Fox Cable Networks Group VP Standards and Practices Darlene Lieblich Tipton has been fired for using her company email address to organize a fundraising campaign to benefit relatives of passengers on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which went missing last month. “The conduct and communications at issue were not authorized by Fox and were in violation of company policy,” a spokesman said in a statement. “As soon as we became aware we took appropriate steps and, while we cannot discuss the particulars, we can tell you the employee is no longer with the company.” Tipton had been at Fox for 24 years, 11 at Fox Broadcasting and 13 at Fox cable.
Veteran Fox TV Executive Fired Over Fundraising Campaign For Relatives Of Missing Malaysia Plane Passengers
Tired of CNN’s relentless breaking news alerts? Well, what if the news network got in the pregnancy test business? Instead of receiving numerous updates about the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, a woman can now rely on CNN as it routinely informs her that it’s still determining her pregnancy. Take a look at the SNL parody:
It is very difficult for showrunners to wrap production on a season without knowing if their series would get another season. Unfortunately, that is the nature of the network business, and about two dozen shows go though that every year. Here is a look at each network’s comedy and drama series in peril and their odds for survival.
With all the drama carnage at ABC this season (Lucky 7, Betrayal, Killer Women, Mind Games, The Assets), the network is pretty lean on the hourlong side, and all shows currently on the air have a good shot at coming back. That includes two freshman series, fall drama Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., despite slipping in the ratings, and midseason entry Resurrection. Of returning dramas, there is no doubt about renewals for Shonda Rhimes’ Grey’s Anatomy, especially with stars Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey signed on, and Scandal, as well as Castle and Once Upon A Time. While it was heavily on the bubble last season, country music drama Nashville appears in a stronger position this spring and looks likely to continue. And, despite its ratings erosion, Revenge remains a signature, upscale drama for ABC that the network also owns. Because of its heavy mythology with a revenge storyline that has been central to the show since the pilot, it is unlikely that ABC would abruptly end the series without giving it a final chapter to wrap things up.
Things are far murkier on the comedy side where there are three shoe-ins, anchors Modern Family and The Middle and freshman The Goldbergs. None of these hail from ABC’s sister studio, and building a steady comedy pipeline at ABC Studios has been important for the overall health of the company. There are three ABC Studios-produced comedy series on ABC at the moment, all on the bubble: freshmen Trophy Wife and Mixology and sophomore The Neighbors. The network will likely renew at least one comedy from its own studio. (Last year, it picked The Neighbors vs. 20th TV’s How To Live With Your Parents.) Of the three, Trophy Wife seems to have the biggest support and is the most promotable, with a star cast led by Malin Akerman and Bradley Whitford. But the name cast also makes Trophy Wife the most expensive, and its ratings are pretty soft. The Neighbors, which comes from prominent Disney writer Dan Fogelman, costs way less, and, while only doing so-so on Fridays, it could deliver something ABC Studios has not seen in a while: a third-year comedy. (Fogelman also has comedy pilot Galavant in the running at ABC.) Then there is Mixology, which has not done well behind Modern Family. It stands out with its unusual structure — set in a bar over the course of one night — it has quickly built a core fan base and has supporters at ABC. But relaunching a heavily serialized comedy in the fall four months after a brief midseason run would be a challenge and growing ratings for such a show with a continues storyline would be very difficult. ABC has a recent history of sticking with narrow, quirky relationship comedies like Happy Endings and Don’t Trust the B—- but all were eventually cancelled. 20th TV’s Last Man Standing starring Tim Allen is quietly wrapping its third season. It has done a decent job as a Friday 8 PM anchor and is ABC’s only multi-camera series. With several high-proile multi-camera pilots, the network could use Last Man Standing as a building block. (How about Allen paired with another comedy vet, Henry Winkler of The Winklers?).
Third in a series.
Stunt drivers have helmets, roll bars, air bags and five-point safety harnesses to help keep them safe. All that a cameraman has between him and an oncoming speeding stunt car is his camera. It’s why so many cameramen and their assistants have gotten killed on film and TV productions: they’re right on top of the action — and sometimes killed beneath it. The loss of 27-year-old camera assistant Sarah Jones on the set of Midnight Rider is yet another tragic death. Her passing has shined a light on set safety. It is particularly dangerous for cameramen and their assistants. In the last 10 years, more than four times as many camera department personnel have been killed making movies and TV shows than stunt performers. By comparison, two stuntmen – Kun Liu on The Expendables 2 and Lu Yanqing on John Woo’s Red Cliff – have been killed in the last 10 years, and none in America. (Also critically injured on The Expendables 2 was Nuo Sun.) Lu was only 23 years old. The following year, Kun’s family filed a wrongful death suit against Nu Image and Millennium Films, and stunt coordinator Chad Stahelski.
