‘Everest’ Movie Crew OK After Tragic Avalanche

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 3:23pm PDT
Mike Fleming

avalEXCLUSIVE: While the second unit crew shooting Everest were in the vicinity when a tragic avalanche struck Mount Everest and so far has killed 13, there were no injuries or fatalities on the film, I can report. Principal photography on the Baltasar Kormakur-directed film is nearly over and they are finishing in Pinewood in England, but the second unit was setting up to go and shoot at Base 2 on Mount Everest near Nepal. Fortunately for the crew, they were acclimating at the foot of the summit and weren’t up where the disaster took place, when a wall of ice 1,000 feet up fell off at the left shoulder of the mountain and crashed down on Base 2. Most of the fatalities were experienced sherpas that guide climbers to the summit. Several of the sherpas involved with the Everest production rushed to help. The production will now have to wait to assess whether a trek back up the mountain to finish shooting is feasible.

The guides were carrying equipment and supplies to camps for climbers getting ready for peak trekking season — including those preparing to participate in Discovery Channel‘s Everest Jump Live, produced by NBC News Peacock Prods. Seven NBC News staffers on site are accounted for and unharmed, and Discovery said it has not had conversations as to how the disaster might impact the event’s scheduled May 11 air date. Read More »

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Ryan Seacrest Nears Deal To Continue On ‘American Idol’, Likely To Stay In NBCU Fold

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 3:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

ryan_seacrest_20110720152348Ryan Seacrest will split his allegiances on May 1 when Fox‘s American Idol, which he hosts, airs against NBC‘s iHeartRadio Music Awards, which his company produces with Clear Channel. The programs involve all three of Seacrest’s major employers: Fox, where he has been making $15 million a year hosting Idol; NBCUniversal, where he has a wide-ranging deal spanning Today, the Olympics and E!; and Clear Channel, where he has his radio show and has been involved in the iHeartRadio franchise as host and producer. Two of the three deals — the Fox and NBCU ones — are coming up in the next few weeks, while the Clear Channel radio pact has another year on it. It seems neither Fox nor NBC has objections to Seacrest promoting programs that compete against each other as both companies are looking to extend their relationship with him. Seacrest is near a deal with Fox to continue on Idol, which is set to return for a 14th season next year despite its ratings slide. He also is expected to reach a new agreement with NBCU, though its scope is still in flux. Seacrest has a long history at both places, which launched his TV career, and loyalty has marked a lot of his business decisions so far.

Related: Jennifer Lopez To Star In NBC Drama Produced By Ryan Seacrest

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Hot Trailer: Michael C. Hall In ‘Cold In July’

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 2:43pm PDT

Here’s the official trailer for Michael C. Hall‘s first post-Dexter project. He plays Richard, a small-town guy who’s hailed as a hero after he offs a burglar. But then the crook’s ex-con dad (Sam Shepard) shows up with vengeance on his mind and Richard’s family in his sights. But do the cops know more that they’re saying? Cold In July also stars Don Johnson as a private eye. Director Jim Mickle’s pic premiered at Sundance, where it was acquired by IFC Films. Scripted by Nick Damici and based on Joe R. Lansdale’s book, the film hits theaters and VOD on May 23. Take a look:

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‘Mad Men’ Debut Jumps With Live+3-Day Viewing

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 1:45pm PDT

MAD MEN SEASON 7 DEBUT 3The return of Mad Men for the first part of Season 7 on Sunday clocked 3.7 million viewers when Live+3 viewing stats are added in – a 62% jump from the previously reported 2.3 million for Live+Same Day. That’s good news for AMC, given those Live+SD stats had been the acclaimed drama series’ lowest season premiere since 2008’s Season 2.

Related: ‘Mad Men’s’ Season 7 Big Hollywood Premiere Buzz

Mad Men is one of TV’s most DVR’d series. In key demos, for instance – 18-49 and 25-54 – Sunday’s premiere telecast of the seventh-season starter bagged even bigger gains when delayed viewing through three days was factored in. In 18-49, the tally popped to 1.8 million viewers, up 74% from the initially reported ratings. In 25-54, Mad Men climbed 73%, to 1.9 million. The period drama’s return is still, however, down compared to its Season 6 opener on April 7, 2013, which snagged 4.5 million overall viewers, 2.1 million 18-49 viewers and 2.3 million in the 25-54 age bracket in Live+3 viewing. That two-hour debut was the show’s second-most-watched episode ever. It closely followed the Season 5 debut of March 25, 2012, which was seen by an audience … Read More »

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Cohen Media Group Acquires Bérénice Bejo-Starring French Heist Pic ‘The Last Diamond’

