Oct 16, 2019
7:27 pm

Starz Issues Warning About Possible Loss of Channels (B&C, TVWeek)

Lionsgate-owned Starz, which is in a dispute with Comcast, issued an alert to Comcast Xfinity customers that they are apparently about to lose access to Starz, Starz Encore and 15 other premium channels in the Starz group.

If Comcast drops the Starz lineup, customers will lose access to exclusive series such as “Power,” “Outlander” and “Vida” along with a library of exclusive films.

“The simmering dispute has led to reports that Lionsgate is considering spinning off Starz, which it bought for $4.4 billion in 2016,” B&C reports, adding: “At the same time, Epix reached an agreement with Comcast to be included in Xfinity TV premium packages, apparently replacing Starz channels.”

Starz said in a statement: “Starz has been working diligently to reach a fair market distribution agreement with Comcast Xfinity in order to continue providing our shared customers with access to our acclaimed lineup of premium television content. However, months before our contract deadline and in spite of our best efforts to engage in meaningful discussions, Comcast has publicly stated their intention to drop our networks from all packages and bundles, ignoring industry precedent and demonstrating a total disregard for its customers, communities, suppliers and other stakeholders.”

Click here to read the full announcement from Starz.

Oct 16, 2019
6:59 pm

Kathy Griffin Fears for Her Life and Has Contacted the FBI (TVWeek, Wendy Williams Show)

Comedian Kathy Griffin, who got in hot water over her infamous “Trump severed head” incident a couple of years back, now says she fears for her life after a new parody video surfaced in which Donald Trump goes on a mass shooting spree.

“They made a video of Trump doing a mass shooting inside a church, and the last two people he murders are me and Hillary Clinton,” Griffin said during an appearance this week on “The Wendy Williams Show.”

“This thing will get all ginned up again,” Griffin said. “The same groups that came after me two-and-a-half years ago, they’re going to be reinvigorated, and frankly, we don’t know how people will take that video.”

“I already have been in touch with the FBI,” she added.

Here’s the clip of Griffin on “Wendy Williams.” After discussing the Trump severed head incident she begins at 4:08 talking about the new Trump video …

Oct 16, 2019
6:57 pm

Drama Series Picked Up for Second Season (TVWeek, CBS)

A comedic drama series that has been doing well in its first season was just picked up for season two. CBS announced the renewal today for “Why Women Kill,” which runs on CBS All Access.

The show’s first season wraps tomorrow, Oct. 17, on the streaming service. The darkly comedic drama anthology was created by Marc Cherry (“Desperate Housewives,” “Devious Maids”).

“‘Why Women Kill’ has had a phenomenal first season,” said Julie McNamara, EVP of Original Content, CBS All Access. “Under the creative direction of Marc Cherry and the incredible performances of the cast, the series has become one of our most streamed original series. We look forward to bringing fans even more of this wonderfully soapy dramedy in its second season and can’t wait to see what themes Marc explores next.”

The announcement adds: “‘Why Women Kill’ examines how the roles of women have changed over the decades, but how their reaction to betrayal… has not. The first season of ‘Why Women Kill’ details the lives of three women living in three different decades: a housewife in the ’60s, a socialite in the ’80s and a lawyer in 2019, each dealing with infidelity in their marriages. Season two will follow a new set of characters dealing with acts of betrayal.”

The first season stars Lucy Liu, Ginnifer Goodwin and Kirby Howell-Baptiste. The cast also includes Jack Davenport, Sam Jaeger, Reid Scott, Alexandra Daddario, Sadie Calvano, Leo Howard, Alicia Coppola and Katie Finneran.

The series is produced by Imagine Television Studios and CBS Television Studios. Cherry serves as executive producer alongside Imagine’s Brian Grazer; Francie Calfo; Acme Productions’ Michael Hanel and Mindy Schultheis; and Marc Webb.

Oct 16, 2019
5:21 pm

Sketch Comedy Series Gets Expanded Order, New Cast Member (TVWeek, Nickelodeon)

A sketch comedy series running on cable just received an expanded episode order along with a new cast member. Nickelodeon announced it has picked up an additional 13 episodes of “All That” and is adding cast member Aria Brooks to the show.

The additional episodes bring the freshman season order for the rebooted show to 26 episodes. New episodes of “All That” air on Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon.

