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Musicians Reach Deal With ABC, CBS, NBC

25 November 2012 3:15 PM, PST

The American Federation of Musicians has reached a new three-year agreement with ABC, CBS and NBC that covers live and recorded TV shows, Variety reports. The TV/videotape pact covers musicians on shows such as Dancing With The Stars as well as bands and guest artists on late-night shows such as Late Show With David Letterman, The Tonight Show With Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel Live. The videotape agreement also covers shows like American IdolSaturday Night Live, The X Factor, The Voice plus the Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes, Tonys and other awards shows. Negotiations began in September. In October, Afm Locals 47 (La) and 802 (NYC) protested outside TV studios, handing out leaflets that read “Give musicians fair pay for fair play”. The new accord includes basic wage rate increases, increased pension and health and welfare contributions and new media provisions requiring supplemental payments when TV shows are used or reused in webcasts or online. »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Exclusive: Fox Closing Deal For Dodgers’ TV Rights: Paying New Owner $6B-$7B For 25 Years; ‘We’re Out’ If Not Done By Nov. 30

24 November 2012 6:52 PM, PST

Exclusive:  It seems strangely logical that the highest-priced sports team in the world is about to score the richest TV deal ever in pro sports history. Insiders tell me that Fox Sports is close to clinching the exclusive TV rights for the Los Angeles Dodgers by paying between $6 billion and $7 billion over 25 years to put the team on its regional sports network in Southern California and of course its national Fox Broadcasting Company. Fox already shows the games on its Prime Ticket local cable channel but also has Fox Sports West here. The previous agreement expires at the end of next season, and saw Fox Sports paying only about $40 million per season for the Dodgers TV rights. There was speculation the final price would just go north of $150 million per season. This new deal soars to $280 million per season (the average for the life of the contract). The huge outlay »

- NIKKI FINKE, Editor in Chief

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How Will Larry Hagman’s Death Affect TNT’s ‘Dallas’?

24 November 2012 1:16 AM, PST

For a third time since it was conceived, TNT‘s new Dallas series will have to adjust its storylines to account for the absence of one of its signature characters, J.R. Ewing. And while the first two times the preparations turned out to be contingency plans that were never enacted, this time the show is forced to write off the villainous oilman following the death of the actor who’s portrayed the iconic character over the span of 35 years. Related: R.I.P. Larry Hagman Larry Hagman, who died Friday at age 81 from cancer complications, was in Dallas filming Season 2 of TNT’s Dallas. He had completed shooting a number of episodes — believed to be six — before his death, and will appear in the 15-episode Season 2 of the series, slated to premiere January 28. As of now things are fluid, and it is unclear how his passing will affect the production on the show, »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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‘Anger Management’ Scribe Tackles BBC 3 Sitcom About Assisted Suicide

23 November 2012 10:09 PM, PST

Joe Utichi contributes to Deadline’s UK coverage. Anger Management scribe Bob Kushell has crossed the Atlantic to the UK for a new BBC Three sitcom set around the world of assisted suicide. Known for taking more risks than conservative stablemates BBC One and Two, the digital channel aimed at the 16-34 year-old demo has ordered a six-episode season of the 30-minute show Way To Go, about “three ordinary guys who find themselves forced by an extraordinary set of circumstances into setting up an assisted-suicide business”. Veteran comedy writer Kushell, whose writing credits Stateside include The Simpsons and Third Rock from the Sun, says he’s thrilled to follow in the footsteps of British comic giants like Monty Python, Black Adder and Fawlty Towers. “There has been no bigger thrill in my life than to have a show on the BBC.” The InbetweenersBlake Harrison will star alongside Ben Heathcote and Marc Wootton. »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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R.I.P. Larry Hagman

23 November 2012 7:49 PM, PST

Larry Hagman, who played J.R. the conniving, villainous head of the Ewing clan on the TV series Dallas, died today at a Dallas hospital, sources close to the actor told the Dallas Morning News. He was 81. Born in Fort Worth, Hagman was the son of legendary actress Mary Martin. He played the character in the long-running primetime soap from 1978 through 1991 on CBS. He returned last year when the series was resurrected on TNT, focusing on a new generation of Ewings. Prior to Dallas, Hagman’s biggest TV role had been as the astronaut Major Anthony Nelson on NBC’s I Dream Of Jeannie opposite Barbara Eden. Among those confirming the death were co-star Linda Gray’s agent, Jeffrey Lane, who said the actress was at Hagman’s bedside when he died. Lane said another co-star, Patrick Duffy, was also present. Hagman appeared in Season 1 of the Dallas reboot and »


- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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R.I.P. Emily Squires

23 November 2012 7:38 PM, PST

Sesame Street team member Emily Squires, who directed multiple episodes of the show and worked on soap operas including The Guiding Light and As the World Turns, died Wednesday at Mount Sina Hospital in New York City. She was 71 and her husband Len Belzer said today the cause of death has not been determined. Squires also directed several Sesame Street TV specials as well as other children’s programs such as the PBS show Between the Lions, which promoted reading and learning. She also was a scriptwriter for soap operas including Search for Tomorrow and The Secret Storm. Squires earned 15 Daytime Emmy nominations for Writing in a Drama Series, Drama Series Writing Team and Directing in a Children’s series. »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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NHL Season Inches Toward Total Loss

23 November 2012 3:45 PM, PST

The National Hockey League cancelled another swath of games today, eliminating all regular season games through December 14 plus the All-Star Game in Columbus, Ohio that was scheduled for January 27. The NHL lockout has now wiped out 422 regular season games plus the Winter Classic that was cancelled earlier this month. The lack of progress between the league and the National Hockey League Players Association increasingly threatens cancellation of the entire season. The union submitted a new proposal at the league’s request on Wednesday, but that offer was rebuffed, leaving the players and owners at odds. The union offered to link the players’ share to revenue in the league’s preferred percentage-based system, a substantial concession. But the owners object to the union’s plan to honor existing contracts — $393 million compared to the league’s last offer of $211 million. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the lockout has resulted in the league »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Deadline’s YouTube Channel Rankings

23 November 2012 2:20 PM, PST

It’s fitting that Thnkr stands out on our ranking of Google-funded YouTube channels in the week heading into Thanksgiving with an inspiring video about a 15-year-old engineering prodigy from Sierra Leone given a chance to visit MIT. The tale of Kelvin Doe, who built and powered a radio station with materials he found in trash cans, generated more than 2M views in the week ending November 21, propelling Thnkr 62 places to No. 14 — by far the channel’s best performance since we began monitoring YouTube channels in May. Still, when it comes to mass viewing, Redbull takes the prize again helped by “The Athlete Machine,” a video of an elaborate Rube Goldberg contraption powered by several extreme sports stars. The channel gained 10.3M views for a total of 17.8M. The channels we track collectively generated 129.1M views, up 34.3% vs last week — with two caveats that I’ll note in a moment »

- DAVID LIEBERMAN, Executive Editor

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‘Downton Abbey’ Gets Fourth Season Order From UK’s ITV

23 November 2012 11:30 AM, PST

Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes recently said he’d be surprised if the show didn’t have a fourth season. But network ITV has been tight-lipped on the subject until today when it announced it has commissioned another run of the hit period drama. Filming of eight new episodes and a Christmas special for 2013 will kick off in February. Executive producer Gareth Neame said, “Viewers can look forward to more drama, comedy, love, hatred, jealousy, rivalry, ambition, despair and romance” when the show returns to British screens next fall. He also noted that well-loved characters from above and below stairs will return along with the arrival of some new faces. The regular run of season 3 recently ended in the UK, while season 3 starts in the U.S. on January 6 on PBS. Season 3 was the highest-rated for Downton in the UK with consolidated ratings averaging 11.9M viewers for a 40% share. »

- NANCY TARTAGLIONE, International Editor

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R.I.P. Deborah Raffin

22 November 2012 4:32 PM, PST

Actress Deborah Raffin, who became the quintessential California blonde TV movie/mini-series ingenue and heroine during the three decades when the genre thrived in the 1970s-1980s-1990s, died on Wednesday. The Los Angeles Times quoted her brother as saying she’d had leukemia for the past year and passed away at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. She was 59. Though she starred in several features, she was best known for her TV work and most recently took recurring roles on The Secret Life Of The American Teenager (2008-2010) and 7th Heaven (1996-2005). Also, later in life, she started what eventually became the multimilliondollar Dove audio books with her then husband, showbiz entrepreneur Michael Viner. (They sold the company in 1997.) Los Angeles-born Raffin was the daughter of 20th Century Fox contract player Trudy Marshall and became a TV star when she was discovered in an elevator by an agent. With »