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 1:40pm PDT

The Last DiamondCohen Media Group has acquired North American distribution and English-language remake rights to Bérénice Bejo-starrer The Last Diamond. Written and directed by Eric Barbier (The Serpent, Toreros), the French suspense drama centers on paroled jewel thief Simon (Yvan Attal) as he plots the heist of a legendary diamond, put up for auction by the family of gem expert Julia (Bejo). Masquerading as a security Cohen-Media-Group-logo-2012__120905004909-275x108consultant, Simon leads the beautiful but vulnerable Julia down a seductive, dangerous path toward a fate neither of them suspected. Jean-Francois Stévenin also stars. The deal was negotiated by CMG EVP John Kochman and Other Angle Pictures’ Olivier Albou. The Last Diamond will have its North American premiere next week at the Colcoa Film Festival in Hollywood. It’s set to open in France at the end of the month followed by an early 2015 release in the U.S.

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Michelle Obama Books Cameo In Military-Themed ‘Nashville’ Episode

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 1:14pm PDT

obamamichelle__130219150049First Lady Michelle Obama will play herself in a cameo appearance on ABC‘s country music drama Nashville on May 7, an episode titled “All Or Nothing With Me” that is set at the Fort Campbell Army base. This comes a couple months after she was set for a cameo on the season finale of Parks And Recreation on April 24, that appearance to promote her “Let’s Move” program targeting child obesity.

Aside from numerous late-night appearances and docu-series, Obama has appeared in only a couple  scripted series including Sesame Street in 2009 and in a cameo on Nickelodeon’s iCarly in 2012. Michelle Obama Appears On The Set Of "iCarly"Obama taped the iCarly appearance in June 2011 while in LA to promote a series of PSAs targeting her “Joining Forces” initiative, designed to raise awareness of military families; iCarly‘s lead character was the daughter of a U.S. service member stationed overseas. That plan was unveiled at the WGA Theatre during a panel sponsored by the Hollywood guilds (and moderated by JJ Abrams) designed to create a dialogue among film and TV folks about ways to share those families’ stories. The Nashville appearance would seem to jibe with that initiative: ABC says the episode’s storyline involves Reyna (Connie Britton) organizing of a charity concert on the Army base after finding out Luke (Will Chase) has been injured in Afghanistan, cutting short his tour. Read More »

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ABC Family Gives Pilot Order To Paranormal Crime Procedural Drama

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 1:07pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

abcfamily1ABC Family has handed out a pilot order to drama Stitchers. Written by Jeffrey A. Schechter (Overruled), Stitchers follows a young woman recruited into a covert government agency to be “stitched” into the minds of the recently deceased, using their memories to investigate murders and decipher mysteries that otherwise would have gone to the grave. Schechter executive produces alongside Jonathan Baruch and Rob Wolken. Production is slated to begin in June. ABC Family got a vacancy on its drama pilot slate when the network pulled the plug on Saudi Arabia-set Alice In Arabia four days after greenlighting it to pilot after pressure from a Muslim advocacy group. Stitchers joins two other recently picked up ABC Family drama pilots:  Recovery Road, based on Blake Nelson’s novel about a teenage girl dealing with addiction, and Unstrung, about a brother-sister tennis player duo. Schechteris with Resolution.

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Ian Gomez Joins CBS Pilot ‘Cuz-Bros’

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 12:56pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Ian GomezEXCLUSIVE: Another actor from a comedy series whose fate is up in the air has boarded CBS’ multi-camera odd-couple comedy pilot Cuz-Bros. Cougar Town co-star Ian Gomez has been cast in the pilot, toplined by Geoff Stults and Parker Young of Fox’s Enlisted. Cuz-Bros, from writers David Caspe and Erik Sommers, Sony TV, CBS Studios and Fanfare, centers on Nick (Stults), a successful, suave ladies man working as a sportscaster for a local Los Angeles TV station whose perfect life gets turned upside down when his mess of a cousin, Barry (Young), needs a place to stay. Gomez, repped by APA, Intellectual Artists Management and attorney Jonathan Moonves, plays Phil, Nick’s boss at the TV station. He is being cast as a guest star as he is in second position to Cougar Town, the way Stults and Young are to Enlisted, making Cuz-Bros a rare pilot where most of the primary cast are formally tied to other shows. Cougar Town‘s fifth season ended its run several weeks ago, but TBS is yet to make a decision on a renewal.

