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Media/Legal Notes
Gawker files for bankruptcy after Hulk Hogan lawsuit
By Roger Yu, USA Today - Jun. 10, 2016

Gawker Media, which was recently ordered to pay up to $140 million to Hulk Hogan, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday, conceding its difficult future following a contentious invasion-of-privacy lawsuit brought by the former wrestler.

Nick Denton, founder of the online media company that owns the namesake news website, Deadspin, Jezebel and other blogs, has been looking to sell the company's assets after a judge denied last month its motion to seek a new trial.

In its filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, Gawker is seeking to reorganize under the bankruptcy protection and there's no indication, as of yet, that it will cease publication. Gawker listed estimated assets of $50 million to $100 million and liabilities of $100 million to $500 million.

Gawker couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, sued Gawker for $100 million after the site posted a video in 2012 of him having sex with his former best friend’s wife. Hogan argued in court that it was a violation of his privacy, and a Florida jury awarded him $55 million for economic injuries and $65 million for emotional distress.

Gawker also has to pay $25 million in punitive damages. Bollea (Hogan) was listed as Gawker's biggest creditor in its bankruptcy filing.

The case was a hot topic of discussion in media, technology and entertainment circles. Last month, Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel admitted that he's been secretly funding Hogan's lawsuit, saying the media company sought to destroy people's lives. In 2007, Valleywag, a Gawker blog, posted a story about Thiel -- “Peter Thiel is totally gay, people.”

Thiel's funding triggered concerns about the possibility of First Amendment rights being quashed by wealthy individuals' funding of third-party legal claims against media organizations.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2016/06/10/gawker-media-files-bankruptcy/85699728/
Seriously? $65 million for emotional distress? WOW. I mean, I get that, yea, it may have been an invasion of privacy, but *someone* filmed it and then sold it/released it (and I don't think it was anyone at Gawker). They're the ones who should be sued, don'tcha think? How many famous people have had sex tapes put online without their consent? (No, I'm not condoning it.) Just saying, the punishment doesn't fit the crime. And was it really a "crime?" It seems there is no privacy anywhere anymore. If you have the skills, you can spy on anyone using their own technology against them. I wonder if a normal person would've had the same (or similar) outcome.
 

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Obituary
Hockey icon Gordie Howe dies at 88
By ESPN.com - Jun. 10, 2016

Hockey legend Gordie Howe died Friday, the Detroit Red Wings have confirmed. He was 88.

Detroit Red Wings ✔ @detroitredWings
Thoughts and prayers to the Howe family as Gordie Howe passes away at the age of 88. #9RIP
9:55 AM - 10 Jun 2016
6,432 6,432 Retweets 3,626 3,626 likes


Howe, who was known as Mr. Hockey, holds NHL records for most games (1,767) and seasons (26). His 801 career goals rank second to Wayne Gretzky's 894.

The Hall of Famer played on four Stanley Cup championship teams in Detroit during a 25-year stint that began in 1946. He retired from hockey for good when he was 52.

Recent years had been challenging for Howe.

Memory loss from the early stages of dementia became a problem even before his wife, Colleen, died in 2009 after battling Pick's disease, a rare form of dementia similar to Alzheimer's.

Howe suffered two disabling strokes in October 2014. His family said his health had improved after he underwent a stem-cell treatment as part of a clinical trial in Mexico.

Howe, one of nine siblings, was born in Floral, Saskatchewan, a tiny community just southeast of Saskatoon. The family moved to the city when he was an infant.

http://espn.go.com/nhl/story/_/id/16096859/hockey-legend-gordie-howe-dies-88
First The Greatest and now Mr. Hockey. What a terrible week. The only comfort is seeing the wonderful tributes to these two larger than life men.

They will be sorely missed, but their impact on the world will never be forgotten. :(
 

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'Voice' star Christina Grimmie shot, killed after Orlando performance

ORLANDO --
Singer Christina Grimmie died after she was shot at the Plaza Live theater in Orlando late Friday night, according to Orlando police.

Just before 10:30 p.m. police responded to the Plaza Live theater located at 425 N. Bumby Ave. after receiving reports of shots fired. When officers arrived they found a man dead and a woman severely injured.

It was later determined that the man was the gunman. The woman was identified as singer Christina Grimmie, 22.

Police say the one-time contestant on NBC's "The Voice" was meeting fans at a meet and greet after performing earlier in the evening at the venue when the shooting occurred. Grimmie's brother reportedly tackled the shooter after he shot his sister.

During the struggle, the shooter reportedly then shot himself. He was pronounced dead at the scene. No other injuries were reported.

About 100 people were at the venue at the time of the shooting.

Grimmie was transported to Orlando Regional Medical Center in critical condition. She died a few hours later.

Hours before the performance, Grimmie posted a video to Twitter, encouraging fans to come out to the Orlando show.

http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2016/6/11/_voice_contestant_ch.html
 

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He more than deserves the telephone call by CW and whatever deal the CW needs to make to get him back to reprise his role.
Supergirl is a Warner Bros. product. Casting calls come from the production company/producers, not the network it airs on. Nothing says that The CW can't try and influence the decision, but that would be the extent of it.
 

