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 …

Oct 15, 2019
4:51 pm

‘Wheel of Fortune’ Contestant’s Shocking Intro Goes Viral (TVWeek, Wheel of Fortune)

A contestant on “Wheel of Fortune” became a viral star on the Internet after he introduced himself on the show by saying he’s been “trapped in a loveless marriage for the last 12 years.”

The contestant, Blair Davis, goes on to say that his “old battle-axe” wife, Kim, “cursed” his life with three stepchildren, and adds that he has “one rotten grandson.”

Host Pat Sajak, appearing momentarily stunned, rolls with it, but soon enough, Davis admits he was just kidding.

Since the clip surfaced, it has been making the rounds on Twitter and other social media sites, where users are generally praising the off-the-rails intro.

Here’s the clip …

Oct 15, 2019
4:29 pm

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Announces Nominees for Class of 2020 (Rolling Stone)

The nominations just came out for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s class of 2020, with the organization naming 16 artists as candidates for admission.

The list consists of the Notorious B.I.G., Whitney Houston, Pat Benatar, Dave Matthews Band, Depeche Mode, the Doobie Brothers, Judas Priest, Kraftwerk, MC5, Motörhead, Nine Inch Nails, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Todd Rundgren, Soundgarden, T. Rex and Thin Lizzy.

The inductees will be announced in January, with the induction ceremony set for May 2, 2020, at Cleveland’s Public Hall.

A nominee’s first single or album had to have been released in 1994 or earlier for eligibility this year.

“In a break with recent history, a majority of the nominees are appearing on the ballot for the first time, including Dave Matthews Band, the Doobie Brothers, Motörhead, the Notorious B.I.G., Benatar, Soundgarden, T. Rex, Thin Lizzy and Houston,” Rolling Stone reports. “This is the sixth ballot appearance for Kraftwerk, the fifth for the MC5, the fourth for Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, the third for Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode, and the second for Judas Priest and Rundgren.

The inductees will be selected by a voter pool of more than 1,000 artists, historians, journalists and members of the music industry, with fans also able to take part by voting at rockhall.com or at an interactive kiosk at the museum in Cleveland.

Oct 15, 2019
4:27 pm

Only Three Returning Shows on the Big 4 Broadcast Nets See an Uptick in Viewers (AP, ABC)

Only three shows among the 49 prime-time programs returning to the big 4 broadcast networks have registered an increase in live viewing over the first three weeks of the new season, the AP reports. The shows are ABC’s sophomore drama “A Million Little Things,” the ABC reality show “Shark Tank” and the Fox drama “9-1-1.”

The report, which cites Nielsen data, does not include sports programming.

“A decade or so ago, such a statistic would prompt audible wailing from network executive suites,” the AP notes. “The nature of television has changed so much that it’s too early to tell if viewers are bored with the offerings or if those numbers reflect that more people are watching on their own time and making their own schedules.”

The big 4 — ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox — will get a clearer picture of how they’re doing in the weeks ahead, when delayed viewing and digital viewing are added in.

“One quick example: Last season NBC’s ‘This Is Us’ averaged 8.3 million viewers on the night an episode first aired, Nielsen said. After 35 days of digital and delayed viewing was added, the typical episode of the show reached 19.9 million,” the AP reports. “It grew further to 21.7 million viewers after 100 days, meaning a minority of viewers actually watched it live.”

The report adds: “The live numbers shouldn’t be ignored, though. The 45% drop in live viewership for Fox’s ‘Empire’ isn’t likely to improve that much. Similarly, NBC might want to keep an eye on the comedy ‘The Good Place’ and medical drama ‘New Amsterdam,’ both of which are down 28%.”

Oct 15, 2019
4:21 pm

Theater Chain Launches Its Own Streaming Service (NY Times, TVWeek)

In the latest news of a possible competitor to Netflix in the streaming space, a new streaming service is being launched by AMC Theaters.

“AMC Entertainment, the largest multiplex operator in the world, will introduce an iTunes-style online video store in the United States on Tuesday, said Adam Aron, AMC’s president and chief executive,” The New York Times reports. “The service, AMC Theaters On Demand, will offer about 2,000 films for sale or rent after their theatrical runs, just as iTunes, Amazon and other video-on-demand retailers do.”

The move reflects changes in a landscape where the movie theater industry has traditionally had a beef with online video.

“Hollywood’s five biggest movie studios — Disney, Warner Bros., Universal, Sony and Paramount — have made deals with AMC for catalog and new-release movies,” The Times notes. “Although DVDs still account for billions of dollars in sales for studios, more profit now comes from digital downloads and rentals.”

The report quotes Ron Sanders, president of worldwide distribution and home entertainment at Warner, saying: “For us, it’s all upside. Most of our other big digital partners are focused on multiple categories — music, books. The great thing about AMC is that movies are the whole focus.”

The Times notes that films will cost about $3 to $5.99 to rent and $9.99 to $19.99 to buy.

Oct 15, 2019
3:39 pm

Why Vietnam Pulled the Plug on the DreamWorks Movie ‘Abominable’
(NY Times, DreamWorks)

Authorities in Vietnam have pulled the DreamWorks movie “Abominable” from theaters, and it’s all about international politics.

The New York Times reports that the movie, which is about a Chinese girl who befriends a yeti, was pulled because of a scene that includes a map of China.

“The map includes China’s so-called nine-dash line, which dips far down into the South China Sea — an audacious and hotly disputed claim to territory that Vietnam and other countries say is theirs,” The Times reports. “The image was enough to cause Vietnam’s largest theater chain to apologize for showing it, and for government officials to say they were reviewing the movie.”

