Fox and Nat GEO‘s reboot of Carl Sagan’s classic Cosmos series is getting some White House lift-off. President Obama will be introducing the series premiere episode this Sunday, March 9 at 9pm ET/PT. A preview of the series screened at the White House as part of their inaugural White House Film Festival on Friday, February 28. Release is below:
UPDATE, 10:38 AM: Unsurprisingly, Aereo is not happy with the denial today of its attempt to overturn the six-state injunction against the Barry Diller-backed service. “We are disappointed in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals 2:1 decision denying our request to stay the injunction in the 10th Circuit,” said spokesperson Virginia Lam Abrams today after the court’s order became public. “We believe that Aereo’s individual, cloud-based antenna and DVR technology falls squarely within the law and we look forward to presenting our case to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
PREVIOUS, 9:44 AM: If you felt that the Aereo legal roller coaster went fast before, welcome to Utah. Just over a week after getting a 14-day reprieve from the 6-state injunction it had been slapped with on February 19, the Barry Diller-backed streaming service today took a hit from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. A panel of judges on the federal court denied Aereo’s emergency motion to stay the injunction.
“Aereo has not made a strong showing that it is likely to succeed on the merits of its appeal,”said two of the judges in the 2-page order (read it here) today. “Nor has Aereo demonstrated that the other factors weigh in its favor. We therefore deny Aereo’s emergency motion to stay the preliminary injunction pending appeal, .While Judge Harris Hartz says he would have granted the motion, his colleagues’ order means that Aereo’s services …
CBS News has named veteran Bill Whitaker a 60 Minutes correspondent, it was announced today by Jeff Fager, the executive producer of the newsmag and the chairman of CBS News. Whitaker, who has been based in Los Angeles, will move to the New York area and begin appearing in the fall on the CBS newsmagazine, which is America’s most-watched news program. The newsmag got nicked in its reputation when Lara Logan took a leave in the wake of the program’s since-discredited story on the Benghazi attacks.
The Tribeca Film Festival continues to roll out its lineup for this year’s 13th edition, which kicks off April 16. Here is the program slates for the Spotlight, Midnight, Special Screenings and Storyscapes sections. The fest’s shorts program will be unveiled Tuesday. Here are today’s films, which include Spotlight spots for Roman Polanksi’s Venus In Fur, the Robin Williams-starrer Boulevard from Dito Montiel, world premieres of films directed by actors Chris Messina and Courteney Cox, and of course the horror comedy Zombeavers:
Weekly Column: Three weeks into the post-Jay Leno Tonight Show era, his replacement Jimmy Fallon is still the frontrunner, though his margins have shrunk, his ABC competitor Jimmy Kimmel has regained ground he lost temporarily during Fallon’s highly hyped first week with a Sochi Olympics lead-in. Now the two Jimmys are settling in for the long haul, as they wrestle over America’s late-night viewing habit.
All eyes were on Fallon when he kicked off his Tonight tenure during the second Monday of NBC’s Olympics coverage, with a star-studded week that included guests Will Smith, U2, Jerry Seinfeld, Lady Gaga, the First Lady, and Justin Timberlake. More than 11 million viewers listened as Fallon asked that they give him time to get it right. And, over the course of that first week, with DVR-watchers factored in, Fallon drew the biggest weekly audience Tonight had enjoyed since Johnny Carson signed off after 30 years in 1992 — an average of 10.42 million viewers. Those viewers, NBC noted, had the youngest median age of any weekly crowd for any of the broadcast TV 11:35 PM talk shows this season: 52.6 years.
Then the honeymoon was over.
In Fallon’s Week 2, headline writers turned their attention to ABC’s Kimmel and the ninth iteration of his much-ballyhooed, even more celeb-studded post-Oscar show, which jumped 22% in total viewers year-to-year to nab nearly 7 million viewers. It was the ABC late-night program’s largest-ever overall audience for any single-day telecast in either late-night or primetime and up 20% in the demo, to reach 2.423 million. In each of the country’s Top 3 markets – New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago – Kimmel’s show coming out of the most-watched Oscarcast in a decade outperformed both the final Tonight broadcast with Leno and the first Tonight with Fallon, in households and in the demo.
