Al Jazeera America To Air Docu On Low-Income Living In U.S. From Producers Of ‘Hoop Dreams’, ‘Life Itself,’ ‘New Americans,’ ‘Trials Of Muhammad Ali’

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 12:20pm PDT

CNN isn’t the only cable news networkaljazeeralogo2 going in for documentary series. Al Jazeera America today announced its latest collaboration –  with Kartemquin Films on Hard Earned, a six-part documentary series exploring low-income life in America. Hard Earned is being executive produced by Kartemquin’s Steve James, Gordon Quinn, and Justine Nagan, who were responsible for Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters, The Trials of Muhammad Ali and recent Sundance hit Life Itself, among other documentaries.

Five stories, set in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Milwaukee, and two in the Chicago area, will be intertwined into six one-hour episodes. The series will shed more light on an ever-growing sector of the American workforce. “Low wage jobs are the fastest growing sector of employment in the American economy,” says executive producer Steve James. Kartemquin’s previous multi-part series, The New Americans, a seven-hour series on immigration produced for PBS in 2004, was an International Documentary Association award-winner for Best Limited Series. Al Jazeera America is available in more than 51 million homes in the U.S. on Comcast, Time Warner Cable, DirecTV, Dish Network and Verizon FiOS.

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Fox 2000 Developing ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ Sequel With ‘Elf’ Scribe Attached To Write

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 6:04pm PDT

Mrs. Doubtfire 2Elf screenwriter David Berenbaum has been tapped to write the sequel to the 1993 hit comedy Mrs. Doubtfire, which is in development at Fox 2000 and has star Robin Williams and director Chris Columbus attached to return. It’s been 21 years since Williams donned a wig, dress, and prosthetics in the original film, about a San Francisco father named Daniel Hillard who who dons drag to spend quality time with his kids as he undergoes a divorce. Sally Field co-starred as Hillard’s wife, with Pierce Brosnan, Matthew Lawrence, Mara Wilson, Lisa Jakub, and Harvey Fierstein rounding out the cast. After two decades of stalling out through numerous scripts, Berenbaum’s is an original take. Columbus and Williams haven’t officially signed deals for the sequel but Columbus is producing for his 1492 banner and is creatively shepherding the project.

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ & ‘About A Boy’ Inch Up, CBS Dramas Slip, ‘Celebrity Wife Swap’ Season Debut Soft

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 9:59am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE 2:30 PM: A ton of adjustments: The Voice, NCIS, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., New Girl, Person Of Interest and The Originals were each adjusted up a tenth among adults 18-49 while About A Boy, Growing Up Fisher and Supernatural were adjusted down a tenth.

PREVIOUS: ABC’s scheduling stunt with a Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. block paid off. Airing at 9 PM with last week’s episode as a lead-in, the comic book series last night drew a 2.0 in adults 18-49, up 18% from its fast national last week and up 5% from the final to tie a five-week high. It is currently running behind CBS’ NCIS: LA (2.1) in the hour, but the ABC drama tends to get an upward adjustment in the finals, so it will likely end up in a tie or could even pull ahead.

celebritywifeswapIf you were scratching your head over the pairing of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Celebrity Wife Swap and banishing the family reality show to 10 PM, you were not alone. In its season premiere in the challenging for ABC Wednesday 10 PM slot, the unscripted series managed a 1.0, down a steep 58% from the last season premiere in the far more family-viewing-inducing 8 PM hour to mark the lowest premiere for the Wife Swap franchise. Still, underscoring ABC’s nightly struggles in the hour, that was a seven-week high for the network in the time period. Read More »

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UPDATE: Intl Box Office: ‘Rio 2′ Soars With $63.4M; ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Blasts Past $300M Overseas; ‘Noah’ Adds $36.2M; ‘Divergent’ Nearing $50M

Highlights: Rio 2 (FOX) has $63.4M weekend, lands $12.6M in China debut; Captain America: The Winter Soldier (DIS) crosses $300M international; Noah (PAR) adds $36.2M; Divergent (LGF/SUM/var) nears $50M; Spanish Affairs (UNI) has 5th No. 1 weekend in Spain…

cinemaworld4th UPDATE, 7:15 PM, PST: The final Divergent  numbers are in, with the film nearing $50M but not yet crossing it; it stands at $48.1M. The film is based on the YA novel of the same name (part of a trilogy) and Lionsgate is hoping it will become another big franchise. This is the same company that launched the wildly successful Hunger Games series. Divergent is at $124.7M in the U.S. after the 3-day weekend for a worldwide gross of $172.8M+.