The Times cites a report by the state-run newspaper Tuoi Tre quoting Tran Thanh Hiep, chairman of Vietnam’s national film evaluation council, saying: “Right now we are reinspecting the film. If there are any errors, I am ready to accept responsibility.”

The Times notes that the film was co-produced by DreamWorks Animation, which is owned by Comcast, and Pearl Studio, a Chinese production studio based in Shanghai.

“It has been praised for being one of the few big-studio films to focus on a Chinese family, voiced mostly by Asian-American actors,” The Times adds. “It led the box office in the United States in its first weekend, earning $20.9 million, and has received largely positive reviews.”

Oct 15, 2019
3:31 pm

Prosecutors Unveil New Criminal Charges Against Cuba Gooding Jr. (AP)

“Cuba Gooding Jr. is facing a growing cast of sexual misconduct accusers, with prosecutors Tuesday unveiling new criminal charges against the actor and telling a judge they intend to have up to a dozen women testify that he violated them, too,” the AP reports.

Gooding, appearing in a New York City courtroom, pleaded not guilty to an indictment that included the new charges, the story reports. The new charges “allege he pinched a woman’s buttocks at a Manhattan nightclub in October 2018 after making a sexually suggestive remark to her earlier in the night,” the AP reports.

The report adds: “The indictment expands a case that started with Gooding’s arrest in June after a 29-year-old woman told police that the actor, who won an Oscar for his role in ‘Jerry Maguire,’ squeezed her breast without her consent at another Manhattan night spot. No trial date has been set.”

Gooding’s lawyer, Mark Heller, has argued that the case against his client shows the #MeToo movement run amok, with overzealous prosecutors looking to turn “commonplace gestures” into crimes, the AP reports.

Heller is quoted telling reporters: “We are shocked, outraged and absolutely dumbfounded that the district attorney’s office has wasted the taxpayers’ money, resources and time in charging Cuba with these two incredulous cases.”

Oct 15, 2019
2:03 pm

Actress Felicity Huffman Begins Her Prison Term (NBC News, TVWeek)

“Actress Felicity Huffman reported to a federal prison in Northern California on Tuesday to start a 14-day sentence for her role in a massive college admissions scandal that rocked elite universities around the United States,” NBC News reports. “The ‘Desperate Housewives’ star surrendered to authorities at the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, California, which is about 40 miles east of San Francisco, her representative said.”

The report notes that Huffman, who was nominated for an Oscar in 2006 for “Transamerica” and won a Primetime Emmy in 2005 for “Desperate Housewives,” will also have to pay a $30,000 fine and perform 250 hours of community service under the terms of her sentence.

Huffman, the wife of actor William H. Macy, was sentenced last month by U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani.

“The 56-year-old actress admitted to paying for someone to proctor and correct her daughter’s college board test, which resulted in the score jumping 400 points above her PSAT performance to 1420 out of a possible 1600,” NBC News reports, adding: “In prison, she will have the number 77806-112, and she is expected to serve the full 14 days because there is no time off for good behavior in the federal system for sentences less than a year.”

Oct 15, 2019
2:01 pm

Former NBC On-Air Personality Says Actions of Matt Lauer and Senior Executive Left Her Feeling ‘Like a Hanging Piece of Meat’
(Yahoo News, TVWeek)

Allegations about sexual misbehavior behind the scenes at NBC continue to surface with this week’s publication of Ronan Farrow’s new book “Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators.”

Yahoo News reports that Farrow claims in the book that “Matt Lauer exhibited inappropriate workplace behavior years before he was fired for alleged sexual misconduct and accused of raping colleague Brooke Nevils.”

In the book, “an unnamed former on-air personality at NBC accuses Lauer, 61, and a senior executive of making unwanted advances toward her before her departure in 2012.”

The woman is quoted in the book telling Farrow: “I was like a hanging piece of meat. I would walk into work with a knot in my stomach. I would come home and cry.”

Yahoo adds: “According to colleagues who worked with the woman, Lauer and the executive would reportedly make ‘lewd remarks’ about the woman ‘over open mics’ during broadcasts. She also showed several colleagues messages from Lauer and the executives that she believed were ‘propositions.’”

After she turned down the men’s advances, she says in the book, “I got punished. … My career took a nosedive.” She believes she received fewer assignments after she rejected the men.

“The woman says she did not make a formal report with the Human Resources department because she feared ‘further harm to her career,’ the book explains,” Yahoo reports. “However, she did begin openly telling her colleagues about what was happening.”

Both she and the executive reportedly signed non-disclosure agreements upon her exit in 2012.

NBC News President Noah Oppenheim addressed the woman’s allegations in a detailed memo he sent to staffers Monday.

Yahoo quotes Oppenheim saying in the memo: “Farrow says this individual received inappropriate messages from Lauer, and showed them to ‘colleagues,’ not management, made no report, and we’ve found no record of one. She signed a completely standard separation agreement, including a routine confidentiality provision that was in her original employment contract. Again, that provision was designed to protect proprietary company information, not prevent an employee from reporting misconduct, nor has it ever been used that way.”

Oct 15, 2019
1:44 pm

Here’s a Look at Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly, Behind the Scenes at Fox News
(TVWeek, Lionsgate)

Charlize Theron plays former Fox News Channel talking head Megyn Kelly in the new star-studded movie “Bombshell,” from Lionsgate. The movie, which hits theaters in December, focuses on the women of Fox News, and also stars Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, John Lithgow, Kate McKinnon, Connie Britton, Mark Duplass, Rob Delaney, Malcolm McDowell and Allison Janney.

Lionsgate released a new trailer for the movie today. Here it is …

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