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post #100261 of 100290 Old Yesterday, 08:02 AM
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TV Review
USA's new 'Dig' is a crazy mess
By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's 'Tune In' Blog - Mar. 5, 2015

Attempt to dig into USA's "Dig" (10 tonight) and it might feel like you've hit impenetrable rock. It's one crazy mess of a TV "event series" that doesn't make much effort to clarify what it's about in the early going, plopping viewers into two concurrent plots that will presumably intersect at some point.

Story one follows FBI agent Peter Connelly (Jason Isaacs), who's stationed in Jerusalem, estranged from his wife back in America and sleeping with his boss (Anne Heche). Peter is tasked with recovering an international fugitive, Yussef Khalid (Omar Metwally), but Peter butts heads with an Israeli police detective (Ori Pfeffer) who's also after Khalid.

Peter, smarter than everyone else around him (of course!), is also on the receiving end of disapproving glares from the U.S. ambassador to Israel (Regina Taylor, "I'll Fly Away") because he likes to go rogue (like all law enforcement heroes on TV do!).

In tonight's 90-minute premiere, Peter also gets caught up in events surrounding an American archaeologist, Emma Wilson (Alison Sudol), who works in a secret archaeological dig beneath Jerusalem.

The Peter story is the more conventional thriller plot that brings to mind a gloss on "24" or "Homeland" ("Dig" was co-created by Gideon Raff, an executive producer on "Homeland," and Tim Kring of "Heroes.") The other, crazier conspiracy plot is even more credulity-straining.

The story begins in Norway as a group of Orthodox Jews tend to the birth of a red heifer, a possible sign of the apocalypse. Then the story jumps to a compound in New Mexico where evangelist Tad Billingham (David Costabile, "Breaking Bad") menacingly leads his flock, including dedicated-but-questioning Debbie (Lauren Ambrose, "Six Feet Under") and 13-year-old Josh (Zen McGrath), who is being held to rigorous standards (his feet are never allowed to touch the ground).

"Ours is a God of miracles, and you, son, are a miracle," Tad tells Josh, who creepily quotes scripture back to Tad before the boy is forced to slaughter a calf.

Maybe it's just burnout from one too many "DaVinci Code"-esque conspiracy thrillers, but the crazy religious zealots plot is both eye-rolling and tired. Coupled with the police chases, this event series is less something to "Dig" and more a rehash of stories previously dug up.

http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/tv-ra...s/201503050089
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post #100262 of 100290 Old Yesterday, 08:07 AM
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TV Review
'American Crime': A downbeat but powerful drama, as timely as tomorrow's news
By Kristi Turnquist, The Oregonian - Mar. 4, 2015

If you want to be reassured that all's right with the world, there are plenty of TV shows you can watch. But if you're willing to go along on a dark, downbeat journey that speaks to what's broken in contemporary American society, "American Crime" is the series you've been waiting for.

Which isn't to say it's easy viewing, for anybody. The brainchild of John Ridley, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of "12 Years a Slave," "American Crime" is resolutely grim. Pretty much everyone involved in, or touched by, the crime that sets the story in motion has made mistakes. Nobody is noble. One person's conviction that they're doing the right thing looks to somebody else like prejudice, intolerance or lack of understanding.

Ridley understands that everyone has their reasons, and that their self-justifications can be tragically short-sighted, misguided or dangerous.

The limited-run, 11-episode series begins with the report of a home invasion, in Modesto, California. Dead at the scene is Matt Skokie, an Iraq War vet. His wife, Gwen, has been assaulted, and is in a coma.

But rather than tell the story of the investigation from the cops' point of view, Ridley goes deep into the perspectives of those who are affected by, and implicated in, the crime.

All the players in the "American Crime" drama are flawed. Matt's bereaved parents, Russ (Timothy Hutton) and Barb (Felicity Huffman) got divorced years ago, after Russ' gambling addiction left the family in ruins. Barb remains bitter about struggling to raise their two sons on her own as a low-income single mother. And when she hears that the police have a Hispanic suspect, Barb's first response is to assume he's "an illegal."

While Gwen lies in a coma at the hospital, her parents, Tom (W. Earl Brown) and Eve (Penelope Ann Miller), try to inflict their religious beliefs on Russ and Barb.

The police, meanwhile, bring in four suspects: Tony Gutierrez (Johnny Ortiz), a teen-age boy who made a stupid mistake, and was rebelling against his father, Alonzo's (Benito Martinez) strict discipline and stay-away-from-gangs-and-drugs rule-making; Hector Tontz (Richard Cabral), an undocumented Mexican immigrant who was using the dead man's credit card; dead Matt's credit card; and Carter Nix (Elvis Nolasco) and Aubry Taylor (Caitlin Gerard), a pair of meth addicts who may be involved.

At times, it feels like Ridley has drawn up a scorecard of Today's Divisive Issues, and crossed them off, as characters argue about bigotry, drug addiction, immigration, Muslim and Christian faith, racial profiling and more.

But when Ridley's narrative threatens to get too heavy-handed, the individual struggles and tragedies of the characters keep the story grounded. Especially affecting, for different reasons, are Huffman's Barb, who falls back on resentment and racial prejudice as a way of trying to understand what happened; and Martinez's Alonzo, whose heartache at seeing his family torn apart is shattering.

On one level, they're symbols. But on another, they're people, divided by their differences, and united by pain.

"American Crime"
Premieres at 10 p.m. Thursday, March 5 on ABC (2)


http://www.oregonlive.com/movies/201..._a_downbe.html
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post #100263 of 100290 Old Yesterday, 08:11 AM
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TV Review
Ellie Kemper finds the joy in Tina Fey's dark, funny 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt'
Made for NBC, debuting on Netflix, it makes 'The Office' alum a star
By Alan Sepinwall, HitFix.com - Mar. 5, 2015

Early in the first episode of "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," the title character, played by Ellie Kemper, smiles as she explores New York City for the first time. It is among the biggest, widest, happiest smiles I have ever witnessed, on screen or in real life, Kemper opening her mouth so widely that you can practically count all her teeth.

It is a smile that holds nothing back, and it's emblematic of the rest of "The Office" alum's performance. Whatever Kemper is asked to do by "Kimmy Schmidt" creators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, she commits to fully, like a scene at a club where she hurls her body across the dance floor with abandon. It is a great, overjoyed lead performance, and I can't imagine this show working at all — even on Netflix which scooped up the 13-episode first season (all episodes will be released after midnight Pacific tonight) after NBC decided it was too weird to air — with anything less than the energy level Kemper brings.

With her, though, it's terrific: a comedy so funny and silly and brimming with unexpected jokes that after an episode and a half, I stopped taking notes altogether because I wanted nothing to distract me from the experience of it.

Before Kimmy came to New York, you see, she spent 15 years trapped in an underground bunker run by a cult leader who convinced Kimmy and the other three women inside that the world above had been destroyed. She was in the eighth grade when she was abducted, and as she admits to her new roommate Titus Andromeddon (Tituss Burgess), "Yes, there was weird sex stuff in the bunker." Finally rescued (and dubbed one of the "Indiana mole women" by the news media), she decides to start her life over in New York.

This is an incredibly dark, sad backstory to hand a sitcom character. The show doesn't exactly use Kimmy's ordeal as its primary subject, but nor does it hide from it, either; to survive in the big city, she often flashes back on lessons learned in the bunker, like her belief that you can stand any bit of suffering if you view it as a bunch of 10-second increments all in a row. Without Kemper's irrepressible sunniness, Kimmy's origin would probably too much to allow the show to function even as a black comedy.

With her open, giddy presence, though, the series is a showcase for the kind of quick, absurdist writing that Fey and Carlock did so well for years on "30 Rock." It's at once a twisted parody of every "plucky single gal in the big city" story ever told, and an often hilarious version of the real thing.

In short order, the pilot episode gives her a roommate in the theatrical Titus (Burgess had a recurring role on "30 Rock" as Angie Jordan's sidekick D'Fwan), a kooky landlady in Lillian (played by Carol Kane, who somehow never appeared on "30 Rock" despite her acting style being a perfect fit for Fey and Carlock's sensibilities) and a boss in unhappy trophy wife Jacqueline Vorhees (Jane Krakowski, playing to her strengths, even if Jacqueline's not a huge leap from Jenna Maroney), who needs Kimmy to play nanny to the kids she'd rather not deal with. (When her son complains about his birthday party, she tells him, "Actually, Buckley, this isn't your worst birthday ever. Your worst birthday ever was when you busted my genitals.")

