Dec 12, 2019
3:59 pm

‘Survivor’ Contestant ‘Removed’ From the Show After ‘Incident’ (CNN)

For the first time in the history of the CBS reality staple “Survivor,” a contestant has been booted off the show because of a conduct issue.

“Dan Spilo, a 48-year-old talent manager, was the first contestant asked to leave the game in the show’s 39 seasons,” CNN reports.

The report notes that a title card appeared on the screen at the end of Wednesday night’s episode, stating: “Dan was removed from the game after a report of another incident, which happened off-camera and did not involve a player.”

CBS declined to elaborate.

“Spilo’s behavior on the show had been a plot line this season,” CNN notes. “Kellee Kim, one of the other contestants on ‘Survivor’ this season, had made it known that she was uncomfortable with the way in which he touched her and on day 22 of filming the show issued an official warning to Spilo.”

Kim later criticized the show’s handling of the situation, writing on Twitter: “CBS and Survivor were on notice of Dan’s behavior from the very first days of the game. And, as Survivor fans know, shortly after I spoke up on camera, I was voted off the show. Since then, I’ve accepted genuine, heartfelt apologies from fellow castaways, but I’ve continued to feel disappointed by how this pattern of behavior was allowed to occur for so long.”

Dec 12, 2019
2:44 pm

‘Beverly Hillbillies’ Mansion Sold for Record Price (LA Times)

A media heir is the new owner of the Bel-Air mansion once owned by the late media mogul A Jerrold Perenchio, known to many TV viewers as the “Beverly Hillbillies” mansion because of its appearance in the credits for the 1960s CBS sitcom.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the mansion, which was built in the 1930s, has been bought by Lachlan Murdoch, the son of Rupert Murdoch and co-chairman of News Corp.

The exact sale price of the residence, also known as Chartwell, is not known, but the Times reports that it “sold for the highest price in California history, about $150 million.”

While the home appeared in the credits of “The Beverly Hillbillies,” it was not used in the actual filming of the show.

“Although the exact number isn’t clear, people familiar with the deal who asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to comment told The Times the closing price was well above the $119.75-million sale of the Manor in Holmby Hills earlier this year,” The Times notes. “Priced as high as $350 million as a pocket listing, the estate centers on a 1930s French neoclassical-style chateau of 25,000 square feet that sits on 10 acres. Also trading in the deal was the former home of President Reagan and his wife, Nancy, which sits behind the main estate.”

Dec 12, 2019
2:41 pm

Comedian Dead at 32 (Variety, TVWeek, Twitter)

A comedian who hosted a talk show for Comedy Central died Thursday. According to media reports, Chris Cotton died of unknown causes. He was 32.

The Pennsylvania native was best known for hosting the Comedy Central online show “Every Damn Day,” where he was promoted last year from writer to host.

Variety notes that Cotton, who often performed at the Raven Lounge in Philadelphia, recently published a memoir, “What My Dad Did: My Theory on Joke Writing.”

Comedy Central confirmed Cotton’s death on Twitter. You can see the post below …

Dec 12, 2019
2:27 pm

Plans Unveiled for Sitcom’s Final Season (TVWeek)

A March 2020 premiere date looms for what will be the final season of the comedy series “Brockmire.” IFC sent out word today about its plans for the fourth season of the Hank Azaria series.

Returning for the show’s final eight-episode season are Amanda Peet, Tyrel Jackson Williams and Katie Finneran. Additionally, Reina Hardesty (“The Flash”) joins the show.

Azaria, who executive produces along with starring in the series, commented: “I really loved this season in several very right and a few very wrong ways. I hope you will too.”

Click here for more quotes and additional details in the full announcement.

Amanda Peet and Hank Azaria in “Brockmire” (IFC)

Dec 12, 2019
2:21 pm

ABC Takes Wraps Off Casting for Upcoming Live ‘Good Times’ (TVWeek)

On the heels of its announcement Wednesday about casting for half of its upcoming special “Live in Front of a Studio Audience: ‘All in the Family’ and ‘Good Times,'” which somewhat cryptically failed to mention casting for the “Good Times” portion of the show, ABC sent out word today about the “Good Times” lineup.

Asante Blackk, Andre Braugher, Viola Davis, Corinne Foxx, Tiffany Haddish, Jharrel Jerome and Jay Pharoah will all star in the live re-creation of an episode of “Good Times.” The show airs Wednesday, Dec. 18.

ABC’s Anthony Anderson and the legendary Patti LaBelle will also take part, joining forces for a show-stopping musical performance, the network said.

“In this one-night-only event, an all-star lineup of talent will tackle the roles first portrayed in the iconic television sitcom ‘Good Times,’ including Viola Davis and Andre Braugher as Florida Evans and James Evans, Jay Pharoah as J.J Evans, Asante Blackk as Michael Evans, Corinne Foxx as Thelma Evans and Tiffany Haddish re-creating the role of Willona Woods,” ABC noted. Jharrel Jerome is also confirmed as part of the cast.

Previously announced cast members taking on the “All in the Family” roles include Woody Harrelson, Marisa Tomei, Ellie Kemper and Ike Barinholtz, reprising their iconic roles as Archie and Edith Bunker, Gloria Stivic and Meathead, along with Kevin Bacon, Jesse Eisenberg and Justina Machado, whose roles will be announced live.

“Live in Front of a Studio Audience: ‘All in the Family’ and ‘Good Times'” will be produced by Kimmelot, ACT III Productions, Gary Sanchez Productions, D’Arconville, Simpson Street and Sony Pictures Television. Norman Lear, Jimmy Kimmel, Brent Miller, Kerry Washington, Will Ferrell, Justin Theroux and Jim Burrows will executive produce, with Pam Fryman and Andy Fisher set to direct the live show.

