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TVBIZWIRE
Jul 20, 2018
5:37 pm
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‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Director Fired (AP)

Disney today fired the director who has been at the helm of the high-profile “Guardians of the Galaxy” feature franchise. Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn announced the removal of James Gunn, who had been working on “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” the AP reports.

The action was taken because of old tweets that surfaced recently in which Gunn reportedly joked about subjects including pedophilia and rape.

In a statement, Horn said: “The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him.”

The AP report adds: “Gunn has been writer and director of the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ franchise from the start, taking an obscure Marvel Comics title about a group of multicolored misfits and turning it into a space opera decked with comedy and retro music that made Chris Pratt a major movie star. Through two installments the franchise has brought in more than $1.5 billion in global box office.”

Gunn offered an apology following his firing, saying in a statement: “My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative. I have regretted them for many years since — not just because they were stupid, not at all funny, wildly insensitive, and certainly not provocative like I had hoped, but also because they don’t reflect the person I am today or have been for some time. Regardless of how much time has passed, I understand and accept the business decisions taken today. Even these many years later, I take full responsibility for the way I conducted myself then.”

TVBIZWIRE
Jul 20, 2018
5:11 pm
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Which Actress Would You Cast as God? Here’s Who Got the Gig (Variety)

A veteran actress with a shelf full of awards will get to play God in an upcoming drama series. Variety reports that Frances McDormand will tackle the role in the Amazon series “Good Omens.”

McDormand is a two-time Oscar winner, following up her win in 1997 for “Fargo” with a win this year for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” She has a total of five Academy Award nominations, and has also won Emmys, Golden Globes and many other honors.

News of her casting surfaced at San Diego Comic-Con.

“Executive producer Neil Gaiman announced the casting Friday during a panel featuring showrunners for several Amazon Studios series and moderated by Variety executive editor Debra Birnbaum,” Variety reports. “Gaiman called it ‘the strangest way’ he had ever cast anyone.”

Gaiman is quoted saying: “We knew God would be a woman. We were talking about great American actresses, because we wanted her to have an American voice. And out the blue one day I got an email from Frances McDormand asking to borrow my house in Scotland.”

TVBIZWIRE
Jul 20, 2018
4:59 pm
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New Slate of Shondaland Shows Unveiled (TVWeek)

Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland banner, which has been a big producer of programming for ABC for years, took the wraps off its first slate of programming under its new deal with Netflix.

“I wanted the new Shondaland to be a place where we expand the types of stories we tell, where my fellow talented creatives could thrive and make their best work and where we as a team come to the office each day filled with excitement,” said Rhimes. “Ted and Cindy and everyone at Netflix have been incredible partners in making that happen. This is Shondaland 2.0.”

The new programs include “The Residence,” “Sunshine Scouts,” “The Warmth of Other Suns,” “Pico & Sepulveda,” “Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change” and “Hot Chocolate Nutcracker.” All of the titles are working titles.

Click here for details on all of the programs.

TVBIZWIRE
Jul 20, 2018
4:21 pm
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Here’s a First Look at the New Season of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ (TVWeek, CBS)

CBS broke out a first-look trailer today for the season two premiere of “Star Trek: Discovery,” scheduled to roll out on the CBS All Access streaming service in early 2019.

Here’s the clip …

TVBIZWIRE
Jul 20, 2018
4:09 pm
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Seattle to Put Up Statue Honoring Grunge Pioneer (AP)

A statue honoring one of the pioneers of grunge will be built in the city where he was born. The AP reports that the commemoration of Chris Cornell, the Grammy-winning lead singer for Soundgarden and Audioslave, will go up in Seattle.

“Cornell’s wife on Friday announced a statue will be erected Aug. 29 at Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture. The announcement comes on what would have been Cornell’s 54th birthday.”

Cornell was found dead in a hotel room in Detroit after a Soundgarden concert May 18, 2017. A medical examiner concluded that Cornell, 52, had killed himself.

“Vicky Cornell commissioned sculptor Nick Marras to create a life-size bronze statue of her late husband in his signature boots, dog tag and long locks,” the AP reports. “She says it is her family’s gift to ‘the tight-knit community that gave him his start.’”

TVBIZWIRE
Jul 20, 2018
2:37 pm
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Fox News Parts Ways With One of Its Regulars (THR, HuffPost)

A Fox News personality who has been a regular on the cable network is off the channel. Fox News confirmed today that it has parted ways with Kimberly Guilfoyle, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Guilfoyle was a co-host of the midday talk show “The Five.”