Here is a list of some of those cameramen and stuntmen who have perished while working in the industry:
February 24, 2013
Canadian cameraman John Driftmier and his pilot were killed when their small plane crashed on a location shoot in Kenya for the Discovery Canada channel’s Dangerous Flights, a series that documents the hazardous work of ferry pilots who deliver small, private planes to customers around the world. He was the second Canadian cameraman to die in two years while filming reality TV shows. Driftmier’s brother, journalist Peter Driftmier, maintains that a pervasive “culture of fear” in the Canadian reality TV industry is putting lives at risk. “The fact of the matter is that the hardworking people who create Canada’s factual TV productions are not being supported to make their workdays as safe as possible,” he said. “In fact, there is a widespread culture of fear in the industry that is steering people away from speaking up to improve safety on the job.” His brother’s death, he says, “has helped prompt many in the industry to become more conscious of their own safety, and to speak out.”
February 10, 2013
Cameraman Darren Rydstrom, 46, and two others were killed in northern Los Angeles County when their helicopter crashed while filming of an untitled military-themed reality show for the Discovery Channel. Friends and family members recall that even as a kid, Rydstrom always had a camera in his hands. “He was the biggest pain in the neck because he had his eye in a lens all the time,” his mother, Jeri Rydstrom, told a reporter at his hometown paper, the Rapid City (S.D.) Journal. One of his last phone calls, made just a few hours before his death, was to wish her a happy birthday. He told her that her birthday gift was a private golf lesson, and that he’d see her soon and take her golfing. “And then the sheriff was at my door,” she said.
The streaming service has put together a decidedly international cast for its upcoming drama about the legendary 13th century traveler. Italian actor Lorenzo Richelmy stars as the title character in Marco Polo, which has begun filming in Venice before moving on to Kazakhstan and the new Pinewood Studios in Malaysia. Richelmy starred in the Italian dramedy Terra e vento and has appeared in other films including Fat Cat and Terzo tempo. The cast also includes England’s Benedict Wong (Prometheus), China’s Zhu Zhu (Cloud Atlas), Hong Kong-born and London-raised Tom Wu (Skyfall), Aussie Remy Hii (Treading Water) and Washington, D.C. native Rick Yune (Olympus Has Fallen). Creator John Fusco and Harvey Weinstein are executive producing the Weinstein Co. drama, which received a 10-episode straight-to-series order in January. Kon-Tiki helmers Joachim Ronning & Espen Sandberg are directing the first two episodes. Dan Minahan is exec producing and also directing two episodes. The series is set in China during the 1200s — a world replete with astonishing martial arts, sexual intrigue, political skullduggery and spectacular battles. Netflix plans to debut Marco Polo late this year.
Syfy is entering the hot zombie genre with Z Nation, a 13-episode series from Asylum, the company behind the network’s hit schlocky horror franchise Sharknado. Executive produced/showrun by Karl Schaefer (Eureka), Z Nation is set three years after the zombie virus has gutted the country, and a team of everyday heroes must transport the only known survivor of the plague from New York to California, where the last functioning viral lab waits for his blood. Although the antibodies he carries are the world’s last, best hope for a vaccine, he hides a dark secret that threatens them all. With humankind’s survival at stake, the ragtag band embarks on a journey of survival across three thousand miles of rusted-out post-apocalyptic America. “Z Nation is a unique new journey into the long established zombie genre,” said Syfy SVP Chris Regina. “Instead of existential despair, the series offers hope that somehow, some way, humanity will not only survive, but triumph.” Added Schaefer, “Our everyday heroes take the fight to the zombies.” Z Nation, set to premiere this fall, will be produced by Asylum, in its debut doing a regular series, and sold internationally by Dynamic Television. Schaefer is repped by APA and Myman Greenspan Fineman Fox & Light LLP.
