Jul 17, 2018
5:21 pm

Sinclair Responds to FCC Chairman’s Concerns About Tribune Acquisition (TVWeek)

After Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said Monday that he has “serious concerns” about Sinclair Broadcast Group’s $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media, as we reported Monday, Sinclair said it was “shocked and disappointed” by word that Pai appears to be moving toward an administrative hearing on the deal.

In a statement, Sinclair said: “Although the actual Hearing Designation Order (HDO) has not yet been released, press reports indicate that a leaked version of the HDO suggests that Sinclair may have engaged in misrepresentation or lack of candor. To the extent that the HDO does in fact include any such allegations, we deny such allegations in the strongest possible manner.”

Sinclair also said: “While we understand that certain parties which oppose the transaction object to certain of the buyers based on such buyers’ relationships with Sinclair, a situation we are prepared to address if the FCC agrees with such views, at no time have we misled the FCC in any manner whatsoever with respect to the relationships or the structure of those relationships proposed as part of the Tribune acquisition. Any suggestion to the contrary is unfounded and without factual basis.”

The Sinclair statement can be read in full by clicking here.

Jul 17, 2018
5:19 pm

San Francisco Bans Tour Buses From Famous TV House (AP, TVWeek)

San Francisco banned tour buses from swinging by a house that was made famous by the 1990s sitcom “Full House.”

“The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency voted Tuesday to ban commercial vehicles from Broderick Street after neighbors complained,” the AP reports. “Vehicles that seat nine or more people will no longer be allowed on the block.”

The exterior of the house was used as the family’s residence both in the original show and in the 2016 Netflix reboot “Fuller House.”

“Spokesman Paul Rose says neighbors complained about double parking and congestion outside the Victorian home, causing traffic hazards,” the AP reports

Jeff Franklin, who created the sitcom, reportedly bought the house for more than $4 million in 2016. Franklin was fired from “Fuller House” back in February after complaints surfaced about alleged abusive language on the set.


Jul 17, 2018
4:51 pm

Univision Loses Its Chief Content Officer (Variety)

“In another shakeup at Univision, Isaac Lee, chief content officer of the Spanish-language giant and its longtime programming supplier and shareholder, Televisa, is leaving the company as of today,” Variety reports.

The report notes that Lee described his exit as amicable.

“It follows on the heels of a CEO transition at Univision in June, when broadcast TV veteran Vincent Sadusky took the reins from Randy Falco,” Variety notes. “The company has been in a restructuring mode and is now looking to sell the English-language digital businesses that Lee championed as acquisitions to diversify Univision’s portfolio.”

Lee’s exit also closely follows the departure of Univision entertainment president Lourdes Diaz, who left earlier this month to join Stuart Ford’s AGC Studios television division.

Patricio Wills of Televisa, Univision’s Mexican partner, will take over Lee’s duties as head of content, Variety adds.

Jul 17, 2018
4:44 pm

‘New York’s Funniest’ Winner to Host Live Late-Night Shark Week Program (TVWeek)

Discovery announced today that its “Shark After Dark” late-night talk show running during Shark Week will be hosted by “New York’s Funniest” comedy winner Julian McCullough. The show will return to its original live format and will also feature appearances by “Bob the Shark.”

McCullough will be joined by celebrity guests and shark experts on the show, which is scheduled for July 22-26 at 11 p.m. ET/PT. This year marks the show’s sixth year.

McCullough, an actor, writer, producer and comedian, starred on Comedy Central’s special “Maybe I’m a Man.”

Discovery Channel Executive Vice President of Multi-Platform Programming and Digital Media Scott Lewers commented in the announcement: “We are thrilled to welcome back ‘Shark After Dark.’ The show gives us the ability to have a full multiplatform content experience, giving fans a forum for live interaction with TV’s favorite pop culture week. It’s a fun interactive live aftershow with all the magic of Shark Week in real time with our shark experts and celebrities who love it.”

