As part of the deal struck today between Joan Rivers and the WGA East, the Fashion Police host said that she will not “render any writing services even though as a comedian and SAG-AFTRA host, I often write material for myself.” The WGA East had set an October 14 disciplinary hearing in New York to determine whether the E! host violated the union’s rules by writing and performing showrunner duties for the E! Network show during its current writers strike. Action could have resulted in Rivers becoming the first member of that guild to be tossed, and she had called the trial board hearing “a bunch of bullsh*t“. Former writers for show have been on strike since mid-April for over $1 million in back wages and overtime. Rivers and the network contend have that Rivers played no part in the situation that led to the dispute.
The real fun might not be seeing the LA Kings against rival Anaheim Ducks in Chavez Ravine but instead those poor workers and Zamboni drivers trying to keep the ice from melting on a potentially hot LA day. That’s what first came to mind when the NHL today announced the Jan 25, 2014, game as part of its expanded outdoor schedule last year. The Stadium Series as it’s now called was spawned by the successful annual Winter Classic game on New Year’s Day, which has boosted awareness of the sport, and provided NBC a killer TV alternative to college bowl game blowouts. Toronto plays Chicago at Soldier Field on March 1, and other matchups are to be announced including likely Yankee Stadium games featuring the NY Rangers, NY Islanders and NJ Devils.
Chris Broussard became part of the story yesterday with his outspoken comments about NBA player Jason Collins‘ coming-out in a Sports Illustrated column, making the journeyman center America’s first openly gay major sports figure. Broussard, a Christian and a longtime respected NBA beat writer who now works for ESPN The Magazine, called homosexuality a sin during a segment on the network’s newsmagazine OTL discussing Collins’ revelation. Not sure why anyone is surprised that a TV commentator provided commentary — agree or disagree with his take that’s what they pay the guy for, and he won’t be the last to offer an opposing view in this debate — but it prompted an apology from ESPN last night and a clarification by Broussard via Twitter:
Today on OTL, as part of a larger, wide-ranging discussion on today’s news, I offered my personal opinion as it relates to Christianity, a point of view that I have expressed publicly before. I realize that some people disagree with my opinion and I accept and respect that. As has been the case in the past, my beliefs have not and will not impact my ability to report on the NBA. I believe Jason Collins displayed bravery with his announcement today and I have no objection to him or anyone else playing in the NBA.
PHILADELPHIA – April 16, 2013 – Starting today, Comcast’s Xfinity TV and Tribeca Film® will bring Xfinity TV customers special access to the 12th Annual Tribeca Film Festival® on Xfinity On Demand. This offering includes four films available before they make their debut during the Tribeca Film Festival, which begins on April 17: The English Teacher, Fresh Meat, What Richard Did, and Greetings from Tim Buckley along with past Tribeca Film favorites that have screened at the Festival including Newlyweds, Grave Encounters, Janie Jones, Struck by Lightning, and over a dozen more.
Jen Yamato is a Deadline contributor.
Ryan Murphy spilled details at a screening last night for the season finale of FX’s American Horror Story. “The movie that I was most freaked out by as a child was this movie that …
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Phil Spector is, in a sense, being retried in the court of artistic expression in the HBO biopic Phil Spector that debuts this spring featuring the typically impressive HBO pedigree: Al Pacino in the title role as Spector and Helen Mirren as his co-star. Oh, and David Mamet as writer-director. At the afternoon TCA panel promoting the film, defense attorney Linda Kenney Baden, who defended Spector in his first trial for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson and served as a consultant on the film, remains unconvinced that her client did in fact commit the crime. “It was not proven,” she believes, “and to some degree that’s what this movie explores. What does reasonable doubt mean in a jury trial? Mamet, too, remains unconvinced of Spector’s guilt. “All I knew when we started the project is that he was a freak who killed some girl,” he said. But by the time he finished watching a documentary about Spector, Mamet admits he had changed his tune, to the point where he was almost equally convinced that Spector was extremely bright, misunderstood — and quite possibly not guilty. But his marching orders were “don’t indict the victim,” so he worked to make sure that was the case.
DirecTV CEO Mike White is no stranger to taking a stand against rising programming costs, pulling 16 Viacom channels off his service during the summer for 10 days before reaching a carriage deal. Now his company and Dish Network are the lone pay TV providers serving Southern California who don’t have an agreement to carry the LA Lakers’ newly created TV homes: Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes. The satellite companies are balking at the $3.95-per-sub-per-month price that TWC reportedly wants. (Verizon, AT&T, Charter and, as of today, Cox Communications have made deals and are carrying the channels.) DirecTV, with about 1.2 million subs in SoCal, also is holding out on making a deal for a third rookie regional sports net, the Pac-12 Networks. It says that costs are out of control. (A fine Sports Business Journal report on the LA mess calculates providers must pony up about $10 per sub per month to carry all the RSNs in town). White was, well, direct during his company’s earnings call yesterday when asked about negotiations. Sounds like the Lakers, who play their fifth game of the season tonight in Utah, won’t be on DirecTV anytime soon:
In terms of Los Angeles, I think it’s another example of how broken this system is. People take the same content, package it up, bid it up for 3 times the national average on a per-game basis and then try and stick it back to the other distributors in the geography. And I think that’s very unfortunate. We have a system of very carefully tracking churn by day to look at kind of what we think our customers will be most interested in. We are continuing to have active discussions about the Lakers network. We hope to have a deal on that content. But all of these new channels that – everybody here wants a new channel and they want to stick it into the bundle, is not right. I mean we are taxing most of our customers who wouldn’t be willing to pay for that content. And I’ve said before, I think the regional sports network structure in the industry is broken. And it is. But I’m probably not going be able to change that overnight. But adding other stuff to the bundle that the average consumer can’t pay for without allowing it to be sold to those that want to pay for it is just not right. So we’ll continue to stand strong for our customers.