3rd UPDATE, Monday, 1:52 PM, PST:  New grosses are in for Rio 2, The Grand Budapest Hotel, 300: Rise Of An Empire, The Lego Movie, Spanish Affairs and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Rio 2 did better than previously expected internationally over the weekend, with a total tally of $63.4M to date; the worldwide cume on the animated family picture is over $100M.

2ND UPDATE, MONDAY 12:45 AM PT: Last weekend, Captain America: Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ Leads Newcomers; Nic Cage’s ‘Joe’ Opens Weak; ‘Railway Man’ Too Disturbing?

By | Sunday April 13, 2014 @ 10:22am PDT

Specialty Box OfficeOnly Lovers Left Alive held sway among Specialty newcomers this weekend, scoring the weekend’s highest average in a fairly crowded box office. The film starring Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston grossed nearly $97K in four theaters, averaging $24,244. Crowds packed the 268-seat Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center Friday night where director Jim Jarmusch took part in a Q&A for the 7pm screening of the film (he gave a rather interesting theory on William Shakespeare not being the author of his work).Only Lovers Left Alive The weekend results for Lovers outperformed Jarmusch’s previous 2009 feature The Limits Of Control, which averaged $18,607 in three theaters when it opened in May of that year. It went on to cume over $426K domestically. Broken Flowers which starred Bill Murray, Sharon Stone and Julie Delpy had a slightly higher PTA launch, averaging $28,904 in 27 theaters when it opened in August 2005. The Focus Features release went on to total over $13.744M in the U.S.

“It’s a great start, people really seemed to love the film,” said SPC co-president Michael Barker Sunday. SPC will open Only Lovers Left Alive in New York and L.A. this weekend, expanding to San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, D.C. the following week before heading to the top 50 markets through spring.

railwaymanTWC opened The Railway Man in several locations, grossing $64,506 for an so-so $16,127 average. “We’re off to a respectable start on Railway Man,” said TWC president of Theatrical Distribution Erik Lomis Sunday. “Our exit information confirmed [what we thought]. It was a mostly an older audience. There’s some images that are disturbing, but it’s very relevant today with current events in Fort Hood. What we learned from the U.K. and Australia was that the midweek grosses were about as good as the weekends. So we’re just going to let it roll. Read More »

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PILOTS 2014: Early Buzz Edition

By | Saturday April 12, 2014 @ 1:52pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

panic-buttonWith less than a month until the upfronts, we’re kicking off our annual Pilot Buzz series. As usual, the first edition only includes a limited number of projects that have been garnering early attention as many pilots are still filming. So, if a pilot is not mentioned, it probably means it is too early to weigh in or the feedback I’ve received is inconclusive at this time.

ABC_logo_2007Shonda Rhimes. Viola Davis. Need we say more? ABC’s sexy suspense legal thriller How To Get Away With Murder, executive produced by Rhimes and starring Davis, is packing some heat early on. Secret & Lies starring Ryan Phillippe also is getting encouraging early response. It also has a seven-figure penalty and is directed by Charles McDougall, whose strong pilot record includes Desperate Housewives, The Good Wife and most recently, Resurrection last season. Then there is Marvel’s stealth Agent Carter project. Last year, the company went into Fort Knox mode on its Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot, which was kept under lock and key. They took that a notch further this year with carterAgent Carter. Because there is a prototype — the project is inspired by a one shot, which was featured on the Blu-ray release of Iron Man 3word has been that it would forgo a pilot and go straight to series. The script was finished more than three months ago (“the script is great,” ABC’s Paul Lee said back in January), the option on one-shot’s star Hayley Atwell came up and was extended, but the green light never came. Now there is talk that a pickup for Agent Carter may come along with a renewal for Marvel’s freshman Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., with the new series possibly serving as a bridge between the fall and spring portions of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Also getting various level of early traction at ABC is mystery Sea of Fire and several dark horses, alien drama The Whispers (aka The Visitors), medical drama The Warriors and mystery Clementine. Read More »

