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NBC Chief Bob Greenblatt Talks ‘SNL,’ ‘This Is Us’ With Chris Hardwick at Nab

56 minutes ago

NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt credits the digital virality of “Saturday Night Live” in part for the show’s current upswing.

“‘SNL’ is unique this year with the election — we know what happened there,” Greenblatt said Tuesday at the Nab Show in Las Vegas. “This show is as relevant as it’s ever been, talking about the political world that we live in. That stuff goes viral and goes crazy every single week [on digital]. And I really think one enhances the other. The ratings have never been stronger and the digital has never been bigger.”

Greenblatt appeared at Nab in a keynote conversation with Chris Hardwick, host of NBC’s “The Wall” and upcoming “The Awesome Show.” The 45-minute conversation focused on NBC’s efforts in digital and social media, touching on key programs such as “SNL,” “This Is Us,” and “The Voice.”

Asserting that NBC has leaned hard into digital and social media as promotional tools, Greenblatt »


- Daniel Holloway

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Fox News Hit With New Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

57 minutes ago

Eleven current and former Fox News employees have filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against Fox News. The class-action suit adds to the mounting troubles at the 21st Century Fox-owned cable news network.

The suit, filed in State Supreme Court in the Bronx, accuses Fox News of “abhorrent, intolerable, unlawful and hostile racial discrimination.” It expands on a complaint filed in March by Tichaona Brown and Tabrese Wright, two black women who previously worked in Fox News’ payroll department. The women claim that longtime company comptroller Judith Slater engaged in racist behavior that was routinely overlooked by Fox News executives.

Monica Douglas, a third Fox News employee, joined Brown and Wright’s lawsuit last month. She was fired by the cable channel in February.

Adasa Blanco, another Fox News employee, filed a separate lawsuit Tuesday against the network, Slater, and Fox News lawyer Dianne Brandi in federal court in the Southern District of New York.

The »


- Daniel Holloway

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Tribeca Review: ‘The Sinner,’ Starring Jessica Biel and Bill Pullman

1 hour ago

The murder at the beginning of “The Sinner” happens so suddenly that it at first seems like a dream. That’s partly because the first few minutes of the pilot before the murder are spent watching Cora (Jessica Biel), a suicidal young mother, move in and out of a dream state fueled by memories and visions and maybe prayer, too. At first, these visions are a little too gauzy for comfort — the wisps of Cora’s consciousness have a hackneyed, Lifetime quality that has more to do with a certain kind of television camerawork than it does with how mentally ill people really experience their disease.

But once Cora, motivated by unclear forces, pounces on a fellow beachgoer with a paring knife and stabs him to death — in sight of her husband, son, and dozens of others lounging on the lakeshore — “The Sinner” snaps into focus, leaving behind most of the gauziness for a whodunit where the »


- Sonia Saraiya

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TV News Roundup: Mark Consuelos Cast in ‘Riverdale’ Season 2 as Veronica’s Father

2 hours ago

In today’s roundup, Mark Consuelos has been cast as Veronica Lodge’s father in Season 2 of “Riverdale,” while Samantha Bee’s “Not the White House Correspondents Dinner” will stream on Twitter.

Casting

Mark Consuelos may be joining the the CW’s “Riverdale” cast for the show’s second season as Hiram Lodge, according to TV Line. Lodge, Veronica Lodge’s heretofore-unseen father, has been stuck in jail throughout the first season due to an embezzlement charge. Per the show’s official description, Lodge is described as a “a ruthless, handsome, charismatic businessman who is coming back to Riverdale after weathering a financial scandal that almost destroyed him. He is there to reconnect with his wife Hermione and, especially, his daughter Veronica, who is the apple of his eye.” Consuelos’ appearance in the show, however, is dependent on whether or not Fox’s baseball drama “Pitch,” on which Consuelos co-stars, is »


- Erin Nyren

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Fox News Sends Sensitivity-Training Memo to Freelancers, Contributors

4 hours ago

Just one week after the departure of top host Bill O’Reilly amid controversy over alleged sexual harassment, Fox News has asked contributors and freelancers to complete the company’s sensitivity-training program.

The memo, sent Tuesday by the cable channel’s new head of human resources, Kevin Lord, states that it is necessary for all “employees, contributors, and freelancers” to complete the one-hour program. “It is critical that everyone attends to ensure that we maintain a professional workplace,” Lord wrote.

The sensitivity-training program was initiated following the departure last year of former network chief Roger Ailes, who, like O’Reilly, faced allegations of sexual harassment put forward by multiple women. The memo sent Tuesday went to freelancers and contributors only. According to a Fox News spokesperson, 96% of the network’s employees have already completed the training program.

