Mar 4, 2015
8:41 am

NBC Ready to Take Its Funny Business Online (WSJ)

NBCUniversal is readying a subscription Web video service the company plans to launch later this year to offer comedy programming for a monthly fee, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The moved, aimed at cord cutters, signals NBCU’s “growing interest in reaching young viewers online as its traditional cable-TV business stagnates,” the report notes.

WSJ reports: “The comedy service would likely feature full episodes of NBC shows such as ‘The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon’ and ‘Saturday Night Live.’ The company also plans to invest in original series for the service and may enlist its TV stars to create exclusive content, according to the people familiar with the plans.”

Various price points are said to be under consideration, with one source saying $2.50 to $3.50 per month is a possibility.

WSJ adds: “The company has explored launching other Web TV services geared to particular genres such as faith and family and horror. A horror-themed service, for example, could include content from NBCU’s small cable channel Chiller. NBCU has been testing the ideas to see which ones would resonate with the demographic it hopes to target: people under 35 years old. For the moment, the comedy service is the only one in advanced development.”

tonight show starring jimmy fallon-title

Mar 4, 2015
8:37 am

What Will Andrew Lack’s Potential Return to NBC News Mean for Brian Williams? (LA Times)

One key player with a stake in whether former NBC News President Andrew Lack will return to the network is Brian Williams.

We reported yesterday that Lack, who presided over the news division from 1993-2001, is in negotiations to return in a high-level position. The Los Angeles Times describes Lack’s possible return as a “potential lifeline” for Williams, who has been sidelined in the wake of a controversy over his faulty recollection of his experiences covering the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The Times reports that Lack is in “advanced negotiations to take the top news post at the network.” The piece cites NBC executives who are not authorized to talk publicly about the situation.

“He would replace current NBCUniversal News Group Chairman Pat Fili-Krushel, who is set to take another corporate role, the executives said,” the report notes, adding: “Several TV news executives who worked under Andrew Lack’s previous tenure at the network say Lack’s becoming the new head of the news group provides a path for Brian Williams to return from his six-month suspension.”

Lack is credited with grooming Williams for the “NBC Nightly News” anchor’s chair as Tom Brokaw was headed out.

One of the former execs, referring to Williams, said: “While it’s not a guarantee, it certainly indicates that he is coming back.”

“Five other veterans of NBC News with former ties to Lack and Williams agreed with that assessment,” the Times adds.

Another former colleague of both Williams and Lack is quoted saying: “They are great friends. Brian Williams thanks Andy for getting the chair.”

Network executives indicated that NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke sought out Lack when he was considering how to handle the Brian Williams controversy, and Lack offered advice to the news division on the news anchor’s future, the report adds.

nbc nightly news with brian williams

Mar 4, 2015
8:19 am

30-Year Media Veteran Joins Discovery in High-Level Position (TVWeek)

Discovery Communications this week announced the hiring of a longtime media industry executive as president, global business and legal affairs, production management and studios. Marc Graboff will take the post, reporting to Bruce Campbell, chief development and digital media officer and general counsel.

Graboff, a 30-year veteran of media and entertainment, will oversee Discovery’s worldwide business affairs and production operations and management, along with the Studios Group, the company announced.

Lee Bartlett was named president of the Studios Group, and will report to Graboff.

Please click here to read the full announcement from Discovery.

marc graboffMarc Graboff

Mar 4, 2015
8:11 am

Nominees for MTV Movie Awards Revealed — Here’s the Full List (TVWeek)

The nominees have been unveiled for next month’s MTV Movie Awards, with the golden popcorn statuettes to be handed out in 14 categories April 12.

Topping the list with seven nominations each are “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “The Fault in Our Stars” and “Neighbors,” with “Guardians” and “Fault” also among the eight contenders for Movie of the Year.

The ceremony, to be carried live on MTV, will be hosted by Amy Schumer.

Here are the nominees:

Movie of the Year

“American Sniper”


“The Fault in Our Stars”

“Gone Girl”

“Guardians of the Galaxy”

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1″



Best Female Performance

Emma Stone, “Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

Jennifer Lawrence, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1″

Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”

Scarlett Johansson, “Lucy”

Shailene Woodley, “The Fault in Our Stars”

Best Male Performance

Ansel Elgort, “The Fault in Our Stars”

Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper”

Channing Tatum, “Foxcatcher”

Chris Pratt, “Guardians of the Galaxy”

Miles Teller, “Whiplash”

Best Scared-as-S**t Performance

Annabelle Wallis, “Annabelle”

Dylan O’Brien, “The Maze Runner”

Jennifer Lopez, “The Boy Next Door”

Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”

Zach Gilford, “The Purge: Anarchy”

