Aug 3, 2015
3:01 pm

In Wake of ‘Trainwreck’ Shooting, the Schumer Family — Comedian Amy and Her Cousin Sen. Charles Schumer — Takes Aim at Gun Violence (CNN)

Comedian Amy Schumer has joined forces with a family member, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. — her cousin — to step up the fight against gun violence, CNN reports.

The comedian and the senator held a news conference today to present proposed legislation that would encourage states to submit information to the background-check system. The announcement came less than two weeks after a gunman opened fire during a screening of Amy Schumer’s movie “Trainwreck” in Lafayette, La., killing two women and injuring nine others before killing himself.

“The new push for gun control in Congress also comes after the FBI reported that a breakdown in the system made it possible for Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof to purchase a gun,” CNN notes.

Amy Schumer became emotional during the announcement, which you can watch below. The comedian said: “These shootings have got to stop. I don’t know how else to say it.”

Here’s the video of her remarks:

Aug 3, 2015
2:44 pm

Why Donald Trump Is Sitting Out Tonight’s GOP Candidates Forum (CNN, Washington Post)

Almost all of the Republican presidential hopefuls — 14 of the 17 major candidates — are set to take part in tonight’s candidates forum in New Hampshire, The Washington Post reports, but one notably absent contender will be Donald Trump.

The controversial real estate mogul and reality TV star is riding a wave of popularity in the polls, but CNN reports that he opted out of tonight’s event in an apparent beef with the New Hampshire Union Leader, which is co-sponsoring the forum.

Joe McQuaid, the paper’s publisher, said the no-show is a response to an editorial that was critical of Trump.

McQuaid told CNN: “His staff is saying that he was upset with an editorial that appeared in our paper … questioning his courage versus that of John McCain.”

The editorial ran after Trump stirred up controversy last month by ridiculing McCain’s status as a war hero, CNN notes.

Tonight’s Voters First Forum, airs on C-SPAN from 7-9 p.m. ET. The event is being put on by a number of news outlets in the early voting states of New Hampshire, South Carolina and Iowa.

Trump is still set for the official GOP debate scheduled for Thursday night in Cleveland, put on by Fox News.

voters first forum

Aug 3, 2015
2:31 pm

Longtime TV Executive and Former Studio Boss Dies of Heart Attack (Variety)

A veteran television executive and philanthropist who had a hand in a string of hit TV series has died. Variety reports that Peter Grad, the former president of MTM Television, died Saturday of a heart attack while on vacation in Vail, Colo. He was 75.

Grad led MTM for five years, from 1987-1992, and also had a seven-year run as a development executive at 20th Century Fox. He was behind a number of high-profile series including “L.A. Law” and “The Fall Guy.”

“Grad was married for 47 years to Laurie Burrows Grad, daughter of famed playwright-director Abe Burrows. He was the father of Nick Grad, president of original programming and production at FX Networks,” Variety notes.

In recent years Grad, a New Jersey native, worked on behalf of the Alzheimer’s Association.

“As a tribute to his late father-in-law, Peter and Laurie Grad launched and co-chaired the Alzheimer’s Assn.’s annual A Night at Sardi’s fundraiser, which recognizes researchers, doctors, caregivers and families affected by the neurological disease,” the Variety report notes. “The event has generated $27 million in donations over the past 23 years and has garnered the support of a host of stage, TV and film stars who perform songs from Broadway musicals.”

Aug 3, 2015
2:01 pm

ESPN Personality Signs Extension (TVWeek)

ESPN has extended its deal with a familiar on-air personality. The sports network today announced an extension with senior news correspondent Jeremy Schaap.

A nine-time winner of national Sports Emmy Awards, Schaap has been a part of ESPN’s “E:60,” “SportsCenter” and “Outside the Lines,” among other programs. The veteran sports journalist is also a contributor to “Nightline” and ABC’s ‘World News Tonight,” and his writing has been featured in Sports Illustrated, ESPN The Magazine, Time, The Wall Street Journal and other publications.

