Jun 28, 2017
5:26 pm

FX Networks Makes Key Moves in Development and Current Series (TVWeek)

FX Networks announced some moves today on its development and current series teams, which are responsible for all original scripted programming across the company’s suite of networks.

Colette Wilson was promoted to Senior Vice President, Current Series, for FX Networks, Barbara Crawford was promoted to Vice President, Current Series, for FX Networks, and Kevin Wandell was promoted to Vice President, Development, for FX Networks.

The moves were announced by Nick Grad and Eric Schrier, Presidents of Original Programming, FX Networks and FX Productions.

In a statement, Grad and Schrier said: “Colette, Barbara and Kevin have been integral to the growth and success of FX Networks’ slate of original programs and we are happy that they will be playing an even greater role going forward. The extraordinary success of the series they develop and oversee, including last year’s most acclaimed drama series and comedy series, is a testament to their creative instincts, tireless effort and commitment to the ‘Fearless’ storytelling that is the hallmark of FX Networks.”

Please click here to read the full announcement.

Jun 28, 2017
12:39 pm

Sarah Palin Sues The New York Times (NY Post)

Former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin filed a lawsuit Tuesday against The New York Times alleging defamation, The New York Post reports.

The suit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, concerns a recent editorial connecting one of Palin’s political action committee ads to the 2011 mass shooting in Arizona in which six people were killed and Democratic lawmaker Gabby Giffords was severely injured, the story reports.

The Post reports that the suit accuses The Times of having “violated the law and its own policies” when it accused Palin — in a “fabricated story” — of inciting the attack. Palin is seeking damages to be determined by a jury.

The Times editorial, which ran June 14, accused Palin of “political incitement” before the Arizona shooting, The Post reports. “The paper said Palin incited th​​e shooting, which left ​congresswoman ​Gabby Gifford​s​ with a severe brain injury, through an ad from her PAC that put ‘Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs,'” The Post reports. “In fact, the ad never put Giffords or any other individual in the cross hairs — forcing the newspaper of record to issue an embarrassing correction.”

Jun 28, 2017
12:27 pm

Trump Creeps Out His Critics With Comments About Female Reporter (TVWeek, Twitter)

Donald Trump sparked a social media freakout when he took time out from a phone call with new Irish leader Leo Varadkar to admire a female reporter who was working the event in the Oval Office.

RTE Washington correspondent Caitriona Perry, one of a number of members of the Irish press who were on hand to cover the phone call, posted a video of the incident on her Twitter account, which you can see by clicking here.

In the clip, Trump can be seen on the phone when he motions for Perry to come up to his desk and offers a series of comments presumably intended as compliments. “She has a nice smile on her face,” he tells Varadkar. “I bet she treats you well.” Perry and others respond with mild laughter and Perry walks away from Trump’s desk.

Perry calls it a “bizarre moment” in her Twitter post, which you can see below. But other Twitter users framed the incident in far more negative terms. Here are a few samples from the comments in response to Perry’s post:

  • “It’s hell to be objectified. When POTUS has no fear of doing that surrounded by cameras… I’m so sorry. Your success is more than a smile.”
  • “Remarks like that in workplace R completely inappropriate. There’s a time & place: discussing one’s attractiveness in workplace is wrong.”
  • “SO very gross! OMG! I am so sad for all the women who must interact with him. SO DISGUSTING! #notmypresident #NOCLASS #PREDATOR”
  • “Do these women have any dignity?… he’s so gross, I’d feign sickness not to see or hear him”
  • “His wife defends him. She should be forced to be around him at all times. The other females have real work to do. Hope Colbert caught that.”
  • “Repulsive. This sexual predator is using his power to blatantly abuse a woman on-camera. Anyone who thinks this is ok needs to wake the F up”
  • “I couldn’t understand what he said. He’s on the level of a 14 yr old boy. Gross.”

