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TVBIZWIRE
Sep 28, 2016
2:02 pm
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‘SNL’ Taps Frequent Guest Host as Its New Donald Trump (AP)

A frequent guest on “Saturday Night Live” will return to the show to debut his Donald Trump impersonation. The AP reports that the NBC sketch show will bring aboard Alec Baldwin to portray Trump opposite Kate McKinnon, who has been playing Hillary Clinton.

“NBC announced this deal Wednesday with a promo on social media, just days before ‘SNL’ begins its 42nd season and little more than a month before voters choose between Trump and his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton,” the AP notes.

Trump was previously played on the show by announcer Darrell Hammond and by Taran Killam, who has left the show.

As previously announced, Margot Robbie will be the guest host for Saturday’s season premiere, with The Weeknd as the musical guest.

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TVBIZWIRE
Sep 28, 2016
1:51 pm
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Bruce Willis Forced to Suspend Construction of Private Airstrip (Idaho Mountain Express)

The construction of a private airstrip for actor Bruce Willis was apparently moving along nicely until he had to put a halt to it due to zoning issues. The Idaho Mountain Express reports that the airstrip, known as Soldier Field Airport, was being built near Fairfield, Idaho.

“Work on the 8,500-foot-long and 100-foot-wide airstrip was halted after Ketchum attorney Ben Worst notified Camas County Planning and Zoning Administrator Dwight Butlin that the airstrip site is on land zoned for agricultural use and that the airstrip would have negative impacts on adjacent neighbors, agriculture and wildlife habitat,” the paper reports. Worst is representing neighbor Dave Konrad.

“Under the current Camas County zoning ordinance, only feedlots, employee housing, stockyards, nurseries and roadside stands can be built on land zoned for agricultural use,” the report notes. “Butlin issued a stop-work notice at the airstrip site Sept. 21, writing that ‘airports are not listed in the zoning ordinance as approved use in the Agricultural District.’”

TVBIZWIRE
Sep 28, 2016
1:40 pm
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J-Lo Lands on New NBC Show (AP)

Jennifer Lopez will be back on camera on a new NBC program. The former “American Idol” judge will be a judge again, this time on NBC’s competition show “World of Dance.”

The network announced previously that Lopes would be an executive producer on the show.

“The 10-episode series will challenge contestants to demonstrate their skills in an unlimited range of dance, including hip-hop, krumping, ballet and ballroom. The winner gets $1 million,” the AP notes.

The show does not yet have a premiere date.

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TVBIZWIRE
Sep 28, 2016
10:57 am
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Report: Former Fox News Host Turns Down ‘Seven Figures,’ Refuses to Settle Sex Harassment Case (Variety)

A former Fox News Channel anchor reportedly turned down a seven-figure settlement offer in her sexual harassment case.

Variety quotes an attorney for Andrea Tantaros saying she will move forward with allegations of harassment by Roger Ailes and other senior executives at FNC.

The report quotes a statement today from Tantaros attorney Judd Burstein in which he says: “As has been widely reported, Fox News previously offered Ms. Tantaros seven figures to renounce her harassment claims against Ailes (and others) in exchange for her eternal silence. She summarily refused their offer, and believes that any settlement must provide for the cleaning up of Fox News, a task that has regrettably fallen squarely on her shoulders.”

The news comes after 21st Century Fox reached a settlement earlier this month in a sexual harassment case brought by Gretchen Carlson, which Variety notes is said to be valued at around $20 million.

In a statement about the Tarantos case, Fox News said: “We stand by our earlier motion to compel arbitration.”

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TVBIZWIRE
Sep 28, 2016
10:44 am
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Cartoon Character Declared Hate Symbol (TVWeek)

A cartoon character has been declared a hate symbol after the character reportedly became a meme and spread virally on social media. The Anti-Defamation League announced Tuesday that it has added “Pepe the Frog” to its online “Hate on Display” database.

The organization said Pepe has been “used by haters on social media to suggest racist, anti-Semitic or other bigoted notions, as a hate symbol.”

“Also referred to as the ‘sad frog meme,’ Pepe the Frog did not originally have anti-Semitic connotations,” the ADL noted in its announcement. “But as the meme proliferated in online venues such as 4chan, 8chan and Reddit, a subset of memes came into existence promoting anti-Jewish, bigoted and offensive ideas. And those have spread virally on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere.”

The frog has been portrayed with “a Hitler-like mustache, wearing a yarmulke or a Klan hood” in recent weeks, the ADL notes.

Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO, says in the announcement: “Once again, racists and haters have taken a popular Internet meme and twisted it for their own purposes of spreading bigotry and harassing users. These anti-Semites have no shame. They are abusing the image of a cartoon character, one that might at first seem appealing, to harass and spread hatred on social media.”

Pepe the Frog joins symbols such as the swastika, the (((echo))) and the blood drop cross on the ADL’s Hate on Display database, which was founded in 2000 as part of the organization’s effort to track hate groups and aid law enforcement.

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TVBIZWIRE
Sep 28, 2016
10:33 am
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NBC Is Sued Over Series That’s About to Premiere (AP)

NBC has been hit with a lawsuit over a series that it is ready to roll out next week. The AP reports that the producers of the Spanish-language series “El Ministerio del Tiempo” (“The Ministry of Time”) filed a copyright infringement lawsuit over the series “Timeless.”

