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Google Copyright Case Appears to Have Little Hollywood Impact

By Gene Maddaus

Hollywood would not exist without copyright law. So when the Supreme Court took up what was billed as the “copyright case of the century” — the multibillion-dollar fight between Google and Oracle — the Hollywood trade groups rushed to the barricades.

The Motion Picture Association joined with other pro-copyright organizations in support of Oracle, which accused Google of ripping off thousands of lines of Java code for its Android operating system. In an amicus brief, the MPA warned that if the court accepted Google’s “fair use” defense, and applied it to Hollywood, it could “potentially eviscerate” the ability of studios to make spinoffs and sequels of their films.

In other words, if Google could steal Java code, then perhaps anyone could make an “Avengers” movie. Disney would then have no reason to invest billions developing the franchise.

Others also warned of dire consequences. The Copyright Alliance — which represents studios, music labels, and publishers — warned that a win for Google could hamper copyright owners’ ability to profit from their work, and even give a green light to music piracy.

Google did win. In a 6-2 ruling issued on Monday, the Supreme Court held that Google did not infringe on Oracle’s copyright in the Java platform.

But the entertainment industry, far from decrying the ruling, has been almost silent in response.

The MPA issued a mere one-line statement: “The Supreme Court made clear that it didn’t intend for today’s ruling to affect existing law as applied outside the context of computer software.”

The Copyright Alliance also noted that the ruling was limited to software — and to a particular type of software — and said the ruling will have little impact on media.

“While we believe that the Supreme Court decision was wrongly decided, we are heartened that the Court made very clear that its decision is not only limited to software — and thus, should not be applicable to other types of copyrighted works,” CEO Keith Kupferschmid said in a statement. “As such, the decision here should have very limited applicability to other fair use cases that may arise in the future.”

CreativeFuture — another organization that represents entertainment companies, and which had earlier decried Google’s “blatant copying” of Oracle’s code — did not issue a statement at all. Neither did the Recording Industry Association of America, which had submitted an amicus brief supporting Oracle.

Some of this can be chalked up to spin — either playing up the harms before the ruling, or playing them down after, or both. But it is also true that Justice Stephen Breyer went out of his way to say that he was only concerned with computer code, and that he was not trying to expand the general definition of “fair use” in copyright law.

“We do not overturn or modify our earlier cases involving fair use — cases, for example, that involve ‘knockoff’ products, journalistic writings, and parodies,” Breyer wrote.

Some of the entertainment groups were clearly hoping that the court would address fair use in a more general way, and would take the opportunity to limit it. The court’s last major decision on the subject came in 1994, in Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., in which it found that a song parody was fair use. The RIAA and the Copyright Alliance each argued that the decision has led lower courts to conclude that a wide array of infringing uses are allowed because they are “transformative.”

“The time for clarity is now,” the Copyright Alliance wrote in its brief. “This Court should make clear that the defense of fair use should be applied judiciously.”

The court did not do not that, so in that sense it was a missed opportunity for Hollywood. But no one appears to expect that the ruling will lead to a frenzy of copyright infringement under the guise of fair use.

“I don’t think everybody should be running around freaking out that the sky is falling, because I don’t think it is,” said J. Michael Keyes, an intellectual property attorney at Dorsey & Whitney LLP. “It was pretty circumspect and pretty narrowly drawn.”

Still, he noted that the opinion does have passages that could cause some concern for copyright holders. In particular, he noted that the court gave little weight to Oracle’s claim that it lost out on billions in licensing revenue due to Google’s use of the Java code. The court held that potential harm was outweighed by the benefit to society from the Android system.

“I could see that striking fear in the heart of some content owners,” Keyes said. “It does raise the question, in my mind at least, of at what point does the societal benefit outweigh the copyright holder’s interest in protecting that market. That’s where I think the battle lines are going to be drawn in future cases.”

James Sammataro, co-chair of the media and entertainment practice at Pryor Cashman, also noted the court’s discussion of market effects as an area of concern.

“In particular, the Court’s discussion of the plaintiff’s economic harm versus the public benefits of the copying has a life beyond software coding and can be used in support of a pro-documentarian, pro-parody fair use defense,” Sammataro said via email.

In his statement, Kupferschmid argued that the ruling has the “the potential to unduly broaden the fair use doctrine.” But he also suggested that would happen only if the ruling is “misinterpreted by lower courts.”

“We are hopeful and optimistic that district courts and courts of appeals will heed the Supreme Court’s words that this case does ‘not overturn or modify its earlier cases involving fair use’ and therefore interpret the Supreme Court’s decision narrowly in keeping with well-established precedent,” he said.

All of which is to say, the Avengers are safe — for now.

 

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‘The Peripheral’: Eli Goree Joins Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy’s Amazon Series In Lead Role
By Denise Petski

EXCLUSIVE: One Night In Miami star Eli Goree is set as a lead opposite Chloë Grace Moretz and Jack Reynor in Amazon’s sci-fi thriller drama The Peripheral, based on the bestselling novel by William Gibson, from Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s Kilter Films.

Created by Scott B. Smith, The Peripheral is described as a dazzling, hallucinatory glimpse into the fate of mankind — and what lies beyond.

The book centers on Flynne (Moretz) and her brother Burton (Reynor). In the novel, Burton, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps’ elite Haptic Recon force, is hired for a security job which takes place in what he thinks is cyberspace. When Flynne temporarily takes his place, she witnesses something that might have been murder.

Goree will play Conner.

In addition to Moretz and Reynor, he joins previously announced series regulars Gary Carr, Charlotte Riley, JJ Feild, Adelind Horan, T’Nia Miller and Alex Hernandez.

The Peripheral
is produced by Amazon Studios and Warner Bros Television, in association with Kilter Films. Executive producers are Smith, director Vincenzo Natali, Nolan and Joy, Athena Wickham and Steven Hoban. Greg Plageman is executive producer and showrunner.

