Jun 22, 2018
7:34 pm

What Netflix’s Chief Communications Chief Said That Got Him Fired Today After Being With the Company Seven Years (Variety)

Netflix’s chief communications officer Jonathan Friedland was fired today by the company CEO Reed Hastings, Variety’s Janko Roettgers reports. Friedland had been with Netflix for seven years.

The article reprints a memo, sent to Netflix employees today by Hastings, explaining the firing. Here’s how it reads, in part:


I’ve made a decision to let go of Jonathan Friedland. Jonathan contributed greatly in many areas, but his descriptive use of the N-word on at least two occasions at work showed unacceptably low racial awareness and sensitivity, and is not in line with our values as a company.

The first incident was several months ago in a PR meeting about sensitive words. Several people afterwards told him how inappropriate and hurtful his use of the N-word was, and Jonathan apologised to those that had been in the meeting. We hoped this was an awful anomaly never to be repeated.

Three months later he spoke to a meeting of our Black Employees @ Netflix group and did not bring it up, which was understood by many in the meeting to mean he didn’t care and didn’t accept accountability for his words.

The second incident, which I only heard about this week, was a few days after the first incident; this time Jonathan said the N-word again to two of our Black employees in HR who were trying to help him deal with the original offense. The second incident confirmed a deep lack of understanding, and convinced me to let Jonathan go now.

As I reflect on this, at this first incident, I should have done more to use it as a learning moment for everyone at Netflix about how painful and ugly that word is, and that it should not be used. I realize that my privilege has made me intellectualize or otherwise minimize race issues like this. I need to set a better example by learning and listening more so I can be the leader we need.

To read the rest of Hastings’ memo, please click here, which will take you to the original Variety article.

Jun 22, 2018
7:25 pm

More Evidence That Coffee Is Good For Your Heart. Here’s How Much You Might Want to Drink a Day, and Why, Study Suggests (Science News; YouTube)

Coffee seems to protect against heart disease, diabetes and other ailments, except cancer,” reports Science News, adding that a “new discovery may help explain why…”

Science News says “Studies have shown that people who drink four cups of coffee a day have a lower risk of dying of a heart attack. [The] new study in mice may show one reason for that; caffeine in coffee gives cells energy to fight off damage.”

The article reports, “In the study, researchers gave mice the equivalent of four cups of coffee a day for 10 days before inducing heart attacks in the rodents. Cells in mice that got caffeine repaired the heart attack damage better than cells in mice that didn’t get caffeine, researchers report June 21 in ‘PLOS Biology.’ Caffeine helps move a protein called p27 into mitochondria, the organelles that produce energy for cells. Increasing p27 in mitochondria upped the organelle’s energy production, and that helped heart cells recover from damage, a team led by researchers from Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf in Germany found.

“People and other animals also have p27, raising the possibility that caffeine could help heal people’s hearts, too. Normally, p27 is found in the nucleus of cells, where it helps control when cells divide. Its energy-boosting role in the mitochondria wasn’t known before.”

We urge you to read more details about this item by clicking here, which will take you to the Science News article.

While you’re contemplating this item, here’s a very satisfying old TV commercial to accompany you (found on YouTube).

Jun 22, 2018
12:33 pm

ABC Pulls Pull Episode of Show After Allegation of Facilitating Sexual Assault (TVLine)

After a woman accused a contestant on an upcoming installment of a reality show of being involved in facilitating sexual assault, ABC is pulling that episode of the show, “The Proposal,” reports TVLine.

The story continues, “In a public Facebook post on Thursday, Wisconsin resident Erica Denae Meshke detailed how Michael J. Friday — a contestant on ‘The Proposal‘s’ second episode — facilitated a sexual assault that took place when he and Meshke met for a Tinder date last November.”

The story also quotes a statement from ABC and production company Warner Horizon: “An allegation has been made against a contestant on next week’s episode of ‘The Proposal.’ While the accusation was not related to the contestant’s appearance on the program, we take it very seriously. ABC and the producers of ‘The Proposal’ are pulling the episode while this matter is under review.”

The TVLine story adds, “Created by Mike Fleiss (‘The Bachelor’), ‘The Proposal’ features 10 eligible daters in each episode who compete in pageant-style rounds to win the heart of a mystery suitor or suitress, who they don’t meet until the end of the competition. A representative for ‘The Proposal’ noted that Friday was eliminated in the first round of his episode.”

To read more details about this item we urge you to click here, which takes you to the original TVLine story.

Jun 22, 2018
12:20 pm

Here’s a Must-Read Story for Over-the-Weekend: Joe Adalian’s Insightful Essay About Netflix: Inside the Binge Factory (New York Magazine's Vulture)

With Netflix disrupting the TV industry of late, TV writer par excellence, Joe Adalian, delves inside Netflix like few others have in the past.

