The Government Accountability Office dinged the FCC in report released today for failing to collect enough information to judge TV station joint-operation deals. The FCC wants to tighten restrictions to keep stations from combining ad sales or newsgathering resources. Critics of the deals say that broadcasters often use them to do an end-run around rules that bar a company from owning multiple stations in a market, thereby weakening competition and narrowing the range of local voices. Station owners counter that deals help by making it possible for financially weak stations to stay in business.
But the FCC has “not collected data or completed a review to understand how broadcaster agreements are being used and the potential impacts with respect to its media ownership rules and the corresponding policy goals of competition, localism, and diversity,” the GAO says. Read More »
After lurking as a presence in Arrow throughout the second season, villain Ra’s al Ghul finally will appear in Season 3, as will the hero Wildcat, fans at Comic-Con’s mega-screening for Warner Bros TV and DC Comics properties learned tonight. While his face was not identified, the criminal mastermind was seen in full costume and with a sword in a new preview clip. Following up on a Facebook hint by Arrow lead Stephen Amell that Ted “Wildcat” Grant would join the show, producer Marc Guggenheim tonight confirmed both additions to the hit CW drama. A longtime DC villain, Liam Neeson played the character on the big screen in 2005’s Batman Begins and 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises.
The Arrow revelations came at the end of the first nighttime presentation for SDCC, screening a smorgasbord of upcoming WBTV shows in massive Hall H.
“You saved the best for last,” said WBTV Marketing chief Lisa Gregorian to the thousands in the hall in kicking off the 3-hour event. The extravaganza not only was a testament to the rise of superheroes but also WB and DC properties. “I remember being at Comic-Con when we were the only DC property on television,” said Amell, the night’s emcee, as he named off The Flash pilot, the world premiere of Batman prequel Gotham, plus a preview of NBC’s new supernatural thriller Constantine and … Read More »
The Comic-Con crowd got its first look at Season 3 of the CW’s Arrow today. Get a gander at the series newcomers Brandon Routh, returning to the superhero scene as Ray Palmer, and Karl Yune as Maseo — as well as Colton Haynes in costume as Arsenal. Oh, and there’s a shot or two of Stephen Amell and Katie Cassidy:
HBO’s blockbuster Game Of Thrones made its annual pilgrimage to Comic-Con‘s massive Hall H today, unveiling among other things a whooping 9 new cast members for the upcoming Season 5 including a geekfest double-shot: Keisha Castle-Hughes, who co-starred in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge Of The Sith, for the Force’s sake.
The Whale Rider Oscar nominee will play Obara Sand, a fearsome warrior and the eldest bastard daughter of the late Prince Oberyn Martell. Her mother was a Dornish peasant girl who caught the eye of the late Prince. Jonathan Pryce also has come aboard the fantasy drama playing the High Sparrow, a pious man whose fellow believers have swarmed King’s Landing, ministering to the lowest and decrying the corruption of the highest. Fellow new castmembers include Alexander Siddig as Doran Martell, Toby Sebastian as Trystane Martell, Nell Tiger Free as Myrcella Baratheon, DeObia Oparei as Areo Hotah, Enzo Cilenti as Yezzan, Jessica Henwick as Nymeria (“Nym”) Sand, and Rosabell Laurenti Sellers as Tyene Sand. Pryce’s appearance on the big screen got a huge roar from the thousands in Hall H as he said he was really excited to join the show.
Related: ‘Game Of Thrones’ Showrunners On “Terrifying” Finale, Next Season’s Direction & Why ‘The Sopranos’ Rules
While Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey weren’t there for the Craig Ferguson-hosted panel, GoT was certainly out in force today for its Comic-Con fans. In one of the largest … Read More »
The CW is pulling the plug on its latest attempt to launch scripted comedies. Online-to-TV transplant Backpackers and Canadian import Seed are coming off the schedule immediately. Next Monday, the CW’s lineup was already pre-empted for the Young Hollywood Awards. For the two following Mondays, the network will air Arrow repeats behind an original and encore of Whose Line Is It Anyway? On August 18, the 21st cycle premiere of America’s Next Top Model will air in the hour, where the veteran reality series will spend six weeks before moving to its regular Friday 9 PM time slot. (Its lead-in will be Whose Line original and repeat on August 18 and magic series Masters Of Illusion and Whose Line rerun starting the following Monday.) Top Model originally was slated to return on August 22 it its Friday 9 PM berth. It now will be double-pumped for the first six weeks, with repeats airing on Fridays.
