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I would think that it would be standard practice to do a social media search on someone before hiring them at this point....then have a clause in the contract that what they see on social media may affect their employment if it reflects negatively on the the company.

Twitter has been the new method of reserving your spot in the unemployment line. It's also the quickest method of finding out whether someone is racist, sexist, a potential information leak or simply a moron.
I doubt that anyone who casts the reality shows cares about such things until the masses begin to complain. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if those attitudes were originally considered "plusses" to the programmers. None of those shows seem to be filled with nonconfrontational folks.
 

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I doubt that anyone who casts the reality shows cares about such things until the masses begin to complain. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if those attitudes were originally considered "plusses" to the programmers. None of those shows seem to be filled with nonconfrontational folks.
I was talking more in general.

The way I see it, if you don't check this stuff, it's on you if it comes out later. It's just lazy research. There's literally an algorithm for that...

It reminds me of that SNL guy that was found to have a checkered social media past, then made the claim he "was a different person now'...... like 2 years later. Way to evolve....
 

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Are those of us that are not personally offended by silver face allowed to be outraged when Wizard of Oz gets cancelled? What about the straw man and Aunt Sally? Should they suffer just because some people think the tin man is offensive?
I don't know who Sally is (she might have gone off to lay down somewhere), but Auntie Em probably would probably just call it a dream. The Straw Man tends to make a poor argument.
 
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TV Notes (Streaming)
Harlots Cancelled After 3 Seasons at Hulu — Reprisal Also Not Returning
https://tvline.com/2020/06/10/harlots-cancelled-no-season-4-hulu/
I liked the first season of Harlots but got bored with the second. It was if they had enough ideas for one season but were contriving for the second. That happens way too often. There are a few gifted show creators who seem to have an idea for an interesting storyline lasting several seasons. Unfortunately it is often the latter who get canceled prematurely.
 

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That's how you know the current events are momentous. Both shows got good ratings for their respective networks and, in "COPS" case, a steady syndication mainstay. For Paramount and A&E to end lucrative franchises that will impact somebody's bottom lines means their respective corporations are willing to suffer short-term financial losses for the sake of being perceived to do the right thing. All that plus NASCAR's ban of the confederate flag at its eventshttps://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/10/nascar-bans-confederate-flag-at-all-events-and-properties.html (which I haven't posted about here because it's really not a TV story) means them Duke boys' TV show might be going into a vault somewhere. :(

As long as Warner bro releases the Dukes Of Hazzard on Blu-Ray first


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TV Notes (Broadcast)
'Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist' Renewed at NBC
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter - Jun. 11, 2020

Zoey will create another playlist for NBC.

The network has handed out a second-season renewal to musical dramedy Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist. The renewal arrives more than a month after the series from Lionsgate TV wrapped its critically acclaimed freshman run.

"We were overwhelmed by the number of people who fell in love with Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist and how much joy it brought to everyone. We’re thrilled to bring it back and can’t wait to see how Zoey’s journey continues,” said Lisa Katz and Tracey Pakosta, co-presidents of scripted programming at NBC.

The Jane Levy starrer from creator Austin Winsberg may be NBC's lone freshman series make it to a second season. The network earlier this week canceled first-year shows Lincoln Rhyme and Perfect Harmony, while Bluff City Law, Indebted and Sunnyside are not expected back. Council of Dads is wrapping up its run.

The first season of Zoey’s averaged a 0.7 rating among the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic and 3.1 million total viewers when factoring in seven days of delayed viewing. The network is touting the series, featuring Skylar Astin, Alex Newell, Peter Gallagher, Mary Steenburgen and Lauren Graham as one of its strongest digital performers, noting that it generates more than half of its 35-day viewership in the 18-49 demo from digital sources. (The entire first season is currently available on NBCUniversal-owned streamer Peacock.)

The dramedy currently has a 75 percent and 88 percent rating among critics and viewers, respectively, on aggregation site RottenTomatoes.com.

Zoey's joins a roster of scripted originals on NBC's 2020-21 schedule that also includes The Blacklist, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the Chicago franchise, Good Girls, Law & Order: SVU, New Amsterdam, Superstore and This Is Us. Sophomore drama Manifest is still awaiting word on its future. The network has yet to make any series pickups from its pilot crop after the novel coronavirus pandemic halted production. NBC previously picked up The Kenan Show, which is being retooled after a series order last year, Dwayne Johnson's Young Rock and Ted Danson's Mr. Mayor as well as a SVU spinoff.

NBC — and ABC — are the remaining two broadcast networks that have yet to announce their schedule plans for next season. It's unclear which direction either network will move in given that a production start date — and a clear path back to work — have yet to be ironed out. Some areas, including Los Angeles, have already received the green light to go back to work though that all hinges on safety protocols that are still being worked out among a number of guilds.

Zoey's is a co-production between Lionsgate TV and Universal TV.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/zoeys-extraordinary-playlist-renewed-at-nbc-1298098
 

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TV Notes (Cable)
Hightown: Monica Raymund Crime Drama Renewed for Season 2 at Starz
By Michael Ausiello, TVLine.com - Jun. 11, 2020

Starz is giving an early vote of confidence to Hightown, renewing the Monica Raymund-led freshman crime drama for Season 2 after only one month on the air.