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CBS’s Stephen Colbert Hire Shakes Up Late Night — And Far Right

LettermanColbert

LisaColumn__131015210634-275x198The day after CBS’s bombshell announcement that Stephen Colbert would replace David Letterman  on Late Show, when things calmed down a bit and reason returned to her throne, industry pundits began to contemplate the deeper meaning of the shift in the late-night landscape. Practically speaking, it means Comedy Central is now one late-night show short — and CBS may be as well, if Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson, or the network, decides to call it a day now that Craig’s for sure not getting the 11:35 PM timeslot.  We’ve all been brought up to speed on the clause in Craig’s contract that landed him a pot of cash if the network settled elsewhere on its Letterman replacement. But Ferguson was quick to tweet his congratulations to Colbert the morning the news broke. That night, Ferguson opened his show with another shout out to Colbert, after which he teased viewers with cracks about resigning — but only for the length of a commercial break. Read More »

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Tech-Entertainment Startups Face Looming Deadline, Tough Competition For Disney Accelerator Slot

By | Friday April 11, 2014 @ 7:00am PDT

Disney Accelerator How it works screen capWith a submission deadline looming in a few days, more than 400 people filled the cavernous main room of a Santa Monica co-working space this week, eager to hear how their startup can create the future of entertainment, with help from a media giant and a hugely influential tech investor group.

The night’s main attraction was David Cohen of TechStars, which connects high-level tech investors with startups. TechStars has partnered with Disney to launch the Disney Accelerator, one of seven such sponsored accelerators it runs along with seven more stand-alone operations in as many cities on two continents. Soft-spoken and dressed Silicon Valley casual, Cohen told the CrossCampus gathering that the accelerator’s goal is simple: to find and fund “the next generation of entertainment.”

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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘The Railway Man’, ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’, ‘Joe’, ‘Hateship Loveship,’ ‘Cuban Fury’, ‘Dancing In Jaffa’, ‘A Fragile Trust’

boxoffice-specialty__111212022432-200x150 (1)The likes of Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Tilda Swinton, Nicolas Cage, Kristen Wiig, Guy Pearce and more have films joining the Specialties in theaters this weekend in what could possibly be a big draw at the box office — hopefully. TWC will bow The Railway Mana period drama set against WWII, while SPC will open Jim Jarmusch’s vampire romance Only Lovers Left Alive. David Gordon Green returns to theaters with Joe from Roadside and Lionsgate, while IFC Films will bow Hateship Loveship. The distributor will also open doc Dancing In Jaffa. Also joining the pack in a fairly packed weekend is Entertainment One’s Cuban Fury, starring Nick Frost. Also opening is A Fragile Trust: Plagiarism, Power, And Jayson Blair At The New York Times, an ITVS backed doc that will have a self-distributed theatrical run ahead of its broadcast on PBS.

The Railway Manrailwayman
Director: Jonathan Teplitzky
Writers: Frank Cottrell Boyce, Andy Paterson, Eric Lomax
Cast: Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Stellan Skarsgård, Jeremy Irvine, Michael MacKenzie, Jeffrey Daunton
Distributor: The Weinstein Company

With a high-profile cast, bio-drama The Railway Man centers on a former British Army officer who was tormented as a young prisoner of war at a Japanese labor camp during World War II. Later he discovers the man responsible for much of his treatment is still alive and sets out to confront him. “We’re big fans of … Read More »

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CBS Corp. Boss Leslie Moonves Takes A ‘Late Show With Stephen Colbert’ Victory Lap

LisaColumn__131015210634-275x198CBS is understandably over the moon that it’s landed Stephen Colbert as its new late-night star. With Colbert as its date, the network so long treated by the media as a dinosaur, an afterthought or a curiosity (as in, “Golly gosh, can you stevencolbert11believe how many people watch NCIS?”) has, overnight become the hottest girl at the whole damned dance.

