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Discovery Cancels Everest Jump In Wake Of Avalanche Deaths

17 hours ago

“In light of the overwhelming tragedy at Mt Everest and respect for the families of the fallen, Discovery Channel will not be going forward with Everest Jump Live,” the network said in a statement early Sunday afternoon, adding, ” Our thoughts and prayers go out to the whole Sherpa community.” Friday morning NBC News, whose Peacock Productions is producing Discovery’s Mount Everest live jump, had said  “the future of the production will be assessed at the appropriate time” after an avalanche occurred Thursday night — the deadliest disaster ever recorded at the peak. Saturday, the project’s star, Joby Ogwyn had tweeted that the project would continue, a charity would be set up “to take care of our fallen Sherpa and those who could fall in the future” and that his jump had taken on a larger meaning: Today is a brighter day. We are staying on the mountain to honor »

- LISA DE MORAES, TV Columnist

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Veteran Fox TV Executive Fired Over Fundraising Campaign For Relatives Of Missing Malaysia Plane Passengers

22 hours ago

Fox Cable Networks Group VP Standards and Practices Darlene Lieblich Tipton has been fired for using her company email address to organize a fundraising campaign to benefit relatives of passengers on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which went missing last month. “The conduct and communications at issue were not authorized by Fox and were in violation of company policy,” a spokesman said in a statement. “As soon as we became aware we took appropriate steps and, while we cannot discuss the particulars, we can tell you the employee is no longer with the company.” Tipton had been at Fox for 24 years, 11 at Fox Broadcasting and 13 at Fox cable. »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Update: Supreme Court Allows Feds To Argue In Aereo Case Next Week

19 April 2014 12:48 PM, PDT

Update, 12:48 Pm: Looks like three isn’t a crowd for the Supreme Court when it comes to the upcoming Aereo hearing. The high court has decided to let the Solicitor General’s office participate in the one-hour oral arguments session between Aereo and the broadcasters Tuesday in Washington D.C. “Motion of the Deputy Solicitor General for leave to participate in oral argument as amicus curiae and for divided argument Granted,” said the Scotus yesterday. The granting of the motion comes more than a month and a half after the federal government’s top legal office filed a brief supporting the broadcasters in their showdown with the Barry Diller-backed streaming service. That was followed by the Solicitor General’s office requesting the time to directly make its points. The broadcasters have given the federal lawyers 10 minutes of their time. Though the broadcasters have a couple of former Solicitors General on their team, »

- DOMINIC PATTEN

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Ratings Rat Race: ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ Falls, ‘Hannibal’ Surges, ’20/20′ Up As ABC Wins Demo For Friday

19 April 2014 9:58 AM, PDT

There was a lot cooking on primetime last night and Friday’s menu was a mix of the undercooked and the more-than-just-right. The second week of Season 6 of Fox’s Kitchen Nightmares traveled to the troubled Old Neighborhood Restaurant in Arvada, Co and to a Greek joint in Queens, NY, where the owner couple were in almost as much trouble as their establishment. Unfortunately for the two-hour reality show, the trouble didn’t stop there: the Gordon Ramsay series took a 17% dive from its 8 Pm (1.0/4) premiere April 11 and an 18% drop from its 9 Pm (0.9/3) broadcast last week. On the gastrological flipside, NBC’s resident cannibal was served a much-appreciated meal. The sometimes unsteady Hannibal (0.9/3) took a big bite of the ratings to garner a 29% rise over last week. With less competition in its 10 Pm time slot, that’s best that the thriller series has done in three weeks among adults 18-49. Additionally, »

- DOMINIC PATTEN

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Pilots 2014: More Early Buzz

18 April 2014 9:01 PM, PDT

We’re heading into the homestretch of pilot season as the broadcast networks are beginning to view and test the completed pilots, a process that will continue for about two weeks before the nets move on to making pickup and scheduling decisions. Based on buzz around town, here are the most talked-about pilots three weeks before the upfronts. Related: Pilots 2014: Early Buzz Edition Every year, there is at least one pilot that comes out of nowhere and surprises everyone. We may have that this season in ABC‘s multi-camera Cristela. It was not even supposed to be a pilot. Developed at 20th TV-based 21 Laps/Adelstein for more than a year, the semi-autobiographical project co-created by and starring rising Latina stand-up comedian Cristela Alonzo was sold to ABC last summer with significant penalty. But when pilot-pickup time came along, ABC quickly loaded on high-profile sitcoms, including the 20th TV-produced The Winklers, »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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Gwen Stefani In Talks To Take Christina Aguilera’s Chair On NBC’s ‘The Voice’

