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TV Notes
On The Air

SUNDAY SEP. 27, 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:
7PM - America's Funniest Home Videos
(R)
8PM - $ellebrity: The Go-To Girls - A Special Edition of 20/20 (120 min.)

10PM - Card Sharks (R)

CBS:

7PM - 60 Minutes
8PM - Big Brother
9PM - Love Island
10PM - NCIS: New Orleans
(R)

NBC:
7PM - Football Night in America (80 min.)
8PM - Sunday Night Football: Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints (LIVE)

FOX:

7PM - NFL Football: Regional Coverage (continued from 4:15PM, LIVE)
7:30PM - The OT (LIVE)
8PM - The Simpsons (Season Premiere)
8:31PM - Bless the Harts (Season Premiere)
9PM - Bob's Burgers (Season Premiere)
9:30PM - Family Guy (Season Premiere)

THE CW:
8PM - iHeartRadio Music Festival Night 1 (Special, 120 min.)

PBS:
8PM - Last Tango in Halifax
9PM - Van der Valk on Masterpiece: Death in Amsterdam (120 min.)

UNIVISION:
7PM - Enamorándonos (120 min.)
9PM - Fútbol Central (LIVE)
9:30PM - Fútbol Mexicano Primera División:
Cruz Azul vs. América (LIVE)

TELEMUNDO:
7PM - Exatlón Estados Unidos (3 hrs.)
10PM - The Wall


ESPN:
6:30PM - NBA Countdown (LIVE)
7:30PM - NBA Basketball, Eastern Conference Finals Game 5: Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat (LIVE)
10PM - SportsCenter (3 hrs., LIVE)


ESPN 2:

6:30PM - Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown (90 min., LIVE)
8PM - E60 - Francisco Lindor: La Gran Victoria

8:30PM - Formula 1 Racing: Russian Grand Prix (2.5 hrs., Tape delayed)

DISCOVERY:
7PM - Alaskan Bush People: Off the Grid
8PM - Alaskan Bush People (63 min.)
9:02PM - Expedition to the Edge
10:03PM - Naked and Afraid: Foreign Exchange (67 min.)


GOLF:

7PM - PGA Tour Golf: Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship, Final Round (3 hrs.)

NBCSN:

7PM - NASCAR Cup Series: South Point 400 (3.5 hrs., LIVE)
10:30PM - NASCAR Cup Series Post Race (LIVE)
* * * *
11PM - IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship:
Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio (3 hrs.)

BBC AMERICA:
8PM - Top Gear (91 min.)


HGTV:
8PM - Renovation Island
9PM - Welcome to the Jungle
9:30PM - Mexico Life
10PM - Caribbean Life

10:30PM - Caribbean Life

NAT GEO:
8PM - Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks or Bust
9PM - Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks (76 min.)
10:16PM - Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks (60 min.)


SCIENCE:
8PM - Egypt's Unexplained Files: Mystery of the Cursed Pharaoh (120 min.)


SHOWTIME:

8PM - The Circus: Inside the Craziest Political Campaign on Earth
8:30PM - Our Cartoon President
9PM - The Comey Rule: Part 1 (Miniseries Premiere, 105 min.)
10:45PM - Desus & Mero (Chadwick Boseman, 15 min.)
(R)
* * * *
11PM - Desus & Mero (Skateboarder Tony Hawk, 30 min.)

STARZ:
8PM - Power Book II: Ghost
9:01PM - Power Book II: Ghost
(R)

TLC:
8PM - 90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After? (120 min.)
10PM - Darcey & Stacey
* * * *
11PM - 90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After? Pillow Talk: Tell All Part 1 (60 min.)

BRAVO:
9PM - The Real Housewives of Potomac
10PM - Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen (Wendy Williams)
10:30PM - Bravo's Chat Room (Series Premiere, 30 min.)


CNN:
9PM - CNN Films - John Lewis: Good Trouble (Premiere, 120 min.)

DISNEY XD:
9PM - Marvel's Spider-Man: Maximum Venom (60 min.)

FX:
9PM - Fargo (Season Premiere, 83 min.)
10:23PM - Fargo: Episode 2 (82 min.)


FOOD NETWORK:
9PM - Halloween Warriors
10PM - Outrageous Pumpkins
* * * *
11PM - Halloween Baking Championship


HBO:
9PM - Lovecraft Country
10PM - The Vow: Episode 6
* * * *
11PM - Last Week Tonight With John Oliver

HLN:
9PM - How It Really Happened - James Jordan: Vanished (60 min.)

ID:
9PM - Joe Exotic: Tigers, Lies and Cover-Ups (Special, 120 min.)

FOX NEWS:
10PM - Fox News Democracy 2020: Debate Preview (Special, 60 min., LIVE)

TV ONE:
10PM - Uncensored: Tandy Smith-Harris

ADULT SWIM:
Midnight - Tigtone: Tigtone and the Murder Mystery of the Death Tournament
12:15AM - Tigtone: Tigtone and Tigtone's Island

Source:
https://tvlistings.zap2it.com/?aid=gapzap
 

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No political comments, please.

Technology/Business (Mobile)
Trump’s TikTok Ban Blocked by Judge Hours Before It Was to Take Effect
By Rosemary Rossi, TheWrap.com - Sep. 27, 2020

Donald Trump’s ban of TikTok was blocked by a federal judge Sunday night, just hours before it was to take effect, with lawyers for the video-sharing app accusing the president of infringing on free speech and due process rights.

John Hall, an attorney for TikTok, made the case that the popular app is a “modern day version of the town square” and shuttering it is like silencing speech of its 100 million American users. In its filing Wednesday, TikTok and its interim Chief Executive Vanessa Pappas argued that taking its app off Apple’s App Store and Google Play would cause “devastating and irreparable harm” to the company and could “decimate the app’s user base.”

Judge Carl Nichols of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia responded by halting the ban, which was set to begin at midnight Sunday.

TikTok parent company ByteDance filed suit against President Trump and the U.S. Department of Commerce Wednesday, requesting that the court allow the app to continue operating in U.S. app stores as it works to finalize a merger with an American company.

The president had given TikTok a deadline of Sept. 27 to finalize and gain government approval of a sale of its U.S. assets to an American-owned company, after voicing concerns that the app was misusing user information and jeopardizing national security. If a sale hadn’t been approved by that date, Trump said, he would ban new downloads in U.S. app stores.

The judge’s block means the Chinese-owned app can continue to operate without interruption until a full court hearing.

Source: Trump's TikTok Ban Blocked by Judge Hours Before It Was to Take Effect
 

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TV Sports (Baseball)
2020 MLB playoff schedule: Wild-card round, divisional series, ALCS, NLCS, World Series dates, times, TV information
By USA Today staff - Sep. 28, 2020

Following a truncated 60-game regular season, the Major League Baseball playoffs will feature an expanded, 16-team field.

While the wild-card series will be played at the home fields of the higher seeds, the divisional round, league championship series and World Series will be played in bubble locations. Those locations are:

NLDS: Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, and Minute Maid Park in Houston

ALDS: Petco Park in San Diego and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles

NLCS: Globe Life Field

ALCS: Petco Park

World Series: Globe Life Field


Here is the complete schedule for the 2020 MLB playoffs, including game times and television information:

* — if necessary

WILD-CARD ROUND

American League

Houston Astros (6) at Minnesota Twins (3)
  • Game 1: Sept. 29, 2 p.m. ET (ABC)
  • Game 2: Sept. 30, 1 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
  • Game 3: Oct. 1, TBD (ESPN/TBS)*
Chicago White Sox (7) at Oakland A's (2)
  • Game 1: Sept. 29, 3 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Game 2: Sept. 30, 3 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Game 3: Oct. 1, TBD (ESPN/TBS)*
Toronto Blue Jays (8) at Tampa Bay Rays (1)
  • Game 1: Sept. 29, 5 p.m. ET (TBS)
  • Game 2: Sept. 30, 4 p.m. ET (TBS)
  • Game 3: Oct. 1, TBD (ESPN/TBS)*
New York Yankees (5) at Cleveland Indians (4)
  • Game 1: Sept. 29, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Game 2: Sept. 30, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Game 3: Oct. 1, TBD (ESPN/TBS)*
National League