It's a pretty small cast (Buckley all but vanishes after the second episode, which seems like a wise move), and that allows the focus to remain on the title character and the off-kilter way she views the world. She's not only missed 15 years of current events and changes in technology and popular culture, but grew from girl to woman in extreme, isolated circumstances. She's not quite Unfrozen Cavewoman Nanny, but our modern world both confuses and delights her — "Titus!" she announces during the club scene, "Dancing is about butts now!" — and the fact that she's thrown in her lot with a group of exaggerated characters like Titus (Burgess and Kemper are a terrific study in contrasts both physically and in demeanor, yet it makes sense that they so quickly become friends) and Jacqueline only enhances that sense of displacement.

There are some bumps and inevitable growing pains in the six episodes Netflix made available to critics, just as there are in most young comedies. ("30 Rock" didn't really turn into the show we know and love until around the half-dozen mark.) But they establish two things: 1)This is by far funnier than any of NBC's current or upcoming sitcoms (especially with "Parks and Rec" retired), and 2)It's so idiosyncratic, and with such a potentially off-putting backstory (a friend I watched a few episodes with laughed a lot, then said she'd rather not keep going because the compound flashbacks made her sad), almost surely would have been canceled in a season, if not within a few weeks, if the network had actually gone ahead with airing it. NBC has no comedy brand at the moment and minimal ability to launch half-hours, so this becomes a strange win-win: Netflix ordered a second season as part of the deal, which means NBC gets to own a show that it would have otherwise killed, and Fey and Carlock get to keep making it without the pressure of trying to succeed where the likes of "Bad Judge" and "A to Z" failed.

As good as this version of "Kimmy Schmidt" is, I'm actually more eager to see the second season, which won't be produced with a broadcast network timeslot in mind. These episodes suggest an even darker, weirder show lurking just under the surface of this one, which NBC standards and practices never would have allowed, but which I suspect Fey and Carlock could pull off, given the bright, endearing and extremely funny star they've placed at the center of things.

http://www.hitfix.com/whats-alan-wat...-kimmy-schmidt
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
THURSDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)

ABC:
8PM - Grey's Anatomy
9PM - Scandal
10PM - American Crime (Series Premiere)
* * * *
11:35AM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Naomi Watts; Carly Rae Jepsen performs)
12:37AM - Nightline

CBS:
8PM - The Big Bang Theory
8:30PM - The Odd Couple
9PM - The Big Bang Theory
(R - Dec. 11)
9:30PM - Mom
10PM - Elementary
* * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Will Smith; Grizfolk performs)
(R - Feb. 18)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show (Drew Carey guest hosts; Jane Lynch; biologist Dan Riskin; magician Ed Alonzo)

NBC:
8PM - The Slap
9PM - The Blacklist
10PM - Allegiance
* * * *
11:34AM - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Hugh Jackman; Tiffani Thiessen; Hozier performs)
12:36AM - Late Night with Seth Myers (Jada Pinkett Smith; Ginnifer Goodwin; Robert Smigel; Kate Pierson sits-in with The 8G Band)
1:37AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Freddie Highmore; Caribou performs; singer-songwriter Alison Sudol)

FOX:
8PM - American Idol (LIVE)
9PM - Backstrom

PBS:
(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - The 'This Old House' Hour (R - Feb. 5)
9PM - The Great British Baking Show: Final
(R - Oct. 8)
10PM - Antiques Roadshow: Des Moines
(R - Feb. 14, 2011)

UNIVISION:
8PM - Mi Corazón Es Tuyo
9PM - Hasta El Fin del Mundo
10PM - Que Te Perdone Dios... Yo No

THE CW:
8PM - The Vampire Diaries
(R - Jan. 29)
9PM - Supernatural
(R - Feb. 3)

TELEMUNDO:
8PM - Los Miserables
9PM - Tierra de Reyes
10PM - Dueños del Paraíso

COMEDY CENTRAL:
11PM - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Author Gerald Posner)
11:31PM - The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore
12:01AM - At Midnight (Trevor Moore; Heather Anne Campbell; Nick Thune)

TBS:
11PM - Conan (Adam Sandler; Jonathan Banks; music duo Broods)
(R - Dec. 1)
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post #100265 of 100290 Old Yesterday, 08:28 AM
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TV Notes/Profile
James Corden on Taking Over ‘The Late Late Show’ and Winning Over America
By Debra Birnbaum, Variety.com - Mar. 3, 2015

James Corden is nervous.

The launch of his “Late Late Show” on CBS is just weeks away, and he’s questioning everything. The set. The logo. His wardrobe. Himself.

“There’s good nerves and there’s bad nerves,” he says. “It’s good nerves that spur you on, and bad nerves that debilitate you. If I can find the good nerves, I’ll be very grateful.”

The 36-year-old British comedian knows he’s facing an uphill battle to win over American audiences — make that even introduce himself to them. He may have nearly 5 million Twitter followers, but as he is quick to point out, “They’re all back in the U.K.”

He also has to win over celebrities — and more crucially, publicists, so that he can land key bookings for his couch. Despite his many talents, he’s never hosted a talkshow of this scale before, so reps are understandably skittish, wary of potential snark.

“I don’t know if I’m making a huge mistake,” Corden admits. “But I’d rather regret doing something than not doing something. I think we have a real shot at enjoying ourselves for a bit, which is ultimately all you ever really want, isn’t it?”

With all the changes in latenight TV during the past 16 months, there’s still plenty of room for a new voice in the wee hours. The challenge for Corden will be finding his.

The “Late Late Show” team in recent weeks has ventured out into the Grove shopping center across the street from his studio at CBS’ Television City to work out some field pieces in preparation for the March 23 premiere. “James is new to L.A., so he has to meet his neighbors,” explains Nick Bernstein, the CBS latenight programming executive working with Corden’s team.

The pudgy star decides to play up his anonymity, and his naturally self-deprecating wit, by asking people, “What do you think of the new host, James Corden?” One woman says she doesn’t like the man, so he pushes her on her reasons: “Is it because he cut his long hair? Is it because he’s so thin?” “Yes, he looks like he’s wasting away,” she replies. Suddenly suspicious, she asks, “He’s not behind me, is he?” With a wink to the camera, Corden says, “No, we would never do that to you.”

Indeed, Corden is barreling onto the scene at a time of unprecedented upheaval in latenight. Jay Leno is gone. Jimmy Fallon is killing it. David Letterman and Jon Stewart are preparing for their final bows. Stephen Colbert has retired his faux-right-wing persona and is preparing to unveil an entirely new animal — himself — in the fall, while Jimmy Kimmel and Conan O’Brien redouble their efforts to woo new viewers. Larry Wilmore is still in his first inning. John Oliver has impressed by taking the form in a different, substantive direction on HBO. And Chelsea Handler promises to break the mold next year with her show for Netflix.

In the post-Johnny Carson era, the ups and downs of the latenight TV arena command outsized attention in pop culture, given the overall size of the audience in the day*part. According to Nielsen, the latenight shows airing in the 11 p.m.-2 a.m. frame are averaging a total of about 12.1 million viewers, led by “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon,” with an average of 3.7 million viewers for the season to date. Time-shifted viewing is expanding that audience, but not at the same rate as it is growing viewership of primetime shows.

Success in latenight is a lucrative proposition for major networks. The shows are typically less expensive to produce than most primetime series — although Fallon’s “Tonight Show” is fortified with a hefty budget that is the envy of his rivals — and when a show clicks, its tenure is usually measured in decades, not season to season. According to Kantar Media, advertisers spent $1.9 billion in the 11 p.m.-1 a.m. daypart from January to September of last year, including $422 million on the four broadcast networks and $1.4 billion across dozens of cable nets.

Having a strong presence in the daypart is one of the key elements that feeds into a network brand — just ask Fox, which has struggled through its nearly 30-year existence to crack the code (and recover from the Joan Rivers and Chevy Chase debacles).

“There’s a unique connection between viewers and hosts in this time period,” says Rick Ludwin, the former NBC exec who steered the net’s latenight efforts for more than 20 years. Some of it has to do with the fact that viewers tend to watch as they’re winding down the day, and some of it comes from the Monday-Friday frequency, just as it is with network morning shows. Whatever the reason, the relationship is powerful and undeniable, says Ludwin, who helped Leno through his rocky first years on “The Tonight Show,” and did the same with O’Brien, Fallon and Seth Meyers, among others.

“It’s a more personal experience for people than they have even with their favorite primetime shows,” says Ludwin. “People connect with these hosts, and they almost become a member of the family. If someone announces they’re leaving, it becomes a personal matter.”

Building that relationship with viewers is the highest hurdle for Corden, who comes to the “Late Late Show” with virtually no name recognition over the vast expanse of America. When CBS announced in September that Corden would be taking over for Craig Ferguson at 12:35 a.m., you could hear the resounding “Who?”

“It’s madness, really. When I got the job, I’d never even been on an American talkshow,” Corden says. “It’s a bold choice. A really bold choice.”