Goree can currently be seen starring as Cassius Clay in One Night In Miami, Regina King’s highly acclaimed directorial debut from Amazon Studios, sharing in SAG Award and Critics Choice Award nominations for his performance. He was most recently seen starring in USA’s Suits spinoff Pearson. He also reprised his role as Mad Dog in Season 4 of CW’s Riverdale. On the film side, Goree also starred in Stephen Hopkin’s Race and voiced a role in Antoine Fuqua’s The Guilty for Netflix, opposite Jake Gyllenhaal. Goree is repped by Play Management, Authentic, WME, Jackoway Austen.

 

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Are the regular what's on TV posts discontinued .. ??
 
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Dad's on vacation for a few days.
Yeah, I know .. I just figured with every tiny tidbit of "news" popping up, one of the best parts of the Thread had been lost in the shuffle ..
 
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Yeah, I know .. I just figured with every tiny tidbit of "news" popping up, one of the best parts of the Thread had been lost in the shuffle ..
That is my bad, guess I went overboard with the "news" posting. I'm backing off on it. Sorry to clutter the thread.
 

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That is my bad, guess I went overboard with the "news" posting. I'm backing off on it. Sorry to clutter the thread.
You've done nothing wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #41,650 ·
TV/Nielsen Notes (Dispute)
Networks, Distributors Blast Nielsen For COVID Response That Caused Plunge In TV Usage Numbers
VAB cites 'systematic under-counting' as Nielsen lost 20% of its panelists
By Jon Lafayette, Broadcasting & Cable - Apr. 8, 2021

The trade group representing networks and distributors blasted Nielsen claiming that the measurement company’s viewership numbers are much lower than they should be because Nielsen has not taken proper care of the panel it uses to measure TV usage during the COVID pandemic.

Because of those “TV measurement defects” there has been “systematic under-counting that has been perpetuated in this COVID Nielsen sample since last March,” said Sean Cunningham, CEO of VAB.

Read Also: Nielsen Says COVID-19 Has Disrupted Local Rating Panels

The VAB wants Nielsen to at least provide the industry with estimates for how much its numbers are off as the annual upfront advertising sales market approaches. The VAB's data shows the measurement issues had a big effect on the reporting of total television use. Cunningham said he had no idea how much impact it had on the numbers for viewing of ad-supported TV specifically, or what that meant in terms of lost advertising dollars.

In a statement Nielsen said. “We have confidence in the fidelity of our ratings estimates and are focused on the continued quality of our panel.” (Nielsen’s complete statement is below.)

Read Also: Nielsen Sets Major Changes in Program, Ad Measurement

Cunningham said that since the pandemic began in March 2020, the size of Nielsen’s national panel has shrunk 20% from 36,975 homes to 29,456. Nielsen largely stopped visiting its panelists homes to make sure they were still properly participating because of the pandemic.

Read Also: Ft. Myers Stations Sign With Comscore, Claiming Undercount by Nielsen

That decline in panel homes correlates with a drop in reported total TV set usage from a 15.1% share of people in March 2020 to 11.2% in March 2021, a 25.8% drop. . Even streamers using TV was down from 6.2% to 6.0% among 18 to 34 year olds. “How could that possibly be true,” Cunningham said, noting that the pandemic people were home and seemed to be spending a lot of time watching TV.

Weekly reach of total TV use by people age 2 and up dropped from 92% in 2019 to 89% in 2020 and 87% so far in 2021.

Cunningham noted that the industry expects to see year-to-year declines in ratings as people switch to streaming. “The multiscreen TV business has been creating and championing these new video opportunities for many successive quarters. We’re the ones who are putting out the streaming innovations right now and are counting streaming subscribers,” he said. “The challenge right now is there’s no visibility into what are the actual declines and what are the exaggerated declines.”

Because Nielsen didn't properly maintain its panel, it now has 20% fewer minority households and much fewer households with four or more people in them and homes with three or more TV sets. Those homes tend to be heavy TV users.

At the same time, the number of homes in the sample registering no TV viewing at all rose 120%. Normally homes not reporting any viewing would be pulled from the sample because the family is no longer there, and replaced.

Cunningham said the networks began noticing unusual ratings activity over the summer and the increase in homes not using TV in January. They pointed those out to Nielsen and tried to work with the ratings company rather than going to the press with their concerns, he said.

Nielsen responded in March by saying that customers should “use judgement” when working with the COVID-era data.

“Using judgment is not a way to help set price and its not the kind of transparency we need,” Cunningham said.

Nielsen is expected to release a white paper explaining its view of ratings during COVID on Friday. Cunningham said his members have heard that the paper will be about “standard error” but not offer actionable solutions, including getting a range of how inaccurate the current data is.

“A white paper on standard error falls way short of what we think the marketplace is owed,” he said.

Nielsen said the report will show “that the audience estimates are in line with trends observed via other data sources, and we see no evidence to suggest that changes made during COVID to the panel have materially changed the audience estimates as reported.”

Cunningham said VAB members were particularly disappointed in Nielsen because when the pandemic hit the networks, advertisers and other suppliers and vendors all collaborated and cooperated to come up with unprecedented ways to do business given an unprecedented set of circumstances.

As soon as they could, the networks began producing shows under more costly COVID protocols. And cable companies found ways to get into customers’ homes to maintain service., he said.

“Nielsen was an outlier,” not going into its panelists' homes in order to maintain the quality of its measurement service, Cunningham said.

“The COVID casualty of Nielsen accuracy could have been avoided,” he said.

Here is Nielsen’s statement.

"Over the course of the last year, COVID has disrupted lives, families, organizations and businesses. Nielsen is no different. We leaned in, kept the panel, our people and the ratings estimates safe and, like many of our clients, continued to operate.

In early March we began our return to pre-COVID maintenance protocols and, in concert with local government guidance, resumed in-home field visits when it was safe to do so with the goal of returning to normal as quickly as possible. While we have always been in the field, our return to in-home visits helps maintain our representative measurement panel and allows us to execute our Nielsen One vision for true, comparable cross-platform metrics.

