May 21, 2018
4:57 pm

Famed TV Chef Mario Batali Under Criminal Investigation (NY Post)

Police are reportedly investigating celebrity chef Mario Batali, known for his Food Network shows including “Molto Mario” and “Mario Eats Italy,” in connection with allegations of sexual assault.

The New York Post reports that the NYPD has launched two criminal investigations into Batali after new accusations surfaced that he drugged and sexually assaulted two women. The report cites police sources.

“The department is investigating ‘allegations raised in “60 Minutes” report’ that aired Sunday night involving a former waitress who worked at Batali’s Manhattan restaurant Babbo, a source said,” The Post reports. “The woman said she had been drinking with Batali at another hot spot, The Spotted Pig, and the next thing she knew, she woke up in a fog on the floor in a private room with semen on her skirt back in 2005.”

The woman reportedly told “60 Minutes”: “The first thing I think is, ‘I’ve been drugged.’ That was the first thing I thought is, ‘I’ve been — I’ve been assaulted.’”

The Post adds: “She said she woke up in an empty room on The Spotted Pig’s third floor, which was nicknamed the ‘rape room’ by workers, according to past reports.”

May 21, 2018
4:31 pm

New Promo for AMC’s ‘Preacher’ Sums Up the Show’s Delightful Weirdness (TVWeek, YouTube)

A teaser trailer released Sunday for season three of the offbeat AMC series “Preacher” provides a quick look back on many of the show’s delightfully weird characters.

The 10-episode third season premieres Sunday, June 24. For more about the new season and the show in general, please click here.

You can watch the new teaser below …

May 21, 2018
4:17 pm

The Obamas Sign Deal to Produce TV Programming (TVWeek)

Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama have entered into a multiyear agreement to produce content for Netflix.

We reported in March that Barack Obama was in “advanced negotiations” with the streaming service to produce a series of high-profile programs. Netflix announced today that the deal is done.

“The Obamas will produce a diverse mix of content, including the potential for scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries and features,” Netflix announced. “These projects will be available to the 125 million member Netflix households in 190 countries.”

The Obamas set up Higher Ground Productions as the entity under which they will produce the content.

“One of the simple joys of our time in public service was getting to meet so many fascinating people from all walks of life, and to help them share their experiences with a wider audience,” said President Obama. “That’s why Michelle and I are so excited to partner with Netflix — we hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples, and help them share their stories with the entire world.”

Added Michelle Obama: “Barack and I have always believed in the power of storytelling to inspire us, to make us think differently about the world around us, and to help us open our minds and hearts to others. Netflix’s unparalleled service is a natural fit for the kinds of stories we want to share, and we look forward to starting this exciting new partnership.”

Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos commented in the announcement: “Barack and Michelle Obama are among the world’s most respected and highly-recognized public figures and are uniquely positioned to discover and highlight stories of people who make a difference in their communities and strive to change the world for the better. We are incredibly proud they have chosen to make Netflix the home for their formidable storytelling abilities.”

May 21, 2018
4:09 pm

Cable Companies’ NCC Media Names President and CEO (TVWeek)

NCC Media, the national advertising sales, marketing and technology company owned by the cable companies Charter Communications, Comcast Corp. and Cox Communications, announced today that programmatic ad pioneer Nicolle Pangis has been named as president and CEO.

Pangis was previously global COO of GroupM’s mPlatform.

As we reported previously, NCC Media announced back in February that President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Schaefer would be retiring.

“Pangis will lead NCC in the next phase of the company’s development, building upon its strength in linear TV to introduce a scaled, data-driven media business for both linear and addressable buying,” NCC Media said in today’s announcement.

David Kline, executive vice president and president of media sales at Charter Communications, commented in the announcement: “NCC has an excellent reputation in the linear ad space, and will now extend that leadership position into the advanced ad business. Nicolle, now armed with premium multi-screen television content, great viewership insights and the scale required to deliver on advertisers needs combined with her past experiences in programmatic digital is the perfect combination needed to drive NCC to great heights.”

Please click here for details in today’s announcement.

May 21, 2018
4:07 pm

Bravo Orders Eight New Projects (TVWeek)

Bravo Media announced orders today for eight projects for development, with the orders coming after the company recently greenlighted 11 new series along with 20 returning shows.

Rachel Smith, senior VP of development for Bravo Media, made the announcement.

“Bravo offers a wide scope of programming that gives viewers many options to escape their normal reality mixing humor and fun with layered storytelling resulting in addictive series that offer unique worlds and characters,” Smith said. “With this new slate of development, we’re testing unexpected environments and loud formats that aim to attract a wide audience while staying true to what makes Bravo so distinct.”

The projects have the working titles “Raising the Bar: Hong Kong,” “Gold with Envy,” “Your Shitty Family,” “Beverly Hills Driving School,” “Pampered Campers,” “Real Housewives of the 1960s,” “Will You Marry Us” and “Flying High.”

Please click here for all the details.

May 21, 2018
4:01 pm

New Season of CBS News Series Launches This Week (TVWeek)

CBS News announced plans today to launch the second season of a show the network says will give viewers “unprecedented access to cases handled by the real Naval Criminal Investigation Service.”

The six-part series, “48 Hours: NCIS,” launches Tuesday, May 22.

“NCIS” series star Rocky Carroll returns to narrate season two.

