Tag: CBS

CBS’s Success and the Case for Paramount+

“We have access to a lot of very valuable, very powerful promotional inventory,” he said. Unlike the before times, CBS and the broadcast networks won’t be the sole focus of these splashy sales pitches. Shouldn’t those be kept entirely in the Paramount Global universe? And that’s turning out of be very good news for CBS, which over the last decade looked out at all the changes brought about by the streaming revolution and consistently said, “Yeah, we’re good”:

➽ Instead of green-lighting fancy period dramas or Emmy-bait anthology series in a bid to compete with the premium fare on streaming, it opted to keep evolving its proven formula of procedural dramas and big-laugh comedies. The average age for CBS shows on Paramount+ is 18 years younger than the age on CBS linear. If it was doing well on both platforms, why not keep it on both — have your cake and eat it too? And yet, when you think about it, it’s actually not that much of a shock. Ahead of next week’s schmoozefest, Buffering caught up with CBS president and CEO George Cheeks to talk more about the success of the network’s often old-school approach, how it fits into Paramount’s broader streaming ambitions, and why he’s aleady thinking about expanding the universe of Ghosts. So a differentiated product strategy while the streaming business continues to evolve is just a better place to be. As a result, Disney’s stock was trading lower Thursday morning. Given the company has exactly zero ad sales infrastructure in place, I don’t know if it will be able to start battling for advance ad commitments at the same time the linear networks start negotiations. And I think these are the conversations you’re probably having on the Netflix side, too. And I think SEAL Team really proved that. Pundits can debate whether the strategy fully worked — All Access never really broke out — but the Eye’s decision to not devalue its core product by renting it to Hulu probably helped maintain the strength of the CBS brand and its linear ecosystem. I’ve said, “While you’re thinking about breaking next season, think about what a streaming version of a spinoff could look like.” I very much believe in this franchise strategy. But the knowledge Netflix will have inventory available much sooner than expected could theoretically prompt some companies to be more cautious in the coming weeks, knowing they’ll soon have access to a very attractive new platform. 

CBS president and CEO George Cheeks. Speaking of Netflix, we’ve had this sudden vibe shift in streaming, where suddenly the coolest kid on the block is being talked about as some sort of outcast. It also validates our franchise strategy, which doesn’t necessarily mean existing franchises but actually picking up shows that we believe are franchise-able. BUFFERING: The press release announcing the network’s ratings victory for the season noted that shows from the network and CBS Studios account for more than half of the top 30 titles on Paramount+, and that they do well on Pluto TV as well. We have so many shows that have worked for so long, there’s not a lot of slots that are open. I think the user experience is tricky if they’re not available at all on Paramount+, but I think co-exclusivity or exclusivity — I think that should be a title-by-title strategic decision. CBS programs account for 13 of the 20 most-watched series on broadcast this season, and it’s the only network that still has shows that average more than 10 million viewers within a week of their initial telecast (NCIS and FBI). Because, again, when we approach these programming decisions, we now look at them holistically, and by holistically, I primarily mean CBS and Paramount+. We have that in-house.” Plus, in terms of marketing, Chopra said the scale of CBS’s weekly audience makes it easier for Paramount+ to build awareness of its own originals. I think you have to take a very title-by-title, bespoke approach. Turns out that was smart, too: Those geezers have abandoned broadcast at a much slower pace than millennial and Gen-Z viewers, leaving networks that chased those younger demos far more exposed to the perils of cord-cutting. Or is the success sort of an after-the-fact fringe benefit? So in scheduling meetings now, when talking about these shows, it’s of course, first and foremost, how we believe they’ll perform on CBS and where they should go. It’s early days, but I think it creates a universe. So will we see more shows that launch on CBS and then get converted into Paramount+ originals? ➽ Even as ABC, NBC, and Fox all rushed to give Hulu next-day reruns of their primetime shows back in the late aughts, CBS refused to play ball. But Wall Street, now very much in glass half-empty mode, ignored the D+ gains and seems to be focusing on comments by Disney execs suggesting growth could slow a bit in the second half of 2022. Our titles that have worked well on CBS, or performed well on Netflix or Paramount+, deserve universes of their own. Disney+ Numbers; Netflix’s Ad Plan

➽ It looks like the Great Streaming Apocalypse has skipped over Disney, at least for now. What’s the lesson you’re taking from its success? It kept those streaming rights in-house, launching CBS All Access years before former Disney CEO Bob Iger had his supposed breakthrough idea that a company should fully control its digital destiny. So I couldn’t feel better about this past season. You want the ability to sometimes make extra money by selling off some of the rights to other platforms. But it seems likely that at least at Paramount, the Eye will still get plenty of attention, particularly after another season in which it dominated the Nielsen ratings and launched a blockbuster comedy hit in the form of Thursday night smash Ghosts. We’re doing a version of that internationally. Part of it is real estate. How much does a show’s performance on Paramount+ play into how you judge its success? ➽ And you know how folks are always joking about how CBS’s shows skew so [gasp] old? Obviously CBS has not been immune to the ravages of audience erosion that have battered linear networks. Ghosts is obviously a great example of that. What’s more, because the linear CBS audience is still pretty hefty, Paramount is better positioned than any other media conglomerate to use its broadcast network as both a content pipeline and a promotional platform for its streaming service. Or was it just a matter of opening up prime-time real estate for CBS? We have incredible reach — more reach than any of the broadcast networks on linear. It’s typically packed with a lengthy list of boasts (“most-watched drama!,” “No. But because CBS’s entertainment programs generally reach so many more viewers than those on other networks, the Eye has a distinct advantage in making it all work. Vox Media, LLC Terms and Privacy Notice
By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Notice and to receive email correspondence from us. Do you find yourselves guiding CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl and his programming chief, Thom Sherman, to develop series with streaming in mind? Our filter cannot just be just solely focused on CBS because we are now a cross-platform brand and we are now an important driver for Paramount+ and Pluto TV — not just as a content engine, but obviously as a marketing support as well. During Netflix’s formative years as a streaming platform, network comedies such as Friends, The Office, and Parks and Recreation consistently tallied more viewing hours than many of the company’s own early slate of originals, which is why those shows are are now being used to build the subscriber base for NBCUniversal’s Peacock and WB Discovery’s HBO Max. We all know now that you can’t get away with not focusing on return on investment, and free cash flow, and all the things that Netflix is dealing with now. There are titles that you really do want to have exclusively in your ecosystem because I think that does drive value. It will end up airing on Paramount+ U.S. This story first ran in Buffering, Vulture’s newsletter about the streaming industry. But then we also have these shows that are translating to younger audiences when you look at it from a cross-platform perspective. But there’s also quite a robust discussion around whether we believe that this has potential to be a streaming driver as well. I believe in the power of having cable, premium cable, ad-supported subscription video on demand, FAST (free ad-supported TV), and a huge broadcast platform to help drive not only content but drive awareness and drive conversion. Email

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Terms of Service apply. The Mouse House Wednesday reported that signature streamer Disney+ added nearly 8 million subscribers during the first three months of the year, much better than the roughly 5 million analysts had predicted. In the reality space, we’re looking at the same thing. I don’t know why a concept like that could not lend itself to being franchised because there’s a whole world that’s been created through this show. NOW PLAYING: BUFFERING
Sign up for Vulture’s insider newsletter on the streaming industry from editor Joe Adalian. I think it’s highly possible. ➽ The broadcast networks will begin selling fall advertising inventory almost immediately after wrapping up next week’s upfront presentations. I believe that what Paramount Media Networks chief Chris McCarthy has done with the Taylor Sheridan universe is the right approach for us. Ghosts is one of those titles. And we trusted the Ghosts team, and they really delivered. This interview has been edited and condensed. What I would say is I believe in our differentiated strategy. SEAL Team is a perfect example of a show that was a solid performer on CBS that really over-indexed on Paramount+. ➽ When other networks decided to cut costs by adding more and more reality and game shows to their lineups, CBS found a way to keep the percentage of its schedule devoted to scripted series relatively high. Another obvious conversation would be spinoff extensions of proven franchises on CBS then having a streaming original version on Paramount+. And the strategy keeps getting validated because a lot of these shows that we’re launching, as well as our returning shows, are doing very well on both platforms. What’s your take on what’s been happening to them and what it means for the larger conversation about streaming? Paramount chief financial officer Naveen Chopra talked about this during the company’s most recent earnings call, arguing that the company’s diverse linear ecosystem — led by CBS — gives it “the ability to fundamentally change the economics of streaming” on multiple fronts.  