Related: 2014 CBS Pilots

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Hot TV Teaser: WGN America’s ‘Manhattan’

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 12:35pm PDT

John Benjamin Hickey, Daniel Stern, Olivia Williams, Ashley Zukerman and Rachel Brosnahan star in WGN America‘s 13-episode scripted series Manhattan, slated to premiere in July. Set during the clandestine mission to build the world’s first atomic bomb in Los Alamos, NM, Manhattan follows the brilliant but flawed scientists and their families. Here’s a sneak-peek at the teaser trailer that will air during Salem‘s season premiere on Sunday. Manhattan is from writer Sam Shaw and director Thomas Schlamme, Skydance TV, Tribune Studios and Lionsgate TV.

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NBC’s ‘Saturday Night Live’ 40th Anniversary Special Set

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 11:25am PDT

snl18NBC set a date for its three-hour bash — February 15, 2015 — but did not say which past and present cast members, musical guests, etc. would appear. NBC Chairman Bob Greenblatt said the “special is just one of many ways we plan to celebrate ‘SNL’s historic 40th season next year.” Today’s announcement: Read More »

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Samuel L. Jackson Part Of Saturday’s ‘Hateful Eight’ Reading

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 10:59am PDT

samuel-l-jackson-quentin-tarantino-sliceOrganizers have treated Film Independent’s staged reading of Quentin Tarantino’s latest script The Hateful Eight like a national security matter, restricting things like cell phones and computers and staying mum on casting ahead of Saturday night’s event. But I have confirmed that Tarantino staple Samuel L Jackson will play a part at reading set for the Theatre at the Ace Hotel in downtown LA. What role he might read remains unknown, but it begs the question what other Tarantino regulars might also participate in the event. (Any guesses, Deadline readers?) Tarantino is casting and directing the show, whose $200 tickets are the hottest in town. That’s no doubt because of the heat surrounding the Western screenplay, which was leaked prematurely and ended up on Gawker — much to the consternation of Tarantino, who then told Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr that because of the breaches he wasn’t going to turn the script into a movie. He later sued Gawker for posting it and a January 27, 2015 trial date has been set; the two sides are currently in court-ordered mediation. Film Independent first fueled the Jackson speculation with a tweet just now:

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Rhys Coiro & Joe Egender Join History’s ‘Texas Rising’

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 10:58am PDT

Rhys Coiro (Hostages)joeegender1image001 (5) and Joe Egender (Hunger) have landed lead roles in History’s miniseries Texas Rising (working title) from A+E Studios and ITV Studios America. Leslie Greif (Hatfields & McCoys) is exec producing the project, which will detail the Texas Revolution against Mexico and the rise of the legendary Texas Rangers. Coiro will play Vern Elwood opposite Bill Paxton, Ray Liotta, Brendan Fraser and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Egender will play Beans Wilkins, a Ranger who is always hungry and looking for his next meal. Read More »

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‘Good Morning America’ Promotes Lara Spencer To Co-Anchor

laraspencerBurying his lead, new ABC News President James Goldston sent around a memo to staff today — in Paragraph 6 of which was the announcement he’d promoted Good Morning America‘s Lara Spencer to co-host of the program along with Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos. Roberts recently signed a new contract to stay with the show; ditto Spencer. Stephanopoulos’ contract was due to come up later this year — his reps are in talks with ABC News now.

Related: ‘GMA’ Beats ‘Today’ By Biggest Margin In Three Months

Spencer was the only one of three GMA-ers whose contracts came up around the same time as Roberts’ who re-signed. The two guys — Sam Champion and Josh Elliott both got poached by NBC, whose Today show saw its longtime ratings record snapped two years ago by GMA.Which brings us to Goldston’s memo: celebrating tomorrow’s anniversary of GMA ending Today’s 852-week winning streak. Here’s the memo:

Related: Michael Strahan Debuts On ‘Good Morning America’: Video

Read More »

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Eion Bailey To Recur On ‘Ray Donovan’

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 10:30am PDT

Eion Bailey (Fight Club, Almost Famous)eionbailey has booked a recurring role on Showtime‘s Ray Donovan. Bailey, repped by Paradigm and Industry Entertainment, will play a charismatic motivational speaker/self-help guru who needs Ray’s help. Ray Donovan stars Liev Schreiber as LA’s best professional fixer, the man called in to make the city’s celebrities, superstar athletes, and business moguls’ most complicated and combustible situations go away. Bailey most recently recurred on ABC’s Once Upon A Time. His other TV credits include Band Of Brothers miniseries, Dirty Little Secrets, Covert Affairs, Law & Order: SVU and ER. The 12-episode second season of the Mark Gordon-produced Ray Donovan is set to premiere Sunday, July 13.