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Definitely some advantages. My GF lives in a neighborhood with no HOA. You look out her back and one house has a green deck, one is brown, one is white, one is red etc. Then on the houses one house has pink shutters, one has purple, one has lime green etc. Everything is all over the place.
And your point? I'd hate to live in an area where all the property had to look exactly the same. Yuck! Bland!
 

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Latest "30 for 30" on ABC (featuring O.J. Simpson) is both fascinating and eye-opening. Some of his "photo-ops"; wow!

Unfortunately, they're gonna drag it out for 4 more episodes on ESPN.
 

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And your point? I'd hate to live in an area where all the property had to look exactly the same. Yuck! Bland!
Having been born and raised in Wisconsin, I'd argue, but I don't see what this has to do with HOTP. ;)
 

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Having been born and raised in Wisconsin, I'd argue, but I don't see what this has to do with HOTP. ;)
I just responded to another member's post.
 

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Sorry for not updating "HOTP" yesterday. Back-to-back longer-than-usual shifts + no sleep = crash. :(

TV Sports (Football)
Embattled Mike Carey out as CBS' NFL rules analyst: sources
By Bob Raissman, New York Daily News - Jun. 11, 2016

Those who made ripping him a cottage industry over the past two seasons won’t have Mike Carey to kick around anymore.

The Carey era at CBS Sports (okay it was only two years) is over, at least according to NFL TV sources who do not expect the network to bring the former referee back as its rules analyst for the 2016 season.

It is highly unlikely CBS will look to hire another retired official to replace Carey, who spent 24 seasons as an NFL ref before making the leap into television.

So, to whom will Phil Simms and Jim Nantz turn for speculation on how the officials will rule on a controversial call or replay review? Who will tell them “if it was a catch”?

The possibility exists CBS could look to get Dean Blandino, the NFL’s VP of officiating, involved on a live basis. That would mean on a controversial call, CBS would have the technical means to go to Blandino for his interpretation.

There’s also the remote chance between now, and the beginning of the 2016 NFL season, a former official emerges who makes CBS Sports suits go gaga to an extent where they must hire him.

No one likes to get the boot, but we suspect Carey will experience a sense of relief. He was a constant target on a variety of media platforms. Some of the criticism, albeit justified, was over-the-top and much too personal. In the run-up to last season’s Super Bowl, CBS Sports boss Sean McManus described certain critiques as “very hurtful.”

McManus, at the time, also said: “Mike has perhaps gone out on a limb more than he should in trying to guess or speculate what a call will be, but all he is giving is his opinion of what he would call if he were on the field. And if it’s a different result, I think people get frustrated.”

More often than not, Carey came up small in big spots. And there’s no doubt he finished a distant second when constantly compared to another former NFL ref, Mike Pereira, who is entering his seventh season as Fox’s rules analyst.

Carey’s flawed analysis was a problem. His wooden performances only compounded it. The image Carey projected might have been his Waterloo. To be wrong is one thing. To be wrong, boring and not entertaining is the ultimate triple whammy.

Carey never was able to loosen up. Nor did he show the least bit of humor, which could’ve made him a more likeable communicator. Some self-deprecating shtick would have cut through his robotic performance and humanized him.

Then again, it’s not like current NFL refs have been known to make lousy calls. So, maybe Carey was actually more accurate than he appeared to be.

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/embattled-mike-carey-cbs-nfl-rules-analyst-sources-article-1.2669848?cid=bitly
 

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TV Notes (Cable)
'Walking Dead' star Norman Reedus hitches a 'Ride' with new series
By Chris Barton, Los Angeles Times - Jun. 11, 2016

After six seasons of the AMC hit “The Walking Dead,” Norman Reedus could be forgiven if he needed a break from the grim, viscera-splattered world of his motorcycle-riding, zombie-slaying alter-ego, Daryl Dixon.

Except Daryl remains a strong presence in “Ride With Norman Reedus,” the new motorcycle road-trip-styled unscripted series starring Reedus that premieres Sunday night on AMC. There’s Reedus with friend and fellow actor Balthazar Getty being genuinely impressed by a zombie-themed burlesque show in Las Vegas in one episode, and there he is meeting and greeting a small crowd of fans between twists through a North Carolina highway in another. “Anybody ever tell you you look like Daryl from ‘The Walking Dead’?” one asks.

It’s a clear tonal shift from the corpse-riddled end times of Reedus’ day job, but fame – and the role that helped bring it to him – is never far away.

“Yeah, I’m not mad at it,” Reedus said, dressed in a dark blazer and henley in a hotel room on a hazy spring day in Beverly Hills. “I like having fan interaction and I like feeling like it’s our show – fans included. You know, it’s part of [fame] and part of what I’ve embraced with it. It gives you strength to keep pushing forward.”

That momentum is also a big part of “Ride,” which allows Reedus to indulge a longtime passion for motorcycles, which began with getting into scrapes on a friend’s dirt bike when he was 13 years old and continued through his first real job when he moved to L.A. and worked at the since-closed Venice bike shop, Dr. Carl’s Hog Hospital.