We take a more holistic view on what success means in a world where people are consuming our content in different ways. A lot of these four-quadrant procedural shows can work extremely well from an engagement standpoint in terms of their library but also from an acquisition standpoint as originals. But it was a top-three original show on Paramount+ during its original run and drove engagement on the library by 300 percent. We announced NCIS: Sydney, which is going to be a local version of NCIS produced for Paramount+ in Australia and for linear-platform Network 10. But I also wanted to test the traditional notion of what a streaming original looks like. I don’t think it necessarily encourages tons of more risk-taking, but I think it just validates the idea of when you really believe in something, even if it doesn’t fit into a bucket of what you thought you were going to pick up, trust your creative instincts. 1 new show!”) designed to impress upon the reader just how popular the Eye network remains with audiences, even as the overall universe of people watching linear networks continues to contract. But I really have always believed in the differentiated strategy and the power of broadcast to help drive it forward. NBC and ABC are obviously attempting a similar play with their efforts to essentially make those networks tiny little divisions of Peacock and Hulu, respectively, while Fox is going big on synergy with Tubi. I’m constantly in conversations with our key creators and showrunners on some of our bigger franchises. I recognize that all the stocks are getting hit right now. So I could easily see that conversation happening again. And that opens up the possibility of doing originals made for streaming. This year’s dispatch from CBS HQ was no exception, but below the annual avalanche of superlatives, it also included one new bit of braggadocio: CBS is responsible for 17 of the top 30 titles on sibling streamer Paramount+. But I remember in my NBC days, you could have SVU on ten different platforms, and it would overperform on all of them. So we converted it into a Paramount+ original, using CBS to anchor it with a four-episode premiere before it became a Paramount+ original. The sweet spot is finding those shows that appeal to that core CBS audience, which we know is older, but then finds that unduplicated, younger audience on streaming. Photo: Shedrick Pelt/Getty Images

GEORGE CHEEKS: There’s real intentionality around sitting down with the creative team and saying that this is what we’re looking for, this is our filter now. You just did a deal to make Paramount+ the exclusive streaming home for past episodes of Ghosts, but a lot of your big shows like NCIS stream on Netflix as well as Paramount+. Oh, so you think there could be spinoffs of Ghosts? I don’t need to talk about any of our competitors. Something like The Thing About Pam didn’t set the world on fire in the linear ratings for NBC, but they made a big deal about its audience on Hulu and Peacock. I’m really focused now on “We’ve got a big hit, let’s protect it and shore it up for season two.” But I think that’s highly possible. After Netflix’s decline during the quarter, and its projection of steeper losses to come, it was a nice bit of news for the streaming industry. On the content side, the exec noted that “a lot of pure-play streamers” — read: Netflix — “have to spend billions of dollars a year renting library content. Does it encourage more risk-taking at the network? And some of the biggest streaming success stories in recent years have been series that were either aired on (or were originally developed for) broadcast and basic cable platforms, including You (Lifetime), Emily in Paris (Paramount Network), Lucifer (Fox), and Manifest (NBC.)

The message audiences are sending to streamers is pretty clear: We may not like the endless ads, random reruns, and confusing scheduling of network TV, but actually, we kind of like the kinds of shows it makes. Its press release proclaiming victory for the 2011–12 TV season noted it dominated the year with an average audience of 11.7 million viewers; a decade later, the Eye won the 2021–22 season by averaging a mere 6.4 million viewers. Even though it does well with younger demos on CBS proper, it’s also finding another big batch of viewers on P+, where it’s the platform’s most-watched comedy. How actively are you committed to finding more of these franchise spinoffs of CBS shows for streaming? Do you view things similarly? Nielsen’s weekly lists of top SVOD shows regularly include multiple network TV staples, both current (NCIS, Grey’s Anatomy) and past (Seinfeld, Criminal Minds). Not just extensions but actual outright spinoffs that can live exclusively on streaming, particularly for those reality shows that have really strong, passionate fan bases. Given the emphasis all streamers, including Paramount+, put on their own ever-lengthening rosters of pricey originals, it might seem surprising that more than half of the most popular programs on Paramount Global’s signature streamer come from the decidedly unsexy world of network TV. In terms of the promotional support that CBS gave Paramount+ in 2021, it was worth $4 billion — that’s billion with a b — impressions. Related

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Tags: Expect to hear a variation of Chopra’s message next week when CBS and other parts of the Paramount Global empire strut their stuff during upfronts, which after two years of virtual presentations will be returning in person around New York. Head to vulture.com/buffering and subscribe today! But it looks like they’re going to have some major unexpected competition: Netflix, which only a few weeks ago said it might launch an ad-supported option in a year or two, is now rushing to do so by this fall. Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photo by Bertrand Calmeau/CBS

Every spring for the past 14 years, CBS has been able to put out a press release touting its status as America’s most-watched network during the official nine-month TV season. I recognize that it’s a challenging time. I don’t think anyone in our world could ever have predicted the level of success we hit. But other networks have lost an even bigger percentage of their viewership, and as the aforementioned Paramount+ stats indicate, many of the lost linear eyeballs are now being replaced by a rapidly growing streaming audience. as well.

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The Tony Awards Will Finally Happen on September 26, on CBS and Paramount+

(There weren’t any musical revivals eligible.) For those streaming, the Broadway’s Back! No host has been announced yet, but a press release promises that more details will be revealed “in the coming months.”

The split aspect of this year’s ceremony seems to stem out of some internal debate about how exactly the Tony Awards should function as the theater industry returns from COVID. The Broadway League and American Theatre Wing, which administer the event, promised that aside from the three awards “other winners will be celebrated throughout the broadcast” on CBS. Anyway, congrats to Aaron Tveit, the only nominee for Best Actor in a Musical, who can finally mark on his calendar when he’ll get his award. will also be available on Paramount+ and CBS’s streaming apps. Related

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What Ever Happened to the Tonys? The gist of the strategy: The bulk of the actual awarding of trophies for the 2019-2020 season is being shuffled off to Paramount+, starting at 7pm ET that night. Tags: After a few false starts, including an announcement that they would air the show in a digital format last fall that didn’t come to fruition, the American Theatre Wing has announced that the 2019-2020 Tony Awards will finally happen on Sunday, September 26, half on CBS and half on its sister Viacom streaming service Paramount+. Then, at 9pm ET, CBS itself will air “a two-hour live concert event” dubbed The Tony Awards Present: Broadway’s Back!, which will feature “superstar Broadway entertainers and Tony Award winners re-uniting on stage to perform beloved classics and celebrate the joy and magic of live theatre.” That will also have performances from the three Best Musical nominees (Jagged Little Pill, Moulin Rouge!, and Tina) and include the live presentation of the three biggest awards of the night: Best Play, Best Revival of a Play, and Best Musical. But it seems clear that the focus of the network TV side of the event is meant to be on advertising Broadway as an industry. Broadway shows have announced plans to start returning in September, with Hadestown claiming the first spot on September 2, and several more all aiming for the 14th, which would let producers use the CBS airtime to boost ticket sales. I mean, unless they postpone again. Those involved in the productions that aren’t returning this fall, including the Tony-nominated plays that have all ended their runs, are likely to feel more left out, since their part of the celebration seems to be more on the streaming-only side of things. Can’t wait to hear Patti LuPone pronounce “Paramount Plus.”
Photo: Andy Kropa/Getty Images

More than a year after Broadway shut down due to COVID, we’re finally getting around to actually having the Tony Awards.