We have confidence in the fidelity of our ratings estimates and are focused on the continued quality of our panel.

Tomorrow we are releasing research that takes a close look at both the integrity of our panel data and how audience viewership has shifted during COVID. Our research has shown that the audience estimates are in line with trends observed via other data sources, and we see no evidence to suggest that changes made during COVID to the panel have materially changed the audience estimates as reported. The research also takes a look at the value and impact that new content has in the marketplace, overall changes in premiere content scheduling and how streaming platforms play a significant role in the future of the entire media landscape. We are working alongside clients to help the industry understand the true impact COVID has had on these accelerated shifts in audience behaviors.

We have been fully transparent with clients and the MRC and will continue to guide the industry through the multiple factors that have influenced audience viewership during these unprecedented times.”


Source: Networks, Distributors Blast Nielsen For COVID Response That Caused Plunge In TV Usage Numbers | Broadcasting+Cable (nexttv.com)
 

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Discussion Starter · #41,651 ·
Technology Notes (Gaming)
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is getting a 4K HDR remaster on June 8th
By Chaim Gartenberg, TheVerge.com - Apr. 8, 2021

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children — the 2005 CGI spinoff film that dared to ask “What if the already incredible, intricate story of Final Fantasy VII was made even more confusing?” — is getting a 4K HDR remaster this summer.

The newly updated version of the film is due to arrive on June 8th, setting up a week of narrative whiplash for Final Fantasy fans who will also get to enjoy the PS5 upgrade of Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade on June 10th.

One might think Advent Children would be a good next step for fans who have only played the modern Final Fantasy VII Remake as a way of preparing for future remade installments. That instinct, I can assure you, would be wrong. The film is actually a pseudo-sequel to the original Final Fantasy VII game’s epic and occasionally bewildering story, and it relies heavily on an intimate knowledge of its twists and turns. Final Fantasy VII Remake, by contrast, gives you a mere fraction of the saga.

For example, here’s apparently a wholly accurate description of the film’s key plot point from my colleague Nick Statt, and definitely not a series of random words that he typed into Slack:
The Sephiroth clone cloning himself into Sephiroth using Jenova, from which he is also a clone (?) makes perfect sense. Ok, like technically Sephiroth is not a clone except for he was merged with Jenova cells in the womb so you could make the argument that he’s a clone.
Despite the somewhat obtuse sci-fi storytelling, Advent Children was a notable jump forward for fully CGI-animated movies when it was first released in 2005. It offered fans the best look yet (at the time) at favorite characters like Cloud and Tifa in full 3D form, with designs and fight scenes that the blocky graphics and CGI of the PS1 original had only hinted at. And while the film itself has since been eclipsed by the even better-looking (and playable) Final Fantasy VII Remake, that reimagining owes plenty to the foundation that Advent Children laid.

The upcoming re-release is part of an ongoing renaissance for the sometimes unappreciated movie. Advent Children also recently got a call-out in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: when Cloud’s longtime nemesis Sephiroth was added as a DLC character, Smash Bros. also updated Cloud’s Omnislash attack to match his multi-sword version from the movie whenever you equip him with his film-inspired outfit as well.

Additionally, Square Enix is also working on Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis, a single-player mobile RPG that aims to span the entirety of the Final Fantasy VII storyline — including Final Fantasy VII, Advent Children, Before Crisis, Crisis Core, and Dirge of Cerberus — into a single, cohesive title. That will either help clear up the confusion surrounding FF7... or just make it worse.

Source: Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is getting a 4K HDR remaster on June 8th - The Verge
 

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Discussion Starter · #41,652 ·
TV/Awards Notes
‘Happiest Season,’ ‘Schitt’s Creek’ Among 2021 GLAAD Media Awards Winners
By Reid Nakamura, TheWrap.com - Apr. 8, 2021

The winners of the 2021 GLAAD Media Awards were announced on Thursday, with Hulu’s “Happiest Season,” Netflix’s “The Boys in the Band,” “Schitt’s Creek” and “Star Trek: Discovery” taking home the top film and TV prizes.

Other winners included the Netflix documentary “Disclosure,” HBO’s drag makeover series “We’re Here,” singer Sam Smith, the Spanish-language series “Veneno” and “The Not-Too-Late Show With Elmo” on HBO Max.

See the full list of winners below and all the nominees here.

The virtual ceremony was streamed on GLAAD’s YouTube page and featured a “Glee” cast reunion to pay tribute to the late actress Naya Rivera, whose character came out as a lesbian on the show 10 years ago.

Hosted by Niecy Nash, the show also featured performances by CHIKA, Rebecca Black and Jessica Betts. Sabrina Carpenter also contributed a performance, which is exclusive to the version of the show available to stream on Hulu.

“The GLAAD Media Awards special guests and winners sent an undeniably loud message of LGBTQ acceptance around the world tonight,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “This year’s award recipients, including Disclosure, Schitt’s Creek, Star Trek: Discovery, and Veneno, remind us that even in times of political and cultural division, diverse LGBTQ representation and visibility can enlighten, entertain, and create lasting impact, ultimately raising the bar for LGBTQ inclusion in media.”

