Dec 18, 2018
4:42 pm

Fox News Host Shedding Advertisers Over Controversial Comments (AP, THR, TVWeek, Twitter)

Some advertisers are exiting a Fox News Channel show over controversial comments made by the host. The AP reports that Tucker Carlson is under fire after saying that immigrants could make the U.S. “poorer and dirtier.”

“So far, the show’s biggest advertisers appear to be sticking with him and his prime-time show, ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight,'” the AP reports noting that experts say the controversy is likely to blow over.

“Carlson said last Thursday that there’s pressure from ‘our leaders’ to accept immigrants ‘even if it makes our own country poorer and dirtier and more divided.’ He added Monday that in the Southwest, ‘thanks to illegal immigration, huge swaths of the region are covered with garbage and waste that degrade the soil and kill wildlife,'” the AP reports.

The report adds: “The comments caused a furor on social media. Several advertisers, including the IHOP restaurant chain, personal finance website NerdWallet and Pacific Life insurance, have pulled advertising from the show. (NerdWallet is a content partner of The Associated Press.) SmileDirectClub said it is working with its ad buyers to stop running ads during any political opinion shows.”

Pacific Life is quoted saying on Twitter: “As a company, we strongly disagree with Mr. Carlson’s statements. Our customer base and our workforce reflect the diversity of our great nation, something we take great pride in.”

The AP report adds: “IHOP spokeswoman Stephanie Peterson said the chain continually evaluates ad placements to make sure they align with the company’s values of ‘welcoming all folks from all backgrounds and beliefs.’ She said the company will continue to advertise on other Fox News programs.”

Fox News issued a statement saying that “left wing advocacy groups” were using social media to “stifle free speech,” adding that FNC “continues to stand by and work with our advertisers through these unfortunate and unnecessary distractions.”

The AP adds: “Later on Tuesday, Fox issued another statement saying it won’t allow Carlson to be ‘censored by agenda-driven intimidation efforts.’ Fox added that all advertisers have switched their ads to other shows, so no revenue was lost.”

But according to The Hollywood Reporter, at least 16 companies had stopped advertising on Carlson’s program. The publication reported a list that includes CareerBuilder, Takeda Pharmaceuticals (makers of Entyvio), TD Ameritrade, IHOP, the United Explorer credit card, Just For Men, Jaguar Land Rover, Ancestry.com, SCOTTeVEST, Zenni Optical and Voya Financial along with Bowflex, SmileDirectClub, NerdWallet, Minted and Pacific Life.

Dec 18, 2018
4:31 pm

CBS Admits Mistakes, Stops Short of Releasing Findings of Moonves Probe (TVWeek)

CBS does not appear poised to release the findings of the investigation that led to its decision to deny the $120 million exit package that had been earmarked for ousted CBS Corp. Chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves.

The company admitted mistakes in an official statement released Monday, which you can read in full by clicking here. But the statement does not provide much in the way of details.

“With regard to Mr. Moonves, we have determined that there are grounds to terminate for cause, including his willful and material misfeasance, violation of Company policies and breach of his employment contract, as well as his willful failure to cooperate fully with the Company’s investigation,” the statement says. “Mr. Moonves will not receive any severance payment from the Company.”

The statement also notes: “As a result of their work, the investigators also concluded that harassment and retaliation are not pervasive at CBS. However, the investigators learned of past incidents of improper and unprofessional conduct, and concluded that the Company’s historical policies, practices and structures have not reflected a high institutional priority on preventing harassment and retaliation. The investigation determined that the resources devoted to the Company’s Human Resources function, to training and development, and to diversity and inclusion initiatives have been inadequate, given the size and complexity of CBS’ businesses. Employees also cited past incidents in which HR and the Company did not hold high performers accountable for their conduct and protect employees from retaliation.”

The statement adds that the company’s board has already begun “robust steps” to improve the workplace environment.

“Among other things, the Company appointed a new Chief People Officer, is actively engaged in ways to enhance and reimagine the Human Resources function, and has retained outside expert advisors to develop other initiatives for promoting a workplace culture of dignity, transparency, respect and inclusion.”

Dec 18, 2018
4:16 pm

‘Rashomon’ TV Series in the Works (Variety)

Akira Kurosawa’s 1950 masterpiece “Rashomon” will be developed into a TV series. Rights to the film have been acquired by Amblin Television, which plans to develop the project into an anthology series, Variety reports.

“Each season of the 10-episode series would focus on a singular event told from multiple points of view where each of the main characters provides a unique and different perspective of the event based on their specific and subjective point of view,” Variety reports. “Only by watching each of the episodes, and seeing the differing character’s perspectives, will the audience come away with the truth behind the mystery.”

Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey, co-presidents of Amblin TV, will executive produce along with Atmosphere’s Mark Canton and David Hopwood, with Leigh Ann Burton from Opus 7 also executive producing

In a joint statement, Frank and Falvey said: “We couldn’t be more excited to adapt this extraordinary film as the foundation for a new dramatic mystery thriller series. It will explore the boundaries of truth and how different perspectives don’t often reveal the same reality.”

