TV/STREAMING . . .

'Friends' Stars, Jack Black Set for 'Celebrity Escape Room' Special at NBC. Ben Stiller and Adam Scott will also participate in the stunt, part of the network's annual Red Nose Day fundraiser. Jack Black will trap Friends stars Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow, along with Ben Stiller and Adam Scott, in an escape room for an NBC special. The hourlong Celebrity Escape Room will kick off the network's annual Red Nose Day fundraiser on May 21. It will be followed by a two-hour variety special/telethon that will raise money to combat childhood poverty. Stiller and Black are also executive producers of Celebrity Escape Room, which will have "Game Master" Black lock Cox, Kudrow, Scott and Stiller in an escape room. The four must then work together to decipher clues and solve puzzles to gain their freedom before the clock runs out. If they're stumped, they can ask the Game Master for three clues. Each room the quartet completes will earn money for Red Nose Day. "Kicking off with Ben Stiller's hilarious Celebrity Escape Room, NBC's Red Nose Day lineup is the perfect vehicle to help drive this year's fundraising efforts," NBC Entertainment chairman Paul Telegdy said Tuesday in a statement. "We are privileged to continue our support of this incredible cause in partnership with our amazing friends at Comic Relief US as we work together on behalf of children in need around the world." Added Comic Relief US CEO Allison Moore: "Through the power of laughter and entertainment, Red Nose Day serves as a galvanizing force, rallying Americans to come together to end child poverty. Together with our incredible partners and celebrity supporters, we are working to change the story for good for millions of children in the U.S. and around the world." Celebrity Escape Room will also serve as a mini-Friends reunion of Cox and Kudrow, along with Stiller, who did a memorable guest turn as a guy Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) dates in a 1997 episode. (The full cast of the classic sitcom will reunite for a lucrative HBO Max special later in the year.) Stiller and Black executive produce Celebrity Escape Room with Christine Taylor, Nicky Weinstock, Amiira Ruotola and Lee Metzger (The Voice). Universal Television Alternative Studio and Stiller's Red Hour Productions are producing the special. (Hollywood Reporter)

Netflix Launches "Because She Watched" to Celebrate International Women's Day. Netflix is home to some seriously powerful women, on screen and behind the scenes. Now the streaming giant is teaming up with the UN Women to celebrate the power of storytelling on International Women's Day. "Because She Watched" is a special collection of series, documentaries and films and was curated by 55 women in entertainment, including Millie Bobby Brown, Lana Condor, Janet Mock, Salma Hayek and Sophia Loren. "This collaboration is about taking on the challenge of telling women's stories and showing women in all their diversity. It's about making visible the invisible, and proving that only by fully representing and including women on screen, behind-the-camera and in our narratives overall, society will truly flourish," Anita Bhatia, deputy executive director of UN Women, said in a statement. Netflix content in the collection includes Scandal, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Hannah Gadsby's Nanette, Grace and Frankie, Orange Is the New Black, Unbelievable, Sex Education and Lionheart. "Having a world where everyone is truly represented is about true democracy. And truly seeing ourselves allows us to envision endless possibilities for ourselves and each other," Laverne Cox said in a statement. "Orange Is the New Black is the first project where I felt genuinely empowered as a woman thanks to the woman at the helm of the show, Jenji Kohan, and the many women directors, writers, producers, and crew members as well as the stories that centered diverse women in an unprecedented way. This show created a space and platform for me as a black openly trans woman that created space for other openly trans women of all races to be truly seen in the depth of our humanity." "TV and film have the power to reflect and shape popular culture, which is why we believe it's so important that more people see their lives reflected in storytelling", Dr. Stacy L. Smith, founder of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, said in a statement. "Our research has shown that inclusion behind the camera leads to greater inclusion on screen. We're encouraged that last year, 20 percent of the directors of Netflix original films were women and we are excited to celebrate these female creators on International Women's Day. There's still more to do to reach equality, but by recognizing female talent from around the world, we hope more women will feel encouraged to tell their stories, pushing that number even higher." Viewers can find the collection at Netflix.com/BecauseSheWatched or by searching "Because She Watched" on Netflix. (Eonline)

TV Ratings: Super Tuesday Brings Modest Broadcast Returns. Fox's 'The Resident' draws its biggest audience of the season opposite primary election coverage on ABC, CBS and Fox. News coverage of Super Tuesday primary voting didn't bring great returns to the broadcast networks in the early Nielsen numbers. With the caveat that ratings for live coverage will go up with time-zone adjustments, ABC, CBS and NBC didn't draw a very big audience for primary election returns in 14 states. The three networks averaged a combined 8.05 million viewers in primetime, pending updates. NBC had the best showing in the fast nationals, averaging 2.81 million viewers for a night that saw former Vice President Joe Biden come away with wins in nine of the 14 states (with two still to be decided). ABC averaged 2.72 million viewers and CBS 2.52 million, pending updates for all three. Cable news coverage will add significantly to that number when those ratings are released later in the day. This post will be updated with more complete ratings figures when they're available. Elsewhere, Fox's The Resident scored a season high in same-day total viewers (4.8 million) opposite election coverage and matched its best adults 18-49 with a 0.8. Empire began its final run of episodes with 2.46 million viewers and a 0.6 in the demo, down slightly from its last outing mid-December. Fox led the broadcast networks in the 18-49 demo with a 0.7 rating, edging NBC's 0.6 (pending updates for the latter). ABC was third with 0.5. CBS, Telemundo and Univision tied with 0.4. The CW averaged 0.2 with a pair of reruns. (Hollywood Reporter)