* * * *

Outstanding Film – Wide Release: Happiest Season (Hulu/TriStar Pictures)

Outstanding Film – Limited Release: The Boys in the Band (Netflix)

Outstanding Documentary: Disclosure (Netflix)

Outstanding Comedy Series: Schitt’s Creek (Pop)

Outstanding Drama Series: Star Trek: Discovery (CBS All Access)

Outstanding TV Movie: Uncle Frank (Amazon Studios)

Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series: I May Destroy You (HBO)

Outstanding Reality Program: We’re Here (HBO)

Outstanding Children’s Programming: The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo (HBO Max)

Outstanding Kids & Family Programming [TIE]: First Day (Hulu) and She-Ra & The Princesses of Power (DreamWorks Animation/Netflix)

Outstanding Music Artist: Sam Smith, Love Goes (Capitol)

Outstanding Breakthrough Music Artist: CHIKA, Industry Games (Warner Records)

Outstanding Video Game [TIE]: Tell Me Why (DONTNOD Entertainment & Xbox Game Studios) and The Last of Us Part II (Naughty Dog & Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Outstanding Comic Book: Empyre, Lords of Empyre: Emperor Hulkling, Empyre: Aftermath Avengers, by Al Ewing, Dan Slott, Chip Zdarsky, Anthony Oliveira, Valerio Schiti, Manuel Garcia, Cam Smith, Marte Gracia, Triona Farrell, Joe Caramagna, Ariana Maher, Travis Lanham (Marvel Comics)

Outstanding Variety or Talk Show Episode: “Lilly Responds to Comments About Her Sexuality” A Little Late With Lilly Singh (NBC)

Outstanding TV Journalism Segment: “Dwyane Wade One-On-One: Basketball Legend Opens Up About Supporting Transgender Daughter” Good Morning America (ABC)

Outstanding TV Journalism – Long-Form: “ABC News Joe Biden Town Hall” (ABC)

Outstanding Print Article: “20 LGBTQ+ People Working to Save Lives on the Frontline” by Diane Anderson-Minshall, David Artavia, Tracy Gilchrist, Desiree Guerrero, Jeffrey Masters, Donald Padgett, and Daniel Reynolds (The Advocate)

Outstanding Magazine Overall Coverage: People

Outstanding Online Journalism Article: “Gay Men Speak Out After Being Turned Away from Donating Blood During Coronavirus Pandemic: “We are Turning Away Perfectly Healthy Donors” by Tony Morrison and Joel Lyons (GoodMorningAmerica.com)

Outstanding Online Journalism – Video or Multimedia: “Stop Killing Us: Black Transgender Women’s Lived Experiences” by Complex World (Complex News)

Outstanding Blog: TransGriot

Barbara Gittings Award for Excellence in LGBTQ Media: Windy City Times

Special Recognition: After Forever (Amazon)

Special Recognition: Deadline’s New Hollywood Podcast

Special Recognition: Happiest Season Soundtrack (Facet/Warner Records)

Special Recognition: Noah’s Arc: The ‘Rona Chronicles (Patrik Ian-Polk Entertainment)

Special Recognition: Out (Pixar/Disney+)

Special Recognition: Razor Tongue (YouTube)

Special Recognition: "The Son" Little America (Apple TV+)

Outstanding Spanish-Language Scripted Television Series: Veneno (HBO Max)

Outstanding Spanish-Language TV Journalism: “La Hermana de Aleyda Ortiz Narra Cómo Salió del Clóset y Cómo se lo Comunicó a su Familia” Despierta América (Univision)

Outstanding Spanish-Language Online Journalism Article: “Desapareció en México, Solo se Hallaron sus Restos: La Historia de la Doctora María Elizabeth Montaño y su Importancia para la Comunidad Trans” por Albinson Linares y Marina E. Franco (Telemundo.com)

Outstanding Spanish-Language Online Journalism – Video or Multimedia: “Soy Trans: El Camino a un Nuevo Despertar” por Sarah Moreno, Esther Piccolino, y José Sepúlveda (El Nuevo Herald)

Special Recognition (Spanish-Language): Jesse & Joy, “Love (Es Nuestro Idioma)”


Source: ‘Happiest Season,’ ‘Schitt’s Creek’ Among 2021 GLAAD Media Awards Winners (thewrap.com)
 

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Discussion Starter · #41,653 ·
TV Sports/Health Notes (Golf)
Journalist tests positive for COVID-19 after reporting on Masters, Women's Amateur at Augusta National
By Chrisitine Brennan, USA Today - Apr. 8, 2021

AUGUSTA, Ga. – An accredited member of the media at the Masters tested positive for COVID-19 Thursday morning after spending six days at Augusta National Golf Club covering the Women’s Amateur tournament and the Masters.

The journalist, who said they arrived at Augusta National April 2, is quarantining and will take another test Friday morning. The person spoke with USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity due to the personal nature of the matter.

Two other accredited members of the media tested positive in Augusta National’s required testing program before they entered the golf club for this week’s tournament, according to several people with knowledge of the situation.

One of those journalists was staying at a house in the area with three other accredited members of the media who had tested negative. Because of contact tracing, all four journalists are now quarantining.

All members of the media covering the Women's Amateur and the Masters required a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival to Augusta National before being granted permission to enter the press building and the grounds. The person who tested positive Thursday morning had a negative test before entering the club April 2.

An Augusta National spokeswoman declined comment.

Source: Masters at Augusta National has journalist test positive for COVID-19 (usatoday.com)
 

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Discussion Starter · #41,654 ·
TV/Viewership Notes (Streaming)
Nielsen: Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ Got Royal Gains from Meghan’s Big Oprah Interview
By Addie Morfoot, NextTV.com - Apr. 8, 2021

Netflix should send a thank you note to Oprah and the Duchess of Sussex. Netflix original series The Crown, which has not debuted an original episode since season 4 premiered back in November, garnered a strong 449 million minutes of U.S. streaming for the week of March 8-14, according to Nielsen.

The 207 million-minute week-over-week increase was no doubt due to Oprah Winfrey’s March 7 CBS interview with Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. The highly anticipated exclusive interview drew 17.1 million viewers to CBS, according to Nielsen. The Crown was the sixth most watched show on the major SVOD services the following week. It was also the second most watched original series, Nielsen said.

The research company reports that viewers of The Crown were most attracted to the series' first season, implying that the Oprah interview drove first-time watchers to start binging on the show.

For the second consecutive week, Amazon’s Coming 2 America was the most watched program in the U.S. among the four biggest subscription-streaming services—Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus and Hulu. The film captured 770 million minutes of viewing for the week of March 8.