Dec 18, 2018
12:56 pm

‘Laverne & Shirley’ Star Penny Marshall Dies (AP, TVWeek)

Actress and pioneering director Penny Marshall, who starred as Laverne DeFazio in the hit ABC comedy “Laverne & Shirley” from 1976-1983, has died. Marshall, who became one of the top-grossing female directors in Hollywood, died Monday at her home in Los Angeles of complications from diabetes, according to media reports. She was 75.

“Laverne & Shirley,” in which Cindy Williams played Marshall’s best pal Shirley, was one of television’s biggest hit shows of its era.

“It also gave Marshall her start as a filmmaker,” the AP reports. “She directed several episodes of ‘Laverne & Shirley’ before making her feature film directorial debut in ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash,’ the 1986 comedy starring Whoopi Goldberg.

“Her next film made Marshall the first woman to direct a film that grossed more than $100 million. Her 1988 hit comedy ‘Big,’ starring Tom Hanks, was about a 12-year-old boy who wakes up in the body of a 30-year-old New York City man. The film earned Hanks an Oscar nomination.”

Marshall again directed Hanks in the 1992 comedy hit “A League of Their Own.” Her credits also included directing “Awakenings” in 1990 and “Riding in Cars with Boys” in 2001.

Marshall was the sister of comedy director Garry Marshall, who died in 2016, and was married to actor and director Rob Reiner from 1971-1981.

Dec 18, 2018
12:11 pm

TBS Unveils Plans for New, Reformatted ‘Conan’ (TVWeek, TBS)

TBS took the wraps off details about Conan O’Brien’s new, reformatted “Conan” late-night show, including releasing a teaser, which you can watch below.

The new 30-minute show, which TBS says “will define a new era in multi-platform comedy,” premieres Jan. 22. The premiere will mark O’Brien’s return to television after a three-month absence in which he launched a hit podcast and performed a sold-out national Team Coco tour.

The show will air four nights a week on TBS at 11 p.m. ET/PT.

“My three-month absence can only mean one thing — radical cosmetic surgery. Tune in January 22nd for a true freak show,” said O’Brien.

Adds TBS: “The show’s new format will continue to feature celebrity guests and Conan’s signature brand of comedy, which has made him one of the world’s most popular hosts across both digital and linear platforms. Conan continues to evolve the genre by challenging conventions, taking creative risks and discovering and fostering new comedic talent. Team Coco will continue the travel series ‘CONAN: Without Borders,’ which won an Emmy in 2018.”

TBS also notes: “In the past few months, Conan launched the Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend podcast. It debuted in the top spot on the Apple charts November 19 with guest Will Ferrell and has continued to grow week-over-week with millions of downloads. Concurrently, Team Coco took to the road with a live tour, Conan & Friends: An Evening of Stand-Up and Investment Tips, selling out 18 cities including New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles. During the tour, Team Coco launched the second iteration of its sold out, multi-day, pop-up comedy club Team Coco House as part of New York Comedy Festival.”

Here’s the teaser released today …

Dec 18, 2018
11:39 am

NBC Announces Midseason Premieres (TVWeek)

NBC unveiled plans Tuesday for midseason premieres for two new series and four returning shows starting Feb. 25.

Among the new shows, the spy thriller “The Enemy Within” premieres Monday, Feb. 25, and the drama “The Village” bows March 12.

Shows returning at midseason are “The Voice,” with airdates Feb. 25 and 26 and March 5 before a return date on April 23; “World of Dance,” returning Feb. 26 before moving to its regular time slot on March 3; “Good Girls,” with season two premiering Sunday, March 3; and “A.P. Bio,” on tap for March 7.

Please click here for full details.


Dec 18, 2018
11:11 am

One of the Stars of the Original ‘Star Trek’ Has a New TV Series (TVWeek, AMC)

One of the stars of the pioneering 1960s NBC sci-fi series “Star Trek” has a new show, with AMC announcing that George Takei is joining season two of its Ridley Scott-produced anthology series “The Terror.”

Takei, who played Sulu on “Star Trek,” will appear as a series regular on “The Terror” and will also work as a consultant on the show. Production on the season is scheduled to begin next month in Vancouver, with the 10-episode season coming to AMC in 2019.

Additional casting includes Kiki Sukezane, Miki Ishikawa, Shingo Usami and Naoko Mori. AMC previously announced that actor Derek Mio will star in the series as Chester Nakayama and Josef Kubota Wladyka (“Narcos”) will direct the first two episodes.

“Set during World War II, the second season of ‘The Terror’ centers on a series of bizarre deaths that haunt a Japanese-American community, and a young man’s journey to understand and combat the malevolent entity responsible,” AMC said in today’s announcement.

Season two is co-created and executive produced by Alexander Woo (“True Blood”) and Max Borenstein (“Kong: Skull Island,” “Godzilla”). Woo also serves as showrunner.