Breakthrough Performance

Ansel Elgort, “The Fault in Our Stars”

David Oyelowo, “Selma”

Dylan O’Brien, “The Maze Runner”

Ellar Coltrane, “Boyhood”

Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”

Best Shirtless Performance

Ansel Elgort, “The Fault in Our Stars”

Channing Tatum, “Foxcatcher”

Chris Pratt, “Guardians of the Galaxy”

Kate Upton, “The Other Woman”

Zac Efron, “Neighbors”

Best Duo

Bradley Cooper & Vin Diesel, “Guardians of the Galaxy”

Channing Tatum & Jonah Hill, “22 Jump Street”

James Franco & Seth Rogen, “The Interview”

Shailene Woodley & Ansel Elgort, “The Fault in Our Stars”

Zac Efron & Dave Franco, “Neighbors”

Best Fight

Chris Evans vs. Sebastian Stan, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”

Dylan O’Brien vs. Will Poulter, “The Maze Runner”

Edward Norton vs. Michael Keaton, “Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

Jonah Hill vs. Jillian Bell, “22 Jump Street”

Seth Rogen vs. Zac Efron, “Neighbors”

Best Kiss

Andrew Garfield & Emma Stone, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″

Chris Evans & Scarlett Johansson, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”

James Franco & Seth Rogen, “The Interview”

Rose Byrne & Halston Sage, “Neighbors”

Shailene Woodley & Ansel Elgort, “The Fault in Our Stars”

Best WTF Moment

Jason Sudeikis & Charlie Day, “Horrible Bosses 2″

Jonah Hill, “22 Jump Street”

Miles Teller, “Whiplash”

Rosario Dawson & Anders Holm, “Top Five”

Seth Rogen & Rose Byrne, “Neighbors”

Best Villain

J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

Jillian Bell, “22 Jump Street”

Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods”

Peter Dinklage, “X-Men: Days of Future Past”

Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”

Best Musical Moment

Bill Hader & Kristen Wiig, “The Skeleton Twins”

Chris Pratt, “Guardians of the Galaxy”

Jennifer Lawrence, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1″

Miles Teller, “Whiplash”

Seth Rogen & Zac Efron, “Neighbors”

Best Comedic Performance

Channing Tatum, “22 Jump Street”

Chris Pratt, “Guardians of the Galaxy”

Chris Rock, “Top Five”

Kevin Hart, “The Wedding Ringer”

Rose Byrne, “Neighbors”

Best On-Screen Transformation

Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”

Ellar Coltrane, “Boyhood”

Elizabeth Banks, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1″

Steve Carell, “Foxcatcher”

Zoe Saldana, “Guardians of the Galaxy”

mtv movie awards-logo

Mar 4, 2015
8:01 am

Sling TV Bolsters Lineup With Major Cable Programming (Multichannel News)

The over-the-top pay-TV service Sling TV has added some key players in the cable space. Multichannel News reports that the subscription service from Dish Network added AMC and IFC to its core package.

Sling TV also launched a new package, “Hollywood Extra,” featuring Sundance TV and EPIX content. “Hollywood Extra” carries a $5 monthly subscription price, with the core service going for $20.

“Sling TV, which announced a distribution agreement with AMC Networks in tandem with its national launch on February 9, noted that it will also offer VOD content from AMC and IFC ‘soon,’” the story notes. “In addition to AMC and IFC, Sling TV’s core package also offers ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, ABC Family, Disney Channel, CNN, El Rey and Galavision.”


Mar 4, 2015
7:47 am

Presidential Hopeful Raises Eyebrows With CNN Interview on Homosexuality — Here’s the Clip (CNN)

In an interview this morning with Chris Cuomo on the CNN show “New Day,” presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson offered views on homosexuality that many observers may find controversial.

Carson has not formally declared his candidacy for president, but has reportedly formed an exploratory committee to contemplate a bid for the Republican nomination in 2016. In the interview, Cuomo asked whether being gay is a choice and Carson responded: “Absolutely.”

Carson, a neurosurgeon, indicated that homosexuality can be proved to be a choice because some people “go into prison straight — and when they come out, they’re gay.”

Carson’s argument, CNN reports, “is at odds with the majority of the medical community, including the American Psychological Association, who says ‘most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.’”

Here’s the clip:

Mar 4, 2015
7:31 am

Syfy Gets New SVP Communications (TVWeek)

NBCUniversal’s Syfy and Chiller networks have announced that the senior vice president of communications for a sibling network — Esquire — is moving over to take a similar post at Syfy and Chiller.

That person is Katherine Nelson. She starts immediately at Syfy and Chiller, reporting to Dave Howe, the president of those networks.