In its first four weeks, Hightown has averaged a rock-steady quarter-million total viewers and a 0.03 demo rating (in Live+Same Day numbers), which is a fraction of what time slot predecessor Outlander did this spring), but a good 50 percent higher than lead-out Vida.

In a statement, Christina Davis, president of original programming at Starz, said, “Audiences are already deeply engaged with these flawed and complex characters and in a second season we will continue to dive deeper into the relationships between them amidst the shifting tides on the Cape.”

Hightown stars Chicago Fire vet Raymond as Jackie Quiñones, a hard-partying National Marine Fisheries Service agent whose free-wheeling life thrown into disarray when she discovers a body on the beach – another casualty of Cape Cod’s opioid epidemic.

The series’ eight-episode first season is scheduled to conclude July 12.

https://tvline.com/2020/06/11/hightown-renewed-season-2-starz-monica-raymund/
 

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TV Notes (Cable)
Live PD host slams cancellation: 'There's an overreaction going on'
By James Hibberd, EW.com - Jun. 11, 2020

Live PD host Dan Abrams has some thoughts about the surprise cancellation of his hit reality crime series by A&E.

The cable network axed the show — which documents police officers on duty around the country — in the wake of worldwide protests against police brutality and racism.

Speaking on his SiriusXM show The Dan Abrams Show, the host called the cancellation an "overreaction" to recent events.

"I think that it's very troubling that we're suddenly in a culture where all police officers have to suffer for the sins of a few," said Abrams, who is also the chief legal affairs anchor for ABC News. "And I say that for every group, it's not just police officers. It's just so interesting to me that many on the left have criticized this sense of collective justice, right? That it has to be individual justice. You can't sort of impugn a community of people. And yet when it comes to this, the left seems very willing, ready, and able to impugn all police officers. Now let me say again, that doesn't mean we don't have to have a discussion about the inequities in our society. And not just a discussion — action. There should be changes. There's real positive change in many ways going on in this country. But there's also an overreaction going on. And I think that that's what Live PD suffered from."

Abrams said that he expected to work together with A&E to try and make some changes to the show in light of recent events, and was "shocked and beyond disappointed" when the show was outright canceled instead.

"So, what I had thought was going to happen was I thought we were going to have a discussion about how to make the show better. And we were going to sort of try and — together — figure out how to deal with some of the positive change that people are implementing and figure out how to incorporate that into the show," he said. "But lo and behold, the show got canceled. So yeah, that's where we are. I'm definitely not happy about it. I love the fact that Sean Penn called me a 'used car salesman.'"

Civil rights advocacy organization Color of Change is among those who called on A&E to cancel Live PD and, before that, Paramount Television to cancel Cops. "For more than 30 years, Cops has miseducated the public and normalized injustice," said Color of Change vice president Arisha Hatch in a statement provided to EW earlier this week. "Crime television encourages the public to accept the norms of over-policing and excessive force and reject reform, while supporting the exact behavior that destroys the lives of Black people. Cops led the way, pushing troubling implications for generations of viewers. Now it’s time for other networks to cancel similarly harmful shows. We call on A&E to cancel Live PD next. In a moment when everyone wants to proclaim that Black Lives Matter, we must hold these companies accountable to put actions to words with a complete industry overhaul."

Canceling the 4-year-old Live PD was arguably a far more significant move than canceling Cops, which had been on the air since 1989. Cops delivered rather modest ratings for Paramount Network. But Live PD was A&E's cornerstone series and often ranked as the top-rated cable show on Friday and Saturday nights. The network had ordered 160 additional episodes just last month.

Live PD's fate might have also been impacted by increasing coverage of a case in Texas where the show destroyed footage of the death of a black man, 40-year-old Javier Ambler, who perished in police custody 15 months ago. A&E explained the move was routine procedure given that the case was initially dismissed by investigators and the footage was not used on the show or requested by investigators.

"They ended up tasing him four times and you can hear him on the video and it's heartbreaking, yelling, 'Save me. I can't breathe,'" Abrams said. "And he ends up dying as a result of the tasing. Live PD cameras had been there with him at the time, and it wasn't while we were on the air. It was during a hiatus in the show where we're just shooting for additional footage. The show has a policy of not retaining video for more than roughly 30 days. The reason for that is that we didn't want to become a video repository for either side — prosecutors, for defense, et cetera. We didn't want to become an arm of law enforcement. We didn't want to become an arm of defense attorneys, et cetera. So we had this policy in place about not retaining videos. The Williamson County Sheriff's office requested right after this incident happened that we retain the video while their investigation transpired. So Live PD did that. [We] held the video until June of 2019, at which point, the sheriff's office informed Live PD that the investigation had concluded. The most important point is that they had their own body cam footage, which they used for their investigation. They didn't request the Live PD footage, they informed us the investigation was over. No one requested the Live PD footage. And now a year later, people are asking, 'How did you guys not save the video?' And, you know, I wrote an article on Law and Crime trying to answer a lot of the questions that I was being asked about this."