UPDATE: Intl Box Office: ‘The Winter Soldier’ Plants $39.2M Flag In China, Crosses $200M Overseas; Disney Passes $1B Global; ‘Rio 2′ Flies To $55.4M; ‘Noah’ Sails Past $100M; ‘Divergent’ Cumes $22.4M; More
Highlights: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (DIS) bests Iron Man 3 China bow with $39.2M; Frozen (DIS) ices competition in Japan with $75.1M total, studio passes $1B in global box office; Rio 2 (FOX) lifts to $55.5M cume on extra $22.2M; Noah (PAR) builds to $106.2M; Divergent (LGF/SUM/var) adds $10.9M in 44 markets; Spanish Affairs (UNI) is Spain’s top local-lingo pic ever…
3RD UPDATE, SUNDAY 3 PM PT: Led by Captain America: The Winter Soldier, this weekend was a big 34% boost on the same frame last year when G.I. Joe: Retaliation, The Croods and Chinese romantic comedy Finding Mr Right were the top three earners. This frame also repped a 19% jump on last weekend. There are no major new wide releases set for next week, although Divergent will continue its overseas rollout hitting Germany, Russia, France and Australia, while Rio 2 takes flight not only in the U.S., but notably lands in China, France and Mexico.
2ND UPDATE, SUNDAY 12:46 PM PT: Concurrent with its massive domestic opening (see Anita Busch’s box office report here), Captain America: The Winter Soldier continued its huge international run, and, with the help of Frozen, pushed Disney past the $1B global box office threshold. The estimated 2014 cume to date for the studio is $1,211M. Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, The Winter Soldier added a massive $107.1M this weekend overseas for an international cume to …
Discovery Channel touted its 2014-15 season slate to advertisers this morning at its upfront presentation, including Motor Mondays and the previously oredered The West with exec producer Robert Redford. The highlights of Discovery Channel’s 2014-2015 slate, unveiled ahead of its upfront presentation today, includes the following:
Fox News Pre-Empts ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ For Fort Hood Shooting Coverage; CNN Breaks From Malaysian Airlines Marathon
Fox News Channel tonight took the unusual step of pre-empting The O’Reilly Factor to continue covering the shooting at Fort Hood. It marked the first time since the network unveiled the Fox News Deck in October that Shep Smith and his Deck took over the entire 8 PM hour for the breaking news in the network’s heavily watched 8 PM ET time slot. In the early days of CNN’s coverage of missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, CNN’s Anderson Cooper had beat Bill O’Reilly in the news demo more than once. When the ratings tonight are issued by Nielsen it will determine whether this programming move thwarted another timeslot win in the news demo by CNN, which tends to score bigger than usual ratings when major, catastrophic news breaks.
INTL BOX OFFICE UPDATE: ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Captures $75.2M; ‘Noah’ Swells To $51.5M Cume; ‘Rio 2′ Breaks Brazil Records; ‘Lego’ Passes $400M; More
Highlights: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (DIS) No. 1 with $75.2M in 32 markets; Noah (PAR) adds $33.6M for $51.5M overseas cume; Rio 2 (FOX) tops Brazil charts with $7.6M bow; The Lego Movie (WB) builds to $400.5M; 300: Rise Of An Empire (WB) crosses $200M; Frozen (DIS) becomes all-time global animated champ; Spanish Affairs (UNI) hot, hot, hot at home with +15% jump
5TH UPDATE, 2:10 PM PT: Updated grosses are in now for the following films: The Grand Budapest Hotel, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Spanish Affairs, Rio 2, Monuments Men, The Lego Movie and 300: Rise of an Empire, among others.
4TH UPDATE, SUNDAY 5:38 PM PT: This weekend saw a big 47% rise across the Top 10 movies over last week’s frame, although it was still off 22% from last year. At the same time in 2013, G.I. Joe; Retaliation debuted with just over $80M in 54 markets; Captain America: The Winter Soldier‘s $75.2M take this weekend came from just 32 markets. The Croods and Jack The Giant Slayer were also big players overseas in 2013. Rounding out the Top 5 after Captain America 2, this weekend’s big draws were Noah, Mr Peabody & Sherman, Rio 2 and Need For Speed. Next week, Divergent adds the UK, Italy and Mexico, among others. It’s already playing in about 18 smaller markets outside the U.S., but numbers are being kept close to the vest by Lionsgate until the bigger bows. Other titles already on release in some parts are adding significant markets including Captain America 2, which goes to Russia, Australia and China, among others; Noah, which docks in about 24 territories including Germany, Brazil, the UK and Spain; and Rio 2, which hits the UK, Germany, Spain, Taiwan and elsewhere. Until then, this weekend’s box office is broken down in key territories below the original posts.
Megyn Kelly has landed a sit-down with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — his first cable news network interview since his January press conference on the George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal. Kelly’s Fox News Channel interview — a cable news exclusive — will be presented on The Kelly File in two parts, tomorrow and Monday. The interview will take place at the governor’s Trenton office; he also is expected to be asked about his 2016 presidential aspirations and the other members of the GOP field.
