UPDATE: 10:45 AM: Jimmy Fallon led comfortably in the ratings last night, despite Jimmy Kimmel’s big “get” – first-ever JKL appearance by former President Bill Clinton. Fallon got a last-minute assist from former VPOTUS-candidate-turned-reality-TV-regular Sarah Palin. In Nielsen’s 56 metered markets, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon scored a household 3.0/7; CBS’ Late Show With David Letterman a 2.5/6, and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live a 2.4/6. In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, adult 18-49 results were: Tonight at 1.1/5; Late Show’s 0.5/2; and JKL’s 0.8/4. Watch Clinton and Kimmel here:
Sarah Palin insists her new reality series on Sportsman Channel, Amazing America With Sarah Palin, will not be political. More accurately, she told TV critics at the TCA Winter TV Press Tour this morning, “Thank God this isn’t political.” It will, however, touch on “protecting our Constitution,” she said during her breakfast Q&A here in Pasadena. What about the Constitution? The Second Amendment. And the First Amendment. Specifically, she said, about being able to say what you want without fear of losing your job, she explained, adding, “We’ve seen that with other networks recently.” She was, of course, referencing Duck Dynasty. Fan Sarah Palin took to social media to voice her support for Phil Robertson when A&E put him on hiatus for an indefinite period over comments he made in a GQ interview, saying that his suspension is an attack on free speech. “Free speech is an endangered species,” she wrote on Facebook. “Those ‘intolerants’ hatin’ and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us.”
This morning, Palin — rail-thin and dressed in a bedazzled top, black jeans and American flag platform pumps she says were ordered for her by her niece McKinley “(Named after the mountain in Alaska, Palin said, which in turn, was named after the country’s 25th President William McKinley) — revealed she eats organic. She acknowledged a lot of people don’t associate the Palins “with the granola type of thing.” And their organic food isn’t wrapped in celophane, “it’s wrapped in fur.”
Amazing America, Palin said, will give viewers the opportunity to “see how it is we live out that Americana dream of productivity and loving the great outdoors.” The show will be about living “unguarded, unchained, and living that Red Wild and Blue lifestyle in Alaska — what America used to be.” She hopes to “showcase people places and things in order to inspire… and restore fundamentally what made America so great ” she said, adding “independent,” “clean” and “free.”
“This is already a very creepy way to start the question,” Oliver interrupted during the session of the TCA Winter Press Tour 2014, being held at the Langham hotel in Pasadena.
“Sarah Palin is hosting breakfast,” the critic explained.
“WHAT?! Are you kidding? Well, now — I’m checking in!” Oliver enthused. “What breakfast?”
Sportsman Channel, he was informed. Palin’s come to promote her new reality series for the network.
“Good for her!” Oliver beamed. “She’s going to do to sports what she did to politics. … Believe me, there is a significant voice in my head now saying, ‘Check in, go to breakfast’!” he said giddily. “I think I’m on a flight tomorrow morning, but again, half of me has already canceled that flight,” he continued as one TV critic offered him his credentials so he could attend the Palin breakfast. “I’m also glad the TCA security is so high that passes are utterly transferable — especially since we are different races,” he said of the critic.
UPDATE, 2:45 PM: Some Washingtonians were disappointed this afternoon when no one stepped up to ask President Obama a Duck Dynasty question during his last news conference of the calendar year. The disappointed ones had a pool going, in re which reporter would ask POTUS a question about the recently suspended Duck Dynasty star. “Moral dilemma for White House reporters: Duck Dynasty question guarantees pickup and/but..practical dilemma for @pfeiffer44: how much prep?” tweeted Mark Halperin, senior political analyst for Time magazine, Time.com, and MSNBC. (instead, Obama got asked whether 2013 had been the “worst year of your presidency,” a couple NSA surveillance questions and what he thought was his biggest mistake of the year. Answer: ACA rollout.)
A&E has no plans to edit down, or out, show patriarch Phil Robertson’s appearances in the nine episodes that have already been completed of the show’s upcoming 10-episode fifth season, scheduled to debut on January 15. And it is hoping he will be back for Season 6. That said, the network is giving some thought to pushing back start of production on the next batch of episodes currently slated for spring, according to informed sources, as it attempts to see what it can salvage from the wreck left by this week’s GQ article and newly unearthed Phil video. In that 2010 video, Robertson is seen making an impassioned speech against the “gross sexual immorality” of “women with women” and “men with men.” The video, first uploaded by various attendees of a Wild Game Supper of the Berean Bible Church, somewhere in Pennsylvania, shows Robertson alternately demonstrating bird calls, defining his pursuit of happiness as “to blow a duck’s head smooth off,” and discussing the “shameful lust” going on in this country.
“Women with women. Men with men. They committed indecent acts with one another. And they received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion,” Robertson said in the video. “They’re full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant God haters. They are heartless, they are faithless, they are senseless, they are ruthless, they invent ways of doing evil.”