The actions of the Williamson County Sheriff's office are now under investigation by the adjacent Travis County, whose district attorney is looking into the possibility of taking the case to a grand jury.

https://ew.com/tv/live-pd-canceled-dan-abrams/
 

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TV Notes (Streaming)
‘Love Life’ Renewed for Season 2 at HBO Max
By Joe Otterson, Variety.com - Jun. 11, 2020

HBO Max has renewed its first original scripted series, “Love Life,” for a second season.

The final four episodes of Season 1 became available on HBO Max on Thursday. Anna Kendrick starred in Season 1 of the show in addition to executive producing. Kendrick will remain onboard as an executive producer for Season 2, but the season will focus on a new lead character. Kendrick’s character, Darby, will make occasional appearances in the second season.

Season 2 will explore what happens when you’ve lived your whole life knowing who your soulmate is, only to find out years into a marriage that it’s not the right fit at all. The series was always planned to be an anthology, and was announced as such last year.

“We couldn’t be more excited to make another season of ‘Love Life’ with the amazing people at HBO Max and Lionsgate Television, and to have the opportunity to explore a whole new protagonist. If only as a way to continue processing our own romantic damage,” said creator, co-showrunner and executive producer Sam Boyd and co-showrunner and executive producer Bridget Bedard.

“Love Life” is produced by Lionsgate Television and Feigco Entertainment. The series comes from Boyd, who co-show runs with Bedard. Boyd and Bedard serve as executive producers alongside Kendrick, Paul Feig, and Dan Magnante.

“We were thrilled to be the first scripted series to debut on HBO Max and now we’re doubly thrilled to be their first second season pickup,” said Feig. “Our partnership with the entire team at the network has been wonderful and we can’t wait to dive in for more. We’re loving life at HBO Max!”

The series marked the latest collaboration for Feig and Kendrick. The pair previously worked together on the 2018 film “A Simple Favor,” in which Kendrick starred and Feig directed. It was also the first starring television role of Kendrick’s career.

“Love Life” was one of the original launch titles for HBO Max when the streamer debuted in late May. It has received mixed reviews from critics, holding a 59% critical approval rating and a 79% audience approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

In his review for Variety, Daniel D’Addario wrote, “In all, ‘Love Life’ is amply watchable, if telling a story that seems not to be demanding its own telling.”

https://variety.com/2020/tv/news/love-life-renewed-season-2-hbo-max-1234632066/
 

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TV Sports/Technology Notes (Soccer)
Spanish soccer returns with computer-generated crowds, and it actually works
By Sam Byford, TheVerge.com - Jun. 11, 2020

Sports are gradually returning to our TV screens after the coronavirus pandemic brought virtually all competition around the world to a sudden halt. If you’re as big a sports addict as me, you’ll probably take what you can get right now, but the broadcast experiences I’ve watched so far haven’t been all that satisfying. It’s a little hard to get excited when you’re watching players celebrate in deafening silence in a cavernous, empty German arena.

La Liga, Spain’s top football/soccer division, is taking a different approach. The league returned to action last night with a local derby between Seville clubs Real Betis and Sevilla FC, and anyone watching at home might have done a double-take to confirm that the stadium wasn’t full. La Liga is collaborating with EA Sports to pipe in reactive crowd noise, while Norwegian broadcasting tech company Vizrt has provided visuals to give the impression of a live audience.

“We respect a lot what the Bundesliga are doing and the Premier League, and the NBA, but what we are doing will be different,” La Liga audiovisual director Melcior Soler tells The Athletic. “We are thinking of this as a televised entertainment spectacle. What we are going to do is make you recall what you are used to seeing when the stadiums are full.”

The virtual fans aren’t CGI representations of individual humans like you’d see in FIFA 20. Instead, the stands are blanketed in a static texture that does a surprisingly good job of looking like a crowd, so long as your actual attention is focused on the action on the pitch. It looks more like a ‘90s video game or a stereogram if you look at it up close, but overall the effect is pretty convincing. I’d take it over empty seats.

The audio, meanwhile, takes a similar approach. It’s not much like an actual football crowd with people chanting songs or yelling expletives at the referee, but it adds an emotive layer to the proceedings. There’s a constant hum of background noise that shifts in volume and excitement in accordance with the action, and you still get the release of a crowd roaring whenever there’s a goal.

The illusion is inevitably broken from time to time. The virtual crowd only appears from the main broadcast camera angle, for instance, and while the camera operators use a slightly elevated angle for player closeups so as not to show the crowd, it’s unavoidable for certain other situations. Wide-angle cameras mounted to the goalposts, as well as various aerial shots, sometimes reveal the lack of crowd in attendance.

Still, though, I honestly think La Liga’s take on sports broadcasting in the age of COVID-19 is the best I’ve seen yet. For me, it hits the right blend between abstract and authentic, genuinely adding to the experience without feeling awkward. I hope other sports organizations are taking notes.

https://www.theverge.com/2020/6/12/21288963/la-liga-fake-crowd-noise-betis-sevilla
 

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Nielsen Overnights (Broadcast)
‘Ultimate Tag’ And ‘Game On!’ Top Wednesday Ratings; ‘Bulletproof’ Returns Low
By Dino-Ray Ramos, Deadline.com - Jun. 11, 2020

Fox’s Ultimate Tag and the CBS comedy game show Game On! shared the top spot in Wednesday primetime, with both delivering a 0.5 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic. The extreme version of the classic playground game netted 1.86 million viewers, but Game On! surpassed it, tallying 3.58 million viewers.

