Oct 20, 2017
2:51 pm

ABC News Gets New Chief Medical Correspondent (TVNewser)

ABC News has named a new chief medical correspondent following the exit earlier this year of Dr. Richard Besser, who left the network.

TVNewser reports that Dr. Jennifer Ashton was promoted to the position. “Dr. Ashton, who has been with ABC for the last 5 years, is a board-certified OBGYN and last year got her master’s in Human Nutrition,” the report notes.

ABC News President James Goldston made the announcement, commenting: “From breaking down a health warning for parents about child sleep apnea to analyzing the latest developments in cancer research to explaining the effects of mental illness to dissecting the benefits and risks related to a popular diet trend her knowledge knows no bounds.”

The report notes that Ashton has recently covered medical issues related to a series of devastating hurricanes, including reporting from Houston and Puerto Rico. “She also reported from Las Vegas where she interviewed a surgeon who treated the victims of the mass shooting earlier this month,” the report adds.

Goldston noted: “Her incredible work on the ground has elevated our breaking news coverage as evidenced by ABC News’ recent Emmy Award for our coverage of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando last year, which Dr. Ashton was an important part of.”

Dr. Jennifer Ashton (Twitter)

Oct 20, 2017
2:44 pm

Quentin Tarantino’s Weinstein Admission: ‘I Knew Enough to Do More Than I Did’ (NY Times)

Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, who has had close ties to Harvey Weinstein during his directing career, opened up about the sexual misconduct scandal swirling around Weinstein, admitting that he should have done something about it a long time ago.

Tarantino “has known for decades about the producer’s alleged misconduct toward women and now feels ashamed he did not take a stronger stand and stop working with him, he said in an interview,” The New York Times reports.

The report quotes Tarantino saying: “I knew enough to do more than I did. There was more to it than just the normal rumors, the normal gossip. It wasn’t secondhand. I knew he did a couple of these things.”

Tarantino adds: “I wish I had taken responsibility for what I heard. If I had done the work I should have done then, I would have had to not work with him.”

The report says Tarantino had heard about Weinstein’s behavior long before recent articles in The New York Times and The New Yorker brought them to widespread attention.

“His own former girlfriend, Mira Sorvino, told him about unwelcome advances and unwanted touching by Mr. Weinstein,” The Times reports. “Another actress told him a similarly upsetting story years later. He also knew that the actress Rose McGowan had reached a settlement with the producer.”

Said Tarantino: “What I did was marginalize the incidents. Anything I say now will sound like a crappy excuse.”

Oct 20, 2017
2:31 pm

‘Stranger Things’ Star Fires Agent Over Sexual Abuse Claim (THR)

One of the young stars of the Netflix hit “Stranger Things” has dumped talent agency APA over allegations of sexual abuse. According to The Hollywood Reporter, 14-year-old Finn Wolfhard, who also appears in the recent blockbuster “It,” parted ways with agent Tyler Grasham.

“The move comes as Grasham is facing a string of claims that he sexually assaulted or acted inappropriately with young aspiring male actors, including actor-turned-filmmaker Blaise Godbe Lipman,” THR reports. “Grasham, a prominent agent at APA who also reps Hayley Orrantia, is currently on leave from the agency, sources confirm, while the company investigates the allegations.”

APA wouldn’t say much about the situation. THR quotes an agency spokesperson saying: “APA takes these allegations extremely seriously and is investigating this matter.”

THR notes: “It is understood that the agency has enlisted an independent, neutral investigator to research the claims. In light of the accusations, Grasham has set his Instagram to private and deleted his Facebook account.”

Oct 20, 2017
1:59 pm

Cosby Accuser Faces Lawsuit (AP)

The woman whose accusation that she was drugged and sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby is at the center of his criminal case in Pennsylvania faces a lawsuit from the former district attorney who declined to press charges against Cosby in the case in 2005, the AP reports.

“An attorney for Bruce L. Castor says the personal-injury complaint will claim Andrea Constand sued Castor for defamation in 2015 so he would lose the prosecutor’s race, the story reports. “The winner, Kevin Steele, had criticized Castor’s handling of the Cosby case.”

The report adds: “Castor’s lawyer James Beasley Jr. tells The Philadelphia Inquirer paperwork filed earlier this month will lead to a lawsuit seeking more than $50,000 in damages.”

Oct 20, 2017
11:57 am

Nickelodeon Fires Series Creator Accused of Sexual Harassment (THR, Cartoon Brew, TVWeek)

The creator of a hit Nickelodeon series has been fired amid allegations of sexual harassment. The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports that Chris Savino was fired “after multiple women came forward with sexual harassment allegations against the animator.”

Savino is the creator of “The Loud House,” which is Nickelodeon’s No. 2 series in its target demo of kids 2-11, after “SpongeBob SquarePants.” As we reported earlier this week, Savino was initially suspended after the allegations began to surface.

News of Savino’s suspension was first reported by Cartoon Brew. Savino’s long list of animation credits includes “Rocko’s Modern Life” and “The Powerpuff Girls.”

“Up to a dozen women have accused Savino, 46, of sexual harassment, unwanted advances and inappropriate behavior as well as threats of blacklisting female colleagues who were no longer in consensual relationships with him, according to Cartoon Brew, which was first with the news,” THR notes.

THR quotes a statement from a Nickelodeon spokesman provided Thursday, which says: “Chris Savino is no longer working with Nickelodeon. We take allegations of misconduct very seriously, and we are committed to fostering a safe and professional workplace environment that is free of harassment or other kinds of inappropriate conduct.”