Cincinnati Reds (7) at Atlanta Braves (2)

  • Game 1: Sept. 30, 12 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Game 2: Oct. 1, TBD (ESPN/TBS)
  • Game 3: Oct. 2, TBD (ESPN/TBS)*
Miami Marlins (6) at Chicago Cubs (3)
  • Game 1: Sept. 30, 2 p.m. ET (ABC)
  • Game 2: Oct. 1, TBD (ESPN/TBS)
  • Game 3: Oct. 2, TBD (ESPN/TBS)*
St. Louis Cardinals (5) at San Diego Padres (4)
  • Game 1: Sept. 30, 5 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
  • Game 2: Oct. 1, TBD (ESPN/TBS)
  • Game 3: Oct. 2, TBD (ESPN/TBS)*
Milwaukee Brewers (8) at Los Angeles Dodgers (1)
  • Game 1: Sept. 30, 10 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Game 2: Oct. 1, TBD (ESPN/TBS)
  • Game 3: Oct. 2, TBD (ESPN/TBS)*
Source: 2020 MLB playoff schedule: Wild-card round, divisional series, ALCS, NLCS, World Series dates, times, TV information
 

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TV Review (Streaming)
‘Tehran’ Is an Uncomplicated Look at Global Conflict
By Daniel D'Addario, Variety.com - Sep. 25, 2020

An Israeli-produced series debuting on Apple TV Plus, “Tehran” is a show that looks at Iran through an alternately adversarial and nostalgic lens. The protagonist, Mossad agent Tamar Rabinyan (Niv Sultan), infiltrates the nation following an emergency landing of a passenger jet in the capital city; she is on a mission that, should it succeed, will have the long-tail effect of thwarting what the viewer is made to understand are Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

The series’s adversarial side comes through in Tamar’s mission, and in the people she encounters. Its nostalgia stems from the idea that she, indeed, is one of them, a citizen of an Iran that was: She was born in Iran and lived there until her family fled, and has both family ties and a sense of Iran as a place worthy of her saving it. A relationship with a figure in the Iranian opposition (Shervin Alenabi) as well as time spent with Arezoo, an aunt who remained behind (Esti Yerushalmi), cement that sense. Her exposure, and ours, to Iranian street life, as in the case of Arezoo’s daughter (Sogand Sara Fakheri), who protests “immodest dress” and calls the opposition movement “meddling lowlifes,” represents Iran in one uncomplicated way, a way that makes this series’s existence on American TV make sense. “Tehran’s” biases tend to flatter American prejudices, too. Arezoo frets “I don’t know how she got involved with the Muslim students,” flatly equating Islam with the enemy; those same Muslims chant about jihad at a protest, with one declaring, “Reformists, Conservatives, it’s all over for you!”

As television, the show, created by Moshe Zonder (previously the head writer of Israeli series “Fauda”) is flawed: At least a few episodes too long, lacking plausibility or tension, turgid when it wants to be zippy. (How can a spy show in which the protagonist is constantly trying on new identities, up to and including a fake beard stuck on poor Tamar, feel this baleful?) As a document of its moment, it feels built to flatter the present-day American posture towards Iran, treating its threat as beyond negotiation, worth engaging with only to dismantle.

It is hardly an endorsement of the present-day Iranian regime (not that that is a TV critic’s job in the first place) to suggest that a show called “Tehran,” one that assays a nation that has undergone seismic and chaotic change in living memory, might make more sense were it really about Iranians living in Tehran. It might be more apropos to follow the struggles and dramas and doubts and triumphs of citizens, and to eke out criticism of the state (if that is indeed the order of the day) that way. “Tehran” doesn’t exclude Iranians entirely, but does frame them as allies or obstacles of a Mossad mission depicted uncritically and somewhat blankly as the work of justice, and more than that as a vehicle for thrills and scares. That gets at the flaw of “Tehran”: It’s not that it’s on the wrong side of a geopolitical conflict. It’s that, emanating from outside the land it takes as its subject, it doesn’t have enough on its mind to recognize one side of that conflict as truly real.

Tehran (eight-episode limited series)
Streaming on Apple TV+


Source: ‘Tehran’ Is an Uncomplicated Look at Global Conflict: TV Review
 

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TV Notes (Cable)
Shepard Smith Returns To The Anchor Chair On CNBC For Opinion-Free Newscast: “We’re Not Here To Tell You How To Think”
By Ted Johnson, Deadline.com - Sep. 27, 2020

When Shepard Smith returns to the anchor chair Wednesday, he’ll be occupying one of his former time slots, 7 p.m. on weekdays, but in a very different environment, CNBC. He also wants The News with Shepard Smith to be a very different show than what you’d get on Fox News, his old employer, or any other cable news channel.

“There’s plenty of places for opinion, for telling you how to think, and I have nothing bad to say about any of them,” he said in an interview last week. “It’s just not what I want to do. What I want to do is this, and it just matched so perfectly.”

It’s been almost a year since Smith surprised many in the news business, and many of his colleagues, when he abruptly announced his departure at the end of his 3 p.m. newscast on Fox News, where he had spent 23 years since its launch.

It was no secret of the tensions between Smith and some on the opinion side of the network. Some of the disagreements spilled out into the open, and the breaking point seemed to come when one of Tucker Carlson’s guests attacked Fox News judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano, and Carlson did not challenge the comments. On air, Smith called the Carlson guest’s attack “repugnant.” The next night, Carlson directly criticized Smith.

Several weeks later, Smith announced that he had asked the network to release him from his contract.

“Even in our currently polarized nation, it is my hope that the facts will win the day, and that the truth will always matter, that journalism and journalists will always thrive,” Smith said in his final newscast, having moved from the evening hour in 2013.

Smith doesn’t dive into details about his departure that day. Instead, he said, “I just decided that I needed a new challenge. I mean, I made friends for a lifetime there. And I helped write a first draft of history there. I traveled around the world and to neighborhoods across the country, and I leaned a lot about life and myself and reporting.”

But he said that “people leave jobs all the time. I made a decision to move on to something different. I’ve moved on.”

Under the terms of his departure agreement with Fox News, Smith could not immediately jump into reporting for another network. In the interim, speculation quickly centered on where he would land, whether it be a cable news rival or a broadcast network spot.

Asked if he considered exiting the business altogether, he said, “Yes, I certainly did. When I first left, I went with my partner and we went to see family. We went to sporting events. We took a trip to North Africa. And while we were there, COVID hit, and we knew it was coming. We had stocked the freezers and ready to go hunker down. We were not fools. We saw it coming.”

He said that by the second week in March, during the lockdown, “I thought a lot about where we had come from, where we were going, what my place is, and what I really want to do. Do I feel I still have something to contribute? Would I still feel excited to get up every morning, begin reading as the sun comes up and finish it all the way after the sun has gone down? I came to the conclusion that I did, and I did largely because this place was offering me the challenge that I was looking for.”

Smith said that he interviewed with all the networks but it was the “conversations with CNBC that best match what I want.” His show will largely use the correspondents of CNBC and their facilities and also rely on NBC News, NBC stations, Telemundo and Sky News.

“If Stewart Ramsay is on scene somewhere in Europe, we have access to Stewart Ramsey or anyone else at Sky News,” he said. “It just felt like the best group of journalists with volume and coverage everywhere and the mission of just seeking the truth, finding the truth and telling the truth.”

When Cesar Conde was tapped in May to lead the newly formed NBCUniversal News Group, he was given oversight not just of NBC News and MSNBC, but CNBC, which had been under a separate silo led by Mark Hoffman. That is changing. “It’s all under one umbrella where we are able to use the resources of the whole company,” Smith said.

A preview of the tone of the show came when Smith recently interviewed Bob Woodward about his new book, Rage. In the CNBC segment, Smith made note of the fact that Trump held a rally with thousands of people “most without masks and with no social distancing set up by the campaign, a potential super spreader event.”

In other words, as much as the show will avoid opinion, it won’t avoid calling out the truth. During his tenure at Fox News, Smith often drew headlines when he diverged from the pro-Trump party line of the network’s nighttime opinion hosts.