On the CW, Bulletproof (0.1, 386,000) returned for Season 2, matching series lows. A fresh episode of The 100 (0.2, 678,000) was on par with last week.

ABC’s “Wonderful World of Disney” presentation of Big Hero 6 (0.5, 2.50M) stumbled from last week’s presentation of Up, while a new episode of Marvel’s Agents S.H.I.E.L.D. (0.3, 1.60M) held steady.

NBC served repeats of its Chicago trio, which were Wednesday’s most viewed shows; Chicago Fire garnered the largest audience with 4.13 million viewers.

https://deadline.com/2020/06/ultimate-tag-game-on-tv-ratings-bulletproof-return-wednesday-1202956585/
 

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TV Notes (Cable)
‘Total Bellas’ Renewed for 6th Season by E!
By Jon Lafayette, Broadcating & Cable - Jun. 11, 2020

Total Bellas, E!'s series following wrestling sisters Nikki and Brie Bella, has been renewed for a sixth season, the NBCUniversal cable network said.

Season 5 concluded Thursday. New episodes are expected to premiere this fall.

E! Said the fifth season has averaged nearly 1 million viewers, up 10% from last season. It ranked among the top 10 primetime shows on cable among women 18 to 49, women 18 to 34 and people 18 to 34.

Total Bellas is produced by WWE and Bunim/Murray Productions with Gil Goldschein, Andrea Metz and Farnaz Farjam Chazan serving as executive producers for Bunim/Murray Productions. Nikki Bella and Brie Bella also serve as executive producers.

https://www.nexttv.com/news/total-bellas-renewed-for-6th-season-by-e
 

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TV Notes (Streaming)
Anna Paquin's 'Flack' Revived at Amazon
By Rick Porter, The Hollywood Reporter - Jun. 11, 2020

Canceled Pop TV series Flack has a new lease on life thanks to Amazon.

The dramedy starring Anna Paquin was canceled in March — just a week before its second season was set to premiere — as part of a shift in strategy at Pop's parent company, ViacomCBS, which wants to own more of the programming it airs. The critically acclaimed Florida Girls and comedy Best Intentions, which had yet to air, were also shut down in March.

Amazon will have rights to the two existing seasons in the United States and Canada. The streamer hasn't set a premiere date yet.

Pop TV, meanwhile, has only One Day at a Time remaining as an original series following the end of flagship comedy Schitt's Creek in April. The network's pilot Mother Mary, from in-house CBS Television Studios, is still in play. The contemporary retelling of the biblical story of Mary counts Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's Rachel Bloom among its executive producers (she'll also play the mother of the Antichrist).

Pop TV's president, Brad Schwartz, is also departing the network to become chief content officer at Amazon's Audible.

Flack stars Paquin as Robyn, a sharp and witty PR professional who's an expert at her craft but a complete self-saboteur in her personal life. The dramedy also follows Robyn and her fellow flacks as they figure out how to make the best of bad situations and somehow manage to get out unscathed.

The second season will see Robyn putting her life back together and focusing on repairing her relationship with her sister (Genevieve Angelson) after her myriad addictions got the better of her at the end of season one. She faces a new and unexpected revelation, however, when she finds out she's pregnant.

Flack comes from Hat Trick Productions (Derry Girls, Episodes) and Stephen Moyer's CASM Films. Oliver Lansley created the series and executive produces with Paquin, Helen Williams, Cerise Hallam Larkin, Moyer, Mark Larkin and Jimmy Mulville.

Deadline first reported the news.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/anna-paquins-flack-revived-at-amazon-1297980
 

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Technology Notes (Gaming)
Sony reveals PlayStation 5 and video games on the way for new console
By Mike Snider, USA Today - Jun. 11, 2020

Sony unveiled an impressive roster of video games in the works for its PlayStation 5 launch later this year and finally gave a peek at what the new console looks like.

Among the games in the works: a new Spider-Man game starring Miles Morales, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart," "Resident Evil Village: Silent Hill," "Gran Turismo 7" and "Sackboy: A Big Adventure," as well as a VR game "Astro's Playroom."

But the big reveal was the futuristic console with a black-center sandwiched between artsy white waves. A slightly thinner digital PS5 model without a disc player was also revealed for players who want to deal with only downloaded games.

PlayStation 5: These were the 10 biggest game announcements Thursday

"I think the hardware was one of the most exciting things we got to see," said Geoff Keighley, who hosted Summer Game Fest video shows on the YouTube Gaming channel before and after Sony's event said most weren't sure a console would be revealed.

The console "feels like stands on its own. It has a towering presence to it," he said.

Jim Ryan, president & CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, during the pre-recorded video event described the PS5 as "our most striking console design yet."

In an interview after the event, Ryan told USA TODAY that the new console can stand vertically and horizontally. "We tasked ourselves to do something a bit bold."

The digital PS5 is identical to the standard console, which will play games on discs, he said. The cute new platform game "Astro's Playroom" will come installed on both systems, said Ryan, who did not say when the price of the systems would be announced.