Schaap, who joined ESPN full time in 1994, is also heard on ESPN Radio. The contract extension was announced by John Wildhack, ESPN executive vice president, production and programming.

Schaap is currently reporting from the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.

In its announcement, ESPN notes: “A new one-hour branded show titled ‘E:60 Reports with Jeremy Schaap’ debuted this May with an investigation of Sepp Blatter and FIFA. Two weeks later, the U.S. Justice Department announced that it had indicted more than a dozen soccer executives and several of FIFA’s highest-ranking officials were arrested in Switzerland. On June 2, Blatter held a press conference to announce that he would be stepping down.”

Said Schaap: “ESPN has been my home for more than 20 years, and before that my father Dick Schaap did so much remarkable work here. I couldn’t be more pleased to know that my colleagues — so many of whom are like family — are stuck with me for many more years.”

ESPN notes in its announcement: “Schaap’s father Dick Schaap began working at ESPN in 1988 hosting ‘The Sports Reporters,’ and in later years he also hosted ‘Schaap One on One’ and, with Jeremy, ‘The Sporting Life.’ He worked at ESPN until his passing in 2001.”

e60 reports with jeremy schaap

Aug 3, 2015
10:44 am

Publication That Has Been Covering the Media for Almost 40 Years Shuts Down (USA Today)

A media watchdog publication that has been in business since 1977 is shutting down. USA Today reports that American Journalism Review said it has run out of money and will shutter its online operation.

AJR, produced by the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, shut down its print version in 2013, but continued with online publishing.

Said Lucy Dalglish, dean of the college: “Unfortunately, we are unable to provide the resources needed to keep AJR the vibrant, innovative online publication it deserves to be.”

In a statement, the university said the publication’s online archives will continue to be available, while new content will no longer be produced.

“AJR was known for covering the changing media landscape since its inception in 1977, featuring profiles of news organizations and providing guidance and commentary on how journalists can better use technology or cover controversial issues,” USA Today notes. “Its coverage was closely followed in the media business, along with competitors like Poynter and Columbia Journalism Review, according to a detailed autobiography of the publication.”

The print publication originated as the Washington Journalism Review.

american journalism review

Aug 3, 2015
10:27 am

Sling TV Targets NBC After Stations Refuse to Run Ads (Here’s the Video) (YouTube, Sling TV)

Dish’s Sling TV service is ratcheting up the pressure on NBC after network-owned stations reportedly refused to air ads for the service.

Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch appears in a new clip introducing the company’s ads, where he aims his comments squarely at NBC and its owner Comcast, making the point that stations owned by ABC, CBS and Fox are airing the ads. Lynch has also noted that independent NBC affiliates are running the ads, while NBC-owned stations in San Diego, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., have rejected them.

Lynch discusses the situation in a blog post, calling NBC owner Comcast “the standard bearer for ‘Old TV’ in the U.S.” One of the ads at the center of the campaign characterizes traditional TV providers as schoolyard bullies.

“Here’s the irony,” Lynch writes. “The refusal to air our campaign endorses the ads’ central truth: there are traditional pay-TV players that just don’t get it.”

Here’s what Lynch and Sling TV are saying, with the introductory video featuring Lynch followed by the schoolyard bully spot:

Aug 3, 2015
10:24 am

How Apple Plans to Kill Voicemail (Business Insider)

Apple is developing a service that may put an end to the need to listen to voicemails. Business Insider reports that the company is testing a voicemail service that lets Siri listen to voicemail for you and transcribes it into text.

“Apple’s iCloud service will then send you the text of the transcribed voicemail — meaning you will never need to listen to your voicemails again, sources tell Business Insider,” the publication reports, noting that the new service is targeted for a 2016 launch.

The report adds: “Apple’s proposed solution is both incredibly simple and incredibly clever: People like to leave voicemails (it’s often quicker to orally deliver your information than it is to type it in a text message). But they don’t like to receive voicemails (it’s a lot quicker to read a text than it is to listen to the person talking to you). The new product will also bridge a generation gap: Older users like voicemails. Young people do not.”