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Showrunner Glenn Gordon Caron Out at CBS’s Bull After Workplace Investigation

Caron’s overall deal with CBS Studios has also ended. Simultaneously, THR reports, actor Freddy Rodriguez, who plays Benny Colón on the show, will be leaving Bull “after a workplace investigation.” Bull writers Kathryn Price and Nichole Millard will reportedly take over as co-showrunners. According to THR, the show’s writers’ room “underwent multiple departures” after Bull’s fifth season wrapped production, inspiring CBS Studios to open “an investigation regarding those writers’ exits.” They declined to release any specific details about the findings of said investigation, other than the fact Caron, who became the series’s showrunner at the beginning of its second season, will not be returning to Bull, which was renewed for a sixth season in April. It’s in the Stories It Tells. Tags: Of course, these aren’t the first reports of a seriously dysfunctional workplace at Bull. According to five anonymous past and present Bull writers speaking to THR, Caron allegedly “fostered a disrespectful work environment during his four-year tenure,” expressing “callous” opinions and berating the writing staff. The actress later wrote an op-ed revealing that “Caron wrote me off the show within 48 hours of my complaints about Weatherly,” a claim Caron “strongly denies.”

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CBS’s Toxic Culture Isn’t Just Behind the Scenes. In 2018, Eliza Dushku revealed that she had received a $9.5 million settlement from CBS after allegedly being sexually harassed on-set by the show’s star Michael Weatherly. Photo: Mike Pont/WireImage

Following an internal investigation into allegations that he created a toxic work environment while serving as the series’s showrunner, Glenn Gordon Caron, of Moonlighting and Medium acclaim, has reportedly exited CBS’s Bull, per The Hollywood Reporter.

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Sharon Osbourne Won’t Be Coming Back to CBS’s The Talk

Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

After CBS temporarily put The Talk on hiatus following Sharon Osbourne’s heated defense of Piers Morgan over accusations of racism earlier this month, the network announced Friday that Osbourne has opted not to return to the daytime talk show. We also did not find any evidence that CBS executives orchestrated the discussion or blindsided any of the hosts.”

“At the same time, we acknowledge the network and studio teams, as well as the showrunners, are accountable for what happened during that broadcast, as it was clear the co-hosts were not properly prepared by the staff for a complex and sensitive discussion involving race,” the network’s statement continues. Markle’s recent interview with Oprah Winfrey was the topic of conversation on The Talk that day. Sources

THR

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Tags: “The events of the March 10 broadcast were upsetting to everyone involved, including the audience watching at home. The Talk is currently scheduled to return on Monday, April 12, after a pre-scheduled hiatus the preceding week. As part of our review, we concluded that Sharon’s behavior toward her co-hosts during the March 10 episode did not align with our values for a respectful workplace. “During this week’s hiatus, we are coordinating workshops, listening sessions and training about equity, inclusion and cultural awareness for the hosts, producers and crew. “Sharon Osbourne has decided to leave The Talk,” CBS said in a statement, published by the Hollywood Reporter. Another former Talk co-host, Leah Remini, as well as other sources, subsequently alleged Osbourne had used racist and homophobic slurs to talk about former co-hosts Julie Chen and Sara Gilbert, respectively. “I very much feel like I’m about to be put in the electric chair because I have a friend, who many people think is a racist, so that makes me a racist?,” Osbourne declared to co-host Sheryl Underwood, demanding Underwood “educate” her about how Morgan could be racist. Following the segment, Osbourne both publicly apologized for her meltdown and later declared she had been “set up” by producers to be a “sacrificial lamb.”

Following the segment, which prompted CBS to put the show on hiatus for two days, then later two weeks, former Talk co-host Holly Robinson Peete claimed Osbourne called her “too ghetto” to host the daytime talk show, and even had a hand in her eventual dismissal from the program. Going forward, we are identifying plans to enhance the producing staff and producing procedures to better serve the hosts, the production and, ultimately, our viewers.”

On March 10, Sharon Osbourne grew heated defending personal friend and British TV personality Piers Morgan against allegations of racism stemming from his on-air criticism of Meghan Markle, particularly his insistence that she lied about her treatment from the British royal family. Osbourne denied the accusations against her, calling them “lies” in a press release issued by her publicist.

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Paramount+ Has a Mind to Revive Criminal Minds a Year After Its Finale on CBS

Sources

EW

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Tags: Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

It’s been exactly a year since Criminal Minds bowed after a 15-year run on CBS, which means dozens of bizarre killers have gone un-captured. It’s currently not clear which of the show’s stars would potentially return for the series, said to be in “early development,” but we hope original cast member Mandy Patinkin is pursued as hard as the show’s fictional FBI agents pursued dozens of almost comically disturbed murderers each season. Luckily for the residents of the Criminal Minds universe, Paramount+ is reportedly considering reopening the Behavioral Analysis Unit and getting the gang back together to stop more of the literally hundreds, if not thousands, of serial killers that are apparently on the loose at any given moment. According to Entertainment Weekly, showrunner and executive producer Erica Messer is “onboard to return” for a revived Criminal Minds, which debuted on September 22, 2005 and ended February 19, 2020.

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Oprah Winfrey, Queen of TV, Will Interview Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on CBS

The happy news that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s family is expanding comes months after Markle penned an emotional op-ed in the New York Times about how she had suffered a miscarriage. And by queen we do not Harry’s paternal grandmother, but rather Oprah Winfrey, the undisputed queen of television. Variety reports that Oprah With Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special is set to air on March 7 at 8 p.m. Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Fresh off the news that the Duchess of Sussex is expecting their second child, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have announced that they will be sitting down with the queen for a “wide-ranging” interview. Related

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Tags: The Los Angeles based couple are parents to 1.5 year old Archie, who recently made his audio debut on the couple’s podcast, wishing listeners a “Happy New Year.” No word on whether Archie will make an appearance during the CBS interview, but if anyone could get access to the royal tot, it’s Queen Winfrey. The Valentine’s Day announcement also came exactly 37 years after Princess Diana announced that she was pregnant with Prince Harry. The special will begin with a one-on-one interview between Winfrey and Markle about “stepping into royal life, marriage, motherhood, her philanthropic work and how she handles life under the public eye.” The women will then be joined by Prince Harry where they will discuss the couples decision to move to the U.S. and their future endeavors.

Sounds Like the Lambs Are Getting Their Second Wind in CBS’s Clarice Trailer

“Neither will you.” Only time will tell who or what she is still deathly afraid of. Tyler in the series) and senator turned attorney general Ruth Martin (Diane Baker in the film, played here Jayne Atkinson), though her daughter Catherine (Brooke Smith in the film, played now by Marnee Carpenter), Buffalo Bill’s last would-be victim, sounds a lot less optimistic. Related

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Tags: CT. In it, Agent Starling, brought to the big screen in Jonathan Demme’s 1991 film adaptation by Jodie Foster and played here by Pretty Little Liars actress Rebecca Breeds, attempts to put the harrowing events of the book behind her one year later and return to her career hunting killers at the FBI, only to be haunted by her recent proximity to evil. “I’ll never be safe,” Catherine warns. ET/9 p.m. No, we’re not talking about Hannibal Lecter, who is not mentioned at all in the trailer, but rather Buffalo Bill, the serial killer Starling took down with Hannibal’s help. Clarice will premiere on CBS and CBS All Access Thursday, February 11 at 10 p.m. The lambs have been sleeping with a humidifier on, drinking tea, and doing vocal exercises for weeks, and next month, they are going to scream like you’ve never heard them scream before. On Sunday, CBS dropped the first full trailer for their upcoming drama Clarice, effectively a sequel the 1988 Thomas Harris novel The Silence of the Lambs. Clarice will find encouragement on her path from friend and fellow FBI agent Ardelia Mapp (Kasi Lemmons in the movie, played by Devyn A.

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CBS to Air Grease in Lieu of Tonys, Which Is the Worst Thing They Could Do

I’ve felt that special joy of rewatching it later in life and going yikes, this whole thing doesn’t hold up great at all! Are they running highlights from the Tony Awards of yore? No. Stockard Channing, I’m sorry to besmirch you so. I had a Grease-themed birthday in the second grade. Give me Avenue Q upsetting Wicked and prompting a wave of taxi ads reading, “Did we mention we won the Tony.” Show me Bette Middler finally getting her due. Photo: Paramount Pictures

In something of a reversed “you vs. Instead … CBS has decided it will show a sing-along version of Grease as part of the channel’s weekly Sunday Night Movie series. Yes, I have. Any clip ever of Audra McDonald opening her perfect mouth. I particularly enjoyed the very specific pain that is being in a local children’s production of the show only to learn that “You’re the One that I Want,” the movie’s big, sexy finale wasn’t in the original stage version and was only added into the Broadway show in the last revival so if your school is cheap you get the old, boring finale, “All Shook Up.” (Real ones will know.) But watching the lyrics to “Summer Nights” bounce along my television screen on June 7 is not my ideal Tonys stand-in. Grease is the word. Please. Have you heard? Yes. I want to watch little Daisy Eagen win for The Secret Garden and make an elementary school me extremely jealous. I want Jennifer Holiday wailing on “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.” Make me cry with Steve Kazee’s speech about his mom for his Once win and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s, “love is love is love is love.” NPH rapping. (Air a Grease sing-along instead.)

