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Les Moonves On Charlie Sheen ‘Two And A Half Men’ Debacle: ‘Shit Happens’

By | Thursday November 17, 2011 @ 4:41pm PST

CBS Corp. President and CEO Leslie Moonves this afternoon addressed what went down with Charlie Sheen on the CBS hit Two and a Half Men earlier this year by issuing this easily-understandable two-word assessment: “Shit happens.” Featured in conversation at the Hollywood Radio and Television Society Newsmaker Luncheon at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Moonves elaborated that what happened to the show was “unfortunate” and “wasn’t fun. There’s no good when there are lawyers involved with a television show.” But he is encouraged to find that Men’s ratings are up from what they were a year ago with Ashton Kutcher having replaced Sheen in the cast. He added, “I’m happy that Charlie has a show with a very good showrunner and a very good studio in Lionsgate. We wish him well. We’re more than happy with how well Ashton has done other than his comments about Penn State (condemning via Twitter the firing of head coach Joe Paterno). But I’m glad (Two and a Half Men) is a chapter that’s closing, and with these numbers I’m hoping this show will last for many, many years.” Moonves wouldn’t commit, however, to a multi-year renewal of the show going forward.

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Parents Urged To Limit TV For Kids Under 2

By | Tuesday October 18, 2011 @ 7:53pm PDT

Study: Fast-Paced Cartoons No Good For Kids’ Brains

As many as 90% of children under the age of 2 are exposed to some form of electronic media every day, and American Academy of Pediatrics says these kids are better off engaging in unstructured play time and interacting  with other humans — not media screens — and at this age they are already watching as much as two hours a day. TV that is on in the background is also detrimental, according to the policy statement.

The pediatricians group first issued recommendations on media use for children under age 2 in 1999, essentially discouraging TV viewing. More is known today about children’s early brain development and the best ways to help them learn.

Among the pediatricians’ conclusions:

  • Unstructured play time is more valuable for the developing brain than electronic media. Children learn to think creatively, problem solve, and develop reasoning and motor skills at early ages through unstructured, unplugged play. Free play also teaches them how to entertain themselves.
  • Parents who watch TV or videos with their child may add to the child’s understanding, but children learn more from live presentations than from televised ones.
  • So-called “educational television” isn’t as beneficial as parents may think it is. Many video programs for infants and toddlers are marketed as “educational,” yet evidence does not support this.
  • Young children learn best from—and need—interaction with humans, not screens.
  • When parents are watching

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Oscars Move Closer To Voting Change — Emmys Resist; Can Hackers Be Kept Out?

Pete Hammond

Oscar’s move to online voting is off and running. The Academy confirms that a very impressive 83% of the membership had returned cards requesting their email address by the deadline date of June 30, but an Academy spokesperson assured me “it’s an ongoing process,” so if you were one of the stragglers, get that email to the membership department.

This is a first step in a very methodical and careful move to online voting for the Academy just as most other guilds and voting orgs have already done. And it is also a first step toward potentially moving the Oscar telecast up earlier in the season to the end of January or beginning of February. An expedited voting process would certainly help make that difficult prospect easier to pull off.

The Academy sent out the request to members in May, and considering the advanced age of some AMPAS voters, the response is encouraging. Common wisdom is that older voters might be the most resistant to change, but officials are happy with the way potential online voting is being embraced so far.

As I wrote recently, there was also some concern about A-listers not providing their direct emails, which is a problem because the Academy does not want to put an electronic ballot in the hands of Brad Pitt’s or Barbra Streisand’s assistants (even though it’s no secret that there are some assistants who have been known to help their boss by filling out the snail-mail ballots anyway). Academy president Tom Sherak tells me confidently that even that part of the process is now “going fairly well” too.

Sherak says the Academy hopes to have a firm that can conduct online voting in place by this month and it is actively involved now in the selection procedure for that. “We’re getting closer” is how Sherak puts it, but he emphasized to me that online voting for Oscars will not be ready for next year’s 84th Academy Awards. He says they are taking a very methodical approach and after securing a firm will begin testing by putting some kind of vote online while still using paper ballots (which will be the only ones that count in the test case) to see how the online method is initially received. Then they will probably test it again leading to its first official use, perhaps in the selection of governors for the board next May. ”It will not be implemented until we’re sure it works, but all of this preparation is necessary so we can move it methodically into a proper voting cycle for the Oscars,” he says. Sherak adds they are aware that even though they want to move this process online, some members don’t have emails. The Academy will be providing an alternative for those concerned voters (likely the old standby paper ballot) just as the guilds do now.

“We will give all our members an opportunity to be part of something they have always been a part of,” Sherak says, meaning no one among the approximate 6,000 voting members are about to be disenfranchised by new technology creeping into the notoriously slow-to-change Academy.

Of course, many of those members already have experience voting online in their various guild contests since most Academy voters are also likely guild voters. The bigger problem here I think for the Academy is that unlike those contests, Oscar, being the highest-profile awards show of them all, may provide an irresisible target for hackers — and the Academy knows it. A key reason they are being careful about diving into online voting is the danger of having its air-tight voting system compromised. After all, WikiLeaks proves no one, even the most closed doors of the U.S. government, are immune to a cyber violation of its top secrets. Read More »

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Is It Time To End Live TV Sports Coverage?

By | Sunday April 17, 2011 @ 3:41pm PDT

This afternoon, in a live broadcast of the 37th Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach, Indy car racing league driver Marco Andretti had contact with another car out of the pits. Explaining what happened, Andretti said from inside his auto, loud and clear, “I have no fucking idea.” For a few minutes, the Versus announcers were silent. Then one of them said, “We apologize for the language.” And last week during a game, live cameras caught Lakers star Kobe Bryant calling referee Bennie Adams a “faggot” after being whistled for what the basketball star thought was an unjust foul. Gay rights organizations quickly demanded disciplinary measures, so NBA Commissioner David Stern slapped Bryant with a $100,000 fine. Kobe took to the airwaves to express remorse for uttering a homophobic slur.  Both moments were recorded on national TV because so many sports events are covered live. But should they be? After all, a 7-second delay “bleep” button is available to delete offensive material from a live broadcast before it’s transmitted. The button cuts off the video circuit, or the sound, or both, between the recorder and the transmitter.

On the one hand, it can be argued that truly “live” events show people without PR cover, and I suspect both the Indy Racing League and the NBA would have covered up Andretti’s and Bryant’s moments. Now the world knows. On the other hand, many parents are watching sporting events with their kids. I find it interesting that the groups complaining the loudest about the increasing bad language on TV … Read More »

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On-Location Shooting Up In LA, But Not Because Of Film & TV Categories

By | Tuesday April 5, 2011 @ 6:11pm PDT

Shooting-permit organization FilmL.A. said today that on-location filming in all production categories increased 4.7% during the first quarter of 2011, the fifth consecutive quarter of gains in the region that includes the City of Los Angeles, parts of unincorporated Los Angeles County and other local jurisdictions. Still, feature film shoots declined 5.3% and TV fell 3.7%, as the bulk of overall gains in production days came from smaller projects like music videos, industrial videos and student films (up 21.5%) and commercials (up 2.4%). “The latest data suggest a softness in the industry, but not a full loss of momentum,” FilmL.A. chair Ed Duffy said. “Pilot production is up, and we have a couple big features in production, so we’re optimistic about a better set of numbers come July.”

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