Jan 19, 2018
4:57 pm

Oscar-Winning Actress Dies — She Was One of the Last Surviving Stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood (TVWeek)

An actress who was a potent screen presence as a blonde bombshell in a string of B-movies before going on to acclaim both on television and on the big screen has died. Dorothy Malone, who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for “Written on the Wind” in 1957, died this morning in Dallas of natural causes. She was 92.

Malone’s prolific TV career included a long run as Constance Mackenzie on the prime-time ABC soap “Peyton Place,” which earned her two Golden Globe nominations for Best TV Star in the 1960s. She was also nominated for a Golden Globe for “Written on the Wind.”

Malone was a potent force as a leading lady in B-Westerns in the 1950s, including a tour de force performance as Shalee in Roger Corman’s underrated 1955 directorial debut, “Five Guns West.” She went on to a series of strong film roles in the late 1950s, including “Man of a Thousand Faces” with James Cagney (1957), “Too Much, Too Soon” (1958) and “Warlock” with Henry Fonda (1959).

Her early TV work included “Four Star Playhouse,” “The Loretta Young Show,” “Route 66,” “Death Valley Days” and “The Untouchables.”

Malone scaled back her screen work in her later years, but returned in 1992 to play the friend of Sharon Stone’s character in “Basic Instinct.” In recent years she was considered one of the last surviving stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Jan 19, 2018
4:44 pm

‘Star Wars’ TV Series to Wrap — Here’s a Look at What’s in Store (TVWeek, Disney XD)

Plans were unveiled today for the final installments of a TV series that’s a part of the “Star Wars” franchise. Disney XD released the official “Star Wars Rebels” mid-season 4 trailer — watch it below — and discussed plans to begin running the show’s final episodes on Disney XD on Monday, Feb. 19.

The final shows will unfold over three weeks, including back-to-back episodes on Feb. 19 and 26, with the 90-minute series finale set for Monday, March 5. Click here for all the details in today’s announcement.

Here’s the trailer, posted today by Disney XD …

Jan 19, 2018
4:31 pm

Tom Petty’s Family Releases Statement on His Cause of Death (TVWeek)

The family of rocker Tom Petty said in a statement today that Petty died of an accidental drug overdose after taking a variety of medications.

Petty, known for a string of hits such as “Breakdown,” “American Girl,” “I Need to Know,” “Refugee,” “Free Fallin'” and “I Won’t Back Down,” died in October at age 66 after being found in full cardiac arrest at his home.

His family members Dana Petty and Adria Petty discussed his death in a statement posted on the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Facebook page and on the TomPetty.com website. You can click here to read the full statement.

“Unfortunately Tom’s body suffered from many serious ailments including emphysema, knee problems and most significantly a fractured hip,” the statement says. “Despite this painful injury he insisted on keeping his commitment to his fans and he toured for 53 dates with a fractured hip and, as he did, it worsened to a more serious injury.

“On the day he died he was informed his hip had graduated to a full on break and it is our feeling that the pain was simply unbearable and was the cause for his over use of medication.”

The family specifically mentions Fentanyl patches, and expresses the hope that his death may save lives by prompting discussion about the opioid crisis.

Click here to read the full statement.

Jan 19, 2018
12:31 pm

Reality Star Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud
(TMZ, E! News)

One of the biggest stars of a polarizing reality show is pushing for leniency after pleading guilty to tax fraud. TMZ reports that Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, best known for his role on the love-it-or-hate-it MTV series “Jersey Shore,” entered a guilty plea today in New Jersey.

Sorrentino “walked into the Newark court with his girlfriend, Lauren Pesce, and entered his guilty plea as expected. During the hearing, the judge approved Sitch to travel to Florida to shoot a ‘Jersey Shore’ reunion,” TMZ reports.

The report adds that Sorrentino “faces up to 5 years in prison and up to a $250k fine. He’ll be sentenced April 25. He initially entered a not guilty plea and faced up to 15 years in prison. But as we reported … the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed docs informing the judge it had struck plea agreements with Mike and his brother.”

Sorrentino was accused of failing to pay the full tax bill on almost $9 million in earnings received between 2010 and 2012.

E Online reports: “The 36-year-old ‘Jersey Shore’ star’s 38-year-old brother Marc Sorrentino, who has worked with him, pleaded guilty to aiding in the preparation of a false and fraudulent tax return and faces up to three years behind bars, New Jersey’s District Attorney’s Office said in a statement obtained by E! News.”

TMZ notes that Mike Sorrentino’s attorneys, Henry E. Klingeman and Kristen M. Santillo, released a statement following the plea in which they call for leniency.

“The plea terms call for a balance between punishing the wrong committed and conditions that facilitate Mike living a productive, law-abiding life moving forward,” the statement says. “Following through on this plea agreement, Michael intends to pay restitution before sentencing.”

E Online quotes U.S. Attorney Carpenito saying today: “What the defendants admitted to today, quite simply, is tantamount to stealing money from their fellow taxpayers. All of us are required by law to pay our fair share of taxes. Celebrity status does not provide a free pass from this obligation.”

Jan 19, 2018
12:27 pm

Talk Show Renewed (TVWeek)

A talk show that has been on a roll has just picked up a renewal, with the announcement today from NBCUniversal Domestic Television Distribution that it will bring back Steve Harvey’s “Steve” for a second season.

The daytime talker has already been sold in 90% of the U.S., including the NBC Owned Television Stations and major station groups such as Sinclair and Hearst.

“‘Steve’ started the year on the upswing delivering a season high 1.5 rating for the week ending 1/7/18,” the company said in today’s announcement. “‘Steve’ recently averaged a 1.4 National Household rating for the November 2017 sweep, delivering the highest November sweep rating for a new first-run one-hour syndicated program in 5 years.”