Dec 12, 2019
12:59 pm

Emmy-Winning Series Renewed
(Deadline, TVWeek, Amazon)

It’s no surprise that a show that has become one of the most prolific award winners of the past few years earned a renewal, so news that Amazon picked up “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” for a fourth season was generally expected.

The show claimed eight trophies at the 2019 Primetime Emmys alone — matching its haul from 2018, when the wins included Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for Rachel Brosnahan. “Mrs. Maisel” has also already chalked up three Golden Globes and three SAG Awards, with more nominations pending at both ceremonies for 2020.

Deadline reports that Amazon confirmed the show’s renewal less than a week after its third season premiered on the streaming service Dec. 6.

Creator and executive producer Amy Sherman-Palladino and executive producer Daniel Palladino are quoted saying in a joint statement: “We were thrilled to hear that for the fourth time, we do not have to pack up and vacate the premises. We’d like to thank Amazon for all their faith and support, their partnership and enthusiasm, and for letting us hang with our favorite people, the cast and crew of ‘Maisel,’ for a little while longer.”

Added Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios: “’The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ has been a worldwide phenomenon, and Season 3 has been no exception, with the series’ most watched opening weekend ever. We’re so happy that our Prime Video customers will get to see Midge’s story continue in Season 4. Amy and Dan have created such funny, charming, relatable characters, all with their inimitable wit and eye for detail, and our customers around the world will be delighted to have another season in the world of ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.’”

In addition to Brosnahan in the title role, the series stars Alex Borstein, Michael Zegen, Tony Shalhoub, Marin Hinkle, Kevin Pollak, Caroline Aaron and Jane Lynch.

Dec 12, 2019
11:37 am

Charlize Theron Has a Wardrobe Malfunction in Response to ‘Bombshell’ News (TVWeek, Twitter)

Charlize Theron tweeted out a video — watch it below — showing her reaction to news that the movie “Bombshell” received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for its ensemble cast. Theron was also nominated for Female Actor in a Leading Role for the movie, while Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie received nominations for their supporting roles.

Theron’s video clip shows her reacting excitedly to the nomination in front of a group of friends, jumping up and down on her bed, when her robe apparently slips open. That part of the video is censored, but everyone seems amused afterward, and Theron’s dog gives her some love.

You can click here to see the full list of SAG Award nominations, announced Wednesday.

Here’s the tweet from Theron …

Dec 12, 2019
11:31 am

AP Selects the Top 10 TV Characters of the Past Decade (AP, YouTube)

Commenting on the era of so-called “Peak TV” — and noting that “even in a peak era some peak characters emerge” — the AP today published its selections for the top 10 television roles of the past decade.

The list is unranked, but includes favorites such as “Breaking Bad’s” Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston, “Mad Men’s” Don Draper, played by Jon Hamm, and “Veep’s” Selina Meyer, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus — who became the first actress to win the Primetime Emmy for comedy six years in a row for her lead performance in the series.

“She was a narcissist and bungled one thing after another, from data leaks to campaigning,” Mark Kennedy writes of Meyer in the piece. “Somehow, we always ended up rooting for her.”

Also on the list are Eleven of “Stranger Things,” played by Millie Bobby Brown, Offred of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” played by Elisabeth Moss, and Claire Underwood of “House of Cards,” played by Robin Wright.

Click on the link above to the AP story to see the full list.

Dec 12, 2019
11:21 am

Secret ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Video Released — Here’s How to Find It
(Variety, TVWeek)

Ahead of the arrival in theaters of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” the final installment in the Skywalker saga, Amazon has partnered with Disney and Lucasfilm to release a secret behind-the-scenes clip about the movie.

“The ecommerce giant debuted the Star Wars video Thursday (Dec. 12) exclusively on Amazon.com and Fire TV, with secret Easter eggs to find it,” Variety reports, adding: “There are two ways to discover the exclusive video: Type ‘#TheRiseOfSkywalker’ into the external search bar on Amazon.com or the Amazon App; or on Fire TV, say ‘Alexa, the Force will be with you always’ into the voice remote, a paired Amazon Echo device, or Fire TV Cube with built-in Alexa.”

We tried the search for “#TheRiseOfSkywalker” on Amazon.com and easily found the video, which clocks in at a little under two minutes and captures some of the emotions attached to wrapping up a story that has been a part of popular culture for more than 40 years.

The movie comes out Dec. 20.

Dec 11, 2019
6:06 pm

Sinclair Pulls the Plug on Political Commentary (THR, NBC News)

The “must-run” political commentary segments that have come under fire at Sinclair Broadcast Group are being terminated by the company, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The segments have been hosted by former Trump White House staffer Boris Epshteyn, while Sinclair also recently hired Ameshia Cross to present the Democratic perspective.

Epshteyn will reportedly move to a sales-focused role with the company.

“Instead, Sinclair will be focusing more resources on local investigative journalism.,” THR notes.

NBC News quotes a memo circulated to staff on Wednesday in which the company says: “We have to shine a light on our value proposition every quarter hour, in every newscast. Therefore, we will be expanding our local investigative journalism footprint in our daily newscasts. We are excited to dedicate more time in our newscasts to report on critical and relevant issues. To allot additional airtime for this storytelling, we will be ending the commentary segments this Friday, Dec. 13, featuring Ameshia Cross, and Boris Epshteyn.”

THR adds: “Epshteyn, Sinclair’s most prominent political commentator, joined the network in April 2017, after spending a few months working in the White House. Now the network’s chief political commentator, he hosts a ‘Bottom Line With Boris’ segment that is often very favorable to the president.”

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