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Thursday, August 9, 2018

TV/STREAMING . . .

Tamron Hall developing daytime talk show for ABC. Tamron Hall, the former "Today" and MSNBC anchor, has found a new home at a rival. Hall has entered into an agreement with Disney/ABC to develop and create a syndicated daytime talk show, which she will host. A show could be ready in time for 2019. "I'm so thrilled to partner with Disney/ABC to create a daytime television show that's unconventional, fun, intimate and sometimes even raw," said Hall, in a prepared statement. "My new partners appreciate and respect the relationship I've built with my audience and know that if we create television worth watching, they'll join us for the ride. I'm so grateful and excited for this next chapter. The landing makes the leap of faith so worth it!" Hall had previously been working to develop a talk show in a deal with Weinstein Television. Disney/ABC has demonstrated new interest in daytime programming in recent months, canceling "The Chew" in early afternoons and preparing to replace it with a new hour of "GMA Day," an extension of "Good Morning America" that will be co-hosted by Michael Strahan and Sara Haines. Disney/ABC has a history of backing big syndicated series, Its stations served as a primary roost, for Oprah Winfrey's legendary daily talk show. The studio in 2014 launched a syndicated series with former "Today" show host and "CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric. "We look forward to developing a daily destination showcasing her spirit, boundless enthusiasm and powerful ability to engage with viewers," said William Burton, senior vice president, ABC Daytime, in a statement. Hall may be best known as the co-anchor of the 9 a.m. hour of "Today," part of a freewheeling discussion format that also involved Willie Geist, Al Roker and Natalie Morales. The format of the show was changed to accommodate the launch of "Megyn Kelly Today." Hall opted to leave NBC News in February of 2017 after ten years working on MSNBC and with NBC News. She has recently been the host of "Deadline: Crime with Tamron Hall" on Investigation Discovery, a series now in its fifth season. A sixth season is currently in production. Prior to joining MSNBC in July 2007, Hall spent 10 years at WFLD in Chicago, where she held a number of positions including general assignment reporter, consumer reporter and host of the three-hour "Fox News in the Morning" program. She also anchored the weekday mornings and served as a noon anchor. (PageSix)

Jerry O'Connell apologizes for name of new Bravo show. Jerry O'Connell has apologized for the decision to name his new Bravo show "Real Men Watch Bravo." After the title was widely slammed for being homophobic and sexist, O'Connell said, "There will be no more mention of gender in that title or anything; we're really sorry about that. We really heard everyone's issues with it, and we made sure to change it." Many reality fans tweeted at the network and at Andy Cohen about the name, which has been renamed "Play by Play." A typical message reads, "Real men watch Bravo -- unlike all of those f?-?-?-?ots, sissies and pooftahs who watched it before and made it anything." O'Connell said, during a Q&A at AOL's Build series, "We want to apologize for that title; we didn't think it was as insensitive .?.?. we heard everyone's voices when we came out with that title. We don't want anyone to feel excluded in any way." Bravo had previously released a statement saying: "Real Bravo executives love real feedback. Bravo has always prided itself on being inclusive. This show is a tongue-in-cheek celebration of all things Bravo featuring a diverse range of perspectives. The original title was not meant to be exclusionary." (PageSix)