With the new system, Siri answers calls to the user of iCloud Voicemail instead of sending the calls to an audio recorder. “iCloud Voicemail can relay information about where you are and why you can’t pick up the phone to certain people,” the story reports. “But the coolest feature of the service is that Siri will transcribe any incoming voicemails, just as it does with anything else you say to it.”

The text transcriptions would then become available on the user’s iPhone.

apple logo

Aug 3, 2015
10:21 am

Walt Disney Experts Address Allegations Against the Mickey Mouse Creator (EW)

Longstanding allegations against Mickey Mouse creator and iconic entertainment figure Walt Disney surfaced Sunday at a Television Critics Association summer press tour panel, with people behind a new documentary on Disney generally dismissing the accusations.

Entertainment Weekly reports that Sarah Colt, the director and producer of the new PBS “American Experience” film, set to air this fall, focused in particular on the suggestion that Disney was anti-Semitic.

Said Colt: “That’s just not based on any truths, so there’s no reason to bring it up in the film. It wasn’t relevant. There isn’t any evidence.”

Neal Gabler, the author of “Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination,” offered a similar perspective, noting that in his research on Disney, “I saw no evidence, other than casual anti-Semitism that virtually every gentile at that time would have, that Walt Disney was an anti-Semite.”

Gabler is also quoted by EW saying: “There are many charges against Walt Disney, and if you answered every one of them, you’d have a four-hour film that was nothing but rebutting charges.”

The experts conceded that Disney was both revered and feared, EW notes. Said Gabler: “Everyone was terrified of [Disney].”

The four-hour PBS documentary airs Sept. 14 and 15. Here’s a trailer:

Aug 3, 2015
10:19 am

After Slaying of Cecil the Lion, the New Alpha Male Has His Own Security Team (TMZ, YouTube)

After the killing of Cecil the lion by a Minnesota dentist made headlines, Cecil’s successor as leader of the pride at Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe isn’t taking any chances.

TMZ.com reports that the new leader, Jericho, has a security team in place to ensure that the animal isn’t hunted and killed.

“An official from the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force tells TMZ, a research team is monitoring Jericho’s every move and are ready to pounce if anything looks suspicious,” the website reports. “Jericho has taken over alpha male duties for the pride, and if he’s killed the animals that were once under Cecil’s watch will be unprotected in the wild.”

Cecil was hunted and killed last month by Walter Palmer, a recreational big game hunter with a dental practice in Bloomington, Minn. The animal was reportedly lured out of his protected habitat, where he had been a part of tracking studies for years and had become a local favorite among tourists. Palmer reportedly paid $50,000 to have locals set up the hunt.

The incident caught the attention of Jimmy Kimmel, who talked about it in a video you can watch below.

Researchers are reportedly tracking Jericho with a GPS unit, and officials have placed a ban on hunting lions in the vicinity of the park.

Aug 3, 2015
10:11 am

IATSE Reaches Terms With Reality Show — Deal Is Being Called a Victory for the Union (Deadline)

After picket lines went up about a week and a half ago, a settlement has been reached in the dispute between IATSE and the production company behind the reality show “Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge,” Deadline.com reports.

The union had been picketing the offices of 51 Minds Entertainment, alleging unfair employment practices.

“Agreed to late last night, the IATSE contract sees the post-crew back at work today with enshrined health and pension benefits,” Deadline reports today.

IATSE announced this morning: “The unfair employment letters issued against the production company 51 Minds Entertainment (currently producing Broken Skull Ranch Challenge), and rGear rental business, have both been rescinded.”

The show, which airs on CMT, is currently producing its third season.

Deadline notes: “This is yet another win for IATSE and the Motion Picture’s Editors Guild in bringing unionization to unscripted TV. A very short June strike saw a contract on ‘Marriage Boot Camp’ and back in October of last year, the union inked a deal with Bravo’s ‘Shahs of Sunset’ on similar terms — after a much more protracted labor action.”

steve austin's broken skull challenge-logo

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