Mar 23, 2018
5:40 pm

So Sad. We Loved Her as Connie, Assistant to the Chief on ‘Chicago Fire’: DuShon Monique Brown Dies at 49 (Chicago Tribune; Deadline; YouTube)

“On Friday, DuShon Monique Brown “died a little after 12 p.m. at St. James Olympia Field Hospital, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office,” reports the Chicago Tribune, adding, “She was 49. The cause of death has not yet been disclosed.”

Brown played the no-nonsense Connie, assistant to Chief Boden on NBC’s “Chicago Fire.”

The story adds that the show’s executive producer, Dick Wolf, said, “The ‘Chicago Fire’ family is devastated to lose one of its own. Our thoughts and prayers are with DuShon’s family and we will all miss her.”

Notes the Tribune, “On the NBC series, Brown’s character was a stern-faced delight and a steadying influence on a group of co-workers prone to getting into one mess or another… Brown could do a lot with a look, and the show’s writers and producers made the most of that talent.”

Writes Deadline.com, “Brown, a Chicago native, was a longtime theater actor before segueing to television, having performed at the Goodman, Victory Gardens, Lookingglass, Drury Lane, MPAACT and Pegasus Players in Chicago. Her other TV work also included guest spots on ‘Empire’ and ‘Shameless.’

“In an interview last year with the website Hidden Remote, Brown said that when she was first cast in the role of Connie on ‘Chicago Fire,’ ‘my character didn’t even have a name. She was a noun. She was Secretary and it was a one-liner. What was exciting was [I] was auditioning for a Chicago show, but it was also the possibility that she could maybe develop into something.’”

Here’s a short video we found on YouTube featuring Brown in a deleted scene from “Chicago Fire.”

Mar 23, 2018
3:21 pm

Rolling Stone Founder Jann Wenner — Himself Accused of Sexual Assault — Calls the Recent Wave of Allegations ‘a Bit of a Witch Hunt’ (AP)

Jann Wenner, the founder and publisher of Rolling Stone magazine, said in an interview with the AP that the #MeToo movement shows a “real absence of due process.”

“The 72-year old Wenner speaks from experience, after a former Rolling Stone employee came forward last year, claiming the media mogul sexually assaulted him in 1983,” the AP reports. “Wenner doesn’t deny something happened between him and his accuser.”

The report quotes Wenner saying of his own situation: “There’s some truth to it, but it does not fit any illegal, immoral, or unethical, or go in any way that direction.” He adds: “All you can say is no, not me too, and wait.”

Speaking more generally, the AP reports that Wenner “said he feels that mere accusations of sexual impropriety are threatening careers, many times without corroboration, with people losing their jobs over ‘some of the most harmless [expletive] things.’”

Wenner is quoted saying in the interview: “Honestly, I do believe it’s a bit of a witch hunt. It’s difficult to get due process because there’s no real place to adjudicate it except in court, which takes forever.”

Mar 23, 2018
2:49 pm

Paris Hilton Loses Her $2 Million Engagement Ring While Partying (NY Post)

Paris Hilton was partying when she lost her engagement ring, which later turned up in — of all places — an ice bucket at another VIP table in the Miami club where the incident took place, The New York Post’s Page Six reports.

The ring is valued at $2 million, and Hilton had security scour the venue until it was found, the story reports.

“The enormous 20-carat diamond engagement ring from fiance Chris Zylka flew off Hilton’s finger into the packed crowd while she danced in the early hours of Friday to a set by British DJs Above & Beyond at industrial former soda factory RC Cola Plant at Mana Wynwood, a nearly 50,000-square-foot venue with a 7,000-person capacity, witnesses said,” The Post reports. “After an exhaustive search of the VIP area — led by an astonishingly calm Zylka, 32, and an army of security, while distraught Hilton, 37, waited nervously in floods of tears — her giant rock was miraculously found in an ice bucket two tables down from where Hilton had been partying.”

The report quotes a witness saying: “Paris was dancing with her hands in the air, and the next minute her giant ring had flown off. She was really panicked as the venue was packed and very dark, it was the early hours of the morning and it was crazy in there.

