TVBizWire

TVBIZWIRE
Mar 3, 2015
6:59 am
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ESPN Raises the Ante on Women’s Basketball (TVWeek)

While much of the “March Madness” focus will be on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, ESPN is elevating its game when it comes to women’s hoops. The network announced that its coverage of conference tournaments in women’s college basketball, starting Wednesday, March 4, and continuing through Sunday, March 15, will feature a record number of games.

Additionally, ESPN announced plans to cover all 63 games of the 2015 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship tournament.

ESPN’s “2015 Championship Week Presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods” will air across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network, ESPN3 and SEC Network +, with a total of 112 games to be televised. ESPN will air five conference title games — the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC on Sunday, March 8, and the American Women’s Championship on Monday, March 9.

“The networks will combine to exclusively offer game action of 112 women’s games, and will crown the champion from 21 Division I conferences. ESPN3 will have exclusive coverage of 80 conference tournament games, and will show another 20 contests available in local markets via syndication, for a total of 132 games,” the company announced.

The programming will be offered via a variety of platforms, with full Championship Week coverage accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app, and streamed on TVs through Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 or Xbox One to viewers with video subscriptions through an affiliated provider.

For the 10th consecutive year, the ESPN networks will also televise all 63 games of the 2015 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship.

“ESPN and ESPN2 will present regionalized telecasts with home market protection through the first two rounds,” the company announced. “ESPN3 and ESPN FULL COURT, the pay-per-view package, will offer first- and second-round games in their entirety as a supplement to ESPN and ESPN2’s coverage. The final 15 games, beginning with the Regional Semifinals, will have national telecast windows on ESPN or ESPN2.”

The complete schedule for the 64-team tournament will be announced later.

Among the Championship Week highlights, four conference title games will air Sunday, March 8, on ESPN channels (all times ET):

• The ACC championship game will air at 1 p.m. with the semifinals airing Saturday at noon and 2:30 p.m. on ESPNU.

• The SEC title game airs at 3:30 p.m., with the semifinals airing Saturday at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. on ESPNU.

• The Big Ten title game airs at 7 p.m. and the nightcap at 9 p.m. features the Pac-12 semifinal winners.

The announcement adds: “The American Women’s Conference Championship can be seen exclusively on ESPN platforms – the first round and quarterfinal games will be on ESPN3 on Friday, March 6, and Saturday, March 7, respectively, with the semifinals airing Sunday on ESPNU and the title game on Monday on ESPN.”

Additionally, the following championship games will be televised live on ESPNU: America East, Atlantic 10, Horizon League, MAAC, Northeast Conference, Summit League, Western Athletic Conference and West Coast Conference.

The SEC tournament will be featured on SEC Network:

• SEC Network will carry the first round, second round and quarterfinal games live from Little Rock, Ark., beginning Wednesday, March 4, through Friday, March 6.

• “SEC Now” courtside in Little Rock on Thursday with pregame and postgame coverage on Saturday.

• “SEC Now” features Host Maria Taylor and analyst Nell Fortner.

• Coach and player interviews, locker room access and coaches being mic’ed will be part of game and studio telecasts.

breanna stewart

TVBIZWIRE
Mar 3, 2015
6:13 am
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Host of the Top-Rated First-Run Syndicated Show Plans to Stick Around — Signs Deal Through 2020 (TVWeek)

The host of a show that has been a juggernaut in first-run syndication appears poised to stay around for a while. Judge Judy Sheindlin, whose “Judge Judy” sits atop the rankings among first-run syndie shows, extended her deal with CBS Television Distribution through 2020.

Making the announcement Wednesday was Armando Nunez, president and CEO of CBS Global Distribution Group.

“Judge Judy” has been the top-rated show in first-run syndication for the past five seasons, and the No. 1 court show for 969 consecutive weeks, the company noted in its announcement. Currently in its 19th season, “Judge Judy” is averaging 10.3 million viewers.