Corden, who grew up in Buckinghamshire, began his career with small TV roles as well as stage work in “The History Boys,” then shot to fame as the co-creator, writer and star of the hit Brit sitcom “Gavin & Stacey.” It was his role in the play “One Man, Two Guvnors” that attracted international attention, especially once the show transferred to Broadway — and he won the Tony in 2012. Since then, he’s added a bit more Hollywood buzz with his star turn alongside Meryl Streep in “Into the Woods.”

CBS honchos Leslie Moonves and Nina Tassler had been casting a wide net for Ferguson’s replacement. Corden went in pitching a sitcom — and ultimately walked out with the latenight gig.

“I just could not stop laughing.” recalls Tassler. “His wit and sense of timing are impeccable; his charisma is undeniable.”

Tassler did a deeper dive into Corden’s background, and was won over by his gig hosting “A League of Their Own,” a British gameshow with rotating panelists.

When she told him she was considering him as Ferguson’s replacement, he was stunned, telling her, “I would swim across the Atlantic Ocean and walk across the United States barefoot on broken glass to get this job.”

His first call — other than to his wife of 2½ years, Julia — was to his producing partner, Ben Winston. They’d met back when they were teenagers, and Winston was a PA on a show in which Corden had a small part. They’ve teamed up on countless projects since, including the Brit Awards and “James Corden’s World Cup Live.” But they knew they needed someone with latenight credentials, and so they lured Rob Crabbe away from the “Tonight Show” to join them as exec producer.

There’s no question Corden has talent to spare: He can sing. He can dance. And he’s got an infectious laugh that makes it impossible not to smile in his presence.

But there’s one thing he’s not, which has pretty much been a prerequisite for anyone aspiring to a latenight job: “I never will be a standup comedian,” he says. “It’s just not in my skill set.”

Which is why he, along with Winston and Crabbe, have been tinkering with every part of the latenight format; they want to play to his strengths.

“We’d be fools if we said that we’re going to just dynamite the entire idea of that format, but we also don’t want to marry ourselves to it,” Crabbe says.

As they consider every aspect of the show — “Is this the best use of our time? Is this the best use of me?” asks Corden, again and again — the word experiment comes up a lot.

Where the experimenting starts is with their choice of band leader: Reggie Watts (IFC’s “Comedy Bang! Bang!”), a musician and comedian known for his off-the-cuff improvisations, musical and otherwise (cue monster headaches for the clearance team). You’re never sure what you’re going to get with him — and that was the appeal for the “Late Late Show” team.

“He was on a list of one,” Corden says. “I just couldn’t get it out my head that this wasn’t the best idea for our show.”

Similarly, the structure of the program itself, which will air four nights a week (with reruns on Fridays), isn’t going to be traditional — starting with the monologue, or lack thereof.

Yes, Corden will greet the audience and say something funny — but producers aren’t planning a lineup of 20 jokes in classic latenight fashion.

“James is not going to be able to go out and do six minutes on Isis,” Crabbe says. “I just don’t think that’s going to be his style.”

The goal is to get to the guests faster. There’s a debate with CBS over how long the first act will be. If the producers get their way, the guests will be coming out in the initial part of the program — all at once. They’re modeling the show on Graham Norton’s U.K. series, in which all the stars come out at the same time and chat together on the couch.

But booking guests, the “Late Late” team admits, has been a challenge. “The hardest struggle is trying to convince people that this is a place where no one is ever going to be the butt of the joke,” Corden says. “All we want is our guests to shine, because if the guests shine, the show shines. If the show shines, then I shine.”

That said, thanks to booker Sheila Rogers, Corden did land an impressive lineup for his first week, including inaugural guest Tom Hanks, as well as Kerry Washington, Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart.

Getting top talent was the reason producers decided the show needed to be in L.A., which meant they all had to move their families here — including Watts, who pulled up stakes in Brooklyn. The team did a reality check concerning where they sat vs. the competition in New York and L.A.: They could be sixth rung in Gotham, behind Fallon, Letterman, Meyers, Colbert, etc. — or third on the left coast, behind Kimmel and Conan. It was an easy call: “We’ll take third,” says Corden.

What happens once everyone is settled comfortably on the “Late Late Show” couch is anyone’s guess. “We’re not just going to sit and talk to our guests,” Bernstein says. “But the great thing about James is he can do it all. If he wants to do some fun game with all of his guests, he can. And if he wants to sit and have an in-depth conversation with someone, he can do that, too.”

Corden points to a story that was in the news that day of a dog that walked 20 blocks to find its owner in the hospital.

“That’s the single greatest news story I have ever heard,” he says. “Maybe it’s our job as people go to sleep, to (feel) it could be better, but it could be a lot worse. Nothing would make me happier than just to have one person in one living room get me and get the show. It wouldn’t be enough for Les (Moonves), but it would be enough for me.”

Corden and Co. are inheriting a timeslot where Ferguson was consistently third to Meyers and “Nightline,” in both total viewers and the key 18-49 demo.

“The ratings are going to be what they are,” says Bernstein. “The most important things are getting people to sample the show, and continuing to make the shows better as they go on.”

Corden says CBS has been supportive, without setting any rating benchmarks to meet. “Of course, if I had my way, I would give anything to have the budget of ‘The Tonight Show,’ ” he says. “And it will be a constant frustration that we don’t.”

Even more critical to “Late Late’s” success will be timing. While the March 23 launch will attract a fair share of buzz, Corden and his team admit that the show won’t immediately find its feet. “It’s like eating a souffle after it’s been in the oven for 10 minutes,” he says. “These things are going to take time to rise.”

Their plan is to keep experimenting — there’s that word again — post-launch and beyond.

Says Winston, “If we come to a place in three months’ time, and we’re like, ‘act one looks like this, act two looks like that, act three looks like this,’ I think we would have wasted the opportunity of having real experimental fun at 12:30, which is what this show should be.”

Letterman’s send-off at the end of May will certainly bring another round of attention — followed by a long summer run without a lead-in. The “Late Late” team sees the show’s true launch as September, when it gets a crucial hand-off from Colbert at 11:35 p.m.

Despite the hyper-competitive climate, the producers don’t consider the other talkshow hosts as rivals: “Our competition is people choosing to fall asleep,” Corden jokes.

The fraternity of latenight hosts has reached out to Corden to offer support: A night out with Fallon. Dinner with Meyers. Texts from Colbert. A call from Leno.

The Scottish-born Ferguson phoned as well, to say, “There are only two people in the world who know what it’s like to come from a tiny island, move to Los Angeles and host a late-night talkshow,” recounts Corden, adding that Ferguson said it would be remiss of him not to offer his advice.

They all offered the same bit of wisdom: Be yourself. That’s terrifying, he admits, “because I’ve never been open.”

There’s one name missing from the list of well-wishers: Letterman.

Talking to Regis Philbin, who was filling in as a guest host on the “Late Late Show” during the Ferguson-Corden transition, Letterman last month criticized the Brit for not starting earlier. “Where’s the tubby kid who’s taking over the show?” he asked Philbin. “How bad does he want to do a show?” (Sources insist Letterman was joking.)

“I think he was just messing around,” Corden says. “I don’t fancy our chances of starting with a staff of four, including the host, on a set that doesn’t exist. I think he’s bright enough to never say it seriously, because to say it seriously would be absurd.”

Letterman may have been ribbing the new guy, but the issue of the workload in latenight is no laughing matter, industry vets say.

“The work ethic of the host is every bit as important as how funny they are,” Ludwin says. “If the show is not the first thing you think of in the morning and the last thing you think of at night, you’re not going to be successful. The audience has come to expect more than ever. You need to give up part of your personal life.”

Corden’s family has already made sacrifices, although his wife is hoping his new day job eventually will provide some stability compared with the itinerant life of an actor. Once the CBS deal was done, Julia gamely packed up the couple’s two young children — including a newborn — and relocated to L.A. Her perspective was that she’d finally get to see her husband on nights and weekends. As she put it, “That’s just not been our life for quite a while.”

Ever grateful, Corden is trying to take it all in stride, whatever the outcome.

“I just know that this is a moment in my life,” he says. “Good or bad, it is a moment. ‘Do you remember that time we moved to Los Angeles and I tried to host a latenight talkshow?’ ‘Oh yeah, that was ropy, but it was a fun ride.’ ”

Cynthia Littleton contributed to this report.

http://variety.com/2015/tv/news/jame...ew-1201444685/
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post #100266 of 100290 Old Yesterday, 08:38 AM
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TV Notes
Oprah Winfrey's Chicago studio, former home of her talk show, to be shut down
By Denis Slattery, New York Daily News - Mar. 4, 2015

Maybe they’ll rename the street “Oprah Winfrey Went Away.”

Winfrey plans to shutter the Chicago studio where she filmed “The Oprah Winfrey Show” for more than 20 years, Harpo Studios and the Oprah Winfrey Network said Tuesday.