As for the games, Ryan said, they are "transformative in how they look feel and sound."

Overall, more than two dozen games were shown, more than half of which will be exclusive to PS5, he said.

Typically, during this time of year, all focus on the future of video games would be at the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, the gaming confab held annually in Los Angeles. But the coronavirus pandemic led to its cancellation.

Sony had planned to hit play on the event last week, but postponed it because of the nationwide protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

But Sony's event today could be considered the kickoff to what is expected to be a busy rest of the year in video game developments with Microsoft, also bringing to market its new Xbox Series X system this holiday season.

This edition of the console wars – both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were launched in 2013 – could play out differently. Microsoft is touting its Project xCloud gaming service at the same time; its due to officially launch this fall, too.

And all of this will play out amid stubborn reminder of the COVID-19 crisis and economic challenges caused by that and the potential for ongoing racial unrest.

Microsoft has as its strengths a goal of delivering a console with more firepower, a robust Xbox Games Pass subscription service and a new Halo Infinite game arriving in tandem with the Xbox Series X, says Piers Harding-Rolls, games industry analyst at London headquartered research firm Ampere Analysis.

For its part, Sony is expected to have multiple exclusive games available for the PS5 at the outset. "In the context of selling next-gen consoles this factor clearly gives Sony a substantial advantage, although Microsoft would argue that its approach is more consumer friendly, focused on the gamer and about keeping its audience engaged," Harding-Rolls said in a market analysis out Thursday.

He expects demand for new hardware to drive sales of 4.6 million PS5 consoles and 3.3 million Xbox Series X consoles by the end of the year, a better overall launch than that of the previous generation.

That prediction comes before we know the prices of the new systems, which are likely to be about $500, Michael Pachter, managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities, told USA TODAY. Considering the economic concerns, any higher price could be "problematic," he said.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/gaming/2020/06/11/ps-5-sony-set-show-off-video-games-coming-console/5343069002/
 

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TV/Legal Notes
Comcast Settles with Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios
By Thomas Umstead, NextTV.com - Jun. 11, 2020

Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios and Comcast on Thursday reached a content carriage agreement, ending a long, legal dispute that ended up at the Supreme Court.

According to the deal, Comcast extends its carriage agreement for The Weather Channel and 14 broadcast television stations owned by Allen, who is Entertainment Studios/Allen Media Group founder, Chairman and CEO and a 2019 B&C Hall of Fame inductee.

In addition, the deal also includes carriage of ES’ channels Comedy.Tv, Recipe.TV and JusticeCentral.TV on its X1 and video on demand platforms, according to both parties.

“We’re excited to begin a new phase of partnership with Comcast and Xfinity, including the distribution of our cable channels for the first time on Xfinity platforms,” said Allen in a statement.

Comcast Cable senior vice president of video and entertainment Bec Heap added: “We are pleased to have reached this multifaceted agreement that continues our long relationship with The Weather Channel while bringing Xfinity customers additional content. We look forward to an ongoing partnership.”

The deal effectively ends a five-year legal dispute between Allen and Comcast. Allen and the National Association of African American Owned Media sued Comcast in 2015, alleging that the media company conspired to keep African-American owned networks off its systems. A federal court dismissed the suit three times, but the decision was reversed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit a year ago.

Comcast appealed to the Supreme Court, which this past March ruled against the lower court ruling, saying that Allen "bears the burden" of showing that race was the "but for" cause of the alleged injury--in this case lack of carriage.

Allen still has active a $10 billion lawsuit against Charter filed in 2016 also claiming carriage discrimination.

https://www.nexttv.com/news/byron-allens-entertainment-studios-comcast-reach-carriage-deal
 

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TV/Critic's Notes (Cable)
How ‘90 Day Fiance’ became a TV hit and pop-culture phenomenon
By Maureen Callahan, New York Post - Jun. 11, 2020

It was the unlikely coupling of Danielle Mullins, a 41-year-old home health care aide from Ohio, and Mohamed Jbali, a 26-year-old from Tunisia, that launched TLC’s reality show “90 Day Fiancé” into the pop culture stratosphere.

Never before had a romance like this been seen on television. Here was a couple who met and courted online, a much older woman sure that her younger boyfriend was The One — despite never having been in the same room, let alone the same country. The couple wed just five months later, with the groom claiming he couldn’t kiss his bride because it went against his religion.

A small gathering of guests cringed. So did viewers at home.

Danielle and Mohamed were just one of multiple romances chronicled in their 2014 season, the show’s second, but they were the breakout stars. Viewers couldn’t get enough of their story, which played out in wild and unpredictable ways.

To hear the show’s premise is to think you know how each relationship plays out: Well-to-do, older Americans search online for young, hot singles from impoverished nations. There is usually a significant imbalance in looks and weight, not to mention cultural and religious norms. Some couples don’t even speak each other’s language and communicate solely through Google Translate.

What seems clear is that the younger foreigners are using the older Americans for a green card, with the trusting Americans unaware they’re being scammed and humiliated on national TV. And with just 90 days to spend in America — at which point the couple either marries or the foreigner must go home — the chances that the American gets duped increase exponentially.