“Security started an exhaustive search of the VIP area with torches, led by Chris and with the help of other patrons. There was a frantic scramble with everyone looking for it, people were crawling on the floor, under tables, under other people’s feet, and under seats.”

Mar 23, 2018
2:31 pm

YouTube to Ban Videos Promoting Gun Sales (NY Times)

“YouTube said this week that it would tighten restrictions on some firearm videos, its latest policy announcement since coming under scrutiny after last month’s mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla.,” The New York Times reports. “The video-streaming service, which is owned by Google, said it would ban videos that promote either the construction or sale of firearms and their accessories. The new policy, developed with expert advice over the last four months, will go into effect next month, it said.”

In a statement, YouTube said: “While we’ve long prohibited the sale of firearms, we recently notified creators of updates we will be making around content promoting the sale or manufacture of firearms and their accessories, specifically, items like ammunition, gatling triggers, and drop-in auto sears.”

The Times adds: “YouTube, which described the move as part of ‘regular changes’ to policy, notified users in a Monday forum post. The company had previously banned videos showing how to make firearms discharge faster, a technique used by the gunman who killed 58 people in Las Vegas last fall.”

The report notes that the announcement comes just ahead of student-led protests against gun violence planned for Saturday.

Mar 23, 2018
2:19 pm

CNN Gets Ratings Boost From High-Profile Interview (Variety)

CNN’s Anderson Cooper saw his ratings surge on Thursday night thanks to an interview with former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal, who alleges she had an affair with Donald Trump.

“In the 8 p.m. hour, Cooper averaged 2.21 million viewers, with 608,000 of those falling in the key adults 25-54 demographic, according to Nielsen data,” Variety reports. “That is an improvement over Cooper’s average in the hour for the previous four weeks of 58% in the demo and 89% in total viewers.”

Variety adds: “Cooper topped both Fox News’ Tucker Carlson and MSNBC’s Chris Hayes in the hour in the demo as well, with Carlson averaging 572,000 viewers and Hayes averaging 397,000. However, Carlson had the most viewers at 8 p.m. with 2.69 million. Hayes was third with 1.95 million.”

Variety reports that Cooper averaged 2.30 million viewers at 9 p.m., with 683,000 in the demo, an improvement of 81% in the demo and 113% in total viewers vs. his average in the hour for the previous four weeks.

“Cooper also won the hour in the demo over MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow — who had 628,000 — and Fox News’ Sean Hannity, who had 591,000,” Variety reports. “However, Cooper finished third in total viewers, with Maddow leading with 2.98 million and Hannity right behind with 2.92 million.”

Mar 23, 2018
1:41 pm

Roseanne Barr Fires Expletives at Jimmy Kimmel, Defends Trump (TVWeek, ABC)

Roseanne Barr got political during an appearance with John Goodman on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” to promote the revival of “Roseanne.”

The actress and comedian laid out some of her feelings about Donald Trump and the 2016 presidential election during the appearance, while also firing off a few expletives in the direction of the host.

Here’s the clip, with most of the political material toward the end …

Mar 23, 2018
12:44 pm

Firefighter Dies Battling Blaze on Set (AP)

A New York City firefighter was killed early today while battling a fire on the set of the movie “Motherless Brooklyn,” directed by Edward Norton. The AP reports that the fire broke out in the cellar of a former jazz club as the film crew was close to wrapping up its work for the day around 11 p.m. Thursday.

“Flames poured out the windows as firefighters stormed into the five-story Harlem building, dumping water on the blaze to get it under control,” the AP reports. “Firefighter Michael R. Davidson of Engine Co. 69 was assigned to the nozzle on the lead hose-line and pushed into the burning basement.

“But the blaze was too much. Firefighters had to back out, and Davidson was separated from his colleagues.”

Davidson was later found unconscious after suffering severe smoke inhalation, Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. He was pronounced dead at a hospital a little after midnight.