OWN recently moved into a new studio in West Hollywood, Calif., and nearly 200 employees at the Chicago site will be out of work by the end of the year.

City officials named the street outside Harpo Studios “Oprah Winfrey Way” in 2011.

The four-building property, in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood, was sold to developer Sterling Bay Cos. last year for about $32 million.

Winfrey, 61, said in a statement Tuesday that Chicago had been a “blessing” in her life, but she’s now “looking ahead” to her new digs in California.

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertain...icle-1.2136820
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TV Notes
6 Ways a TV Binge Affects Your Body, and How to Fight Each One
By Amanda MacMillan, Health.com

The third season of House of Cards just dropped on Netflix, which means all 13 episodes—each about 50 minutes long—are ready and waiting for you to devour. Fan of the show? Well, we have an idea what you’ll be doing this weekend (sitting on your couch, engrossed). And you probably won’t be alone: According to a 2014 poll by research firm Miner & Co Studio, 70% of U.S. television watchers self-identified as binge-viewers.

But before you settle in for a delightfully dark weekend with the Underwoods, let’s talk about what a TV binge can do to your body. You know that a habit of sitting for prolonged periods has been linked to everything from obesity to early death, but you may wonder: What harm can one or two lazy days really do?

Well, let’s just say there are some good reasons to try to split up your TV or movie binge.

“Even one long television session can certainly cause some immediate side effects,” says John P. Higgins, MD, associate professor of cardiology at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and a certified personal trainer. “And the more you do it, the more you’ll be at risk for longer-term problems.”

Here are all the ways your body is affected while you binge-watch, plus how to fight each one.

Your appetite

Watching television often goes hand in hand with mindless overeating and unhealthy snacking, Dr. Higgins says, and watching episode after episode can make that worse. “You probably don’t want to stop for an hour to cook yourself a healthy meal, so you order pizza or fast food, or you snack on junk food the whole time.” And if you think that one bad-for-you dinner can’t hurt, think again: A 2012 study from the University of Montreal found that a single meal high in saturated fat can can damage arteries and restrict blood flow in the body. Furthermore, watching high-paced, action-oriented programs also triggers more distracted eating than less stimulating news or talk shows, according to a 2014 study by Cornell University.

Simply seeing characters eat on TV may make you consume more calories, Dr. Higgins adds, just as watching them drink alcohol may trigger you to crave a cocktail, or seeing them smoke (ahem, Frank and Claire) may tempt smokers to light up.

Fight it: Prep healthy food in advance
Make a healthy meal before you indulge in one (or more) episodes, and have pre-portioned healthy snacks (think popcorn or almonds) at the ready.

Your muscles

It’s unlikely that you’ll gain five pounds or sabotage your fitness goals in one sitting, but spending all day on your butt can have more immediate consequences, including stiffness, back pain, and muscle cramps.

Fight it: Watch on the go
Download the Netflix app, so you can watch from your phone or tablet on the treadmill, stationary bike, or—Frank’s personal favorite—the rowing machine. At the very least, you should take a stand and stretch break between each episode.

Your mood

A recent study by University of Texas at Austin researchers found that binge-watching is linked with feelings of depression and loneliness. People often try to lose themselves in TV to distract themselves from their negative feelings, the authors say, but often they’re unable to stop—even when they know they are neglecting work and relationships. Spending a whole weekend watching TV may also cause feelings regret and guilt, says psychiatrist Grant Brenner, MD, adjunct assistant clinical professor at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, but those are usually temporary.

For viewers with pre-existing mental health conditions, however, a binge session may have bigger consequences. “Perhaps they’re in a vulnerable state and the material triggers a negative reaction—such as activating trauma or amplifying irrational beliefs of some sort,” Dr. Brenner says.

Speaking of trauma, House of Cards has some dark subject matter. “Being exposed to any sufficiently intense or resonant emotionally-laden experience can potentially affect a person’s disposition and outlook,” Dr. Brenner adds, at least for a few days.

Fight it: Watch with friends
You need to talk to someone about Frank and Claire, and why that thing that was so crazy was just. so. crazy!

Your sleep

And not just the sleep you lose by watching straight through the night (you probably already know you shouldn’t do that); it’s possible that your shut-eye schedule in the days after your binge session could be affected as well, Dr. Higgins says. “If you watch in a dark room with a lack of sunlight it can screw up your circadian rhythm and disrupt sleep-wake cycles.” On top of that, research suggests that the blue light emitted from televisions, computers, and smartphones can impair the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps promote sleep. (Not to mention, it can cause headaches and eye strain.)

Fight it: Avoid a binge that’s too close to bedtime
You need at least an hour away from the blue light to appropriately wind down. Also: watching on a screen that’s close to your face may have the biggest impact, so be sure you really “sit back” and relax.

Your circulation

Staying in one position for too long can contribute to deep vein thrombosis and the formation of potentially fatal blood clots, even in otherwise active individuals. “I’ve seen young healthy people who have been laying around all day surfing the web or watching movies get blood clots,” Dr. Higgins says. “When you’re watching TV, you may be moving your hands a bit but usually your feet are just laying there.”

Fight it: Get up at least every 30 minutes
“It’s another important reason to get up every 30 minutes or so, even if it’s just to stand and pump the calves and keep the blood flowing,” Dr. Higgins says.

Your metabolism

Studies show that spending long periods of time in a chair or on a couch do slow metabolism and cause the body to store more fat, which can lead to a slow, steady weight gain. Plus, you’ve heard it before, but it’s worth repeating: prolonged sitting has been linked to certain cancers, diabetes, disability, and heart disease—and the more time people spend watching TV, the more likely they are to die prematurely. In many cases, these associations hold true even if you’re getting the recommended amount of exercise during the day.

Fight it: Don’t make it a habit
Thankfully, it’s not every week that Netflix releases an addicting show.

The bottom line

There are ways to make the occasional marathon TV session healthier. “If you decide you’re going to watch five episodes in one day rather than one episodes every night of the week—and you use that hour each night to work out when wouldn’t otherwise—you can treat a weekend binge as a reward,” Dr. Higgins says.

Brenner agrees. “For a lot of folks, binge-watching might be a form of relaxing ‘stay-cation,’ especially if it is viewed as a valuable recreational experience and not as an excessive indulgence,” he says. “As with most things, moderation is the key to avoiding problems.”

http://news.health.com/2015/02/27/6-...ight-each-one/
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TV Sports/Business Notes
M.L.S. and Union Reach Deal Giving Free Agency to Veterans
By Richard Sandomir, The New York Times - Mar. 5, 2015

Major League Soccer agreed to a five-year collective bargaining agreement with its players union Wednesday that gives veteran players a measure of free agency for the first time. The agreement in principle, reached two days before the start of the league’s 20th season, prevented the first work stoppage in M.L.S. history.

Free agency is a victory for the players, who had pledged to reject any agreement that did not include it, but it will come with significant caveats: Players will need to be at least 28 and have eight years of experience in the league to be eligible, and there will be a cap on their raises if they move on, according to an executive familiar with the terms of the deal.

As a limited form of free agency, the system will let players move without multiple teams bidding for them.

But the league protected itself from salary inflation with age limits that seriously limit the number of players who qualify for free agency, and with the caps on free agents’ raises. In some cases, those will max out at 20 percent of a player’s previous salary.

The league’s minimum salary, another point of contention, will be increased more than 60 percent, to $60,000 from $36,500, and the league’s salary cap is expected to rise modestly. The current system bound players to their clubs even after their contracts expired or they left the league.

“The players were very focused on having more freedom of movement and we’ve been able to provide that,” Commissioner Don Garber said. “Everyone wins. Our owners are able to protect their system and players are able to achieve more movement.”

The deal suggests that the league and its owner-investors decided that substantial changes were necessary to save, at the very least, the start of the new season. Two new expansion teams, Orlando City S.C. and New York City F.C., will make their league debuts Sunday night in a nationally televised game on ESPN2 in front of more than 60,000 fans at the sold-out Citrus Bowl.

Under the old system, players with expired contracts were allowed to be redrafted by other M.L.S. teams, but only at their current salaries and with no say about which team they would be assigned to. The league, which says it is losing $100 million a year, has argued that it needed to control player movement, and salaries, to keep costs down.

But players were aware that more money is flowing into the league from new television deals with Fox, ESPN and Univision that are worth $90 million a year (a portion of which will go to U.S. Soccer). The league also is expected to announce several new corporate sponsorships; one of the new deals, with Audi, leaked out Wednesday during the final stages of talks, surely an uncomfortable moment for league negotiators.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/05/sp...rans.html?_r=0
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TV Notes
Door may open for Brian Williams if former NBC News exec Andrew Lack returns
By Stephen Battaglio, Los Angeles Times' 'Company Town' Blog - Mar. 3, 2015

Embattled NBC News anchor Brian Williams has a potential lifeline in Andrew Lack's expected return to NBC News.