“I do some of my best thinking with a helmet on,” said Reedus, who compared the riding experience to yoga. “You’re aware of everything going on; it’s not like you tune out what you’re doing. But you’re by yourself, you’re not texting, you’re not listening to the radio,” he adds with a bit of a sneer (though he’s a big music fan).

“There are no blind spots, you’re kind of wide open and you end up in this Zen sort of state where your head is clear.”

“There is nobody more passionate about motorcycles than Norman Reedus,” said Joel Stillerman, AMC’s president of original programming and the man who proposed the idea for the show. Reedus said yes “before [Stillerman] changed his mind.”

“He's so easy-going and up for an adventure,” said Getty of his ride with Reedus. “There's something very youthful about him, and we're both big kids, so that's always fun.”

The show attempts to reflect that sensibility with a loose, just-hanging-out structure that recalls many travel-tilted programs on basic cable. The first season of “Ride” encompasses six, geographic-specific, one-hour episodes with Reedus’ voice-over and in-helmet microphones narrating the experience alongside stopovers. They include visits with sought-after custom bike builders like Roland Sands, snapshots of kitschy local landmarks and, in one instance, a port-a-potty drag race. Think of it as something that could have fallen out of Anthony Bourdain’s universe except with loving footage of motorcycle parts. (The resemblance isn’t a coincidence — two of the writers on “Ride” have experience with Bourdain’s series.)

“I love that show, so it was always in the back of my mind,” Reedus said. “Then I watched the cross-world one that Ewan McGregor did [the mid-’00s U.K. docuseries ‘Long Way Round’]. His is a lot different in that he takes five people and travels across the world and it’s a longer-distance thing, and ours is a shorter-distance thing and with more people,” Reedus explains with a laugh.

His itinerary for the series includes a ride along PCH from L.A. to Santa Cruz to meet the hosts of a motorcycle podcast, a trip to Death Valley with Getty and an all-woman riding club, and a venture through Florida with something of an authority on the motorcycle road trip: “Easy Rider" star Peter Fonda. “It ended up with him showing me the history of the Keys,” Reedus said. “He’s a legend.”

And though Reedus’ roots in Los Angeles and his current home in New York City draw a clear distinction between his life and the one he occupies on “The Walking Dead,” he admits that Daryl continues to creep into his life as much as the other way around. “The head space of Daryl doesn’t really leave my brain, to be honest,” he said.

For the past seven years Reedus has also kept a home in Georgia near where “The Walking Dead” shoots, and he moved his bikes there as well because, as he said, the riding was just too good. For all of his fondness for big-city energy that he references on “Ride,” he now finds a lot to like in the more wide-open spaces.

“I wake up in the morning and shoot a compound bow at trees, have a cup of coffee and go to work,” he said. “Which I think is a felony in New York.”

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/la-et-st-norman-reedus-rides-with-new-series-20160609-snap-story.html
 

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TV/Legal Notes (Broadcast)
Sylvester Stallone, NBC Pummeled With $7 Million Lawsuit Over ‘Strong’ Series
By Tim Kenneally, TheWrap.com - Jun. 10, 2016

“Rocky” star Sylvester Stallone might be going a few rounds in the legal system soon.

Stallone and NBC have been slapped with a $7 million lawsuit by a personal trainer who claims that the idea for the reality competition “Strong” was lifted from him.

In his suit, filed in New York Supreme Court on Friday, Robert Fletcher claims that he came up with an idea for a series called “America’s Next Great Trainer,” which would feature “a number of personal trainers and trainees competing for an ultimate cash prize and title of America’s Next Great Trainer,” and would focus on “the overall transformation of individuals in all areas related to health and fitness.”

Fletcher says that he enlisted trainer Todd Durkin to host the show, and pitched it out to a number of entities, including 25/7 Productions. He also says he sent a proposal to Stallone’s publicist.

Fletcher claims that Durkin cut off communication with him in June 2015. He learned in early 2016 that NBC planned to air a show that was “startlingly similar” to his own, called “Strong,” and which “prominently featured” Durkin as a star trainer.

According to Fletcher, “Strong,” which premiered April 13, credits 25/7 and its CEO David Broome as creators, and counts Stallone as an executive producer.

Representatives for Stallone and NBC have not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment on the suit, which also names Broome, 25/7 and Durkin as defendants.

Fletcher is seeking damages of $2 million, in addition to punitive damages of “not less than $5 million.”
And here Stallone probably thought Apollo Creed was hard-hitting.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.

http://www.thewrap.com/sylvester-stallone-sued-nbc-strong/
 

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TV Review (Broadcast)
Bugs eat politico’s brains in CBS’s ‘BrainDead’
By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Jun. 12, 2016

Marketing CBS’s “BrainDead” as “from the creators of ‘The Good Wife’” does the new series a disservice, setting up the unrealistic expectation that “BrainDead” (10 p.m. Monday, KDKA-TV) will somehow be in the same league as “Good Wife.”

Those are big shoes to fill.