“When any politician or leader tells us one thing, and the science or our eyes tell us something else, then to point out the difference between those two things is altogether right and proper,” Smith said. “On the pandemic, we trust the science and we go with the recommendations of the experts. And if others, with other ideas, come along with statements, then we have an obligation to set the record straight as we know it.”

He added, “Specifically, we want to cut through the noise. Sometimes, there are two sides. But more often, one side says it is a car. And one side says it is an umbrella. And only one is right. And the other one doesn’t deserve our attention.”

The newscast marks a departure for the network, particularly in the evening hours, where they had been running primarily realty TV programming like Shark Tank and Jay Leno’s Garage.

Although CNBC is starting new, Bill Hague, executive vice president at research and consultancy firm Magid Associates, said that the network is debuting the show at an opportune time amid the pandemic: “This is an absolutely awesome time to be launching a show like his. The reason I say that is is sampling and news consumption is up.” The broadcast evening newscasts have seen a viewer uptick, while audiences are looking for information on COVID-19 and the election.

He said that because Smith was an independent voice at his previous employer boosts his credibility with consumers.

“He’s a known, promotable, authentic newsman,” he said. “What we have found in our research is that the desire for authenticity is at an all-time high.”

Also giving Smith high marks was analyst Andrew Tyndall of The Tyndall Report, who said via email that it was possible that Smith could appeal to the same audiences that watch the broadcast networks’ evening news.

But he also said that Smith can diverge from the fare on the cable news channels, heavy into politics, by offering “coverage of all sorts of beats that they hardly touch on, especially (being CNBC) global economics and finance.”

He also said that the boost to CNBC is in reputation as a news network.

“The addition of news programming with a bona fide star can do nothing except improve the network’s reputation past trading hours,” Tyndall said. “In that sense Smith represents a plus. But the bar he has to jump over to improve things is set ridiculously low. And even if he crosses that hurdle, the returns to CNBC in revenue is unlikely to cover the expense of assembling a star power vehicle in the first place.”

Smith outlined the way he believes the newscast will diverge from other networks by identifying four “buckets” for coverage: the information age, social justice, income inequality and climate.

“We will report on those matters. We will report with clarity, and we will make sure to have our own drill down on as many stories as we can,” he said. “We will make sure that disinformation does not get into our newscast.” One of their segments will be called Shiny Object, which will be “that thing that somebody, a politician on the left or the right, some leader or educator, is holding up as a ‘look over here.'”

“Social justice is real. Black lives do matter, and that is not political. I don’t come to that conclusion as a right winger or a left winger. I come to that as a citizen who is paying attention,” he said.

Income inequality, he said, “is now and forever has been a problem. How we deal with income equality is a matter for others, but it exists, it’s growing, the gap between the haves and the have nots is growing. It’s creating challenges across every aspect of our lives.”

He said that it is “indisputable that fossil fuels cause climate change.”

“We know this from the science, and to make it political is just something I don’t understand,” he said. “But neither the left or the right has ownership of the fact our climate is changing and we are partly responsible for it.”

Smith, 56, who grew up in Holly Springs, MS, mentioned his own experience growing up in a south still in the throes of segregation. He recalled going to the movie theater with water fountains for “colored” and “white,” and the separation of white and Black children on the main floor and the balcony. The theater burned down.

“I was really fortunate that my parents helped me along, helped me understand as a very young boy, 6, 7, 8 years old,” he said. “But I remember that movie theater burning down and why my parents said it did, and they were right. And we have to learn to get along.”

He added, “I’ve seen a lot of injustice in life. I mean, who of us hasn’t? And I want to report on those injustices and find commonality, and while reporting on social justice, inspire. There’s always a hero amid the carnage. There’s always a silver lining on every cloud or every disaster, and I want to find those things.”

What the newscast won’t have, Smith said, are panels of pundits and spinmeisters.

He reiterated, “We’re not here to tell you how to think.”

Source: Shepard Smith Returns To The Anchor Chair On CNBC For Opinion-Free Newscast: “We’re Not Here To Tell You How To Think”
 

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Media/Business
‘Tenet’ Tops Box Office With Lowest Weekend Gross In 32 Years
By Scott Mendelson, Forbes.com - Sep. 27, 2020

wrote back in 2013 about how Chris Nolan’s The Dark Knight became a rare big movie to top the weekend box office four times in a row. It opened with $158 million (a record at the time) and then easily topped Step Brothers ($31 million) and X-Files I Want to Believe ($10 million) in weekend two with a then-record $75 million second-weekend gross. Weekend three would likely have been topped by The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor had it not been gifted with miserable pre-release reviews, with its $40 million (compared to $43 million for The Mummy in 1999 and $68 million for The Mummy Returns in 2001) coming in just below the $42 million third-weekend gross of the Batman/Joker sequel.

It topped in its fourth weekend because Seth Rogen and James Franco’s The Pineapple Express opened on a Wednesday, and with it a $12 million opening day. Its Wed-Sun cume was $41.3 million but its $23.2 million Fri-Sun frame was just below the $26 million weekend-four gross of The Dark Knight. And thus the Batman sequel fell to second place in weekend five, behind the $25.8 million Fri-Sun frame (of a $35 million Wed-Sun debut) of Ben Stiller’s Tropic Thunder. Had The Mummy 3 been a better movie and/or had Pineapple Express opened on a Friday, The Dark Knight’s reign may have been just two-to-three weekends. In related news, Chris Nolan’s Tenet is the top movie of the weekend for the fourth frame in a row.

The John David Washington/Robert Pattinson sci-fi actioner topped the domestic box office for its fourth frame because there’s nothing else of note opening between now and, one hopes, the October 9 launch of Liam Neeson’s Honest Thief and Robert De Niro’s The War with Grandpa, followed by the October 16 debut of 2 Hearts. Its $3.4 million in weekend four, down just 26% from its $4.7 million Fri-Sun gross last weekend and bringing its 25-day cume to $41.2 million. So it’s likely, by default, that Warner Bros.’ Tenet will be the top movie of the weekend for just one more Fri-Sun frame, a frame which was supposed to house the (fifth) release date for WB’s Wonder Woman 1984 (since moved to December 25).

Nonetheless, Tenet is a classic “rank doesn’t matter” box office story. After 25 days in theaters, following a $9.6 million Fri-Sun frame amid a $20.2 million Thurs-Mon Labor Day launch (counting previews and Canadian box office from the prior week), the film is still $7-$8 million away from the respective Fri-Sun opening weekends for Dunkirk in 2017, Interstellar in 2014 and (during a $73 million Wed-Sun launch) Batman Begins in 2005. Had STX not moved Gerard Butler’s “Look out, comet!” disaster flick Greenland from September 25, it would have been this weekend’s top movie. And if Wonder Woman 1984 had stuck around, it would have surely been the first big opening for any movie since Onward’s $38 million debut in early March.

Tenet’s $3.4 million domestic gross is the lowest such chart-topping total for any film amid mostly-open theaters in almost exactly 32 years. In the late September/early October weekend of 1988, Gorillas in the Mist added 543 theaters for a 558-theater second weekend, where the Sigourney Weaver-as-Dian Fossey-biopic topped with $3.451 million. A week prior, David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers (starring Jeremy Irons as twin gynecologists) topped with the box office with a $3 million opening weekend. Until this weekend, there had never again been another weekend (with theaters in most of the country open) where the top movies earned less than $4 million. Basic Instinct earned $4 million in weekends seven and eight before Lethal Weapon 3 kicked off summer 1992 with a $33 million opening.

That $33 million launch for Lethal Weapon 3 was the second-biggest Fri-Sun ever, behind Batman’s $43 million debut in 1989, and a month later Batman Returns would open with $47 million. As we cross the sixth month of the coronavirus pandemic, it won’t be until, at best, the opening of No Time to Die on November 20 before we see another opening even as large as $33 million. And with Tenet playing mostly unopposed in terms of big movies at least until October 9, it’s probably going to top the weekend box office again next week, perhaps giving us the first under-$3 million chart-topper since A Fish Called Wanda and Die Hard both earned over/under $2.55 million in their respective tenth weekends of release.

