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TVBIZWIRE
Aug 21, 2019
5:51 pm
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‘Real Housewives’ Fixture Exits the Franchise (Variety, Bravo)

One of the mainstays of Bravo’s popular “Real Housewives” reality franchise is exiting the show. In an exclusive, Variety reports that Bethenny Frankel will leave “The Real Housewives of New York” ahead of the show’s upcoming 12th season.

“Frankel first joined the acclaimed reality series back when it premiered back in 2008 before exiting the series in 2010 during the show’s third season,” Variety notes. “She then rejoined the show during its seventh season in 2015 and has been with it since. She has also made guest appearances on ‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ and starred in the spinoff shows ‘Bethenny Ever After’ and ‘Bethenny & Fredrik.’”

The report quotes a statement from Frankel in which she says: “I have decided to leave the ‘Housewives’ franchise to explore my next chapter. It’s time to move on and focus on my daughter, my philanthropy and my production partnership with Mark Burnett, producing and starring in shows which represent a shift in the conversation for women. With the changes in modern culture, I want to highlight the strength, confidence and unstoppable power that women have. My experience at Bravo has been an incredibly magical ride. I am so grateful to them for highlighting my entrepreneurialism and allowing me to pave the way for many women to achieve their goals. I am excited for my future. The best is yet to come.”

TVBIZWIRE
Aug 21, 2019
5:23 pm
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Here’s Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly, Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson — and More (TVWeek, Lionsgate)

Things look pretty tense behind the scenes at the Fox News Channel, according to the official trailer for the Lionsgate movie “Bombshell,” released today.

The movie, due in theaters Dec. 20, features Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, John Lithgow, Kate McKinnon, Connie Britton, Mark Duplass, Rob Delaney, Malcolm McDowell and Allison Janney.

In the clip, we get a look at Theron as Megyn Kelly, Kidman as Gretchen Carlson and Robbie as Fox News producer Kayla Pospisil. The movie tells the stories of a number of female network employees and their dealings with Roger Ailes leading up to his ouster from the channel.

Check it out …

TVBIZWIRE
Aug 21, 2019
4:37 pm
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ABC News Names Moderators for Upcoming Presidential Debates (Deadline)

ABC News has selected the moderators for the upcoming third round of debates among the Democratic presidential contenders.

Deadline reports that the network named “Good Morning America” co-host George Stephanopoulos, “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir and ABC News correspondent Linsey Davis, who will be presenting questions along with Univision’s Jorge Ramos.

“The next showdowns are set Thursday and Friday, September 12-13 — with the second one contingent on enough candidates qualifying to merit more than one debate,” Deadline reports, noting that if more than 10 candidates qualify the debate will take place over two nights.

“Either way, ABC and Univision — with a Spanish-language translation — will carry the action from Texas Southern University’s Health & PE Center in Houston. It also will livestream on ABC News Live,” Deadline reports, adding: “ABC News said the format of the debate will be one minute and 15 seconds for direct responses to questions and 45 seconds for rebuttals.”

TVBIZWIRE
Aug 21, 2019
4:31 pm
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L.A. Opera Hires Former U.S. Attorney to Oversee Placido Domingo Investigation (AP)

The Los Angeles Opera on Tuesday commented on its probe into allegations of sexual harassment against opera icon Placido Domingo, saying it will immediately open a “thorough and independent investigation,” the AP reports.

Domingo is the general director of the opera company.

“In a brief statement Tuesday, the opera company said it has hired Debra Wong Yang from the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher to lead the investigation,” the AP reports. “LA Opera did not respond to questions about how the investigation would be carried out and its expected duration.”

The AP adds: “Yang is a former U.S. attorney and Los Angeles County Superior Court judge who is chair of her firm’s Crisis Management Practice Group, according to the firm’s website. She has been involved in several high-profile cases and was hired by USC in 2017 to investigate the conduct of a former medical school dean.”

TVBIZWIRE
Aug 21, 2019
4:27 pm
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Lori Loughlin Reportedly Thought College ‘Bribe’ Was Like Donating to Build a Library (People, TVWeek)

Actress Lori Loughlin, who’s in trouble over allegedly paying a bribe to get her daughters into USC, apparently thought what she did was along the lines of making a donation for construction of a library.

People magazine quotes a legal source saying of the 55-year-old “Fuller House” star: “Lori is remorseful, and she has definite regrets.”

The source adds: “She’s embarrassed and hurt, and she knows that her reputation has been ruined for life. But she also believes the allegations against her aren’t true.”

“She honestly didn’t think what she was doing was any different than donating money for a library or athletic field,” the source adds. “That’s the crux of why she pleaded not guilty.”

Loughlin and her fashion-designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, 56, are accused of paying $500,000 to William “Rick” Singer to help get daughters Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose into the university. Singer has pleaded guilty to charges of racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and obstruction of justice.