18 April 2014 7:50 PM, PDT

NBC will have two “new” judges for The Voice in the fall as Gwen Stefani is in talks to replace the pregnant Christina Aguilera as a coach for Cycle 7, which starts taping in June. According to informed sources, Stefani also had been in talks for a judge position on ABC’s Rising Star, the interactive singing competition that’s set to premiere June 22. And she has experience on these kinds of shows, having mentored on Fox’s American Idol. The No Doubt singer and fashion icon might have given fans at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival something of a Voice fall preview last week when she joined Pharrell Williams onstage for a take on her 2005 solo hit “Hollaback Girl.” NBC announced last month that Williams will join The Voice next season, replacing CeeLo Green, who had announced his departure in February. Related: Chris Martin Joins ‘The Voice’ As Show Makes A Format Change Williams, »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Bubble Watch 2014: Freshman ABC Comedy ‘Mixology’ Heating Up For Renewal

18 April 2014 5:22 PM, PDT

It has been a three-way race for renewal among three bubble ABC comedies: sophomore The Neighbors and freshmen Trophy Wife and Mixology, There seems to be some movement within the pack, with the youngest, midseason entry Mixology, gaining momentum. I hear the network and the studio already have put in place a leadership plan for next season, with creators Jon Lucas and Scott Moore set to take over the reins as showrunners from Ira Ungerleider, who will be leaving after running the series for its original 13-episode order. What’s more, in a sign of confidence to Lucas & Moore and their show, I hear ABC Studios is in negotiations with the duo for an overall deal. At the same time last year, ABC Studios inked an overall deal with Dan Fogelman, with his freshman comedy The Neighbors going on to clinch the only comedy renewal for ABC Studios a few weeks later. »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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Hot TV Trailer: HBO’s ‘The Normal Heart’

18 April 2014 5:12 PM, PDT

“To win a war, you have to start one.” This HBO telefilm arrives nearly three decades after Larry Kramer’s play premiered off-Broadway. Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parsons and Julia Roberts star in the adaptation directed by Ryan Murphy and scripted by Kramer. Set in NYC during the onset of the HIV/AIDS crisis of the early ’80s, The Normal Heart follows gay activists and their allies in the medical community as they try to expose the truth about the burgeoning epidemic. HBO already is looking into a sequel. The telepic, which co-stars Alfred Molina, Joe Mantello, Jonathan Groff, Denis O’Hare, Stephen Spinella, Corey Stoll, Finn Wittrock and Bd Wong, bows May 25 on the premium channel. Here’s the first full trailer: »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Deadline Big Media 81: Previewing The Aereo Arguments

18 April 2014 3:43 PM, PDT

In this week’s podcast, Deadline Executive Editor David Lieberman and host David Bloom preview what could be a very big day in the history of broadcasting and technology, as the Supreme Court hears legal arguments Monday about Aereo and its business model. The Davids talk about what’s at stake and how it might play out, where broadcasters might go if they lose and whether a win will turn the broadcasting business upside down. They also look over that very messy, and pricey Disney acquisition of online video powerhouse Maker Studios, and examine why Espn, pay-tv’s most valuable brand, felt compelled to pitch investors that it’s just fine despite competition, cord-cutting and other existential challenges. Listen to the podcast in your choice of audio formats here: Deadline Big Media podcast 81 (.MP3 version) Deadline Big Media podcast 81 (.M4A version) The .M4A version of this podcast is »

- ERIK PEDERSEN

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Ryan Seacrest Nears Deal To Continue On ‘American Idol’, Likely To Stay In NBCU Fold

18 April 2014 3:00 PM, PDT

Ryan Seacrest will split his allegiances on May 1 when Fox‘s American Idol, which he hosts, airs against NBC‘s iHeartRadio Music Awards, which his company produces with Clear Channel. The programs involve all three of Seacrest’s major employers: Fox, where he has been making $15 million a year hosting Idol; NBCUniversal, where he has a wide-ranging deal spanning Today, the Olympics and E!; and Clear Channel, where he has his radio show and has been involved in the iHeartRadio franchise as host and producer. Two of the three deals — the Fox and NBCU ones — are coming up in the next few weeks, while the Clear Channel radio pact has another year on it. It seems neither Fox nor NBC has objections to Seacrest promoting programs that compete against each other as both companies are looking to extend their relationship with him. Seacrest is near a deal with Fox to continue on Idol, »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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‘Mad Men’ Debut Jumps With Live+3-Day Viewing