THR notes that “The Loud House,” currently in its second season on Nickelodeon, remains in production, with an early 2018 premiere scheduled for season three.

“The Loud House” (Nickelodeon)

Oct 20, 2017
10:59 am

Netflix Warned by Actor That ‘Blood Will Be on Their Hands’ If Project Released Today on the Streaming Service Prompts Violence (NY Times, Netflix)

An Oscar-winning actor is in a battle with Netflix over a project that became available today on the streaming service. The New York Times reports that Sean Penn is battling Netflix over the new documentary series “The Day I Met El Chapo: The Kate del Castillo Story.”

An attorney for Penn reportedly sent Netflix a letter saying the streamer is “hereby on notice that blood will be on their hands if this film causes bodily harm.”

The three-part documentary “centers on the bizarre episode in October 2015 when Ms. del Castillo, a Mexican actress, and Mr. Penn were given an audience with one of the world’s most wanted men, the drug dealer Joaquín Guzmán Loera, also known as El Chapo,” The Times reports. “Mr. Penn later wrote about the meeting in an article for Rolling Stone that was published just a day after Mr. Guzmán was captured by authorities.”

Penn’s lawyer, Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., warned Netflix in a letter sent last week that the series would put Penn in danger, according to the report.

Penn wanted Netflix to make changes to the content of the documentary, which focuses on del Castillo’s version of events. Penn did not participate in the project, and Netflix did not change it, according to The Times.

“Mr. Penn is apparently upset because he believes the documentary implies that he helped the authorities at the Department of Justice in their capture of El Chapo,” the story reports.

Penn spokesman Mark Fabiani reportedly said in an email: “It is reprehensible that, in their ongoing, relentless efforts to gain additional attention and publicity, Ms. del Castillo and her team (who have zero firsthand knowledge) have sought to create this profoundly false, foolish, and reckless narrative. The notion that Mr. Penn or anyone on his behalf alerted D.O.J. to the trip is a complete fabrication and baldfaced lie. It never happened, nor would there have been any reason for it to have happened.”

Oct 20, 2017
9:49 am

Julia Louis-Dreyfus Provides an Update on Her Cancer Treatment — Including an Enigmatic Photo (Instagram, TVWeek)

Eleven-time Emmy winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who revealed in September that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer, offered an update on how her treatment is going.

Louis-Dreyfus took to Instagram to post a photo of herself in a hoodie with a mustache drawn on her face. The photo was accompanied by a message reading:

“Chemo #2: finito. We are NOT fucking around here. ‘I’ve got the eye of the tiger. The Fighter dancing through the fire cuz I am a champion and your’re going to hear me ROAR.’ Thanks to @mrtonyhale & @timothycsimons & @katyperry for their hilarious and loving inspiration.”

Here’s the “Veep” star’s post …

Oct 20, 2017
9:01 am

Jay Leno Offers an Insider’s Perspective on His Famous Feud With Letterman (THR)

Jay Leno provided insights into the rift between him and longtime late-night rival David Letterman, which has gone down as one of the most famous celebrity feuds in television history. Leno’s comments, told to Patrick Shanley, were published today by The Hollywood Reporter.

The piece was published ahead of this Sunday’s ceremony at the Kennedy Center in Washington in which Letterman will receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor — following past honorees including Leno, along with Steve Martin, Richard Pryor and other comedy legends.

“The idea that there was a huge rift between me and Dave — yeah, of course there was,” Leno said. “I think Dave felt really sad he didn’t get ‘The Tonight Show.’ And our shows were very competitive. Whether it’s two sports teams, or two boxers, you can trash talk each other, but it doesn’t mean you don’t respect each other. I think there was a mutual admiration. It’s not that we have a lot in common — we don’t — but I think that we have a mutual admiration for each other’s ability to make each other laugh.”

Leno also said: “The one thing about Dave was, even when he was mean to me, it was funny, and that’s all that matters.” The longtime “Tonight Show” host added: “There was no animosity there. Comics have a bond: You have more in common with your worst enemy if they’re a comic than you do with your best friend, because you share something that regular people just don’t get.”

Oct 20, 2017
8:19 am

Paul Ryan Tries Out His Donald Trump Comedy Material (AP)

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan rolled out comedy material aimed at Donald Trump during Ryan’s keynote address at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York.

Here’s a taste, posted by the AP …

Oct 20, 2017
7:44 am

Two Networks Join Forces in Pursuit of Common Goal (MediaPost)

Two of the major broadcast networks are putting their heads together in an effort to gain a competitive edge in an increasingly challenging business environment.

MediaPost reports that executives for Fox and NBC appeared at the Next TV Summit in New York to discuss how their companies are working together toward a strategy that will bring traditional television up to speed in an environment where on-demand, streaming and other non-traditional platforms are increasingly important.

David Levy, executive VP of non-linear revenue for the Fox Networks Group, and Aaron Radin, senior vice president of partnerships and portfolio products  for NBCUniversal, discussed the challenges the companies face.

Said Levy: “For television, we are faced with challenges from the left with Facebook and Google on advertising, and on the right we are looking at Netflix, Amazon and ad-free experiences. Our challenge is, how do we create a competitive viewing environment to Netflix and Amazon, and at the same time make enough money off of ad-supported revenue to continue to product quality content?”

MediaPost adds: “At the heart of the problem is the relative inefficiency of traditional ad formats, which don’t necessarily translate to new platforms such as streaming services.”

The report also notes: “The solutions the companies are working on are largely technological, allowing marketers to use automated platforms to transact more efficiently. The strategy also includes improving measurement to go beyond just cost and reach.”

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