Gary Dourdan Books Roles In ‘Being Mary Jane’ & ‘Glee’; Sammi Hanratty Set To Recur on ‘Salem’

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 9:14pm PDT

Gary DourdanGary Dourdan has been cast in a recurring role on BET’s Being Mary Jane and a guest starring gig on Fox’s Glee. On Being Mary Jane, which stars Gabrielle Union as a successful TV news anchor, he’ll play Sheldon Armstrong, a smoothly charming and casually handsome retired civil trial attorney who made a fortune suing corrupt corporations. He’s coming out of retirement to pursue his charitable outreach. He’s famous for never having given an interview in his life — but when Mary Jane (Union) sets out to interview him, he is quite taken with her and just might change his mind. On Glee, Dourdan plays D’Shon, Mercedes’ (Amber Riley) record producer. Dourdan, whose credits include CSI and Mistresses, is repped by Prestige Talent Agency and managed by ATA.

Sammi HanrattySammi Hanratty has booked a recurring role on WGN America’s Salem. She’ll play Dottie, a leader among her peers whom Mercy (Elise Eberle) knows a little from school. She’s a confident young girl who brings her classmates over to talk with Mercy. She’s in awe of Mercy’s power and wants her to put it to particular use. Repped by Paradigm and Zero Gravity Management, Hanratty’s credits include Chosen, The Unit and Pushing Daisies.

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UPDATE: Warner Bros Taps Former Clinton Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers As Communications Chief; Sue Fleishman Exiting

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 10:41am PDT

UPDATED WITH COMMENTS FROM MYERS AND FLEISHMAN: DeeDeeMyersWarner Bros has hired former White House Press Secretary and longtime political strategist/analyst Dee Dee Myers as EVP Worldwide Corporate Communications and Public Affairs replacing nine-year veteran Sue Fleishman. The move comes after Fleishman had to negotiate through a very rocky transition at the studio through several shakeups in 2013. That included the ascension of new Warner Bros Entertainment CEO Kevin Tsujihara and the exits of the other two WB biggies angling for that gig — Warner Bros TV boss Bruce Rosenblum last May and Warner Brothers Pictures Group President Jeff Robinov the next month.

warnerbros_logoMyers is coming into a studio rocked by these exits. And although Warner Bros is still reaping the benefits of the pictures greenlit by Robinov — Gravity, The Lego Movie, 300: Rise Of An Empire, and others — it is being led by a studio chairman who has been in the job only a year and is seen as still trying to get his footing. The question is what will happen once the studio blows through all the projects set in motion by Robinov and what characteristic mark will Tsujihara make during his tenure? Fleishman was seen as Barry Meyer’s guy, which is kind of interesting because so was Tsujihara so go figure. Fresh blood now.

Warner Bros. has had a terrific run at the box office from those aforementioned films and is a force to be reckoned with TV powerhouse with such properties as The Big Bang Theory, The Voice, Two and Half Men, The Following, to name a few. They are also partnered with CBS in the CW Network where they produce Arrow, The Vampire Diaries, Shameless, and syndicated hit The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Myers is a smart, aggressive woman who is not afraid to speak up. In fact, she wrote a book Why Women Should Rule The World about how things might be better worldwide if more women were in leadership roles. Her husband has long worked as a journalist (at the New York Times and Politico) and is currently the national editor and political correspondent at Vanity Fair (where Myers also wrote). DeeDeeMyersClintonOriginally from Los Angeles, she worked for many years with former Mayor Tom Bradley and other politicians before heading to Washington, working with Walter Mondale’s campaign, Michael Dukakis, Dianne Feinstein, and then, of course, with President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton as the White House press secretary for the first two years of the administration. She was the first female press secretary and one of the youngest to hold the job.

She is certainly not the first political press secretary/strategist to make the move to Hollywood. Years ago, Anna Perez, Barbara Bush’s press secretary, was hired at CAA. Zenia Mucha, currently EVP and chief communications officer at Disney, worked  for Sen. Alfonse D’Amato and NY Gov. George Pataki. And Kori Bernards at Universal Pictures previously worked at the MPAA and in D.C. for 13 years with then-Minority Leader Richard Gephardt and Nancy Pelosi (now House Minority Leader). “There is a fair number of people who go back and forth,” said Myers. “There’s an affinity between politics and entertainment but that being said, it’s very different and there will be a transition for me.” Read More »

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Pivot Picks Up Sky Series ‘Fortitude’, Sets Development Slate, Revamps ‘TakePart Live’