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Tags: the guy she told you not to worry about” meme, CBS has announced what it will be doing with the Sunday night time slot in June that was held for the Tonys (which are of course on hold due to coronavirus). Airing at-home performances from would-be nominees from this years slate of new shows? Obtaining the rights to show the YouTube Sondheim 90th Birthday concert? Nope, nope, nope. Also so. [Long sigh.] Look, I love Grease as much as the next person. Bea Arthur and Angela Lansbury doing Mame. There are worse things you (CBS) could do.

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In Bad Surprise News, Les Moonves Has Quietly Started a New Company Called Moon Rise Unlimited

Sources

nyt

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Tags: Les Moonves. It was registered on October 30, according to the California Secretary of State, and is described as an LLC focused on “entertainment services.” Moonves is designated as the manager, though that detail was listed in a separate filing. According to the New York Times, the disgraced executive hung a new shingle in Los Angeles called Moon Rise Unlimited. Moonves’s ‘office services’ for no less than a year, even if the company fired him for cause.” Moonves has denied the claims against him, and is pursuing further legal action to recover his severance from CBS. Moonves also set up a pair of complementary ventures using the same very bold name. Although Moonves stepped down from his position last September, after New Yorker and New York Times reports detailed alleged offenses ranging from harassment to assault by more than a dozen women, he was not officially fired by CBS until the company completed an investigation into the accusations. Per the Times:

Mr. Photo: Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Apple

After being fired from his position atop CBS last December, following myriad accusations of sexual misconduct that span decades, Les Moonves is getting back to work. The network, however, still had to pay the former president’s legal bills in his dispute with the company itself, thanks to a contract stipulation. And that’s not all! Moonves also appears to have formed two related companies around the same time: Moon Rise Technologies, which it said in a filing planned to provide “streaming services and distribution,” and Moon Rise Productions, which it said planned to provide “film and television production” services. According to the Times, CBS is also currently footing the bill for Mooves’s rent in his new office space, because his exit agreement specifies that “CBS must pay for Mr. At that time, the company announced it had cause to fire Moonves — the board cited “willful and material misfeasance, violation of company policies and breach of his employment contract” — depriving him of his $120 million severance package.

Adam Targum Fired at NCIS: New Orleans, Where Morale Problems Still Linger

“It didn’t work out on our show, but it worked out on Bull,” says a former NCIS: New Orleans employee. The departure of Targum, who had been hired last spring as the show’s second-in-command, follows the October 2018 firing of Brad Kern, the previous showrunner of NCIS: New Orleans. Through a representative, Dushku declined to comment for this piece. There’s no doubt that things needed to change here,” said that source, who added that new leadership at the top means that “complaints and problems are being viewed through a new lens. “We did a couple episodes setting up a backstory, a mistake the character made that was haunting her. The representative replied: “Mr. Of the more than 20 sources Vulture spoke to for this story, the majority are past or present CBS employees, and about a dozen work for or have been employed by NCIS: New Orleans. This person adds that there were between eight or ten employees around when Kern allegedly made these remarks. Finally, one powerful man putting pressure on me just admitted to me that the problem was that Les didn’t find her ‘fuckable’ enough, and that he had felt that way from day one.” (Attempts made to reach McLellan through her representatives were unsuccessful.)

After Lieber departed over creative differences and Kern arrived at NCIS: New Orleans midway through the show’s second season, Kern said disparaging things about McLellan, according to four sources who heard these comments. In response to those queries, CBS issued a statement: “As previously reported, the claims regarding NCIS: New Orleans in 2016 have been addressed. Kern held on to the NCIS: New Orleans showrunner job through the spring of 2018, and CBS signed him to a new two-year deal around that time. But in a December piece for the Boston Globe about CBS’s mistreatment of her, Dushku wrote that in the months prior to taking a role on Bull, the network “vigorously courted” her for “several” CBS shows. That person was present at least one of the times Targum made these remarks. One source described the atmosphere this season as “miserable,” in part due to Targum’s allegedly aggressive demeanor, demeaning remarks, and combative leadership style. Photo: Getty Images

On Friday, January 25, Adam Targum, an executive producer of NCIS: New Orleans, was fired from the CBS program. “Any action by CBS has been a reactive one, and not a proactive move to change,” said one source. He’s incredibly tone-deaf, and if a guy like this is put into a room with staff that’s been through a lot of trauma in the past two years, there are going to be problems,” said a source with direct knowledge of the situation. Why would they watch?’ That was his gauge of whether an actress was good,” a former NCIS: New Orleans employee recalled. “All show employees, including showrunners, are required to take annual non-harassment training. One showrunner who has worked at CBS and elsewhere said, “For decades, the network taught everyone that nothing mattered except Les Moonves and whoever is No. Some negative reactions were driven in part by the fact that one person in the NCIS: New Orleans writers room uses a wheelchair. Chris was also well-liked by the production crew.” (Emails to Silber and Targum were not returned by the time of publication.)

During the show’s current season, sources say, the atmosphere at NCIS: New Orleans did not notably improve, especially with Targum running the writers room for long stretches. It provides a somewhat extreme but unsurprising set of indicators about how the culture of CBS has operated for a long time. “Mistakes have been made at this show and elsewhere. At the time, the explanation the media was given was that the decision to write off her character was a creative one, but some NCIS: New Orleans employees recall being told a different story. “I think that’s why she was treated like shit from day one. One former NCIS: New Orleans employee said she told Farrell during the course of that first investigation that she thought Kern’s Dushku remarks, on their own, “constituted a firing offense, because it directly told the entire female staff that this is how they would be judged at CBS.” This source recalls Farrell replying that “the allegations were being taken very seriously and were being shared with very senior people.”

In a letter dated July 11, 2016, which Farrell sent to participants of the first Kern investigation at the conclusion of that inquiry, Farrell stated that the HR department had looked into claims that Kern had “made inappropriate comments related to women, made statements that referred to women in a negative light, applied gender-based and racial stereotypes, used an abrasive and/or demeaning tone, and made a disparaging remark about an actress” — presumably Dushku. So why so much focus on just Zoe? He had been with the show since season one and was the most senior writer next to Brad. Kern’s alleged comments came nearly a year before Dushku was hired for a recurring role on the CBS series Bull. Vulture was not able to determine the nature of that complaint, and CBS would not comment on the matter. Former showrunner Brad Kern (left) was fired last fall; among other things, he upset staffers when he allegedly repeated the statement, “we should cast Eliza Dushku [center] because Les Moonves wants to fuck her.” Adam Targum (right), an executive producer on NCIS: New Orleans, was fired last Friday. As a team running the NCIS: New Orleans writers room, Targum and Silber, one source said, have caused consternation among the writing staff by doing rewrites that conflict with each other, leading to “chaos” regarding scripts.Others have noted that Silber spends much of his time in postproduction or in his office. Attempts to reach this individual for comment were unsuccessful. Farrell wrote that “we were unable to conclude that Mr. But the real work is still ahead; deeper and more profound changes are necessary, multiple sources told Vulture. Most did not want their names used for fear of retaliation. News stories at the time cited “creative differences” as the reason for Targum’s departure. “If they want to improve the working conditions on that show, they have to start fresh, and that means they have to look at the executives that were there year after year. Expectations that the workplace culture would notably improve once executive producer Christopher Silber was elevated to showrunner last year ended up being misplaced, according to multiple sources. “Targum has an abrasive personality that doesn’t foster collaboration, rather submission to his ideas,” said an NCIS: New Orleans source with extensive knowledge of the situation. Two sources heard Kern repeat this sentiment about the actress on more than one occasion. During his reign, Kern had established an atmosphere in which “outright sexism and misogyny” were often parts of “normal conversation” in the writers room, according to one former writer for the show. Through a representative, Kern stated, “I had, and will always have, the utmost respect for both Eliza Dushku and Zoe McLellan, and any personnel decisions I made at NCIS: New Orleans were motivated solely by what I believed would best advance the story line and character relationships of the show.”