Prepare Yourselves, Love Island Is Getting a US Version on CBS. Love Island is coming to the United States. CBS has acquired the rights to the international hit reality series. A new series is set to be produced with ITV Entertainment and CBS, Sharon Vuong, senior vice president of alternative programming at CBS, said. "Love Island has been a massive success overseas," Vuong said in a statement. "It's currently seen, or about to premiere in several European countries as well as Australia, and we're thrilled that ITV has partnered with us to bring their most successful show to American television. Having seen the reaction of audiences 'across the pond' and around the world to this most recent season, we expect American viewers will be captivated by this engaging format. Additionally, Love Island is more than a pop sensation; this series has generated compelling 'sociological think pieces' in major publications here and abroad." The reality series features a group of single "islanders" in a tropical location. They're looking for romance, but what usually happens on reality shows? Drama! There are "challenges and dramatic twists" with the contestants -- or Islanders -- with alliances and such as the game is played. Viewers have a role in developing events on screen and crown the winning couple who will receive a cash prize. Love Island season four was the most-watched program ever on UK's ITV2 network. Almost half of the adult viewers watching the most recent season were under 34. "As a format, Love Island breaks the mold with high levels of viewer interactivity and participation that influence the content of the show in a way that's extremely addictive," David George, CEO of ITV America, said in a statement. "It's a cultural phenomenon that builds anticipation with every episode and creates appointment viewing -- a pretty hard thing to do in today's TV landscape. We're ecstatic the show has found a home at CBS and look forward to working collaboratively to engage its millions of viewers." (Eonline)

''Rockstar'' Shannon Ford Saves Pregnant BFF Taylor Monaco From Tequila Shots on Very Cavallari. Shannon Ford is one amazing best friend. On Sunday's all-new episode of Very Cavallari, the Uncommon James social media director is on a mission to protect best friend Taylor Monaco's pregnancy secret. However, this becomes more difficult when the ladies are woken up to their coworkers demanding that they take morning shots of tequila! "I just woke up, I was forced to brush my teeth with a shot of tequila basically and then, in my groggy woken-up brain, I realized that if I have to take this shot so does Taylor," Kristin Cavallari's employee admits in a confessional. And Shannon's instincts are correct, as the gang moves from room to room with tequila shots in hand. In an attempt to "save [Taylor] and her baby," Shannon rushes to her gal pal's bedside. "Can I at least go upstairs first?" a flustered Taylor asks the group. After the coworkers utter a resounding "no," the pregnant model reluctantly picks up a full shot. Thankfully, Shannon swoops into the room just in time and snags the alcohol out of Taylor's hand. "I just really want to party," Shannon adds after throwing back the shot. "You're a rockstar, c'mon," Taylor further notes while fist-bumping her bestie later on. Nothing beats a best friend, right? (Eonline)

Khloe Kardashian Calls Out Momager Kris Jenner for "Art Shaming" Her on KUWTK: "It's Mean." It's not okay to art shame... just ask Khloe Kardashian! In a clip from Sunday's all-new Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Kris Jenner lays into the Revenge Body host for not being more knowledgeable about art. Understandably, this doesn't sit well with Khloe, especially since her mom only just became an art fan in recent years. "You need to go to like an art class," Kris lectures Khloe after the latter asks about a piece in the momager's office. "Just because I'm not as knowledgeable as you, you shouldn't turn your nose up," Kris' daughter retorts. "You should be like, 'Well Khloe, Jeff Koons is... ' instead of making me feel less than and uneducated." Furthermore, Kris "has not known about art for years and years, she's just learning about art." Although Khloe thinks it's "great" that Kris has gotten into art, she doesn't appreciate her mother's tone. "You can't art shame people just because they know less than you," Khloe notes in a confessional. "I'm your f--king daughter and you're art shaming me and it's mean." Ironically, Kris isn't even certain of the artist's name as she mispronounces Jeff's surname during the conversation. "Sorry, it's a Jeff Koons," the mother of six admits. "K-O-O-N-S." "You didn't even know," an irritated Khloe snaps back. Brand new episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians Sunday at 9 p.m., on E! (Eonline)