The new agreement includes a first-look production deal with Sheindlin’s Queen Bee Productions, the producer of the top-rated new show in syndication this season, “Hot Bench.” “Hot Bench” has been averaging 2.3 million viewers.

Said Sheindlin: “I’m thrilled to be working with my CBS family for five more years, and very excited about this new adventure in production. I loved the experience of creating and developing ‘Hot Bench,’ and look forward to replicating its success with more new, compelling and smart TV.”

Nunez said of Sheindlin: “She is a true television icon, who entertains and inspires millions of fans each day on ‘Judge Judy.’ We look forward to continuing to provide our station partners with her highly successful show and to working with her to create the next generation of hits.”

Judge Judy

TVBIZWIRE
Mar 3, 2015
5:59 am
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New Shows Put CNN on Top in Cable News (TVWeek)

CNN broke out two new original series Sunday night, with both shows scoring ratings wins in their time slots.

“Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery” and “The Wonder List with Bill Weir” won their time slots among cable news channels, both in total viewers and in the key news demo of viewers 25-54, the network announced, citing Nielsen Fast National figures.

“At 9 p.m., ‘Finding Jesus (Shroud of Turin)’ was top-rated, averaging 1.139 million total viewers, +80% more than Fox News’ 634,000 and a +314% advantage over MSNBC’s 275,000,” CNN reported. “In the key demo 25-54, ‘Finding Jesus’ posted 371,000, while Fox News and MSNBC both trailed with 111,000. ‘Finding Jesus’ outperformed the combined delivery of Fox News and MSNBC in both demos.”

Premiering at 10 p.m., “The Wonder List (Vanuatu: Landlords of Paradise)” also outperformed the combined delivery of Fox News and MSNBC in the 25-54 demo, CNN reported. The show averaged 706,000 total viewers to lead Fox News (603,000) and MSNBC (312,000), and scored 294,000 viewers 25-54, topping the combined totals of Fox News (148,000) and MSNBC (126,000).

“Finding Jesus” was CNN’s second-highest-rated original series premiere ever in total viewers, trailing only “The Sixties” with 1.390 million.

“Finding Jesus” continues next Sunday with “John the Baptist,” while “The Wonder List” unveils its second episode, “Galapagos: A Fight for Survival,” the same night.

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TVBIZWIRE
Mar 3, 2015
5:57 am
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What Was the Best NFL Game of the 2014 Season? Here’s How to Find Out (TVWeek)

NFL Network is presenting a series of programs that should help keep pro football fans engaged during the offseason. The channel this week launched special editions of “Game Rewind” counting down the 20 best games of the 2014 NFL season.

The series began Monday with the Colts-Steelers showdown from Week 8 in which Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 522 yards and six touchdowns. The half-hour program led into a “Game Rewind” presentation of the No. 19 game, the Week 14 clash between the Jets and Vikings, which went into overtime.

The series continues with two games per night through Friday, March 13. “Game Rewind” offers a condensed 30-minute version of each game, with the shows airing at 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. during the countdown.

nfl game rewind

TVBIZWIRE
Mar 2, 2015
12:49 pm
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‘Today’ Co-Anchor Steps Up to ‘NBC Nightly News’ in Emergency (Variety)

Lester Holt has been called away from his role as fill-in for Brian Williams in the “NBC Nightly News” anchor’s chair. Variety reports that “Today” co-anchor Savannah Guthrie will take over the program tonight as Holt deals with a family medical emergency.

“Holt is expected to return to the program,” Variety reports. “He has taken the anchor chair of the nation’s most-watched evening-news broadcast since NBCUniversal suspended Brian Williams for six months in the wake of his admission that he falsified details about a 2003 NBC News excursion to Iraq in which he took part.”

The NBC program continues to lead evening news broadcasts in total viewers, the report notes, although ABC’s “World News” recently won the key news demo of viewers 25-54 for the five-day periord from Feb. 16-20.

Guthrie has filled in previously for Williams on “NBC Nightly News.”

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TVBIZWIRE
Mar 2, 2015
12:41 pm
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Islamic State Threatens War Against Twitter Founder (USA Today)

The militant group the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has set its sights on one of the co-founders of Twitter, USA Today reports.