“BrainDead” is an entertaining enough summer distraction through its first three episodes, but it’s no “Good Wife” despite the presence of several “Good Wife” recurring actors (Zach Grenier, Nikki M. James, Carnegie Mellon University grad Megan Hilty) and music by David Buckley that’s highly reminiscent of some music from his “Good Wife” score (particularly “Countdown to Execution”).

Set in the present — as evidenced by video footage of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders playing on TV screens — “BrainDead” follows wannabe documentary filmmaker Laurel Healy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, “Mercy Street”) as she reluctantly takes a job working for her Democratic U.S. senator brother, Luke (Danny Pino, “Cold Case,” “Scandal”), at the behest of her manipulative, Washington insider father (Mr. Grenier).

Laurel is assigned to meet with her brother’s constituents to try to resolve their problems. Legal cases of the week were the story engine on “Good Wife”; for “BrainDead,” it’s these constituent issues.

But unlike a legal case that can pull in multiple series regulars, the constituent cases are largely just Laurel’s domain. In addition, the cases are often part of the show’s highly serialized story so they don’t always offer the open-and-shut procedural element that a “Good Wife” trial-of-the-week provided.

Through one of these cases, Laurel gets her first inkling that something is amiss regarding the shipment of a meteorite from Russia to the United States. The case also brings her into contact with potential love interest Gareth Ritter (Aaron Tveit, “Graceland”), who works for Republican U.S. Sen. Red Wheatus (Tony Shalhoub, “Monk”).

By the end of the “BrainDead” premiere, it’s clear that bugs from the meteorite are crawling into the ears of Washingtonians, expelling chunks of their brains and activating their most partisan political inclinations through hearing the 1984 song “You Might Think” by The Cars. Or sometimes their heads simply explode. (It’s not immediately clear why the result is one or the other.)

Along the way “BrainDead” mocks Democrats and Republicans, introduces recognizable media figure stand-ins (a liberal Rachel Maddow clone and a blond Fox News Channel-like conservative played by Ms. Hilty) and comments on America’s current political state of affairs.

“What is a Democrat or a Republican?” Wheatus says while trying to lure a Democrat to join Republicans. “It’s a brand. You ate Cheerios this morning; you’ll eat Wheat Chex tomorrow.”

“BrainDead” quickly establishes that many of its regular and recurring characters will become bug bait, which makes it difficult to attach to those characters or take them seriously knowing they are literally losing their minds. “BrainDead” introduces a few friends for Laurel, which seems like it might help define the characters through their relationships, only to see the bugs come marching in.

Subsequent episodes of “BrainDead” begin with an amusing, sing-songy musical recap of past events and there’s an admirably light, bubbly tone to the series despite the occasional blood and brain matter from exploding heads.

But while “BrainDead” is rooted to some degree in political reality, its high-concept notion of brain-eating bugs from outer space seems better suited to a one-shot movie. How series creators Michelle and Robert King, who wrote the “BrainDead” pilot that Mr. King directed, intend to keep the show going beyond one season remains unclear.

http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/tv-radio/2016/06/12/Bugs-eat-politico-s-brains-in-CBS-s-BrainDead/stories/201606100046
 

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TV Notes (Broadcast)
CBS Developing Patty Hearst Limited Series
By Bryn Elise Sandberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jun. 10, 2016

Television's true crime fad continues.

CBS is developing a scripted limited series about Patty Hearst's kidnapping. The currently untitled project will revisit the story of the granddaughter of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, who was abducted from her Berkeley, Calif., apartment by terrorist group the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) in 1974.

Should the Hearst project be ordered to series, it would explore the 19-month FBI/police search and capture of Hearst, who turned SLA sympathizer and changed her name to Tania, that captivated the nation and played out on the nightly news during the course of her trial.

Produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Asylum Entertainment, the project will be written by Jonathan Tolins, who will also executive produce alongside Jonathan Koch, Steve Michaels, Rocky Lang and Joan Harrison.

The Hearts project is the latest in a slew of unscripted and scripted true crime series hitting broadcast, cable and streaming platforms of late. Among the buzziest: FX's The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, HBO's The Jinx and Netflix's Making a Murderer. And in April, CBS ordered an unscripted, true crime anthology series — the first season of which will focus on the JonBenet Ramsey case.

For their part, The People v. O.J. Simpson scribes Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander are developing The Run of His Life author Jeffrey Toobin's latest book about Hearst's kidnapping into a film adaptation for Fox 2000.

“It has a lot of parallels to the O.J. trial in the sense that it was this huge case in the middle of the 1970s in which the radical kidnappers sort of used the press to push their agenda and it became a bit of a media circus as well,” Alexander told The Hollywood Reporter.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/cbs-developing-patty-hearst-limited-901559
 

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TV Review (Broadcast & Cable)
Yes, O.J. Simpson: Made in America Is That Good
By Jen Chaney, Vulture.com (New York Magazine)

After watching all ten episodes of the work of high sordid art that was The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, it felt like everything that needed to be said about O.J. Simpson on television in 2016 had been said. It turns out that wasn’t true.