Ruby Rose will make history by playing the first-ever lesbian Batwoman in an epic new TV series Major. Stellar actress and all-round kween, Ruby Rose, is about to making history in Hollywood. The star has been cast to play Batwoman in an upcoming TV series - and if that wasn't enough, she'll play the first lesbian superhero in a lead role and the first-ever lesbian superhero title DC character. Major. The 32-year-old Orange Is The New Black star took to Instagram to share the news, writing: "The Bat is out of the bag and I am beyond thrilled and honored. "I'm also an emotional wreck. because this is a childhood dream. This is something I would have died to have seen on TV when I was a young member of the LGBT community who never felt represented on tv and felt alone and different. "Thank you everyone. Thank you, god." The new show, which is a standalone series about Batwoman, will air in the US in 2019 on The CW network in December and centres around lead character, Rose's Kate Kane. We can't wait. Ruby has spoken candidly about her gender fluidity in the past, telling ELLE: "Gender fluidity is not really feeling like you're at one end of the spectrum or the other. "For the most part, I definitely don't identify as any gender. I'm not a guy; I don't really feel like a woman, but obviously I was born one. So, I'm somewhere in the middle, which in my perfect imagination is like having the best of both sexes. I have a lot of characteristics that would normally be present in a guy and then less that would be present in a woman. But then sometimes I'll put on a skirt like today." (British Glamour)

'New Girl' Creator Liz Meriwether Extends 20th TV Overall Deal. The news comes as the writer-producer has a pilot in contention at Fox and as the studio will soon be a Disney brand. Liz Meriwether is staying put at 20th Century Fox TV. The New Girl creator has inked a one-year extension of her overall deal with the studio behind her recently concluded Fox comedy New Girl. Under the new deal, Meriwether will continue to create and develop new projects for the studio, which will soon become a Disney-owned brand as the network and studio split. Meriwether developed multiple projects this past season, with one -- ABC's Single Parents, starring Taran Killam, Leighton Meester and Brad Garrett -- picked up to series. The comedy Daddy Issues, starring Erin Foster and Don Johnson, was passed over, while Bless This Mess was ordered for off-cycle consideration. Lake Bell (who co-writes and directs), Dax Shepard (who just signed on to host a game show on Fox) and Ed Begley Jr. star in the single-camera comedy about a newlywed couple who move from New York to Nebraska to live a simpler life. It remains in consideration for midseason. "20th gave me my first job before I even owned Final Draft, and they've been an incredibly supportive home for me as an artist for almost a decade," Meriwether said Tuesday in a statement. "I'm thankful I get to continue making television with them -- I wouldn't want to be on conference calls with anyone else." Meriwether joins a roster of writers and producers who, amid the Disney deal, have chosen to renew deals with 20th TV including Lee Daniels (Empire), Tim Minear (911) and Kurt Sutter (Mayans MC), among others. "Liz is the greatest, and we all hope she will stay at this studio forever," said 20th TV president of creative affairs Jonnie Davis. "She's a spectacular talent and an incredibly special person." Meriwether is repped by WME and McKuin Frankel. (Hollywood Reporter)

Mira Sorvino Says 'Condor' "Challenges" Viewers to Consider U.S. Government's Mutability. The star of the AT&T original series adds that the show reveals "how world history is shaped by the agendas of a few people." The television series Condor is a remake of two titles from the '70s: Sydney Pollack's 1975 political thriller Three Days of Condor and the 1974 novel it was based on, Six Days of Condor. Still, according to a star of the AT&T original series, Mira Sorvino, the story feels especially "relevant" to our society today. I think the writers did a super admirable job," Sorvino tells The Hollywood Reporter In Studio. "I think they made it so relevant because what it highlights for me is the fact that we may assume, as Americans, that all of our governmental structures are kind of these stable entities that can survive anyone who passes through them.... This show says, 'Uh-uh-uh,' lifts the curtain, looks into the intelligence agencies and see how world history is shaped by the agendas of a few people." Condor centers on Joe Turner (Max Irons), a young CIA employee who finds his entire office has been murdered by professional killers. The slaying forces him into battle with some of the most dangerous assets of the military industrial complex. Sorvino stars as Marty Frost in the 10-episode series, a "complex" investigator who isn't as tough as she appears. "I would say that on the outside she's tough because she has to be. She's had to make herself into this take-no-prisoners, ballsy person. But inside, she's really vulnerable," Sorvino says. "She's a complex person," she adds. "Everybody has agendas, these very powerful agendas. For her, I feel like hers is almost all-consuming. It really eats her up inside." The actress also discussed how the television series "challenges" its audience and takes it along for this "tremendous ride." "It challenges you to think about our culture, our society, and ourselves. Like...how if we just sit by and do nothing, these institutions that I said before are not really immutable, are not really unchangeable, are being morphed or transmogrified into something that we never expected they could even become, and therefore becom[e] instruments of an agenda that perhaps we never signed up for as citizens." Condor airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on AT&T's Audience Network. (Hollywood Reporter)