Since Moonves’s departure, a number of changes have been made to upper management at CBS: Longtime executive Joe Ianniello has been named interim CEO; the company has hired a chief people officer, Laurie Rosenfield; and David Nevins, the head of Showtime, was named CBS’s chief creative officer last year. I know that there are good executives there,” says an experienced TV writer who worked for NCIS: New Orleans for a time. “I recall Brad Kern telling [employees] how they fired McLellan because she couldn’t move well (i.e., not athletic at all), and Les didn’t think she was fuckable,” according to a former employee of NCIS: New Orleans. In June 2018, a third inquiry — this time by outside counsel hired by CBS — got underway, and Kern was fired in October. “During the past few months, our Company has clearly communicated that our culture is a top priority; this includes the production offices and sets of our shows,” the statement said. Hearing that the atmosphere at the show continued to be unpleasant is “a surprise” that “disappoints me as someone who believed that elevating Chris was the right move for the show,” one former NCIS: New Orleans employee said. While CBS has never specified the reasons for his firing, it came one month after the resignation of Leslie Moonves, the powerful CBS CEO who was the subject of multiple stories about his alleged harassment, abuse, assault, and intimidation of a large number of women. Kern engaged in discrimination or harassment.” (Vulture first reported on Moonves allegedly telling Kern that he wanted to sleep with an actress in August 2018; at that time, the full scope of what CBS HR knew about those comments was not known, and reporting on that front was still in progress, so Dushku was not named.)

It is unclear whether Dushku was ever offered a role on NCIS: New Orleans, and there is no indication that she had any interactions whatsoever with Moonves. He was in storyteller mode to the whole room,” this source added. One of the most notable instances of that came in June of 2016, when Kern told a group of NCIS: New Orleans employees that “we should cast Eliza Dushku because Les Moonves wants to fuck her,” according to multiple sources. These sources say Targum pitched a villainous character who would use a wheelchair. In 2019, we are committing additional significant resources to expand these education and training programs to foster the best possible creative culture and workplace environment for the production process.”

Related

Brad Kern and the House That Moonves Built at CBS

Tags: Through a representative, Kern issued the following statement to Vulture: “Although I have chosen not to debate this matter in the press, I feel compelled to let you know the following: I have not communicated directly with Les Moonves in over 25 years in any situation, including in regards to Eliza Dushku.”

While Kern denied hearing this from Moonves directly, some former NCIS: New Orleans employees have wondered whether the word went out from on high to hire Dushku, no matter what. The second is below. But some sources say Silber has spent an unusually large amount of time away from the writers room. All in all, getting rid of Kern didn’t address the management issues at the show, one source said. “It put a small Band-Aid on the problem — and then created a new one.”

Of course, there is nothing about the content or premise of NCIS: New Orleans that makes the show especially prone to reports of questionable behavior behind the scenes. And it’s been made very clear that there have to be consequences for these changes to stick.”

However, most of the sources Vulture spoke to for this story are deeply wary of the idea that CBS is changing in a fundamental way. That said, another source with direct knowledge of the situation said that “Chris was the most qualified person to be promoted. He told Vulture that in 2014 and 2015, he was put under a “great deal of pressure to get onboard with the firing” of Zoe McLellan, who played Meredith Brody in the first two seasons of the CBS drama. The previous three HR inquiries all revolved around Kern, beginning in June 2016; a second began in the fall of that year. Zoe did a good job in the episodes, which were well-received, but the pressure kept coming. “He definitely said it more than once, because he thought that indicated, This is how hooked up I am,” says a source who worked on NCIS: New Orleans at the time. 1 on the call sheet.”

That sentiment was clear around the set of NCIS: New Orleans when Kern was running the show. At first, Lieber didn’t understand where the pressure to get rid of McLellan was coming from and why it was so unrelenting. CBS executives, including Amy Reisenbach, executive vice-president of current programs, were made aware of the problems that multiple members of the staff had with Targum, and were also informed of the overall issues that some have with the show’s leadership, according to several sources. Any subsequent reports or claims involving inappropriate comments or objectionable behavior in the writers room — or anywhere on the production — will be investigated, and action will be taken to address any findings inconsistent with a safe, respectful, and inclusive workplace.”

A representative for Moonves was sent multiple questions about the allegations contained in this story. In 2017, according to one source, Kern shared with a group of employees what drove the departure of McLellan. CBS was also asked if any employees made an effort to ensure that Dushku was treated professionally during her time on Bull, given that her name had come up in an HR investigation prior to her arrival on the show. “I thought she was doing a good job and that the audience was connected to her, especially because testing bore that out. “The decisions that management does ultimately make are in the interest of making problems go away, and not actually actively making the work environment better.”

Of course, the high-profile departures of well-known figures like Moonves, Charlie Rose, and 60 Minutes executive Jeffrey Fager last year were seismic events in the company’s history. “‘Why would [viewers] care? According to sources close to the show, he was fired before the program was picked up to series on April 18, 2018. But it’s that very status — as an untrendy, workaday show that employs hundreds of entertainment-industry professionals — that makes its past and present important. “I pushed back,” Lieber said. Every time the show was tested, Zoe got the same or better scores as the other second lead on the show. Prior to his stint on NCIS: New Orleans, Targum’s most recent job was as showrunner of Deadly Class, a Syfy drama produced by Universal Cable Productions and Sony Pictures Television. It led one source to speculate that Silber “doesn’t want to deal with the problem.” Of course, it’s not unusual for showrunners to work on tasks that take them away from the writing staff for hours or even days at a time, and it’s normal for showrunners to delegate key responsibilities to the show’s second-in-command. Moonves never made that statement, or conveyed anything remotely like it, to Brad Kern or anyone else.”

Jeffrey Lieber, the original showrunner and executive producer of NCIS: New Orleans, shared a similar story from his time running the show. “I set about to deepen her character,” Lieber recalls. These individuals say that problems persisted even after Kern left. At one point, he told staffers that he did not find her sexually attractive. It didn’t make sense to me.”

In Lieber’s view, any potential issue with McLellan had to do with her character, who hadn’t been filled out as vividly as she could have been. Less than a year ago, amid news coverage of problems at the show, Kern was demoted to consulting producer and Silber was promoted to showrunner. The end result was the Bull role. Complaints made during those investigations, according a 2017 news story about them, included allegations that Kern harassed and mistreated women; repeatedly demeaned a woman who was pumping breast milk at work; made sexist remarks; and generally created a vindictive atmosphere, among other issues. Two sources said a season-five idea of Targum’s was particularly distasteful to the writing staff. And I’m not trying to indict every executive. One source was wary of Silber’s promotion, given that, in this person’s words, he was “useless at correcting the atmosphere” at NCIS: New Orleans. According to sources close to the show, Targum was let go as a result of a complaint made within the last two weeks to CBS’s human-resources department. Three former NCIS: New Orleans employees told Vulture that during the course of the initial investigation into Kern in 2016, they informed CBS HR vice-president Timothy Farrell about the statements Kern had made regarding Dushku and Moonves. It is a mainstream spinoff of a well-known, financially lucrative TV franchise. “He was performing for the group. “He is obnoxious, and he says dumb things all day long. Targum suggested that the character’s use of a wheelchair would mean that he “can’t get away.”

Targum pitched this idea on two different occasions, and two sources indicate that a number of staff members found it insensitive and offensive. A new era at NCIS: New Orleans was supposed to begin with the show’s fifth season, with Silber as showrunner and Targum as his chief lieutenant. In December, the New York Times reported that the actress and producer received a $9.5 million settlement, resulting from harassing comments and behavior that Dushku allegedly endured on the set of Bull. Problems have plagued NCIS: New Orleans behind the scenes for much of the CBS show’s existence. Targum had an insistent, overpowering manner that led one source to say that he “bullies” people. What is known is that the Targum inquiry was the fourth HR investigation into an NCIS: New Orleans executive producer in less than three years. “But there also were a lot of people that knew exactly what was going on and, at best, looked the other way, and at worst, actively covered it up and lied to people about what was going on.”

