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HBO’s ‘The Leftovers’ Debuts With 1.8M Viewers

By | Monday June 30, 2014 @ 1:20pm PDT

HBO’s ‘The Leftovers’ Debuts With 1.8M ViewersDamon Lindelof‘s 10-episode HBO series The Leftovers  originally had been set to debut June 15, following the Season 4 finale of Game of Thrones. But when the high-concept post-Rapture drama took an unexpected hiatus after Episode 6 (HBO called it “a short hiatus to prep our final episodes”), it lost that cushy launch platform, instead getting slotted after an episode of True Blood. The premiere of The Leftovers pulled in 1.8 million viewers in its 10PM on Sunday. Last night, at 9 PM True Blood clocked 3.1 million viewers — compared with the 7.1 million who’d caught that Game of Thrones season wrapper at 9 PM airing back on June 15 — up 32% from Season 3′s finale crowd of 5.4 mil.

Over all its Sunday plays, The Leftovers drew 2.1 million viewers. Co-written by Lindelof and Tom Perrotta, based on Perrotta’s book and toplined by Justin Theroux, The Leftovers is the story of people who didn’t make the cut during the Rapture, which itself did not go as people had been taught to expect.

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HBO Makes Monday Documentary Night Year-Round

By | Monday June 30, 2014 @ 12:33pm PDT

HBO Makes Monday Documentary Night Year-RoundThe premium cabler is making a weekly commitment to nonfiction. HBO said today that Monday nights will feature original documentaries year-round, including “timely encore presentations.” The announcement comes several months after HBO signed a multi-year deal with Susan Lacy, creator and executive producer of PBS’ American Masters series, to produce and direct docus. The cable channel kicked off the new Monday tradition last week with The Case Against 8, about the Supreme Court’s overturn of California ban on gay marriage, and continues tonight with 112 Weddings, in which a videographer tracks down couples whose nuptials he filmed. Future subjects include President Nixon, Pamela Smart and Russia’s anti-gay laws.

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‘Last Week Tonight’s John Oliver Explains Ugandan Government Homophobia: Video

By | Monday June 30, 2014 @ 9:52am PDT

‘Last Week Tonight’s John Oliver Explains Ugandan Government Homophobia: VideoOn his weekly HBO show, John Oliver explained how Uganda’s foreign minister, Sam Kutesa got appointed president of the UN General Assembly despite his country’s recently passed, very oppressive anti-gay legislation — and U.S. involvement with the creation of those anti-gay laws.

Watch Parts 1 here, followed by Part 2:

Part 2:

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HBO’s Martin Scorsese/Mick Jagger Rock ‘N’ Roll Drama Adds Cast

By | Thursday June 26, 2014 @ 1:30pm PDT

HBO’s Martin Scorsese/Mick Jagger Rock ‘N’ Roll Drama Adds CastJoe Caniano, Andrew “Dice” Clay, Ato Essandoh, Robert Funaro, James Jagger, Birgitte Sorenson, and J.C. Mackenzie have been added to the cast of HBO’s Untitled Rock ‘n’ Roll project. The pilot is in production in New York, with Martin Scorsese directing.

The untitled drama is set in 1970s New York and explores the drug- and sex-fueled music business as punk and disco were breaking out, all through the eyes of record executive Richie Finestra (Bobby Cannavale), who is trying to resurrect his label and find the next new sound. Ray Romano will play Richie’s close confidant and right-hand man Zak Yankovich, the tough and sharp-witted head of promotions at American Century, with years of experience dating back to the shady, mob-infested days of the recording industry.

The drama pilot’s executive producers are Scorsese,  Mick Jagger, Terence Winter, George Mastras, Victoria Pearman, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, and Rick Yorn.