The suit was filed by ONZA Partners against NBCUniversal and Sony Pictures Entertainment. The action claims “Timeless” is an unauthorized version of the Spanish show.

“ONZA contends it was in negotiations with Sony to produce a U.S. version of its series, which features a three-person team who hop through time trying to stop criminals from changing key historical events,” the story reports. “‘Timeless’ also features a three-person team, with an emphasis on stopping a criminal intent on altering American history. The show, which the network has been heavily promoting, is set to premiere on Monday.”

The suit reportedly seeks unspecified monetary damages, but does not seek an injunction to keep the NBC program from airing.

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TVBIZWIRE
Sep 28, 2016
9:44 am
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New TV Season, Same Old Problem (LA Times)

The new fall TV season comes with the same old problem for the networks. With the numbers in for the first week of the 2016-2017 season, The Los Angeles Times reports that the nets continue to lose ground among younger viewers.

“During premiere week for the 2016-17 season, overall prime-time TV usage was off around 7% among the 18-to-34 age group compared with a year ago, based on Nielsen data,” The Times reports. “The number has been on a downward trend over the last few years,  reflecting the emergence of online video streaming and video on demand.”

The report quotes Jeff Bader, president of program planning, strategy and research for NBC, saying of younger viewers: “They are watching. They are just watching in different places. That audience watches where they want, when they want.”

The report notes that NBC, which ranked first during premiere week in the advertiser-friendly 18-49 demo with an average of 2.51 million viewers, was still off 6% from premiere week a year ago. “CBS was up slightly to 2.46 million. ABC was off 21% to 1.34 million, while Fox was down 23% to 1.23 million,” The Times reports.

TVBIZWIRE
Sep 28, 2016
7:11 am
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‘Saturday Night Live’ Brings Aboard Broadway Superstar (TVWeek)

The NBC late-night sketch show “Saturday Night Live” will have a Broadway superstar in the lineup for the Oct. 8 show when Lin-Manuel Miranda guest-hosts. Miranda is the creator and star of the Broadway smash “Hamilton.”

Musical guests that night will be Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun of Twenty One Pilots.

“SNL” previously announced that this weekend’s 42nd season premiere will feature guest host Margot Robbie and musical guest The Weeknd.

Miranda will star opposite Emily Blunt in the Disney sequel to “Mary Poppins.”

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TVBIZWIRE
Sep 28, 2016
7:07 am
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Report: Parent Company of Viacom and CBS Corp. Will Call for a Merger of the Two Companies (Reuters)

Media giants Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp., which split off from each other 10 years ago, may be headed for a reunion. Reuters is reporting that Sumner Redstone’s National Amusements Inc., which controls both companies, is poised to call on the companies to explore a merger.

The report cites two sources who are familiar with the situation.

“NAI may contact the two companies as early as this week to ask them to form independent board committees to explore a combination, one of the people said,” Reuters reports. “The sources asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential. Representatives for NAI, Viacom and CBS declined to comment.”

National Amusements owns 80% of the voting shares of Viacom and CBS.

“Viacom shares jumped as much as 5 percent on the news and were trading up 1.4 percent at $35.96 in New York, giving the company a market value of $14.5 billion,” Reuters notes. “CBS shares were flat, hovering around $52.22, giving the company a market capitalization of $23.2 billion.”

CBS CEO Leslie Moonves has been mentioned as a likely candidate to step up to lead the combined company.

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TVBIZWIRE
Sep 28, 2016
7:01 am
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Top Disney Animation Title to Become Live-Action Movie (TVWeek)

Disney will “reimagine” one of its biggest animated features as a live-action project directed by Jon Favreau. The company announced today that it is fast-tracking “The Lion King.”

The move follows Favreau’s similar directorial effort  on “The Jungle Book,” which opened in April and has earned $965.8 million worldwide, Disney noted.

“‘The Lion King’ builds on Disney’s success of reimagining its classics for a contemporary audience with films like ‘Maleficent,’ ‘Cinderella’ and ‘The Jungle Book,'” Disney said in its announcement. “The upcoming ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ starring Emma Watson as Belle, is already one of the most anticipated movies of 2017. Like ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ ‘The Lion King’ will include songs from the animated film. Disney and Favreau are also in development on a sequel to ‘The Jungle Book.’ No release date has been announced for either film.”

Disney notes that the 1994 animated feature “The Lion King” ranks as one of the highest-grossing animated films of all time with global box office gross of $968.8 million, including $422.8 million domestically. The movie won Academy Awards for the original song “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” (Elton John, Tim Rice) and original score (Hans Zimmer), along with two Grammy Awards, and the soundtrack sold more than 14 million copies.

“In 1997, the stage production ‘The Lion King’ made its Broadway debut, winning six Tony Awards; 19 years later, it remains one of Broadway’s biggest hits alongside several other productions running around the world, including London, Hamburg, Tokyo, Madrid, Mexico City, Shanghai, and North America,” Disney notes. “Translated into eight different languages, its 23 global productions have been seen by more than 85 million people across every continent except Antarctica. ‘The Lion King’s’ worldwide gross exceeds that of any film, Broadway show or other entertainment title in box office history.”

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