Related: Stephen Colbert Reacts To ‘Late Show’ Hire

Colbert will retire his Comedy Central conservative windbag character — who he has previously described as a “well-intentioned, poorly informed, high-status idiot” — and become Actual Stephen Colbert when he takes over as host of Late Show With Stephen Colbert. It’s devastating news for Bill O’Reilly and other conservative TV and radio talking heads who counted on Colbert for material about which to fume and foment. The character looms so large in the talk-show world that Colbert today felt compelled to issue a statement about Faux Colbert’s coming demise, saying: “I won’t be doing the new show in character, so we’ll all get to find out how much of him was me. TCA Summer Press Tour 2013I’m looking forward to it.​​” CBS Corp chairman Leslie Moonves said it’s unclear how the CBS late-night show will be configured with Colbert as host; in an interview with Deadline today, he expressed no concern about the fictitious character his new star has been playing on the comedy network since 2005.

Related: David Letterman On Stephen Colbert’s Hire

Asked when would be David Letterman‘s last day as Late Show host and Colbert’s first day, Moonves said no decision had been made and reiterated that the end date was Dave’s to decide.

Related: CBS’ Late-Night Drama Not Over Yet Despite Practically Perfect Stephen Colbert Hire

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RATINGS RAT RACE UPDATE: ‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ & ‘Voice’ Adjusted Up, ‘Chicago Fire’ & ‘About A Boy’ Down

By | Wednesday April 9, 2014 @ 2:22pm PDT

BRETT DALTON, CHLOE BENNET, CLARK GREGGUPDATE, 2:22 PM: The final numbers are in and Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. has seen a rise of two tenths for a second week in a row. While still down from last week’s 2.0/6, last night’s 1.9/6 is not the series low for ABC’s superspy agency drama as preliminary numbers indicated this morning. S.H.I.E.L.D.’s all-time low was a 1.8 on March 4. NBC’ also saw adjustments in its lineup with The Voice up a tenth to 2.9/9 to tie a low for a regularly scheduled show, and About A Boy and Chicago Fire down a tenth each for the latter to hit a season low.

Related: ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Smashes April Opening Record

PREVIOUS, 9:05 AM: After tease after tease this season, Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. (1.7/6) last night finally plunged full force into the greater Marvel Universe with a crossover to Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Even with the heavily promoted crossover, plus betrayals and revelations galore, the superspy agency series didn’t see the blockbuster results of the just-released superhero pic.
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MacKenzie Porter Joins AMC’s ‘Hell On Wheels’; Salli Richardson-Whitfield In BET’s ‘Being Mary Jane’

By | Tuesday April 8, 2014 @ 4:01pm PDT

Canadian country music singermackenzieporter1 and actress MacKenzie Porter has been cast as a series regular in AMCs Western drama series Hell On Wheels, from Entertainment One, Endemol USA and Nomadic Pictures. Porter, repped by Red Management in Canada and KLWGN Entertainment, will play Naomi, Cullen Bohannon’s (Anson Mount) wife and mother of his child who is torn between the restrictive Mormon way of life (all she’s ever known), and the exotic adventure promised by life with her gentile husband outside the Mormon fort. Principal photography on the series’ fourth season begins later this month in Calgary. Porter was last seen in the features Tom, Dick & Harriet and Killer Among Us.
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Oxygen Greenlights Seven New Series As Part Of Upcoming Rebranding

