Sep 23, 2016
3:57 pm

Paramount Shakeup: Vice Chairman Steps Down (Variety)

The vice chairman of Paramount Pictures is exiting after 11 years with the studio and eight years in his current job. Variety reports that Rob Moore is leaving his post.

Moore has overseen the studio’s worldwide marketing, distribution, digital and television arms, Variety notes. The studio is not expected to fill his position.

“A source close to the situation said that the decision to ask for Moore’s resignation was made by the board of Viacom, Paramount’s corporate parent,” Variety reports. “Moore had been one of the major proponents of former Viacom Chairman Philippe Dauman’s push for Paramount to sell a minority stake in the company to Dalian Wanda. But after Viacom Board Vice-Chair Shari Redstone successfully orchestrated Dauman’s ouster last summer, the decision was made to abandon the sale process over Moore’s objections.”

Moore’s management team is expected to remain with the studio, with some of the team members expanding their responsibilities, the report notes.


Sep 23, 2016
3:31 pm

AMC Renews Show Featuring ‘Walking Dead’ Star (Deadline, AMC)

AMC has ordered a second season of a show featuring one of the stars of “The Walking Dead.” Deadline.com reports that the cable channel picked up “Ride with Norman Reedus.”

The travel series tracks Reedus — “Walking Dead’s” Daryl Dixon — as he hits the road on his motorcycle and samples various cultures.

Said Reedus: “The reaction to ‘Ride’ has been incredibly positive. I am glad to be able to show audiences a different side of me, and we have gotten a great response to the candid conversation and the fact that it’s obviously not scripted. I feel like we are just getting started and there are so many amazing places we have yet to go — the opportunities for the show are endless.”

Deadline notes that the show’s six-episode first season averaged 800,000 in Nielsen Live+7 figures.

Sep 23, 2016
2:44 pm

Comedian Gets Green Light for New Late-Night Show (TVWeek, Netflix)

A new late-night show starring a past winner of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” has received the green light at Freeform. The project will star Iliza Shlesinger, who won season six of “Last Comic Standing” back in 2008, becoming the first woman to win it and the show’s youngest winner.

Shlesinger has been hosting the TBS comedy/game show “Separation Anxiety.”

In announcing the new project, Karey Burke, executive vice president, Programming and Development, Freeform, said: “We were looking for a voice that speaks to and for our audience, and we have found it in Iliza. We weren’t just looking to get into late-night for the sake of it — it’s Iliza’s brilliantly modern take on culture, relationships, and gender politics that made her vision for a series undeniable to us.”

Shlesinger added: “A late-night show has been THE goal for me and I’m ready to throw my hat into the ring. I couldn’t be more excited to work with Freeform because they understand my voice as a comedian and are allowing me the freedom to create something special. I can’t wait to put my stamp on the late-night format.”

This past summer, Shlesinger premiered her scripted Web series “Forever 31” on ABC’s new digital platform ABCd, with the show already picked up for a second season. Her third Netflix special, “Confirmed Kills,” premieres on the streaming service Sept. 23.

Shlesinger will executive produce the new Freeform show along with Jon Thoday, Richard Allen Turner, David Martin and Kara Baker from Avalon Television (“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” and “Catastrophe”).

Sep 23, 2016
2:21 pm

NBC Comedy Gets Full-Season Pickup (Variety)

NBC is counting on a sophomore series to be “the cornerstone of its next generation of comedies,” according to Variety, which reports that the network gave a full-season order to “Superstore.”

The show, which stars America Ferrera, Ben Feldman, Lauren Ash and Colton Dunn, received an order for nine additional episodes, bringing the total for its second season to 22.

The show delivered a 1.5 rating in adults 18-49 for its season premiere Thursday night, based on Nielsen final live-plus-same-day nationals, with 5.5 million total viewers.

“By the standards of NBC’s recent track record with comedies, that was a credible showing, particularly against ‘Thursday Night Football’ competition on CBS,” Variety notes, adding that the 18-49 number was NBC’s best for a Thursday night comedy in almost three years.



Sep 23, 2016
11:31 am

Monty Python Troupe Member Diagnosed With Dementia (NY Post, Monty Python's Flying Circus)

One of the founding members of the Monty Python comedy troupe has been diagnosed with dementia. The New York Post’s Page Six reports that Terry Jones, 74, received the diagnosis.

Along with John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam and the late Graham Chapman, Jones formed Monty Python’s Flying Circus in the 1960s.

The British film academy, in announcing that Jones will be honored by its Welsh branch for his outstanding contribution to film and television, also announced the diagnosis. A rep for the academy said Jones has primary progressive aphasia, which impairs the ability to use language.

Jones is reportedly no longer able to give interviews, The Post notes.

Jones directed the Monty Python movies “Life of Brian” and “Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, and co-directed “Monty Python and The Holy Grail” along with Gilliam.

Jones plays “Mum” in this clip from the second episode of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” with Graham Chapman as “Dad” and Eric Idle as “Ken” …

Sep 23, 2016
11:29 am

NBC Picks Up Series for Second Season (Variety)

NBC has given a renewal to a series featuring a cast of TV veterans. In an exclusive, Variety reports that the network has ordered a second season of “Better Late Than Never.”