“Twitter has routinely shut down Islamic State social media accounts, particularly those that threaten or link to beheadings and other atrocities,” the story reports. The piece says the group “posted an online threat Sunday warning Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey that ‘your virtual war on the Internet will cause a real war on you.’”

Twitter with a brief statement saying the company’s “security team is investigating the veracity of these threats with relevant law enforcement officials.”

The threat was reportedly posted in Arabic with headlines reading “Foundation for the conquest of Jerusalem for the Islamic State,” and “Twitter a target for the caliphate.”

The post reportedly says: “Jack, how will you protect your helpless employees when their necks are on the line and they become an official target for soldiers of the succession and their supporters among you? What will be your response to their families and sons, and their plight in this failed war?”

The post reportedly contains a picture of Dorsey with a target on his face.

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TVBIZWIRE
Mar 2, 2015
12:37 pm
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Casting for Syfy’s ‘Sharknado 3′ Generates Buzz (Washington Post)

Syfy continues to find ways to generate headlines with its “Sharknado” franchise. The Washington Post reports that the latest buzzworthy casting news has conservative commentator Ann Coulter set to play the vice president to Dallas Mavericks owner and “Shark Tank” star Mark Cuban’s president of the United States in “Sharknado 3.”

“The network previously said Bo Derek will have a cameo as star Tara Reid’s mother, Jerry Springer will play a tourist and ‘N Sync singer Chris Kirkpatrick will be a pool lifeguard,” the story adds.

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TVBIZWIRE
Mar 2, 2015
12:29 pm
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William Shatner, Who Missed Leonard Nimoy’s Funeral, Leads Twitter Discussion About Nimoy Instead (NBC News)

“William Shatner turned to Twitter on Sunday to defend himself after sparking an uproar Saturday when he tweeted that he wouldn’t be able to attend memorial services for his Star Trek co-star and friend, Leonard Nimoy,” NBC News reports.

The story continues: “Shatner said in a tweet that he wouldn’t be able to attend the services [in Los Angeles] for Nimoy, who died at the age of 83 Friday, because he had to attend a charity event in Florida and wouldn’t be able to fly out in time.”

The report adds: “Many expressed their dismay on social media, suggesting that Shatner should have chosen his friend’s funeral over the charity event. And the New York Daily News put Shatner and Nimoy’s pictures on its front cover, declaring ‘Captain Jerk! Claims night event in Florida means he can’t ‘beam up’ to L.A. in time.’”

Here are a lot of the tweets Shatner sent out Sunday as he and ‘Star Trek’ fans remembered Nimoy. The beginning of this twitter stream is at the BOTTOM, so you might want to go there and then scroll up:

William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 20h 20 hours ago

I do want to thank everyone for coming here and sharing their memories and celebrating the life of #LeonardNimoy LLAP! MBB

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 21h 21 hours ago

“@MarieByrd: Were you or Mr. Nimoy interested in the paranormal aka ghost hunting etc? #LeonardNimoy” We both did paranormal shows but no.

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 21h 21 hours ago

“@GhostiLeaks: would love to have seen him at your Roast. Where was #LeonardNimoy?” He felt it was inappropriate he didn’t want me to do it

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 21h 21 hours ago

“@jeanyreeny: @WilliamShatner #LeonardNimoy What kind of a dad was he?” The best. He was also an amazing uncle to my daughters.

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 21h 21 hours ago

“@DonutLuigi: @WilliamShatner Did you ever try on his ears? #LeonardNimoy” I had my own ears in one episode.

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 21h 21 hours ago

“@UtleyLuke: was #LeonardNimoy anything like Spock in real life?” He was serious, practical but unlike Spock very warm and loving

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 21h 21 hours ago

“@RobertoLM: when did both of you realise your characters are so important in the life of so many people? #LeonardNimoy” Probably the 1970′s

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 21h 21 hours ago

“@HeyJone: did you guys ever dream that Star Trek would become what it has, when u were working on the original series? #LeonardNimoy“” No.

