Apr 1, 2015
7:54 pm

Do We Hear a Bid? In a Hot Pitch, Michelle Pfeiffer Would Star in a Sitcom About a Morning TV Anchor. Behind-the-Camera on this Sitcom Would Be Katie Couric and Diane English. English Created the Hit ‘Murphy Brown.’ Here Are the Networks Approached Thus Far… (Variety)

Talk about a pedigree for a sitcom pitch, this one seems to have it all: Michelle Pfeiffer, a three-time Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner (for “The Fabulous Baker Boys”) would play the anchor of a morning TV show, and, behind-the-scenes, the sitcom would have Katie Couric as an executive producer and Diane English (“Murphy Brown”) as its creator.

This scoop was reported by our friend Andrew Wallenstein, Variety’s co-editor-in-chief.

Wallenstein writes that the pitch is “making the rounds this week at HBO, Showtime, AMC, Netflix and Amazon.”

The story adds, “A source familiar with the pitch said both Pfeiffer and Couric are pitching along with the show’s creator, Diane English…”

To read more about this item, please click on the link, above, which will take you to Wallenstein’s scoop.

Apr 1, 2015
6:59 pm

Cable Network SundanceTV Gets High Profile President and GM (TVWeek)

SundanceTV, which became part of the AMC Networks in 2011, has a new president and general manager, and he’s one of the most-respected, talented executives in the business.

Charlie Collier, who is already the president and g.m. of the AMC cable channel, will add SundanceTV to his portfolio.

charlie-collier-200x200Charlie Collier

“Running AMC and Sundance under common management makes good sense for both networks, which are heavily focused on high-end drama,” said Ed Carroll, Chief Operating Officer of AMC Networks, and the person to whom Collier will continue to report. Carroll continued, in a statement, “Charlie has done a great job in moving AMC to a leadership position in the TV landscape.  He inherits SundanceTV at a time when it has gained momentum from its original programs like ‘Rectify,’ ‘The Honorable Woman’ and ‘The Returned’ – which often pop up on critics’ top ten lists.”

Said Collier in a statement, “Sundance has a revered and well-defined multiplatform brand that can be traced all the way back to its iconic founder, Robert Redford.  Honoring this legacy, SundanceTV serves a loyal and discerning audience, captivating viewers with distinctive, critically acclaimed and award-winning programming. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with these two highly coordinated and talented teams in support of the remarkable creative talent for which each brand provides a home.”

Clearly what Sundance could use is better consumer branding and a wider audience. In those areas Collier is an ace. As AMC itself notes about him, “Collier joined AMC Networks in 2006, and has run AMC during a period of growth and network redefinition that has seen it move from a movie channel to a major force in original programming and a “must have” network for viewers, home of shows including ‘Mad Men,’ ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘The Walking Dead’ and, most recently, ‘Better Call Saul.’

The announcement adds, “SundanceTV was previously run by Sarah Barnett, who was named president and general manager of BBC America late last year, when AMC Networks began operating BBC America through a joint venture with BBC Worldwide. Barnett has continued to oversee SundanceTV during the interim period.” Barnett continues to run BBC America.


Apr 1, 2015
1:37 pm

NCAA Final Four Blackout Averted as Turner and Dish Come to Terms; HBO Also in Play (WSJ)

Time Warner Inc. and satellite provider Dish Network have agreed to a new distribution deal in time to spare Dish subscribers from having this weekend’s Final Four NCAA men’s basketball games blacked out.

The deal will also make Time Warner’s HBO available as part of Dish’s new online television service, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“The two companies negotiated through Tuesday evening, past the deadline of their current short-term agreement, to wrap up a deal that will keep Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting channels such as TBS, TNT and truTV in Dish homes,” WSJ reports.

HBO is becoming available as part of Dish’s Sling TV, as we reported separately.

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Apr 1, 2015
1:31 pm

ABC Family Greenlights Three New Series (TVWeek)

ABC Family today took the wraps off plans to ramp up its lineup of original programming with three new unscripted shows: “Startup U,” “Next Step Realty: NYC” and “Monica the Medium.”

The new programs join previously announced shows “Becoming Us” and “Job or No Job,” with all of the series set to roll out this summer.

Making the announcement were ABC Family President Tom Ascheim and Executive Vice President, Programming and Development, Karey Burke.

Please click here for full details.

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Apr 1, 2015
1:17 pm

‘King of Queens’ Star Kevin James Lines Up New Sitcom (Deadline)

Kevin James, known for his starring role on the hit CBS comedy series “King of Queens,” has another sitcom lined up. Writing on, Nellie Andreeva reports that James signed a new deal with Sony, the studio behind “King of Queens,” that includes a starring role in a comedy series.

“James and his Hey Eddie Productions have made a two-year first-look deal with Sony Pictures Television to produce projects for television, including a sitcom that he would headline,” Andreeva writes. “Additionally, Columbia Pictures has renewed its first-look deal with the comedian-actor-producer-writer and his company through 2017.”