Francis Lawrence is seeing through Lionsgate‘s The Hunger Games franchise until the end. The director of the first sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, now in production, has now signed on to helm the final two installments of the series, Mockingjay Part 1 and Mockingjay Part 2, which splits the final book in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy into two films. Danny Strong is writing both Mockingjay pics, and Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth are back to star. The final two movies follow heroine Katniss Everdeen’s journey as she leads the districts of Panem in a rebellion against the tyrannical and corrupt Capitol, and she must decipher for herself who she can trust and what needs to be done, with everything she cares for in the balance.
Lawrence, whose credits include Constantine, I Am Legend and most recently Water For Elephants, replaced Gary Ross at the helm of Catching Fire in April. He was chosen in a race that came down to Lawrence and Moneyball helmer Bennett Miller, after Juan Antonio Bayona couldn’t do it. He is currently wrapping production on the pic with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jena Malone and Amanda Plummer joining the cast. Lawrence is repped by CAA and 3 Arts.
UPDATE: AT&T U-Verse Joins Charter, Verizon To Carry Time Warner Cable’s New Lakers Channels As Others Balk At Price
3RD UPDATE, 2:40 PM SATURDAY: Time Warner Cable today annouced that AT&T U-verse had signed on in Southern California in time for the L.A. Lakers’ season debut. Starting Tuesday, October 30, AT&T U-verse TV will provide SportsNet and Deportes — the local TV homes for the LA Galaxy and Los Angeles Sparks games as well as the Lakers. TWC SportsNet will be available for U-verse TV customers in Southern California (Los Angeles, San Diego, Bakersfield and much of Fresno) with the U100 package and above on channel 1777 in HD and channel 777 in SD. TWC Deportes will be available in the U300 package or U-Latino package on channel 1778 in HD and channel 778 in SD.
2ND UPDATE, 6:25 PM Friday: Time Warner Cable has confirmed that it has agreed to terms on with Verizon’s FiOS system, with details in the coming days. (UPDATE: It was made official Monday. Time Warner Cable SportsNet will be available on FiOS TV Channel 78 in standard definition and on FiOS TV Channel 578 in high definition. Time Warner Cable Deportes will be available on FiOS TV Channel 79 in standard definition.)
1ST UPDATE, 4:40 PM: Charter Communications has just finalized a deal to carry the two networks in Southern California, with a launch targeted before the Lakers’ first game on the channels October 31. “Charter is committed to bring programming to our customers that mirror their interests,” said Allan Singer, Charter’s SVP Programming. “We are proud of Charter’s robust selection of sports programming. Charter is the first provider of this brand new programming in our service areas, and we know that the addition of these networks especially pleases our customers in Southern California.” No deal terms were announced.
PREVIOUS: 2:59 PM: The tipoff of the NBA’s regular season is a week away. But there’s a pretty good game going on right now between Time Warner Cable‘s just-launched regional sports channels — the new digs of the Los Angeles Lakers — and the cable and satellite companies that have yet to pick them up. That includes pretty much all the Southern California operators, from DirecTV and Dish Network to Verizon FiOS, AT&T U-verse, Charter and Cox Communications. At issue is TWC’s reported asking price of $3.95 per subscriber per month. That’s a steep price for a lineup that just includes the Lakers, Major League Soccer’s LA Galaxy and the WNBA’s LA Sparks. The king of per-subscriber sports fees, Disney’s ESPN, commands an average of $5.13 per sub each month, according to SNL Kagan. Among Time Warner Cable’s fellow RSNs, six receive more than $3 — and half of them are from Comcast, including the highest-price one Comcast SportsNet Washington at $4.02.
So far, the networks — Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Spanish-language Time Warner Cable Deportes, which are being shopped as a package — have carriage on only one system: Bright House Networks, which operates in the Bakersfield area. That leaves a majority of fans — ESPN Los Angeles put it at about 4.8 million Angelenos who pay for TV — shut out unless they have Time Warner Cable, which has about 2 million subs in LA. In the past week, DirecTV and Cox have criticized the TWC channels amid ongoing negotiations. They say TWC’s charging too much for networks with one marquee tenant that will show only 53 of the team’s 82 games. Both said they offered to carry the channels on a specialty tier that subs would have to pay for separately, according to the LA Times.
Los Angeles – October 9, 2012 – Screen Gems has preemptively closed a deal to develop the feature film based on the highly anticipated young-adult fantasy series “Black City” written by Elizabeth Richards. The first book in the series, “Black City,” will be released this coming November 13 via publisher Putnam Juvenile, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group. Screen Gems moved quickly to complete the rights deal for the series based on the high level of anticipation for the property in the online community and other young adult circles. Screen Gems is currently searching for a screenwriter to adapt the material for film.
“Black City” tells the story of a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable–they fall in love.