Feb 21, 2018
3:57 pm

$85 Million Lawsuit in the Works Against Weinstein Co. (THR)

Just days after a high-profile firing as the company attempts to clean house amid the Harvey Weinstein scandal, The Weinstein Co. is in the crosshairs of a lawsuit that will reportedly seek more than $85 million in damages.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, David Glasser, the company’s former president and chief operating officer, is readying the lawsuit. Glasser was fired by the company last Friday.

“Glasser has hired a Los Angeles law firm and is coming out swinging, threatening to prove that it was the Weinstein Co.’s board of directors that failed to stop Harvey Weinstein’s abusive workplace behavior,” THR reports. “Glasser has retained the law firm of Sauer & Wagner to file a suit against TWC and its remaining board members — Bob Weinstein, Lance Maerov and Tarak Ben Ammar — alleging wrongful termination, retaliation, breach of contract and defamation. The lawsuit will name the board members personally and will seek damages in excess of $85 million, according to a statement provided to The Hollywood Reporter.”

The statement from Sauer & Wagner partner Eve Wagner adds: “My client’s sudden termination was nothing more than a desperate attempt to deflect attention away from the very people who were empowered to halt Harvey Weinstein’s abusive behavior — chairman Bob Weinstein and the two other members of the TWC board of directors.

“Throughout his tenure at TWC, Mr. Glasser worked tirelessly to protect the employees of the company from Mr. Weinstein’s frequent outbursts. Numerous documents and emails clearly show that Mr. Glasser acted appropriately and responsibly whenever allegations of misconduct were brought to his attention.”


Feb 21, 2018
3:27 pm

Did CBS Just Take a Poke at NBC? (TVWeek)

Most of NBC’s rival networks are keeping a low profile with their ratings announcements while the Peacock dominates the viewer totals with its Olympics coverage — even if NBC’s totals are down from the Sochi Games four years ago. But CBS offered an amusing spin on last week’s numbers that might be interpreted as a jab at NBC.

The Tiffany Network sent out an announcement today summarizing the ratings results for the week ending, Feb. 18, which ran under the headline: “CBS Is Not Playing Games, But Claims Ratings Silver in Viewers and Demos.” The announcement goes on to note that CBS had the week’s “top four most-watched non-Olympic primetime shows,” citing four episodes of “Big Brother: Celebrity Edition.”

Considering that “Big Brother” is generally considered to be a game, the “not playing games” claim is questionable. Nonetheless, CBS did finish a strong second for the week in key measures.

CBS averaged 4.476 million total viewers for the week, well behind NBC’s 17.604 million but ahead of ABC’s 3.203 million and Fox’s 1.649 million. In the key advertiser-friendly demo of adults 18-49, CBS settled for a tie with ABC for second place with a 0.7 average rating, again well behind NBC, which averaged a 4.2. Fox trailed with a 0.4 average rating.

CBS was second in the adults 25-54 demo with a 1.1 average rating, well behind NBC’s 5.5 but ahead of ABC with a 0.9 average and Fox with a 0.5.

“Against Olympian competition, CBS claimed a strong ratings silver for Week 21 of the 2017-2018 broadcast season according to Nielsen live plus same day ratings,” CBS said, noting that it finished second in viewers on six of the seven nights.

For the season to date through week 21, NBC is in first place in all three measures with CBS second in total viewers and adults 25-54 while Fox is currently running second in adults 18-49.

Season to date, total viewers:

NBC: 10.018 million

CBS: 9.234 million

ABC: 5.822 million

Fox: 5.738 million

Season to date, adults 18-49:

NBC: 2.6 average rating

Fox: 1.7

CBS: 1.6

ABC: 1.4

Season to date, adults 25-54:

NBC: 3.2 average rating

CBS: 2.3

Fox: 2.1

ABC: 1.8

Feb 21, 2018
3:21 pm

NBC Renews One of Its Summer Staples (Futon Critic)

It’s hardly a surprise, but NBC just renewed a show that has become a mainstay of its summer lineup. The Futon Critic reports that the Peacock Network will bring back “America’s Got Talent” for a 13th season.