Newly added to the cast, Caniano is Leo, Richie’s longtime chauffeur and confidant; Clay is cast as Frank “Buck” Rogers, the obnoxious, cocaine-fueled owner of a chain of radio stations; Essandoh portrays Lester Grimes, a former singer and ex-colleague of Finestra; Funaro is Tony Del Greco, chief enforcer for a New York mob boss; the younger Jagger is Kip Stevens, lead singer of Nasty Bits, a early punk rock band. Sorenson plays Ingrid, a Danish actress favored by Andy Warhol and close friend of Finestra’s wife, Devon; Mackenzie plays Skip Fontaine, head of sales for American Century Records. Deadline reported Monday that PJ Byrne also had been added to the cast; he will play Scott Leavitt, the head of legal for American Century Records.)
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UPDATE: Caption Contest Winner: UK Queen Visits ‘Game Of Thrones’ Set

By | Wednesday June 25, 2014 @ 2:14pm PDT

Game Of Thrones Queen Elizabeth

AND THE WINNER IS….
Well, we gave you over 24 hours but we have crowned a winner in our latest caption contest. No denying there were slew of poignant and pointed entries to accompanying the pic of Queen Elizabeth II looking at the Iron Throne on a visit to the set of HBO’s Game Of Thrones yesterday. However our winner is:
FIRST PLACE:
“You know… the one in my dungeon has leather straps, dearie…” from MikeyP.

HONORABLE MENTION:
“Mine’s better” from Bob

PREVIOUSLY, TUESDAY AM:
Well, we know at least one Queen in this photo hasn’t  had her husband killed because Prince Phillip was accompanying the real life monarch today. Beyond that, here’s the deal, Queen Elizabeth II stopped by the Belfast set of HBO‘s Game Of Thrones Tuesday as part of a three-day Royal trip to Northern Ireland. Actors Lena Headey, who plays Queen Regent Cersei Lannister on the blockbuster series, and Kit Harington were there among others as the second longest-reigning British royal checked out the Iron Throne among other Games props. We don’t know whose look is better: the Queen’s somewhat perplexed gaze or Headey’s. So why don’t you give a caption your best shot? We’ll pick a winner later.

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HBO’s ‘True Blood’ Bites Off Bigger Crowd In Final Season Opener

By | Tuesday June 24, 2014 @ 8:48am PDT

HBO’s ‘True Blood’ Bites Off Bigger Crowd In Final Season OpenerThe season premiere of the final season of  HBO‘s True Blood tallied a gross audience of 5.8 million viewers Sunday night, across its four plays — up from last season’s debut night haul of 5.6 million viewers.  At 9 PM, viewership averaged 4 million viewers — down about 500,000 compared to its sixth-season premiere –  with another 1 million, 498,000 and 262,000 added at 10 PM, 11:30 PM and 1:00 AM, respectively.  Last season, the vampire drama logged  an average gross audience of 10.7 million viewers. Read More »

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EMMYS Q&A: Jane Fonda And The Poignancy Of Maturing Women

By | Thursday June 19, 2014 @ 2:23pm PDT

EMMYS Q&A: Jane Fonda And The Poignancy Of Maturing WomenPeter Bart is contributor to Awardsline and Deadline

Not one to slow down, Jane Fonda has written a New York Times bestseller, Being a Teen; has signed on to costar with Lily Tomlin in Grace & Frankie for Netflix; and just finished shooting the feature film Fathers and Daughters with Russell Crowe. She’s also a prolific blogger at JaneFonda.com. But perhaps most exciting is her return as Leona Lansing in the third and final installment of HBO’s The Newsroom, for which she performed a mesmerizing monologue last season that fans hailed was not so much Emmy- as Oscar-worthy.