Kimmel followed this up the very next night with what members of the media regarded as the Holy Grail of late-night bookings — Toronto’s wildly unpredictable, much-memed Mayor Rob Ford. This past Monday, Kimmel mopped sweat from Ford’s brow, and suggested the mayor might want to get some help if he does in fact have a drinking problem, which Ford laughed off, saying he “wasn’t elected to be perfect” and that he is “just a normal average, hardworking politician.” To which Kimmel respectfully insisted Ford is not only not average, “you are the most wonderful mayor I’ve ever witnessed.” And, while final stats for Monday’s sit-down aren’t available yet, Jimmy Kimmel Live that night achieved a 2.5/6 in metered market homes, jumping 19% (and 50% in the demo) from the prior Monday, to land in his nearest competitive position on a Monday yet against Fallon. That said, Fallon still topped Kimmel by 68% in metered market households and by 89% in demo ratings in the 25 LPM markets, with his former Saturday Night Live Weekend Update co-anchor Tina Fey as guest. (Kimmel’s Oscar surge appeared to have fizzled by Tuesday night where, in Nielsen’s 56 metered markets, JKL fell to a 1.7/5 — well behind Fallon’s 3.5/9 — though ABC’s new 10 PM series Mind Games, with its 0.6 demo rating and its 2, 2.120 million viewers, may have contributed.)
Lindsay is premiering this Sunday at 10 PM, and OWN has unveiled the 2-minute promo that TV critics attending Winter TV Press Tour 2014 got to see in January. Last July, Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network scored a big one when it signed train-wreck Lindsay Lohan to an eight-episode docu-series following her as she tried to stay sober and re-launch her career after a court-ordered rehab stint; it was part of a deal that also included Lohan’s post-rehab interview special on Oprah’s Next Chapter. The docu-series, directed by filmmaker Amy Rice (By The People: The Election of Barack Obama ), taped in August.
“There’s nothing left in having a drink for me. There’s no party I haven’t gone to, nobody I haven’t hung out with, no situation I haven’t been exposed to,” 27-year-old Lohan tells the camera as she swans here and there.
2nd UPDATE, 5:42 PM: Trust The Simpsons to go for the big picture when they weighed in on Ellen DeGeneres‘ mega-retweeted Oscars selfie – literally. Today, Homer’s official Twitter feed threw up this perspective on the now famous pic (retweeted more than a record-breaking 3.209 million times so far) from the front row of the 86th Academy Awards. “The ugly true story of that Oscar® selfie can finally be told! Let’s break Twitter again. Look for Bart,” said the tweet. All we can say is Bradley Cooper, be kind. BTW – Ellen and fellow selfie star (and Oscar winner) Jared Leto are helping Homer in his goal: Both retweeted the pic.
UPDATE, SUNDAY PM: In less than an hour, Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres beat President Obama‘s Twitter record for Twitter retweets. Ellen’s on-the-fly pic with Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Kevin Spacey, and more is racking up the Twitter love with over 1M RTs and over 720K favorites and counting.
As Secretary of State John Kerry lent support to Ukraine’s fledging government today and took another verbal shot at Russia, NBC News said this afternoon it has added former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael A. McFaul as an analyst. McFaul will contribute across the NBCUniversal News Group — including NBC News, MSNBC, and CNBC — contributing his perspective and expertise to coverage of foreign affairs and national security. McFaul’s post in Russia ended last week. He already appeared Monday night on NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams and this morning on Today and MSNBC’s Morning Joe to discuss the situation unfolding in Ukraine.