Eric Phillips, a spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio, sent out a tweet saying: “This is an awful night. You haven’t heard a scream until you’ve heard the scream of a mother who’s seen her son give his life to protect us.”

Besides Norton, who stars in the film along with directing it, the movie stars Bruce Willis, Willem Dafoe and Alec Baldwin.

Mar 23, 2018
10:27 am

Burt Reynolds Baffles the Audience and Himself in Bizarre ‘Today’ Show Interview (USA Today, TVWeek, NBC)

Burt Reynolds was doing some spin control after a weird interview with Hoda Kotb on NBC’s “Today” show raised eyebrows. You can watch a clip of the interview below.

Among other odd moments, near the end of the interview Reynolds tells Kotb: “I am so proud of you for not having your lips larger.”

USA Today reports that Reynolds, 82, says he was trying to pay Kotb a compliment.

The paper quotes Reynolds saying: “It didn’t come out like that. I don’t know what the hell I said. But I got so (hacked) off at people being (hacked) off at me for hurting Kotb.”

Reynolds reportedly sent Kotb a note after the interview. He added, in his USA Today interview: “I never, ever meant to hurt her. I think she’s the best at doing what she does. And that laugh is to die for.”

Another strange bit in the Kotb interview involves Sally Field, who Reynolds says was the love of his life. He appears to say Field was 7 years old when he first fell in love with her.

USA Today quotes him saying later: “I didn’t say 7. I said 37, I think.”

Here’s the Kotb interview …

Mar 23, 2018
10:21 am

PBS Countersues, Detailing Tavis Smiley’s Alleged Misconduct (Variety)

“PBS on Friday filed a countersuit against former talk-show host Tavis Smiley, seeking $1.9 million in salary and providing detail about the alleged misconduct that led to his show being canceled,” Variety reports. “The move comes in response to a suit filed in February by Smiley against the public broadcaster. In that suit, alleging breach of contract, Smiley accused PBS of being ‘racially hostile’ and inadequately supporting his show.”

PBS pulled the plug on “Tavis Smiley,” the veteran host’s national talk show, back in December after an investigation into Smiley’s alleged sexual misconduct. After initially suspending the show, which was also produced by Smiley through his company TS Media, PBS canceled it.

“The countersuit spells out four patterns of behavior on Smiley’s part that led to PBS terminating his contract, accusing him of ‘having sexual encounters with subordinates’; ‘making unwanted sexual advances toward subordinates, including requests for specific sexual acts’; ‘inappropriate sexual jokes or lewd comments, including about subordinates’ body parts’; and ‘creating a verbally abusive and threatening work environment, including that he aggressively cursed and belittled subordinates,'” Variety reports.

The Hollywood Reporter has published the entire 32-page PBS answer and countersuit to Smiley’s original suit. To get to it, please click here and then scroll down until you see it.

Mar 23, 2018
9:57 am

CMT Names Senior VP of Program Development (TVWeek)

CMT has just named a new senior vice president of program development. The cable channel elevated Morgan Selzer to the role, effective immediately.

The announcement was made Thursday by Keith Cox, President of Development for Paramount Network, TV Land and CMT, to whom Selzer will continue to report.

“Morgan is a seasoned and savvy development executive who crafts compelling stories across multiple formats and genres,” said Cox. “During her tenure at CMT, she’s delivered the network’s biggest hits and has a clear, creative vision to elevate the brand to new creative heights.”

Selzer, who is based in Los Angeles with frequent travel to Nashville, will lead all facets of CMT development strategy.

“Since joining CMT as Vice President of Development in 2014, she’s launched a string of hits including ‘Nashville,’ ‘Party Down South’ and ‘I Love Kellie Pickler,’ that have set new ratings benchmarks for the network,” CMT said in its announcement. “Currently, she’s overseeing production of the final season of ‘Nashville,’ as well as ‘Music City,’ from famed producer Adam DiVello, creator of ‘Laguna Beach’ and ‘The Hills,’ as well as the revival of the hit series ‘Wife Swap.’”

Before joining CMT as Vice President of Development, Selzer served as Director of Development for Style Network.

Morgan Selzer

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