Adalian, long with Variety (and for a short time, years ago, with TVWeek) is currently the West Coast editor of New York Magazine’s Vulture. His long feature for Vulture about Netflix—perfect reading for this weekend—is also the cover story of the June 11th issue of New York Magazine. You can find it here:

Netflix: Inside the Binge Factory

Also highly recommended must-reads are the on-line only sidebars Adalian has written to accompany the main story:

How Netflix Is Trying to Make Sure Its Shows Don’t Get Lost

Shonda Rhimes on Moving to Netflix: ‘We Know a Large Amount of What We’re Going to Be Making’

Behind Netflix’s Major Push Into Unscripted Television

How the Brains Behind Netflix Went From Rivals to Partners

Kudos to Joe for a terrific package.

Jun 22, 2018
9:43 am

NBC Cancels Series…Again (Deadline; Variety)

NBC has canceled one of its primetime series – for a second time – writes one of the industry’s best reporters, Nellie Andreeva of Deadline, where she is that publication’s TV editor. The series was first canceled in May, 2017, after its first season.

The show is “Timeless.”

Writes Andreeva: “This time, NBC postponed the renewal decision until after the May upfronts; it comes just days before the options of the series’ cast are set to expire. That was in part because the network and ‘Timeless’ producer Sony Pictures TV had been discussing doing a two-hour movie that would resolve the cliffhanger in the recent Season 2 finale and wrap the stories on the show, giving fans closure. I hear the two sides have not been able to make the economics work so far but conversations continue, and NBC appears interested.”

The story adds, “The new cancellation of ‘Timeless’ will be hard to swallow for fans who had been campaigning for a renewal, flooding NBC’s Twitter feed with #RenewTimeless messages. For a second year in a row, ‘Timeless’ ranked as No.1 on USA Today’s Save our Shows poll.”

Adds Variety in its story, NBC agreed to bring “Timeless” back for season two only “after Sony agreed to hand over a 50% stake in the series to NBC’s sister studio Universal Television.”

Please click here to read Andreeva’s full story about the “Timeless” cancellation.

Jun 22, 2018
9:10 am

In a Must-See ‘Carpool Karaoke’ — That Lasts Almost Half an Hour — Paul McCartney Sings a Bunch of Beloved Beatles Classics. It’s Great Fun. Watch The Full Video Now (YouTube)

Without further ado, here’s Paul McCartney with the host of ‘The Late Show with James Corden’:

Jun 21, 2018
7:51 pm

‘Roseanne’ to Continue Without Roseanne. ABC Says Show Will Get New Title, and Officially Is Called a Spinoff (Variety)

“‘Roseanne’ is returning, but without its namesake,” reports Daniel Holloway for Variety.

The story continues, “ABC has given a series order to ‘The Conners,’ [working title] a spinoff starring original cast members John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Lecy Goranson and Michael Fishman. Not part of the new series will be Roseanne Barr, who played the matriarch on the long-running and recently revived — and more recently canceled — multi-camera comedy. Barr will, according to ABC, have no financial or creative involvement in the spinoff.”

Variety adds that Barr said in a statement, “I regret the circumstances that have caused me to be removed from  ‘Roseanne.’ I agreed to the settlement in order that 200 jobs of beloved cast and crew could be saved, and I wish the best for everyone involved.”

Noting the recent history of the show, Variety notes, “ABC announced May 29 that it had canceled ‘Roseanne’ just hours after Barr published a racist tweet directed at Valerie Jarrett, a former aide to President Barack Obama. Barr subsequently apologized for the tweet, later blaming it on her consumption of the sleeping drug Ambien. But [ABC Entertainment president Channing] Dungey, the first African American to ever serve as president of a U.S. broadcast network, in a statement announcing the show’s cancellation said, ‘Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant, and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.’”

Here’s ABC’s announcement of the spinoff:


ABC Picks Up ‘The Conners’ (Working Title) Straight to Series to Premiere This Fall

John Goodman (‘Dan’), Laurie Metcalf (‘Jackie’), Sara Gilbert (‘Darlene’), Lecy Goranson (‘Becky’) and Michael Fishman (‘D.J.’) Are Set to Star as Their Iconic Conner Characters

“The Conners” (working title), a spinoff of the groundbreaking family comedy “Roseanne,” has been greenlit to series with an order of 10 episodes for fall 2018. After a sudden turn of events, the Conners are forced to face the daily struggles of life in Lanford in a way they never have before. This iconic family – Dan, Jackie, Darlene, Becky and D.J. – grapples with parenthood, dating, an unexpected pregnancy, financial pressures, aging and in-laws in working-class America. Through it all, the fights, the coupon cutting, the hand-me-downs, the breakdowns – with love, humor and perseverance, the family prevails.