Tenet has continued to hold well overseas, earning another $15.8 million overseas (-36% overall) for a new non-domestic cume of $241 million. That brings the film’s global cume to $283 million in just over a month of theatrical play. As noted on Tuesday, the film would be doing halfway decently for a live-action original (or new-to-you sci-fi fantasy adaptation) directed by anyone other than Nolan. Tenet has out-grossed or will soon outgross the Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending ($185 million in 2015), Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland ($209 million in 2015), Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets ($225 million in 2017), Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 ($242 million in 2017), Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger ($261 million in 2013), Andrew Stanton’s John Carter ($284 million in 2012), and Peter Berg’s Battleship ($302 million in 2012).

The choice to put it in theaters during a pandemic, in the hopes of keeping movie theaters alive until the storm passed, resulted in Tenet earning half of what it otherwise would have worldwide had it been moved to next July, and maybe 1/3 of its domestic potential. Whether the plan “worked” is still to be seen. Tenet’s frankly mediocre domestic grosses (with New York and much of California still closed for business) scared off most of the remaining 2020 tentpoles. Wonder Woman 1984 moved to Christmas while Candyman and Black Widow moved to 2021. Honestly, I’d argue that Disney’s Mulan earning allegedly so-so PVOD numbers may have done more to “save” theaters (by reinforcing the need for global theatrical releases for tentpoles) than Tenet’s equally so-so global earnings.

Source: ‘Tenet’ Tops Box Office With Lowest Weekend Gross In 32 Years
 

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Media Notes (Streaming)
Zack Snyder Planning New 'Justice League' Shoot Amid Ray Fisher Claims
By Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Heat Vision' Blog

In October, director Zack Snyder will roll cameras for his extended cut of Justice League, working for WarnerMedia’s HBO Max division on restoring his version of the maligned 2017 movie that he exited because of a family tragedy. The shoot, which will turn the “Snyder Cut” into a four-episode limited series, is expected to bring back Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman for new scenes. Also set to appear on the call sheet for what is expected to be a week-or-so-long shoot is Ray Fisher as Cyborg.

The latter is noteworthy because Fisher is in a public dispute with sister WarnerMedia division Warner Bros., which he accuses of permitting Joss Whedon, the director who took over from Snyder, to engage in misconduct and abuse while reshooting Justice League. Fisher also claimed that executives Jon Berg and Geoff Johns, who both have since left the studio, enabled Whedon’s behavior. (Warner Bros. declined comment. WarnerMedia remains in business with Whedon, whose new show, HBO sci-fi drama The Nevers, is back in production in London.)

For Fisher, being cast as superhero Cyborg by Snyder was supposed to be the break of a lifetime. The actor went from theater work and one episode of television to land the character, who was first introduced in Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) then showcased more predominantly in Justice League. Cyborg was also get his own stand-alone movie, which was slated for 2020. But all that was years ago. Justice League disappointed at the box office and a DC Films shake-up saw Johns and Berg let go, to be replaced Walter Hamada, an executive from Warners' sister arm New Line.

Fisher’s dissatisfaction came to light June 29 when he shared a video clip of himself at 2017’s San Diego Comic-Con praising Whedon but writing on Twitter he’d like to “retract every bit of this statement.” On July 1, the actor elaborated, calling Whedon’s behavior on set “gross, abusive, unprofessional and completely unacceptable.” Fisher’s remarks pushed WarnerMedia to investigate the claims, and on Aug. 20, he announced the company was looking into them. That led to a back and forth between WarnerMedia and Fisher about whether he was cooperating with the investigation (they claimed he wasn’t, but he said he was).

On Sept. 4, Fisher tweeted that Hamada, who had no connection to the previous Warners or DC film regime, had privately disparaged Whedon and Berg to him, in an effort to spare Johns. The studio responded with a statement of its own, claiming Fisher had not cooperated with the investigation, and Fisher fired back with a screenshot of an email that seemed to show he had indeed met with an investigator. He also wrote Warners "has escalated this to an entirely different level, but I’m ready to meet the challenge." On Sept. 14, Aquaman’s Jason Momoa reignited Fisher’s claims of misconduct, writing on Instagram, “It needs to be investigated and people need to be held accountable.” Momoa's wading into the delicate issue is said to have caught both the studio and his own team off guard as the actor and studio are preparing to shoot Aquaman 2 early next year.

Insiders recall to THR that the Justice League reshoots conducted by Whedon were a messy and hastily assembled affair. Snyder left the project in May 2017, ahead of a November release date. Whedon had to cram an extensive rewrite and reshoot and take over postproduction. One person present at the reshoots describes a set filled with tension and says the director was difficult with actors. But this person also says they did not witness physical or other abuse. Johns and Berg were under pressure, another insider notes, as they were trying to deliver a tentpole and knew their jobs were on the line. Whedon did jettison many of Fisher’s scenes, according to sources, and his directing style is described as the opposite of Snyder’s collaborative approach. It also is unclear if Fisher filed a complaint at the time.

Fisher is in talks with Warner Bros. to make a cameo in The Flash, a Justice League spinoff movie due to shoot next year. He has options negotiated for future appearances, including cameos, beyond the initial film. But in earlier drafts of the Flash script, Cyborg was a much more active player than the one in the current script. Sources say the studio exercised its option for Flash, even upping its negotiated price for what’s described as a three-scene appearance. Fisher’s side countered with a figure doubling that. Warners turned that down, and negotiations have remained stalled for weeks.

Aaron Couch and Lesley Goldberg contributed reporting.

Source: Zack Snyder Planning New 'Justice League' Shoot Amid Ray Fisher Claims | Hollywood Reporter
 

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TV Notes (Cable/Syndication)
Power Rangers gets modern update for season 28's Dino Fury
By Sydney Bucksbaum, EW.com - Sep. 26, 2020

EXCLUSIVE: It's morphin' time, all over again.

EW has your exclusive first look at the 28th season of Power Rangers, titled Power Rangers Dino Fury. The trailer, below at bottom [CLICK LINK], also debuted during the Power Rangers Entertainment Panel at Hasbro PulseCon on Saturday.

The new season of the iconic franchise, adapted from Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger, gets a modern update with a prehistoric twist when an army of powerful alien beings is unleashed on Earth, threatening life as we know it. A brand-new team of Power Rangers, fueled by the prehistoric power of the dinosaurs, are recruited to deal with the threat.

Power Rangers Dino Fury will premiere in early 2021 on Nickelodeon. But check out the new season's trailer below now for a sneak peek at the action.

In 2018, the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers cast spoke to EW 25 years after donning the iconic colored suits to look back on becoming an instant phenomenon, explain why most of them walked away from the show, and describe what it was really like wearing that spandex.

"The show was campy, it was fun, it was colors, it was karate, but at the end of the day it had a ton of heart and was teaching teamwork," Jason David Frank, who played Green Ranger, Tommy, told EW.

Source: 'Power Rangers' gets modern update for season 28's 'Dino Fury'
 

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TV/Production Notes (Streaming)
Resident Evil animated series coming to Netflix
By Michael McWhertor, Polygon.com - Sep. 27, 2020

A new, original Resident Evil animated series is coming to Netflix in 2021. On Sunday, Capcom and Netflix announced Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness, which will focus on series mainstays Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield, as part of Tokyo Game Show.

Capcom describes Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness as “an original CG anime series” with a horror-action vibe. “By adding suspense into dynamic action scenes, this series will reveal a Resident Evil world unlike anything seen before,” Capcom said in its official description of the project. The series’ first teaser trailer doesn’t offer many details beyond that.

Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness will be produced and supervised by Capcom’s Hiroyuki Kobayashi, a longtime producer on the Resident Evil series, and producer of three computer-animated films: Resident Evil: Degeneration, Resident Evil: Damnation, and Resident Evil: Vendetta. TMS Entertainment will produce the series, while Quebico will be in charge of the 3D CG animation production.

Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness is one of two Resident Evil projects in the works at Netflix. The other, a live-action show, will focus on Jade Wesker and Billie Wesker. Presumably, relations of STARS captain, Umbrella Corporation goon, and Resident Evil antagonist Albert Wesker.

Capcom will also release a new entry in the video game franchise, known as Resident Evil Village, for PlayStation 5, Windows PC, and Xbox Series X in 2021.