Related: CW Fall Dates: Premieres Begin October 2 After IHeartRadio Music Fest
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Composers from a number of Marvel and DC film and TV projects will be talking about their craft at the second annual “Musical Anatomy of a Superhero” panel tomorrow, Thursday, July 24th, from 3-4 PM in the Hilton Bayfront Indigo Ballroom. John Ottman (X-Men: Days of Future Past,Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer), Tyler Bates (Guardians of the Galaxy, Salem) Brian Tyler (Avengers: Age of Ultron, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Blake Neely (CW’s The Flash, Arrow) and Christophe Beck (Frozen, Edge of Tomorrow, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) will take attendees behind the scenes on their musical process and show clips, some never-before-seen. The event is produced by Costa Communications.
Producer David Binder, juggling the smash success of two star-driven Broadway revivals — Hedwig And The Angry Inch and Of Mice And Men — added another arrow to his quiver of successful producing tips this morning by announcing a deal has been struck making the Steinbeck drama, starring James Franco, Chris O’Dowd, Leighton Meester and Jim Norton, the first Broadway show to be filmed for telecast under the wing of the UK’s National Theatre Live.
The deal was made in a flurry of activity over the last several days, Wayne Wolfe, a spokesman for the show, told Deadline, including securing the OKs of Broadway’s particularly protective unions. Read More »
The Square, a harrowing documentary about the Egyptian revolution as seen through the eyes of six of its participants, was Oscar-nominated in the 2013 Best Feature Documentary race. So how come it is suddenly a major contender at the Emmys too? Inquiries have come to our attention, including one calling for its withdrawal from Emmy competition, so I decided to check it out.
The film, which accounts for four of the impressive 31 Emmy nominations Netflix received this year, was picked up by the streaming service and qualified last year for the Oscar race with a seven-day run, according to the Television Academy, which has assured me they thoroughly examined this one. “The Square was not in general release prior to it TV appearance; rather, it qualified for the Oscars under the ‘one week NY-LA limited screening rule’ which would not have affected Emmy eligibility. Please know that we and the documentary peer group vetted the hell out of this one, and it’s good to Emmy go,” according to John Leverence, SVP Awards for the TV Academy. Read More »
Ramping up its strategy to build a broad international content business, Britain’s Sky has acquired a 70% stake in Love Productions. The UK-based maker of Great British Bake Off was founded in 2004 by Richard McKerrow and Anna Beattie. Love has production bases in London, Bristol, NY and LA. Its other credits include Great British Sewing Bee and factual programming Baby Borrowers, Famous Rich And Homeless and the controversial welfare documentary Benefits Street which caused a stir on Channel 4 earlier this year. The indie will continue to operate as a distinct company under its new ownership structure and will produce for all major UK broadcasters. McKerrow and Beattie will continue to run the company with the current senior management team. Sky’s international distribution business, Sky Vision, will become Love’s distribution partner, representing all new finished programs and formats. Sky already has development deals with U.S. and UK production companies including Ugly Brother Studios, back2back productions and Roughcut TV. The acquisition is a further step in the consolidation of the indie TV sector with such companies as ITV, Warner Bros, Red Arrow and Sony acquiring stakes in successful producers on both sides of the Atlantic. The move also highlights Sky’s push to increase its footprint across broadcasting, production and distribution. In May, Sky acknowledged speculation over its potential acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s interests in European pay-TV groups Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia. At the time, it said it had “initiated preliminary discussions with 21st Century … Read More »
With the departure of Fox’s previous top programming executive and the network’s new co-heads not in place yet, their boss, Fox Networks Group chairman Peter Rice, took the stage on his own at the network’s executive session at the TCAs this morning. Top question of the day: Fox’s new executive structure, in which the network and sibling 20th TV are both under the oversight of the same executives, Dana Walden and Gary Newman.
“We’d been the odd man out,” Rice said, a reference to the other broadcast networks, which have closely integrated with their studios. “As competition for talent has become more intense, it has put us at a disadvantage, and to have the network and the studio aligned would be helpful.”