This is only the second time Amazon has topped Nielsen’s typically Netflix-dominated weekly SVOD top 10 ranking list.

The Amazon Studios film, which Prime Video released on March 4, was down by 630 million total views week over week. But the fact that the 109-minute film maintained the top spot on the master ranking of all SVOD programs is noteworthy because Nielsen’s ranking system is based on total minutes streamed, therefore shows or series with many episodes have a clear advantage over one-off movies.

Coming 2 America is only the fourth movie to rank No. 1 on Nielsen’s weekly top SVOD programs list. Netflix’s Spenser Confidential, Disney Plus’ Soul and HBO Max’s Wonder Woman 1984 preceded Coming 2 America.

The Eddie Murphy comedy was the only movie to rank in Nielsen’s overall top 10. Jennifer Garner’s Yes Day just missed a spot on the overall chart, but came in second place on Nielsen’s more drilled down ranking of the top SVOD movies. Released on March 12, the Netflix film drew 402 million minutes of viewing over just two days of availability. Disney Plus’ Raya The Last Dragon moved from fourth to third place on the movie ranker week over week, garnering 390 million minutes of viewing. That is 35 million more views than the film collected during the week ending March 7.

In the week ending March 14, Variety reported that the Disney animated adventure was No. 1 at the domestic box office, garnering $5.5 million from 2,163 venues across the country. In order to access the film on Disney Plus, viewers have to purchase a $30 premier access membership in addition to regular subscriber fees.

Meanwhile, on the original series front, Netflix’s 10 episodes of Ginny & Georgia, which premiered Feb. 24, ranked No. 2 overall and No. 1 on Nielsen’s ranking of SVOD original shows, collecting 772 million minutes of U.S. viewing for March 8-14. The mother-daughter series is reminiscent of another recent Netflix original series, Firefly Lane.

Firefly Lane, which debuted Feb. 3, initially captured over 1 billion minutes, just as Ginny & Georgia did in its second week on the Nielsen streaming service chart. Six weeks after premiering, Firefly Lane has continuously maintained a top-tier ranking on Nielsen’s weekly original series chart.

Despite coming to a close on March 5, Disney Plus’ nine installments of WandaVision managed to maintain a spot on the originals chart during the week beginning March 8, as well. The Marvel miniseries garnered 388 million views per minute. WandaVision initially cracked Nielsen’s original series rankings when it debuted on Jan. 15 and tallied just 434 million minutes of U.S. streaming. This marks the first week that viewership of the series has decreased week to week.

Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel director and executive producer Joe Berlinger once again had a true crime docuseries on the originals chart. His Netflix docuseries – Murder Among Mormons – took in 264 million minutes of viewing after premiering on March 3.

As for acquired series, Netflix streaming of the CBS procedural Criminal Minds was the No. 1 off-network show on SVOD for the week, and No. 3 show overall. The 12 seasons and 307 episodes of the procedural drama licensed by Netflix garnered 699 million minutes of viewing. ABC’s long-running Grey’s Anatomy, meanwhile, was the second most popular acquired SVOD show. The series’ 366 episodes tallied 628 million U.S. viewing minutes during the week of March 8.

Notably the master ranking SVOD chart included one movie and one original series. The eight remaining slots were taken up by acquired Netflix series. Also significant is during the week of March 8 no programs or films broke the one billion viewing minutes mark.

Source: Nielsen: Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ Got Royal Gains from Meghan’s Big Oprah Interview | Next TV
 

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Discussion Starter · #41,655 ·
No political comments, please.

TV/Critic's Notes
TV Is Having a Talking-Head Crisis, From Sharon Osbourne to Dr. Oz to Meghan McCain
By Judy Berman, TIME.com - Apr. 8, 2021

On March 22, midway through a series of guest-hosted shows, Jeopardy! fans revolted. Their target was Dr. Mehmet Oz, the Oprah-approved, Ivy League-educated surgeon, author and host of The Dr. Oz Show, who was the most recent celebrity to step into the late Alex Trebek’s dress shoes. As viewers fumed on social media, Variety called Oz’s engagement a “black eye” on the show and some 600 former contestants signed an open letter arguing that he “stands in opposition to everything that Jeopardy! stands for.” Indeed, everyone from other physicians to elected officials to GLAAD has blasted Oz, over the years, for pushing weight-loss scams, giving a platform to anti-vaxxers, normalizing gay “conversion” therapy and, most recently, endorsing shoddy COVID remedies. That didn’t necessarily disqualify him from a two-week gig reading pre-written questions and making small talk. From another angle, though, the outrage made perfect sense. At a time when the idea of objective facts has been so catastrophically eroded, if you can’t trust the host of Jeopardy!, whom can you trust?

It’s not like Trebek was independently verifying the game’s every answer. Yet in his 36 years as host, as the American public grew politically polarized and the public square was increasingly polluted by mercenary hucksters and partisan spin doctors, he came to symbolize a refreshing reverence for pure, depoliticized knowledge. Now—and especially during a pandemic when TV is so many people’s main portal to the outside world—Jeopardy! feels personal because it represents a beloved but endangered aspect of a cultural conversation starved for truth, intellect and insight.

Maybe that helps to explain why we’re seeing so many controversies emerge among the talking heads who populate the traditionally tame realm of game shows and daytime chat programs. Also in March, Sharon Osbourne, a long-time panelist on CBS’s The Talk and metal first lady, exploded when co-host Sheryl Underwood pressed her about a tweet in which she defended Piers Morgan from accusations of racism. (In his own on-air meltdown, Morgan had stomped off the set of Good Morning Britain amid questions about his very public disdain for Meghan Markle.) Soon, former Talk colleagues were alleging that Osbourne had a history of making racist and homophobic comments. By the end of the month, she’d exited the show.