Following his run on “Queens” from 1998-2007, James worked with Sony to create the “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” film franchise. The second movie in the series opens April 17.

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Apr 1, 2015
1:11 pm

E! Putting Emphasis on Originals — Cable Net Brings Back Three Franchise Shows, Orders Three New Series (TVWeek)

E! broke news on the programming front today, announcing three new series along with renewals for three of its franchise shows.

The cable channel rolled out plans for the new shows “Stewarts & Hamiltons,” “WAGS” and “Dash Dolls” (working title), with summer and fall 2015 premieres planned.

E! also announced it has ordered new seasons of “#RichKids of Beverly Hills,” “Total Divas” and “Christina Milian Turned Up”

Please click here for full details on the shows.

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Apr 1, 2015
1:07 pm

Sling TV Adds HBO for $15 a Month (USA Today)

In time for the return of the popular HBO series “Game of Thrones,” the pay cable channel is being added to the Sling TV service.

USA Today reports that subscribers to Sling’s $20-per-month core TV service can add HBO for $15 a month. Those who sign up will have access to HBO’s main channel and to its VOD library.

In a statement, HBO’s president of global distribution Tom Woodbury said: “It has always been our desire to make the HBO subscription widely accessible. Sling TV is a part of that ongoing evolution and we believe HBO is a great addition to the platform.”

The start date has not been finalized, but will be before the April 12 “Game of Thrones” season premiere.


Apr 1, 2015
9:27 am

Sony Goes After ‘American Idol’ Stars (THR)

Sony Music on Tuesday filed a breach-of-contract counterclaim involving “American Idol” stars on the 19 Recordings label, home to Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Clay Aiken, The Hollywood Reporter’s THR-Esq. reports.

“In new court documents, Sony asserts that it has overpaid at least $2 million in royalties for these star musicians and is demanding recovery of the money” the story reports.

The action comes in response to a February 2014 lawsuit filed by 19 Recordings accusing Sony of using accounting tricks to shortchange the “Idol” stars.

“19 took issue with how Sony was treating income from streaming services like Spotify, how Sony was doing the math for television advertising deductions, and how Sony was interpreting bonus royalty escalators when consumers bought tracks off an album from Apple’s iTunes,” THR reports.

Parts of the 19 Recordings suit were upheld in a recent ruling, prompting the response from Sony. Among other parts of the original claim that have survived, THR reports: “The judge wouldn’t disqualify the big claim that Sony’s licensing agreements mischaracterize the distribution of music on streaming services as ‘sales’ rather than ‘broadcasts’ or ‘transmissions.’”

Please click on the link near the top of this story for additional details in the THR report.

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Apr 1, 2015
9:21 am

Joni Mitchell Rushed to Hospital, in Intensive Care (TMZ)

Singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, known for music that helped define the Woodstock generation, was in intensive care early today after being hospitalized Tuesday. reports that Mitchell was said to be “awake and in good spirits” in a Los Angeles-area hospital.

The 71-year-old singer known for “Big Yellow Taxi,” “Woodstock,” “Both Sides Now,” “Chelsea Morning” and other defining songs of the late Sixties and early Seventies was reportedly rushed to the hospital after paramedics received a 911 call about an unconscious female.

The nature of her medical situation was not known.

Here’s a clip of Mitchell performing “Both Sides Now” during a 1970 appearance:

Apr 1, 2015
9:17 am

New ‘Daily Show’ Host Already Embroiled in Controversy (NY Times)

Less than 24 hours after news broke that Comedy Central had found its replacement for Jon Stewart as host of “The Daily Show,” the new guy, Trevor Noah, found himself at the center of a firestorm.

Comedy Central was defending Noah, who hails from South Africa, after an Internet controversy erupted over old posts on his Twitter account. The New York Times reports that some Internet users took offense to his comments about women and Jews.

“In several posts, Mr. Noah came across as mocking or derisive of women,” The Times reports. “In one from 2011, he writes: ‘Oh yeah the weekend. People are gonna get drunk & think that I’m sexy!’ a quote that he attributes to ‘fat chicks everywhere.’”

Noah’s posts cover a wide range of interests such as global politics and race issues, the report notes, and have at times tested the boundaries of good taste.

The Times notes: “Mr. Noah has also posted jokes about Jews and about Israel. As he wrote in 2009, ‘Almost bumped a Jewish kid crossing the road. He didn’t look b4 crossing but I still would hav felt so bad in my german car!’”

Comedy Central released a statement Tuesday in which it said: “Like many comedians, Trevor Noah pushes boundaries; he is provocative and spares no one, himself included. To judge him or his comedy based on a handful of jokes is unfair. Trevor is a talented comedian with a bright future at Comedy Central.”

Noah also responded to the controversy, writing on Twitter: “To reduce my views to a handful of jokes that didn’t land is not a true reflection of my character, nor my evolution as a comedian.”

trevor noah 2Trevor Noah

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