O.J. Simpson: Made in America, the extraordinary five-part ESPN 30 for 30 documentary that premiered Saturday on ABC and continues airing next week on ESPN, has even more to tell us about the most famous athlete/acquitted murderer in the history of the U.S. criminal justice system. Practically every moment of its seven-and-a-half-hour running time is thought-provoking, astonishing, sobering, hilarious, tragic, and sometimes all of those at once.

There are many qualities that raise Made in America, also briefly released in L.A. and New York theaters last month, to the level of must-see TV. But the most significant is this: its scope. The People v. O.J. Simpson went big, delivering a series that was as much about racism, celebrity, gender bias, and the flaws in our criminal justice system as it was about a nine-month double homicide trial that took place in the mid-1990s. But as directed by documentarian Ezra Edelman, Made in America pulls back the camera for an even wider shot, capturing Simpson’s life in full along with the cultural dynamics of the late 20th and early 21st centuries that aided and abetted his rise to fame, a jury’s decision on October 3, 1995 to deem him "not guilty" of killing his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman, and his subsequent, even steeper fall from grace.

Like American Crime Story, it’s also a study of major issues that exist outside of O.J. Simpson’s personal dramas but are completely intertwined with them: race, wealth and privilege, police brutality, domestic violence, fame, the evolution of the news media, religion. Basically, O.J. Simpson: Made in America is about almost everything that has mattered in this country over the last 50 years. “We talk about O.J. as though the story is O.J.,” says journalist Celia Farber, one of the many sources who speak directly to camera throughout. “The story is O.J. and us.”

The story of O.J. and us begins with the first part of the series, the one that will be broadcast Saturday at 9 p.m. on ABC. That episode takes us back to 1968, the year when Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy were assassinated, and a zippity-quick running back named Orenthal James Simpson was establishing himself as the star of the University of Southern California football team. Footage from the period illustrates how Simpson would go on to win the Heisman Trophy that year and, after accepting the award, politely thanked sports journalist Howard Cosell for praising his “impeccable character.”

Even if you were alive at the time, you may have forgotten how Simpson looked and sounded back then. If you weren’t and never understood why people were so shocked decades later in 1994, when he jumped into a Ford Bronco to avoid being taken into custody on murder charges, this — along with subsequent coverage of his evolution into NFL star, Hollywood actor, and corporate spokesperson for Chevy and Hertz — will help you understand the foundation from which that shock built. It is both stunning and sad to witness the Simpson that once was, the kid from the San Francisco projects who grew into someone who could barely be described without using the words “fine young man,” and who weaved his way into an end zone with a swiftness that, by comparison, makes Smash Williams from Friday Night Lights look like a turtle with a cinder block tied to his tail.

For significant stretches, Edelman puts the Simpson biography portion of Made in America on pause to delve into other important pieces of history from the same decades: the 1965 Watts riots in Los Angeles, the black boycott of the 1968 Olympics, and, in later episodes, the police shooting of Eulia Love in 1979, the 1991 LAPD beating of Rodney King, and, just a few months later, the fatal shooting of black teenager Latasha Harlins by convenience store owner Soon Ja Du, who would eventually be sentenced to probation but no prison time for the crime.

As the timeline of Simpson’s life moves closer to his own murder trial, Edelman deftly uses these moments to illustrate the planting of the many seeds that would inform the divided attitudes toward the Simpson case. The effect is powerful. There’s a moment in part one that focuses on the image of African-American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos on the Olympic medal stand, famously raising their fists in a symbol of black power back in 1968, the year of Simpson’s collegiate football rise. Four episodes later, Made in America pointedly returns to that image by noting that, after Simpson’s not-guilty verdict was read, a member of the jury raised his fist in a similar fashion. The connection, even if you see it coming, still sucks the breath right out of your lungs.

As vast as the narrative arc of Made in America may be, it still focuses heavily on the defining moment of Simpson’s life, at least as most Americans see it: the dual homicide charges and acquittals. The documentary revisits a lot of the same moments recently dissected in The People v. O.J. Simpson — Simpson’s nationally televised flight from the cops, the firestorm over star witness Mark Fuhrman’s previous uses of the n-word, the prosecution’s miscalculated decision to let Simpson try on those supposedly incriminating gloves. But hearing about it all from people who were actually involved in the case, either directly or tangentially (prosecutor Marcia Clark, defense team members F. Lee Bailey and Carl Douglas, jurors, activists, journalists) injects a reality into the story that American Crime Story, even when it hews close to the facts, simply can’t as a scripted series.

Plus, the people in Made in America are as colorful as any characters you’d find on FX, Netflix, or any other network and streaming service cranking out prestige TV. In the People v. O.J. Simpson, Douglas (Dale Godboldo), played an appropriately secondary role to the defense team’s star smooth talker, Johnnie Cochran (brilliantly portrayed by Courtney B. Vance). But with Cochran gone (he died in 2005), Douglas — a well-known attorney in his own right with a voice designed for either galvanizing oratory or a successful career as an audiobook narrator — emerges as the doc’s audacious hot shot. While justifying the defense team’s addition of more African-American-flavored artwork to the walls of Simpson’s home in advance of a visit from the largely African-American jury, Douglas says: “If we had had a Latin jury, we would have had a picture of him in a sombrero. We would have had a mariachi band out front.” It’s wildly inappropriate. You still can’t help but bust out laughing. As for the portion of Made in America that delves into Simpson’s extremely misguided attempt to retrieve memorabilia that once belonged to him, an amateur-hour heist that finally landed Simpson in jail on charges of armed robbery and attempted kidnapping? Well, let’s just say I’m not sure I’ve ever seen any part of a documentary that shouts so loudly to be turned into a Coen brothers movie.