Right?

That’s how Danielle’s storyline began. Then Mohamed moved to her small town in Ohio, and it became clear that he wasn’t necessarily a villain. With the expert pacing of a psychological horror movie, the show revealed Danielle as needy, clingy and a queen of passive-aggressiveness.

She lived in a cramped suburban apartment and kept that a secret, knowing Mohamed expected the America of Hollywood. She also had a lot of debt — yet another thing she hid from Mohamed, until their cell phones got shut off.

When Mohamed realized what he’d signed up for — having traveled to live with Danielle and her three teenage daughters, unable to work himself because the U.S. government doesn’t issue work visas in these cases, no friends or family here, no outside support or social network — the show’s brilliant plot twists kicked in: Just who is using who? Who has pure intentions and who is purely interested in a transaction? And why do so many sad-sack middle-aged American men junk audience sympathy by packing sex toys and cheap lingerie for young Eastern European or Southeast Asian women they’ve never met in person?

Add the most improbable love stories, one partner seemingly in the throes of denial, and you have must-see TV.

Take Jenny and Sumit. Jenny is a 62-year-old grandmother from Palm Springs, California, who met 32-year-old Sumit online. Jenny emptied out her 401(k) and gave up her home to relocate to India, where Sumit lives.

She spent most of her time alone in a tiny apartment, tearful and confused.

Sumit, it turned out, had secrets. (Most participants do — it’s a recurring beat.) Sumit had catfished Jenny with a photo of a male model, pretending he was a 25-year-old Londoner.

Also, he was already married.

Guess what? They’re still together! They, too, are a breakout couple of the franchise, returning in the new season of “90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way.”

Not every relationship is as extreme, but for fans, each is a mental exercise in assessing character and motivation.

Mohamed was fairly depicted as a callous philanderer — women began reaching out to him as the show aired, and he often took off on vacations with them — but as he confessed on his season-ending “Tell All,” Danielle practically considered him a sex slave.

In a clip since viewed over 1.4 million times on YouTube, Mohamed said, “We started facing a problem . . . She would be, like, sitting on the floor, cursing, screaming, in front of her teenagers, ‘I WANT MY SEX TONIGHT! IF YOU DON’T GIVE ME MY SEX TONIGHT, I WILL CALL IMMIGRATION! I WILL GET YOU DEPORTED!’”

In that moment, Danielle seemed the epitome of the Ugly American. But consider this clip from the same reunion special, called “Why Did Mohamed Stop Having Sex with Danielle?” now viewed over 4.5 million times.

Danielle: “He has told people that I smell —”

Mohamed: “You do.”

Danielle: “And that I peed on him.”

And thus a rarity among shows in our streaming age, appointment viewing, took hold. And a franchise was born.

Not that long ago, Sunday night programming was considered the height of prestige: Think “The Sopranos,” “Sex and the City,” “Breaking Bad,” “Homeland,” “The Good Wife,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “The Walking Dead,” “Downton Abbey,” “Game of Thrones.” These shows dominated the cultural landscape and attracted highly educated, high-income viewers.

Now Sunday nights belong to TLC’s “90 Day Fiancé” and its spinoffs, some of which bleed into other nights: “Before the 90 Days,” “The Other Way,” “What Now?” “Pillow Talk,” “The Family Chantel,” the hastily pulled together “Self-Quarantined,” “Happily Ever After,” (new season premiering Sunday, June 14), and the just-announced “B90 Strikes Back!” premiering June 22.

What accounts for such a tectonic shift? Part of it has to do with novelty. For a long time, movies were the sole province of antiheroes, stylish cinematography and graphic sex and violence. Then premium cable not only began mimicking movies but surpassing them, unfolding deeper characterizations and storylines than two-hour feature films can contain — until these shows, too, became predictable.

Antiheroes are now a cliché. “90 Day” is about the naïve but human hope that love can conquer all.

And when you consider what’s happened to premium cable dramas of late — “Game of Thrones” inured viewers to plot twists, as with Ned’s beheading or the Red Wedding, then left fans outraged over a rushed and sloppy final season, the showrunners clearly bored and divested — it’s no wonder “90 Day” has become such a phenomenon. No matter how devoted a student you are of documentaries or reality TV, you can never tell what’s going to happen next.

“#90 Day” is consistently among Twitter’s top-five trending topics on Sunday nights. The most recent “Before the 90 Days” reunion, which aired last Sunday, was the most-watched program in America that week. The franchise accounts for one-third of the network’s programming and just keeps adding viewers; right now, it’s averaging 3.5 million watching the day it airs.

Though TLC worries about diluting the brand, quarantine has only intensified the appetite for the show, in part due to its built-in global settings, reminding us of a time when travel was taken for granted.

“I’ve just been watching a lot of ‘90 Day Fiancé,’” Pete Davidson told Howard Stern this week. He joins celebrity superfans such as Lady Gaga, Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, Amy Schumer, Sophie Turner and Mindy Kaling.

And this was a show that just about every network exec rejected.

“90 Day” creator Matt Sharp grew up in Syracuse, New York, the son of history professor father and a journalist mother. He got the idea for the show in 2011 after watching a newsmagazine piece about Americans going abroad to meet people they had only previously talked to online.