PREVIOUS, 8:47 AM: A&E Network has had to beef up security at its New York headquarters after receiving death threats and suspicious packages from people enraged about the network’s decision to suspend Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson. No formal meetings are schedule today between A&E and the Robertson clan, who yesterday issued a statement saying they “cannot imagine” doing the show without Phil — which, loosely translated, means “No Phil – no show.” That said, the network, which has had a good working relationship with the family (as the clan noted in its statement), is “always talking to them,” as one source with knowledge of the family said. The decision to suspend Phil Robertson triggered a firestorm and has created some strange bedfellows; last night Jon Stewart defended Phil’s “right to say ignorant shit” — joining Phil defenders Sarah Palin, who’d tweeted “Those ‘intolerants’ hatin’ and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us,” and Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who’d pronounced it “It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended.”
The Fox News contributor and former Alaska Governor says a copyright infringement lawsuit against her for use of an iconic photo of the U.S. flag being raised at Ground Zero on September 11 should be tossed out. “A New Jersey newspaper has chosen New York as the forum to sue defendants located in distant states, based on conduct with no particular connection to this District besides the subject matter of the photograph — a consideration that is irrelevant for purposes of venue,” lawyers for Sarah Palin wrote yesterday (read it here) in a filing in NYC District Court. “Defendants therefore seek dismissal…on the ground of improper venue or, in the alternative, for transfer of this action to an appropriate forum,” the motion memo adds.
North Jersey Media Group sued the former GOP VP nominee and her political action committee SarahPAC more than three months ago for putting up an edited version of the photograph with the words “We will never forget” on her Facebook page and the PAC’s website without permission. Thursday’s 24-page memo also bluntly notes that “plaintiff’s copyright claim is groundless because the alleged use of plaintiff’s photograph in reduced, cropped form to provide visual and historical context to a Facebook post memorializing the September 11th attacks is not copyright infringement.” Palin’s lawyers say that because the well-known photo was used in such a manner as well as cropped and altered, it is “fair use.” They also note that it was not intended to solicit donations for the PAC in any way.
UPDATED, 11:30 AM: Martin Bashir‘s resignation from MSNBC after making graphic statements about Sarah Palin on his program led to some interesting, and unexpected, results. This morning, for instance, Palin praised the media for keeping on the story alive after Bashir apologized for comments he made about her on his show. “It was refreshing to see though, that many in the media did come out and say, ‘Look our standards have got to be higher than this’,” Palin said this morning on Fox News Channel‘s Fox & Friends. “Those with that platform, with a microphone, a camera in their face, they have to have some more responsibility taken.” Meanwhile, Alec Baldwin, who’d added his voice to the chorus wondering why MSNBC had not punished Bashir for his incendiary, pre-planned on-air comment about Palin — Baldwin had been suspended, then canceled for his homophobic rant against a photographer — weighed in with support of Bashir after word of the latter’s resignation got out. “I’m sorry to learn that @MartinBashir is out at MSNBC,” Baldwin tweeted yesterday, followed a minute later by, “Bashir created great television.” On his November 15 MSNBC program, Bashir called Palin a “world class idiot” for comparing the country’s debt to China to slavery. After describing one slave-owner’s practice of forcing a slave to defecate in another slave’s mouth, Bashir said Palin would be a good candidate for such treatment.
MSNBC‘s joint announcement today with Alec Baldwin’s camp that they had mutually decided to end Baldwin’s Up Late interview show leaves the cable news network with just one on-air talent headache: Martin Bashir, whose apology for graphic comments he made about Sarah Palin hasn’t ended chatter as to whether he should be punished.
This past weekend, Palin, a Fox News analyst, said in an interview with Fox News Sunday that MSNBC was guilty of “executive hypocrisy” in not disciplining Bashir for his “vile, evil comments.” Following Bashir’s on-air apology, the network — which fired Don Imus in 2007 for referring to members of the Rutgers women’s basketball team as “nappy-headed hos” and suspended David Shuster for two weeks in 2008 for suggesting that Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign had “pimped out” daughter Chelsea by having her make phone calls to celebrities and convention delegates — told the Associated Press it was “handling this [Bashir] matter internally,” and wouldn’t comment further.
Bashir had used his weekday afternoon program on November 15 to criticize Palin for having compared U.S. indebtedness to China to slavery. Bashir cited the diaries of a former plantation overseer who punished slaves by having someone defecate in their mouth or urinate on their face. Bashir suggested the former Alaska governor was a candidate for the same treatment. After Bashir made that suggestion, the same day MSNBC suspended Baldwin’s show after the host’s off-screen behavior, much debate ensued as to why Baldwin’s reprehensible rant during a heated off-air confrontation merited suspension, while Bashir’s thought-out, and deliberately gag-inducing, suggestion, made on air, did not. Bashir apologized during his next telecast, on November 18.