Meanwhile, on ABC’s The View, token conservative Meghan McCain was getting tangled in her own web of racial doublespeak. On his program Last Week Tonight, John Oliver pointed out that, months before tweeting “Stop Asian Hate” in response to the mass shooting in Atlanta, she’d announced that she didn’t have a problem with Donald Trump calling COVID-19 “the China virus.” McCain apologized. But then, as she is wont to do, McCain drifted back to sanctimony, decrying the “slippery slope” of identity politics. In its 25 years on the air, she said, The View had had only one Asian-American co-host (Lisa Ling). “Does that mean that one of us should be leaving at some point because there’s not enough representation?” McCain demanded. “Is identity politics more important than qualifications of a job?” MSNBC host Tiffany Cross responded to those rhetorical questions: “Yes. One of you should definitely lose your job. I’ll give you two guesses, but you’ll only need one.” After all, McCain—the daughter of the late Senator John McCain—was not exactly a shining example of the meritocracy herself.

What’s dispiriting here isn’t just the textbook white fragility on display; it’s also the shallowness, navel-gazing and self-promotion that suffuse the discourse itself. The Talk greets the most intense phase of a society-wide reckoning on anti-Black racism, and a talk show that’s supposed to reflect a diverse set of perspectives winds up marking that moment with Osbourne screaming “How can I be racist about anybody or anything in my life?” at her Black co-host. After a devastating wave of violence, this country may finally be ready to have a conversation about its long history of mistreating Asian Americans, and The View marks the occasion with McCain concern-trolling over identity politics. More than a year into a global health crisis that has killed millions, and there’s still room in public life—on the venerable Jeopardy!, even—for a famous physician who used his platform to hype hydroxychloroquine as a COVID treatment. (It has, in fact, been an especially bad year for TV’s most controversial celebrity doctors. A little over a month before Dr. Drew Pinsky stuck his foot in his mouth over vaccine passports, a young woman named Hannah Archuleta filed suit against the boot-camp-style teen treatment center where she was sent after appearing on Dr. Phil, alleging that she had been sexually assaulted by a staff member. The rapper Bhad Bhabie, perhaps the most famous troubled teen to appear on the latter show, soon came forward with her own account of abuse at the facility.)

It’s not that every thoughtful voice has been entirely shut out of the conversation. Scholars like Isabel Wilkerson and literary novelists like Kazuo Ishiguro are still carving out well-deserved space on bestseller lists dominated by celebrity memoirs, James Patterson thrillers and Bridgerton romances. Smart films and TV shows grounded in social criticism—Judas and the Black Messiah, Succession, Parasite—are still being made, honored and debated, although not usually with the same fervency as Joker. Crucial high-level concepts, from critical race theory to the Anthropocene, are still breaking out of the Ivory Tower. The problem is with the interlocutors who shepherd these ideas into the mainstream. How many viewers learned the word “intersectionality” when Meghan McCain denounced it, between sobs, in a much-discussed View diatribe on the alleged anti-Semitism of Rep. Ilhan Omar in 2019? Whether you embrace or reject intersectional politics (which seek to acknowledge how different aspects of people’s identities interact), it’s fair to wonder if McCain could produce a clear definition of the term.

Raoul Peck provides a concise summary of the situation, over a nightmarish montage of The View and Fox News clips in his searing new documentary series Exterminate All the Brutes: “American scholars have largely abandoned the role of public intellectuals to pundits and entertainers,” he says. “No proof, no arguments are necessary. It is opinions against opinions, shamelessly passing off impudence as reason.” We may not deserve smarter, but we need it. Desperately.

Source: Sharon Osbourne, Dr. Oz and TV's Talking Head Crisis | Time
 

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Prince Philip Dies: Queen Elizabeth II’s Husband Was 99
By Jake Kanter

Prince Philip has died at the age of 99, Buckingham Palace has announced.

In a statement, the Palace said: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. Further announcements will be made in due course. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”

The statement continued: “The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”

 

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John de Lancie Talks Reprising Q on ‘Star Trek: Picard’: ‘You Can Never Go Back’ (EXCLUSIVE)

By Adam B. Vary

When John de Lancie was first cast as Q on the pilot of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” his expectation was that he was only supposed to play the wily omnipotent being — who challenges Capt. Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) with proving humanity’s worthiness — for that single, two-part episode. But three days into shooting, “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry took de Lancie aside.

“He said to me, ‘You have no idea what you’ve gotten yourself into,'” de Lancie says. “And oh my god, was he right.”

De Lancie reprised his performance as Q on seven more episodes of “TNG,” including the series finale, when Q promised he would visit Picard again “from time to time.” Despite appearances as Q on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Star Trek: Voyager” (as well as a brief cameo on the animated series “Star Trek: Lower Decks”), however, Q never did drop in on Picard for another verbal tête-à-tête.

That is, until Monday’s announcement that de Lancie would return as Q in Season 2 of the Paramount Plus series “Star Trek: Picard,” which will premiere in 2022.

A prolific character actor in TV, film and theater, de Lancie’s played everything from “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic” as the voice of the villain Discord to “Breaking Bad” as Donald Margolis, the distraught father of the heroin-addicted Jane (Krysten Ritter).

But for many, Q is de Lancie’s signature role. His episodes of “TNG” remain some of the most beloved in the series’ seven-season run from 1987 to 1994, and the news that he would be playing the role again lit up Trekkie Twitter in celebration. In this exclusive conversation with Variety, de Lancie explains his reaction to the news that he was being invited to return to “the dinner party,” as he puts it — and his reservations about reprising a character he hasn’t played since 2001.

When “Star Trek: Picard” was first announced, did that cause you to wonder, “Oh, what if Q could come back?”
Well, it’s interesting. Terry [Matalas], one of the executive producers, when I met with him, he said, “Oh, of course, you knew you were going to be coming back.” And I said, “You know what, Terry, ‘Star Trek’ has done a lot of movies and other shows without me. So I did not assume that that was going to be the case.” I just sort of discipline myself as a professional over the years to go, “look, it’s somebody else’s dinner party. You cannot spend your time worrying about whether you’re getting invited. Just take it off the radar. You get invited or you don’t get invited, that’s all.”