Image (2) Awardsline-logo_use-this-one__140529211810-275x38.jpg for post 738599AWARDSLINE: You had a scene at the end of the second season of  The Newsroom that I felt was really vintage Jane. Was that speech totally scripted or did you embellish it?
JANE FONDA: Oh, you don’t embellish with Aaron (Sorkin, the show’s creator); there’s no improvising. That was the first thing that (costar) Jeff Daniels said to me when I came to the first table read of the first season. He said, “Know every line backwards and forwards, every comma, every period, awake and in your sleep.” Read More »

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Tim Story Inks First-Look Deal With HBO

By | Tuesday June 17, 2014 @ 3:36pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Tim Story Inks First-Look Deal With HBOEXCLUSIVE: Ride Along director Tim Story has signed a two-year first-look deal with HBO to produce comedy, drama and longform projects for the pay cable network through his The Story Company banner. This marks a return to TV for Story, who directed the pilot for the Fox drama Standoff and served as an executive producer on the series. In features, Story is on a hot streak with back-to-back breakout comedies starring Kevin Hart, Think Like A Man and Ride Along, both of which scored at the boxoffice and earned sequels, also directed by Story. The first sequel, Think Like A Man Too, opens this weekend. In total, Story has directed four movies that have spawned franchises, including his studio debut, 2002′s Barbershop, which also got a TV series spinoff, and Fantastic Four, whose sequel he also directed. Story comes from music background as a member of a rap group. He started his filmmaking career directing music videos for top artists like ’N Sync and Tyrese. HBO has been beefing up its talent roster through first-look deals, including producing pacts with directors Darren Aronofsky and Michelle MacLaren, entrepreneur Russell Simmons and True Blood stars Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer.

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‘Game Of Thrones’ Hits Finale High With 7.1M Viewers

By | Monday June 16, 2014 @ 11:56am PDT

‘Game Of Thrones’ Hits Finale High With 7.1M Viewers

Loading video...

Record Season Finale For 'Game of Thrones'

HBO's blood-drenched drama draws 7.1 million viewers, up 32% from last season's final episode and just shy of a series record. Deadline's Dominic Patten reports.

There was blood, there were battles, there was murder and there was vengeance last night on Game Of Thrones‘ Season 4 finale. Not that any of that nor the fifth and deciding game of the NBA Finals did anything to dampen viewer fervor for the blockbuster series’ latest ender. The HBO drama based on George R.R. Martin’s fantasy novels drew 7.1 million viewers last night for its 9 PM airing. That’s up 32% from the 5.4 million who watched the series’ Season 3 finale on June 9 last year. That’s also up from the 6.6 million who tuned in for the Season 4 premiere on April 6. That night, which saw the series crash HBO Go, was a record for the show up to that point. However, leaping from strength to strength, GoT then hit a new series high of 7.2 million viewers on May 4 this year. The penultimate episode of Season 4 of GoT on June 8 this year had 6.9 million viewers, taking some impact from the NBA Finals Game that night. Over two plays last night, Game Of  Thrones pulled in 9.3 million viewers in total.

Related: ‘Game Of Thrones’ Showrunners On “Terrifying” Finale, Next Season’s Direction & Why ‘The Sopranos’ Rules

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‘Game Of Thrones’ Showrunners On “Terrifying” Finale, Next Season’s Direction & Why ‘The Sopranos’ Rules

By | Sunday June 15, 2014 @ 7:06pm PDT

SPOILER ALERT: This story contains details of tonight’s Game Of Thrones Season 4 finale.

Game of Thrones big logo

The Father’s Day timing of tonight’s Game Of Thrones Season 4 finale could not have been more perfect. In a packed episode of family relations revelations, the carcasses and other remnants of battle, dragon realpolitik, lovers’ betrayals and destinies revealed, a long festering father and son confrontation finally came to a fatal end on the David Benioff and D.B. Weiss created blockbuster HBO series. “This season, almost every storyline ended up peaking in the finale, which has never been the case for us before,” the duo said via email of tonight’s 66-minute finale. “It was great, knowing we’d be going out on so many climactic events. It was also terrifying,” the EPs say of the finale. Among other ends, the episode’s final minutes saw Tyrion Lannister (played by Peter Dinklage) kill both his lover Shae and patriarch Tywin (played by Charles Dance), who it turns out was having an affair with the elder Lannister.