Lord was hired to lead Hr for the channel in December, five months after Ailes’ departure.

Fox News »


- Daniel Holloway

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‘Pretty Little Liars’: Marlene King Shares Audition Memories About the Five Stars

4 hours ago

Pretty Little Liars” will be going off the air for good after nine more episodes, but seven seasons ago, the Liars were just auditioning for the show that became a pop culture phenomenon and changed social media forever.

Last week, “Pll” creator Marlene King chatted with Variety’s TV podcast, Remote Controlled, about the final season and her decision to end the series. She also recalled auditioning the stars, sharing memories of the first time she met Lucy Hale, Ashley Benson, Shay Mitchell, Troian Bellisario, and Sasha Pieterse, who was just 12 years old.

Some fun facts: Benson came into her audition crying, Hale didn’t have to audition, and Mitchell was not the first choice for her character Emily.

Ashley Benson

I remember her coming in for her audition and she was in tears because she was on a show called “Eastwick” and she had just found out it was canceled, and »


- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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‘The Flash’ Star Tom Cavanagh Talks Directing This Week’s Episode

5 hours ago

The Flash” returns this week after a month-long hiatus with Barry (Grant Gustin) making a dangerous play to learn the identity of Savitar.

After an encounter with future villain Abra Kadabra (David Dastmalchian) — who not only knew a future version of Flash, but also who Savitar was — Barry decides the best way to learn more about the God of Speed is to head to the future himself. On top of all that, Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) has succumbed to her Killer Frost persona and is on the run. All of this is juggled by first-time “Flash” director, and series’ star, Tom Cavanagh.

Variety spoke with Cavanagh — who has played three separate versions of the same character across the show’s three seasons; currently H.R. Wells, and previously Harry Wells and Harrison Wells — about directing different versions of the main characters, how being behind the camera this time differed from his previous directing gigs, and »


- Jacob Bryant

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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: How the Creative Team Turned a Classic Novel Into a Modern-Day Thriller

6 hours ago

On a frigid February day in Toronto, the parka-clad crew of “The Handmaid’s Tale” is trying to keep the flowers from dying.

The outwardly demure Handmaid Offred (Elisabeth Moss), clad in her red robe and white hat, is visiting an outdoor market. The wind is knocking down parts of the set and the frosty environment is threatening to kill off the lilies, which are periodically sheltered in a warm van.

Moss, who is number one on the call sheet of the Hulu drama, has bought donuts for the cast and crew in an effort to lift spirits on this chilly Monday.

“I learned from Jon [Hamm] on ‘Mad Men’ that you do have a responsibility as number one to not only be professional, but to be as positive as you can,” Moss says. Hence the treats for the crew, most of whom had also worked all day Sunday.

It’s a big commitment to take on the »


- Maureen Ryan

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‘Into the Badlands’ Renewed for Season 3 by AMC

6 hours ago

AMC has renewed “Into the Badlands” for a third season.

The expanded 16-episode season is set to premiere in 2018. The renewal comes in the middle of the martial-arts drama’s second season, which is set to end May 21.

“‘Into the Badlands’ looks like nothing else on television, a literal high-wire act attracting passionate and dedicated fans by the millions,” said Charlie Collier, president of AMC, SundanceTV and AMC Studios. “Thanks to series creators and showrunners Al Gough and Miles Millar, the terrific cast, led by Daniel Wu, the amazing martial arts team guided by the incomparable Master Dee Dee and fight directors Stephen Fung and Andy Cheng, and everyone else involved who brings this thrill ride to the fans.”

Into the Badlands” is averaging 2.1 million viewers ages 25-54, according to Nielsen live-plus-three ratings, making it the fourth most-watched returning drama on cable in the demo. Those numbers are thanks in part to the significant lead-in that the »


- Daniel Holloway

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Tucker Carlson Matches Bill O’Reilly Ratings in New Fox News Time Slot

6 hours ago

Tucker Carlson’s 8 p.m. debut on Fox News on Monday night was good enough to come within striking distance of Bill O’Reilly’s last broadcast in the time slot on the network.

Carlson averaged 3.2 million total viewers in the hour, with 636,000 of those falling in the key adults 25-54 demographic. O’Reilly’s final broadcast on April 11 drew 3.6 million viewers with 634,000 in the demo. That means Carlson was down about 11% compared to O’Reilly in total viewers but was up slightly in the demo.

Compared to the final episode of “The Factor,” formerly “The O’Reilly Factor,” hosted by Greg Gutfeld on April 21, Carlson also improved in the time slot. Gutfeld drew 2.3 million viewers with 375,000 in the demo. That same night, Carlson drew 2.2 million viewers and 356,000 in the demo in his last outing at 9.

