Jan 30, 2015
7:55 am

Krabby Patty Special: Nickelodeon Streaming Channel Coming in February (Variety; Reuters)

“Children’s entertainment giant Nickelodeon intends to follow the example of HBO and unveil a direct-to-consumer subscription service in February, the chief executive of Nickelodeon’s parent, Viacom said during a call with investors Thursday,” reports our good friend Brian Steinberg, Variety’s senior TV editor.

We’ll get more details after the Nickelodeon folks meet with their advertisers next month during the kids upfront, the story notes.

No word on pricing yet, but, as a comparison, “Sesame Street Go” offers games and library video product online for $3.99 a month or $29.99 a year (which brings the price down to about $2.50 per month).

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman had this to say about Nickelodeon’s upcoming over-the-top service, according to Reuters:

“We believe this innovative service, which will have a distinct brand and will target the fast-growing mobile market, will be very attractive for parents and children.”

The announcement follows similar moves into over-the-top streaming last fall by CBS and Time Warner-owned HBO.

“These offerings underscore a shifting landscape in the television ecosystem as more people ditch pricey cable subscriptions in favor of video streaming products offered by Netflix, Amazon and Hulu,” Reuters notes.

The announcement was made during Viacom’s quarterly earnings call, in which Viacom reported lower-than-expected revenues.

Citing soft U.S. ad spending and ratings drops for MTV and VH1, the company said ad revenue dipped 6% in the quarter.


Jan 30, 2015
7:50 am

Update: Rap Mogul Suge Knight Arrested on Suspicion of Murder (LA Times)

“Notorious former rap music mogul Marion ‘Suge’ Knight has been arrested on suspicion or murder after he allegedly ran over two men in his truck following an argument on a film set in Compton,” the Los Angeles Times reported this morning, citing a source close to the investigation.

One of the men who was run over died.

As we reported previously, Knight, the founder of Death Row Records, was believed to be involved in the incident Thursday afternoon in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant.

“Knight, 49, arrived at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department West Hollywood station with his attorney around 12:30 a.m. to be interviewed by homicide detectives as a person of interest, according to authorities and his lawyer,” The Times reports. “The interview concluded around 3:30 a.m., Knight’s attorney, James E. Blatt, told The Times.”

The truck incident reportedly followed an argument on the set of “Straight Outta Compton,” a biopic about the rap group N.W.A.

“About 20 minutes after the alleged argument, the victims were at Tam’s Burgers near Central and East Rosecrans avenues, authorities said. Knight is believed to have followed the men in his truck and run them over in the parking lot,” The Times reports, citing Capt. John Corina of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department detectives unit.



Jan 30, 2015
7:45 am

How Do You Follow Being Sheldon? By Playing God on Broadway, Of Course (People)

The star of one of the most popular comedy series of recent years is headed to Broadway to play God. “The Big Bang Theory’s” Jim Parsons (Sheldon Cooper) will star in the comedy production “An Act of God,” with previews set to begin May 5 and the show’s official opening May 28, People magazine reports.

“Parsons, 41, will play God in the play written by @TheTweetOfGod curator David Javerbaum, who is also an Emmy-winning head writer and executive producer on ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,’” the article reports.

A press release on the show promises it will “reveal the mysteries of the Bible and answer some of the greatest existential questions that plague mankind.”

The report notes: “Director Joe Mantello previously starred with Parsons in the award-winning 2011 production of ‘The Normal Heart.’ Both men also appeared in Ryan Murphy’s Golden Globe-nominated HBO adaptation.”

Jan 30, 2015
1:07 am

Rap Music Mogul Suge Knight Suspected of Running Over Two Men – One of Whom Died — with his Truck in Compton (AP; KTLA)

“Death Row Records founder Marion “Suge” Knight accidentally ran over and killed a friend and injured another man on Thursday as he fled attackers, his lawyer said,” reports the Associated Press.

The story also says, “A red pickup truck struck the men at around 3 p.m. PST in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant in the Los Angeles-area city of Compton and then took off, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. John Corina told reporters. He said the incident is being investigated as a homicide.

” ‘Looks like he drove backwards and struck the victims and drove forwards and struck them again,’ Corina said. ‘The people we talked to say it looked like it was an intentional act,’ he said.”

A story on the website of TV station KTLA in Los Angeles notes this background about Knight:

“In 1991, Knight founded the successful Death Row Records, signing artists such as Snoop Doggy Dogg and Tupac Shakur. Knight was driving the car in which Shakur was a passenger when the rapper was shot to death in Las Vegas in 1996.

“In August, Knight and two other people were shot while inside a celebrity-filled Sunset Strip party hosted by singer Chris Brown on the eve of the MTV Video Music Awards.”

Jan 30, 2015
12:35 am

One of the Most Famous Comedians To Ever Come Out of ‘SNL’ Is Returning To Visit the Show For the First Time in More Than 30 Years (nbc nEWQS)

Over the years there have been more than 140 cast members on “Saturday Night Live,” but few have ever become as famous as Eddie Murphy.

“It’s been more than 30 years since Eddie Murphy has appeared on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ but the comedian confirmed his return to Studio 8H for the show’s 40th anniversary special,” reports NBC News.

The story continues, “Murphy broke the news in a phone interview with [TV One's] ‘News One Now.’ ‘It just never worked out where the timing was right for me to do it,’ Murphy said, explaining his three-decade absence. ‘They’re having a 40th anniversary. … I’m going to that. And that will be the first time I’ve been back since I left.’ ”

Murphy left “SNL” in February, 1984, and only returned once, to guest host that December.

“SNL’s” 40th Anniversary show will air live on Sunday, Feb. 15th, during primetime, at 8 p.m. ET.