The announcement also has a quote from Bob the Shark, who says: “Where’ve I been the last two years? Simple … the dentist (whitening takes a while when you’ve got five rows of teeth). And well, OK, I’ve spent a week at the Botox clinic (c’mon, you think this smooth skin is natural?!?). And sure, there was that laser hair removal session. And the fin lift. And the gill augmentation … but hey, enough about where I’ve been, let’s talk about where I’ll be: ‘Shark After Dark’! And, thanks to the lip fillers, I’ve never looked better!”

Jul 17, 2018
2:33 pm

Huh? Why the Owners of the Mandalay Bay Hotel Are Suing the Victims of the Las Vegas Mass Shooting (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

“MGM Resorts International has filed federal lawsuits against more than 1,000 Las Vegas mass shooting victims in an effort to avoid liability,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. “The company, which owns Mandalay Bay and the Route 91 Harvest festival venue, argues that it cannot be held liable for Oct. 1 deaths, injuries or other damages, adding that any claims against MGM parties ‘must be dismissed,’ according to complaints filed Friday in Nevada and California.”

The complaints state: “Plaintiffs have no liability of any kind to defendants.”

The report notes that the company is citing a 2002 federal act that extends liability protection to any company using “anti-terrorism” technology or services that can “help prevent and respond to mass violence.”

“In this case, the company argues, the security vendor MGM hired for Route 91, Contemporary Services Corp., was protected from liability because its services had been certified by the Department of Homeland Security for ‘protecting against and responding to acts of mass injury and destruction,'” the story reports.

Las Vegas attorney Robert Eglet, who has represented a number of the victims, told the paper that the grounds of the litigation are “obscure.”

Eglet told the paper that any lawsuits belong in state court because MGM is a Nevada company. “He viewed the decision to file the complaints in federal court as a ‘blatant display of judge shopping’ that ‘quite frankly verges on unethical,'” the paper reports.

Eglet is quoted saying: “I’ve never seen a more outrageous thing, where they sue the victims in an effort to find a judge they like. It’s just really sad that they would stoop to this level.”

Jul 17, 2018
2:27 pm

New Superheroine Series in Development — With a Groundbreaking Twist (Deadline)

A new TV series is in development that centers on a female superhero, but this one has a major twist: The lead character is an out lesbian.

Deadline reports that the new “Batwoman” series was put in development at the CW for 2019 consideration. The project comes from former “Vampire Diaries” executive producer Caroline Dries and Greg Berlanti, the architect of the CW Arrowverse.

“In ‘Batwoman,’ written by Dries based on the DC characters, armed with a passion for social justice and a flair for speaking her mind, Kate Kane soars onto the streets of Gotham as Batwoman, an out lesbian and highly trained street fighter primed to snuff out the failing city’s criminal resurgence,” Deadline reports. “But don’t call her a hero yet. In a city desperate for a savior, Kate must overcome her own demons before embracing the call to be Gotham’s symbol of hope.”

Jul 17, 2018
11:01 am

A Children’s Favorite Returns With New TV Series and Feature Film (TVWeek)

A beloved children’s TV franchise that has been off the air for a while is ready to make a return. Nickelodeon announced the relaunch of “Rugrats” with an all-new TV series and a feature film.

“Both the TV series and the movie will include new adventures with beloved characters Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, Lil, Susie and Angelica, and will also introduce a new world of characters,” Nickelodeon said. “Original creators Arlene Klasky, Gábor Csupó and Paul Germain will return to the TV series as executive producers. Nickelodeon’s ‘Rugrats’ will be produced in Burbank, Calif., with production already under way.”

Twenty-six episodes of the TV show are in the works. News about castings and airdates will be announced in the coming months.

Click here for additional details.

Jul 17, 2018
10:23 am

Leading Gun Rights Advocate Featured in Sacha Baron Cohen Piece Sends Out a Warning (Daily Beast, TVWeek, Reddit)

In more fallout from Sacha Baron Cohen’s Showtime series “Who Is America?,” a top gun rights activist explained how he was trapped into making a firearms training video aimed at toddlers.

In the video, which you can see below, Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, is seen explaining how children can use “Gunimals” to make bad guys take a “long nap.”

The Daily Beast reports that Van Cleave apparently figured out back in February that he had been played, and attempted to warn the gun rights community about an effort by “extremely well funded professionals” to discredit the movement’s leaders.