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 9:02am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

pivotParticipant Media‘s network Pivot today announced the pickup of Sky Atlantic’s 12-episode drama series Fortitude starring Stanley Tucci and Michael Gambon. The series became available in the U.S. in December when Starz, which originally had committed to the project, pulled out. Pivot is designed as a younger skewing network than Starz, with its target demo being 18-34. As part of its upfront presentation, Pivot also announced an overhaul of its nightly topical series, TakePart Live. Beginning Monday, May 12, the hour-long late-night program will move to primetime (10 PM) with a new producer, Michael Davies’ Embassy Row, which is behind Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live and AMC’s Talking Dead/Bad. Also undergoing makeover is the hosting team of Jacob Soboroff and Cara Santa Maria, with only Soboroff coming back, joined by Sen. John McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain and comedian Eddie Huang.

Pivot also unveiled a development slate that includes eleven projects from production companies including IAC’s Electus, Universal Cable Prods., FremantleMedia North America/Pukeko Pictures, Funny or Die, and Eyeworks, and revealed premiere 2014-15 dates, including an August 8 debut for the sophomore season of coming-of-age comedy, Please Like Me, and the comedy Human Resources. “Our second slate demonstrates our significant investment in, and commitment to, groundbreaking content for the thought-leading segment of Generation Y we call ‘Upstanders,’” said Pivot president Evan Shapiro. Here is Pivot’s full slate: Read More »

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More National Geographic Shakeup: David Lyle Exits, Courteney Monroe Upped To CEO, David Hill Named Chairman

By | Tuesday April 15, 2014 @ 7:06am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

hillmonroeGary E. Knell, President and CEO of the National Geographic Society, and Peter Rice, Chairman and CEO of Fox Networks Group, today completed the sweeping changes at the top of the National Geographic Channels that started yesterday with the announcement that the channels’ president Howard Owens will be leaving in June. “Today, the worst kept secret is over — I am taking my leave as CEO of National Geographic Channels,” David Lyle, who had served as National Geographic Channels CEO since 2011, wrote in an internal memo (read it in full below the post.). “I am exhilarated but somewhat saddened also.” Lyle will be replaced by a marketing executive, Courteney Monroe, who has served as Chief Marketing Officer for National Geographic Channels’ domestic networks since 2012 and is now beingnatgeo upped to CEO. She will report to the Board of Directors of the National Geographic Channels. Additionally, David Hill, Senior EVP of 21st Century Fox and a member of the National Geographic Channels Board of Directors, will now add the title of Chairman of National Geographic Channels U.S. His role is described as “providing counsel to the executive and programming leadership team.” Coming from marketing, Monroe has no production experience. Hill, who had an oversight of NGC prior to Lyle’s 2011 hire, will remain a member of the NGC Board and also continue to oversee production of American Idol.

The moves continue to expand the domain of Hill, who is one of Rupert Murdoch’s trusted lieutenants. In 2012, the long-time chairman and CEO of Fox Sports was elevated to senior EVP for News Corp. Then last summer, following the departure of Fox alternative chief Mike Darnell, he was put in charge of the network’s The X Factor and American Idol. Since then, X Factor has been cancelled while American Idol is finishing up its lowest-rated season. Meanwhile, the National Geographic Channels have done very well under Lyle and Owens. “I’m exhilarated that NGC and NG WILD are in rude health with EBITDAs (profits) at all-time highs, and with programming featuring the most watched specials, series and year in the channels’ history,” Lyle wrote in his memo. That makes the executive housecleaning puzzling. It follows speculation about a discord between Hill and NGC’s leadership team of Lyle and Owens who turned the network around in the past three years. When Hill gave up direct oversight of NGC in 2011, the move was explained with a clash of cultures between him and the team at National Geographic.
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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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Leslie Moonves Talks New ‘Late Show’ Host Deal, Says Program “More Than Likely” Will Stay On East Coast: Video

By | Friday April 11, 2014 @ 7:42am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

late-show-with-colbert-logo_While watching the Final Four in the NCAA championship in Dallas last weekend, CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves was on the phone working on Stephen Colbert‘s deal to succeed David Letterman as Late Show host. That’s how quickly CBS brass settled on Colbert as a replacement after Letterman announced his retirement last Thursday. “There were other good candidates but he stood out, we knew he would be the greatest replacement for David we could ever get,” Moonves told CBS’ The Early Show this morning (see the clip below). ”And when I called Dave to ask for his blessing he said exactly the same thing. He said I can’t think of anybody even a close second.” Moonves also revealed Colbert’s reaction to the news he had been chosen for the job. “He kept thanking me for this opportunity and telling me he wouldn’t let me down.”