So when were you first invited back to this dinner party?
Well, I want to say, six months ago. This whole COVID year has been disjointed, but it was after their first season.

How did that feel to know that they were interested in bringing Q back?
You know, it was, and is, a little bit of a mixed bag. One of the issues that I have is you don’t want to fall into the trap of re-creating. I was obviously a little concerned — very concerned — about the issues having to do with, well, excuse me, this is 20 years later. I’m supposed to be immortal and I certainly look very mortal. There were issues about all of that. I was flattered. Of course, I said yes. I didn’t have to think about that part. And then I wondered, where are they going to go with this?

Did the producers talk with you at that point about what was planned for Q, or was this more of a mystery to you?
There was generalized talk, which intrigued me. One of the things that’s sort of unusual, having played a character that has had such a long history — I’ve only done, I think, nine episodes [of “Star Trek”], between the three shows. [Editor’s note: It’s been 12.] I’ve always thought of it as being kind of a diamond in the rough, and having new facets of that stone that’s going to be cut. So here it is, many years later, we’re still cutting that stone. There will be elements of that stone which have already been cut, and they will simply need to be burnished up. And then there will be elements of this stone that will be newly cut, for which there will be people who go, “Oh I always thought you would go in that direction,” and then others, “Oh, I like him the way he was before!”

It solved one major problem for me, and that is I feel very strongly about the whole thing of, you can never go back. Dare I say, how often have we gone back to meet with old girlfriends or boyfriends or what have you and you go, “Oh, I think it would have been better just keeping this in my imagination!” Here, we are not, in fact, going back. We are taking what we have and we are moving forward. And to me, that’s exciting.

Have you shot anything yet?
I have.

How did it feel to act against Patrick Stewart again?
It was fun. My own issues have always been the same. I have to put in a lot of homework because I’m very dyslexic and I just have to work really hard to get all of that into RAM, as it were. And then once that’s done, I’m there to play. And so it was just fun. That type of preparation has paid off and you’re just ready to rock and roll.

Did you pay any attention to the way that the announcement of your return was received?
I saw the little trailer, which I thought was really well done, where there’s a playing card that disappears and then you just see the Q. I felt that that was very befitting this character. This is thin ice for all of us: There are expectations. In the case of that little announcement, I thought they exceeded expectations on that. It was a really nice little morsel of, “Here he comes!”

“Star Trek” fans are notoriously picky, but I have not seen negative reactions to Q’s return — it’s been quite enthusiastically received. How does it feel to have people be so interested in seeing you continue to play this role?
Well, as you were saying that just now, what I felt was mostly was, Oh ****. [Laughs] The pressure is on! That’s how I feel about it. I find that to be a challenge. I hope that I can match it. I hope that we all can match it, and more to the point, exceed it. [Laughs] This is one of the reasons I stay away from all this stuff. I kind of just have to stay in the world of what can be done, and what cannot be done, and not to get too pressurized in all this.

One common reaction I’ve seen is people saying, “oh, thank god, I can feel good about the letter Q again.” Obviously, in the last few years, the letter Q has taken on a much different connotation with the rise of the QAnon conspiracy cult. How strange has that been for you, given how identified you’ve been with the role?
[Sighs] I’m really grateful for that character that I played — and I have become protective of that, of what Q means and all that. Certainly with this other thing, I’ve chosen not to dumpster dive into it. I don’t want to bring those two elements together in any way whatsoever. There’s a part of Q that I’m playing that is frankly more real and more positive and more life-affirming than the [pause] ridiculousness that I hear about this other stuff.

Since we’re talking about reprising one of your most memorable roles, I did want to ask — given that “Better Call Saul” is a prequel series for “Breaking Bad,” have you ever wondered if Donald Margolis would pop up on that show?
I would have loved for that character to have continued. Through my career, I was always hired to play the very aggressive, wordsmith-y sort of character, which ironically is difficult for me because I just tend to work seemingly twice as hard as anybody else. That character allowed me to just relax a little bit, and to just feel, as opposed to trying to dominate or bulldoze. But again, you brought it up and I appreciate it and I take it as a compliment, but I just don’t think about it ever. I just can’t.

Let me just tell you, it’s very interesting what different characters can do for somebody. In this case, just imagine a 22-year-old, shy, kind of strung out kid who comes up to me and says, “Hey, are you Jane’s father?” And I go, “Uh yeah.” And he’s looking at me kind of askance, and he goes, “Yeah, well, now I guess I know what my parents went through.”

I’m sure his parents did everything to try to keep him from, you know — “Please, you can’t keep on doing this, you’re going to ruin your life.” And he couldn’t hear any of it, but he could be affected when he saw it in a story. So I’m really happy to have played that role.

 

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John de Lancie Talks Reprising Q on ‘Star Trek: Picard’: ‘You Can Never Go Back’ (EXCLUSIVE)

By Adam B. Vary

When John de Lancie was first cast as Q on the pilot of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” his expectation was that he was only supposed to play the wily omnipotent being — who challenges Capt. Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) with proving humanity’s worthiness — for that single, two-part episode. But three days into shooting, “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry took de Lancie aside.

“He said to me, ‘You have no idea what you’ve gotten yourself into,'” de Lancie says. “And oh my god, was he right.”

De Lancie reprised his performance as Q on seven more episodes of “TNG,” including the series finale, when Q promised he would visit Picard again “from time to time.” Despite appearances as Q on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Star Trek: Voyager” (as well as a brief cameo on the animated series “Star Trek: Lower Decks”), however, Q never did drop in on Picard for another verbal tête-à-tête.

That is, until Monday’s announcement that de Lancie would return as Q in Season 2 of the Paramount Plus series “Star Trek: Picard,” which will premiere in 2022.