“Guilfoyle has been dating Donald Trump Jr. for the last few months, since the separation from his wife, Vanessa Trump. The network has required her to disclose the relationship when talking about the president on air,” THR reports.

Yashar Ali, reporting for The Huffington Post, cites three unnamed sources saying Guilfoyle did not leave Fox News voluntarily.

THR adds: “A former assistant district attorney, Guilfoyle joined the network as a legal analyst in 2006. She previously worked on television as a legal analyst for CNN and ABC News.”

TVBIZWIRE
Jul 20, 2018
2:31 pm
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Ryan Murphy Says He’s Through With Pushing the Envelope (TVWeek)

Ryan Murphy, the prolific TV creator behind shows that have often pushed the envelope — “American Crime Story,” “American Horror Story,” “Glee” and “Nip/Tuck,” among others — says he’s softening his approach.

“I’m not interested in shock value anymore,” Murphy told interviewer Ronan Farrow during a Hollywood Radio & Television Society Newsmaker Luncheon this week.

Even while admitting he’s an excessive person who likes things that are big and extravagant, Murphy said: “I’ve gotten away from sexuality and violence and how far I can push the envelope.”

For a recap of the conversation, please click here to read our report from TVWeek Open Mic writer Hillary Atkin.

TVBIZWIRE
Jul 20, 2018
11:39 am
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Roseanne Barr ‘Explains’ the Valerie Jarrett Tweet That Got Her Fired (TVWeek, YouTube)

In a bizarre video clip — watch it below — Roseanne Barr appears to try to explain the controversial tweet that got her fired by ABC and got the “Roseanne” reboot canceled. The one-minute video was posted to Barr’s YouTube channel.

In the clip, a seemingly stressed-out Barr screams, “I thought the bitch was white,” apparently referring to Valerie Jarrett.

A message posted along with the clip says: “Roseanne, like always, cuts through the bullshit and gets the heart of the matter.”

Here’s the clip …

TVBIZWIRE
Jul 20, 2018
11:31 am
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SEC Challenges CBS Position in Dispute With Redstones (Deadline)

“The Securities and Exchange Commission challenged CBS’s interpretation of a rule that forms the cornerstone of its legal challenge to bylaw changes made by the Redstone family, according to regulatory filings made today,” Deadline reports.

“The SEC’s division of corporate finance asked CBS to explain its interpretation of SEC rules as imposing a 20-day delay before any bylaw change could take effect,” the story reports. “Federal regulators appeared to reject the media company’s explanation about regulations requiring shareholder notification.”

In a letter dated June 13, the SEC states: “We are unable to agree with the legal conclusions set forth in your response.”

Deadline adds: “The SEC’s correspondence with CBS doesn’t have a direct impact on its pending suit, which proceeds in Delaware. Hearings in the case determining control of CBS are due to start in the fall.”

TVBIZWIRE
Jul 20, 2018
11:19 am
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ABC Announces First Series From Its New Media Brand (TVWeek)

ABC has a new media brand and a new series, which premieres tomorrow, Saturday, July 21. The company announced plans today to roll out the new weekly show “More in Common” on its new digital-first media brand “Localish.”

The announcement call Localish “a digital-first media brand from ABC Owned Television Stations Group that brings out the good in America’s cities, launching on ABC platforms this fall.”

“More In Common” is described in the announcement as “a weekly show from ABC featuring stories of Americans from different backgrounds who come together in unexpected ways.” It will debut Saturday in the recently announced news section on Facebook Watch.

“Each week, ABC’s ‘More in Common’ will showcase the bridges being built between people of various races, religions, genders and backgrounds in cities and towns across America,” the announcement says. “The first episode of ‘More in Common’ visits the siren-filled streets of West Chicago to tell the story of a softball game between police and local gang members that takes place mere blocks from the city’s most deadly street corner.”

Wendy McMahon, president, ABC Owned Television Stations Group, says in the announcement: “With deep connections in the local communities we serve, our stations are uniquely positioned to source and share stories of Americans defying the odds to come together around a common purpose. This series resonates powerfully in a time when many Americans feel divided and reminds us of the best we can be together.”

The announcement adds: “Upcoming episodes will highlight the first girls to join the Boy Scouts, a North Korean defector who finds love in Los Angeles and the unexpected connections made when people really make an effort to know their neighbors. The series is executive produced by ABC’s Michael Koenigs, whose story about a former neo-Nazi who decided to remove his swastika tattoos after forming an unlikely friendship with his African-American parole officer became ABC News’ most viral video of 2017, with over 50 million views on Facebook alone.”

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