Related: Leslie Moonves Takes ‘Late Show With Stephen Colbert’ Victory Lap

Moonves indicated the transition — he called it “once-in-a-generation change” –  will likely happen after the end of next season, saying that Letterman will stay on for “at least another year.” As for where the show will be based, Moonves noted that Colbert is a New Yorker, so “it is more than likely it will be on the East Coast.” The network has been the subject of Read More »

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UPDATE: Jon Stewart Kvells Over Stephen Colbert’s Move To CBS (Video)

stephen-colbert-and-jon-stewartUPDATED WITH VIDEO: “As you can imagine, it’s been a wild day around here. You may remember a few years back there was a gentleman on this program by the name of Stephen Colbert,” Jon Stewart said tonight at the top of his Comedy Central program The Daily Show, addressing CBS‘ hire of Colbert to replace David Letterman on Late Show. (Video below)

Wild cheering from the studio audience.

Related: Moonves Takes A ‘Late Show With Stephen Colbert’ Victory Lap

“He was yea high, skin like porcelain, very talented actor, writer, dancer, improvisational comedian. We would send him to the field, usually with some type of fruit, and see where the day took us.”

Dailyshow_logo__120924052923-200x94Stewart showed viewers a video from Colbert’s early days on The Daily Show in which the two men laugh uncontrollably while Colbert eats a banana.

Related: CBS’ Late-Night Drama Not Over Yet

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Can Stephen Colbert Compete With The Jimmys In Late-Night Social Media Wars?

By | Thursday April 10, 2014 @ 6:39pm PDT

late-show-with-colbert-logo_In all today’s news about The Colbert Report host taking over as host of Late Show sits one question David Letterman never really tried to answer: How will Stephen Colbert use social media to lock in a young, eagerly sought TV audience that isn’t much interested in mainstream entertainment?

Related: CBS’ Late-Night Drama Not Over Yet

The social-media crews behind late-night competitors Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel have been flooding online audiences with viral YouTube videos and nifty posts on Twitter and Facebook, each trying to grab audience attention that will translate to TV ratings. Now, the team behind The Colbert Report, itself a social-media power, will attempt to transition its audience to broadcast TV and Late Show. Deadline reached out to our pals at RelishMIX, who analyze social-media engagement for TV shows and films, for a quick look at who’s doing what right now on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The verdict? Colbert is already in good shape on Facebook and Twitter, if he can transition his fan base, but he has a lot of work to do on YouTube, where The Jimmys rule by a massive margin. ”With the Fallon/Kimmel battle on YouTube, we’ll see how Colbert builds his team to compete,” said RelishMIX CEO Marc Karzen. “Is CBS betting that Colbert’s 13 million [social media] fans will move over with him? Stay tuned.”

Related: Moonves Takes A ‘Late Show With Stephen Colbert’ Victory Lap

Here are the breakdowns by platform of followers for all the late-night contenders, according to RelishMIX. Remember that RelishMIX measures not just the official feeds from each show but also those of each show’s stars and other principals and, importantly, the “superfans” on each platform who are not directly connected to the show but are busily sharing and posting in support of the core brand. It’s designed to capture all the social-media connections being made around a show, not just the official stuff.

Twitter

Colbert’s show is fourth overall here, even after ceremonially (and quite amusingly) blowing up his @ColbertReport Twitter feed last week. The stunt was a clever bit of social-media jujitsu, done live in the presence of a Twitter executive after some activists perceived a tweet from the show to be racially insensitive. Colbert will need to be even lighter on his feet with Twitter under the glare of broadcast TV attention. As it is, though, Colbert already is leading Kimmel’s show by 2 million followers, or a whopping 42 percent.