game of thrones showrunners d.b weiss david benioff on set“Both basic confrontations, Tyrion/Shae and Tyrion/Tywin, have their source in the books,” acknowledge the showrunners of the novels by George R.R. Martin on which the fantasy drama is based. “It feels like the people CHARLES DANCE GAME OF THRONES S4 FINALEPETER DINKLAGE GAME OF THRONES S4 FINALEwho haven’t read the books will probably be pretty surprised by both scenes,” they add of viewers of what is now HBO’s most watched series ever. “We loved those scenes, and kept many of the broad strokes and particulars,” said the two, who wrote tonight’s “The Children” finale as they have the majority of  the entire series, of the depiction in Martin’s Storm of Swords. That book is the third of  the 5 books so far in Martin’s A Song Of Ice And Fire series.  Caught on latrine by a crossbow wielding Tyrion, Tywin unsuccessfully tries to talk his way out of his own demise. “To see Tyrion’s entire, troubled relationship with his father distilled into three minutes, that’s a lot of weight to put on two actors. It was our good fortune that the two actors in question were Peter and Charles, who are both power-lifters in this category.”

Related: ‘Game Of Thrones’ Director Talks Shocking Episode, Teases Season 4 Finale
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EMMYS: Mike Judge On How Viacom-Paramount Merger Influenced ‘Silicon Valley’ & ‘Office Space’s Impact On TGI Fridays

By | Saturday June 14, 2014 @ 3:45pm PDT

Mike Judge Silicon Valley interviewFor close to 20 years, multi-hyphenate Mike Judge has kept the under-25 set in stitches with his takes of less-than types, read affable vulgarians Beavis and Butthead, the hysterical rednecks on Fox’s King of the Hill, as well as know-it-all bosses in Fox’s Office Space; the latter which continues to be a cult sensation 15 years after its release. This April, Judge launched his first live-action TV comedy series, HBO‘s Silicon Valley, and like Office Space, the show provides a close-up of the absurdities of corporate types, but this time it’s the billionaires and computer geniuses who rule Northern Cali’s tech world.  The series follows a group of nerdy programmers comprised of Richard (Thomas Middleditch), Erlich (T.J. Miller), Gilfoyle (Martin Starr), Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani) and Jared (Zach Woods) who hatch the idea for an audio-compression technology called Pied Piper, only to see it stolen by the Bill Gates-ian tech lord Gavin Belson. Much like his previous projects, Judge continues to flex his finesse for nuanced, deadpan, grounded, idiosyncratic types with Silicon Valley. Though HBO only aired eight episodes this spring, Silicon Valley is on pre-Emmy nom fire with three TV Critics’ Choice noms for best comedy series, actor (Middleditch) and supporting comedy actor (Christopher Evan Welch). Click through for interview: Read More »

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Director Michelle MacLaren Inks HBO Deal

By | Wednesday June 11, 2014 @ 9:56am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

maclaren copyEXCLUSIVE: Breaking Bad executive producer/director Michelle MacLaren has signed a two-year first-look deal with HBO. The pay cable network has had its eye on MacLaren for a while — she has become one of the go-to directors for HBO’s flagship drama Game Of Thrones, directing four episodes over the past two seasons. She is now directing an episode of HBO’s new drama series, The Leftovers. 

maclarengilliganMacLaren shared in the best drama Emmy AMC’s Vince Gilligan-created Breaking Bad won last year, and has earned two directing Emmy nominations. She also is involved in the Breaking Bad prequel series, Better Call Saul. MacLaren, repped by ICM Partners and attorney Mitch Smelkinson, first worked with Gilligan on Harsh Realm and The X-Files, on both of which she served as a co-executive producer, making her directorial debut on X-Files.