“There is a big fish-out-of-water element,” Sharp tells The Post. “Plus a natural ticking time clock that increase the pressure on the relationship.”

Sharp also saw a hole in the reality television landscape, dominated by sleeker vehicles he declines to name, “less authentic shows with perfectly placed shots . . . people fighting but [not] register[ing] as authentic.”

The implication is clear: These would be the wealthy, glamorous, exceedingly white and scripted worlds of Bravo’s “Real Housewives” and “Vanderpump Rules.” Nor is “90 Day” a relative of “The Bachelor,” filled as that show is with beautiful people in fairytale settings.

Sharp casts people of different socioeconomic classes, cultures and ethnicities — more often struggling than not —desperate not just for money and fame, but love. Very, very desperate for love.

Take David from this season’s “Before the 90 Days.” At 60 years old, David had spent about $300,000 taking 20-plus trips to Ukraine and declared he was in a committed, seven year-long relationship with Lana, a woman he’d never met.

The cliffhanger: Was Lana real, or an epic catfish?

Turns out she was real, but when she finally met David in Ukraine — having stood him up in Kiev on each of his four previous trips — Lana was visibly disgusted as he pawed and hugged her, moaning every time.

There’s no better summation of David’s delusion than what he reported at the “Tell All:” He and Lana are engaged, but no longer together.

People and stories like this are so plentiful that there’s little danger the franchise will cannibalize itself. Yet Sharp spent almost two years shopping the show and was about to give up when he ran into TLC exec Howard Lee (now president and GM of the channel) in late 2013.

“He had a tape on his iPad and was giving me a verbal pitch,” Lee tells The Post. “I said, ‘Don’t share this with anybody else. I want it.’ It went straight to series.”

Angela Deem, a 59-year-old temperamental, chain-smoking grandmother of six from Hazelhurst, Georgia, is among the recurring characters. She is engaged to Michael Ilesanmi, a Nigerian more than 20 years her junior.

“The first year [on the show] I was humiliating the town, but now they love me,” she tells The Post. Deem says she gets recognized even more in New York City, where she was so mobbed by fans at J.Lo’s Madison Square Garden show last summer that it took half an hour to reach her seat.

“The last time I was [in New York] was right before the epidemic,” she says. “I was in Times Square and heard ‘Angela!’ It was a guy cop and a lady cop. They said, ‘We want a picture with you!’”

Also returning to TLC this month are Debbie and Colt — not a couple, but a mother-son duo who live together, with their six cats, in Las Vegas. When 34-year-old Colt’s Brazilian fiancée Larissa moved in last year, the two women battled for Colt’s affections, creating some of the most uncomfortable and addictive television in recent history.

“I thought I would be in one or two episodes,” Debbie says. “Suddenly I’m shooting eight to 10 hours a day.”

“We were fans,” Colt says. “I thought [the show] would give Larissa something to do while waiting for her work permit.”

Former tech worker Colt, 34, has — like tens of millions of Americans — recently lost his job due to the pandemic. The show has been something of a salve.

“I think we’re kind of relatable,” Colt says. “It doesn’t matter if you’re foreign or domestic — everyone can relate to the conflict.”

“Getting recognized always surprises me,” Debbie says. “That people want a picture with me.”

Colt and Debbie are currently not filming, and they don’t know if or when they’ll be back. So what’s next?

“Who knows?” Colt says, laughing. After “90 Days” stardom, “the sky’s the limit.”

https://nypost.com/2020/06/11/how-90-day-fiance-become-a-tv-hit-and-pop-culture-phenomenon/
 

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TV Review (Streaming)
‘Artemis Fowl’ makes action fantasy strangely lackluster
By Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle - Jun. 11, 2020

The path of least resistance would be to say that “Artemis Fowl” is some kind of good movie, because it is, as they say, what it is. But what is it?

It’s a fantasy action movie, geared to children, making its debut on Disney Plus on Friday, June 12. It’s a big-budget film, not the kind that usually goes straight to TV, but these are odd times; and it was directed by Kenneth Branagh, someone I can’t imagine even watching a movie like this, much less making one.

It’s just very hard to find something human in this movie. Aside from the first few minutes, in which we meet Artemis Fowl Sr. (Colin Farrell) and see that he has a tender relationship with his namesake son (Ferdia Shaw), the movie consists entirely either of action or of curt conversations that serve to justify yet more action.

As for the action, it’s colorful and rich in detail. If you took any single frame of it, blew it up and hung it on the wall, it would look pretty. But none of the things that make action work are present. There’s no intense rooting interest. There’s no concern about any of the characters. From the audience point of view, there’s nothing at stake in the outcome.

Screenwriters really need to stop making movies in which good and evil do battle and life on Earth ends if the bad guys win. That might sound like a high-stakes situation for the people who keep writing that, but for audiences watching, that’s so unspecific it’s virtually meaningless. The movies might as well say, “Look out! Something really bad will happen!”

My advice: Make it particular. Make it personal. Then we might care.