RelishMIX-ColbertTWITTER

 

 

Related: Stephen Colbert Reacts To ‘Late Show’ Hire

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UPDATE: Stephen Colbert Named CBS’ New ‘Late Show’ Host

steven colbertUPDATED WITH NEW DETAILS: A week after David Letterman announced his retirement, CBS has named his successor. Stephen Colbert has inked a five-year deal to take over Late Show, a move that is effective as soon as Letterman officially steps aside from the late-night show he has headlined since its launch on CBS in 1993. CBS will own Late Show With Stephen Colbert, unlike Late Show With David Letterman, which is owned by Letterman’s Worldwide Pants. CBS Corp Chairman Leslie Moonves said no dates have been set and reiterated that Letterman’s last day is the host’s to choose. Colbert is host of Comedy Central‘s faux-news show The Colbert Report, which airs in the east at the same time as Late Show, 11:30 PM. Colbert had been on the radar of top CBS brass for awhile and was Moonves’s top choice. Colbert too had had an eye on the job for a long time, synching up his Comedy Central contracts withlate show with david letterman logo Letterman’s. His current one is coming up at the end of this year, making him available for the Late Show host transition, slated for sometime in 2015. “Stephen Colbert is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television,” said Moonves in today’s announcement. “David Letterman’s legacy and accomplishments are an incredible source of pride for all of us here, and today’s announcement speaks to our commitment of upholding what he established for CBS in late night.”

Related:
CBS Corp. Boss Leslie Moonves Takes A ‘Late Show With Stephen Colbert’ Victory Lap
CBS’ Late-Night Drama Not Over Despite Practically Perfect Stephen Colbert Hire
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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Media Stocks Hit As NASDAQ Suffers Biggest One-Day Drop Since 2011

By | Thursday April 10, 2014 @ 4:45pm EDT

stock arrow downThe tech-heavy exchange fell 3.1% today to a two-month low as investors, fearful that the bull market for Internet and biotech companies has run its course, continued to shift their cash into more conservative investments. On NASDAQ’s worst day since 2011, the Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 2.1% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 1.6%. Media stocks also felt the chill: The Dow Jones U.S. Media Index fell 2.8%. All of the major companies we track lost ground. CBS (-3.8%) was hardest hit in Big Media followed by Time Warner (-3.7%), Disney (-3.7%), Sony (-3.6%), Viacom (-3.6%), Comcast (-2.8%), News Corp (-2.2%), Fox (-2.1%), and Discovery (-1.7%). In the rest of the sector companies licking their wounds include Pandora (-10.5%), WWE (-7.2%), Facebook (-5.2%), Netflix (-5.2%), Lionsgate (-4.8%), and RealD (-4.6%)

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‘Charlie Sheen’s Bad Influence’ Pilot Part Of WE TV’s 2014-15 Slate

By | Thursday April 10, 2014 @ 9:27am PDT

We_tv_logo_2011 (1)WE tv‘s slate of unscripted original programming for 2014-2015 includes a one-hour pilot of Charlie Sheen’s Bad Influence, a relationship-based competition show in which Sheen puts engaged couples to the ultimate test by challenging how well they think they know their intended. "Scary Movie V" - Los Angeles PremiereThe pilot is currently in production in Los Angeles and was announced today during WEtv’s upfront presentation. The network also greenlighted the new series Match Made In Heaven, Mystery Millionaire and David Tutera’s CELEBrations and renewed the popular shows Kendra On Top, Marriage Boot Camp and the Braxton Family Values spinoff Tamar & Vince. In addition to the network’s growing unscripted efforts, WE tv will debut its first original scripted series, The Divide, this July. The network previously announced the fourth season of Braxton Family Values, second season of SWV Reunited, and the new series Love Thy Sister debuting this summer. Here’s a complete description of its slate: Read More »

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Rupert Murdoch Talks About Succession, Politics, And His Greatest “Screwup”: Fortune

murdoch-rupertRupert Murdoch is all over Twitter. (“My family are horrified that I’m on it,” he says.) But in agreeing to sit down for a broad interview with Fortune, one of the media industry’s most powerful moguls signals that he’s finally ready to return in a serious way to the public stage that he has largely abandoned as he grappled with his UK hacking scandals and a bitter divorce, as well as uncertainty about the prospects for his media empire — which he split into two companies last year — and his succession plans. You should check out the piece by senior editor-at-large Pattie Sellers. Here are a few of the highlights:

Related: Rupert Murdoch Says There May Be Multiple ‘Avatar’ Sequels: Fortune

Succession: His sons James and Lachlan are first in line to take over although “I’m going to be here for a long time. And so will [Fox COO] Chase Carey and [News Corp CEO]  Robert Thomson.” murdochsThe effort to bring Lachlan back intensified after a private meeting with James at last year’s Allen & Co confab in Sun Valley. “We had two or three hours together. Lachlan was not not going to come back. It was a question of how we would work together.”

Related: Lachlan And James Murdoch Given Big New Roles At News Corp

Daughter Liz Murdoch’s decision not to join the News Corp board: Rupert says he’d “rather not go into that.” A lot of close families “have good arguments. That doesn’t mean they don’t love each other.” And it’s “more than possible” that she’ll return to the family business.