18 April 2014 1:45 PM, PDT

The return of Mad Men for the first part of Season 7 on Sunday clocked 3.7 million viewers when Live+3 viewing stats are added in – a 62% jump from the previously reported 2.3 million for Live+Same Day. That’s good news for AMC, given those Live+Sd stats had been the acclaimed drama series’ lowest season premiere since 2008’s Season 2. Related: ‘Mad Men’s’ Season 7 Big Hollywood Premiere Buzz Mad Men is one of TV’s most DVR’d series. In key demos, for instance – 18-49 and 25-54 – Sunday’s premiere telecast of the seventh-season starter bagged even bigger gains when delayed viewing through three days was factored in. In 18-49, the tally popped to 1.8 million viewers, up 74% from the initially reported ratings. In 25-54, Mad Men climbed 73%, to 1.9 million. The period drama’s return is still, however, down compared to its Season 6 opener on April 7, 2013, which snagged 4.5 million overall viewers, 2.1 million 18- »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Michelle Obama Books Cameo In Military-Themed ‘Nashville’ Episode

18 April 2014 1:14 PM, PDT

First Lady Michelle Obama will play herself in a cameo appearance on ABC‘s country music drama Nashville on May 7, an episode titled “All Or Nothing With Me” that is set at the Fort Campbell Army base. This comes a couple months after she was set for a cameo on the season finale of Parks And Recreation on April 24, that appearance to promote her “Let’s Move” program targeting child obesity. Aside from numerous late-night appearances and docu-series, Obama has appeared in only a couple  scripted series including Sesame Street in 2009 and in a cameo on Nickelodeon’s iCarly in 2012. Obama taped the iCarly appearance in June 2011 while in La to promote a series of PSAs targeting her “Joining Forces” initiative, designed to raise awareness of military families; iCarly‘s lead character was the daughter of a U.S. service member stationed overseas. That plan was unveiled at the WGA »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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ABC Family Gives Pilot Order To Paranormal Crime Procedural Drama

18 April 2014 1:07 PM, PDT

ABC Family has handed out a pilot order to drama Stitchers. Written by Jeffrey A. Schechter (Overruled), Stitchers follows a young woman recruited into a covert government agency to be “stitched” into the minds of the recently deceased, using their memories to investigate murders and decipher mysteries that otherwise would have gone to the grave. Schechter executive produces alongside Jonathan Baruch and Rob Wolken. Production is slated to begin in June. ABC Family got a vacancy on its drama pilot slate when the network pulled the plug on Saudi Arabia-set Alice In Arabia four days after greenlighting it to pilot after pressure from a Muslim advocacy group. Stitchers joins two other recently picked up ABC Family drama pilots:  Recovery Road, based on Blake Nelson’s novel about a teenage girl dealing with addiction, and Unstrung, about a brother-sister tennis player duo. Schechteris with Resolution. »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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Ian Gomez Joins CBS Pilot ‘Cuz-Bros’

18 April 2014 12:56 PM, PDT

Exclusive: Another actor from a comedy series whose fate is up in the air has boarded CBS’ multi-camera odd-couple comedy pilot Cuz-Bros. Cougar Town co-star Ian Gomez has been cast in the pilot, toplined by Geoff Stults and Parker Young of Fox’s Enlisted. Cuz-Bros, from writers David Caspe and Erik Sommers, Sony TV, CBS Studios and Fanfare, centers on Nick (Stults), a successful, suave ladies man working as a sportscaster for a local Los Angeles TV station whose perfect life gets turned upside down when his mess of a cousin, Barry (Young), needs a place to stay. Gomez, repped by Apa, Intellectual Artists Management and attorney Jonathan Moonves, plays Phil, Nick’s poss at the TV station. He is being cast as a guest star as he is in second position to Cougar Town, the way Stults and Young are to Enlisted, making Cuz-Bros a rare pilot where most »


- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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Hot TV Teaser: Wgn America’s ‘Manhattan’

18 April 2014 12:35 PM, PDT

John Benjamin Hickey, Daniel Stern, Olivia Williams, Ashley Zukerman and Rachel Brosnahan star in Wgn America‘s 13-episode scripted series Manhattan, slated to premiere in July. Set during the clandestine mission to build the world’s first atomic bomb in Los Alamos, Nm, Manhattan follows the brilliant but flawed scientists and their families. Here’s a sneak-peek at the teaser trailer that will air during Salem‘s season premiere on Sunday. Manhattan is from writer Sam Shaw and director Thomas Schlamme, Skydance TV, Tribune Studios and Lionsgate TV. »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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NBC’s ‘Saturday Night Live’ 40th Anniversary Special Set