Source: Resident Evil animated series coming to Netflix
 

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TV Review (Cable)
The Search for Kindred Spirits in “We Are Who We Are,” on HBO
Luca Guadagnino’s series is set on a military base that is charmed, foreboding, and thrumming with sex—a metaphor for the lives of the teen-agers who live there.
By Doreen St. Felix, New Yorker - Sep. 28, 2020

The luggage of a stylish New York City boy of fourteen has been sent to the wrong destination. The airline may as well have run off with one of his limbs. In the pilot of Luca Guadagnino’s HBO drama, “We Are Who We Are,” Fraser Wilson, played by Jack Dylan Grazer, is already jumpy, in designer leopard-print fleece shorts, but now his behavior builds to a tantrum in an Italian airport, as he combs his painted nails through a lock of bleached hair. His mother, Sarah (Chloë Sevigny), and her wife, Maggie (Alice Braga), are vaguely embarrassed but unfazed. Sarah, knowing her son, nurses him with the nip of alcohol he demands. “Thank you, Mommy,” he says.

Should we be disturbed? A viewer might ready herself for a study of the out-of-control American male. Fraser, withdrawn and pouty, moves with an exaggerated physical unease. There is something unnerving about him, the way he digs his dirty fingers into a cake given to his family as a welcome to their new Italian home, and leans against a wall at his new high school, mouth half open, surreptitiously photographing another student. The object of his curiosity, Caitlin Poythress (Jordan Kristine Seamón), shoots him a knowing look—and, in that teasing moment, the true subject of “We Are Who We Are” comes into focus.

Guadagnino’s affecting adaptation of André Aciman’s gay coming-of-age love story, “Call Me by Your Name,” made him an unlikely favorite among American teens, and his first foray into television revisits similarly languorous terrain. Like Timothée Chalamet’s Elio, Fraser is filmed with an elegiac appreciation for his youthful, gangly limbs and pale skin. Guadagnino, a location fetishist, has set “We Are Who We Are” on a U.S. Army base in Chioggia, where Sarah has been named commander. It is both America and not. The year is 2016; at times, we glimpse, on television screens in cafeterias and living rooms, news reports of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on the campaign trail. But the first four episodes of the series display an almost swaggering lack of interest in military politics. Instead, the sun-drenched grounds of the base—a zone at once foreboding, charmed, and humming with sex—are a metaphor for the predicament of the American teen-agers who live there with their parents.

The show is thinly plotted. Gulfs of silence open between characters, punctuated by clipped, sweetly evasive dialogue; too much chatter would spoil the atmosphere of discovery and experimentation. The opening episodes are a garland of short ballets in which the young actors plunge into the sea, strap themselves into harnesses for a verboten turn on the base’s zip line, and decorate one another with paintball guns. A scene in a discoteca recalls a similar melancholic night in “Call Me by Your Name.” The attention to young bodies feels almost dangerous; the matriarchal presence of Chloë Sevigny, who made her début in Larry Clark’s unsettling 1995 film, “Kids,” is fitting. In one sequence, Caitlin quietly reads a book while, in the background, we hear a group of soldiers laughingly discuss what seems to have been a gang rape.

Guadagnino’s sumptuous tastes fold naturally into the obsessions of Fraser, who, far from home, doubles down on his identity as an aesthete. When his lost luggage finally arrives, he screws up his face in frantic joy at the sight of his clothes. The classical-inspired score, by Dev Hynes, rustling with wind instruments and synth, is so hip that it hurts. In one scene, which roils with tender, unspoken kink, a young soldier at the base library commends Fraser for choosing a collection of poetry by Ocean Vuong.

Fraser finds a kindred spirit in Caitlin, who, after asking whether he had a girlfriend back in New York, immediately calls him out on his lie. She has her own secret. Grazer and Seamón are lovely to watch as their characters enter what seems to be a platonic relationship premised on their gentle recognition of each other’s nascent queerness. The terrain of the show expands, in the second episode, to reconsider Fraser’s first days on the base from the perspective of Caitlin, the daughter of Richard (Scott Mescudi, a.k.a. Kid Cudi), a brooding military man, and Jenny (Faith Alabi), a Nigerian-American who eases her homesickness by watching Chicago weather reports. Caitlin frequents a bar in town, where she hides her long hair under a cap and deepens her voice. Fraser tends to her self-discovery, sending her packages of men’s clothes. When he tells her what “transgender” means, she is at first confused and then awed. The other kids, unable to comprehend the intimacy between the two, dismiss them as lovers.

The writing of this relationship is spare but confident; by contrast, the secondary story lines are sometimes attenuated. As a commander, Sarah is enigmatic, charismatic, and a little blank; as a mother, she is needy and desirous. At one point, Fraser slaps her; another time, after she accidentally cuts herself while opening a moving box, he tends to her wound by sucking on it. What are we to make of this Freudian intensity? Race plays a role in the series, too, albeit a familiar one. I felt queasy about the characterizations of Richard and his son, Danny (Spence Moore II), as repressed and angry.

The fourth episode, a modern twist on an age-old wartime plot, features an unexpectedly moving bacchanal. The strapping teen-ager Craig (Corey Knight), Danny’s best friend, has recently joined the Army. On the last day before his deployment, he impulsively asks a local Italian girl, Valentina (Beatrice Barichella), to marry him, and she accepts. Fraser delights in dressing the boys according to the wedding’s theme, although he pretends to be annoyed: “How do you expect me to pull off this level of Hawaiian-ness on such short notice?” A minister at the base conducts the nuptials, before the kids break into the villa of a rich Russian in town, wrecking the place and, under purple lights, drunkenly grinding on one another. It’s a transportive panorama of sexual exploration, frank but not caustic, voyeuristic but not leering, innocent and provocative. “Yo, I don’t even know how to dance to this, man,” Danny murmurs, as Frank Ocean’s “Nikes” plays. “Hey,” Craig says, encouraging his friend. “This is my wedding.” Danny heeds him; after all, his friend will be gone in the morning.

* * * *

Another period piece débuting this month is, by contrast, a regurgitation of an American nightmare. In Showtime’s two-part series “The Comey Rule,” based on the former F.B.I. director James Comey’s 2018 memoir, “A Higher Loyalty,” and written and directed by Billy Ray, loyalty is part of the problem. The show is an ornate table read of the book. It follows Comey as he belatedly realizes the ramifications of his investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mails and attempts to do his job under the new President, who, over a shrimp dinner at the White House, in the series’ climactic scene, demands, yes, his loyalty.

The chief irritant of the show is the knee-jerk splicing of the dramatic action with cable-news footage documenting Comey’s no-good, very bad time in the Administration. (As Stephen Colbert says in one clip, “I just don’t know what to think about James Comey. First, he seems like the good guy, then he seems like the bad guy.”) The technique, apparently meant to convey the show’s fidelity to real life, ends up feeling like a failure of imagination. Rather than letting loose a little, crafting an original psychological portrait of this inscrutable, high-ranking functionary, Ray gives us a series of labored impressions. There is Jeff Daniels as Comey, a true-blue bureaucrat who would never think of skipping the line at the office cafeteria, and who says things to his wife like “Tracy, I wanted to stop the bad guys”; Kingsley Ben-Adir’s robotic Barack Obama; and Holly Hunter’s erect Sally Yates, Diet Coke in hand. The list goes, almost interminably, on. Brendan Gleeson’s totally ridiculous Donald Trump, performed down an octave, is arguably the strongest performance for being less oppressively accurate. Even when Comey stars in his own drama, he is outdone.

Source: The Search for Kindred Spirits in “We Are Who We Are,” on HBO
 

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TV Notes
On The Air

MONDAY SEP. 28, 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 - Dancing With the Stars (120 min., LIVE)
10PM - Emergency Call (Series Premiere)
* * * *
11:50PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Guests TBA)
12:52AM - Nightline

CBS:
8PM - The Neighborhood
(R)
8:29PM - Young Sheldon (R)
9PM - Love Island
10PM - Manhunt: Deadly Games
* * *
11:35PM - The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (Singer-songwriter Mariah Carey; Rex Orange County performs)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show With James Corden (Jeff Daniels; Summer Walker performs)

NBC:
8PM - 2020 Stanley Cup Final, Game 6: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Dallas Stars (LIVE)
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Jim Parsons; journalist Shepard Smith; BTS performs)
12:37AM - Late Night With Seth Meyers (Comic Colin Quinn; Kim Cattrall; Jeff Rosenstock performs; Jessica Burdeaux sits in with the 8G Band)
1:38AM - A Little Late With Lilly Singh (Awkwafina)
(R)

FOX:
8PM - L.A.'s Finest
9PM - Filthy Rich

THE CW:
8PM - iHeartRadio Music Festival Night 2 (Special, 120 min.)