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HBO Developing Texas Politics Drama From Lawrence Wright And Lauren Shuler Donner

By | Friday June 6, 2014 @ 3:46pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

lawrenceshulerdonnerEXCLUSIVE: HBO has put in development God Save Texas, a drama series project written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright (The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda And The Road To 9/11) and executive produced by X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner. It centers on an idealistic cowboy who, looking to save his ranch and marriage, tries to get elected to the Texas Legislature, where he becomes the target of the powerful energy lobby and learns how to survive in the crazy, brutal world of Texas politics.

hbologo3Wright, a native Texan and longtime observer of the political scene in Austin, is also a playwright. God Save Texas is based on his 2005 play Sonny’s Last Shot. Tony-winning veteran theater producer Margo Lion (Hairspray), who is working with Shuler Donner on adapting the Shuler Donner-produced feature The Secret Life Of Bees as a Broadway musical, gave her a copy of the play. Both felt Sonny’s Last Shot would be great as a TV series. “It was incredibly entertaining, very contemporary,” Shuler Donner said. “Every hot button issue that concerns our country: gun control, pro choice vs. pro life, our environment, voter fraud, immigration, gay marriage, is being played out in the gubernatorial race between Wendy Davis and Greg Abbot, but in a larger than life, overly heightened drama. Texas is like America…only more so.” Read More »

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With 18.4 Million Viewers, ‘Game Of Thrones’ Is HBO’s Most Watched Series Ever

By | Thursday June 5, 2014 @ 2:13pm PDT

'Game of Thrones'In a throwdown between Jersey mobsters and George R.R. Martin’s mythological characters, Games Of Thrones wins hands down. The award-winning series has become HBO‘s most-watched with an average gross audience per episode of 18.4 million viewers across all plays, outstripping the record set by the 2002 season of The Sopranos which drew 18.2 million average gross viewers per episode. Two episodes remain in the fourth season of Game Of Thrones, which has bested itself topping the 14.4 million viewers who tuned in during Season 3. The season finale is June 15. HBO has already renewed the show for a fifth and sixth season.

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Kellan Lutz & Malin Akerman To Return To HBO’s ‘Comeback’

By | Thursday June 5, 2014 @ 11:48am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

akerman lutzBesides star/co-creator Lisa Kudrow, Kellan Lutz and Malin Akerman are probably the biggest names among the alumni of HBO‘s cult comedy series The Comeback. After some juggling, I’ve learned that both are now set to reprise their roles as romantically linked Chris and Juna. None is expected to appear in all six episodes of the follow-up, which is in production for a premiere as a limited series this fall. The original show starred Kudrow as washed-up sitcom actress Valerie Cherish, who gets a reality show documenting her attempt at a career comeback. In the new episodes, Valerie will continue her search to attain the spotlight. Lutz, who has co-starred in two blockbuster feature franchises since Comeback, The Twilight Saga and The Expendables, will reprise his recurring role as Chris, one of the co-stars of Valerie’s comeback sitcom. Akerman, who toplined ABC’s comedy series Trophy Wife this past season, will reprise his regular role as Juna, who plays Val’s niece on the sitcom and sees her as a role model in real life. Lutz, who played the title role in The Legend Of Hercules, and Akerman are with WME; Lutz is also with Zero Gravity.

Related: HBO Eyes Return Of Michael Patrick King/Lisa Kudrow Comedy ‘The Comeback’

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EMMYS Q&A: Matthew McConaughey On Following Oscar With The Game-Changing HBO Series ‘True Detective’

By | Wednesday June 4, 2014 @ 4:26pm PDT
Mike Fleming

tueWhen movie stars go cold, the smart ones can find their way back. For Robert Downey Jr, that meant an Iron Man screen test so overwhelming that skeptical studio execs had no choice but to hire him. Ben Affleck scripted his own second act as writer and director and won the Best Picture Oscar for Argo. When we look back on how Matthew McConaughey sprang himself from rom-com prison by taking creative risks in small edgy films, his transformation won’t simply be pegged to the performance as AIDS activist Ron Woodroof that won him the Best Actor Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club. McConaughey’s second wind is a one-two punch capped off by his Emmy-caliber performance as the tightly coiled fatalistic cop Rustin “Rust” Cohle opposite Woody Harrelson in HBO‘s groundbreaking 8-episode drama series True Detective. Among other things, McConaughey explains here how patience was key to turning around a stalled career and how patience allowed him to let a complicated character percolate over a time span four times longer that he gets in feature films.