Carlson was also the number one cable news show in both metrics on Monday, and »


- Joe Otterson

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‘Powerless’ Pulled From NBC Schedule as DC Comedy Nears Cancellation

7 hours ago

It’s the end of the road for “Powerless” — well, almost the end of the road.

NBC has pulled the DC Comics comedy from the network’s schedule and has not yet determined where or when the final three episodes of the season will air, Variety has confirmed. While NBC is not deeming the series is officially cancelled, the writing is on the wall.

“Powerless” being yanked off air comes as network executives are determining which of their bubble shows will be cancelled or renewed for the 2017-2018 season.

More toc ome…

 

»


- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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With ‘Genius,’ National Geographic Channel Makes Big Play for Cable Primacy

7 hours ago

When Courteney Monroe joined National Geographic channel in 2012, the brand was in identity crisis.

National Geographic magazine — the yellow-bordered, perfect-bound monthly, famed for its prize-winning photographs and school-library ubiquity — was as serious-minded and mission-focused as ever. But its sibling U.S. cable network had gone rogue. A joint venture overseen by 21st Century Fox, the channel boasted a lineup of reality shows such as “Doomsday Preppers,” about people readying for the end of days, and “Rocket City Rednecks,” starring a group of Alabama Diy enthusiasts whose projects included a self-targeting anti-watermelon defense system.

Monroe was hired as the network’s chief marketing officer after spending 13 years at HBO. The product she was tasked with promoting was, by her own account, substandard.

“The content strategy that we were pursuing was discordant with the National Geographic brand,” Monroe says. “We were very focused on chasing the audiences of Discovery and History and other factual-entertainment channels in a volume game »


- Daniel Holloway

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Scott Baio Clarifies Erin Moran Comments, Says ‘Drug’ Quote Was Misreported

7 hours ago

Scott Baio is clarifying comments he made regarding the death of his former “Happy Days” costar, Erin Moran.

Moran died on Saturday. Baio appeared on “The Bernie & Sid” show Monday morning, saying he was “not completely shocked” by the news of her passing.

“I’m Ok, a little shocked but not completely shocked that this happened,” he said on the show. “My thing is, I feel bad because her whole life, she was troubled, could never find what made her happy and content. For me, you do drugs or drink, you’re gonna die. I’m sorry if that’s cold, but God gave you a brain, gave you the will to live and thrive and you gotta take care of yourself.”

Late Monday evening, Baio clarified those comments on his Facebook account, saying that at the time of the radio interview he didn’t know that Moran’s cause of death was due to stage IV »


- Lawrence Yee

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Fox Networks Group Launches Plus-Sized Streaming App in Asia

7 hours ago

Aiming to boost its share in a fast-growing entertainment market, Fox Networks Group (Fng) has launched a new plus-sized streaming app in Asia that combines the group’s linear channels with video-on-demand service for films, documentaries, TV series and live sports.

Designed from scratch, the Fox+ app allows users to watch shows at the same time as they are shown on Fng’s linear channels. Full seasons will be available, along with all previous seasons of back catalog. And as is de rigueur these days, the service is portable and works across multiple screens.

The app made its Asian debut in the Philippines on April 9. It is expected to launch next in small but wealthy, demanding and digitally savvy Singapore.

“Existing services may have the back shows, but not the new ones. Fox+ is about marrying the two together,” Fng’s Asia president Zubin Gandevia told Variety. He said that episodes will play at the same time »


- Patrick Frater

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DC Entertainment Launching Digital Service in 2018 With ‘Titans’ Series

7 hours ago

DC Entertainment is launching their own digital service, which will kick off in 2018 with a “Titans” series, Variety has learned.

The digital content hub is being set up with Warner Bros. Television. The platform will deliver “an immersive experience designed just for DC fans.”

In addition to greenlighting “Titans,” the digital service will also host Warner Bros. Animation’s “Young Justice: Outsiders,” the third season of “Young Justice,” which aired on Cartoon Network for its first two seasons.

The live-action “Titans” series “Titans” follows a group of young soon-to-be super heroes recruited from every corner of the DC Universe. The action-packed series revolves around Dick Grayson who emerges from the shadows to become the leader of a fearless band of new heroes, including Starfire, Raven and many others. The show will be written by Akiva Goldsman, Geoff Johns and Greg Berlanti, who will also executive produce with Sarah SchechterWeed Road Pictures »


- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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‘Bachelor’ Star Chris Soules Arrested for Leaving Scene of Deadly Car Crash

7 hours ago

The Bachelor” alum Chris Soules was arrested early Tuesday morning in Iowa following a deadly car crash, Variety has confirmed.