“All That” is executive produced by Kenan Thompson (“Saturday Night Live”), Kel Mitchell (“Game Shakers”), Kevin Kay (“All That,” “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “Lip Sync Battle”) and Jermaine Fowler (“Superior Donuts,” “Sorry to Bother You”). Kevin Kopelow & Heath Seifert (“All That,” “Cousins for Life,” “Austin & Ally”) are also executive producers.

Shot in front of a live studio audience, “All That” stars Ryan Alessi, Reece Caddell, Kate Godfrey, Gabrielle Nevaeh Green, Nathan Janak, Lex Lumpkin and Chinguun Sergelen, who have popularized new characters, impersonations of today’s celebrities and new original comedic sketches including “Cancelled with Nathan,” “Bed, Bath & Beyoncé” and “Marie Kiddo.”

Recording artists the Jonas Brothers, Ciara, H.E.R., JoJo Siwa, Ella Mai, Ally Brooke, Kane Brown, Bryce Vine, Daddy Yankee and CNCO have performed on the show. The series also features appearances from Kenan Thompson, Kel Mitchell, Lori Beth Denberg, Josh Server and Alisa Reyes, who helped make the original series a ’90s icon for a generation of kids.

“All That” was Nickelodeon’s longest-running live-action series with 171 episodes across 10 seasons from 1994 to 2005. The franchise paved the way for a number of spinoffs including “Kenan & Kel,” “The Amanda Show” and “The Nick Cannon Show,” and the feature-length film “Good Burger,” along with audio recordings, books, festival tours and numerous reunions.

The show helped launch the careers of comedy stars including Kenan Thompson, Amanda Bynes and Nick Cannon, and has featured musical guests and guest stars including Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Usher, Ray Romano and Brittany Snow.

Production of “All That” for Nickelodeon is overseen by Shauna Phelan, Senior Vice President, Live-Action Scripted Content. The show was created by Brian Robbins and Mike Tollin.

Oct 16, 2019
5:19 pm

Cause of Death Released for Food Network Star (NY Post, YouTube)

The cause of death was released for a Food Network star who died last month at age 44. The New York Post’s Page Six reports that Carl Ruiz died from hardened arteries.

“Ruiz succumbed to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, which is a buildup of fats and other substances in the arteries, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Health confirmed to Page Six on Wednesday,” The Post reports. “He also noted it was a death from natural causes.”

The report adds: “Ruiz died in his sleep in September at age 44. The owner of Meatpacking hotspot La Cubana appeared on ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives’ and news of his passing left host Guy Fieri devastated.”

Fieri tweeted at the time: “I’m heartbroken that my friend chef Carl Ruiz is gone. I have no words to describe what a great friend he was to me and my family. His ability to make me laugh and smile under any circumstances was only outshined by his talent as a chef.”

Ruiz also was a judge on “Fieri’s Guy’s Grocery Games.”

Here’s a clip in which Ruiz and comedian Bill Burr talk about restaurants, which includes raunchy language …

Oct 16, 2019
5:11 pm

Felicity Huffman to Be Released Early From Prison (TMZ, TVWeek)

Former “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman, who reported to federal prison Tuesday to begin a 14-day sentence for her involvement in the college admissions scandal, will be released after she serves 13 days, according to media reports.

Huffman surrendered to authorities in Dublin, Calif., on Tuesday to begin her sentence at that city’s Federal Correctional Institution, about 40 miles east of San Francisco. She was reportedly driven to prison by her husband, actor William H. Macy.

TMZ reports that Huffman will get credit for one day for the time she spent locked up when she was initially arrested at her home and was taken in and booked. She was reportedly in custody for a few hours at that time.

She is reportedly now due to be released Oct. 27.

“This must be especially galling for prosecutors, because as we reported they initially wanted Felicity to serve a year behind bars — although they never said that publicly,” TMZ notes. “When they did get around to a public proclamation, they said they wanted 4 months, but when they realized the probation dept. wasn’t supporting that, they reduced it to 1 month and only got half that.”

The report adds that the food isn’t bad in the prison, where Huffman’s menu the first day reportedly included a chicken patty for lunch and pepper steak for dinner.

Oct 16, 2019
3:01 pm

NBC Pulls Series Off the Schedule
(Variety, TVWeek, NBC)

NBC has pulled a series off its prime-time schedule, with the move going into effect next week. The network announced that it is moving the freshman comedy series “Sunnyside” to digital platforms, and replacing it in the broadcast lineup with the final season of “Will & Grace.”