Please click here for more numbers, quotes and other details in today’s full announcement.

Jan 19, 2018
12:11 pm

Trump Refuses to Take Part in Super Bowl Tradition (Deadline)

When Super Bowl LII takes place Feb. 4 in Minneapolis, it will dispense with the traditional pre-Super Bowl Presidential Interview. Deadline reports that Donald Trump told NBC, which is televising the game, that he won’t be taking part this year.

“NBC has taken the high road, extending an open invitation to Trump, in case he changes his mind, a network source tells Deadline,” the story reports, adding: “It’s unclear why Trump has turned down the invitation for what has become a pre-Game tradition.”

The report notes that Barack Obama did a pre-game interview every year of his presidency. Deadline speculates that it’s possible Trump “doesn’t want a repeat of last year’s interview — the first of Trump’s administration, in which he was interviewed on Fox by his friend and Fox News Channel star Bill O’Reilly; that interview clocked 12.2 million viewers, significantly fewer than Obama’s interviews.”

The report notes that Obama’s first pre-Super Bowl interview, which aired on NBC, averaged 21.9 million viewers. Deadline also notes: “And, of course, Trump is the leader of the anti-NFL movement, having launched, in September, an attack on players who kneeled in protest during the national anthem.”

Jan 19, 2018
12:09 pm

Why We Won’t Know What Killed Dolores O’Riordan of the Cranberries for Months
(The Guardian, TVWeek, NPR)

The cause of death for Cranberries lead singer Dolores O’Riordan, who died Monday in London at age 46, will not be revealed until at least April.

The U.K. publication The Guardian provided a few new details today about O’Riordan’s death, citing London coroner’s officer Stephen Earl.

According to Earl, O’Riordan was found “unresponsive” at a hotel on Park Lane in central London. Earl spoke today at the opening of the inquest at Westminster coroner’s court.

“The London ambulance service was contacted and verified her death at the scene,” Earl said. “Subsequently, the Met police attended and they determined the death to be non-suspicious.”

Earl noted that a postmortem examination has been carried out — the court is waiting for test results.

“The coroner, Shirley Radcliffe, adjourned the hearing until 3 April, when a date for the full inquest will be set,” The Guardian reports.

O’Riordan, from Friarstown, County Limerick, in the Irish Republic, was in London to record a cover of the Cranberries’ hit song “Zombie” with the hard rock band Bad Wolves, The Guardian notes. She is expected to be buried in her native Ireland.

O’Riordan’s family may be notified about the test results ahead of the April 3 hearing, and would have the option of publicly releasing the information before the official findings are released by the coroner’s office.

Jan 19, 2018
11:44 am

TV Crew Arrested in Fake Bomb Stunt (AP)

“Authorities say at least seven people who claimed to be working for a TV network were arrested at a New Jersey airport after they tried to film themselves passing a fake explosive device through a security checkpoint,” the AP reports.

Lisa Farbstein, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration, says the incident took place Thursday at Newark Liberty International Airport.

“She says some members of the group attempted to bring the fake explosive device in a carry-on bag, but it was detected by TSA officers and never made it past security,” the AP reports. “Farbstein says the alleged TV crew members were arrested on multiple charges and face possible civil penalties by the TSA.”

The crew reportedly works for Endemol Shine North America, which said the device is a “specially designed suitcase” used to compact clothing and “has no other intended use.”

Jan 19, 2018
10:57 am

Drew Carey Tackles Drama (Deadline, TVWeek)

Drew Carey, best known for his comedic work, will join a major broadcast drama series when he takes on a guest role on CBS’s “NCIS.” Deadline reports that Carey will appear in an episode called “Handle With Care,” scheduled to air in early March.

Carey will play retired Marine Sergeant John Ross, who ships care packages to active-duty servicemembers. “He is the lead suspect in a murder case after one of his care packages contains cookies laced with cyanide,” Deadline reports. “A loyal and honorable veteran, Ross is determined to help Gibbs and the team locate the real culprit and clear his name.”

The report quotes a joint statement from “NCIS” showrunners Frank Cardea and George Schenck saying: “With the casting of John Ross, a retired Marine, we needed an actor who could play the outgoing, passionate side of the character but also the dark reality that he is still haunted from being a prisoner of war for many years. We are thrilled to have Drew Carey, who served in the Marine Reserves, as a Marine portray this complex role and look forward to fans seeing him in this powerful and heart-warming episode.”

Carey took over the venerable CBS game show “The Price Is Right” following the departure of Bob Barker, and has hosted the show since 2007.

Jan 19, 2018
10:09 am

Joel McHale Gets a New Show (TVWeek)

Actor and comedian Joel McHale, known for playing Jeff Winger on “Community” and for hosting the E! series “The Soup,” has a new show. Netflix unveiled plans today for “The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale,” a weekly half-hour topical series.

The show, which launches globally Feb. 18, “takes a sharp, absurdist look at pop culture and news from across the globe,” Netflix says in the announcement. “It’s a fast and funny distillation of everything people are talking about that week. Featuring celebrity guests, comedy sketches, and insane video clips from the worldwide realms of TV, sports, politics, celebrity culture, and every corner of the internet, ‘The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale’ is destination viewing for comedy lovers, or people who just really, really like green screens.”

Besides, hosting, McHale will executive produce. Other executive producers are Paul Feig, KP Anderson, Jessie Henderson, Brad Stevens and Boyd Vico.

Initial plans call for a season consisting of 13 30-minute episodes. The show will tape on Thursdays at Sunset Bronson Studios in Los Angeles, and new episodes will debut the following Sunday.

The series is produced by Pygmy Wolf Productions, Free Period Productions and Feigco Entertainment in association with Lionsgate Television.

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