Pivot — the millennial-targeting network launched in August to “entertain and inspire activism” among 18- to 34-year-olds with its “completely different approach to television,” including a “very f—ed up, weird reality talk show” (said Pivot president Evan Shapiro) — today announced that the host of that very f—ed up, weird reality talk show, Meghan McCain, will interview her dad, Sen. John McCain, for the first time.
The interview, premiering Saturday, will feature Meghan asking Dad, among other things, how he turned “a crushing defeat into an inspiring comeback” during the ’08 presidential bid. In clips sent to the press today, Meghan also asked Dad how millennials “can overcome all the obstacles we are facing and still live a fulfilling life.” He said they need to be involved, but “it doesn’t have to be in the military,” ticking off a couple other ideas. More newsworthy, perhaps, Meghan asked Dad about his failed 2008 presidential race against now-President Obama and how he turned that concession speech — or, as Pivot at one point in its news release called it, his “confession speech” — from a “difficult moment into something that has turned out to be so beautiful.”
Despite leaving Fox News last month, Sarah Palin is not joining Al Jazeera America as a talking head. She is, however ,certainly mocking a Washington Post report today incorrectly claiming she was. “Hey @washingtonpost, I’m having coffee with Elvis this week. He works at the Mocha Moose in Wasilla. #suziparkerscoops #idiotmedia,” the former GOP VP candidate wrote on Twitter today. Earlier in the day, the Post ran a seemingly unbelievable story by blogger Suzy Parker on its website saying Palin was heading to the new U.S. version of the Qatar-based network. Parker’s story cited a February 4 report on the Daily Currant as its source for Palin’s new gig. The story quoted the conservative former Alaska Governor as saying Al Jazeera “told me they reach millions of devoutly religious people who don’t watch CBS or CNN. That tells me they don’t have a liberal bias.” However, what the Post didn’t realize was the Currant is a news parody website and the original story was meant to be funny and not at all factual.
The former Republican Vice Presidential candidate will no longer be on Fox News Channel, the network confirmed today. “We have thoroughly enjoyed our association with Governor Palin. We wish her the best in her future endeavors,” FNC Programming EVP Bill Shine said in a statement. Sarah Palin has been a frequent contributor to Fox News since 2009.
Not only did the News Corp-owned network reportedly pay Palin more than $1 million a year, but FNC even built a studio in her Wasilla home so the former Alaska governor could work from there. However, the relationship was not always ruffle-free. On August 29 last year, Palin took to her Facebook page to complain about FNC removing her as a talking head for the network’s GOP convention coverage. Fox News said later it was a scheduling issue and not a slight. Palin showed up on Sean Hannity’s show the next night.
UPDATE, 5:17 PM Thursday: Sarah Palin’s comments on Facebook about her Republican Convention speech being canceled may be part of an elaborate negotiating tactic, according to New York magazine. Palin’s contract is supposedly up in …
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
Katie Couric breezed through ABC’s morning presentation at TCA to hype her forthcoming syndicated daily daytime talk show Katie, disclosing that she already has invited famed former interview subject Sarah Palin to come on but has yet to hear back. Couric also has invited President Obama and Michelle Obama as well as Mitt and Ann Romney to the show, which premieres September 10.
Couric also detailed what she expects the show to be (she disclosed that Sheryl Crow wrote and performs the theme song) and that producer Jeff Zucker — long her boss during her years at the Today show — will be constantly in her ear during production. ”I’m really excited to be able to work with Jeff,” Couric said. “We had some great years on the Today show and have very similar sensibilities. We can finish each other’s sentences. And I know he’s got my back. I trust him implicitly. It givers me a great sense of security to have him here, to have someone in your ear whom you really trust.”
Related: TV Teaser: Katie Couric’s ‘Katie’
The former GOP VP candidate tore into Hollywood — including comedian Bill Maher and HBO’s movie about the 2008 presidential campaign, Game Change — but showed some affection for Oprah Winfrey and Tina Fey on the Today Show’s “Today’s Professionals” panel discussion segment this morning. Asked about Winfrey’s admission yesterday that she failed to appreciate how hard it would be to launch her struggling OWN network, Palin said “more power to Oprah for getting out there, showing the guts, showing the grit that it takes to succeed. ….She is representing what makes America great. You have opportunity to succeed and to fail and to keep trying again.” Palin didn’t raise her hand when host Matt Lauer asked panel members to do so if they thought that Winfrey would be able to fix OWN. But she added that she thinks the channel is “going to be around. She should get some conservatives on the show, some patriots.”
After a massive promotional campaign and a dash of controversy, HBO’s Game Change premiered with an average of 2.1 million viewers at 9 PM on Saturday to become the network’s most watched original film in almost …