Lack is in advanced negotiations to take the top news post at the network, where he worked from 1993 to 2001, according to NBC executives not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. He would replace current NBCUniversal News Group Chairman Pat Fili-Krushel, who is set to take another corporate role, the executives said.

Several TV news executives who worked under Lack's previous tenure at the network say Lack's becoming the new head of the news group provides a path for Williams to return from his six-month suspension. Lack was responsible for grooming Williams to take over the anchor chair on "NBC Nightly News" from Tom Brokaw.

I'll make a prediction. Not only will Williams come back to Nightly News, I'll predict his return will be sooner than 6 months.
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WEDNESDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insights' Blog.
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Nielsen Overnights (18-59)
You guessed it, another record for ‘Empire’
Fox juggernaut grows to a series-high 5.7 in 18-49s in ninth episode
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Mar. 5, 2015

“Empire” continues to be the most impressive show on broadcast in years, hitting a new series high in its ninth episode last night.

The Fox drama posted a 5.7 adults 18-49 rating at 9 p.m., according to Nielsen overnights, up 6 percent from last week.

That was the best rating for any broadcast drama since the series finale of “Lost” on ABC in May 2010.

It also drew a series-best 14.2 million total viewers.

Since the series premiere, “Empire” has grown 50 percent in 18-49s, better than any broadcast show since 2004’s “House.”

“Empire” was easily the highest-rated show of the night and led Fox to another Wednesday night victory.

Elsewhere on broadcast, CBS’s new drama “CSI: Cyber” debuted well, winning its 10 p.m. timeslot with a 1.8 in 18-49s and holding nearly all of lead-in “Criminal Minds’” 1.9.

It also drew 10.2 million total viewers and topped “CSI’s” ratings in the hour the same night last year in every demo.

ABC’s comedies continued their strong performances. “The Middle” grew 10 percent from last week, to a 2.2, while “The Goldbergs” tied last week’s season high with a 2.5, its second-best rating ever.

“Modern Family” was the night’s No. 2 show behind “Empire” with a 3.4, even to last week, while “black-ish” climbed to its best rating in three months.

Fox was first for the night among 18-49s with a 3.9 average overnight rating and a 12 share. ABC was second at 2.2/7, CBS third at 2.0/6, NBC fourth at 1.8/5, Univision fifth at 1.2/4, Telemundo sixth at 0.6/2, and CW seventh at 0.4/1.

As a reminder, all ratings are based on live-plus-same-day DVR playback, which includes shows replayed before 3 a.m. the night before. Seven-day DVR data won’t be available for several weeks. Forty-nine percent of Nielsen households have DVRs.

ABC began the night in the lead with a 2.4 at 8 p.m. for “Middle” (2.2) and “Goldbergs” (2.5), followed by CBS with a 2.3 for “Survivor.” Fox and NBC tied for third at 2.1, Fox for “American Idol” and NBC for a “best-of” episode of “The Voice.” Univision was fifth with a 1.3 for “Mi Corazon es Tuyo,” Telemundo sixth with a 0.6 for “Los Miserables,” and CW seventh with a 0.6 for a repeat of “Arrow.”

At 9 p.m. Fox jumped to the lead with the 5.7 for “Empire,” while ABC was second with a 2.8 for “Family” (3.4) and “black-ish” (2.3). NBC was third with a 2.1 for more “Voice,” CBS fourth with a 1.9 for “Criminal Minds,” Univision fifth with a 1.2 for “Hasta el Fin del Mundo,” Telemundo sixth with a 0.6 for “Tierra de Reyes,” and CW seventh with a 0.5 for “The 100.”

CBS took the lead at 10 p.m. with a 1.8 for “CSI: Cyber,” with ABC second with a 1.4 for “Nashville.” NBC was third with a 1.1 for a repeat of “Chicago P.D.,” Univision fourth with a 1.0 for “Que te Perdone Dios” and Telemundo fifth with a 0.6 for “Dueños del Paraiso.”

Fox also finished first for the night among households with a 7.0 average overnight rating and an 11 share. CBS was second at 6.2/10, NBC third at 4.5/7, ABC fourth at 4.4/7, Univision fifth at 1.6/3, CW sixth at 0.9/1, and Telemundo seventh at 0.8/1.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/you...rd-for-empire/

* * * *

TV/Nielsen Notes
For ‘The Odd Couple,’ a good fit
The new CBS comedy held up well in its second week
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Mar. 5, 2015

It’s possible “The Odd Couple” might finally be the show that keeps Matthew Perry back on television.

“Couple,” which airs tonight at 8:30 p.m. on CBS, held up well in its second episode last week, posting a strong 2.8 adults 18-49 rating, according to Nielsen.

That was down just 10 percent from the previous week’s debut, a very good retention rate.

Of course, “Couple” benefits from having CBS smash hit “The Big Bang Theory” as a lead-in. But that could still result in a renewal, which would be a big deal for Perry.

The former “Friends” star has been trying to find the right show since his NBC sitcom ended 11 years ago.

He returned to TV two years after “Friends” with “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” which started with promise but fizzled out quickly. He then starred in the ABC sitcom “Mr. Sunshine” and the NBC comedy “Go On.” Both lasted just one season, despite decent reviews.

So it would be an amusing turn if “Couple,” which has received the worst reviews of any of his broadcast shows, would be the one that finally sticks.

Perry plays the slovenly Oscar in the reboot of the famed 1970 TV show.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/for...le-a-good-fit/
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TV Notes
‘The Expendables’ Event Series In Works At Fox With Sylvester Stallone Producing
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Mar. 5, 2015

EXCLUSIVE: TV action stars are getting The Expendables treatment as Sylvester Stallone’s hit feature franchise is heading to television. Fox is developing The Expendables, an event series based on the movies, with the franchise’s writer and star Stallone executive producing alongside the films’ producer Avi Lerner.

Writing/executive producing the TV adaptation are feature writing duo Greg Coolidge (Ride Along) & Kirk Ward and NCIS: LA executive producer/showrunner Shane Brennan. It is described as a fun action drama that unites iconic TV stars as a new team of highly-skilled heroes who are on a mission to stop a dangerous terrorist. The project hails from Lionsgate TV, whose feature sibling distributes The Expendables movies, and CBS TV Studios, where Brennan is under an overall deal. Also executive producing the potential event series, for which Fox has ordered a script, is Kevin King, long-time executive at Stallone’s Rogue Marble production company.

There is no cast attached or approached yet but the producers have plenty of beloved TV action stars to choose from: Walker Texas Ranger‘s Chuck Norris, who already is part of The Expendables feature franchise, 24‘s Kiefer Sutherland, Magnum P.I.’s Tom Selleck, Xena‘s Lucy Lawless, Quantum Leap‘s Scott Bakula, Alias‘ Jennifer Garner, A-Team‘s Mr. T and Strike Back‘s Sullivan Stapleton and Philip Winchester, just to name a few.

The Expendables is among the movie titles in the Lionsgate library that the company had been eying to mine for television for some time, with the idea for a potential Expendables series first floated back in 2012.

The first three movies in The Expendables franchisee have grossed almost $800 million in the worldwide boxoffice. A fourth and fifth installment as well as a female offshoot The Expendabelles are in various stages of development.

Coolidge & Ward, repped by Paradigm and managed by Jay Froberg of ROAR, were recently tapped to script Roadrunner, an action comedy that has Scott Eastwood and Trace Adkins attached to star.

NCIS veteran Brennan, repped by Paradigm and attorney Kevin Kelly, joined the mothership series the beginning of Season 4 in 2006, taking the reins as showrunner the following season. He created spinoff NCIS: LA and ran both series for two years before focusing his attention solely on NCIS: LA.

http://deadline.com/2015/03/expendab...ne-1201386545/
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TV Sports/Business Notes
M.L.S. and Union Reach Deal Giving Free Agency to Veterans
By Richard Sandomir, The New York Times - Mar. 5, 2015

Sure glad they got that resolved. The twelve people that watch MLS would have really been upset if the had gone off the air.
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Just remember, there's a sizeable number of people who have said that Nascar and Soccer are the future Kings of Sports Programming.

* Probably not in my Lifetime. But, there's hope for them since Ive been fighting Cancer for a few years now.

.

There he goes again... Good Ol' R. Reagan's favorite Troll line !
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* Probably not in my Lifetime. But, there's hope for them since Ive been fighting Cancer for a few years now.
/giant hugs!!
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Sorry BHN, I went to the 'dark side'. Crap I say
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AAPL moving to the Dow !!

Probably one of the reasons they did that 7-1 stock split last yr.
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Just remember, there's a sizeable number of people who have said that Nascar and Soccer are the future Kings of Sports Programming.