CBS Faces Credibility Questions Over Leslie Moonves Investigation. The company's chosen law firms have strong ties to the network, leading some to question why it didn't pursue a more independent inquiry: "Are they really just being advocates?" Five days after several women accused CBS chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves of sexual misconduct in a July 27 New Yorker expose, the company's board of directors issued a near-midnight press release saying it had hired two prestigious New York law firms to lead an internal investigation. The announcement offered the immediate impression that the company is taking seriously the Moonves claims, as well as allegations against 60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager of creating a hostile work environment at CBS ?News. But some corporate governance and employment ?law experts already are questioning the integrity of the probe -- criticisms that have implications for other workplace ?misconduct investigations currently playing out in entertainment and media. Legal insiders note the CBS investigation is being handled by two highly respected female attorneys -- former SEC chairman Mary Jo White at Debevoise & Plimpton and ex-federal prosecutor Nancy Kestenbaum ?at Covington & Burling -- but both firms have represented CBS Corp. in several important matters while Moonves was in charge. Debevoise & Plimpton advocated for CBS in its copyright case against streamer Aereo (which went to the Supreme Court in 2014), while Covington & Burling has done work for CBS on at least a half-dozen cases, including big appeals over curse words on TV and merger-review disclosures. Why does this matter? Not all investigations are meant to let the truth determine what happens next. The attorneys might feel pressure to keep a longtime client happy (and keep the firms' six-figure bills paid), which a firm without a history of being partial to the company's interests might not feel. "The law firms conducting these studies are often ?looking to discern what outcome their clients really want," says John Coffee Jr., the director of Columbia Law School's Center on Corporate Governance. "This may prove to be a tame investigation." Initial moves have raised some eyebrows. The CBS board, which formed a special committee to oversee the investigation, declined to suspend Moonves, 68, ?during the probe. There have been instances in the recent past where an executive continued to actively serve during a sexual harassment investigation -- ?former Los Angeles Times CEO Ross Levinsohn, for instance. But from American Apparel founder Dov Charney to The Walking Dead host Chris Hardwick, suspension pending an investigation is more typical. Those who push ?for suspension say it's not about punishment -- -- it's an issue of loyalty. With Moonves continuing to lead the company, might his subordinates -- many of whom have been by his side for decades -- become extra-reluctant to ?be forthright with investigators? "That CBS did not suspend him hints that they want an outcome where he can remain in office," Coffee adds. "You are less likely to make accusations against someone who is still very much in power." The announcement of the investigation also contained a subtle but ?important omission. In its statement, CBS made no representation that the attorneys investigating Moonves would be "independent." Instead, CBS signaled that its board was "committed to acting in the best interest of the company and its shareholders." Why this ?is important requires appreciation of the larger business and legal context. Moonves has been widely hailed as one of the media industry's most talented executives. He's also one of the most highly compensated. Under the terms of his contract, he's due somewhere between $200 million and $300 million in salary, bonuses and stock rewards over the next four years. But he would lose much of this pay if he's fired "for cause." Should Moonves be denied that money, he could sue CBS for wrongful termination. And thus, the decision to put the probe in ?the hands of law firms with a history of representing CBS instead of appointing aggressive investigators who could better profess neutrality becomes relevant. "The closer CBS is to the investigation, the more likely Moonves' attorneys could argue the investigation was unfair since CBS, as the investigator, has a vested stake in the outcome," says Michael McCann, the director of the Sports and Entertainment Law Institute at the ?University of New Hampshire School of Law. Coming down hard on Moonves could save the company hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation. But