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Discovery Channel’s Mount Everest Jump Date In Question After Avalanche Kills 13: Video

EverestNBC News, whose Peacock Productions is producing Discovery’s Mount Everest live jump, said this morning “the future of the production will be assessed at the appropriate time” after the deadliest disaster ever recorded at the peak killed 13 Sherpa guides last night. The guides were carrying equipment and supplies to camps for climbers getting ready for peak trekking season — including those preparing to participate in Discovery Channel‘s Everest Jump Live, produced by the NBC News division.

Related: ‘Everest’ Movie Crew OK After Tragic Avalanche

Discovery, which had just announced Monday the live two-hour event would air May 11, said this morning its star Joby Ogwyn was at base came at the time of the avalanche, which struck a group of about 50 — mostly Nepalese sherpas — at more than 20,000 feet. Four people remain missing, according to Nepal’s Tourism Ministry. Discovery said it has has not had conversations as to how the disaster might impact its plans. ”The avalanche last night on Mt. Everest is a terrible tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers are with those who are lost and with their families. The immediate priority for Joby and the team is to assist the search and rescue efforts in anyway possible.”

Related: Discovery Channel Preps For Big Leap With Five Nights Of ‘Everest: Live From Base Camp’

NBC News said its crews were on Mt. Everest preparing for Discovery’s special — in which Ogwyn is scheduled to climb Everest and leap from the summit wearing only a winged suit equipped with cameras – when the avalanche struck.

“The biggest tragedy of this is that it’s the very beginning of the [climbing] season and to lose this number of people at the very beginning of the season may be the end of the season here,”  cameraman Ed Wardle told NBC’s Today show co-host Savannah Guthrie.

“I think a lot of people are wondering whether it’s appropriate to go on, given the scale of this tragedy,” Guthrie quickly jumped in when Wardle’s “biggest tragedy” talk took that cold turn.  (Video after the jump)

NBC News issued a statement this morning saying, “We are grateful and relieved that the seven NBC News staffers on site are all accounted for and unharmed. Tragically, 13 Nepalese sherpas from a number of expedition companies who prepare the mountain each year for climbing season lost their lives, and the rescue mission continues. We are working closely with the team on the ground to assist however we can, and our thoughts and prayers are with the affected families.”

Read More »

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The ABCs Of Aereo: Future of TV & Internet At Stake In Battle With Broadcasters, Says Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia

Editors Note: This is the last of three Deadline posts that lay out the issues in the Aereo case, which Deadline Legal Editor Dominic Patten will cover from the Supreme Court next week. Today: An interview with Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia.

Previous ABCs Of Aereo Reports:
What Is Aereo And Why Are Broadcasters Taking It To Supreme Court?
Aereo Wants “Something For Nothing”, Former U.S. Lawyer Says

Aereo Supreme CourtBroadcasters challenged Aereo‘s legality almost from the moment in early 2012 when it launched in NYC. It is a David and Goliath contest: the tiny, Barry Diller-backed streaming service defending itself against attacks from CBS, Disney, Fox, and Comcast’s NBCUniversal among other companies as well as the federal government’s Office of the Solicitor General. The plaintiffs say Aereo steals their property by selling their over-the-air programming without paying them. They liken it to a cable or satellite distributor and say that it packages channels and then redistributes them — in legal terms creating a public performance that, since it isn’t authorized by the broadcasters, violates the “transmit clause” of the Copyright Act of 1976. But Bloomberg Panel & Reception - 2012 Tribeca Film FestivalAereo CEO and founder Chet Kanojia says there’s no violation. He simply leases to consumers the antennas and technologies they need to privately exercise their right to watch broadcast signals for free. He sees next week’s Supreme Court hearing as a fight for his company, as well as a struggle to protect public control of the airwaves, and consumers’ ability to harness the power of the Internet.

DEADLINE: Barry Diller has said that if you guys lose at the Supreme Court, it’s basically game over. Are you turning off the lights if the Supreme Court rules against you?
KANOJIA: It’s going to depend on what the nature of the scope of the conclusions from the Supreme Court happens to be. If it’s a straight up, wipeout loss — and the Supreme Court shows the 2nd Circuit’s analysis of the transmit laws and, as a result, the idea was private performance is incorrect — then it will be very difficult for Aereo to be in business. For us, along with a lot of other companies that buy DVRs or cloud solutions, it will be a very difficult climate for sure. One result may very well be that we cease to operate.

Related: Barry Diller Says Aereo WIll Be “Finished” If It Loses Supreme Court Case: Video

DEADLINE: What if it goes in your favor?
KANOJIA: It’ll mean business as usual for everybody. I think the broadcasters will continue to grow and succeed. I think Aereo will continue to sell to consumers who don’t consume broadcast TV from cable or satellite but use antennas or are not part of the system. Then I think overall the pie will continue to grow.