The CBS statement sent to Vulture consisted of two paragraphs: The first one, about creating a safe and inclusive workplace, is above. If she had come on our show, everyone would’ve known exactly why she was there.”

CBS was sent a list of questions about the assertions in this story, including those regarding Moonves and Kern and anything either may have said about Dushku. One longtime CBS employee made the case that the swiftness with which the network handled the Targum situation is a sign that it may be changing in the post-Moonves era. Problems of morale have dogged NCIS: New Orleans, which debuted in 2014, for much of its relatively short life. Targum was announced as showrunner in September 2017 and was with the show through the pilot.

CBS Juggernaut Criminal Minds Will End This Year After 15 Seasons

Johns kept his job, but Criminal Minds has seen plenty of on-camera staffing shake-ups. Mandy Patinkin left the show after two seasons. Criminal Minds is quintessentially CBS in another way: accusations of on-set harassment. Eighteen former and current crew members told Variety in October that they witnessed DP Greg St. Criminal Minds will match ER and CSI in number of seasons, and will only be behind Gunsmoke, Law & Order: SVU, NCIS, and Grey’s Anatomy on the list of longest running dramas. Thomas Gibson was fired in 2016 for an on-set altercation, and Shemar Moore left to star in S.W.A.T. We are so proud to have aired it,” CBS VP of current programs Amy Reisenbach told Deadline. No plot details have been released for the 15th season besides that it will be more serialized than in the past, and that the entire cast will not die in a plane explosion. St. Sources

Deadline

Related

Criminal Minds Senior Staffer Remains, Despite Numerous Abuse Allegations

Tags: Johns touching male crew members inappropriately. “It is the quintessential CBS hit. Photo: CBS

Criminal Minds, the ION Network and your aunt’s favorite show, is ending its tenure on CBS after an abbreviated 15th season.

CBS Developing a Vehicle for Natasha Leggero to Be Rachet

Shame about the last name, though. Sources

Deadline

Tags: According to Deadline, the network is currently developing Rachet, a multi-cam pilot starring Leggero and co-created with Two Broke Girls’ writer and stand-up Morgan Murphy. Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Sundance

Comedian Natasha Leggero’s whole thing is eleganza, but she and her opera gloves are going to be out on the street soon if CBS has anything to say about it. Tough break after tough break for this lady. The series reportedly revolves around Leggero’s protagonist Jessica Rachet, a woman who “must start a new life and make new friends after her rich fiancé dies suddenly” and she’s left to her own devices, a premise that seems primed to please the Mom and 2 Broke Girls set.

Stephen Colbert Missed His Chance at a House of Cards Role of a Lifetime

I take it back if I said no, I say yes,” Colbert responded, leading to a textbook exchange about showbusiness. “I heard a rumor that you wouldn’t audition,” she said. I was thinking, wouldn’t it be great if you were to be the press secretary for Claire?” “You wanted me on the show? Because apparently, Wright was keen on having Colbert appear in her final House of Cards season, but the proverbial powers that be just couldn’t make it happen. (Even for Madame President herself. Shame!) “You know, we wanted you on the show,” Wright teased. Did I say no? And scene. Sure, Stephen Colbert might be “super busy” and “contractually obligated” to do nothing outside of CBS’s orbit, but Robin Wright has a bone to pick with that fancy late night host, anyway. “No, I won’t audition,” he confirmed. Related

Robin Wright Says House of Cards Finale Is ‘Beautifully Macabre’

Tags: “You would’ve been so great.

How Jane the Virgin Pulled Off Its Fantastic Surprise

I definitely… those are all very good points! Is Brett is going to be a regular for the next season? It was certainly connected to Rose’s killing at the beginning of the season, but that won’t be fully explained until next season. We just misled what it would be, so I think people were worried about who his parents were and if they were maybe related, and what could be so big. I always feel we were saving up a few telenovela tropes. This interview has been edited and condensed. Moving forward, I know you can’t say exactly what’s coming up in season five, but I wonder if you could talk a little bit about what the themes of this next season are going to be, and whether or not you’re worried about a backlash to this story. I mean, I knew it could. Oh man! But how long did you know? And in the episode itself, we primed the palate for a huge telenovela-esque reveal. But yeah, I wanted it because our cast is so close and we’re really like a family.I just knew everyone would be so excited and it would be a fun shock, and everyone would just be so happy to see Brett, both that character and also just the person. [In the finale], we saw [Jane] suddenly get the idea for her book, which was combining the three book we’ve seen her working on over the course of the years, and what she starts to type were the first words of the pilot. I discussed it at length with the writers. How long have you known this was coming? There was a lot of shock/surprise when we went in the room last year, too. And in terms of backlash… when you make a giant move, there’s always going to be people that love it and people that hate it. There was always a possibility, and we did jump time. And then a few things came into focus for me, because during hiatus, I get to not just work, but dream about big shapes for the show and what I want to see. As long as we tell an interesting story, I hope our fans will be there along for the ride. But when you then had him die, you didn’t know this was going to happen?! And it’s that crazy “what if this other person that you loved came back” idea. Surprised? Photo: Michael Desmond/The CW

Major spoilers ahead for the season-four finale of Jane the Virgin. That’s amazing! What I did was I pitched it to the writers as well as one other piece that’ll unfold at the beginning of [season five]. I wasn’t talked out of it! It was pretty fun. Really? Things are coming full circle, and that’s the theme we’re going to explore. There were things I was working out in my head, and when I came to the room at the beginning of this season is when I pitched them [this twist]. Were people overwhelmed? It was a pretty fun moment for us. It does! That’s when I sort of put them through this. We want to be pulling those threads together in a big way. I told Gina after we wrapped last year. It would seem compelling to me as an outside observer. I was very concerned with when I would get up, when I would open the door, where the pages would be. Tags: And a few pieces clicked together for me on a bigger level in terms of the story and the storytelling. There was a lot of planning! I’ve been flipping out all day thinking about this twist! Once you knew this was going to happen, can you talk a little bit about foreshadowing and what hints you were dropping that this was going to come? It’ll be dealt with fairly quickly, but you’re certainly right that [if it is really him] the stakes are just huge and life-changing, and that does seem compelling on a storytelling basis. We always hang out for a bit afterwards, and I told her what I was thinking about for what was to come. Whether it’s him [Michael] or not, that is the trope we’re playing with. I think that the shock of seeing him is going to follow… there’s going to be a question about whether or not it’s him, the state he’s been in, and what’s happened to him. It clicked for me that this was the way I wanted the story to go. One of them is returning from the dead. I’ll try not to. I told Gina [Rodriguez] maybe at the end of last year. Yup! So when he died, you didn’t tell him he might be coming back? And I didn’t tell the other actors or anyone else in production. All that kind of stuff went into it. What was it that came into focus? That’s when it all came together. Certainly. I had told a few people over the hiatus that I was thinking about [bringing Michael back], and they were shocked and surprised and into it. Instead, Rafael opens the door to reveal Jane’s beloved husband, Michael, who’s been dead for four years, during a full season-and-a-half of the series. I think for me it makes the most sense if it is actually him. Then I had lunch with Brett [Dier] about a year ago as well. But then we love to deal with the grounded implications of these big, huge things. I knew we were going to be grieving and that he might not come back for a long, long time, but it was a story point that I was toying with. And for the interesting implications of where the show could be going, to circle back to that original love triangle with the three of them, with all of them now as such different people… for me, it seems like this actually being Michael is the most interesting story. He’s done this hugely heroic and selfless thing, bringing back Michael, which is his greatest fear. A little bit in The Passion of Santos and the remaking of the American version of what The Passion of Santos is about, [which is] somebody who is dead returning. And I wanted to shake up everything in a big, dramatic way as we head into the fifth season. What needed to happen, what would be big for the character, I wanted it on many levels dramatically in terms of Jane and Rafael and Michael, like, “what does this all mean?” I wanted it on a level for Rafael, too. [Laughing.]