The report notes that Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and Mel B will all return as judges, with Tyra Banks set ot return as the show’s host.

NBC noted: “Last summer, ‘America’s Got Talent’ averaged a 3.5 rating in adults 18-49 and 16 million viewers overall in ‘live plus seven day’ averages for original Tuesday telecasts, according to Nielsen Media Research. That made it the most-watched season in its 12-year history. ‘AGT’ was easily the #1 summer show in both measures and provided a strong lead-in to the #2 show of the summer, NBC’s ‘World of Dance.'”

Feb 21, 2018
12:53 pm

Netflix Signs Four-Picture Deal With Duplass Brothers (TVWeek)

Jay and Mark Duplass have inked a new deal for four films with Netflix, launching with “The Untitled Duplass Brothers Ray Romano Project,” due out later this year.

The Duplass brothers are independent filmmakers whose work has included “The One I Love,” “The Overnight,” “Creep,” “Cyrus” and “Jeff Who Lives at Home.”

In an announcement, Netflix offers this description of “The Untitled Duplass Brothers Ray Romano Project”: “A bittersweet bromance about friendship, mortality, and made-up sports, the film recently wrapped production starring Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond, The Big Sick) and Mark Duplass. The untitled film is the second feature film directed by Alex Lehmann (Blue Jay) who co-wrote the script with Duplass. Mel Eslyn, President of Duplass Brothers, is producing with Alana Carithers and Sean Bradley.”

Netflix’s relationship with Mark and Jay Duplass goes back to their first feature film, “The Puffy Chair,” which Netflix’s Red Envelope Entertainment co-distributed in 2005 as its first feature film acquisition.

Ian Bricke, director of independent film at Netflix, commented: “Jay and Mark are the most enterprising filmmakers in the business. They have embraced Netflix as much as our subscribers have embraced their films. Having worked with Mark and Jay for over a decade, we have huge admiration for their creative passion and filmmaking smarts. We are thrilled for this next chapter of our relationship.”

In a joint comment, Jay and Mark Duplass added: “Turns out when you make films for Netflix, millions of people all over the world watch them. This is not a terrible thing for an independent filmmaker. As Netflix continues to grow and develop new ways to reach viewers, we couldn’t be more thrilled to grow our partnership.”

Netflix signed an SVOD deal with the brothers in 2015 that included “Blue Jay,” “Take Me,” “Creep 2” and the upcoming “Duck Butter” and “Outside In.” The deal gave Netflix exclusive worldwide SVOD distribution rights following a short theatrical release window.

The Duplass Brothers also executive produced Netflix’s upcoming documentary series “Wild Wild Country,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and will be available on the streaming service March 16.

Feb 21, 2018
12:09 pm

Why NASA Got an Early Look at an Upcoming TV Series, and How You Can Get a Glimpse of It Now — Complete With the Catchphrase We’ve Come to Expect (TVWeek, Netflix)

Netflix revealed today that it provided NASA with access to the pilot episode of the eagerly anticipated reboot of “Lost in Space.” The program was transmitted 12 days ago to the International Space Station so that the astronauts could view it during their leisure time.

Here on Earth, the launch is set for April 13. But Netflix has released a trailer, which you can watch now. It includes an updated delivery of the catchphrase viewers would expect from any “Lost in Space” iteration — “Danger Will Robinson!”

Feb 21, 2018
11:57 am

CBS Corp. Launches Female Empowerment Program (TVWeek)

CBS Corp. today took the wraps off a new company-wide initiative aimed at promoting female empowerment and helping to develop the next generation of leaders.

The company announced an event in Los Angeles to kick off the new “EYE Speak” program, which will be hosted March 14 by CBS Television Studios.

Panelists at the kickoff event will include Maria Bello, Sonequa Martin-Green, Sara Ramirez, Gina Rodriguez, Lori McCreary, Aline Brosh McKenna and Jennie Snyder Urman.