The summer travel show, which stars William Shatner and Henry Winkler along with Terry Bradshaw, George Foreman and Jeff Dye, performed well in its four-episode summer run. Variety cites Nielsen’s most current data, consisting mainly of L+7 figures, indicating the show has been delivering a 1.8 average rating in 18-49 with 8.1 million total viewers.

Season one of the reality program found the group traveling through Asia. The itinerary for season two has not been selected.


Sep 23, 2016
11:21 am

Monday’s Presidential Debate Puts NBC’s Lester Holt in the Hot Seat (CNN)

A lot is riding on the presidential debate scheduled for Monday between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and one person with more at stake than most is “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt.

CNN notes that the debate, which Holt will moderate, “may be the most highly anticipated presidential debate in American history.”

The debate, CNN, adds, “will take place against the backdrop of the recent bombings in New York and New Jersey, the violent protests in the streets of Charlotte and the tensions of a country very much at odds over its future. It is an immense responsibility, and opportunity, for a man who once seemed destined to spend his career as NBC’s quiet journeyman, working in the shadow of Brian Williams with no guarantee of his own time in the spotlight.”

Holt figures to be up to the challenge, according to the report, which quotes colleagues including Tom Brokaw praising the newsman.

But the report notes that it will fall on Holt to again polish the reputation of NBC News, as he did when he took the reins of the flagship newscast in the wake of Williams’ fall from grace. This time around, Holt will be called on to do some cleanup after a widely criticized recent attempt by Matt Lauer to put on a presidential forum.

We encourage readers to click on the link near the top of this story to read CNN’s full analysis.

nbc nightly news-lester holt

Sep 23, 2016
10:47 am

Viacom Has Its Credit Downgraded (LA Times)

Viacom’s credit has been downgraded by Moody’s Investor Service following a disclosure by the company that it will tap into debt markets to maintain liquidity, The Los Angeles Times reports.

“The ratings firm on Thursday lowered Viacom’s credit to one notch above junk status,” The Times reports. “The move came as Wall Street continued to digest news coming out of the Redstone family-controlled media company that owns MTV, Comedy Central, VH1, Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures.”

The article quotes Pivotal Research senior analyst Brian Wieser writing in a report: “A uniquely bad situation now looks even worse.”

News broke earlier this week that interim CEO Thomas Dooley is leaving the company, as we reported previously.

“Viacom cut its dividend, reduced its earnings guidance and said it no longer was pursuing a sale of a stake in Paramount Pictures — which would have provided an infusion of cash,” The Times notes. “The company also disclosed that it was taking a $115 million write-down because it was expecting another wreck at the box office, ‘Monster Trucks,’ which is due in theaters in January.”

viacom logo

Sep 23, 2016
10:44 am

U.S. Songwriter Dead at 82 — He Gave Us ‘Tobacco Road,’ ‘Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye’ and Many Other Classics (AP, YouTube)

The songwriter who penned the Paul Revere & the Raiders hit “Indian Reservation” and the Nashville Teens’ “Tobacco Road” has died.

The AP reports that John D. Loudermilk died Wednesday in Christiana, Tenn. He was 82.

“Loudermilk, originally from North Carolina, began his career as a writer and singer when a poem he wrote, ‘A Rose and a Baby Ruth,’ was recorded by singer George Hamilton IV in 1956,” the AP reports. “He moved to Nashville and became a popular songwriter in the 1960 and ’70s. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1976.”

Loudermilk’s songs included “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye,” which was a hit for the Casinos in 1967 and a country hit for Eddy Arnold the following year, and “Norman,” a hit for Sue Thompson in 1961. He was one of the co-writers of “Abilene” and also penned Thompson’s “Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)” and Glen Campbell’s “I Wanna Live,” among many other popular songs.

Here’s the Casinos’ hit recording of “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye” …

Sep 23, 2016
10:27 am

Oops! For the Past Two Years Facebook Has Overestimated How Much Time Users Spend Watching Video Ads (WSJ)

A number of major marketers are unhappy with Facebook after finding out the company has been overestimating the average time its users spend viewing video ads on the platform, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The report, which cites sources who are familiar with the situation, says Facebook made the errant estimates for two years.

“Several weeks ago, Facebook disclosed in a post on its ‘Advertiser Help Center’ that its metric for the average time users spent watching videos was artificially inflated because it was only factoring in video views of more than three seconds,” WSJ reports. “The company said it was introducing a new metric to fix the problem.”

Ad agency execs pushed for more details, according to the report.

“Ad buying agency Publicis Media was told by Facebook that the earlier counting method likely overestimated average time spent watching videos by between 60% and 80%, according to a late August letter Publicis Media sent to clients that was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal,” the report adds.

Facebook issued an apology today in a Web post, where David Fischer, vice president of business and marketing partnerships, wrote: “The metric should have reflected the total time spent watching a video divided by the total number of people who played the video. But it didn’t. While this is only one of the many metrics marketers look at, we take any mistake seriously.”


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