How did the writers and cast respond when you told them? I’m trying to couch it, but it was knowing definitively the end of the story that ultimately clicked into focus in a big way. I knew it was a possibility, but I had to calibrate when – as you know I can’t confirm or deny any part of the ending, but I can say that this was a setup for us moving towards the end, and so once things came into focus in that way, I knew the timing of this and what it would be.I’m being so vague, right? No, but you will know in the season premiere of season five. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to be doing. I didn’t know for sure that I was going to do it until the end of season three. Well, Brett has another pilot that I dearly hope goes, but luckily we know [the showrunner] Gloria [Calderon-Kellett] very well, she’s also been on our show and is a friend of ours, and I feel like we could share him, because I definitely want a lot of him. I’d be lying if I said I’m not scared of people yelling at me on Twitter because that never feels great, but there’s also going to be people that are excited and always wished that that could be true. I can’t, but what I can say is that CW and CBS have been very supportive about letting the show go until the story is done, and always telling me that the creative will drive the length of a show, which is something I really appreciated. Certainly.[Rafael] certainly believes that it’s him. [Laughing.] But then I told Gina, I told the producer, the studio and network, and Brett, about a year ago, I sat down with him. We redacted the last page of the script and then during the final table read, we had Brett come secretly outside the door, and at a certain moment I opened the door and I gave out the last page and there was a lot of screaming and yelling and drama! There are very different things we will be returning to. No. So as that came into focus and our conversations were had, this piece [Michael’s return] was also in play. I had to prep it as though he was dead, dead, dead. There are plenty of hints. In the final few moments of Jane the Virgin’s fourth season finale, Jane walks down a hallway to her boyfriend Rafael’s apartment and assumes she’s about to discover the identity of Rafael’s mysterious unknown parents. Do you think the audience is willing to go back to a love triangle? I feel like it would make more sense for how upset Rafael is. And definitely in Jane’s book, where she wrote about Michael, she gave them a happy ending that she didn’t have in her life, and part of that hinted at a little bit of what could come.We really tried not to hint too much because our audience picks up on so many implications or nuances, so we did as much as we could get away with without actually tipping our hand. So those themes were at play in my mind: the telenovela of it all, the opening, putting Jane in a situation where she and Raf were in this great place. To explore that became too interesting to resist on an emotional and dramatic level, because we like a big, giant, telenovela twist. The fallout of this, having gone through all the grief and all the heartache. That was our way of telling everybody to buckle up, something big is gonna happen. Everything will be different, so we wouldn’t be returning to anything they’ve seen. [Laughs.]

Okay, so you told Gina at the end of season three. Ahead of the finale, I spoke with Jane the Virgin showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman about how long she’s been preparing for this monster twist, whether the person in Rafael’s apartment is really Michael, and what’s coming up on the fifth season of the show. And you can’t confirm that season five is going to be the end of the show? End of season three. I wanted it as this “holy shit” moment, which we try to do towards the end of our seasons. And this is a story that needs big swings, I think, and has the structure to support those big swings. When he died, he was dead! [Laughing.] Yup! I didn’t tell anyone else except for the writers! And then there’s another [trope] that is out there that we’ll be looking at. Can you tell us whether this is really Michael? There were moments when the women were watching telenovelas and they said, “Oh, he returns from the dead, that’s a classic telenovela trope,” certainly on that level.

Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper’s Blind Date Never Even Made It to the ‘Date’ Part

I was excited!” Hey, at least they’re BFFs now. Poor twenty-something Andy Cohen. All he wanted to do was go on a blind date with the pre–silver fox Anderson Cooper, but he had to break Cooper’s “cardinal rule” before they even met in person — mentioning his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt. Sulk and imagine what these media princes could’ve been. “And I knew within 45 seconds I was never going on a date with Andy Cohen.” Cohen remembers it pretty much the same: “I wanted to date the Vanderbilt boy! We had a phone call to set up the date. Tags: I was a young reporter at NBC and he was at CBS,” Cooper explained on The Tonight Show. “You know when straight people know two gay guys and they’re like, Oh, you guys should meet!

How to Stream the NFL Football Games on Thanksgiving

The Chargers’ relocation from San Diego to Los Angeles this year has resulted in something even worse than indifference: L.A. To help you decide, here’s a breakdown of the day’s lineup. You could also spend a maddening amount of energy clicking around the Xes and popups on illegal Reddit streams, but that may be more effort than one should be expected to expend on Thanksgiving. How to Stream the Games

On your phoneIf you have Verizon, which is the NFL’s exclusive mobile streaming partner, you can use the the NFL Mobile or Verizon go90 app to watch all the games for free (without counting against data usage). That has provided opportunity for Vikings QB and shocking fringe MVP candidate Case Keenum to lead his team to an 8-2 record and a two-game division lead over the Lions. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

You know what would make the NFL thankful today? Chargers @ Cowboys (4:30 PM ET; CBS)A showdown between two teams that have failed to live up to expectations this season, though the Cowboys remain one of the NFL’s top draws. Tags: (Regardless of your mobile provider, none of the TV network sites or apps — NBC Sport, Fox Sports Go, etc — will work on your phone due to the Verizon deal.) Otherwise, using Slingbox will enable you to jump your cable TV feed to your phone, as will certain OTT offerings like Playstation Vue or FuboTV. (Plus, the game falls during that peak food-coma-on-the-couch window). viewers used to get to the best games in the league on their local broadcasts, but now those spots are taken by the Chargers (and the Rams, who are actually having a solid season after moving to L.A. If you don’t have Verizon, sit next to a cousin who does and try to broker a swap of your dessert for their phone. Giants @ Redskins (8:30 ET; NBC)Potential alternatives to watch instead of this race to the NFC East basement between New York (2-8) and Washington (4-6) include The Godfather Parts I and II on AMC and Hidden Figures on HBO. Or perhaps it’s time to dive into Godless on Netflix? Game schedule

Of course, all that streaming info presupposes that you even want to watch the games. These will require you to login through your cable or OTT subscriptions. As of press time, roughly 4 million Dish Network subscribers in a dozen markets — including major ones such as New York, Chicago, Dallas–Fort Worth, and L.A. from St. Dallas is missing star running back Ezekiel Elliott, who is serving a six-game suspension following domestic-abuse charges, and a loss in this game would just about be the nail in the coffin for the Cowboys’ season. — could be blocked from seeing this game due to an old-fashioned carriage dispute between CBS and Dish. On a tablet or laptop The Verizon exclusive only applies to phones, so you can use the broadcast networks’ apps or websites for their respective games:

• FOX Sports app or foxsports.com for Vikings-Lions• CBS app or cbs.com for Chargers-Cowboys• NBC Sports app or nbcsports.com for Giants-Redskins

For the CBS and NBC games, fans can also use the NFL’s platforms: the NFL app on tablet and nfl.com on p.c.s. For anyone interested in helping the league stanch the bleeding by tuning in — whether due to tradition, team loyalty, or a need to placate grumpy relatives — to what is a largely underwhelming slate of Thanksgiving games, here’s how to watch on any of your devices, plus an overview of the matchups. Louis, though fans are yet to care). If people simply watched their games. Let’s hope that gets resolved before kickoff, even if just temporarily, since it’s unfathomable that anyone not be able to see the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. If Minnesota can prevail in this Thanksgiving afternoon tilt, they will effectively lock up the NFL North — but the Lions won the first matchup between these two teams earlier in the year, and that was on the road in Minneapolis. Vikings @ Lions (12:30 PM ET; FOX)In recent years this game would typically help determine the runner-up in the NFC North, but Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers does not at present time have an intact collarbone, so his perennially front-running team has faded into oblivion. During what has been an exceedingly difficult season for the league — what with divisive player protests during the national anthem, a high-profile power struggle between Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, and season-ending injuries to some of the game’s biggest stars — arguably its (and Papa John’s) biggest frustration is that TV ratings continue to trend downward.

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Gayle King Tells Stephen Colbert ‘It’s Painful’ To Talk About Charlie Rose

Charlie and I, we’ve worked together, been friends, but when you think about the anguish of those women, despite the friendship, you still have to report the news.”