By | Tuesday April 8, 2014 @ 8:59am PDT

oxygen__121004001549-200x133__130603181223Oxygen Media unveiled seven new original series for its 2014 slate today under new president Francis Berwick and said it is planning a rebrand for later this year “targeting modern, young women.” Docu-series on the roster range in subjects from finding the next female hip-hop star (executive produced by rapper T.I.) to comediennes, and competition series involving street artists and nail designers. They will join returning series Preachers Of LA, which recently was picked up for a second season after becoming the most-watched freshman series in network history among adults 25-54, averaging more than 1 million total viewers. It will premiere in summer. The network said today it will soon begin casting new Preachers editions in New York, Atlanta, Dallas and Detroit. Berwick, the president at sister NBCUniversal network Bravo, was tapped in September to oversee Oxygen.  Here is more detail from the network on the new series:

Related: Bravo Unveils 15 New Series, 3 Projects In Development, 16 Returning Series

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Shorty Awards Winners Announced

By | Monday April 7, 2014 @ 8:52pm PDT

Jerry Seinfeld, Aaron Paul and Batkid were among the big winners tonight as the 6th annual Shorty Awards for the best in social media were handed out in New York. The trophy show, which this year added a category for best Vine video, honors various online video, business, entertainment, journalism and social-media stars. Seinfeld’s Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee was voted best web show, while Paul was tapped as favorite actor Parks And Recreation‘s Retta took the actress prize. Other winners included Patton Oswalt, Paul Feig and Cosmos host Neil deGrasse Tyson. Will Ferrell picked up the Lifetime Achievement Award. Here’s Seinfeld’s taped acceptance speech. The full list of winners is after the jump:

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Specialty Box Office: Scarlett Johansson Reigns With Sci-Fier ‘Under The Skin’

By | Sunday April 6, 2014 @ 9:51am PDT

Specialty Box OfficeUPDATED: Boasting a bankable Hollywood star in a decidedly unconventional narrative, Jonathan Glazer’s stunning Under The Skin starring Scarlett Johansson (who also stars in this weekend’s fellow opener Captain America 2) proved a winning mix in the Specialty Box Office for distributor A24 in its opening weekend. The film, Glazer’s first in 10 years, grossed a robust $140K in four L.A. and NYC theaters. That comes in at a $35K screen average, easily the biggest since the The Grand Budapest Hotel‘s bombshell $202K PTA when it opened March 9. Scarlett Johansson Under the SkinUnder The Skin‘s initial numbers also bode well for A24, which opened in 2012 and had a streak of box office successes over last year, including Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers, which had an $87,667 PTA when it opened last March ($14.1M cume), The Spectacular Now ($49,354 PTA in 4 theaters last August and a $6.85M cume), The Bling Ring ($42,879 PTA in 5 theaters last June and a $5.8M cume) and Ginger & Rosa ($14,279 PTA in 3 theaters in March 2012, $1M cume).

Said A24 this weekend: “[Under The Skin] opened to rave reviews and sold out shows in New York and Los Angeles this weekend. This unique cinematic event is second only to The Grand Budapest Hotel as the highest limited specialized film opening of the year. Scarlett Johannson, who stars in both Under The Skin and the Captain America sequel, was a box office star this weekend dominating the box office with Captain America and Under The Skin having the highest per screen average in the country.”

A24 noted that the title, which it acquired out of Toronto last year, is “an art movie that people are embracing.” A spokesperson told me Sunday that they “couldn’t sell more tickets” at its showing in New York’s Union Square. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: Gia Coppola’s ‘Palo Alto’

By | Saturday April 5, 2014 @ 1:58pm PDT

After hitting the fall film festival circuit of Telluride, Venice and Toronto, Gia Coppola‘s edgy coming-of-age directorial debut Palo Alto based on the short story series by James Franco will bow at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 24 before its limited release on May 9.  Emma Roberts portrays April, a shy, sensitive virgin who falls for introspective artist Teddy (Jack Kilmer), while negotiating a dangerous affair with her soccer coach Mr. B (James Franco).  Meanwhile, Teddy’s loose cannon friend Fred (Nat Wolff) zeroes in on Emily (Zoe Levin), a promiscuous loner.  Ah, high school life as set in the titular northern Cali town. Chris Messina and Val Kilmer also star. Tribeca Film, which acquired domestic rights back in December, will expand the film throughout May. Gia is Francis Ford Coppola‘s grandaughter; her father being the late Gian-Carlo who died in a 1986 boat accident.  Before making her directorial debut with Palo Alto, Gia worked as a costume assistant on her aunt Sofia Coppola’s 2010 feature Somewhere and was a creative consultant on her grandfather’s vampire indie film Twixt. Speaking with Deadline at the American Horror Story: Coven PaleyFest panel, Roberts, who has been an acquaintance of Gia’s for some time, assured us that “She captures youth in a way that hasn’t been seen before on the big screen.”  You be the judge:

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Animal Planet Details First Dive Into Scripted Programming With ‘Moby Dick’ From Whale’s Point Of View

By | Thursday April 3, 2014 @ 6:43am PDT

animal-planet-logoAnimal Planet is plunging into scripted territory with a retelling of the story that inspired the novel Moby Dick, in Revenge Of The Whale (working title). Starring Martin Sheen, this two-hour film tells a dramatic story of a time when whales were hunted for their oil. The BBC co-production re-imagines what happened when the magnificent sea creature finally turned on its killers. Here’s a complete look at Animal Planet’s new slate: Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘NCIS’ Slips, ‘Mindy Project’ Craters, ‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ & ‘The Voice’ Down

NCIS APRIL 1Looks like the next NCIS (2.3/8) spinoff has gotten off to a slightly unsteady start. After seeing a small rise last week, Tuesday’s second episode of the “Crescent City” two-parter with Scott Bakula dipped 8% from its March 25 episode. On a night that didn’t give big jumps to anyone, that’s a season low for the long-running procedural. The setting up of a Big Easy-based version of NCIS was again the night’s most-watched show, with 16.84 million tuning in, though down a slight 2% from last week. A little bit ahead of its lead-in in the adults 18-49 demo, NCIS: LA (2.4/7) remained even with it March 25 airing. Coming off a big gain last week, Person Of Interest (1.9/6) dipped 5% last night from its previous episode. With all that, CBS took the night in the demo (2.2/7) and in total viewers with 14.49 million.

On Fox’s Glee (0.9/3) it was all New York, New York with the former McKinley High gang starting to strut their stuff in the city that never sleeps. It was a move that didn’t seem to garner much goodwill among the demo: The 102nd episode of the series fell 18% from last week to tie a series low. If Glee’s fall stung, the cratering of The Mindy Project hurt worse. Back for the first time in two months, a double dose of the comedy at 9 PM and 9:30 each drew a 1.0/3 result in 18-49 – that’s a 33% free-fall from the series’ last 9:30 PM original January 31. Read More »

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‘House Of Cards’, ‘Scandal’, ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘The Bridge’, ‘Key & Peele’, ‘Orphan Black’, ‘Orange Is The New Black’ Win Peabodys

By | Wednesday April 2, 2014 @ 7:08am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Netflix and BBC America each has two scripted series on the list PeabodyAwardsof a record 46 programs to receive Peabody Awards this year. Joining Netflix’s Washington drama House Of Cards and prison comedy Orange Is The New Black is another DC drama, ABC’s soapy Scandal; BBC America’s clone thriller Orphan Black and Broadchurch, which is being remade by Fox as an event series; FX’s The Bridge, which itself is a remake of the Danish-Swedish series; Danish political drama Borgen; acclaimed French zombie drama The Returned; AMC’s Breaking Bad, awarded a second Peabody for its final season; Comedy Central’s hit sketch comedy Key & Peele; CNN’s travel docu-series Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown; as well as Burka Avenger, the Pakistani animated series about a girl superhero; and two documentaries from newcomer Al Jazeera America. Additionally, former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, who recently announced he is battling cancer, will receive an individual Peabody Award. Here is the full list of recipients of the 73rd Peabody Awards, bestowed by the University of Georgia’s Grady School of Journalism. They will be presented May 19 at a luncheon ceremony hosted by Ira Glass at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. A special on the Peabodys will air later on Pivot, which recently inked a rights deal through 2016: Read More »

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