A prolific character actor in TV, film and theater, de Lancie’s played everything from “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic” as the voice of the villain Discord to “Breaking Bad” as Donald Margolis, the distraught father of the heroin-addicted Jane (Krysten Ritter).

But for many, Q is de Lancie’s signature role. His episodes of “TNG” remain some of the most beloved in the series’ seven-season run from 1987 to 1994, and the news that he would be playing the role again lit up Trekkie Twitter in celebration. In this exclusive conversation with Variety, de Lancie explains his reaction to the news that he was being invited to return to “the dinner party,” as he puts it — and his reservations about reprising a character he hasn’t played since 2001.

When “Star Trek: Picard” was first announced, did that cause you to wonder, “Oh, what if Q could come back?”
Well, it’s interesting. Terry [Matalas], one of the executive producers, when I met with him, he said, “Oh, of course, you knew you were going to be coming back.” And I said, “You know what, Terry, ‘Star Trek’ has done a lot of movies and other shows without me. So I did not assume that that was going to be the case.” I just sort of discipline myself as a professional over the years to go, “look, it’s somebody else’s dinner party. You cannot spend your time worrying about whether you’re getting invited. Just take it off the radar. You get invited or you don’t get invited, that’s all.”

So when were you first invited back to this dinner party?
Well, I want to say, six months ago. This whole COVID year has been disjointed, but it was after their first season.

How did that feel to know that they were interested in bringing Q back?
You know, it was, and is, a little bit of a mixed bag. One of the issues that I have is you don’t want to fall into the trap of re-creating. I was obviously a little concerned — very concerned — about the issues having to do with, well, excuse me, this is 20 years later. I’m supposed to be immortal and I certainly look very mortal. There were issues about all of that. I was flattered. Of course, I said yes. I didn’t have to think about that part. And then I wondered, where are they going to go with this?

Did the producers talk with you at that point about what was planned for Q, or was this more of a mystery to you?
There was generalized talk, which intrigued me. One of the things that’s sort of unusual, having played a character that has had such a long history — I’ve only done, I think, nine episodes [of “Star Trek”], between the three shows. [Editor’s note: It’s been 12.] I’ve always thought of it as being kind of a diamond in the rough, and having new facets of that stone that’s going to be cut. So here it is, many years later, we’re still cutting that stone. There will be elements of that stone which have already been cut, and they will simply need to be burnished up. And then there will be elements of this stone that will be newly cut, for which there will be people who go, “Oh I always thought you would go in that direction,” and then others, “Oh, I like him the way he was before!”

It solved one major problem for me, and that is I feel very strongly about the whole thing of, you can never go back. Dare I say, how often have we gone back to meet with old girlfriends or boyfriends or what have you and you go, “Oh, I think it would have been better just keeping this in my imagination!” Here, we are not, in fact, going back. We are taking what we have and we are moving forward. And to me, that’s exciting.

Have you shot anything yet?
I have.

How did it feel to act against Patrick Stewart again?
It was fun. My own issues have always been the same. I have to put in a lot of homework because I’m very dyslexic and I just have to work really hard to get all of that into RAM, as it were. And then once that’s done, I’m there to play. And so it was just fun. That type of preparation has paid off and you’re just ready to rock and roll.

Did you pay any attention to the way that the announcement of your return was received?
I saw the little trailer, which I thought was really well done, where there’s a playing card that disappears and then you just see the Q. I felt that that was very befitting this character. This is thin ice for all of us: There are expectations. In the case of that little announcement, I thought they exceeded expectations on that. It was a really nice little morsel of, “Here he comes!”

“Star Trek” fans are notoriously picky, but I have not seen negative reactions to Q’s return — it’s been quite enthusiastically received. How does it feel to have people be so interested in seeing you continue to play this role?
Well, as you were saying that just now, what I felt was mostly was, Oh ****. [Laughs] The pressure is on! That’s how I feel about it. I find that to be a challenge. I hope that I can match it. I hope that we all can match it, and more to the point, exceed it. [Laughs] This is one of the reasons I stay away from all this stuff. I kind of just have to stay in the world of what can be done, and what cannot be done, and not to get too pressurized in all this.

One common reaction I’ve seen is people saying, “oh, thank god, I can feel good about the letter Q again.” Obviously, in the last few years, the letter Q has taken on a much different connotation with the rise of the QAnon conspiracy cult. How strange has that been for you, given how identified you’ve been with the role?
[Sighs] I’m really grateful for that character that I played — and I have become protective of that, of what Q means and all that. Certainly with this other thing, I’ve chosen not to dumpster dive into it. I don’t want to bring those two elements together in any way whatsoever. There’s a part of Q that I’m playing that is frankly more real and more positive and more life-affirming than the [pause] ridiculousness that I hear about this other stuff.

Since we’re talking about reprising one of your most memorable roles, I did want to ask — given that “Better Call Saul” is a prequel series for “Breaking Bad,” have you ever wondered if Donald Margolis would pop up on that show?
I would have loved for that character to have continued. Through my career, I was always hired to play the very aggressive, wordsmith-y sort of character, which ironically is difficult for me because I just tend to work seemingly twice as hard as anybody else. That character allowed me to just relax a little bit, and to just feel, as opposed to trying to dominate or bulldoze. But again, you brought it up and I appreciate it and I take it as a compliment, but I just don’t think about it ever. I just can’t.

Let me just tell you, it’s very interesting what different characters can do for somebody. In this case, just imagine a 22-year-old, shy, kind of strung out kid who comes up to me and says, “Hey, are you Jane’s father?” And I go, “Uh yeah.” And he’s looking at me kind of askance, and he goes, “Yeah, well, now I guess I know what my parents went through.”

I’m sure his parents did everything to try to keep him from, you know — “Please, you can’t keep on doing this, you’re going to ruin your life.” And he couldn’t hear any of it, but he could be affected when he saw it in a story. So I’m really happy to have played that role.

Arrrrrgh! William, you already posted this in the 'Picard' thread, which is where it belongs. Please, no more double posting!
 
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