* Probably not in my Lifetime. But, there's hope for them since Ive been fighting Cancer for a few years now.
Crashcar ratings have been in sharp decline for almost a decade: http://www.sportingnews.com/nascar/s...s-fox-espn-nbc

Soccer, in general I agree, but why watch the MLS (on TV) when you can watch a much higher quality of play in Europe?

Best of luck with your fight.
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
FRIDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)

ABC:
8PM - Shark Tank
9PM - In an Instant (Series Premiere, 120 min.)
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Will Smith; Elizabeth Henstridge; Sam Hunt performs)
(R - Feb. 25)
12:37AM - Nightline

CBS:
8PM - The Amazing Race
9PM - Hawaii Five-0
10PM - Blue Bloods
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Dr. Phil McGraw; Robin Tunney; Diana Krall performs)
(R - Feb. 3)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show (Drew Carey guest hosts; Ben McKenzie; Lennon Parham; comic Brendon Walsh)

NBC:
8PM - Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
(R - Nov. 5)
9PM - Dateline NBC: In Broad Daylight (120 min.)
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Will Smith; Rosamund Pike; Jack White performs)
(R - Feb. 5)
12:36AM - Late Night with Seth Myers (Amy Poehler, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott, Jim O'Heir and Retta, and executive producer Michael Schur (``Parks and Recreation''))
(R - Feb. 24)
1:37AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Ben Barnes; The Re-Licked Project performs; Hannah New)
(R - Feb. 4)

FOX:
8PM - World's Funniest Fails
9PM - Glee

PBS:
(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Washington Week With Gwen Ifill
8:30PM - Charlie Rose This Week
9PM - Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace
(R - Sep. 5)
10PM - Craft in America: Service
(R - Nov. 2)

UNIVISION:
8PM - Mi Corazón Es Tuyo
9PM - Hasta El Fin del Mundo
10PM - Que Te Perdone Dios... Yo No

THE CW:
8PM - Hart of Dixie
9PM - Who's Line Is It Anyway?
(R - Nov. 14)
9:30PM - Who's Line Is It Anyway?
(R - Nov. 21)

TELEMUNDO:
8PM - Los Miserables
9PM - Tierra de Reyes
10PM - Dueños del Paraíso
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TV/Business Notes
NBCUniversal Shake-Up: Layoffs Hit E!, Esquire as Marketing Departments Merge
By Travis Reilly and Jethro Nededog, TheWrap.com - Mar. 5, 2015

NBCUniversal laid off employees on Thursday, as E! and Esquire consolidated their marketing departments.

The shake-up comes less than a month after TheWrap wrote about impending department mergers and layoffs in a move to save money.

“To more fully align the E! and Esquire Marketing department we have restructured the team and as a result Leigh Anne Gardner and Tim Rosta are leaving the company. We thank them for their contributions and wish them the best,” an NBCU spokeswoman told TheWrap in a statement.

Prior to Thursday’s layoffs, Gardner was the company’s senior vice president of print, online design, on-air design and special projects at E! and G4. Rosta had been senior vice president of marketing solutions at E!

Ahead of the marketing department merger, multiple insiders tell TheWrap that several NBCUniversal employees left the company, including executive director of publicity John Rizzotti who is headed to CBS as VP of Communications overseeing “Entertainment Tonight” and “The Insider,” senior vice president of brand and creative Lorenzo de Guttadauro who resigned last week, and Katherine Nelson who left Esquire for Syfy.

As TheWrap exclusively reported on Feb. 13, NBCUniversal had been indiscreetly laying the groundwork for a merging of E! News and “Access Hollywood” staffs, which were expected to lead to budget cuts and layoffs.

In essence, NBCU had borrowed a page from the playbook at CBS, which currently shares resources and stages for syndicated shows “Entertainment Tonight” and “The Insider.” The merging of departments has already become an established business practice at NBCU whose Cable division in particular has a recent history of department mergers in which stronger groups were combined with weaker ones to maximize results.

In the last few years, Bravo’s Frances Berwick has been given oversight over both Esquire and Oxygen networks. Last year when Suzanne Kolb was booted from her job as E! president, NBCU combined Bravo, E!, Esquire and Oxygen into its Lifestyle Networks group and placed them under Berwick’s purview as well.

Similarly, Esquire Network president Adam Stotsky’s role was expanded to include the position of E! general manager under Berwick.

http://www.thewrap.com/nbcuniversal-...rketing-posts/
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TV Notes
Netflix’s ‘Bloodline’: Built for Binge-Watching
Thirteen one-hour episodes of Netflix’s new original drama series, ‘Bloodline,’ will be available when the show premiers March 20
By John Jurgensen, Wall Street Journal - Mar. 5, 2015

Netflix built its lineup of original programming with shows that took audiences into rarefied settings such as Washington power politics (“House of Cards”), women’s prison (“Orange Is the New Black”) and 13th-century Mongolia (“Marco Polo”). The streaming-video company hopes its next binge-worthy drama will spring from the more familiar world of an American family.

“Bloodline,” starting March 20 with 13 episodes on Netflix, revolves around the Rayburns, a prosperous clan in the Florida Keys. The parents, played by Sissy Spacek and Sam Shepard, run a small resort in an insular community, where three of their adult children still live. The family’s status quo cracks apart when a fourth sibling, wayward eldest son Danny (Ben Mendelsohn), comes home.

From “Dallas” and “Dynasty” to the brand new hit “Empire,” most of TV’s family sagas have taken the form of prime-time soap operas, using cross-generational melodrama and lots of cliffhangers to keep audiences coming back week after week. “Bloodline” sets the familial pressure cooker at a lower temperature. On Netflix, with no commercials and 13 hourlong episodes released simultaneously, the producers gradually expose wounds among the Rayburns from trauma that occurred some 30 years in the past.

“The first four episodes sort of function as the first act of a thriller,” says co-creator Todd A. Kessler. That approach wouldn’t fly in a more traditional TV format, where the first few episodes of a new series have to repeatedly establish the show’s premise and characters on behalf of new viewers tuning in. Though there were times when Netflix executives asked if “Bloodline” should move faster, Mr. Kessler says, the show’s producers didn’t want to rush it. “We really approached this as a 13-hour movie,” he says.

Not that they ignored the requirements of a thriller. The show offsets its deliberate pace with flash forwards that offer glimpses of violent crises ahead. The first episode cuts to scenes of favored middle son, county detective John Rayburn, played by Kyle Chandler, carrying his apparently unconscious brother Danny through a mangrove swamp in the teeming rain.

The series comes from Daniel Zelman and brothers Glenn and Todd A. Kessler, a writing-and-producing team that previously created “Damages,” a psychodrama about high-powered lawyers that starred Glenn Close, Rose Byrne and Ted Danson. Starting in 2007, “Damages” ran for three seasons on FX. After the cable channel canceled it, satellite service DirecTV picked up the series for a final two seasons.

For their next TV project, the producers (known as KZK) wanted to find a unique angle on the universal theme of family relationships. All three men graduated from Harvard University within four years of each other in the 1990s, and grew up in families with similar structures: Both sets of parents have been married more than 50 years and have three sons. For “Bloodline,” the producers mined the various roles that family members play, and how those roles evolve (and often clash) as daughters and sons hit middle age and wrangle families of their own.

As Sally Rayburn, Ms. Spacek is a no-nonsense businesswoman who softens around her children. In the patriarch role, Mr. Shepard looms as a cold presence. The other Rayburn siblings include a volatile youngest son (Norbert Leo Butz) and a responsible lawyer daughter (Linda Cardellini) with a messy personal life.

Mr. Chandler was the first actor cast for the show. Because many viewers remember him as the morally steadfast football coach in the TV series “Friday Night Lights,” “Bloodline” writers were able to execute a subtle bait and switch. “We knew the audience would make the same assumptions about John Rayburn as they would about Coach Taylor, and that allowed us to go to a very different place with that character,” Glenn Kessler says.

TV networks rarely green light a new series without evaluating a pilot episode or at least a script, but Netflix committed to 13 episodes of “Bloodline” on the basis of the producers’ verbal pitch, in which they laid out a broad story plan for multiple seasons. Says Mr. Zelman, “We wanted to ask those questions of ourselves, too. Could this have enough life to be five or six seasons long?”

They chose to shoot “Bloodline” in the northern Keys, including the communities of Tavernier and Islamorada. With its coral reefs, lightning-strafed beaches and connecting bridges, the island setting added a sense of isolation to the Rayburns’ story.

In some ways, Netflix itself seems like an exotic location to the producers, who have been working in television for 20 years.