The CBS chief describes Dish Network and Disney’s new programming agreement as “a win-win for both companies.” But it’s still “not quite enough for us,” Les Moonves told the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference today. He likes the fact that Dish chairman Charlie Ergen curtailed the ability of his Hopper DVR to automatically zap ads on ABC shows; the new deal will delay that until three days after a show airs. (CBS and other broadcasters sued Dish saying that the Hopper infringed on their copyrights and violated programming contracts. Dish says the Hopper simply automates the ad skipping that DVR viewers already do with their remote controls.) Moonves also doesn’t mind the terms in the deal with Disney that would enable Dish to carry its channels on an Internet pay TV service, also known as over-the-top. “Everybody’s talking about over the top,” he says. “We’re talking about it with many of the [pay TV distributors] we’re in business with….The current ecosystem works very well, but a new way to get paid for your linear content is a good thing if it’s done appropriately.” He adds that consumers will probably see a online pay TV service “in concert with our partners.” That could include Dish: Moonves says that “our deal with Charlie is up at the end of this year. It’ll be an interesting conversation, as they always are with Charlie.”
The big boys came out today on the side of the broadcasters in their upcoming appearance in front of the Supreme Court in the Aereo case. The solicitor general’s office put the Obama administration solidly in the anti-Aereo camp with a 40-page amicus brief (read it here) filed with the SCOTUS today. The broadcasters say that Aereo infringes on their copyrights by streaming their over-the-air signals without licenses or compensation. Aereo says that it simply leases out antennas and technology that consumers can already use to watch broadcast TV for free.
“The proper resolution of this dispute is straightforward,” the brief states. “Unlike a purveyor of home antennas, or the lessor of hilltop space on which individual consumers may erect their own antennas … respondent does not simply provide access to equipment or other property that facilitates customers’ reception of broadcast signals. Rather, respondent operates an integrated system—i.e., a ‘device or process’—whose functioning depends on its customers’ shared use of common facilities. The fact that as part of that system respondent uses unique copies and many individual transmissions does not alter the conclusion that it is retransmitting broadcast content ‘to the public.’ Like its competitors, respondent therefore must obtain licenses to perform the copyrighted content on which its business relies. That conclusion, however, should not call into question the legitimacy of businesses that use the Internet to provide new ways for consumers to store, hear, and view their own lawfully acquired copies of copyrighted works.”
The high court agreed in January to hear the case, and briefs from the broadcasters were due on February 24 and today. Aereo must submit its response to the petitioner’s brief by March 26 and send in an amicus curiae brief of its own by April 2.
Here we are again after the Golden Globes, Mike Fleming and Anita Busch taking on the task of play by play during the most wide-open Oscar race we can remember. Even on the party circuit, industry insiders who usually have a grasp of who’ll walk away with Oscars were evenly torn between Alfonso Cuaron’s 3D masterpiece Gravity and Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave. Then again, there were so many terrific films that got Best Picture nominations, and all of them have at least a puncher’s chance at an upset.
That includes American Hustle, where David O Russell co-wrote the Best Original Script nominee with Eric Warren Singer and got tour de force performances and nominations for Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. Perfs so strong there was no room on the nomination roster for perennial Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner. The film is up for 10 awards, and has grossed over $240 million on a $40 million budget.
Then there is The Wolf Of Wall Street, with Leonardo DiCaprio giving the most emphatic and complete performance of a great career, and Jonah Hill right there with him as his crazy con man sidekick. The film is up for five nominations, including Martin Scorsese for directing a terrific adaptation from The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire vet Terence Winter.
The robocalls and emails apparently did the trick. Academy CEO Dawn Hudson reports the 86th Oscar contest is responsible for another significant high mark in the Academy’s efforts to turn out the vote.”As we head toward Oscar Sunday, I am thrilled to report how engaged our members have been this voting season. Your efforts resulted in another record turnout. And we are so happy to see that members have embraced our online voting system, and are voting from all over the world easily and securely. Thank you for participating in this historic year – when all members were able to vote in all categories – and for honoring the brilliant artists in our community,” she wrote in an internal Friday memo. The Academy doesn’t reveal actual numbers but I was told by reliable sources that the turnout for the nominating phase was over 90%, and with a huge last-minute surge (and that effort to get members engaged in the process) the total for the final voting phase which ended last Tuesday may have exceeded that number. But what does it all mean? It’s been said before, but I will say it again, this is one of the tightest and most unpredictable Best Picture races I can remember and I am not sure what the massive turnout of the Acad’s 6028 eligible voters says other than there was obviously a lot of interest within Oscar’s ranks. I have talked to numerous members over the past few days at various Oscar-related events, and while the results vary, it is clear this has all finally turned into a real seesaw race between 12 Years A Slave and Gravity. It appears to be a divide so sharp between those two that Sony’s American Hustle has a fighting chance to be the real beneficiary in what has been widely acknowledged the past few weeks to be a three-way contest.
