Jan 18, 2018
6:22 pm

‘Megyn Kelly Today’ Staffer Reportedly Fired After Alleging ‘Toxic and Demeaning’ Work Environment (NY Post, Daily Mail)

“A top staffer on Megyn Kelly’s show has been fired after claiming there is a ‘toxic and demeaning’ environment on set, rife with bullying and ‘abusive treatment,'” The New York Post’s Page Six reports. “Kevin Bleyer was fired as a writer from ‘Megyn Kelly Today’ this week after complaining that Kelly’s two top execs, Jackie Levin and Christine Cataldi, were bullying lower-level members of staff.”

The report notes that Kelly “has made fighting abuse her personal crusade. Plus, in the wake of Matt Lauer’s firing, NBC ordered all staff to report workplace bad behavior, supposedly without fear or reprisal.”

The story reports that Bleyer sent an email to human resources at NBC News, “and was fired shortly after.”

Bleyer’s memo was published by the U.K. publication The Daily Mail. In it, Bleyer writes:, “I’m sad to say … the executive incompetence continues — as does the dysfunctional management, abusive treatment, maddening hypocrisy, staggering inefficiencies, acidic and deficient communication, and relentless scapegoating. Jackie Levin persists in creating a toxic and demeaning environment, and Christine Cataldi enables and reinforces it.”

The Post adds that Bleyer “claims Cataldi regularly calls her assistant ‘an idiot,’ and when he offered suggestions for the show, Levin called him a ‘f–king whiner.’”

Jan 18, 2018
6:02 pm

First Trailer Released for New ‘Heathers’ TV Series — Watch It Now (TVWeek, Paramount Network)

An adaptation of the cult classic feature film “Heathers” is about to be unleashed as a TV series, and the Paramount Network today released the first official trailer for the project.

The show premieres March 7. Here’s the trailer …

Jan 18, 2018
5:52 pm

L.A. Times Publisher Being Investigated by Paper’s Parent Company (NPR)

Los Angeles Times parent company Tronc said it is investigating Times CEO and publisher Ross Levinsohn after allegations surfaced of past sexual harassment and inappropriate workplace behavior, NPR reports.

The report says a review by NPR found that Levinsohn “has been a defendant in two sexual harassment lawsuits and that his conduct in work settings over the past two decades has been called into question repeatedly by female colleagues.”

NPR says it reviewed “court documents, financial filings and fresh interviews with 26 former colleagues and associates. Taken in concert, they suggest a pattern of questionable behavior and questionable decisions on the job. The portrait that repeatedly emerges is one of a frat-boy executive, catapulting ever higher, even as he creates corporate climates that alienated some of the people who worked for and with him.”

Among the accusations listed by NPR: “Levinsohn was sued in separate sexual harassment lawsuits as an executive at two different corporations. By his own sworn testimony, Levinsohn admitted to rating the relative ‘hotness’ of his female colleagues in office banter as a vice president at a digital media company. He also testified that he speculated about whether a woman who worked for him there was a stripper on the side.”

The report adds: “Two witnesses say they were shocked to see Levinsohn aggressively kissing and pressing himself against a woman at a glitzy music industry dinner in plain view of his subordinates and his clients. Levinsohn was married at the time.”

The report quotes a statement issued on Tronc’s behalf that says: “This week, we became aware of allegations that Ross Levinsohn acted inappropriately. We are immediately launching an investigation so that we have a better understanding of what’s occurred. At Tronc, we expect all employees to act in a way that supports a culture of diversity and inclusion. We will take appropriate action to address any behavior that falls short of these expectations.”

Jan 18, 2018
5:22 pm

New ‘Conan Without Borders’ Installment Set for Later This Month (TVWeek)

Conan O’Brien’s popular “Conan Without Borders” series returns this month with the host traveling to Haiti. The show is set to air Saturday, Jan. 27, as a prime-time special on TBS (10 p.m. ET/PT).

“Conan Without Borders: Haiti” represents the eighth time in three years that O’Brien has traveled internationally for the series.

“After hearing President Trump’s disparaging remarks about Haiti, O’Brien immediately decided to announce his intentions to visit the island nation,” TBS noted in announcing the special. On Jan. 14, O’Brien tweeted: “Still reeling from @realDonaldTrump’s very negative Yelp review of Haiti, which means I’ll love it. Headed to Haiti later this week to explore and make some new friends. Stay tuned for my report.”

TBS adds: “Three days after that tweet O’Brien boarded his flight out of Los Angeles to Haiti’s Port-au-Prince International Airport to film his newest special. This will mark the shortest time between filming and airing of a Conan Without Borders special, with more details available in the coming days.”

O’Brien recently traveled to Israel, where he visited Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and the West Bank. Previously he went to Mexico City, where he shot an episode of “Conan” with the help of an all-Mexican staff, crew, featuring guests Vicente Fox and Diego Luna and an all-Mexican studio audience.

Other trips have taken the late-night host to Cuba, Armenia, South Korea, the international Air Force Base in Doha, Qatar, and Berlin.

Jan 18, 2018
4:01 pm

Amazon Cancels Three TV Series (Variety)

Amazon pulled the plug on three of its original series as the streamer moves aggressively to distance itself from the original-programming strategy favored by ousted Amazon Studios President Roy Price, Variety reports.

The company canceled “I Love Dick,” “One Mississippi” and “Jean-Claude Van Johnson,” the story reports, noting Amazon continues to move “toward a new approach mandated by company founder Jeff Bezos, who has called for bigger, broader series with the potential to perform well internationally.”