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 21h 21 hours ago

@Jesse_B_Kelsey: @WilliamShatner Did he ever make it to Kentucky with you? #LeonardNimoy” yes

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 21h 21 hours ago

“@AZGrobie: Is it true he disliked being called Len & other nicknames? #LeonardNimoy” I called him Lenny in private he never said anything

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 21h 21 hours ago

“@andrsdtz: always loved #LeonardNimoy not only in ST but also as William Bell in Fringe. what was ur favorite role of him?” Friend

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 21h 21 hours ago

“@emceebee: #LeonardNimoy Do we know when he will be put to rest? Would like to say a prayer. @WilliamShatner” Today

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 21h 21 hours ago

“@TKAmaterasu: @WilliamShatner did you ever have times where you disagreed with #LeonardNimoy and vice versa?” All the time

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 21h 21 hours ago

“@T_Mihn_: #LeonardNimoy Leo Did you two ever prank each other?” I think Leonard thinks he pranked me & I just let him believe that!

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 22h 22 hours ago

“@JoeyABC17: @WilliamShatner Any regrets with regard to your relationship with #LeonardNimoy?” That it couldn’t have lasted a lot longer.

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 22h 22 hours ago

“@ithildin_lass: @WilliamShatner I imagine this conversation must be very emotional for you. #LeonardNimoy” It’s healing

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 22h 22 hours ago

“@boris_Hameron: @WilliamShatner how was it ti film with the whales? #LeonardNimoy” He almost drown in that terry cloth robe he wore.

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 22h 22 hours ago

“@somelikeitshiny: @WilliamShatner How often did you see each other? #LeonardNimoy” Not often enough. We were both busy.

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 22h 22 hours ago

“@Graeme_A_Ward: Did Leonard have a specific passion beyond acting, as you do for horses? #LeonardNimoy” The arts esp photography

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 22h 22 hours ago

“@BrentMcA: @WilliamShatner What can we do in honor of #LeonardNimoy ?” Remember him and his work.

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 22h 22 hours ago

“@JulieLvsPACKERS: What exactly was the grock in I grock Spock supposed to mean? #LeonardNimoy” Grok is to get the gist of something.

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 22h 22 hours ago

“@GeekToMeRadio: Which of the original #StarTrek movies was his personal favorite? #LeonardNimoy” I would imagine the one he directed.

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 22h 22 hours ago

“@DavidJBradley1: @WilliamShatner who was the biggest on set Diva? You, #LeonardNimoy or DeForest Kelley?” Depended on the day. Mostly Me!

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 22h 22 hours ago

“@jaxon_alexander: @WilliamShatner what was his most admirable quality? #LeonardNimoy” his compassion and dedication

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 22h 22 hours ago

“@Iron_Avenger: @WilliamShatner At what point did you realize you would both be good friends? #LeonardNimoy” Early into Star Trek

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 22h 22 hours ago

“@_Peccavimus: @WilliamShatner What’s the best thing he’s ever said to you? #LeonardNimoy” I love you.

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 22h 22 hours ago

“@sketchcards: @WilliamShatner — did #LeonardNimoy ever squirrel away any show props?” His ear tips; maybe a belt buckle

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 22h 22 hours ago

“@AmandaThelwell: did you know that everyone on ST online when the news broke gathered on Vulcan to pay their respects? #LeonardNimoy” No

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 22h 22 hours ago

“@CarolKalola321: #LeonardNimoy _ I remember his photography and the book of plus sized nudes. He saw beauty where we saw none.” Agreed

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 22h 22 hours ago

“@HeavensHawkeye: Was it strange to be directed by him in ST III and IV? And vice-versa for ST V? #LeonardNimoy” No, not at all.

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 22h 22 hours ago

“@nickwilli131: @WilliamShatner how close were you with him after Star Trek? #LeonardNimoy” Very.