Reporters Who Cover Politics today pored over thousands of formerly withheld documents from the Clinton White House released from the National Archives. With Hillary Clinton already an official presumed presidential candidate in 2016, as NBC and CNN learned the hard way, the reporters are keeping a sharp eye out for anything Hillary-related — including a 1995 suggestion by her then-press secretary that the First Lady guest star on an episode of ABC’s Home Improvement, found by New York magazine:
Little did they know that another First Lady would make a sitcom appearance less than 20 years later.
NBC‘s Today show has tried to hang on to its Sochi ratings bump with a week-long Love Your Selfie campaign that this morning included a First Daughter to First Lady talk about childhood obesity. Its second week of Sochi broadcasts during Olympic competition, Today scored 5.844 million viewers, which was down 6% from the previous week’s 6.134 million viewers. Today logged 2.310 million news-demo viewers, slipping 8% from previous 2.506 million. Today outperformed ABC’s Good Morning America, which logged 5.590 million viewers overall last week, and 2.174 million in the demo. Today’s advantage over GMA in total viewers grew by 54% week-to-week, though its demo advantage slipped 16%. Watch Today‘s former First Daughter correspondent Jenna Bush Hager interview First Lady Michelle Obama:
The Peacock network’s tie-ins with the Obama administration continue. NBC said today that Michelle Obama will do a cameo on the season finale of Parks And Recreation. Her scene in the episode titled “Moving Up” celebrates healthier out-of-school programs as part of her “Let’s Move” initiative against childhood obesity. The First Lady’s appearance continues a recent trend of NBC team-ups with D.C. heavyweights. She helped goose the ratings for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last week in a sleepover skit with the host and Will Ferrell. And earlier this week Vice President Joe Biden was the second guest on Seth Meyers’ first night hosting Late Night; the Veep followed Parks And Rec star Amy Poehler, whose character famously idolizes Biden. (He also did a cameo on the sitcom that aired shortly after the 2012 elections.) And on February 14, Community star Joel McHale was tapped as host of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in May. Then there was pre-pinkeye Bob Costas’ pre-Olympics interview with President Obama on February 6. Michelle Obama’s Parks And Rec episode airs April 24.
Seth MacFarlane’s passion project will get an unprecedented global launch next month, but first it has a date in D.C. Fox and National Geographic Channel said today they will screen a preview of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey on Friday as part of the inaugural White House Film Festival. Writer-director-exec producer Ann Druyan will introduce the screening. The 13-part series, a sequel to Carl Sagan’s influential Cosmos: A Personal Voyage (1980), premieres March 9 on multiple Fox Network Group outlets then continues on subsequent Sundays on Fox on with expanded editions Mondays on Nat Geo. In other White House film fest news, the American Film Institute said today it will collaborate on the event, which screens winning short films created by K-12 students. President Obama will deliver the opening remarks Friday to a crowd of more than 100 students, teachers and parents in the East Room.
President Obama has just named HBO programming president Michael Lombardo an appointee for General Trustee, Board of Trustees at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, an administration post. Lombardo, who has been at HBO since 1983, has been a regular fixture on Obama’s fundraiser trips to LA for both his 2012 re-election and to stump for funds for the Democratic Party. In 2012, Lombardo and partner Sonny Ward held an Obama fundraiser at their home, and among his efforts last year he lunched with the president at a DNC event at Peter Chernin’s home, where tickets went for $10,000-$32,400. Lombardo already serves on the boards of The Paley Center, The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation, Film Independent, and Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. Last month he was appointed to the TV Academy’s executive committee.