“With ‘Damages,’ we started out telling 42-minute stories with commercials [on FX], then went to 60 minutes with no commercials once a week [on DirecTV],” says Glenn Kessler. “Now we’re trying to tailor a show to be binge-watched.”

http://www.wsj.com/articles/netflixs...ing-1425583462
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TV Notes
Biancilli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Mar. 6, 2015

THE UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT
Netflix, 3:00 a.m. ET
SERIES PREMIERE:
Ellie Kemper, who played Erin on NBC’s The Office, brings her effervescent eccentricity to another quirky sitcom – this time on Netflix, in the new comedy from Tina Fey and producing partner Robert Carlock. This time, she’s the star, playing one of several women held underground for more than a decade in the doomsday bunker of a deluded cult leader. When she surfaces, she decides to make her way in New York City, very quickly finding both a roommate and an employer (Tituss Burgess and Jane Krakowski, respectively, both from 30 Rock). But things get more challenging almost instantly, wherein lies the humor. And, because this is Netflix, an entire season of that humor is unspooled at once, and available whenever you want to watch. For my review on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, visit the Fresh Air website.

MALEFICENT
Starz!, 8:00 p.m. ET

It’s a good period for the three-dimensional reenactment of classic Disney characters and films. The new live-action remake of Cinderella, directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Lily James from Downton Abbey in the title role and Cate Blanchett as the wicked stepmother, has gotten strong reviews. Three classic Disney villainesses, including Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, currently are populating ABC’s Once Upon a Time. And last year, Angelina Jolie starred in the stylistic Maleficent, exploring the origins of that ultimately wicked character. All of these projects, not at all coincidentally, come from Disney – which, after all this time, has learned to use its powers for evil as well as good.

ARGO
FX, 9:00 p.m. ET

Made in 2012, this fact-based movie revealed the amazing, formerly top-secret rescue of captives during the Iranian hostage crisis. Ben Affleck stars as the extractor who pushes an extremely unorthodox mission plan – and John Goodman, and Alan Arkin play two of the particularly colorful and imaginative Hollywood types who help him.

REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER
HBO, 10:00 p.m. ET

This week’s installment, given its timing and guests, can’t help but be worth watching. Last week the show was on hiatus, so Bill Maher has two weeks of volatile headlines to explore. And tonight, Maher’s guests include David Axelrod, John Ridley (pictured), Matt Taibbi – who, respectively, have a provocative new book, a provocative new TV series, and the same old scrappy journalistic attitude.

VICE
HBO, 11:00 p.m. ET
SEASON PREMIERE:
Last week, Vice preceded its new season with a one-hour special examining experimental new treatments that, according to some doctors, may eradicate cancer in our lifetimes. It was an extremely persuasive, informative, and encouraging, report – and set the stage for tonight’s Season 3 premiere episode, which includes a report on “Our Rising Oceans.” But will reports such as this one persuade everyone that climate change can no longer be denied? The chance of that happening, I fear, doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in Congress…


http://www.tvworthwatching.com/
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TV Notes
Samantha Bee Exits 'Daily Show' to Host TBS Series
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Mar. 5, 2015

Samantha Bee is expanding her relationship with TBS.

Days after the Turner-owned network picked up the scripted family-vacation comedy series she executive produces with husband Jason Jones, the Daily Show correspondent has landed her own series at TBS.

The untitled series, which is in the early stages of development, was created and exec produced by Bee and Jones. Bee will host and bring her smart and satirical point of view to the series.

Production on the series will begin in the summer with a launch set for the fourth quarter of 2015. Bee will continue to do occasional pieces on The Daily Show until production begins on the new TBS comedy series. Presuming the Bee series is part of TBS' late-night lineup, it also brings a much-needed woman to the ranks of the male-dominated late-night world.

"We're thrilled to have Sam join Jason at TBS and really make this a family affair. We actually have their kids coming in next week to pitch us animation," joked Brett Weitz, executive vp original programming at TBS. "Like her fans around the country, we absolutely adore everything about Sam, from her straight-faced sarcasm and ruthless wit to her uncanny ability to mine comedy gold from just about any awkward situation. After watching Sam's work for years, we knew that her distinctive humor and talent belong at the front of her own show."

Bee is The Daily Show's longest-serving regular correspondent of all time. Her upcoming departure marks the latest shake-up at The Daily Show. It comes after host Jon Stewart announced plans to exit the Comedy Central staple, with Jones also following suit in favor of his TBS scripted comedy. It also eliminates Bee as a potential candidate to take over for Stewart. Sources also tell THR that TBS heavily courted Bee — who didn't want to leave The Daily Show but was drawn to the network with what insiders say was a pricy deal that includes a sizable penalty for her new series.

For TBS, the Bee-hosted entry will join Conan O'Brien's late-night series, which sources tell The Hollywood Reporter has been in the midst of cost-cutting moves and a massive push — including a trip to Cuba and more viral videos — to score eyeballs under new network exec Kevin Reilly.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/liv...ly-show-779580
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...but why watch the MLS (on TV) when you can watch a much higher quality of play in Europe?
Exactly. Riots, stampedes, racism, hooliganism, deaths. What's not to like?
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Business/Critic's Notes
Apple in Dow. What took so long?
By Edward C. Baig, USA Today - Mar. 6, 2015

NEW YORK — The timing couldn't be more symbolic: Apple is poised to take its standing among the 30 prominent stocks that make up the Dow Jones industrial average just as it's about to foist the Apple Watch on the masses.

I'm no stock analyst, but I do know tech, and I watch for signals out of Cupertino on a nearly daily basis. I'm not alone in that regard — legions of people make a sport of it.

As part of the Dow or not, Apple has been a bellwether on the market, on its competitors, and on popular culture, the cumulative effect of which turned the tech giant into the most valuable company in the world, with a market cap of around $736 billion.

I know that part of the rationale for making this move now was Apple's own 7 for 1 stock split last June and Visa's 4 for 1 split back in March.

I'm still asking: What the heck took so long?

It strikes me as a no-brainer that the gang behind the Mac, iTunes, iPod, iPhone, iPad and yes, Apple retail too, merits inclusion in what remains the most exclusive of clubs.

And now we have the Apple Watch. I'm by no means predicting that Apple's new wearable will command the kind of runaway success that Apple has had with many of the aforementioned products, though I wouldn't bet against a fruitful launch, either. Lots of people think the watch will be the catalyst for the entire wearable category, just as Apple Pay is making an impact on the still-burgeoning field of mobile payments.

What I can predict with near certainty is that everyone will be paying attention Monday when Apple is expected to spill further details on the watch's features and availability. And isn't that the point. All eyes have always been on these guys.

It's equally noteworthy and a little bit ironic that the company losing its place in the inner sanctum of the Dow is none other than AT&T, Apple's original carrier partner on the first iPhone. The former American Telephone & Telegraph joined the Dow nearly a full century ago.

Apple' stock was up about 1.95% in early trading Monday. AT&T was down 1.4%.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/c...long/24497193/
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Riots, stampedes, racism, hooliganism, deaths. What's not to like?
All that, plus some of the best soccer players in the world playing at their peak some of the best soccer in the world. Win-win.
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THURSDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insights' Blog.
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Nielsen Overnights (18-59)
Solid start for ABC’s ‘American Crime’
Much-anticipated show draws a 2.0 in 18-49s, winning at 10 p.m.
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Mar. 6, 2015

ABC’s much-promoted new drama “American Crime” got off to a solid start Thursday.

The new show posted a 2.0 adults 18-49 rating, according to Nielsen overnights, dominating the 10 p.m. timeslot and finishing 54 percent ahead of the No. 2 show, CBS’s “Elementary” (1.3).

It was also well above the series premiere for another midseason drama in the same slot last year, “Black Box,” which posted a 1.5, and marked the No. 2 midseason drama debut of the past year, behind Fox’s “Empire.”

But it was well below what “How to Get Away with Murder” had been averaging in the hour previously. The show drew a 2.8 for last week’s season finale.

ABC tied CBS for first on the night on the strength of “Crime,” lead-in “Scandal,” which tied for second overall for the night with a 3.0, and “Grey’s Anatomy,” which posted a 2.4 at 8 p.m., up 9 percent from last week.

Elsewhere last night, episode three of “The Odd Couple” bounced up 0.2 from last week, to a 3.0, within a tenth of its debut rating two weeks ago.

The show got a slightly stronger lead-in from “The Big Bang Theory,” the night’s top show, which posted a 4.7, up from a 4.5 last week.

At 9:30 p.m., “Mom” grew a tenth from last week to a 2.2.

NBC’s new dramas continued to struggle, with “The Slap” posting a 0.8 (though that was up a tenth from last week) and “Allegiance” drawing a 0.8 as well.

The low-rated “Slap” lead-in may be hurting 9 p.m. drama “The Blacklist,” which tied a series low with a 1.7.

On Fox, “American Idol” was even to last week with a 2.1 at 8 p.m., while lead-out “Backstrom” posted a 1.0, up a tenth from last week.

ABC and CBS tied for first for the night among 18-49s, each with a 2.5 average overnight rating and an 8 share. Fox was third at 1.6/5, Univision fourth at 1.1/4, NBC fifth at 1.1/3, Telemundo sixth at 0.6/2, and CW seventh at 0.2/1.