But as always, the most fascinating character in all of this remains Simpson, in all his once-inspiring, pathetic, frustrating complexity. The documentary characterizes him as a poor but disciplined kid who, upon achieving success, embraced the establishment so warmly that he managed to transform himself into a hero and friend of white America and, in a sense, a figure of white privilege. While acknowledging with the utmost clarity why so many African-Americans nevertheless understandably raised up Simpson as a symbol of black oppression during his trial, it also is just as clear about the fact that Simpson is guilty of those two murders.

By displaying extremely graphic photos of a slain Brown and Goldman and detailing, with a chilling sense of foreboding, the history of domestic violence in the Brown/Simpson relationship, Made in America never lets us forget that two people’s lives were lost. To a much greater extent than The People v. O.J. Simpson, Made in America allows us to get to know Goldman and, especially, Brown; we hear from friends, see old snapshots, and watch home videos — including some from her wedding day and her private memorial service — that portray her as woman of great warmth and humor, but also someone struggling to deal with a man who wanted to control her from day one. (Her friend and then-roommate David LeBon recalls how Nicole, at age 18, came home from her first date with Simpsons wearing jeans that had been ripped. "He was a little bit forceful," LeBon recalls her saying.) Nicole Brown is not glorified as a saint. For starters, when she got together with Simpson, she knew he was still married to his first wife, Marguerite. But Made in America depicts her as a fully dimensional human being who's more than mere victim, and whose death, like Goldman's, was exploited during a media circus that seemingly will never entirely take down its big top tent.

Of course, Made in America is helping to keep that tent up, and as it subtly points out, so are we. “What I think I found most disturbing, it’s the audience and the appetite for that kind of stuff,” says Pablo Fenjves, ghostwriter of the controversial alleged Simpson confessional If I Did It. He makes this remark without acknowledging the obvious irony: He helped satisfy that appetite.

In other words, in O.J. Simpson: Made in America, the story is O.J. But it’s also us.

http://www.vulture.com/2016/06/oj-simpson-made-in-america-espn-yes-its-that-good.html
 

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Nielsen Overnights (Broadcast)
ABC Wins Friday With Basketball, 2016 NBA Finals Second Most Watched So Far
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Jun. 11, 2016

ABC won slow Friday night with Jimmy Kimmel Live and Game 4 of the NBA Finals. There are no metered markets ratings available. Based on fast nationals, last night’s game averaged 16.4 million viewers, peaking with 20.4 million viewers from 11:30-midnight ET. In adults 18-49, the average was a 4.7 rating.

Game 4 was down vs. same game last year but an NBA Finals game had not aired on a Friday in 13 years. Compared to the most recent Friday contest, last night’s Game 4 is tracking well ahead of that year’s Game 5 on the night (San Antonio-New Jersey on 6/13/03 — 9.3 million and 3.8 in 18-49).

Through four games. the 2016 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers is the second-most watched ever on ABC, according to Fast Nationals from Nielsen. The series is averaging 17.4 million viewers.

http://deadline.com/2016/06/abc-ratings-2016-nba-finals-second-most-watched-ever-1201771015/
 

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TV Notes
Broadcast TV now the 'last stop' for ideas being pitched, executive says
By James Hibberd, EW.com - Jun. 11, 2016

Competition from streaming and premium networks is now so intense that the Big 5 broadcasters have become the “last stop” for creatives wanting to pitch new show ideas, says one major industry executive.

At an ATX Television Festival panel Saturday tackling the “Peak TV” effect, ABC Studios Executive Vice President of Creative Patrick Moran said major networks are at an inherent disadvantage due to rivals spending more money than broadcast (and offering more creative freedom). The panelists were joking about how Hulu offers keg parties to visiting creatives while the broadcast networks might just have bagels and water.

That’s when Moran jumped in to add this: “What I will tell the head of the network is: ‘You’re the last stop on the train of pitches. You’re the last stop! [Producers are] are starting at Netflix and then they’re going to go HBO and Showtime, and then maybe — if the train is still going — they’re going to make their way to the broadcast networks. So they have to work that much harder to attract talent, to attract actors, to attract directors. It’s harder on the broadcast side to remain competitive with how sexy it feels to be at the new kids on the block like Netflix and Hulu and Amazon. It’s not a level playing field, exactly. And it does put the burden on us, when working in the broadcast space, to work harder and do better.”

The executive added it’s “no secret places like HBO or Netflix can spend more,” and noted the premium networks and streaming companies are great at casting a “great halo” around their titles – something ABC also does quite successfully with its Shonda Rhimes-produced titles like Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy. “Thank god we have Shondaland … most of our shows don’t have that [halo],” he added.