DEADLINE: What do you think the broadcasters will do if they lose?
KANOJIA: Oh, they’re going to come back for a Round 2. They may go to Congress. The strategy of this industry is, “Let’s litigate, legislate. And if you can’t figure that out, then see how to make money from basic knowledge.” Read More »

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FCC Chairman Circulates Draft Rules For TV Spectrum Auction

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 9:30am PDT

Nomination Hearing Of Thomas Wheeler To Be Chairman Of The FCCThe financial and technological proposals are incredibly complicated, but they provide the kinds of details that broadcasters have wanted to see before they decide whether to let the federal government auction to broadband providers some of the airwaves now used for TV. The process being circulated by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler includes a reverse auction, fcc1__130401234319-200x182where station owners would indicate how much cash they want for their spectrum and can drop out if the bidding is too low. There’s also a forward auction, where wireless companies would raise their offers in successive rounds. When it’s all done, the FCC will repack the spectrum — making usage efficient by assigning new channels to the broadcasters who stay on the air. There’s also a plan to accommodate low-power TV, translators, and wireless microphones that will be affected by the changes. “Whether television broadcasters participate in the Incentive Auction will be purely voluntary, but participation in the Incentive Auction does not mean they have to leave the TV business,” Wheeler says in a blog post. “New channel-sharing technologies offer broadcasters a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for an infusion of cash to expand their business model and explore new innovations, while continuing to provide their traditional services to consumers. We will ensure that broadcasters have all of the information they need to make informed business decisions … Read More »

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Ratings Rat Race: ‘Scandal’, ‘Parenthood’ & ‘Community’ Finales Up; ‘Crazy Ones’ Down

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 9:08am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

scandal-season-finaleOn a night of season finales, Scandal‘s closer dwarfed them all, drawing a 3.4 in adults 18-49 and 10.5 million total viewers Thursday. The twisty ABC drama was up 13% in 18-49 and 14% in viewers from last week to log its second highest numbers ever in both categories and the highest-rated finale to date.

Related: ‘Scandal’: Shonda Rhimes Whips Up Spoiler Storm With Season Finale

Against the Scandal closer, the season finale of NBC’s Parenthood (1.3) was up 18% from last week. But versus last year’s finale, which aired in January in nbclogothe series’ previous Tuesday 10 PM slot, it was down 24%. Community (1.0) also inched up in its season finale, up 11% from last Thursday. (Compared with last May’s finale, it was down 23%). The bumps help as both shows are being considered for (possibly partial) final-season orders. Community edged the only NBC comedy already assured a return next season, Parks And Recreation (0.9), which slipped a tenth (10%) from last week to hit a series low. Hollywood Game Night (0.9) was down 18% from its most recent original two weeks ago, also marking a series low.

Related: On The Bubble: Where Endangered Broadcast Series Stand

Read More »

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Box Office: Lukewarm Thursday Bow For ‘Transcendence’, ‘Rio 2′ Might Get Its No. 1 Weekend Yet; ‘Heaven Is For Real’ May Surprise

transcendence-trailer-johnny-deppEven with taking over Captain America: The Winter Soldier‘s IMAX theaters this weekend, the fact that it is a new sci-fi thriller, Johnny Depp’s the lead and it’s the only real newcomer with a shot at No. 1, Transcendences debut near the top of the box office is doubtful this weekend based on Thursday night’s grosses. Bets are on that Fox’s Rio 2 may end up with around $26M, Disney/Marvel’s Captain America 2 next with $22M-$23M and Warner Bros.’ Transcendence at No. 3 with around $18M-$20M. Those predictions come as Transcendence grossed only $850K on Thursday.

HeavenisforrealtheaterposterA question mark is Sony’s Heaven Is For Real and how many infrequent moviegoers (i.e. faith-based crowd) may boost attendance numbers. Sony noted this morning that it seems to be crossing over to a faith-based crowd and word is spreading on social media. It certainly seems to be. The film has an overall CinemaScore of A and an A+ with the under-35 demo. Right now the Greg-Kinnear-starring film based on the bestselling book is tracking around $12M-$14M for the three-day, similar to Marlon Wayans’ Haunted House 2 from Open Road. Heaven Is For Real took in a stellar $3.7M — on a Wednesday — and last night took in another $1.37M for a two-day cume so far of $7M, which puts it in line for a 5-day gross of around $20M for the Randall Wallace-directed drama.

Tonight’s business should be strong because today is Good Friday, but come Easter Sunday, moviegoing traditionally slows on the Christian holy holiday. Easter is unlike strong holidays such as Thanksgiving or Christmas. Read More »

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