Jan 29, 2015
3:18 pm

Quick, Name the Most Romantic Mini-Series Ever Shown on TV. We Said ‘The Thorn Birds.’ Its Popularity Was Astounding. Colleen McCullough, Who Wrote the Bestselling Novel the Program Was Based Upon, Has Died at Age 77 (NY Times; NBC Bay Area)

“Colleen McCullough, 77, a former neurophysiological researcher at Yale who, deciding to write novels in her spare time, produced “The Thorn Birds,” a multigenerational Australian romance that became an international best seller and inspired a hugely popular television mini-series, died on Thursday on Norfolk Island in the South Pacific, where she had made her home for more than 30 years,” reports The New York Times.

The story adds, “The cause was believed to have been kidney failure, her agent, Michael V. Carlisle, said. Ms. McCullough had been in declining health with a variety of ailments in recent years.”

The novel has sold 30 million copies since it was published in 1977, and has never been out of print.

Richard Chamberlain and Byron Brown were both in the mini-series.

Here are some comments from both of them from a 2013 interview we found on a Bay Area site:

Richard Chamberlain: I took my parents to Switzerland once and we were way on the top of some mountain and some Swiss person came up and said, ‘Oh, “The Thorn Birds…”‘ And my father was suddenly impressed for the very first time in his life. He said, ‘Oh, my God, they know you on a mountaintop in Switzerland. You must be something.’

Bryon Brown: And that is the truth. It is as silly as that: that in the most faraway place and when you don’t look like you in the middle of a ski field and you say something and they go, ‘I love that “Thorn Birds.”‘ And you’re thinking, ‘How the f**k do you know it’s me?’

thorn birds

Jan 29, 2015
1:24 pm

Disney Introduces Its First Latin Princess (TVWeek)

“A Disney princess inspired by Latin cultures, ‘Elena of Avalor,’ will be introduced in 2016 [on an animated series] on Disney Junior channels and programming blocks around the world,” the Disney Channel announced today.

The announcement continues, “The role of 16-year-old Princess Elena, the bold, caring, funny and clever ascendant to the throne in the fairytale kingdom of Avalor, will be voiced by Aimee Carrero (ABC Family’s ‘Young & Hungry’).”

It will be Disney’s first Latina princess.

The announcement also notes that “Princess Elena of Avalor, a confident and compassionate teenager in an enchanted fairytale kingdom inspired by diverse Latin cultures and folklore, will be introduced in a special episode of Disney Junior’s hit series ‘Sofia the First’ beginning production now for a 2016 premiere. That exciting story arc will usher in the 2016 launch of the animated series ‘Elena of Avalor,’ a production of Disney Television Animation. The announcement was made today by Nancy Kanter, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Disney Junior Worldwide.

Kanter herself says, in the announcement, “Our creative team has delivered a universal story with themes that authentically reflect the hopes and dreams of our diverse audience. What excites us most is the chance to use distinctive animation and visual design to tell wonderful stories influenced by culture and traditions that are familiar to the worldwide population of Hispanic and Latino families and reflect the interests and aspirations of all children as told through a classic fairy tale.”

princess elenaPrincess Elena


Jan 29, 2015
10:17 am

Time Warner Cable Posts Decline in Video Subs (Bloomberg, WSJ)

Time Warner Cable missed its profit targets and posted a decline in pay-TV subscriptions in the fourth quarter, Bloomberg reports.

The company, which is anticipating approval for its merger with Comcast Corp., did gain 54,000 “overall residential customer relationships,” The Wall Street Journal notes. “High-speed data customers grew by 168,000, while voice customers increased by 295,000. Video customers, however, declined by 38,000,” The Journal reports.

The results appear in the company’s fourth-quarter earnings report.

Bloomberg reports: “Fourth-quarter earnings, excluding some items, increased 12 percent to $2.03 a share, falling short of the $2.09 average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales rose 3.8 percent to $5.79 billion, the New York-based company said in a statement. Analysts projected revenue of $5.81 billion.”

Jan 29, 2015
10:16 am

Keeping Up with the Kardashians: Is Bruce Jenner Going to Star in His Own Show Where He Will Reveal He is Transgender? (Variety, Washington Post)

The “journey” of Bruce Jenner, a former Olympic star and the recently divorced husband of Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner, is the focus of a new docuseries in development at E!, reports Variety.

Bruce Jenner “has generated considerable speculation in the tabloid press that he is on the verge of revealing he is transgender,” the report adds. “The development process has gone as far as the head of publicity at E! planning a meeting with GLAAD about how to handle such a sensitive subject.”

Reps for E! declined to comment for the story, Variety notes.

The report quotes an insider close to the production saying of the still untitled project: “It’s in the very beginning stages, but it’s a go.”

Reports the Washington Post, “On Friday, US Weekly’s new cover story will report that Jenner, 65, ‘is taking steps to disclose what multiple sources describe as his wish to transition from male to female.’ The magazine says that Jenner’s announcement will be for the cameras, as he’s currently filming an E! reality show documenting ‘full transformation.’ TMZ also reported the same news.


Jan 29, 2015
10:10 am

Based on the Track Record of the Writer-Executive Producer, ABC Hoping that New Pilot Will Be a Flesh and Blood Hit (Variety)

ABC is hoping that an upcoming drama project is as close to a sure thing as they can hope for, if the successful track record of its creator is an indication. Variety reports that the network has ordered the pilot “Flesh and Blood,” written and executive produced by Jenna Bans.

Bans has already written close to 20 episodes of various hit dramas for ABC, including “Scandal,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Desperate Housewives.”

Bans will executive produce the new show with Mandeville Television’s David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Laurie Zaks, the report notes. The project comes from ABC Studios.

The plot revolves around the reappearance of the son of a politician who went missing a decade earlier and was presumed dead, the story notes.


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