The series, featuring John Goodman (“Dan”), Laurie Metcalf (“Jackie”), Sara Gilbert (“Darlene”), Lecy Goranson (“Becky”) and Michael Fishman (“D.J.”) as their beloved Conner characters, is set to air Tuesdays (8:00-8:30 p.m.). Additional cast members and a premiere date will be announced later.

Roseanne Barr will have no financial or creative involvement in the new series.

“The Conners’ stories demonstrate that families can always find common ground through conversation, laughter and love. The spinoff will continue to portray contemporary issues that are as relevant today as they were 30 years ago,” ABC shared in a statement.

In support of their new series, cast members John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Lecy Goranson and Michael Fishman said, in a joint statement:

“We have received a tremendous amount of support from fans of our show, and it’s clear that these characters not only have a place in our hearts, but in the hearts and homes of our audience. We all came back last season because we wanted to tell stories about the challenges facing a working-class family today. We are so happy to have the opportunity to return with the cast and crew to continue to share those stories through love and laughter.”

Tom Werner will executive produce, along with Sara Gilbert, Bruce Helford, Dave Caplan, Bruce Rasmussen and Tony Hernandez. Bruce Helford, Dave Caplan and Bruce Rasmussen are also writers. The series is from Tom Werner and Werner Entertainment

Jun 21, 2018
4:24 pm

Fox News Contributor Dead at 68
(NPR, TVWeek, Fox News)

A commentator on the Fox News Channel who was also a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Washington Post has died. NPR reports that Charles Krauthammer died of cancer. He was 68.

“A Harvard-trained psychiatrist, Krauthammer turned an unsparing eye on the nation’s politics, moving rightward over time,” NPR reports. “Krauthammer retained the capacity to discern the human element of political issues. He was a steadfast critic of the president despite the high regard in which many Fox viewers hold Trump.”

Krauthammer penned a farewell column earlier this month, as we reported previously. He announced in the column that he had only weeks to live and said he had “no regrets,” adding: “I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended.”

Here’s a clip of Krauthammer commenting on the 2016 presidential primaries, posted by Fox News Channel.

Jun 21, 2018
2:31 pm

Disney Lawsuit Expands, Now Includes Twitter, ComScore (MediaPost)

A class-action lawsuit against Disney has been expanded to include as defendants comScore and Twitter’s MoPub, among others, MediaPost reports, noting that the companies are being sued by a group of parents alleging privacy violations involving children.

“The class-action complaint, initially filed last August, alleges that Disney allowed outside companies to embed code that tracked young children who used apps like ‘Princess Palace Pets’ and ‘Where’s My Water?’ Those outside companies include Twitter, comScore, Upsight, Unity Technologies and Kochava, according to the new complaint,” MediaPost reports.

The report quotes the amended complaint, filed last week in U.S. District Court in Oakland, Calif., saying: “Unbeknownst to parents and their children, Disney — in partnership with (other) defendants — collects and exfiltrates personal data as users play the Disney gaming apps.”

MediaPost adds: “The parents allege that the data collected from children includes identifiers like Apple’s ‘ID for Advertisers’ and Android’s ‘Advertising ID,’ and information that can be combined with other data to ‘fingerprint’ smartphones — like the brand, operating system, network carriers and the name assigned to the devices by users.”

“Permitting technology companies to obtain children’s persistent identifiers exposes those children to targeted advertising,” the complaint states.

The complaint is alleging violation of privacy laws in California, New York and Massachusetts, along with the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

Jun 21, 2018
10:59 am

‘The Show That Invented Modern Reality Television’ to Return (TVWeek)

The TV series that is often cited as the starting point for the reality television landscape of the past two decades is in development as part of a slate at MTV Studios, a new unit announced today.

The update on the groundbreaking reality show “The Real World” is part of a slate that also includes new versions of “Daria,” “Aeon Flux” and the coming-of-age series “Made.”

In announcing the launch of the new unit, MTV said: “MTV Studios will develop and produce a full slate with a focus on beloved series, franchises and spin-offs that span MTV’s 35-year history. With over 200 titles, MTV Studios has one of the largest libraries of young adult series and franchises in TV history.”

MTV calls “The Real World” “the show that invented modern reality television,” and says of the reimagined version: “This reconnection to innocence for the trailblazing series strips away the polarization and cold anonymity of social media, the din of the 24-hour news cycle, and the facades of the instafamous culture to find out what happens ‘when seven strangers are picked to live in a house … stop being polite and start getting real.'”

Also in the works are the new series “The Valley” (working title), said to be in the spirit of “The Hills” and “The City,” and “MTV’s Straight Up Ghosted,” which delves into the stories behind broken social media relationships.

Please click here for details on all of the programs that are part of the MTV Studios launch slate, along with other details about the new MTV unit.

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