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 22h 22 hours ago

“@lordofthecosmos: @WilliamShatner What was your favorite #LeonardNimoy album / song?” Not Bilbo Baggins

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 22h 22 hours ago

“@Marensjs12: @WilliamShatner If you had 1 word to describe him what would it be? #LeonardNimoy” Love

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 22h 22 hours ago

“@Chrisnova10: If Leonard could say something to all of us–right here, right now, what would he say? #LeonardNimoy” Don’t smoke!

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 22h 22 hours ago

“@Silver1903: @WilliamShatner what made you laugh about him? #LeonardNimoy” His seriousness

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 22h 22 hours ago

“@hipmum29: @WilliamShatner What charity or cause was closest to #LeonardNimoy ‘s heart?” Leonard supported the arts.

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 22h 22 hours ago

“@jeanyreeny: @WilliamShatner what’s the coolest thing he gave you that you’ve kept? #LeonardNimoy” His love and friendship.

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William Shatner retweeted

Neil Shurley@ThatNeilGuy · 22h 22 hours ago

Saw this a few minutes ago. I involuntarily gasped and had a hard time holding it together. #LeonardNimoy pic.twitter.com/3XYy69gkGg

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 22h 22 hours ago

He took the role of Spock very seriously and I would try and get him to crack a smile while in his persona. It was hard to do. #LeonardNimoy

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 22h 22 hours ago

“@pasutcliffe: What life lessons did you learn from each other? #LeonardNimoy” I learned to be more serious I think he learned to be less.

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 22h 22 hours ago

“@Craabpot: @WilliamShatner What was he like when off the set? #LeonardNimoy” Intelligent, insightful, just a precious gem of a man.

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 22h 22 hours ago

“@nickwilli131: @WilliamShatner what was your favorite memory of Mr. Nimoy? #LeonardNimoy” Every moment I spent with him.

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 23h 23 hours ago

We worked together previous to Star Trek, first impressions: nice guy, a real professional, took the job/role seriously. #LeonardNimoy

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 23h 23 hours ago

He was tall, lanky and sometimes a bit too serious. #LeonardNimoy

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 23h 23 hours ago

Leonard and I seemed to be bound by fate to be friends. We were born 4 days apart. #LeonardNimoy

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William Shatner@WilliamShatner · 23h 23 hours ago

Ok so I’m thinking we use the #LeonardNimoy hashtag

TVBIZWIRE
Mar 2, 2015
12:11 pm
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Google Moving Into Wireless (USA Today)

Google has confirmed that it is expanding into the wireless business. USA Today reports that the company said it will set up its own cellular network service in the U.S. in an effort to improve connectivity on mobile devices.

Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior VP of products, made the announcement in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress wireless show.

Pichai characterized the move as an experiment, downplaying any potential threat to traditional phone service providers and ISPs.

Said Pichai: “I think we are at a stage where it is important to think about hardware, software and connectability together.”

He added: “We don’t intend to be a network operator at scale. Our goal here is to drive a set of innovations which we think the ecosystem should evolve and hopefully will get traction.”

The company has reportedly been talking with Sprint and T-Mobile and plans to make an announcement detailing plans in the coming months.

google-logo

TVBIZWIRE
Mar 2, 2015
12:01 pm
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‘Downton Abbey’ Fixture to Leave the Show (Variety)

One of the most popular cast members on “Downton Abbey” is leaving the hit drama series. Variety reports that Maggie Smith, who plays the Dowager Countess of Grantham, said the next season of the BBC/PBS show will be her last.

“The season five finale just aired in the U.S., and there has been speculation that the series will stop after the sixth season, but whatever the show’s fate, Smith told the Sunday Times her part is coming to an end,” Variety reports.

The reports quotes Smith, 80, saying: “They say this is the last one, and I can’t see how it could go on. I mean, I certainly can’t keep going. To my knowledge, I must be 110 by now. We’re into the late 1920s.”

However, Smith also indicated she will continue to act.

Said Smith: “When you’re not working it’s scary, and when you are working it’s scary, because you don’t know if you’ve got the energy to get through the day. But the bleakness of not doing it, and missing out on the friendships that you make, is too much to bear.”

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