Sep 24, 2018
5:47 pm

Two Veteran NBC Execs to Succeed Network Boss Bob Greenblatt (Variety)

NBC will name two network veterans as co-chairmen of NBC Entertainment with the departure of Bob Greenblatt after eight years running the network. Variety reports that George Cheeks and Paul Telegdy will step up to the new roles.

“Cheeks is business strategist and seasoned dealmaker who at present splits his duties between NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment and the NBC broadcast network,” Variety notes. “Telegdy is NBC’s head of unscripted programming who boasts a strong track record of fielding hit shows including ‘The Voice,’ ‘America’s Got Talent,’ ‘American Ninja Warrior,’ ‘World of Dance’ and ‘Ellen’s Game of Games.’”

The two executives will jointly oversee entertainment operations at the NBC network and the Universal Television studio operations, Variety notes.

In a memo sent to staff this morning, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said: “We are fortunate to have two extremely talented, capable and complementary executives inside our organization who are ready to step up and help guide us into the future. Having worked closely with George and Paul for years, I’m very confident that their creative instincts, talent relationships and business skills make them the perfect partners for the job. Both executives are beloved by their teams and extremely well-respected by the entire industry.”

Sep 24, 2018
5:31 pm

Talk Show Moves Forward for Fall 2019 (TVWeek)

A new talk show is moving forward for 2019 that will star former NBC News and MSNBC anchor Tamron Hall. The syndicated daytime show was cleared on the ABC Owned Television Stations Group for fall 2019.

The clearances represent 23% of U.S. television households. The ABC Owned Television Stations Group includes WABC-TV in New York; KABC-TV in Los Angeles; WLS-TV in Chicago; WPVI-TV in Philadelphia; KGO-TV in San Francisco; KTRK-TV in Houston; WTVD-TV in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; and KFSN-TV in Fresno, California.

Click here for quotes and additional details in the announcement from Disney-ABC Domestic Television.

Sep 24, 2018
5:17 pm

‘Star Wars’ Producer Dies (Variety, TVWeek, Twitter)

The producer of the original “Star Wars” movie and its first sequel, “The Empire Strikes Back,” has died. According to media reports, Gary Kurtz died Sunday of cancer. He was 78.

Variety notes that Kurtz, who also produced “American Graffiti,” was a close associate of George Lucas until the two men parted ways following a difficult time making “The Empire Strikes Back.”

“Kurtz had championed ‘Star Wars’ through multiple drafts and helped Lucas navigate 20th Century Fox’s lack of enthusiasm for a movie they dismissed as a B-picture,” Variety reports. “After ‘Star Wars’ stunned everyone by turning into a massive hit, Lucas and Kurtz sat about crafting a sequel. Lucas handed the reins over to director Irvin Kershner, but production went over schedule and Lucas was forced to dip into his own pocket to complete the movie. Kurtz stepped in to direct second-unit work on the film. When it came time to make ‘Return of the Jedi,’ Kurtz was replaced by Howard Kazanjian as producer. Mark Hamill likened the split to ‘Mom and Dad getting a divorce. It appeared to rankle Kurtz.”

Hamill was among those posting tributes to Kurtz on social media. You can see his tweet below …

Sep 24, 2018
4:57 pm

New Show From Creator of ‘Desperate Housewives’ Gets Series Order (TVWeek)

A new show from “Desperate Housewives” creator Marc Cherry received a straight-to-series order from CBS for its All Access digital subscription service.

The network today announced plans to move forward with “Why Women Kill,” detailing the lives of three women living in three different decades: a housewife in the ’60s, a socialite in the ’80s and a lawyer in 2018. Each woman deals with infidelity in her marriage.

The series will be produced by Imagine Television Studios and CBS Television Studios, representing the first series order between the two companies through their co-financing partnership.

Please click here for quotes and additional details about the project in today’s announcement.

Sep 24, 2018
3:21 pm

CNN Contributor Exits the Network Over ‘False and Defamatory Accusations’
(Variety, Splinter, Twitter)

A political analyst and former senior Trump campaign staffer resigned as a regular contributor to CNN after allegations surfaced in court documents. Variety reports that Jason Miller, a former senior communications staffer with the Trump presidential campaign, announced his decision on Twitter.

“I have decided to step away from my role as a Political Commentator at CNN to focus on clearing my name and fighting the false and defamatory accusations being made against me,” Miller said in his tweet, which you can see below. Miller strongly denies the allegations.

“Documents in a custody case involving Miller were filed earlier this month in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, and obtained by the online news outlet Splinter,” Variety reports. “A Splinter report, citing the court documents, alleged Miller had an affair with a woman and when she later found out she was pregnant, Miller ‘surreptitiously dosed her with an abortion pill without her knowledge,’ leading to the end of the pregnancy.”

Variety adds: “The controversy appears to be the latest turn in a sordid saga that has enmeshed Miller in the past. Miller had been chosen to serve as White House Communications Director but had to decline the role after allegations surfaced of a extramarital relationship with A.J. Delgado, a Trump campaign staffer, which resulted in a child. The most recent allegations surfaced in a court matter between Miller and Delgado.”

Here’s Miller’s tweet …

Sep 24, 2018
1:31 pm

New Episodes of ‘Inside the Actors Studio’ in the Works — With One Huge Change (TVWeek)

New episodes of the acclaimed interview series “Inside the Actors Studio” are coming after an agreement was completed between the Actors Studio and Ovation TV. But the man who is most closely identified with the show will no longer be on camera.