the larger concern raised by potentially partial investigators is that CBS would go too easy on Moonves either because the company's lawyers would want to avoid a wrongful termination lawsuit or just to protect a valued executive. Adding ?to the drama: CBS is headed toward a huge trial with controlling shareholder Shari Redstone. Moonves' absence could hurt the board's resolve in fighting for control, and if the probe clears Moonves and he remains at CBS but Redstone wins control anyway, would she accept the results of the investigation? A spokesperson for CBS says the board retained Debevoise & Plimpton and Covington & Burling "with full knowledge of the minor past dealings with the company." Still, why isn't CBS interested in at least the appearance of bias? It's not too far-fetched ?to analogize the situation to Donald Trump-connected lawyers Michael Cohen and Marc Kasowitz leading the investigation into Russian electoral interference instead of Robert Mueller. Would anyone have faith in the outcome? There were certainly other options for CBS, including a host of specialty law firms who handle high-profile investigations. Or CBS could have gotten creative. For instance, see the announcement from Ohio State University on Aug. 2 that it was convening ?an "independent board and working group," including two former prosecutors with no connection to the school, to probe how football coach Urban Meyer responded ?to allegations of domestic violence against a former assistant coach. One possible explanation why CBS chose to keep the probe as close to the vest as possible is that the company is particularly interested in maintaining secrecy around who its investigators ?interview and what witnesses say about Moonves. The goal is less press attention, of course, but it's likely that CBS also wants to ?claim that the fruits of the investigation are privileged as "attorney work product." That means that much of what occurs during the ?investigation likely would remain confidential even if someone -- such as shareholders alleging ?corporate malfeasance or Moonves accusers claiming retaliation -- sues for damages. The risks ?of disclosures often steer companies away from outside investigators. Some companies (like NBCUniversal when allegations against Today host Matt Lauer surfaced) don't even hire outside firms. Meanwhile, as the probe gears up, CBS executives and talent increasingly are being drawn into the corporate drama. Moonves was the elephant in the room Aug. 5 and 6 at the presentations by CBS and sister network Showtime during the Television Critics Association tour, with both CBS' Kelly Kahl and Showtime's David Nevins walking an awkward line between saying nothing and showing support for the investigation. Even as rumors persist that New Yorker reporter Ronan Farrow is working on another Moonves story, no other accusers had come forward to allege misconduct in the two weeks after the initial story. And while several current female CBS executives have voiced support for Moonves based on their own experiences, very few industry figures have spoken out about the CBS chief or his accusers, who include Illeana Douglas and Christine Peters. CBS isn't obligated to share the results of the Moonves probe, and the one being conducted by the Proskauer firm over Charlie Rose and CBS News has been folded into the larger Moonves and Fager inquiries. The Rose claims already are the subject of a lawsuit, suggesting CBS won't want to release much, if anything, about the results. But given the climate in Hollywood right now, many believe CBS will face enormous pressure to at least release the bottom-line results of its Rose findings and, eventually, the Moonves dossier, including his history with women in the workplace. "If they don't release the results, it will look like a whitewash," says Gregory Aldisert, a partner at Kinsella Weitzman in Los Angeles who has litigated corporate governance matters. But will the investigation -- whatever the results may be -- end lingering questions about Moonves' conduct? Given the structure of this probe and the unusual microscope it is under, that now appears doubtful. Aldisert says he had assumed the investigation would be a fair one given the sterling reputations of White and Kestenbaum. But when told that CBS isn't insisting its inquiry is meant to be an independent assessment of the allegations, Aldisert pauses and reconsiders. "If it's not clear, then it radically affects the credibility of the investigation," he says. "Are they really just being advocates?" (Hollywood Reporter)

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