The EYE Speak launch is being handled in coordination with the Association of National Advertisers and its #SeeHer campaign, which was created with the mission to portray girls and women accurately in media.

Please click here for details about both the EYE Speak program and the #SeeHer Campaign in today’s announcement.

Feb 21, 2018
9:37 am

New Televised Soccer Series Ready to Kick Off (TVWeek)

A new weekly program launches next month that will televise live competition from March through September in the National Women’s Soccer League. The “2018 NWSL Game of the Week” will run on Lifetime starting March 24.

The programming will air on Saturdays starting at 3:30 p.m. ET with a pregame show, with kickoffs at 3:50 p.m. ET.

The broadcast team will feature Jenn Hildreth, Aly Wagner and Dalen Cuff. The series launches with the North Carolina Courage vs. the Portland Thorns on March 24.

Please click here for the full schedule and additional details.

Feb 21, 2018
9:29 am

More Oscars Presenters Announced (TVWeek)

Presenters who were just announced for the Academy Awards ceremony, which will be aired live by ABC on Sunday, March 4, are Gal Gadot, Mark Hamill, Armie Hammer, Oscar Isaac, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Gina Rodriguez, Eva Marie Saint, Wes Studi, Kelly Marie Tran and Zendaya.

They join a list of previously announced presenters that includes Mahershala Ali, Chadwick Boseman, Viola Davis, Laura Dern, Jennifer Garner, Greta Gerwig, Tiffany Haddish, Tom Holland, Kumail Nanjiani, Margot Robbie, Emma Stone and Daniela Vega.

Please click here to read the full announcement from ABC, which includes details about the presenters.

Feb 21, 2018
8:19 am

Evangelist Billy Graham Dies at 99
(USA Today, CNN, NY Times, YouTube)

“The world’s best-known evangelist, the Rev. Billy Graham, has died,” reports USA Today. Graham was 99.

“The skinny preacher with the booming voice evangelized to nearly 215 million people over six decades and prayed with US presidents from Harry Truman to Barack Obama,” says CNN, adding, “Several presidents, including Lyndon Johnson, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, relied closely on his spiritual counsel.”

Graham “took the role of evangelist to a new level, lifting it from the sawdust floors of canvas tents in small-town America to the podiums of packed stadiums in the world’s major cities,” writes The New York Times, adding: “He wrote some 30 books and was among the first to use new communication technologies for religious purposes. During his ‘global crusade’ from Puerto Rico in 1995, his sermons were translated simultaneously into 48 languages and transmitted to 185 countries by satellite.”

“He saw the power of television in its infancy and used it to spread his message globally,” The Times notes.

To read more about Graham, please click here to go to the USA Today story, here to read the CNN piece, and here to read The New York Times obituary.

Graham was often on Larry King’s interview program on CNN. Here’s one from 1988 that we found on YouTube:

Feb 20, 2018
5:01 pm

‘Walking Dead’ Star Maps Exit Strategy (THR)

A mainstay of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” appears to be testing the waters elsewhere after hitting a speedbump in her salary negotiations with the cable channel. The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports that Lauren Cohan is “eyeing her departure” from the zombie show.

Cohan, who has been tussling with AMC over her salary for season nine, has booked a lead role in ABC’s new drama pilot “Whiskey Cavalier,” where she will star opposite Scott Foley.

“Cohan has emerged as one of the most in-demand actresses this pilot season,” THR notes. “Sources tell THR that she had been actively looking for her next role as she battles AMC over her season nine salary. With ‘Walking Dead’ already renewed for a ninth season, Cohan does not have a deal in place to return to the AMC series.”

The report adds: “Sources say Cohan and her agents are not happy with the offers that have been on the table from AMC. Although Cohan is not seeking salary parity with male leads Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus, her camp and AMC have been engaged in a months-long negotiation that remains far apart.”

Word is that Cohan is not merely using the pilot opportunity as leverage, but is actively looking for her next job.

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