Tags: “I was very proud of CBS news and what you, and Norah [O’Donnell] and everyone at CBS This Morning did, covering the allegations against Charlie Rose as news, objectively and fully,” Colbert said. However, with the recent onslaught of sexual-harassment allegations against Charlie Rose, King’s CBS This Morning co-anchor, Oprah’s bestie had to put holiday shopping on hold to address the serious issue — one that she has been covering on-air as a television journalist. On Tuesday’s episode of The Late Show, we, the American people, were supposed to bask in the glory of “Oprah’s Favorite Things” as detailed by Gayle King. She added, “To be honest with you, it still isn’t easy, it’s still very painful, it’s still very hurtful. Colbert commended King’s work on the subject. “Yeah, but that’s what you have to do,” King responded.

The CW’s Dynasty Knows Exactly What It Is

Jeff Colby, played by John James in the original, is portrayed here by Sam Adegoke (Searching for Neverland); stray bits of dialogue (in particular a reference to him being a “scholarship kid” in school) hint that he’s a self-made billionaire. The original Dynasty, which aired on ABC from 1981 to 1989, was a blatant knockoff of CBS’s then-hit prime-time soap Dallas, set in a similarly glitzy world of high-rolling oil barons and their scheming kids, spouses, lovers, and employees. Victim No. Fallon expects that she’ll be named chief operating officer because, damn it, she’s earned it, but then she finds out that her main rival for that job, Carrington Atlantic executive Cristal Flores (Nathalie Kelley of The Vampire Diaries), has been sleeping with her dad for quite some time and plans to marry him. Photo: Mark Hill/The CW

The CW’s version of the 1980s touchstone Dynasty is not your mother’s or father’s soap. As a result, although the new Dallas gave juicy roles to older castmembers from the original series (including the once and future J.R. There are other major nonwhite characters who turn out to be important as well, though I’m reluctant to say how; for better or worse, this is a pilot that waits to play its best cards until the last act to compel you to DVR Dynasty and make a habit of it. Cristal is simultaneously having an affair with the company’s chief field engineer, Matthew Blaisdel (Nick Wechsler), whose wife, Claudia (Brianna Brown), is suffering from early-onset dementia. Steven suspects that dad is pimping him out, and of course he’s right, though there are more angles to the deal that he’ll discover in due time. (A nice touch: In the Blaisdel house, the kitchen cupboards are labeled to remind Claudia of what’s in each one.)

The new incarnation of Blake Carrington is less domineering than John Forsythe’s version in the original: He’s a deceptively bland old-money WASP type who has a gift for seeming as if he’s doing people favors when he’s really just tricking them into carrying out his own agenda, which is usually about filthy lucre. 1 is his son Steven (James Mackay), who doubles as Fallon’s confidant. The worst thing you can say about this show is that it knows exactly what it is; the best thing you can say about it is that it goes above and beyond that realization. Both Fallon’s fondness for Jeff and her secret affair with her African-American limo driver and private dirt-digger, Robert Christopher Riley’s Culhane, are presented partly as acts of rebellion against her upbringing. It started out trying to be more sophisticated and politically engaged than Dallas, but after sluggish first-season ratings, it was retooled as a breathlessly paced, aggressively trashy melodrama, anchored to a couple of high-powered female answers to Dallas’s charismatic antihero J.R. Although this is a very white, straight show, it’s aware of whiteness and straightness in ways that the original never was. Ewing: first Joan Collins’s Alexis Carrington, then Diahann Carroll’s Dominique Deveraux. Intriguingly, this Dynasty initially plays like a merger of the original’s Dallas-with-a-college-degree first season and its subsequent years of jet-propelled sleaze. Related
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Tags: One of the best moments in the pilot is when he learns that somebody stole a wad of $100 bills from his pants pocket. This was not just inevitable, but advisable: Multicultural, LGBTQ-friendly, and vocally uneasy about the same luxuries it serves up as eye candy, the show feels very of-the-moment; it even starts with a narrated montage about the idea of family dynasties, kicking off with news footage of the Trumps. All of Schwartz and Savage’s familiar hallmarks are present in this new show, including rapid-fire and gleefully ridiculous plotting, fast cutting, arch one-liners, and conspicuous displays of wealth: One camera move early in the pilot, gliding toward Carrington Atlantic energy company executive Fallon Carrington (Elizabeth Gillies of Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll) as she kicks back on a corporate jet while snarling exposition into a phone, is composed so that we pay equal attention to the content of her dialogue and the Christian Louboutin Ferme Rouge pumps on her feet. He nearly laughs as he admits he never noticed the theft. It has hints of wanting to build on one of TV’s biggest soapy fortunes, rather than leech off it like a trust-fund brat. I’ll be vague in describing the setup, because the most entertaining thing about this pilot is how it sets up a particular configuration of characters that you assume will carry you into the second episode, then rearranges them in the last 15 minutes. This new soap about the super-rich Carrington family of Denver, Colorado, is overseen by showrunner Sallie Patrick (Revenge) and executive producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, who built their own TV mini-empire with shows like Gossip Girl and The O.C., youth-oriented versions of the prime-time soaps they consumed as ’80s kids. Which isn’t to say that it shies away from wealth porn: There’s plenty of that on display, from the establishing shots of the Carrington family compound, which suggests a new-money McMansion answer to an East Coast blue blood’s estate, to the pastries, Champagne, and luxury gowns that’ll either get showcased in loving closeups or destroyed in a catfight, depending on how things go. Only a person who has never had to worry about money could be so cavalier about losing it. Besides a Latina Cristal and a proudly gay Steven (prime-time’s first gay major character in a drama on the original series, though a self-loathing one who married a woman for a while), this Dynasty gives us an African-American rival family for the Carringtons, the Colbys (who were white in the original show, and eventually the stars of their own spinoff). The best character so far is Steven, whose conflicted attitude toward his own privilege frequently shades over into self-criticism. He even sunk millions of dollars of his own money into thwarting his dad’s attempt to drill on Native American land (a nod to the Standing Rock protest, which is still ongoing). He knows all of this luxury has warped his mind, but he can’t give it up. Steven is estranged from his dad by virtue of being openly gay and a left-leaning environmental activist who opposes fracking, an increasingly important profit center for the Carrington family business. This Dynasty starts all over, giving us characters with the same names (in some cases subtly changed, to account for differences in gender or ethnicity) and diving feet-first into the whirlpool of double-crosses and grand displays of outrage, jealousy, and wounded pride. Dad lures his boy back into the fold by telling him that he wants Carrington Atlantic to transition into environmentally friendly energy sources, and then assigns him to meet with the boss of a wind power firm, an older gay man with boundary issues. The CW’s Dynasty doesn’t bother trying to continue and update the original show’s labyrinthine plotting, perhaps wisely so. The inclusion of gay and nonwhite characters ensures that, even when the show is congratulating itself for being self-aware, it’s at least putting its money where its mouth is. Ewing, Larry Hagman, who died in 2012), it also set up comparisons between the relative charisma of new and established characters that distracted from the story. The gist: Fallon, the narrator with the red-and-leopard-print Louboutins, is the head of acquisitions for Carrington Atlantic, the energy company that was founded by her grandfather and handed down to her dad, Blake Carrington (Grant Show of Melrose Place). A few years ago, TNT tried to update Dallas by appealing simultaneously to devotees of the CBS original and newcomers who never watched it and consequently didn’t care how faithful it was.

Little Big Town – Free (The Breaker Album)

[Verse 1]
Magnavox in the living room
CBS and NBC
Closed on 10 in the backyard
Hockey game in the street
Deck of cards in the kitchen
Cool breeze from our screen door
Grandma reading love letters Grandpa wrote her in the war

[Chorus]
Free
All those memories, free
Didn’t cost us anything
All the shiny cars, perfect yards, chasing store bought dreams
We worked so hard to have it all, when all the things we want are free

[Verse 2]
Got your accent from your home town
Sense of humor from your dad
Get your green eyes from your mother
God knows you can’t buy that
They’ll charge you for a six pack
But your friends are always there
A few extra bucks in the offer plate
Even though you can’t buy a prayer

[Chorus]
Free
All those memories, free
Didn’t cost us anything
All the shiny cars, perfect yards, chasing store bought dreams
We worked so hard to have it all, when all the things we want are free

[Chorus]
Free
All those memories, free
Didn’t cost us anything
All the shiny cars, perfect yards, chasing store bought dreams
We worked so hard to have it all, when all the things we want are free

[Outro]
Free
Free

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