Another panelist, HBO Director of Original Series Kathleen McCaffrey, noted that even her premium network feels pressure from the streaming companies. “Agents are smart,” she said. “They’re like, if you’re not going to make a full series commitment, we’re going to Netflix, Amazon, Hulu.”

As for whether the industry has, indeed, reached peak TV – there were over 400 scripted shows in 2015 – executives said we’re still not there. Moran pointed to how many fans found time over their holiday break obsess about Netflix’s Making a Murderer. “I don’t think we have [reached Peak TV],” he said. “Because when there’s a great television show we all make time to watch it.”

http://www.ew.com/article/2016/06/11/broadcast-tv-atx
 

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TV Sports/Business Notes (Football)
Fox hikes price on already pricey Super Bowl
Network reportedly asking for $5 million per spot, up sharply from last year
By Media Life Magazine Staff - Jun. 10, 2016

Fox is feeling mighty confident about next year’s Super Bowl.

The network is jacking up the price on ads in the big game sharply, to a record $5 million for a 30-second spot, according to reports.

By comparison, last year CBS charged a then-record $4.5 million to $4.7 million.

Most years, networks increase the price of a Super Bowl ad by about $100,000. But its past two turns carrying the big game, Fox has been more aggressive, and probably with good reason.

Sports programming has been the only thing capable of drawing a mass audience on broadcast of late, and nothing is better at it than the Super Bowl, which annually brings in more than 110 million total viewers.

Considering the average audience for a non-sports program this year was barely 5 million viewers, that makes the Super Bowl pretty desirable.

However, media buyers caution this could put a damper on early Super Bowl ad sales, as they try to talk the network down.

It’s possible the $5 million asking price could backfire, but don’t bet on it.

When Fox made an aggressive pricing overture the last time it carried the game, three years ago, it took until right before the Super Bowl to move the final spots in the game, but the network pulled it off. All spots were sold.

Pricing has risen sharply over the past decade. In fact, Kantar Media says that 10 years ago, a Super Bowl ad cost a mere $2.5 million, which looks like a bargain these days.

http://72.32.178.152/fox-hikes-price-already-pricey-super-bowl/
 

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TV Notes/Profile (Cable)
Billy Ray Cyrus, Like Miley, Knows About Reinvention
By Joe Coscarelli, The New York Times - Jun. 12, 2016

Surrounded by images of music icons, Billy Ray Cyrus, the actor and country singer, saw a bit of himself in David Bowie.

“Dude, that’s almost my frickin’ hairdo!” an elated Mr. Cyrus said on a recent afternoon after he caught a glimpse of the late rock god’s ’70s mullet on a T-shirt at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in SoHo.

“I’m sending this to Miley,” Mr. Cyrus said, referring to his pop star daughter, while reaching for the garment.

Even beyond appearances, it’s possible to see why both of them admire Mr. Bowie, that relentless pop chameleon. Mr. Cyrus, though never quite respected for his music or hairstyle, has managed to stretch his down-home charisma, distinctive look and willingness to engage with the kitschy and the lowbrow into a constantly regenerating career of nearly 25 years.

By embracing his cowboy camp factor, and now his aging rock-dad essence, Mr. Cyrus, 54, has ambled down a surreal path from his first, biggest hit, “Achy Breaky Heart,” in 1992, to a varied acting résumé, including roles in David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive” and Disney’s “Hannah Montana,” which made Miley a star.

Along the way, there were detours to tabloid purgatory, borderline irrelevance and “Sharknado 2.” And yet even after going Hollywood, Mr. Cyrus has enough juice in the country-music universe to carry an acerbic, self-mocking original series, “Still the King,” which premieres Sunday, June 12, on CMT.

“I’ve reinvented a couple times in my career, at least,” said Mr. Cyrus, who has mostly laid low since Miley’s post-Disney cultural emancipation. “But how do you reinvent out of ‘Hannah Montana’?” he continued. “And then it hit me: A dysfunctional Elvis impersonator who lies his way into the church. That made sense.”

“I told Miley about it,” he added, “and she said, ‘Dad, that’s exactly what you need.’”

“Still the King,” a single-camera comedy with a gritty Southern feel, finds Mr. Cyrus, a co-creator of the show, playing an exaggerated take on the worst version of himself: “Burnin’ Vernon,” a louche one-hit wonder scamming his way into a job as a preacher and into the life of the teenage daughter he didn’t know he had.

Jayson Dinsmore, the executive vice president of development for CMT, said the show represents a new push for the network into premium scripted programming. He compared Mr. Cyrus’s role in “Still the King” to that of Larry David in the art-imitating-life comedy “Curb Your Enthusiasm” — but with a star who’s “undeniably charming.”

“Sometimes we forget how successful Billy Ray has been,” he said. “He’s one of those people who has multigenerational fans.” Also, Mr. Dinsmore added, Mr. Cyrus is “incredibly good looking — women flock to him,” a boon for a network whose viewers lean female.