PBS:
8PM - Antiques Roadshow: Fort Worth
(R)
9PM - Antiques Roadshow: Indianapolis (R)
10PM - POV: Our Time Machine (90 min.)

UNIVISION:
8PM - Médicos, Línea de Vida
9PM - Imperio de Mentiras
10PM - Dulce Ambición

TELEMUNDO:
7PM - Exatlón Estados Unidos (120 min.)
9PM - Todo Por Mi Hija
10PM - Falsa Identidad


CBSSN:
8PM - Athletes Unlimited Softball (2.5 hrs, LIVE)

DISNEY:
8PM - Player Select

ESPN:
8PM - Monday Night Football: Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens (LIVE)

ID:
8PM - Joe Exotic: Tigers, Lies and Cover-Ups (120 min.)
10PM - Joe Exotic: Before He Was King (60 min.)


NBCSN:

8PM - Poker After Dark: GOAT (3 hrs.)
* * * *
11PM - NHL Overtime (LIVE)
1AM - Cycling:
UCI Road Cycling World Championships (120 min.)

NAT GEO:
8PM - Brain Games: Play Along
9PM - Science of Stupid: Walking on Air
9:30PM - Science of Stupid: Stunts on Surf (30 min.)

SCIENCE:
8PM - Unearthed - Seven Wonders: Greatest Lost Cities (120 min.)
10PM - Mummy Unexplained Files: Pharaoh of Niagara Falls (60 min.)

TLC:
8PM - 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days (120 min.)
10PM - Darcey and Stacey

USA:
8PM - WWE Monday Night RAW (3 hrs., LIVE)

BRAVO:
9PM - Below Deck Mediterranean (90 min.)
10:30PM - Bravo's Chat Room (30 min.)

E!:
9PM - Botched
10PM - Dr. 90210 (Series Premiere)
* * * *
11:30PM - Nightly Pop

FOOD NETWORK:
9PM - Halloween Baking Championship
10PM - The Big Bake

HBO:
9PM - The Third Day: Episode 3
10PM - We Are Who We Are: Episode 3
* * * *
11PM - Axios (30 min.)

SHOWTIME:
9PM - The Comey Rule: Part 2 (Finale, 120 min.)

TVONE:
9PM - Fatal Attraction

COMEDY CENTRAL:
11PM - The Daily Show With Trevor Noah (Season Premiere, 45 min.)


MTV:
11PM - Ridiculousness: Chanel and Sterling CCXII


TBS:
11PM - Conan (Never-before-seen segments)
(R)


Source: https://tvlistings.zap2it.com/?aid=gapzap
 

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TV Sports/Cultural Notes
Baseball Announcer Thom Brennaman Resigns Following Homophobic Slur
By Dave Nemetz, TVLine.com - Sep. 25, 2020

Veteran sports announcer Thom Brennaman has resigned from Fox Sports Ohio, where he did play-by-play for Cincinnati Reds games, a month after he was caught on-air using a homophobic slur.

During the broadcast of a Reds game in August, Brennaman was heard referring to “one of the f-g capitals of the world,” using a three-letter gay slur. (He apparently didn’t know he was live on the air at the time.) Later in the broadcast, Brennaman offered an apology: “I’m so very, very sorry. I pride myself and think of myself as a man of faith… I don’t know if I’m going to be putting on this headset again.” He then exited the broadcast, replaced by fellow announcer Jim Day.

Source: Baseball Announcer Thom Brennaman Resigns Following Homophobic Slur
Technically, what he apologized for was if anyone was offended. The typical non-apology apology. The "I'm not sorry for what I said - I'm sorry anyone was offended, which is why I'm forced to say something now."

Also, this apparently occurred at a moment when he didn't realize his mic was hot. He then goes on to say that it's not who he is. On the contrary, off the cuff remarks stated without thinking, remarks made when you don't think anyone can hear you and remarks made among like minded friends are the pure definition of who you are. No one uses that word in casual conversation that doesn't think in those terms.

Having said that, unless there's been a history of this, I'm not sure what is gained by him resigning. What has he learned at this point other than to be careful of what he says when wearing a mic (something that probably should be second nature to any veteran broadcaster to avoid profanity or appearing unprofessional)?

Too often, we give people the boot for a single remark when what we should be doing is using those incidents as a teaching moment. You're sorry? Great, now show it. Show that you support fairness, equality and the right to have feelings for whoever you have feelings for. Meet with leaders and members of the LGBT community about how we can do better at treating those members more fairly. Use your platform for good instead of ducking and hiding from it.

On the other hand, if you really, deep down, believe what you said - if it wasn't just a one time, off-the-cuff joke - then maybe you should step down. The less of you influencing the masses, the better our future will be,

Just be honest. We'd rather know who you really are.
 

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TV Notes (Cable)
‘Real Time With Bill Maher’ Renewed at HBO Through 2022
By Reid Nakamura, TheWrap.com - Sep. 28, 2020

HBO has renewed Bill Maher’s “Real Time” for two more seasons, the premium cable network announced Monday.

The pickup will keep the late-night talk show on the air through 2022.

“For 18 seasons, Bill Maher and the talented team at ‘Real Time’ have given audiences an unparalleled platform for debate, comedy, and social discourse,” said Nina Rosenstein, HBO’s executive vice president of programming. “We’re so happy to continue this partnership.”

“18 years – I can’t believe I’m turning 18 and HBO isn’t making me leave home,” added Maher. “Thrilled to be living under their roof for another couple of years.”

“Real Time” moved back into its Los Angeles studio late last month after Maher spent much of the year taping the show remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic. “Yes, there’s a slightly greater risk of infection, but a much lower risk of stepping in dog s–,” he joked at the time, referring to his backyard setup.

“Real Time” is executive produced by Maher, Sheila Griffiths, Marc Gurvitz, Dean Johnsen and Billy Martin. Chris Kelly is co-executive producer, and Matt Wood produces. Paul Casey is director.

Source: 'Real Time With Bill Maher' Renewed at HBO Through 2022
 

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Technology/Critic's Notes (Cable)
Do you really need to rent a cable box? No, there's an app for that
By Rob Perogaro, USA Today - Sep. 28, 2020

One of a TV bill’s more obnoxious components doesn’t cover any channels or provide any entertainment whatsoever, unless “fussing with the remote” counts as fun: the fees you pay to rent a box to receive those channels.

These fees – often $10 and up per TV – persist despite the poor quality of many of their interfaces and the flight of cord-cutters to streaming services.

They’ve also triumphed over the Federal Communications Commission’s 2016 attempt to open the market for pay-TV gear – a move that led TV providers to pledge they would let other firms ship viewing apps for their systems. Under President Trump, the FCC scrapped that initiative, after which Big Cable quietly abandoned that vow.

Now that the FCC has effectively surrendered TV-box regulation – as announced in a Sept. 4 filing flagged the next day by tech blogger Dave Zatz – TV subscribers can only rely on the goodwill of TV providers.

Fortunately, some of them have improved earlier apps that stream their channels over a broadband connection by enabling them to put your TV on a TV, not just a phone or tablet’s screen. Here are your app options among pay-TV firms with a million-plus subscribers, as ranked by Leichtman Research Group:

Comcast: The largest TV provider in the U.S. offers apps for Roku media players as well as many Samsung and LG connected TVs. Its Xfinity Stream Android and iOS apps now also support wireless Chromecast output to a suitably equipped TV. And Comcast no longer requires you to get at least one box.