Jun 28, 2017
10:59 am

Why a ‘Fast and Furious’ Cast Member Is Threatening to Walk Away From the Hit Film Franchise (TVWeek, Instagram, EW)

One of the regulars from the wildly successful “Fast and Furious” feature film franchise is upset with the series over the relatively low profile of its female characters.

Michelle Rodriguez, who has played Letty in the films since the original movie in 2001, put up a post on her Instagram account in connection with the digital release of the eighth franchise film, “The Fate of the Furious.” In it she wrote: “I hope they decide to show some love to the women of the franchise on the next one. Or I just might have to say goodbye to a loved franchise. It’s been a good ride & Im grateful for the opportunity the fans & studio have provided over the years.”

The post, which you can see below, includes photos of Rodriguez and others on the set.

Rodriguez spoke out strongly on the issue in an interview last month with Entertainment Weekly, in which she said: “Having girls run around and do a bunch of really cool stuff, that’s great, it’s wonderful, but we never talk to each other. It’s very rare that they even look at each other. I’ve been making movies with Jordana [Brewster], who plays the sister of Dom Toretto, for 16 years and I can count on one hand how many lines I’ve had to her. I think that’s pathetic and it’s lack of creativity.”

She added: “Guys don’t know what girls talk about. They think that girls just sit around talking about guys and it’s a sad truth of men being the dominant writers in Hollywood.”

In the EW interview, Rodriguez also suggested “bringing some more women on the good team, not just bringing an amazing actress to play the bad guy, and having more female camaraderie, having women do things independently outside of what the boys are doing — that is truly the voice of female independence.”

Jun 28, 2017
9:57 am

‘Big Bang Theory’ Star’s House Burns Down (TMZ, TVWeek)

One of the stars of the hit CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” lost a house Monday night to fire. Johnny Galecki, who stars as Leonard on the series, had his getaway ranch in San Luis Obispo County burn to the ground in a 1,200-acre wildfire that CalFire is calling the Hill fire, TMZ.com reports.

“Our sources say Johnny hasn’t seen the property since it burned down, and plans to show up when he gets the all clear … so he can salvage anything that was spared,” TMZ reported Tuesday evening.

The fire is near Santa Margarita, north of the city of San Luis Obispo.

Galecki told the publication: “My heart goes out to all in the area who are also experiencing loss from this vicious fire, the threat of which we live with constantly, which may seem crazy to some but we do so because living in our beautiful, rural area makes it worthwhile.”

Jun 28, 2017
8:47 am

New Report Suggests the Reason CNN Retracted Botched Russia Story (NY Post)

In the wake of an embarrassing incident for CNN involving a poorly handled story about a Trump associate’s relationship with the head of a Russian investment fund, a new report suggests that the reason CNN acted quickly to retract the story was that it was facing a possible $100 million libel lawsuit.

“The cable network’s coverage of Trump transition team member Anthony Scaramucci came amid federal scrutiny of corporate parent Time Warner’s pending purchase by AT&T — and the widespread belief among media execs that CNN President Jeff Zucker can’t survive a merger,” The New York Post reports. “CNN immediately caved after Scaramucci, a financier and frequent network guest, cried foul and threatened to take legal action, sources said Tuesday.”

The report cites a source saying that even after Scaramucci received a public apology, he hired a top Manhattan lawyer to keep the heat on CNN and “look after [his] interests in this matter.”

The three journalists who lost their CNN jobs over the incident did not leave voluntarily but were pressured to resign, the story notes, quoting a source saying: “They called them in and said they’d pay out their contracts, but they should leave immediately.”

“Zucker was afraid of facing a high-profile suit from Scaramucci while the U.S. Justice Department weighs the proposed $85.4 billion media merger,” The Post adds. “Meanwhile, a CNN insider said staffers are furious at ‘having lost the moral high ground because of this story.’”