Who’ll be the GOP’s 2016 presidential candidate: Murdoch says former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is “my number one” calling him “a man of very fine character.” He also has “particular admiration” for Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie “could recover” from inquiries into his possible role in manufactured traffic jams at the George Washington Bridge. Murdoch agrees with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on “a great number of things” but disagrees on foreign policy “too strongly perhaps to vote for him.”

His view of Hillary Clinton: He left open the possibility of supporting her but “it would depend on the Republican candidate totally.” He adds that he “could live with Hillary as President. We have to live with who we get. We don’t have any choice.” Read More »

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The Death Of Sarah Jones: Safety Concerns Raised Over ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew’s Previous Film In Georgia

Anita Busch contributed to this report. First in a series.

Sarah Jones death Midnight RiderLocal, state, and federal investigations are underway to determine who from the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider is responsible for the February 20 train collision on location in rural Georgia that left 27-year-old camera assistant Sarah Jones dead and seven others injured. As the production community rallies around the tragedy and calls for stronger guidelines to ensure that similar accidents never happen again, a Deadline investigation that included interviews with people on the ground in and around Savannah has revealed several troubling factors preceding the afternoon when the crew of the movie, directed and produced by Randall Miller through his Unclaimed Freight Productions banner, placed a metal hospital bed on the live train tracks overlooking Southern Georgia’s Altamaha River. Was the “whatever it takes” spirit that’s fueled filmmaking for decades partly to blame for such an avoidable on-set tragedy?

Related: Safety On Set: Three Workers Speak Out

The city of Savannah, GA has been hungry to grow into a contender to rival competing industries in nearby Atlanta and Wilmington since generous incentives started boosting productions locally in 2009. After a busy 2012, however, film business slowed. Last year Paramount sequel SpongeBob SquarePants 2 was the lone feature to film in the city and became the center of a local firestorm when Jay Self, Savannah’s Film Commissioner of 18 years, was terminated after fighting with the studio over permit requests he said did not adequately protect the interests of local business owners and the City of Savannah.

Self publicly accused city officials of ordering him to approve permits for productions like SpongeBob SquarePants 2 in his termination hearing statement. He told me last month in Savannah that his bosses urged him to issue permits against his concerns when an L.A.-based director came to town to make a new movie in 2012. Self said his concerns went unheeded, and the same filmmaker in question prepared to bring his next feature production to Georgia. That filmmaker was Randall Miller.

Midnight Rider And The Accident Of February 20, 2014

Midnight Rider Doctortown trestleThe Allman biopic Midnight Rider was set to be Miller’s third feature in three years in the Savannah area. He and his L.A.-based Unclaimed Freight first brought production cash flowing into the city’s local economy in 2011 with the Jim Caveziel / Chiwetel Ejiofor-starrer Savannah. The following year he came back to film the NYC-set punk period piece CBGB. By the time he returned with Midnight Rider, Miller had developed a favored position within the local industry, despite his reputation for instilling a maverick sensibility on his sets and surrounding himself with a team of like-minded production crew.

Related:
Safety On Set: Camera Crew Outnumber Stunt Personnel In On-Set Deaths
Safety On Set: Helicopter Crashes Have Taken Most Lives On TV & Film Sets

Read More »

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Media Stocks Pulled Down As Investors Unload Tech Holdings

By | Friday April 4, 2014 @ 4:17pm EDT

Stock arrow downThe tech-heavy NASDAQ fell 2.6% today, apparently reflecting fears that many companies — after soaring in 2013 — will report disappointing info on Q1 sales. The concern has been building: Netflix, for example, is down 25.7% over the past month. But it seemed to spread today, and soured the rest of the market with the Standard & Poor’s 500 -1.3% and the Dow Jones U.S. Media Index -1.7%. Viacom, down 2.8%, was the hardest hit Big Media company followed by Fox (-2.6%), Comcast (-1.8%), CBS (-1.7%), Disney (-1.5%), Discovery (-0.8%), Time Warner (-0.4%), and Sony (-0.3%). News Corp was the only gainer in the group, rising 0.1%. In the broader media universe, Barnes & Noble fell 5.4% — for an 18% drop in the two days since Liberty Media said it will sell 90% of its holdings in the book retailer. Tech-oriented media companies followed including Netflix (-4.9%), Pandora (-4.9%), Google (-4.7%), Facebook (-4.6%), Yahoo (-4.2%), RealD (-4%), and Amazon (-3.2%). Only a few media stocks appreciated. They include Madison Square Garden (+0.4%), which sold its Fuse TV network, and Scripps Networks (+0.5%) after Wunderlich Securities’ Matthew Harrigan changed his recommendation to “buy” from “hold.”