“George Takei’s career spans more than six decades in film, television and the stage,” AMC notes. “As a child, Takei was imprisoned in two Japanese-American internment camps after the outbreak of World War II. His personal experience and knowledge of this chapter in U.S. history led him to become a leading figure and activist for social justice. As a consultant, Takei will work closely with the executive producers to ensure the accuracy of historical events and storytelling. On the acting side, he will play Yamato-san, a former fishing captain and community elder.”

“The Terror” is an AMC Studios production produced by Scott Free, Emjag Productions and Entertainment 360. The show is also executive produced by Ridley Scott, Dan Simmons, David W. Zucker, Alexandra Milchan, Scott Lambert and Guymon Casady.

Dec 18, 2018
9:28 am

CBS To End Series After 7 Seasons (Deadline)

A CBS series that “started as a breakout ratings hit [as] the most watched new series of its freshman season and finished in the top 20 among all shows in its first two seasons,” has been canceled after seven seasons, Nellie Andreeva at Deadline reports. The show is “Elementary.”

Writes Andreeva, “‘Elementary’ has produced 154 episodes over its seven seasons and is only one of three new broadcast series to debut in fall 2012 that are still on the air, along with NBC’s ‘Chicago Fire’ and the CW’s ‘Arrow.’”

The story adds that “The decision comes as the crime procedural, created by Rob Doherty and starring Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu, wrapped production Friday on Season 7 with the final scene in the finale the last one to film. I hear that when the network renewed ‘Elementary’ for a seventh season in May less than two weeks into its Season 6 run, a decision was made that it would be the series’ final chapter.

The story also quotes CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl: “A lot of parties came together and talked about their positions on the show — both in terms of business and in terms of creative — and we all decided that this was an opportune time to say goodbye to a show that has been very, very good to us.”

Andreeva adds, “While CBS has not set a premiere date for Season 7 yet, ‘we are going to try to create some excitement around the finale for sure,’ Kahl said.

Most of last season’s episodes aired over the summer.

Dec 18, 2018
8:24 am

Moonves Attorney Says Conclusions of CBS Investigation Are ‘Baseless.’ Will Moonves Fight Decision Depriving Him of $120 Million? (Variety)

A lawyer for Leslie Moonves, the former chairman and CEO of CBS, has decried the conclusions of a CBS investigation that denied Moonves a $120 million severance package from the company, reports Cynthia Littleton for Variety. Moonves was ousted from CBS on Sept. 9 “amid a swirl of sexual misconduct allegations,” the story notes.

Says Moonves lawyer Andrew Levander, “The conclusions of the CBS board were foreordained and are without merit. Consistent with the pattern of leaks that have permeated this ‘process,’ the press was informed of these baseless conclusions before Mr. Moonves, further damaging his name, reputation, career, and legacy. Mr. Moonves vehemently denies any non-consensual sexual relations, and cooperated extensively and fully with investigators.”

Writes, Littleton, Variety’s managing editor for television and one of the most plugged in reporters on the beat, “Levander’s statement stopped short of confirming that the former CEO will press for his severance through private arbitration, as called for in his employment contract.

“But it is no secret that Moonves has told friends that he feels ‘railroaded,’ in the words of one source close to the situation, and he intends to fight for his severance in an effort to seek some vindication. Moonves’ wife, Julie Chen, is said to be urging him to battle back through arbitration and other efforts to demonstrate how significantly he disputes many of the allegations.”

To read Littleton’s full report, please click here. To read our item about CBS denying Moonves the $120 million, please click here.


Dec 17, 2018
3:44 pm

CBS Says Moonves Will Not Be Getting That $120 Million Severance Check (Deadline)

CBS has detemined that Leslie Moonves, who reigned as one of the most powerful men in show business for years before his ouster as CBS Corp. CEO, was fired for cause. Deadline reports that the decision means Moonves “will not be getting a single dime of the $120 million in severance he expected after stepping down under allegations of misconduct this fall.”

The company’s board announced the decision today.

In a statement, the company said: “The Board of Directors of CBS has completed its investigation of former Chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves, CBS News, and cultural issues at CBS.

“With regard to Mr. Moonves, we have determined that there are grounds to terminate for cause, including his willful and material misfeasance, violation of Company policies and breach of his employment contract, as well as his willful failure to cooperate fully with the Company’s investigation. Mr. Moonves will not receive any severance payment from the Company.”

It is widely expected that Moonves will go to court to fight the decision.

Deadline adds: “The directors’ decision seemed all but inevitable, given the disclosures from a draft of an internal report obtained by the New York Times, which revealed that Moonves had destroyed evidence and misled investigators in an effort to protect his reputation and payout. In that preliminary report, investigators said they had substantiated numerous accusations of sexual misconduct, and uncovered previously undisclosed allegations of wrongdoing.”

Moonves stepped down from his position with the company back in September.

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