is suddenly on the fast track, with a deal possible as soon as this weekend, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“AT&T Inc. is in advanced talks to acquire Time Warner Inc., according to people familiar with the matter, a deal that would create a new hallmark in the rapidly converging realms of media, communications and the Internet,” WSJ reports. “A deal, which could happen as early as this weekend, would unite AT&T’s portfolio of wireless, broadband and satellite TV services with Time Warner’s entertainment empire, which includes cable networks such as TNT, TBS, CNN, the coveted premium channel HBO, and the Warner Bros. film and TV studio.”

The talks have come together quickly, the report notes, and a deal could still fall apart or be delayed.

“Time Warner shares rose 6.7% to $90.94 in early-afternoon trading after The Wall Street Journal reported the advanced talks, while AT&T fell 2.6% to $37.65,” WSJ notes.

The report adds: “A merger of the companies would be the most ambitious marriage of content and distribution in the media and telecom industries since Comcast Corp.’s 2011 purchase of NBCUniversal and would create a behemoth to rival that cable giant. A transaction would be far and away the biggest media deal of recent years. Time Warner has a market capitalization of $71 billion, while AT&T’s was $231.7 billion.”

at&t logo

Oct 21, 2016
11:59 am

How the Current ‘Golden Age of Television’ Is Bad for Business (Bloomberg)

The current TV environment is being widely hailed as a new “Golden Age of Television,” with a proliferation of acclaimed shows across broadcast, cable and digital platforms. But the scenario is bad for business in off-network syndication, which has traditionally been one of the industry’s most profitable segments.

“Reruns are under pressure because cable networks, which have been the deep-pocketed buyers of old shows, are making more original series to stand out in the crowd,” Bloomberg reports.

The Bloomberg analysis notes that the number of shows airing reruns on cable has been dropping — from 159 in 2013 to 128 last year, based on Nielsen data — while the number of original series on basic cable has surged — from 70 in 2010 to 181 last year.

“Time Warner’s Turner unit, owner of the TBS and TNT cable channels — comfortable retirement homes for recycled network series including ‘Friends,’ ‘Seinfeld’ and ‘Law & Order’ — will boost its original programming by 80 percent by 2018 as ratings for its reruns weaken,” Bloomberg notes.

As audiences increasingly steer clear of cable repeats in favor of original programming, the report also cites this stark example: “The cable network WGN America paid more than $1 million per episode for reruns of ‘Elementary’ and ‘Person of Interest.’ Both dramas drew an average of 10 million to 12 million viewers in their debut seasons on CBS, but last season neither got more than 260,000 viewers on WGN. Earlier this year, WGN’s parent, Tribune Media, took a $74 million charge after those shows failed to win audiences.”

We encourage readers to click on the link to Bloomberg near the top of this story to read the full analysis.

person of interest-title

Oct 21, 2016
10:31 am

Did the Koch Brothers Just Kill the Film and TV Business in Florida? (Deadline)

The film and TV industry in Florida is in a state of “free-fall” and the billionaire Koch brothers and their political allies are responsible, according to a new report by Deadline.com. Productions, vendors and workers are fleeing the state, the story reports, after Florida scrapped its tax incentive program earlier this year, the story reports.

The production-friendly tax program was dumped “in the wake of a concerted and well-financed campaign by the billionaire Koch brothers and their conservative allies in the state Legislature to kill the Sunshine State’s incentives,” Deadline reports. “It’s an exodus of epic proportions, but if a movie were ever to be made about it, it would probably have to be shot in Georgia.”

The report quotes Fred Moyse, business manager of southern Florida-based IATSE Local 477, saying: “The industry here is one step away from dead. We’ve lost a third of our members. It’s been devastating to the men and women who work in this industry, and crippling to the small businesses that support it.”

We recommend that readers click on the link to Deadline near the top of this report to read the full article.

Oct 21, 2016
9:51 am

Comedy Legend — the Winner of 6 Emmys and 5 Golden Globes (!) — to Star in New ABC Comedy (Deadline, YouTube, TVWeek)

A TV comedy legend who has been nominated for a staggering 23 Primetime Emmys and 17 Golden Globes — winning six Emmys and five Globes — is returning to network television. In a coup for ABC, Deadline.com reports that the Alphabet Network has landed a high-profile Carol Burnett project that sparked a bidding war among the broadcast and streaming outlets.

ABC made a put pilot commitment to the multi-camera comedy, which will star Burnett, with Amy Poehler — part of a long line of TV women heavily influenced by Burnett — to executive produce through her Paper Kite banner, Deadline reports. The Universal TV production will be written and executive produced by Michael Saltzman.

“The untitled comedy is about a family who gets a chance to buy the house of their dreams — a house they’d never be able to afford under normal circumstances, but is able to under extremely abnormal circumstances,” Deadline reports. “They must live with the current owner, an older actress (Burnett) — until she dies.”

Also executive producing are Paper Kite’s Brooke Posch, 3 Arts’ Dave Becky and Comedy Dynamics’ Michael Pelmont.

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