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UPDATE: David Letterman Ends An Era, Announcing He Will Retire In 2015

UPDATED THROUGHOUT, 7:35 PM: CBS late-night star David LettermanDavid Letterman Retiring Late Night With David Letterman surprised his studio audience this afternoon when he announced he is retiring in 2015. “The man who owns this network, Leslie Moonves, he and I have had a relationship for years and years and years, and we have had this conversation in the past, and we agreed that we would work together on this circumstance and the timing of this circumstance. And I phoned him just before the program, and I said ‘Leslie, it’s been great, you’ve been great, and the network has been great, but I’m retiring,’” Letterman told his Ed Sullivan Theatre crowd, who reacted with stunned silence. According to sources with knowledge of the situation, Letterman only notified Moonves this morning.

Related:
David Letterman Through The Years: Video
Watch David Letterman Announce His Retirement Read More »

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R.I.P. Television Academy President & COO Lucy Hood

By | Wednesday April 2, 2014 @ 5:18pm PDT

Lucy HoodLucy Hood, President and COO of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, has died following a battle with cancer. Hood was named to the Academy post after an extensive search last June, just 10 days after longtime COO Alan Perris announced his retirement. She joined the Academy from the University of Southern California, where she had served as Executive Director of the Institute for Communication Technology Management. At the TV Academy, she reported to Chairman Bruce Rosenblum and Foundation chairman Jerry Petry and was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Academy and its Foundation, overseeing department heads and staff and acting as liaison to the executive committees and the boards of both organizations. Her oversight also included digital strategy, corporate sponsorships, marketing, financial planning and many other facets of the organization.

Related: TV Academy Names Lucy Hood President & COO

Hood’s illness was kept very quiet, and some Academy members are shocked by the news. Rosenblum released the following statement today on her passing: “It is with profound sadness that we have learned of the passing of our dynamic and passionate President and Chief Operating Officer, Lucy Hood, after a courageous battle with cancer. Our hearts and prayers go out to her husband, Rob, and her two children, Rachel and Benjamin. Lucy was an innovator and thought leader, always focused on how to best serve an industry she loved. In the all-too short time Lucy led the Television Academy, her extraordinary impact and contributions were deeply felt throughout the organization. Lucy will be greatly missed.”
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Aereo Attracts Support From Dish Network, EFF & More For SCOTUS Hearing

By and | Wednesday April 2, 2014 @ 4:55pm PDT

Aereo-logo__130126232434-200x206__131008001115__131212200214__140110201424__140211193750With less than three weeks before Aereo argues its case in front of the Supreme Court, amicus briefs today supporting the subscription streaming service in its battle against the broadcasters were being filed fast and furiously. Supporters of the Barry Diller-backed company have until 11:59 PM ET to add their voices to the cause. On the plaintiff’s side, SAG-AFTRA, Viacom, Time Warner and Warner Bros Entertainment, the NFL and MLB are among those who have come out against Aereo. Add to that, the Obama administration filed a brief of its own supporting the broadcasters and a motion to argue during supremecourtthe 1-hour April 22 hearing before the High Court. Today’s briefs from Dish Network, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Cable Association and more come less than a week after Aereo firmly responded to the broadcaster’s February 24 brief and the same day Diller said that Aereo could be “finished” if it loses before the SCOTUS. More briefs are expected throughout the evening — we’ll update as more come in. Here are a few highlights from ones submitted so far today:

Dish Network
Chairman Charlie Ergen has good reason to support Aereo. He, too, butted heads with broadcasters who objected to his Hopper DVR’s ability to automatically jump over their ads in recorded shows. He also owns Sling, a device that streams users’ live and recorded TV programs. “Aereo is in some ways novel, but it is also among a host of technologies that uses the Internet to offer consumers the ability to do what they always have more cheaply and conveniently,” Dish says in its brief. The technology, and others including Dish’s, “are like dumbwaiters, incapable of delivering a pail of water without the thirsty person tugging on ropes and pulleys. If an individual uses that dumbwaiter to fetch himself a video he recorded of Breaking Bad, the dumbwaiter manufacturer does not infringe a copyright in the show.” Read More »

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