A long open letter from Van Cleave aimed at other gun rights organizations and leaders appears on a Reddit page and can be found by clicking here.

Van Cleave indicates in the letter that he is unsure who is behind the effort, but he appears to have a good idea. “At a minimum, it could be a comedy which would play only in Israel, but it could be a more damaging attempt to make a ‘mocumentary,’ by someone like Michael Moore, or, even worse, a Sacha Baron Cohen-esq ‘Borat’-type of shock comedy meant to be devastatingly embarrassing and humiliating to the victim in the crosshairs,” Van Cleave writes.

In his letter, Van Cleave offers a detailed account of how he was tricked into going along with the bit.

“Everything was elaborately and expensively staged; every contingency planned for, with explanations that make unbelievable things seem plausible (fake documents and videos about how Israel handles security in their schools, for example),” he writes. “The interview moved along at a pace, designed not to give the ‘mark’ time to reflect on where things are going. The craziness factor very gradually got more extreme, like cooking a frog by slowly heating up the water so he doesn’t realize what’s happening until it’s too late. It’s a con game, a sting, plain and simple.”

Here’s the video featuring Van Cleave …

Jul 17, 2018
9:53 am

Former Trump Aide Cancels TV Interview Because He ‘Couldn’t Defend’ the President (NY Post)

“A former top aide to President Trump canceled his appearance on cable news Monday night because he ‘couldn’t defend’ the president’s news conference in Helsinki,” The New York Post reports. “Ex-National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton backed out of CNN’s ‘Out Front’ with Erin Burnett after Trump’s joint news conference with Russian president Vladimir Putin.”

Burnett sent out a tweet saying: “Michael Anton, Former Trump NSC spox, cancelled his appearance on Outfront tonight because he couldn’t defend @realDonaldTrump today.”

Burnett reportedly said on the air that Anton “was scheduled to be on this show” to defend Trump’s performance, adding: “But he’s not on, because he said he can’t defend it.”

The Post report adds: “During the Helsinki appearance, Trump sided with Putin against US intelligence assessments that Russia hacked into email systems and Russian agents worked aggressively to influence the 2016 election.”

Jul 17, 2018
9:41 am

Grammys Return to L.A. — Recording Academy Releases Full Schedule (TVWeek)

The 61st Annual Grammy Awards will be held in Los Angeles, with the Recording Academy announcing today that the ceremony will air live from the Staples Center on CBS on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019.

Nominations will be announced in all 84 categories on Wednesday, Dec. 5. The awards will honor recordings released between Oct. 1, 2017, and Sept. 30, 2018.

“We are delighted to host the world’s premier music event back in our hometown and look forward to celebrating the remarkable musical contributions made by songwriters, producers, engineers, mixers and recording artists,” said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of the Recording Academy. “As always, Grammy season will kick off with a series of events that showcase various genres of music, educational programs and our charitable initiatives. We look forward to working with our Los Angeles partners to produce some remarkable and unforgettable events.”

Added Jack Sussman, Executive Vice President, Specials, Music and Live Events, CBS Entertainment: “It is exciting that ‘Music’s Biggest Night’ will be back at the Staples Center in the heart of the City of Angels, We look forward to showcasing musicians across multiple musical genres on the world’s biggest stage.”

Key dates and deadlines for the 61st Grammy Awards process and Grammy Week events are as follows:

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Online Entry Process Closes

Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018

First Round of Voting Opens

Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018

First Round of Voting Closes

Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018

Nominees Announced for 61st Annual Grammy Awards

Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018

Final Round of Voting Opens

Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019

Final Round of Voting Closes

Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019

Producers & Engineers Wing Grammy Week celebration

Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019

Music Educator Award Presentation Grammy In The Schools Live!

Friday, Feb. 8, 2019

Entertainment Law Initiative Event & Scholarship Presentation MusiCares Person of the Year

Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019

Grammy Nominees Reception Clive Davis’ and the Recording Academy’s Pre-Grammy Gala

Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019

Grammy Awards Premiere Ceremony 61st Annual Grammy Awards Grammy Celebration

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