Rice was asked to elaborate on the ways the previous setup disadvantaged Fox. “The old structure had a clear advantage for the studio: a big independent studio that was able to sell to everyone, which it has done extremely successfully,” Rice said. “But the network was increasingly disadvantaged. The ability to be reactive only because you are a buyer, that funnel became narrower and narrower as the (landscape) became more competitive… By putting these things together, we’re telling the creative community, we have this great network and a great studio, you can speak to us in a single voice.” Read More »
“We’re incorporating almost everything from the mythology into it and have added a whole new backstory” with the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator, Geoff Johns, CEO of DC Entertainment, said today during the panel for the new CW series. The series, starring Grant Gustin as Barry Allen/The Flash, is a spinoff of CW’s Arrow.
The producers also announced today that Wentworth Miller will guest star on the series as Leonard Snart, aka Captain Cold. The series premieres October 7 in the Tuesday 8 PM slot.
Johns said “the most faithful DC Comic adaption ever” includes using as many characters from the comic series as possible. He appeared on the panel with executive producers Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg and cast members. Read More »
The CW president Mark Pedowitz likes to set the tone for his TCA executive session with a music theme that plays while he is walking out. Today it was a Buena Vista Social Club tune in honor of the network’s new dramedy Jane The Virgin. Expectations are high for the charming comedic soap in the mold of Ugly Betty, which also put the CW on the list of networks with high marks on diversity this season. A couple of years ago, touting Beauty And The Beast‘s Kristin Kreuk as Asian American was the best Pedowitz could come up with when pressed on the whiteness of the network’s new series. Now, the network has a Latino family show. “I believe shows need to reflect what America looks like,” he said today.
Pedowitz was asked to lay out the distinction between BeautyAnd The Beast, which was renewed, and fellow bubble series Star-Crossed, The Carrie Diaries and The Tomorrow People that wasn’t. “Beauty And The Beast has a very engaged fan base, and it is a very profitable show,” Pedowitz said of the remake, which is a big international seller for sister studio CBS TV Studios. As for those that didn’t make the cut, Pedowitz admitted to having received 90 boxes of pasta from angry fans of cancelled alien romance Star-Crossed. Read More »
Chris Coelen’s unscripted production company Kinetic Content, backed by Red Arrow Entertainment, has promoted Karrie Wolfe and Katie Griffin, formerly SVP and VP Development, respectively, to co-head the company’s newly created Development and Programming department. In their new roles, Wolfe and Griffin will supervise a staff, including newly promoted Manager of Development Kayleigh Lamb, as well as Kinetic’s in-house casting team. Wolfe and Griffin have shepherded such Kinetic series as Emmy-nominated The Taste (ABC), Little Women: LA (Lifetime), which was just renewed for a second season, Married At First Sight (fyi), and Betty White’s Off Their Rockers (Lifetime).
Wednesday, July 23 — Preview Night
6-10 PM, Ballroom 20
Warner Bros. TV Pilot Screening: Constantine, The Flash, iZombie, Teen Titans Go!
Thursday, July 24
10-11 AM, Ballroom 20
Fox’s 24: Kiefer Sutherland, EP Jon Cassar returns to Comic-Con to show off highlights from 24: Live Another Day.
10:30-11:30 AM, Indigo Ballroom, Hilton Bayfront
Legends Of TV Land: Betty White (The Golden Girls, Hot in Cleveland) and other TV celebs will answer questions about their work and making history on television. Sneak peek of animated episode of Hot in Cleveland, airing July 30th.
Related: ‘Star Wars – Episode VII’ Not Presenting at Comic-Con 2014
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With reports of Rosie O’Donnell‘s return to The View growing louder and more detailed, Fox News Channel this morning had vacationing Elisabeth Hasselbeck call in to say Rosie has not changed from her previous, short, unhappy time on the ABC talk show, and was calling the shots on the episodes leading up to Barbara Walters’ retirement as The View’s on-air Den Mom.
“Here in comes to The View the very woman who’s spit in the face of our military, spit in the face of her own network, and, really spit in the face of a person who stood by her and had civilized debates for the time that she was there – coming back with a bunch of control, ready to regain The View with a seat at that table, Hasselbeck said this morning on Fox & Friends.