Related: Bart & Fleming: Are Features Losing Their Prestige Mojo To TV?

TRDEADLINE: True Detective is a high-water mark in this golden age where pay and cable TV series are as good or better than what we see on movie screens. Still, it’s chancy for a movie star to say yes to a TV Read More »

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Xbox Adds HBO & Showtime Apps, Twitter Integration

By | Wednesday June 4, 2014 @ 3:30pm PDT

MiniGuide_Twitter Xbox 24Microsoft is beefing up the online video entertainment offerings of its Xbox Live online service by 25 percent, adding apps from HBO, Showtime, various Disney channels, Comedy Central and dozens of others it said will become available sometime this year. The company also is integrating Twitter and Twitter’s short-video service Vine into the service, providing ready access to the social-media services while watching TV through the Xbox One console. That deep integration will allow people to tweet about a show onscreen as they’re watching it, see in the program guide what shows are getting a lot of tweets and to follow what those who are connected with a show are posting.

Larry-Hryb-Major-Nelson__140604221036Larry Hryb, a longtime Xbox executive, said in a video released today that the new approach with Twitter will make it easy for fans to talk about the shows they’re watching. It’s clearly an attempt by Microsoft to pull the so-called “second-screen” experience — watching a show while using social media on a tablet or phone — back into a single device. The integration looks slickly done in the video, but it will be interesting to see whether users will follow Microsoft’s lead. Will they use either a controller or perhaps their handheld devices with a remote-control app to tweet through the TV screen instead of directly through their phone? More will likely be disclosed in next Monday’s big presentation from Microsoft ahead of the E3 video game convention in Los Angeles. Read More »

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Darren Aronofsky Adapting Futuristic ‘MaddAddam’ Book Trilogy As HBO Series

By | Wednesday June 4, 2014 @ 2:40pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

aronofskyEXCLUSIVE: HBO has put in development drama series MaddAddam, executive produced by Oscar-nominated Black Swan helmer Darren Aronofsky through his Protozoa Pictures banner. The project, based on Margaret Atwood’s book hbologo3trilogy Oryx and Crake (2003), Year Of The Flood (2009), and MaddAddam (2013), is being developed as a potential directing vehicle for Aronofsky. MaddAddam marks the first project to come out of the three-year first-look deal the filmmaker and his Protozoa Pictures inked with HBO in January.

maddaddam1The story in the MaddAddam books, part of Atwood’s self-described genre of “speculative fiction,” is set in the mid-21st century in a world where corporations have taken over for governments and the genetic modification of organisms is perversely ubiquitous. It centers on the events before and after a Waterless Flood that wipes out almost all of the world’s population and follows an extensive cast of characters, including those responsible for the apocalypse and those struggling to survive it. Producer Brandi-Ann Milbradt, who is engaged to Aronofsky, brought the project to Protozoa and will serve as executive producer alongside Aronofsky and his longtime collaborator, Protozoa Pictures president Ari Handel. Atwood serves as consulting producer. Aronofsky and his team are currently meeting with writers. Read More »

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UPDATE: FCC Needs To Be Convinced John Oliver’s Call To Action On Net Neutrality Crashed Its Comments System (Video)

By | Tuesday June 3, 2014 @ 6:30pm PDT

UPDATED, 6:30 PM: An FCC rep today has been telling reporters it’s not clear if Monday’s disruption to its email comments system was caused by John Oliver‘s call to action. Only one way to find out — another Oliver call to action.

Related: John Oliver Explains Net Neutrality On HBO’s ‘Last Week Tonight’: Video

PREVIOUSLY: John Oliver’s call to action on the subject of net neutrality, on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, appears to have crashed the FCC’s comments system.

 

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