“The new season of ’48 Hours: NCIS’ explores a range of intriguing investigations, including one that takes agents into the dark world of master and slave role-playing,” the announcement notes. “Agents also reveal the techniques they used to bring to justice a serial rapist, show how they tracked a killer in the reinvestigation of a cold case, and go step-by-step into a twisted case where the victim was lured to his death by a killer in a case of mistaken identity.”

Please click here for full details in today’s announcement.

May 21, 2018
8:19 am

Finale of Long-Running Sitcom to Be Celebrated With Mini-Marathon (TVWeek)

A comedy series that has become a fixture of broadcast prime time over the course of its nine-year run is about to wrap, and its finale will be celebrated with a mini-marathon.

Freeform announced plans today for the special programming event to give a sendoff to ABC’s “The Middle.” The series will air its final episode this Tuesday, May 22.

The marathon is also set for Tuesday, from 1-6 p.m., and will consist of favorite episodes selected by cast members.

Here’s the schedule for Tuesday, May 22, on Freeform:

1:00 – 1:30 p.m. – Episode 1001, “Pilot,” picked by Patricia Heaton

1:30 – 2:00 p.m. – Episode 1003, “The Block Party,” picked by Atticus Shaffer

2:00 – 2:30 p.m. – Episode 1019, “TV or Not TV,” picked by Atticus Shaffer

2:30 – 3:00 p.m. – Episode 2006, “Foreign Exchange,” picked by Patricia Heaton

3:00 – 3:30 p.m. – Episode 3013, “The Map,” picked by Neil Finn

3:30 – 4:00 p.m. – Episode 4011, “Life Skills,” picked by Charlie McDermott

4:00 – 4:30 p.m. – Episode 4015, “Valentine’s Day IV,” picked by Charlie McDermott

4:30 – 5:00 p.m. – Episode 5011, “War of the Hecks,” picked by Eden Sher

5:00 – 5:30 p.m. – Episode 6021, “Two of a Kind,” picked by Neil Finn

5:30 – 6:00 p.m. – Episode 8022, “The Final Final,” picked by Eden Sher

Repeats of “The Middle” also run daily on Freeform.

May 21, 2018
8:11 am

Fox Drama to Air ‘Bonus’ Episodes (TVWeek)

Two episodes of a Fox drama series that were produced during the show’s third season but did not air will be televised as “bonus” episodes next week.

The network announced a special broadcast set for Monday, May 28, when the “Lucifer” episodes “Boo Normal” and “Once Upon a Time” will air.

“As Lucifer and the team investigate the murder of a child psychiatrist, Ella thinks about a big childhood secret that she’s been hiding,” Fox says in an announcement describing the two episodes. “Then, after Lucifer’s mom creates an alternate dimension, Lucifer now lives in a world where he not only has never met Chloe, but is granted the freedom of choice.”

The two-hour block will air from 8-10 p.m. ET/PT.

The regular cast includes Tom Ellis as Lucifer, Lauren German as Chloe, DB Woodside as Amenadiel, Lesley-Ann Brandt as Maze, Kevin Alejandro as Dan, Scarlett Estevez as Trixie, Rachael Harris as Linda Martin, Tricia Helfer as Charlotte, Aimee Garcia as Ella and Tom Welling as Marcus Pierce.

The guest cast for the bonus episodes includes Charlyne Yi as Ray-Ray/Azreal, Madeleine Coghlan as Beckett Wilson, Nadine Ellis as Iris/Purple Wolf, Neil Gaiman as God, Louis Herthum as Lt. John Decker, Brian Tee as Ben Rogers and David Meunier as Rex Wilson.

May 18, 2018
4:59 pm

’13 Reasons Why’ Premiere Canceled (AP)

The scheduled premiere party for the second season of the drama series “13 Reasons Why” was canceled because of the school shooting this morning at Santa Fe High School in Texas that left 10 people dead.

The AP reports that Netflix pulled the plug on the West Hollywood event hours before the screening and red carpet event was scheduled to begin. Season two of the series remains available on the streaming service.

“The first season of ’13 Reasons Why’ drew criticism for its graphic depiction of a teenager’s suicide,” the AP reports. “The second season focuses on the aftermath of the girl’s death, and it includes a storyline about a student’s thwarted plans to shoot up a school dance. The student, who is heavily armed with a rifle and handguns, is talked out of the shooting by a classmate who helps him escape before police arrive.”

May 18, 2018
4:29 pm

D.A. to Review Sexual Assault Case Against Scott Baio (TMZ)

Sexual assault allegations against actor Scott Baio will be reviewed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney, TMZ reports. The allegations from actress Nicole Eggert stem from their time on “Charles in Charge,” and Baio has repeatedly denied Eggert’s claims.

Eggert filed a police report claiming Baio molested her on multiple occasions, including a claim that she was as young as 14 when the alleged molestation occurred, TMZ reports.

“Baio insists he had sex with Eggert only once … when she was 18,” TMZ adds.

The report adds: “Alexander Polinsky, another star of ‘Charles in Charge,’ came out in support of Eggert, claiming that he not only witnessed Baio harassing Eggert … but, he was also a victim of Baio’s sexual misconduct. He claimed Scott called him a ‘f****t’ and pulled down his pants ‘in front of over 100 people’ on set.”

The report quotes a rep for Baio saying: “Scott Baio is grateful to LAPD for a timely investigation. They were presented many pieces of evidence and statements that contradicted and undermined Nicole Eggert’s untrue claims. Scott is now looking forward to the DA’s review and statement concluding this matter.”

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