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Nigerian Censor OKs ‘Half Of A Yellow Sun’ Release
Nigeria has given a greenlight to the distribution of Chiwetel Ejiofor starrer Half Of A Yellow Sun. The drama will be released August 1, after being certified by the National Film and Video Censors Board. It previously was due to open in April, but some scenes were deemed objectionable at the time, the BBC notes. Thandie Newton also stars in the adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s best-selling novel. Set in 1960s Nigeria, the story brings audiences into a country torn apart by civil war and shows how the interwoven lives of four central characters intersect during a struggle to establish an independent republic of Nigeria. Biyi Bandele is the director. In a statement, Shareman Media and FilmOne Distribution thanked Nigerians for their “patience and support”.
‘My Man Can’ Game Show Headed To France
French television network NRJ 12 has ordered a local version of Red Arrow International’s game show format My Man Can. The premise sees four women gamble with the abilities of their partners, putting their man’s courage and skills to the ultimate test. It’s been sold to more than 30 countries worldwide. In France, Enibas Productions will produce it under the moniker, Cheri T´es Le Meilleur (Sweetie, You’re The Best).
Two Weeks In, Conan O’Brien Has 3M Hits In China
Conan … Read More »
National Geographic Channel announced this afternoon it will re-trace the day before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon — what it calls “the last day of innocence” — in a two-hour documentary premiering Sunday, September 7, called 9/10: The Final Hours.
Here is NatGeo’s announcement, setting up the premise:
Few images in history are as seared in America’s consciousness as that of American Airlines Flight 11 crashing into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in 2001. In the days, months and even years following the attack, the horrific events of that day and the aftermath have been relived through the media — so much so that it’s hard to remember a time before Sept. 11.
Premiering Sunday, Sept. 7, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, 9/10: The Final Hours takes us moment by moment through the day before everything changed, before the “war on terror” became a part of the world’s everyday vernacular. We’ll hear from those who worked inside the World Trade Center, whose snap decisions resulted in narrow misses of the attack, as well as men and women who confronted the terrorist mastermind of the operation, Mohamed Atta, during his sudden — and still unexplained — detour to Portland, Maine.
We also see the World Trade Center from another unique perspective, that of the artists who lived and worked on the 91st and 92nd floors of the North Tower. This combination of perspective brings this last day of innocence into new — and
… Read More »
Brandon Routh, who played the Man of Steel on the big screen in Bryan Singer’s 2006 tentpole Superman Returns, has joined the cast of the CW’s superhero drama Arrow as this season’s main recurring guest star. He will play Ray Palmer, a scientist and inventor who will play an unexpected role in the lives of Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak as the new owner of Queen Consolidated. In the DC Comics mythology, Palmer is known as The Atom, making Routh a two-time DC superhero. We hear the deal will span 14 episodes and that he will be a love interest for Felicity.
Routh just completed an arc on TV Land’s The Exes and recently wrapped the indie 400 Days opposite Dane Cook, Tom Cavanagh and Ben Feldman. Arrow‘s Season 3 premiere is October 8.
UPDATED, 12:50PM: Leaders of SAG-AFTRA, calling their new film and TV contract “historic,” have something to celebrate this Fourth of July. The tentative new contract, reached early this morning after two months of hard bargaining, achieved the major goal of the union going into the talks: the merger of its two separate TV contracts.
When SAG-AFTRA merged in 2012, it was stuck with two separate pension and health plans and two separate TV contracts, which allowed TV producers to shop for the best terms. This anomaly created a landslide of producers rushing to shoot their projects under AFTRA’s TV contract, which was threatening to dry up employer contributions to SAG’s pension and health plan.
The new contract also achieved the first industry-wide agreement for performers in basic cable production, which now will be incorporated into the new Television Agreement.
In short, it’s a huge victory for the union, and a major milestone on the road to completing the merger of the two unions that was started two years ago.
“Unifying the legacy SAG and AFTRA contracts was essential, and I am very pleased that we were able to achieve that,” SAG-AFTRA president Ken Howard said in a statement. “As important, we have established an industry-wide, basic cable agreement – something we have wanted for two decades. We’ve also secured a very competitive wage package for members and a large bump in our pension, health and retirement contributions. This is a great package with real, measurable gains in numerous areas of our … Read More »