MSNBC won't bring Brian Williams back to primetime after Chris Matthews exit. Chris Matthews' retirement announcement Monday has thrown into sharp relief just how much of MSNBC's lineup is in flux, sources say. Tuesday afternoon, Page Six exclusively reported that Shepard Smith, Steve Kornacki and Joy Reid are jostling for Matthews' 7 p.m. weeknight slot amid a chaotic anchor reshuffling at MSNBC. Reid is said to be the favorite, while Brian Williams isn't even in the running. (The 7 o'clock slot will no longer be called "Hardball," as Matthews owns the name.) Former Fox News anchor Smith, who quit "Shepard Smith Reporting" in October, is plotting his return to TV and has been in talks with CNN and MSNBC execs. But a source close to the talks says Shep is less likely to take over Matthews' slot because "he wants a lot of money, and looks more suited to the afternoon, rather than 7." Plus, Shep prefers breaking news to commentary and analysis, which at 7 is key to kicking off MSNBC's evening lineup, the source added. Kornacki is a national political correspondent for NBC News, while Reid -- the host of MSNBC's popular weekend show "AM Joy" and a popular substitute for other MSNBC hosts -- is currently the most likely to take over at 7 p.m., according to TV insiders. But this won't be BriWi's prime-time redemption, even though he's a hit at 11 p.m., earning viewers' trust back after his 2015 "Lyin' Brian" scandal. Another insider said Williams is "happy and winning in the ratings at 11?p.m. If he was put at 7 to usher in prime time, he'd be judged very differently. The audience wants red meat at 7, not a news recap." NBC reps didn't comment. The drama belies a bigger problem at MSNBC involving almost the entire lineup. Chuck Todd was offered 9 a.m., but after months is no closer to a deal. Stephanie Ruhle hosts at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. If Todd switches, Ruhle could move to 3 p.m. to flex her financial expertise for the market close. NPR's Joshua Johnson was hired as an anchor months ago but has yet to land a slot, and Nicolle Wallace is said to have been offered a deal to extend her slot from 4 to 6? p.m. -- but she's still only on for an hour. Another insider said, "Nicolle would have been the obvious choice for 7, but she prefers starting earlier, at 4." (PageSix)

BBC just released the first teaser of new thriller, The Nest, and we can feel a TV addiction coming on. The latest TV show to fill the drama and thriller void has arrived. BBC has just revealed its first look at the five-part drama and thriller, The Nest, and we can feel a TV addiction coming on strong. The story centers around a wealthy couple, played by Line of Duty's Martin Compston and Peaky Blinders actress Sophie Rundle. Based in Glasgow, they seem quite satisfied with their life, aside from one thing - they've been trying to have a baby for years and haven't had much luck. As campaigners call for reforms to surrogacy laws, one woman reveals what it's really like to carry another lady's baby... and say goodbye We already have so many questions. Was this meeting planned on someone's part, will this partnership work out? "The Nest is an emotional thriller about love and money, and the price of being able to buy whatever you want," says the BBC in a statement released online. The writer and producer behind the show is led by BAFTA and RTS winning screenwriter Nicole Taylor who's behind the dramas The C Word and 3 Girls. "I am overjoyed to be filming in my hometown of Glasgow with a cast I have long dreamt of writing for. Martin, Sophie, Kate, Shirley, James, David... they've all been chatting away in my head for years as I've been writing (unbeknownst to them!) so I could not be more-proud that they have agreed to join The Nest and make these characters real," says Nicole. The Nest began filming last September, but there isn't a release date yet. We'll keep you posted with all the updates. (British Glamour)

PBS Scores $1.7 Million Win at Tavis Smiley Trial. The talk show host was accused of sexual misconduct in a rare test of morals clauses. PBS has prevailed on its claim that Tavis Smiley breached a morals clause. On Wednesday, a Washington, D.C., jury returned a verdict in favor of the public broadcaster and decided that the former late night talk show host should pay $1.7 million. In 2017, PBS suspended Smiley upon allegations of sexual misconduct. As the #MeToo movement gained steam, PBS wished to disassociate itself with a television personality accused of behaving inappropriately toward subordinates. The case then became a rare test of morals clauses. In the 100 years since Hollywood began inserting clauses into contracts that forbid talent from doing anything that would injure reputations, the subject of morals clauses has hardly ever been put to test before a jury. At trial, PBS presented more than half a dozen women who spoke how they were pressured into relationships or had become the victim of unwanted advances. Smiley insisted the relationships were consensual, and the jury had to consider whether the morals clauses covered the conduct alleged. Adding to the complexity of the case, D.C. Superior Court Judge Yvonne Williams previously ruled that Smiley's conduct dating years and even decades back was outside the scope of the contract. Nevertheless, the judge allowed the jury to hear from the women given claims that Smiley continued to have a sexual relationship with an executive producer on his show, publicly lied about a 2007 settlement agreement with a female subordinate and appeared on Facebook and ABC's Good Morning America to defend himself. On the witness stand, Smiley said the women's stories were filled with "lies." The jury also heard from a marketing expert who spoke about PBS' brand and how accusations against Smiley could tarnish the broadcaster's wholesome image. In response, Smiley suggested that it was he who had suffered repetitional harm from a rash judgment, insinuated that PBS leaked news about the suspension to the media, and brought up other individuals like Charlie Rose who had been associated with PBS and subject to sexual misconduct claims. Ultimately, PBS scored a big win, and it's a victory that may bolster morals clauses as a vehicle for companies to get out of contracts upon sexual misconduct claims. "We are pleased with the jury's decision," said PBS in a statement upon the verdict. "PBS expects our producing partners to provide a workplace where people feel safe and are treated with dignity and respect. It was important for us to ensure that the courageous women who came forward were able to share their stories and that we continue to uphold the values and standards of our organization." Smiley had no immediate comment. (Hollywood Reporter)

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