“Produced by FX Productions, ‘One Mississippi’ starred co-creator Tig Notaro and was the most lauded of the three canceled shows,” Variety reports. “Its second season premiered in September. ‘I Love Dick,’ from Jill Soloway, debuted in May, but did not receive the critical or national-media attention that Soloway’s groundbreaking Amazon original ‘Transparent’ earned. ‘Jean-Claude Van Johnson,’ a comedy starring the action-movie actor Jean-Claude Van Damme, premiered last month.”

The report notes that all of the shows were developed under Price, who got the boot last year following a sexual harassment investigation.

Jan 18, 2018
2:23 pm

AMC Is Sued Over ‘Walking Dead’ — Again (Variety)

The megahit AMC series “The Walking Dead” continues to be the focal point of a heated legal battle between the cable channel and the show’s developer, Frank Darabont. Variety reports that Darabont “doubled down Thursday on his claim that AMC cheated him out of millions of dollars in ‘Walking Dead’ profits, filing a new lawsuit alleging that he is owed additional tens of millions of dollars.”

The war between Darabont and AMC has been going on for more than four years, with Darabont and his agency, CAA, accusing the channel of depriving them of $280 million by “failing to engage in arm’s length transactions for distribution of the show,” Variety reports.

“In the new lawsuit, filed Thursday in New York Supreme Court, Darabont alleges that new information shows that he is entitled to tens of millions in additional compensation,” Variety adds. “Darabont’s attorneys contend that he is entitled to ‘most favored nation’ treatment with respect to how his profit participation is calculated. But until recently, his lawyers were unaware that another producer on the show, Robert Kirkman, had a profit calculation based on AMC’s ‘actual’ distribution fee, rather than an ‘imputed’ fee used in Darabont’s case. Since Kirkman received a more generous agreement, Darabont alleges his contract is entitled to the same treatment.”

Jan 18, 2018
10:47 am

Three Takes on Sexual Misconduct, the #MeToo Backlash and Aziz Ansari
(TBS, ABC, Fox News, TVWeek)

Actor and comedian Aziz Ansari remains at the center of the debate over sexual impropriety, with much of the conversation this week on sexual harassment and the #MeToo movement including taking sides on what happened on Ansari’s date with a woman identified as “Grace.”

You can click here to read our story from earlier this week about the Aziz Ansari debate, including a link to the original Babe.net story that prompted the discussion.

Three recent takes on the situation can be found below. First, here’s what the host of the TBS late-night show “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” had to say earlier this week, which comes with a warning about strong language …

Here’s a discussion of the issue on ABC’s “The View” …

And an example of how Fox News is handling the Ansari story …

Jan 18, 2018
10:21 am

Drama Reboot Moves Forward (TVWeek)

A drama series that cultivated a loyal following in the 1990s is being rebooted, with the announcement today that Freeform has given a put pilot commitment to a new “Party of Five” project.

Original creators Chris Keyser and Amy Lippman are on board with the project, which comes from Sony Pictures Television.

Freeform said in today’s announcement that the new show “will follow the five Buendias children as they navigate daily life struggles to survive as a family unit after their parents are suddenly deported back to Mexico.”

The announcement notes that Keyser and Lippman will write the pilot, with Rodrigo Garcia set to direct.

“Party of Five” is created by Keyser and Lippman, who also serve as executive producers and writers. Garcia will also serve as executive producer. Michael Zebede serves as co-executive producer and writer.

The original “Party of Five” premiered in 1994 and ran for six seasons on Fox.

Jan 18, 2018
9:44 am

CBS Unveils Lineup of NFL Players Who Will Be Involved in ‘MVP’ Special — and What Each Player’s Special Talent Will Be (TVWeek)

CBS today took the wraps off the lineup of NFL players who will be attempting to showcase hidden talents on “MVP: Most Valuable Performer.” The one-hour special airs Thursday, Jan. 25.

After a nationwide vote, Brandon Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Justin Tucker, Alex Collins, Cody and Jacob Hollister (performing together) and Kevin Zeitler have been selected as the finalists who will compete in the talent show to find the current NFL player with the best off-the-field talent.

If any player is unable to perform due to football obligations, Domata Peko and Robert Nkemdiche have been named as alternates.

A few examples of the players’ talents: Tucker, placekicker for the Baltimore Ravens, will sing opera; Zeitler, a guard for the Cleveland Browns, will do dog tricks; and Collins, a running back for the Ravens, will perform Irish dancing.

Please click here to see the rest of the players’ talents along with additional details in today’s announcement.

Jan 18, 2018
9:09 am

Screen Icon Is Latest French Woman to Lash Out at #MeToo Movement (AP, TVWeek)

Another French actress has spoken out against the climate of sexual misconduct allegations that has prevailed in the entertainment industry since the takedown of Harvey Weinstein.

The AP reports that Brigitte Bardot said in an interview with the Paris-Match weekly, published today, that most of the actresses who have been speaking out about sexual harassment are “hypocritical” and “ridiculous.”

The comments by Bardot, 83, follow a backlash against French actress Catherine Deneuve, who signed on to an open letter expressing similar sentiments, as we reported previously. Deneuve later clarified her position.

The AP reports that Bardot suggested many actresses are in part responsible for the situation because they “tease” producers in an attempt to land film parts.

“The star of ‘And God Created Woman’ says many actresses have come out with sexual misconduct allegations ‘so that we talk about them,'” the AP adds.

Bardot also said in the interview that she has never been a victim of sexual harassment, adding that she thought “it was nice to be told that I was beautiful or that I had a nice little ass.”

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