Mr. Cyrus, a Kentucky native and politician’s son, whose own glad-handing puts him somewhere between George W. Bush and Joe Biden in manner, said that, “I kind of traded my musical soul to be an actor.”

Despite never truly being welcomed into the country establishment, “I’m a singer-songwriter first and foremost” and not technically a one-hit wonder, he said.

“Some Gave All” — Mr. Cyrus’s first album — “had four hit singles on it,” he insisted, adding a few expletives for emphasis. “Here’s the damn truth: I’ve had more hits than any one-hit wonder in the world. I don’t mean that as bragging because I wish that my name wasn’t even in that conversation. But if you look on Wikipedia, it’ll say that.”

Despite his early musical success, Mr. Cyrus saw the writing on the Nashville wall when his third album in three years failed to match the first two. “I said, uh-oh, they’re coming after me,” Mr. Cyrus recalled. “The teeter has gone to totter — I’m on the way down.” He cited his message-driven songwriting, including an emphasis on the environment. “That’s the last thing they want to hear from me,” he said.

Thus began one of the stranger recent sagas in American celebrity bootstrapping as Mr. Cyrus willed his family (six Cyrus children in all) — and especially the daughter born Destiny Hope Cyrus — into becoming a household name.

Following in the footsteps of diversified country stars like Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton — and more recently, rappers like LL Cool J and Ice Cube — Mr. Cyrus aimed for longevity onscreen, first in an appropriately bizarre meeting with an auteurist director.

“I had two stolen chickens in my agent’s car while I did the interview with David Lynch,” Mr. Cyrus said, having rescued the baby birds with Miley and her brother before they could become snake food at a petting zoo in Malibu.

After he cameoed as the philandering pool guy in “Mulholland Drive,” Mr. Cyrus was cast as the lead — a Christian physician — in “Doc,” which ran from 2001 to 2004 on Pax TV. Ms. Cyrus guest-starred on the show and by 2006 had debuted as the meta-pop star Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel, with Mr. Cyrus appearing as her father, Robby Ray.

What followed, along with more fame and fortune, was years of teen-idol (and parenting) scrutiny — Miley’s risqué Vanity Fair photos, the bong video, the twerking — that seems almost quaint in retrospect.

“When you work as much in the business as we do, there’s gonna be peaks and valleys,” Mr. Cyrus said. “Fame is a dangerous thing, but when you volunteer for it, you have to accept that it ain’t all roses.”

“Here’s a lady singing about it right now,” he added, motioning to the speakers playing “Piece of My Heart” with Janis Joplin.

For her part, Ms. Cyrus relishes a low-key relationship with her father these days. The pair prefers hanging at home, playing music together (she bought him a Tibetan singing bowl for his birthday) — “no TV on, just us talking, not on our phones or out to dinner for show,” she told this reporter last year. “I feel lucky that I’m his kid. When I sit with my dad, there’s a million things I could say that he could’ve done differently — as you could with any parent — but he’s the best dad I could’ve ever chosen.”

Though he stresses his outsider status, Mr. Cyrus, who favors distressed jeans, big sunglasses and western boots, also enjoys his insider connections. At the John Varvatos store on the Bowery, a staffer referred to Mr. Cyrus as a “friend of the brand,” gifting him an American flag scarf and leather jacket.

Further downtown, while perusing the Morrison gallery’s rock ‘n’ roll photos, he told persuasive big-fish stories, as if holding court on a barstool, of intimate interactions with the likes of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Carl Perkins, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, George Jones and even Kurt Cobain.

“I wrote a poem about Kurt the day he died called ‘The Circus,’” Mr. Cyrus said. It was about life under the spotlight. “That’s when I said to myself, I need to step back from this because I don’t want to die.”

Mr. Cyrus eased his hard living — his only real indulgence since the mid-90s is marijuana, he said, but “just about enough to keep me from drinking” — though his ambition hasn’t slowed.

In addition to his 14th studio album, “Thin Line,” due for release in September, he has been writing an environmental horror film about “fracking and all the damage it’s doing — but with blood and guts,” he said.

Raised in a family of Southern Democrats, Mr. Cyrus said he follows politics “probably much deeper than anyone would think,” though he stopped short of picking sides in the presidential election, saying only that he respects both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, whom he called “a very brave and very intelligent man.” (His promotional tour for “Still the King,” with its potential red-state audience, included Fox News.)

“If there’s a heavenly father, there’s gotta be a Mother Earth,” he said, echoing Miley’s own recent hippie-activist tendencies. (“I have to tell you, she learned that off me,” he added.) He also spoke out recently on Facebook against laws that regulate transgender bathroom access, citing Ms. Cyrus’s involvement in LGBT issues.

But good-natured as ever, he shrugged off any suggestion that his continued relevance is due only to his headline-making daughter. “I don’t worry about it,” Mr. Cyrus said, aviator glasses shining on a New York street. “I was here first.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/12/arts/television/billy-ray-cyrus-like-miley-knows-about-reinvention.html?rref=collection/sectioncollection/television&action=click&contentCollection=television&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront&_r=0
 
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