18 April 2014 11:25 AM, PDT

NBC set a date for its three-hour bash — February 15, 2015 — but did not say which past and present cast members, musical guests, etc. would appear. NBC Chairman Bob Greenblatt said the “special is just one of many ways we plan to celebrate ‘SNL’s historic 40th season next year.” Today’s announcement: “‘Saturday Night Live’ is an institution unlike anything else in television history,” said Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment. “The many brilliant ‘Not Ready for Primetime Players’ over the years is a who’s who of film and television comedy for the last two generations. The roster includes everyone from the iconic first cast in 1975 to household names ranging from Eddie Murphy, Billy Crystal, Dana Carvey, Mike Myers, Will Ferrell, and Adam Sandler, to Kristen Wiig, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Jimmy Fallon, and Seth Meyers — to name only a few. This brand, which is still one of the highest-rated comedies on television, »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Rhys Coiro & Joe Egender Join History’s ‘Texas Rising’

18 April 2014 10:58 AM, PDT

Rhys Coiro (Hostages) and Joe Egender (Hunger) have landed lead roles in History’s miniseries Texas Rising (working title) from A+E Studios and ITV Studios America. Leslie Greif (Hatfields & McCoys) is exec producing the project, which will detail the Texas Revolution against Mexico and the rise of the legendary Texas Rangers. Coiro will play Vern Elwood opposite Bill Paxton, Ray Liotta, Brendan Fraser and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Egender will play Beans Wilkins, a Ranger who is always hungry and looking for his next meal. Coiro, repped by UTA, Untitled, and Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal Laviolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman, also has been tapped for a recurring arc on Netflix’s Lilyhammer. On the feature side, he will reprise his role as Billy Walsh in Doug Ellin’s upcoming Entourage pic. Egender recurred on Fox’s Alcatraz and American Horror Story: Asylum. He also wrote, produced and starred in indie Holy Ghost People »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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‘Good Morning America’ Promotes Lara Spencer To Co-Anchor

18 April 2014 10:31 AM, PDT

Burying his lead, new ABC News President James Goldston sent around a memo to staff today — in Paragraph 6 of which was the announcement he’d promoted Good Morning America‘s Lara Spencer to co-host of the program along with Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos. Roberts recently signed a new contract to stay with the show; ditto Spencer. Stephanopoulos’ contract was due to come up later this year — his reps are in talks with ABC News now. Related: ‘Gma’ Beats ‘Today’ By Biggest Margin In Three Months Spencer was the only one of three Gma-ers whose contracts came up around the same time as Roberts’ who re-signed. The two guys — Sam Champion and Josh Elliott – both got poached by NBC, whose Today show saw its longtime ratings record snapped two years ago by Gma.Which brings us to Goldston’s memo: celebrating tomorrow’s anniversary of Gma ending Today’s 852-week winning streak. »

- LISA DE MORAES, TV Columnist

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Eion Bailey To Recur On ‘Ray Donovan’

18 April 2014 10:30 AM, PDT

Eion Bailey (Fight Club, Almost Famous) has booked a recurring role on Showtime‘s Ray Donovan. Bailey, repped by Paradigm and Industry Entertainment, will play a charismatic motivational speaker/self-help guru who needs Ray’s help. Ray Donovan stars Liev Schreiber as La’s best professional fixer, the man called in to make the city’s celebrities, superstar athletes, and business moguls’ most complicated and combustible situations go away. Bailey most recently recurred on ABC’s Once Upon A Time. His other TV credits include Band Of Brothers miniseries, Dirty Little Secrets, Covert Affairs, Law & Order: Svu and ER. The 12-episode second season of the Mark Gordon-produced Ray Donovan is set to premiere Sunday, July 13. »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Discovery Channel’s Mount Everest Jump Date In Question After Avalanche Kills 13: Video

18 April 2014 9:53 AM, PDT

NBC News, whose Peacock Productions is producing Discovery’s Mount Everest live jump, said this morning “the future of the production will be assessed at the appropriate time” after the deadliest disaster ever recorded at the peak killed 13 Sherpa guides last night. The guides were carrying equipment and supplies to camps for climbers getting ready for peak trekking season — including those preparing to participate in Discovery Channel‘s Everest Jump Live, produced by the NBC News division. Discovery, which had just announced Monday the live two-hour event would air May 11, said this morning its star Joby Ogwyn was at base came at the time of the avalanche, which struck a group of about 50 — mostly Nepalese sherpas — at more than 20,000 feet. Four people remain missing, according to Nepal’s Tourism Ministry. Discovery said it has has not had conversations as to how the disaster might impact its plans. ”The avalanche last night on Mt. »

- LISA DE MORAES, TV Columnist

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