According to the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office, Soules, who starred on Season 19 of the hit ABC reality series, was charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident — a Class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Soules, 35, was not charged with driving under the influence, although TMZ obtained court documents that indicate he was in possession of alcoholic beverage containers at the time of the collision.

Soules reportedly rear-ended a tractor with his pickup truck near Aurora in Buchanan County on Monday night around 8:20 p.m. According to local outlet Kwwl, both vehicles, going southbound at the time of the crash, ended up in roadside ditches. Soules allegedly fled the scene on foot, leaving his truck behind. The person driving the tractor was rushed to the hospital, where »


- Maane Khatchatourian

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Harry Styles to Perform Week-Long Residency on ‘Late Late Show’

7 hours ago

Harry Styles will appear in a week-long residency on “The Late Late Show with James Corden” in May, CBS announced Tuesday.

From May 15-May 18, Styles will appear in each episode of the late-night series, during which he will perform a new song off his self-titled debut album each night and join Corden for various segments. Styles returns to “The Late Late Show” with a tattoo of the show’s logo on his arm that he received during his Dec. 3, 2015 appearance, when he lost a game of “Tattoo Roulette.”

Styles is a former member of One Direction, but recently ventured out as a solo artist. Earlier this month, he appeared on “Saturday Night Live,” where he performed in multiple sketches and played his new songs “Sign of the Times” and “Ever Since New York.” He has also ventured into dramatic acting, and will make his feature film debut in the Christopher Nolan World War II film “Dunkirk” in »


- Joe Otterson

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TV Ratings: ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Even Despite Surprise Elimination

8 hours ago

Dancing With the Stars” stayed about even in the overnight ratings compared to last week, even though this week’s episode saw a couple get eliminated despite a perfect score from the judges.

The episode drew a 1.7 rating in adults 18-49 and 10.3 million viewers, airing at 8 p.m. That was down just slightly from last week’s episode, which drew a 1.8 and 11.2 million viewers. It represented a drop of approximately 7% in the demo and 8% in total viewers week-to-week. Nevertheless, it was still the number one show of the night in total viewers and number two in the demo.

Immediately after “Dancing With the Stars,” a new episode of “Quantico” (0.6, 2.9 million) was up significantly in the demo from last week.

On NBC, “The Voice” (1.9, 9.3 million) was the top-rated show of the night in the demo. “Taken” (0.8, 4.6 million) followed at 10 p.m.

CBS aired only repeats.

For Fox, the spring premiere of “Gotham” (0.9, 2.9 million) returned down in both measures »


- Joe Otterson

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Peabody Awards News Winners Include CNN’s Syria Coverage

9 hours ago

The Peabody Awards board of jurors announced the winners in the news, public service, radio/podcast, and web categories on Tuesday. The selections rounds out the final 30 winners of this years awards.

Among the winners were CNN for their coverage of the war in Syria, specifically “Isis in Iraq and Syria,” “Undercover in Syria,” and “Battle for Mosul.” Other winners include the NPR  podcast “Wells Fargo Hurts Whistleblowers” and the Kntv report “Arrested at School: Criminalizing Classroom Misbehavior.”

Peabody Award winners and finalists will be celebrated at a gala event on May 20 in New York. The event will be taped for a television special to air on both PBS and Fusion networks on June 2 at 9 p.m/8c. Rashida Jones, a previous Peabody winner for “Parks and Recreation” and current star of “Angie Tribeca,” will serve as host.

Read the full list of news, public service, radio/podcast, and web winners below with descriptions by the board »


- Joe Otterson

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Vivendi Vows to Continue Expansion in Italy, Despite Setbacks

9 hours ago

Rome – French media conglomerate Vivendi on Tuesday vowed to forge ahead with its ambitions to make Italy a central plank of its strategy to create a southern European media powerhouse, despite regulatory setbacks from Italian authorities and a rancorous dispute with leading commercial broadcaster Mediaset.

During the company’s annual shareholders meeting in Paris, Vivendi Chief Executive Arnaud de Puyfountaine said that Vivendi’s investments in Mediaset and in Telcom Italia, Italy’s top telco, were “crucial” to building a “Latin media powerhouse” combining content creation and distribution.

“Our ambitions in Italy remain unvaried,” de Puyfountaine said. He dismissed concerns that a ruling by Italian media regulator Agcom, which ordered Vivendi last week to cut its stake in one of the two companies in order to comply with anti-trust laws, would be an impediment.

De Puyfontaine called Telecom Italia, in which Vivendi is the top shareholder with a 24% stake, “a long-term investment” and noted that it serves »


- Nick Vivarelli

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