Loughlin and Giannulli pleaded not guilty in April to charges of wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy, and are scheduled to appear in court Aug. 27.

TVBIZWIRE
Aug 21, 2019
4:21 pm
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‘The Simpsons’ Pull Trump Into a Musical (TVWeek, Fox)

A clip released this week by the Fox animated comedy “The Simpsons” finds Donald Trump dragged into a musical inspired by “West Side Story.”

The clip is called “West Wing Story.” Here it is …

TVBIZWIRE
Aug 21, 2019
3:33 pm
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Lena Dunham Launches New Production Company (THR)

Lena Dunham, the actress, writer and producer who created and starred in HBO’s “Girls,” has just launched a new production company. The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports that the launch of Good Thing Going comes a year after Dunham split with former producing partner Jenni Konner.

THR notes that Good Thing Going already has a slate of film, TV, theater and podcast projects set up, while Dunham continues to have a first-look deal in place at HBO.

In a statement released today, Dunham said: “As a producer, my only goal is to give other artists the chance to be as noisy and honest as I’ve been. I’m firmly of the [belief] that we grow together when we allow each other to be as messy and complex in our art as we are in our lives. I’m so excited to be leading Good Thing Going with a group of close collaborators who share my hunger for getting hooked on new voices and perspectives.”

THR adds: “Based in New York, Good Thing Going is led by Dunham’s manager Michael P. Cohen, who serves as president of the company. Liz Watson serves as head of development and production (and will be based in New York and the U.K.); Marissa Diaz will serve as head of development and production (and be based in Los Angeles); and Soham Joglekar will serve as the New York-based development coordinator.”

TVBIZWIRE
Aug 21, 2019
2:11 pm
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‘Dancing With the Stars’ Reveals New Cast, Including One Controversial Choice — and the Show’s Host Is Clearly Not Happy About It (TVWeek, ABC, Twitter)

ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” stirred up controversy with today’s revelation of the cast for the upcoming 28th season of the show. Along with the more predictable choices — supermodel Christie Brinkley, “Bachelorette” Hannah Brown, former NBA star Lamar Odom — the list includes Sean Spicer, former White House press secretary under Donald Trump.

One interested observer who appears to be less than enthused about the selection, which seems likely to inject political overtones into the competition, is the show’s host, Tom Bergeron.

Bergeron sent out a tweet indicating he tried to convince producers to avoid politics when casting the lineup for the new season, and lamenting that “a decision was made to, as we often say in Hollywood, ‘go in a different direction.'”

Bergeron noted that the producers have the power, writing, “We can agree to disagree, as we do now, but ultimately it’s their call.” You can click here to read his tweet in full.

Click here to see the full cast lineup announced by ABC, including the celebrities and the pro dancers.

Here’s a clip of the “cast reveal” from today’s “Good Morning America” …

TVBIZWIRE
Aug 21, 2019
1:16 pm
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CBS’s Norah O’Donnell on Her New Anchor Job and the ‘Century of Women’ (TVWeek)

It matters who’s telling the story and who decides which stories get covered, says Norah O’Donnell, who stepped up to the anchor chair on the “CBS Evening News” on July 15, becoming only the third woman in history to solo-anchor a broadcast network evening newscast.

After about five weeks on the job, O’Donnell took a moment to reflect on how it’s going and where she thinks things are headed, including her belief that this century will be the “century of women.”

O’Donnell shared her thoughts in an email interview with TVWeek Open Mic writer Hillary Atkin. Please click here to read the full interview.

Norah O’Donnell on assignment (CBS News)

TVBIZWIRE
Aug 21, 2019
12:17 pm
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NBC Puts Up Prime-Time Real Estate to Jump-Start New Late-Night Show (TVWeek, NBC)

NBC is about to add a new entry to the broadcast network’s late-night lineup, and to help kick it off the network announced plans today for “A Little Late with Lilly Singh: The Primetime Special.”

The show airs Wednesday, Sept. 18, at 10 p.m., leading out from the two-hour season finale of “America’s Got Talent.”

“A Little Late with Lilly Singh” bows two days earlier, on Monday, Sept. 16.

“The hourlong special will introduce prime-time audiences to Singh as she partakes in sketches, interviews, games and interacts with the audience,” NBC said in today’s announcement, noting that celebrity guests and a musical guest will be added at a later date.

“Singh is a multi-faceted entertainer, finding success as an actress, producer, writer and creator,” NBC noted. “She’s a leading force in the digital world, amassing a global audience of more than 14 million subscribers on her YouTube channel, where she writes, produces and stars in comedic and inspirational videos.”

“A Little Late with Lilly Singh: The Primetime Special” will be produced by Universal Television, Unicorn Island Productions and Irwin Entertainment. Singh and John Irwin will executive produce. Aliyah Silverstein will showrun. Polly Auritt, Casey Spira, Sean O’Connor and Sarah Weichel will co-executive produce.

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