James Lipton, the series’ creator, original host and executive producer, will turn over the microphone to a rotating series of guest hosts, who are in the process of being selected by the network and the Actors Studio.

Ovation will also curate episodes featuring footage from the Actors Studio archives.

New episodes are scheduled to premiere starting in fall 2019.

Please click here for details in today’s announcement.

Sep 24, 2018
12:44 pm

As Bill Cosby’s Sentencing Is Being Decided, a Witness at His Hearing Warns That He May Have Already Met His Next Victim (NY Post)

“As Bill Cosby‘s defense attorney tried on Monday to get a psychologist to admit it was unlikely that the 81-year-old would strike again, the doctor warned that the convicted sexual assaulter could have already met his next victim,” The New York Post’s Page Six reports. “The chilling comment came as lawyers from both sides battled over whether Cosby should be deemed a sexually violent predator for the remainder of his life.”

Today’s hearing will determine Cosby’s sentence for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004.

The report quotes defense attorney Joseph Green Jr. asking Dr. Kristen F. Dudley, who assessed Cosby prior to today’s hearing: “Because if it hasn’t happened in the last 14 years, how far forward should we look? There’s no reasonable prospect that an 81-year-old blind man would re-offend.”

“Green went on to underscore that his ‘un-sighted’ client didn’t exactly have the capability to gallivant around town picking up and drugging women,” The Post reports, quoting Green asking Dudley: “How is he expected to meet people?”

Dudley replied: “It is possible he has already met someone who could be a future victim,” adding: “I cannot predict with accuracy when a defendant would re-offend.”

“Earlier Monday, Dudley said the entertainer suffered from a sexual abnormality that caused him to seek out non-consenting sexual partners,” The Post adds. “Judge Steven O’Neill has yet to rule on whether Cosby will be designated a sexually violent predator, in addition to having to register as a sex offender.”

Cosby’s hearing will resume Tuesday.

Sep 24, 2018
12:39 pm

Drama Series Renewed (TVWeek, Hulu)

A drama series that recently wrapped up its second season has just been picked up for season three. Hulu will bring back the period drama “Harlots” for an eight-episode season.

“Set against the backdrop of 18th century Georgian London, ‘Harlots’ continues to follow the fortunes of the Wells family,” Hulu said in a promotional blurb accompanying the announcement. “Margaret (Samantha Morton) has been sent to America in chains; Lydia Quigley (Lesley Manville) is vanquished and in Bedlam. It seems that the Wells girls can free themselves of their mother’s feud, but running a lucrative brothel brings new enemies. Meanwhile Lydia, in her darkest hour, still finds a way to bite. Inspired by the stories of real women, Harlots is a powerful family drama as explored from the female perspective.”

The series hails from the creative team of Moira Buffini, Alison Newman, Alison Owen, Debra Hayward and Alison Carpenter.

Here’s the season two trailer …

Sep 24, 2018
12:31 pm

New Series Takes a Deep Dive Into Seminal Music Events — Bob Marley and Johnny Cash Are Just the Tip of the Iceberg (TVWeek)

Based on the subjects chosen for the rollout of a new music documentary series, the focus of “ReMastered,” rolling out on Netflix starting Oct. 12, will be a little darker than the typical music series.

The first episode will examine the mysterious shooting of reggae legend Bob Marley, followed by an episode focusing on how President Nixon got involved in Johnny Cash’s politics. Later in the series the deaths of Jam Master Jay, Sam Cooke and Victor Jara, who was known as Chile’s Bob Dylan, will all be examined in separate installments of the series.

Other episodes will deal with Bluesman Robert Johnson’s mythical deal with the devil and a journalist’s quest to find the original writers of the song “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” among other topics.

Click here for all the details.

Sep 24, 2018
11:17 am

Lifetime Rolls Out Expansive Holiday Programming Slate (TVWeek)

Lifetime has taken the wraps off an ambitious lineup of movies and specials that will make up the cable network’s special 2018 holiday programming, under the banner “It’s a Wonderful Lifetime.”

Kicking things off on Nov. 17 will be the “It’s a Wonderful Lifetime Preview Special,” hosted by Melissa Joan Hart.

Also on tap is “‘Tis the Season: A One Tree Hill Cast Reunion” on Thursday, Nov. 22, featuring Hilarie Burton, Tyler Hilton, Danneel Ackles, Antwon Tanner and Stephen Colletti.

The lineup of stars for the holiday season includes Toni Braxton, Vanessa Lachey, Megan Hilty, Sarah Drew, Tatyana Ali, Tiya Sircar, Alexandra Beckenridge and Kyla Pratt, to name just a few.

“The Cosby Show” and “A Different World’s” Tempestt Bledsoe, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Kadeem Hardison and Jasmine Guy are just a few of the cast members from classic shows who will be reuniting.

Other Stars to be featured include Marissa Winokur, Loretta Devine, Cheryl Ladd, June Squibb, Sharon Lawrence, John Schneider,Jason London, Diane Ladd, Towanda Braxton, Conchata Ferrell, Gloria Reuben, Rachel Boston, Patricia Richardson, Caroline Rhea, Michael Gross and Melissa Gilbert.

Click here for the full lineup and details about all of the programming.

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