ABC News’ Diane Sawyer sat down with Christie and his wife Mary Pat today at their home in New Jersey — his first television interview since that marathon January news conference. The interview airs tonight on World News and all ABC News platforms.
UPDATE, 1:40 PM: We spoke too soon. TV news types blasted MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow after he tweeted/touted this morning that he had exclusive footage of the girlfriend of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 passenger Philip Wood when she received news from Malaysia Airlines that it believed the plane went down in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Australia and that there were no survivors.
Farrow tweeted by way of promoting his MSNBC program that is telecast at 1 PM. His tweet was deleted when outrage ensued, and sniffed at his earlier self in a subsequent tweet:
UPDATE, 9:50 AM: I knew this was going to be a tough sell. Arclight Films has put production of Deep Water on hold because of its eerie similarities to the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Arclight Managing Director Gary Hamilton gave the following statement to THR at the Asian Industry tradeshow Filmart in Hong Kong: “Out of sensitivity to the Malaysia flight situation, we’ve decided to put it on pause for now”.
PREVIOUS, MARCH 21 PM: Given the worldwide concern over what happened to the hundreds of passengers on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 after it vanished over water en route to Beijing, what a lousy time to be developing a project likeDeep Water. This is an Australian film that revolves around a flight from Beijing to Sydney that crashes in the Pacific and pits an air marshal and a small group of survivors against giant tiger sharks. The picture was in the works before the air disaster, with Screen Australia financing development of a co-production between Australia and China. Arclight Films is producing, and Alister Grierson is attached to direct. He helmed Sanctum 3D for Fox and producer James Cameron. They just hired Australian scribe Terrance Mulloy to write the script. Maybe by the time this sees the light of day, the tragedy will have faded in memory, but it seems like a tough assignment right now.
Related: Malaysia Airlines News Coverage Mania …
FNC Hangs On To Ratings Lead But CNN’s Bill Weir Tops His Timeslot, While NBC’s Chuck Todd Joins CNN Critics As Missing Plane Coverage Continues
As the Mystery of Missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 mystery dragged on, Fox News Channel continued its hold on primetime Thursday in the news demo (391,000) with CNN a competitive No. 2 (321,000) followed, not closely, by MSNBC (166,000) and HLN (128,000). Piers Morgan Live, hosted by possible Morgan replacement Bill Weir (373,000), was the only CNN program to best FNC — Megyn Kelly (353,000) in the demo. But CNN took a tumble at 10 PM when the network switched from missing-plane coverage to docu-series Chicagoland (172,000). FNC’s Hannity clobbered it (331,000). Earlier in the evening, CNN’s Erin Burnett (347,000) came within 9,000 demo viewers of FNC’s Greta Van Susteren (356,000), after which FNC’s Bill O’Reilly (486,000) widened the lead, over CNN’s Anderson Cooper (420,000).
IFC has unveiled a slate of new and returning comedy projects, along with projects in development, ahead of its upfront tonight in New York. New programming for 2015 includes American Documentary (working title), a docu-parody created by Saturday Night Live vets Fred Armisen, Bill Hader and Seth Meyers; and American Storage (working title), a scripted half-hour comedy starring Rob Huebel (Childrens Hospital, Human Giant). IFC is also collaborating with CollegeHumor on the first-ever Comedy Music Awards, a satire of traditional awards shows incorporating the best of the comedy and music worlds. Returning for an expanded fourth season is Comedy Bang! Bang! hosted by Scott Aukerman (Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis), and a sophomore season of its original sketch comedy The Birthday Boys, executive produced by Bob Odenkirk (Breaking Bad) and Ben Stiller, featuring the LA comedy troupe of the same name. IFC is also currently developing Westside from Joel McHale (Community), and The Bank from Teri Weinberg (Ugly Betty). The slate comes out a week after Pete Aronson was tapped as IFC’s new head of original programming. Here is the full list:
Today co-host Willie Geist will host Discovery Channel‘s Everest Live Jump, the two-hour telecast in which climber Joby Ogwyn will attempt the first wing-suit flight off the summit of Mt. Everest. That’s because the telecast is being produced by NBC News’ Peacock Productions. Interestingly, Geist will also be joined by The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore, who will serve as chief meteorologist and track Everest’s unpredictable weather conditions, while Chris Jacobs and Kyle Martino give live updates. The Weather Channel’s Sam Champion could use the exposure — the launch of his morning program AMHQ has produced ratings lower than that network’s prior four-week average in the time period. Discovery says the Mt. Everest jump will be telecast live in May.