Season 11 of “Will & Grace” had been scheduled to premiere early next year, but was moved up. The remaining six episodes of “Sunnyside’s” 10-episode run will move to the NBC App, NBC.com and other digital platforms, where the series will run weekly.

Variety is reporting that NBC ordered an additional episode of “Sunnyside,” increasing the order to 11 episodes. Variety adds that “it now seems highly unlikely that ‘Sunnyside’ will see another series beyond its first on any platform.”

Variety also notes that “Sunnyside” is currently in production on episode nine and will finish production of all 11 episodes.

“Will & Grace” will bow Thursday, Oct. 24, at 9:30 p.m.

Click here for more in the NBC announcement.

Oct 16, 2019
1:37 pm

Homicide Suspect Killed in Home of TV’s ‘Tarzan’ (CNN, TVWeek, YouTube)

Deputies shot and killed a man who was suspected of fatally stabbing a woman at the Santa Barbara home of “Tarzan” actor Ron Ely, CNN reports, citing the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.

Ely, 81, is known for playing the title role in the “Tarzan” TV series, which aired on NBC from 1966-1968.

“The sheriff’s office received a call about a family dispute at the actor’s home in Hope Ranch, California, on Tuesday night, Lt. Erik Raney told CNN. When deputies arrived, they found an elderly woman dead from apparent stab wounds, Raney said,” CNN reports. “The victim’s husband, whose speech was impeded because of a medical condition, said that another family member was involved in the stabbing, Raney said.

“Deputies searched the property and found the suspect, the sheriff’s office said in a statement. When the suspect ‘presented a threat’ to the deputies, they fired at him.”

Authorities did not release the identities of the people who were in the home at the time.

Oct 16, 2019
1:31 pm

Matt Lauer Reportedly Had an Affair With Well-Known NBC Star (NY Post, TVWeek)

Former “Today” show mainstay Matt Lauer, who was fired by NBC in 2017 amid a swirl of allegations of sexual impropriety, allegedly had an affair with one of the network’s stars, The New York Post’s Page Six reports.

The report describes the woman as “a famed and well-respected broadcaster,” adding that the alleged affair represents a “clear imbalance of power.”

At her request, The Post does not name the woman, who reportedly signed a nondisclosure agreement when she left NBC.

But the report quotes a TV source saying: “Matt had influence over everyone’s career — one word and your career would be sunk. I know there was a clear imbalance of power in this woman’s relationship with Matt.”

The allegation comes on the heels of damaging material in Ronan Farrow’s new book “Catch and Kill,” as we reported previously.

“In his new book, ‘Catch and Kill,’ Ronan Farrow also claims Lauer repeatedly harassed a fellow on-air NBC personality, who was allegedly forced to sign a strict NDA when she left the network in 2012,” The Post notes. “It’s not clear if it’s the same woman we’ve learned about.”

Oct 15, 2019
5:03 pm

ABC News Apologizes for Video Blunder
(NY Times, YouTube)

ABC News offered an apology after mistakenly running the wrong video during reports on “World News Tonight Sunday” and “Good Morning America.”

The New York Times reports that the video, which ran with reports on Turkish attacks in northern Syria, was apparently taken at a gun range in Kentucky.

The network is quoted saying in a statement released Monday: “We’ve taken down video that aired on ‘World News Tonight Sunday’ and ‘Good Morning America’ this morning that appeared to be from the Syrian border immediately after questions were raised about its accuracy. ABC News regrets the error.”

The Times reports that a representative for ABC News declined to comment on how the error occurred.

“The clip that accompanied the reports on the bombings showed explosions and smoke dominating the dark horizon. Tom Llamas, an anchor with ABC News’s ‘World News Tonight’ spoke over the footage, which someone reposted on YouTube,” The Times reports, quoting Llamas saying: “This video, right here, appearing to show Turkey’s military bombing Kurd civilians in a Syrian border town.”

The Times adds: “A number of people on social media noted on Monday that the clip strongly resembled a video uploaded to YouTube in April 2017. The title ‘Knob Creek night shoot 2017’ referred to an evening machine gun event held by the Knob Creek Gun Range in Kentucky.”

Here’s a clip that was posted to YouTube …

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