The personal element here, which gets entirely submerged under the weight of computer graphics and an ever-swelling soundtrack, is that Artemis Senior has been kidnapped. He has been taken prisoner by a faction of evil fairies, who want control of a thing called the Aculos. (Oh, yeah, look out for that Aculos. With one of those, they can unleash all kinds of unpleasantness, including the death of all things living.)

“Artemis Fowl” is based on the first of a series of novels by Eoin Colfer, in which the world of magic is real. In addition to the evil fairies, there are good fairies, or what might be called Fairly Good Fairies. They’re led by a leprechaun queen, played by Judi Dench, and they have a thriving civilization somewhere beneath the Earth’s core. Their greatest ambition is to remain unknown to humans.

“Most human beings are afraid of gluten,” as one of the dwarf inhabitants puts it. “Imagine how they’d handle goblins.”

Young Artemis, a 12-year-old genius, deduces that he needs the help of the Fairly Good Fairies in order to do battle against the Bad Fairies. To that end, he captures a good fairy, in order to provoke contact with her compatriots. Lara McDonnell plays the captured fairy — a girl about Artemis’ age — and to the extent that the movie allows, she projects a lot of charm and liveliness. If only she were in a movie where such qualities mattered.

Branagh has made a fair number of exceptional films, and even a pretty good action movie (“Thor”), so it comes as a surprise to find “Artemis Fowl” so oddly uninflected, with every scene given equal weight. Every moment is presented as intense and important, so that when something significant actually does happen (spoiler alert: The Aculos is discovered), there’s no impact. It’s just another occasion to crank up the strings of solace and the horns of ultimate triumph.

But you know what? There are people who like movies like this, who like when a movie screen looks like their computer screen and who don’t mind when everything is fake, including the emotions.

“Artemis Fowl” is a genre movie, and as such, it’s an OK version of the thing it is. I just can’t stand the thing it is.

“Artemis Fowl”: Action fantasy.
Directed by Kenneth Branagh. (PG. 96 minutes.)
Available to stream on Disney Plus starting Friday, June 12.


https://datebook.sfchronicle.com/movies-tv/review-artemis-fowl-makes-action-fantasy-strangely-lackluster
 

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TV Notes
On The Air
FRIDAY JUN. 12, 2020 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)
From Zap2it.com's TV Grid

ABC:
8PM - Shark Tank
(R)
9:01PM - 20/20: Undercover Girlfriend (119 min.)
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal)
(R)
12:06AM - Nightline
12:36AM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Wanda Sykes)
(R)

CBS:
8PM - MacGyver
(R)
9PM - Magnum P.I.
(R)
10PM - Blue Bloods
(R)
* * * *
11:35PM - The Late Show With Stephen Colbert (TV host Gayle King; actress Amy Sedaris)
(R)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show With James Corden (TV host Keegan-Michael Key; author Dr. Michael Eric Dyson)
(R)

NBC:
8PM - World of Dance
(R)
9PM - The Wall
(R)
10PM - Dateline NBC: Endgame
(R)
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Kevin Bacon; Aunjanue Ellis; comic Sarah Cooper; Christine and the Queens perform)
12:37AM - Late Night With Seth Meyers (Singer Nick Jonas; NFL player Travis Kelce; Finesse Mitchell; Michel'Le Baptiste sits in with the 8G Band)
(R)
1:38AM - A Little Late With Lilly Singh (Terry Crews)
(R)

FOX:
8PM - WWE Friday Night SmackDown (120 min., LIVE)

THE CW:
8PM - Masters of Illusion
8:30PM - Masters of Illusion
(R)
9PM - Whose Line Is It Anyway? (Guest comic Greg Proops)
(R)
9:30PM - Whose Line Is It Anyway? (Guest comic Charles Esten)
(R)

PBS:
8PM - Washington Week
8:30PM - Firing Line With Margaret Hoover
9PM - Prideland
10PM - The Lavender Scare (2017)
(R)

UNIVISION:
8PM - Te Doy La Vida
9PM - Amor Eterno
10PM - Como Tú No Hay Dos

TELEMUNDO:
8PM - Cennet
9PM - 100 Días Para Enamorarnos
10PM - La Reina del Sur 2: Edicion Especial

DISNEY CHANNEL:
8PM - Sydney to the Max (22 min.)
8:22PM - Coop & Cami Ask the World (22 min.)

GALAVISION:
8PM - Como Dice El Dicho
9PM - Como Dice El Dicho

LIFETIME MOVIE NETWORK:
8PM - Movie: Dying for Motherhood (2020)

SCIENCE:
8PM - How It's Made: Hammer of Steel
8:30PM - How It's Made: Super Drone

VH1:
8PM - RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars (120 min.)

CBSSN:
9PM - PBR Bull Riding, Monster Energy Team Challenge: Las Vegas, NV (2.5 hrs., LIVE)

WETV:
9PM - Mama June: From Not to Hot

AMC:
10PM - Friday Night In with The Morgans

CINEMAX:
10PM - Trackers (55 min.)

HBO:
10PM - Real Time With Bill Maher (LIVE: Opinion journalist and author Radley Balko; cardiologist and public health expert Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian; comic and "Black on the Air" podcast host Larry Wilmore; Matt Welch, co-host of "The Fifth Column" podcast)

TBS:
Midnight - ELEAGUE Super Punch


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