As a reminder, all ratings are based on live-plus-same-day DVR playback, which includes shows replayed before 3 a.m. the night before. Seven-day DVR data won’t be available for several weeks. Forty-nine percent of Nielsen households have DVRs.

CBS started the night in the lead with a 3.9 at 8 p.m. for “Bang” (4.7) and “Couple” (3.0), followed by ABC with a 2.4 for “Grey’s.” Fox was third with a 2.1 for “Idol,” Univision fourth with a 1.3 for “Mi Corazon es Tuyo,” NBC fifth with a 0.8 for “The Slap,” Telemundo sixth with a 0.7 for “Los Miserables,” and CW seventh with a 0.2 for a repeat of “The Vampire Diaries.”

At 9 p.m. ABC took the lead with a 3.0 for “Scandal,” while CBS slipped to second with a 2.3 for a “Bang” rerun (2.4) and a new “Mom” (2.2). NBC was third with a 1.7 for “Blacklist,” Univision fourth with a 1.2 for “Hasta el Fin del Mundo,” Fox fifth with a 1.0 for “Backstrom,” Telemundo sixth with a 0.6 for “Tierra de Reyes,” and CW seventh with a 0.2 for a repeat of “Supernatural.”

ABC held onto the lead at 10 p.m. with a 2.0 for “Crime,” with CBS second with a 1.3 for “Elementary.” Univision was third with a 0.9 for “Que te Perdone Dios,” NBC fourth with a 0.8 for “Allegiance,” and Telemundo fifth with a 0.7 for “Dueños del Paraiso.”

CBS was first for the night among households with a 6.6 average overnight rating and an 11 share. ABC was second at 5.7/10, Fox third at 4.0/6, NBC fourth at 3.2/5, Univision fifth at 1.5/3, Telemundo sixth at 0.8/1, and CW seventh at 0.5/1.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/sol...merican-crime/

* * * *

TV Notes
Best tube bets this weekend
The top draws on broadcast and cable and in sports
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Mar, 6, 2015

FRIDAY

Best bet on broadcast
: ABC, “In An Instant,” 9 p.m. Series premiere.
Looking at how people survive in extreme situations, such as a bear attack, a bridge collapse and a plane crash.

Best bet on cable: HBO, “Vice,” 11 p.m. Season premiere. New season kicks off with a story on climate change.

Top online offering: ESPN, “NBA Basketball,” 10:30 p.m. Should be a fun game to watch between two of the best teams in the West, Dallas and Golden State.

SATURDAY

Best bet on broadcast
: NBC, “Premier Boxing Champions,” 8:30 p.m. Series premiere.
How will the new boxing show perform versus mainly reruns on broadcast?

Best bet on cable: “The Graham Norton Show,” 10:15 p.m. Season finale. Guests include David Beckham, Will Smith, Margot Robbie and Hugh Jackman.

Top sporting event: ESPN, “College Basketball,” 6:30 p.m. In the game of the day, No. 16 Louisville hosts No. 2 Virginia.

SUNDAY

Best bet on broadcast
: NBC, “Escape,” 9 p.m. Series premiere.
First installment of a three-part series featuring stories of survival.

Best bet on cable: Comedy Central, “Night of Too Many Stars,” 8 p.m. The annual autism education special, featuring Louis C.K., Jon Hamm, John Oliver and Amy Schumer, among others.

Top sporting event: Fox Sports 1, “Soccer,” 12 p.m. An English FA Cup quarterfinal between Liverpool and Blackburn.


http://www.medialifemagazine.com/bes...eekend-3-6-15/
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TV Notes
NBC Picks Up Sniper Miniseries ‘The Reaper’ From Weinstein Co.
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Mar. 5, 2015

EXCLUSIVE: The Reaper has landed at NBC. I’ve learned that the network has given a production order to a six-hour miniseries from the Weinstein Co. based on the recently released book The Reaper: Autobiography Of One Of The Deadliest Special Ops Snipers by Nicholas Irving, the U.S. Army 3rd Ranger Battalion’s deadliest sniper.

I hear NBC went aggressively after the project, announced by the Weinstein Co. a month ago, and bought it preemptively. A writer for the mini is expected to be named soon.

The Weinstein Co. acquired the rights to Irving’s memoir less than a week after it was published by St. Martin’s Press with the intention to adapt it as a miniseries to begin production in the summer. The Reaper comes on the heels of the blockbuster success of the Bradley Cooper starrer American Sniper, also an adaptation of the memoir of one of American’s most decorated snipers.

Irving, the first African-American to serve as a sniper in his battalion, became known as “The Reaper” by the end of his active service. During a four-month period in mid-2009, Irving tallied an astounding 33 kills as a master sniper, in addition to setting records for enemy kills on a single deployment. His reputation as one of the great military snipers ever is such that he actually has an AR-15 rifle named after him. In his book, Irving gives an inside look at what those in the special operations community go through.

“Nick Irving’s true bravery and heroism will make for some of the most riveting television ever seen and inspire patriotism in anyone who experiences it,” TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein said at the time of the book acquisition announcement.

The company’s creative executive Lauren O’Connor and Mark Velez, SVP Scripted TV, will oversee production for TWC. Brendan Deneen and Marc Resnick, Irving’s editor at St. Martin’s, are expected to executive produce for Macmillan Entertainment. The deal was negotiated by Sarah Sobel, EVP Business & Legal Affairs, for TWC with Deneen at Macmillan.

NBC has been active during the current miniseries/limited series renaissance with Rosemary’s Baby, The Slap and the upcoming Bible followup, A.D.

http://deadline.com/2015/03/sniper-m...co-1201386994/
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Obituary
‘Star Trek’ Producer Harve Bennett Dies
By Dave McNary, Variety.com - Mar. 5, 2015

Harve Bennett, who produced four “Star Trek” movies and the TV series “Mod Squad,” “The Six Million Dollar Man” and “The Bionic Woman,” died Wednesday in Medford, Ore. He was 84.

Bennett’s passing came less than a week after the Feb. 27 death of “Star Trek” star Leonard Nimoy.

Bennett, a native of Chicago, broke into show business as a young boy on the radio program “Quiz Kids.” He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles film school and began his career as a production executive at CBS in New York City and later at ABC.

Bennett joined Aaron Spelling in developing and producing “The Mod Squad,” then moved to Universal, where he produced “The Six Million Dollar Man,” “The Bionic Woman” and “Gemini Man.” He then worked at Columbia Pictures Television on “Salvage 1,” “The Jesse Owens Story” and “A Woman Called Golda.”

He was then recruited by Charles Bluhdorn, head of Paramount parent Gulf+Western, to produce a second “Star Trek” movie and developed “Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan,” based on the TV episode “Space Seed” which featured Ricardo Montalban as the villain Khan Noonien Singh.

Bennett also produced the next three Star Trek films: “The Search for Spock,” “The Voyage Home” and “The Final Frontier.”

He also produced “Crash Landing: The Rescue of Flight 232″ and the series “Time Trax” and “Invasion America.”

http://variety.com/2015/film/news/st...ad-1201447374/
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Obituary
Documentary Legend Albert Maysles Passes Away at 88
By Nigel M. Smith, IndieWire.com - Mar. 6, 2015

Veteran documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles, the cinema verite pioneer who co-directed seminal non-fiction titles such as "Gimme Shelter" and "Salesman" with his brother David, passed away last night at the age of 88. The news was first reported by The Criterion Collection this morning on the company's Facebook page.

The Criterion Collection
Movie · 273,038 Likes · 2 hrs ·
Our dear friend Albert Maysles passed away last night at the age of 88. We saw things through his lens that we will never forget. He was a filmmaker up until the end. We loved him and will miss him terribly.


Criterion today releases the filmmaker's seminal classic "Grey Gardens" (co-directed by his brother David, Ellen Hovde and Muffie Meyer) back into theaters in honor of its upcoming 40th anniversary. The director's latest film, "In Transit," premieres at the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival.

Last November, Maysles received DOC NYC's Lifetime Achievement Award for his remarkable body of work. "The very medium of documentary offers us the opportunity to make real the biblical expression asking us to love our neighbor," he said when accepting the honor. "It gives us the knowledge of our neighbors far and wide. Knowledge by which we can love our neighbors."

The filmmaker was nominated for one Oscar (Best Short Documentary for "Christo's Valley Curtain") over the course of his career, and won two Emmy Awards for "Soldiers of Music" and "Vladimir Horowitz: The Last Romantic," on top of countless other accolades.

His last project, "In Transit," will premiere at Tribeca in April. It tracks a wide variety of encounters with personalities on a train traveling between Chicago and Seattle.

http://www.indiewire.com/article/doc...at-88-20150306
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