- NIKKI FINKE, Editor in Chief

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Discovery Channel’s ‘Dirty Jobs’ Cancelled

22 November 2012 4:30 PM, PST

The generational changeover at Discovery Channel continues with the cancellation of another aging reality series. Dirty Jobs has ended its run after eight years, series star/creator Mike Rowe announced in a blog post yesterday. The show, executive produced by Craig Piligian, was among the shows that ushered in the successful genre of docu series featuring guys doing blue-collar jobs. Dirty Jobs featured Rowe perform difficult, strange and often disgusting duties. It joins fellow Discovery veteran American Chopper, which was recently cancelled after 10 seasons as long-running reality series see their ratings decline and costs going upward. Here is Rowe’s post, chronicling Dirty Jobs road from a segment on a local TV station to a successful series on national TV: It never fails. Whenever Dirty Jobs goes off the air for a few months, people start to wonder if the show has been canceled. Rumors begin to swirl, and questions »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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R.I.P. Len Mauger

22 November 2012 4:13 PM, PST

Australian broadcasting pioneer Lenard “Len” Mauger has died in Sydney. He was 89. Mauger worked for all three commercial networks, starting with Atn 7 Sydney when the station first went on air in 1956. He launched Melbourne’s Atv-0 in 1964, leaving 3 years later to serve as Far East correspondent for America’s ABC. In 1969 he replaced Bruce Gyngell as head of TCN9 Sydney and rose to managing director of the Nine Network, where he worked for many years as right-hand man to the network’s owner Kerry Packer. In 2004 the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences gave Mauger The Ted Cott Award, named after one of the Academy’s founders and given to board members who contributed significantly to the Academy. “Len was the true gentleman of Australian television, from its infancy right through into the 1990s,” said Nine Network managing director David Gyngell (son of Bruce Gyngell). “Len was not only »

- DON GROVES AND NANCY TARTAGLIONE

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Sony Stock Tumbles After Debt Downgrade

22 November 2012 9:04 AM, PST

It’s not a very Happy Thanksgiving for Sony execs around America today. Because the ratings agency Fitch downgraded parent Sony’s debt rating to ‘junk’ status. The reason? Weakness in its consumer electronics and TV operations because of the superiority of Apple and Samsung products. (Fellow Japanese tech giant Panasonic also was axed.) This is despite Fitching noting Sony’s “relatively stable” motion picture and music units. The downgrade sent Sony shares tumbling 4.4% in Frankfurt today. And yet Sony stock already has been trading near a 32-year low. Sony’s share price is down 40% so far this year. And this month Sony recorded its 7th straight quarterly loss. Related: Skyfall’s $669.2M Helps Sony Pictures Post Best Ever $4B Related: Sony Pictures Ends Anemic Fiscal Quarter But No Studio Sale Related: Sony Q2 - Small Operating Profit, Film Sales Down 3.7% According to news reports, Fitch downgraded Sony by three »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Tony Hall Named New BBC Director General; Vows To Build “A World Class Team”

22 November 2012 4:53 AM, PST

Lord Tony Hall has been chief executive of the Royal Opera House since 2001. He was also the BBC‘s head of news and current affairs from 1996-2001. His appointment to the BBC’s top job comes just 12 days after the resignation of former BBC director general George Entwistle amid ongoing crises at the venerable broadcaster. When Entwistle stepped down, BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten promised he would waste no time in naming a new chief and although Hall is a former BBC employee, his appointment falls in line with speculation that a new director general would come from outside the corporation’s current staff. Patten today said Hall was “the right person to lead the BBC out of its current crisis” and that his journalism experience would be “invaluable as the BBC looks to rebuild its reputation.” Related: Update: Latest Fiasco At BBC Turns Up The Heat On Incoming New York Times CEO Hall, »