AT&T: Your options here vary among this telecom giant’s video services. Its DirecTV satellite service’s streaming apps support neither Chromecast nor Apple’s AirPlay, which streams video to an Apple TV or a connected TV with Apple’s software. AT&T’s U-verse wired service offers an Amazon Fire TV app while keeping the same limits on its Android and iOS apps. But the Android and iOS apps of its new AT&T TV service – not to be confused with its streaming, no-box-needed AT&T TV Now – support Google and Apple’s share-to-TV features. AT&T TV also provides Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Samsung connected-TV apps, although its site does not highlight their existence.

Spectrum: The second-biggest cable firm offers TV apps for not just Android and iOS (with Chromecast and AirPlay support) and some Amazon Kindle Fire tablets but also Apple TV, Roku players and TVs, and most newer Samsung connected TVs.

Dish Network: The other satellite-TV service offers a Dish Anywhere app for iOS, Android, and – the important part – Amazon Kindle Fire tablets and TV players.

Verizon: Its Fios TV app for Android and iOS supports both Chromecast and AirPlay, although spokesman Andrew Kameka warned that some channels might not be available in that software.

Cox: This cable provider does not support Chromecast or AirPlay in its Android and iOS apps, although spokesman Todd Smith said in an email that “it’s on our product roadmap.” You can, however, watch TV in a browser and, if that browser is Chrome, cast that to a Chromecast-equipped TV.

Altice: Subscribers to its Optimum and Suddenlink cable-TV services can use its Altice One app for Apple TV – or use its iOS app’s AirPlay output to stream to a connected TV with Apple’s software. Its Android app, however, does not support Chromecast.

The biggest obstacle to using all these apps, however, remains their obscurity. You can’t count on a TV provider’s site to tell you about them when you order service, much less document their output features. As John Bergmayer, legal director at the Washington tech-policy non-profit Public Knowledge, griped over email: “There are always so many little details and gotchas that are hard to know about until you try to use their apps.”

Source: Do you really need to rent a cable box? No, there's an app for that
 

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TV/Production Notes (Streaming)
‘No Sudden Move’: Steven Soderbergh Sets Starry Cast For HBO Max Crime Thriller
By Amanda N'Duka, Deadline.com - Sep. 28, 2020

Steven Soderbergh has commenced production on his latest film No Sudden Move (f.k.a Kill Switch), a crime thriller that is being produced under his recently formed overall deal with HBO Max. The starry cast ensemble includes Don Cheadle (Black Monday), Benicio Del Toro (Sicario), David Harbour (Stranger Things), Amy Seimetz (The Comey Rule), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Ray Liotta (The Many Saints of Newark), Kieran Culkin (Succession), Brendan Fraser (Doom Patrol), Noah Jupe (Honey Boy), Bill Duke (Black Lightning), Frankie Shaw (SMILF), and Julia Fox (Uncut Gems).

Written by Ed Solomon, the film is set in 1955 Detroit and centers on a group of small-time criminals who are hired to steal what they think is a simple document. When their plan goes horribly wrong, their search for who hired them – and for what ultimate purpose – weaves them through all echelons of the race-torn, rapidly changing city.

Casey Silver is producing the HBO Max and Warner Bros. Pictures film, which is shooting on-location under strict COVID-19 safety protocols in Detroit.

“The last time I shot a movie in Detroit with a great script and a great cast things worked out really well, so I’m very excited behind my mask right now,” said Soderbergh.

“It’s a pleasure to begin production on another project with Steven Soderbergh, Casey Silver and Ed Solomon,” remarked Casey Bloys, Chief Content Officer for HBO and HBO Max. “We have an incredible partner in Warner Bros. Pictures and an extraordinarily talented cast – we couldn’t be happier to bring No Sudden Move to HBO Max.”

“Steven is a prolific, forward-thinking director who has a two-decade history of making movies at Warner Bros. We look forward to continuing his legacy at WarnerMedia with his intense crime thriller,” said Toby Emmerich, Chairman, Warner Bros. Pictures Group.

Soderbergh has another film at HBO Max, Let Them All Talk, starring Meryl Streep, Candice Bergen, Dianne Wiest, Lucas Hedges, and Gemma Chan. The drama is about a celebrated author (Streep) who takes a journey with some old friends to have some fun and heal old wounds. This film is expected to launch on the streamer sometime this year.

No Sudden Move marks the third collaboration between Solomon and Soderbergh, having recently worked together on the Bill & Ted Face the Music and the HBO limited series and interactive app Mosaic. Solomon credits also include Men in Black Charlie’s Angels, X-Men, and Now You See Me.

Source: ‘No Sudden Move’: Steven Soderbergh Sets Starry Cast For HBO Max Crime Thriller
 

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Technology/Legal Notes (Cable)
WWE Headed to Trial for Copying Wrestler's Tattoos for Video Game
By Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter's 'THR ESQ.' Column - Sep. 28, 2020

In 2009, Catherine Alexander heard a rumor. The tattoo artist was told that World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., was about to introduce a new consumer product — faux sleeves to be worn by those pretending to be their favorite wrestler. She contacted WWE's legal department. After introducing herself as WWE superstar Randy Orton's tattoo artist, she said she was willing to negotiate for any reproductions of her work.

"The person laughed at me and said I had no grounds, and they can do what they want with his images," she testified at a deposition. "He is their wrestler."

The WWE isn't laughing anymore. On Saturday, an Illinois federal judge handed her partial summary judgment by determining that WWE and Take-Two Interactive Software, the publisher of the WWE 2K series of video games, had indeed copied her work. Now the question for a jury is whether that rises to copyright infringement. The judge denies the defendants' own motion for summary judgment by deciding that certain questions are triable ones. Those include whether Alexander impliedly licensed Orton to disseminate and display the six tattoos she inked for him. The tattoos include tribal tattoos on Orton’s forearm, a Bible verse on his arm, a dove, a rose, and a skull.

U.S. District Court Judge Staci Yandle's decision setting up the first copyright trial ever to focus on the unauthorized reproduction of tattoos will likely surprise those who figured the issue to be largely resolved.

Last March, Take-Two beat a copyright suit brought by a company that claimed to own the tattoo designs featured on the bodies of NBA stars LeBron James, Kenyon Martin and Eric Bledsoe. The New York judge in that case had decided that the small display of tattoos in a video game weren't substantially similar to what were on the basketball players, and even if otherwise, the use of the copyrighted material was de minimis, there was a reasonable inference of an implied license, and the video game maker also had a good case for fair use. It was a complete win for the defendant, and one that put some minds in the entertainment industry at ease.

Take-Two is unsuccessful in repeating the trick.

Take the issue of whether the use of the tattoo designs was a de minimis part of WWE 2K. Unfortunately for the WWE and Take-Two, this case comes in the one circuit in the nation that hasn't explicitly recognized a trivial-taking as a viable affirmative defense.

"Whether the Seventh Circuit recognizes this defense to copyright infringement claims is an open question," writes Yandle, adding that she doubts the defense is viable generally and in this particular situation. "The defense has been successfully invoked to allow copying of a small and usually insignificant portion of the copyrighted works, not the wholesale copying of works in their entirety as occurred here."

Looking at the other defenses, the judge says a trial is required.

On the issue of whether Orton got a license when he was inked, the wrestler stated in a declaration that he understood the tattoos to be his personal expression and was never told he'd need further permission to make them visible.

"It is unclear whether Alexander and Orton discussed permissible forms of copying and distributing the tattoo works or whether any implied license included sublicensing rights such that Orton could give permission for others to copy Alexander’s tattoo works," writes Yandle. "Thus, the evidence raises a triable issue of fact as to the existence and scope of an implied license and Defendants’ motion is denied as to this affirmative defense."

A trial will also have to take up the defendants' position that the game's use of tattoos was a copyright fair use.

On the first factor of fair use, for example, the judge's opinion states, "Alexander contends she created the tattoos for the purpose of displaying them on Orton’s body and that Defendants used the tattoos for the same purpose; to display them on Orton’s body in the video games. Alexander also disputes Defendants’ characterization of the size of the tattoos and maintains they are prominently displayed and clearly visible in the video games. These are material factual disputes."