Jun 28, 2017
8:09 am

Sci-Fi Classic That Inspired ‘Star Wars’ Being Developed as TV Series (Deadline, TVWeek)

A classic work from one of the most revered science-fiction authors is in the works for what Mike Fleming Jr., writing on Deadline.com, calls a “sprawling TV series.”

“The Isaac Asimov science-fiction trilogy ‘Foundation’ heavily informed ‘Star Wars’ and many other sci-fi films and TV series, but for decades it has confounded Hollywood attempts at a straight adaptation,” Fleming writes in an exclusive report. “I’m hearing that Skydance, David S. Goyer and Josh Friedman are going to try to crack it. Skydance Television is closing a deal with the Asimov estate to try turning ‘Foundation’ into a sprawling TV series.”

The work was originally published as a series of short stories starting in 1942. The complex story tracks the efforts of mathematician and “psychohistorian” Hari Seldon to save the collective knowledge of humanity, which is strewn about the Milky Way under the control of the Galactic Empire.

“Asimov’s trilogy has been tried numerous times as a feature film, at Fox, Warner Bros (with Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne, the guys who greenlit ‘The Lord of the Rings’), and then at Sony with ‘Independence Day’ director Roland Emmerich,” Fleming notes. “Many top sci-fi writers have done scripts. Most recently, HBO tried a series with Emmerich and ‘Interstellar’ co-writer and ‘Westworld’ exec producer Jonathan Nolan.”

Jun 28, 2017
8:01 am

CBS Back on Top in Late-Night — Here’s How It Happened (TVWeek)

No sooner had viewer numbers surfaced for last week that indicated momentum was swinging back toward Jimmy Fallon and NBC, as we reported Tuesday, when CBS announced today that it had regained the lead in total viewers for last week based on Nielsen Live+3 Day data.

It seems CBS’s “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” is posting much larger gains than NBC’s “Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon” in delayed viewing. In Live+Same Day figures for last week, the NBC flagship show held a slight edge in total viewers with 2.66 million to CBS’s 2.62 million. But L+3 figures have CBS back on top with 3.10 million to NBC’s 2.86 million.

The increase from three-day viewing is no contest, with CBS’s “Colbert” gaining an average of 480,000 viewers to just 200,000 for NBC’s “Fallon.”

Jun 28, 2017
7:31 am

Sinclair VP Donated to Congressional Candidate After ‘Body-Slam’ Incident (Politico)

One day after a congressional candidate was charged with assault in a notorious incident in which he “body-slammed” a reporter, Frederick G. Smith, the VP and director of Sinclair Broadcasting Group, made a donation to the campaign of the candidate, Montana Republican Greg Gianforte, Politico reports.

“On May 24, Gianforte assaulted Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs as Jacobs attempted to ask Gianforte a question about the healthcare bill, breaking Jacobs’ glasses and sending him to the hospital for X-rays,” the story reports. “Though Gianforte’s campaign initially decried Jacobs as a ‘liberal’ reporter and placed some of the blame on him, Gianforte eventually apologized, pleaded guilty to the assault, and donated $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists as part of an agreement under which Jacobs did not pursue a civil case. Gianforte was sentenced to community service and anger management classes, while being assessed a $385 fine.”

Smith’s $1,000 donation came on May 25, the day after the incident and the day Gianforte was elected, the story reports, citing Federal Election Commission reports. Smith also gave $1,000 to Gianforte’s campaign in March.

“Gianforte’s campaign received a flood of new donations the day after the incident, raising about $118,000 on May 25, more than double the amount he raised the day before,” the report notes.

Jun 28, 2017
7:17 am

New Movie Celebrates the Birth of Show Business (20th Century Fox)

A major feature film coming out this year, featuring an A-list cast that includes stars Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya and Rebecca Ferguson, celebrates what 20th Century Fox calls “the birth of show business.”

The movie is “The Greatest Showman,” a musical about P.T. Barnum (Jackman). Directed by Michael Gracey and written by Jenny Bicks and Bill Condon, the movie is due out this Christmas.

Here’s a trailer released today …

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