She replaces Sallie Schoneboom, who has taken on a new assignment for NBCU Cable Entertainment, handling media and talent relations for the division’s upcoming upfront presentation.

In the announcement, Howe said: “Katherine is an accomplished communications veteran with a truly unique background and deep experience in promoting high quality, smart, provocative entertainment. She has proven herself to be strategic, creative and collaborative during her tenure at NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, and I know she will take Syfyand Chiller’s pioneering press efforts to new heights.”

The announcement adds: “At Esquire Network, Nelson developed and executed the communications strategy for the network’s debut in September 2013. A member of the core executive team, she contributed to the overall strategic direction of the network and oversaw all publicity and talent relations for its ambitious slate of original series and specials.

“Nelson joined Esquire Network and NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment in January 2013 from SpaceX, the pioneering space transport company founded by Elon Musk. As Vice President, Marketing and Communications, she served as chief spokesperson for the company, and oversaw all areas of strategic communications and marketing, including corporate and internal communications, digital and social media, advertising, creative, events and commerce.

“Prior to SpaceX, Nelson spent more than 20 years in the television industry. As Vice President of Communications for Discovery Communications’ flagship U.S. network, Discovery Channel, she was the leading strategist in communications planning, media outreach and award campaigns for many of the network’s highest-profile series and specials, including ‘MythBusters,’ ‘Dirty Jobs’ and the groundbreaking ‘Planet Earth.’”

katherineNelsonKatherine Nelson



Mar 4, 2015
7:17 am

Why a Hot New Movie Is Being Boycotted in the U.S. (Variety)

A new feature film that has already received Oscar buzz faces a boycott in the U.S. from four major theater chains. Variety reports that “Beasts of No Nation,” starring Idris Elba, is being boycotted by the theaters because it will be shown by Netflix simultaneously with its theatrical release.

The streaming service this week bought the rights to the movie for $12 million, reportedly following a bidding war.

“Four of the country’s … largest exhibitors — AMC, Regal, Cinemark and Carmike — separately told Variety that they do not plan to show the drama about child soldiers in Africa because they do not want to provide screens to films that do not honor what is typically a 90-day delay between a theatrical debut and a home entertainment release,” the publication reports.

Variety notes: “In a release touting the deal, Netflix said the picture will have a qualifying run for Oscar consideration in ‘select theaters’ later this year — language that seemed to acknowledge that ‘Beasts of No Nation’ will have trouble securing a berth in many theaters.”

Netflix also got into a dispute with theater owners last fall when it revealed plans to work in partnership with The Weinstein Company and Imax on distribution of the “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” sequel.

Industry sources indicated that “Beasts of No Nation,” written and directed by “True Detective” director and producer Cary Fukunaga, could still be distributed by between 200 and 250 arthouses and indie theaters. The movie stars four-time Emmy nominee Elba, known for playing Stringer Bell on “The Wire.”


Mar 3, 2015
12:17 pm

Cable Net Pulls Plug on Comedy Series (Deadline)

A comedy series has been canceled after airing on cable for one season. reports that IFC pulled the plug on “Garfunkel & Oates.”

The show starred the comedy-folk duo of Riki Lindhome, as “Garfunkel,” and Kate Micucci, as “Oates.” The series had a 10-episode run on the cable channel last year.

Nellie Andreeva writes in the Deadline story that the show “spotlighted the personal and professional lives of the duo whose career choices — singing satirical and sometimes dirty songs — left them with little in common with their peers, and no one but each other to turn to for support and understanding.”

garfunkel & oatesGarfunkel and Oates

Mar 3, 2015
12:11 pm

NBC Greenlights Celebrity Variety Series (THR)

NBC placed a series order for a new variety show, complete with a high-profile host. The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports that the network ordered six episodes of “I Can Do That!”

The half-hour show is hosted by Marlon Wayans.

“The series, which will air in the summer, will feature celebrities including Cheryl Burke (‘Dancing with the Stars’), Joe Jonas, Nicole Scherzinger, Ciara, comedian Jeff Dye and actor Alan Ritchson,” THR reports. “The comedy, based on an international format currently airing in more than 15 countries, will feature celebrities being asked to put on an entertainment show with skills they didn’t even know they had.”

Produced by Universal Television, the series will be executive produced by Audrey Morrissey (“The Voice”), Matilda Zoltowski (“Dancing with the Stars”), Rick Alvarez, Avi Armoza, Nehama Cohen, Elwin De Groot and Steve Harris, along with Wayans, the article reports.

THR adds: “Each episode will be filmed in front of a live studio audience and feature the six cast members competing in teams of two putting on a show featuring songs, dances, magic and danger, NBC said in a release touting the series.”

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