Here's the rest of the ruling: [CLICK LINK BELOW]

Source: WWE Headed to Trial for Copying Wrestler's Tattoos for Video Game | Hollywood Reporter
 

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TV/Nielsen Overnights (Broadcast)
Primetime Ratings: ‘SNF’ Up a Tick on NBC
By Michael Malone, Broadcasting & Cable - Sep. 28, 2020

NBC won Sunday primetime thanks to the NFL. Sunday Night Football led NBC to a 3.5 in viewers 18-49, per the Nielsen overnights, and a 19 share. In second was Fox, with football leading into prime, at 2.3/12.

Football Night in America dropped 22% to 1.4 on NBC and the game, Packers versus Saints, got a 4.2, a tenth of a point up from last week, when the Emmys were on ABC.

On Fox, The OT got a 4.8. Its animated comedies had their season premieres. The Simpsons got a 2.0 and Bless the Harts a 0.8. Bob’s Burgers and Family Guy both got a 0.7.

CBS got a 0.6/3 and ABC a 0.3/2. CBS had 60 Minutes at 0.7, way down from the previous week’s show, which had a football lead-in, and Big Brother at a flat 0.9. Love Island got a level 0.4 and a rerun of NCIS: New Orleans followed.

ABC had an America’s Funniest Home Videos rerun and special $ellebrity: The Go-To Girls at 0.3 for two hours. A Card Sharks rerun closed out prime.

Telemundo and Univision both got a 0.2/1. On Telemundo, Exatlon Estados Unidos did a flat 0.3 across three hours and a rerun of The Wall closed out prime.

On Univision, special Enamorandonos: La Primera Boda got a 0.2 and 0.3 across two hours and Futbol Central got the same numbers across its two hours.

The CW posted a 0.1/0 with IHeartRadio Music Festival.

Source: Primetime Ratings: ‘SNF’ Up a Tick on NBC
 

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TV/Production Notes (Cable)
BET Orders Paula Patton's Sacrifice to Series, Based on 2019 TV-Movie
By Matt Webb Mitovich, TVLine.com - Sep. 28, 2020

BET has ordered to series Sacrifice, a legal thriller starring Paula Patton (Somewhere Between) and based on a BET+ TV-movie/backdoor pilot that premiered last December.

Set in Los Angeles, Sacrifice follows Daniella Hernandez (played by Patton), a highly sought-after entertainment lawyer, as she navigates the nefarious lives of her rich and famous clients.

As a series, Sacrifice will delve deeper into Daniella’s complicated personal life as “a recovering alcoholic who compensates for her suppressed addiction with men and the adrenaline of defending the worst in the entertainment world against an over-zealous D.A. sworn to bring them all to justice.

“Daniella’s unimpeachable clients need her help, wisdom and resourcefulness – as do all the corrupt ones,” the official synopsis continues. “She is the classic conundrum of doing good for bad reasons and doing bad for good reasons. Maybe it’s luck, maybe it’s skill, maybe it’s because she’s beautiful, but Daniella gets away with it… so far.”

“I am excited to reprise the role of Daniella Hernandez, her strength and ability to overcome incredible challenges is inspiring, and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue working with BET,” Patton said in a statement. “It is a wonderful experience to work with our cast and crew to create characters and stories that entertain and move people.”

Other returning cast members include Marques Houston (Sister, Sister), James Trevena Brown (The Shannara Chronicles), Veronika Bozeman (Empire), Altonio Jackson (Treme), Liliana Montenegro, Michael Toland (1st and Ten) and Nelson Bonilla (Ozark).

It is not yet clear if Sacrifice will air on BET or stream on BET+.

Source: BET Orders Paula Patton's Sacrifice to Series, Based on 2019 TV-Movie
 

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TV/Legal Notes
Texas sheriff indicted for allegedly destroying Live PD footage
By James Hibberd, EW.com - Sep. 28, 2020

Live PD's entanglement with a Texas sheriff has taken a dramatic new turn.

Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody has been indicted with evidence tampering for allegedly destroying footage shot for the canceled A&E docu-reality show, the Austin American-Statesman reported Monday.

The footage showed the death of a Black man who died after Chody's deputies used force to arrest him following a vehicular chase 18 months ago.

Previously, A&E said the footage was destroyed because the show doesn't air fatal encounters and nobody in Texas law enforcement had asked for it. "Video of the tragic death of Javier Ambler was captured by body cams worn on the officers involved as well by the producers of Live PD who were riding with certain officers involved," the network said in a statement. "Neither A&E nor the producers of Live PD were asked for the footage or an interview by investigators from law enforcement or the District Attorney's office. As is the case with all footage taken by Live PD producers, we no longer retained the unaired footage after learning that the investigation had concluded. As with all calls we follow, we are not there to be an arm of the police or law enforcement but rather to chronicle what they do and air some of that footage and our policies were in place to avoid having footage used by law enforcement against private citizens."

A&E canceled Live PD in June despite it being the channel's most popular series. The move came amid calls from activists to end the show, which was accused of fostering racist stereotypes along with Paramount Network's similarly canceled Cops.

Source: Texas sheriff indicted for allegedly destroying 'Live PD' footage
 

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Technology/Legal Notes (Gaming)
Epic’s decision to bypass Apple’s App Store policies were dishonest, says US judge
By James Vincent, TheVerge.com - Sep. 28, 2020

A US judge hearing arguments in Epic’s antitrust lawsuit against Apple has criticized the game developer’s decision to breach its contract with the iPhone maker by pushing a version of Fortnite with a custom payment system onto the App Store. The decision resulted in Apple removing Fortnite from the App Store.

During a hearing on Monday with both companies, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California expressed skepticism about Epic’s arguments, particularly its claim that it did not pose a security threat to Apple because it is a well-established company and partner.

“You did something, you lied about it by omission, by not being forthcoming. That’s the security issue. That’s the security issue!” Rogers told Epic, according to a report from CNN. “There are a lot of people in the public who consider you guys heroes for what you guys did, but it’s still not honest.”

The three-hour hearing, which took place over Zoom, did not settle any of the open questions in Epic’s ongoing antitrust lawsuit against Apple, including whether or not Fortnite will be allowed to return temporarily to the App Store. A decision on that issue is expected “in the coming days,” according to The New York Times.

Judge Gonzalez Rogers did recommend, though, that the case be taken to a jury trial in July next year to settle these issues permanently. “It is important enough to understand what real people think,” said Rogers. “Do these security issues concern people or not?”

According to CNN, Judge Rogers said she was “not particularly persuaded” by Epic’s argument that Apple has bundled its App Store and in-app payment system together in violation of antitrust law. The judge also said she did not necessarily agree with Epic that Apple has harmed its ability to distribute Fortnite through its control of the App Store.

“Walled gardens have existed for decades,” said the judge. “Nintendo has had a walled garden. Sony has had a walled garden. Microsoft has had a walled garden. What Apple’s doing is not much different... It’s hard to ignore the economics of the industry, which is what you’re asking me to do.”

The lawsuit between Apple and Epic has become a rallying cry for many developers dissatisfied with the iPhone maker’s App Store policies. Last week, companies including Epic, Spotify, Tile, and the Match Group created the Coalition for App Fairness, with the aim to “defend the fundamental rights of creators to build apps and to do business directly with their customers,” according to Epic CEO Tim Sweeney.

* * * *

APPLE VS. EPIC: THE BATTLE SO FAR
  • August 13th: Epic introduces a new direct-payment system in Fortnite to circumvent Apple’s 30 percent fee. Apple kicks Fortnite off the App Store for breaking its rules. Epic responds with a civil lawsuit against Apple.
  • August 17th: Epic reveals that Apple has threatened to terminate its developer account. This would stop Epic from developing any future games for iOS or Mac.
  • August 24th: Epic wins a temporary restraining order against Apple. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers rules that Apple can’t terminate Epic’s developer account, but that the iPhone maker does not have to restore Fortnite to the App Store.
  • September 8th: Apple countersues Epic, seeking damages for the company’s breach of contract. In a court filing Apple says Epic has started this legal battle to draw attention to the flagging Fortnite franchise.
  • September 28th: Judge Rogers hears arguments from both Epic and Apple, and recommends a jury trial to settle the case in July.
Source: Epic’s decision to bypass Apple’s App Store policies were dishonest, says US judge
 
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