- NANCY TARTAGLIONE, International Editor

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Michael Gambon Honored; Sums Film & Media Launches

21 November 2012 6:59 PM, PST

British Independent Film Awards To Honor Michael Gambon, Jude Law Sir Michael Gambon is to receive the Richard Harris Award at the British Independent Film Awards next month. The prize recognizes outstanding contribution to British film by an actor. Last year’s recipient was Ralph Fiennes. Gambon’s career spans six decades in theater, TV and film and includes such titles as The Singing Detective; The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover;  Gosford Park; The King’s Speech and six of the eight Harry Potter films. Gambon took over the role of Professor Albus Dumbledore when Richard Harris died in 2002 after completing Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets. Jude Law will also be honored at the BIFAs with The Variety Award which recognizes an actor, director, writer or producer who has helped focus international attention on the UK. Kenneth Branagh was the honoree last year. Law is »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Update: Ex-’Price Is Right’ Model Awarded $7.7M Punitive Damages In Pregnancy Suit

21 November 2012 6:10 PM, PST

Update 6:10 Pm: Brandi Cochran has been awarded $7.7 million in punitive damages (read the order here) in her suit against The Price Is Right Productions and FremantleMedia North America. That’s in addition to the actual damages awarded yesterday in Cochran’s suit charging that she was terminated because of her pregnancy. Previously, 6:20 Pm Tuesday: Brandi Cochran sued The Price Is Right producers for discrimination when she was told in early 2010 she no longer had a job when she tried to return after taking maternity leave. Today a Los Angeles Superior Court jury agreed that Cochran’s pregnancy was the reason she wasn’t rehired and awarded her $776,944 in damages, the Associated Press reports. Defendants FremantleMedia North America and The Price Is Right Productions argued that they were satisfied with the five models working on the show at the time Cochran sought to return. A second phase of the »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Rupert Murdoch Sells $10M+ In Non-Voting Shares Of News Corp

21 November 2012 5:52 PM, PST

Rupert Murdoch has sold all his nonvoting shares in the company while retaining his 40% voting stake. The News Corp chairman and CEO sold 418,631 shares on November 20 for $23.87 to $24.01 each for a total of more than $10 million, according to filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Murdoch retains News Corp’s largest voting stake of Class B shares. Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a friend of the Murdoch family, owns an additional 7% of voting shares. The sale was for estate-planning purposes, Bloomberg reported. »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Carol Burnett Sued In Dispute Over Copyright And TV Show Revenue

21 November 2012 5:44 PM, PST

Bob Banner Associates has filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Carol Burnett and her Whacko Inc. seeking an accounting of revenues from The Carol Burnett Show, spinoff show Mama’s Family (suit refers to it as Mama’s House) and reunion specials. Bba’s suit (Banner himself died in 2011) says the company and Burnett and her Whacko are co-owners of the copyrights to the first five seasons of the show. According to the suit (read it here) Banner and Burnett entered an agreement in 1967 which continued until 1972. During that time, according to Bba, closing credits identified Bba as co-owner of the copyright with Burnett. “Sometime in 1969″, the suit says, Burnett’s company Burngood Inc filed its first copyright registration solely in Burnett’s Burngood company name (later absorbed by Whacko) with no mention of Bba. The series continued until 1979. The series subsequently was edited into half-hour episodes entitled Carol Burnett And Friends. »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Chevy Chase Leaving NBC’s ‘Community’

21 November 2012 2:10 PM, PST

Exclusive: Pierce Hawthorne is dropping out of Greendale Community College. After a tumultuous three-and-a-half year relationship, Chevy Chase and the producers of NBC’s cult comedy Community are parting ways by mutual agreement. Chase’s departure from the show is effective immediately. The bulk of Community‘s 13-episode fourth-season order have been filmed. Chase won’t appear in the 1 or 2 episodes that have not been shot yet. The news of Chase’s exit from the Sony TV-produced Community hardly comes as a surprise. His return to the comedy series for Season 4 was somewhat surprising as he hinted multiple times last spring that he might leave. He has been vocal about his displeasure with the Community gig, telling The Huffington Post UK in an interview this fall, “It was a big mistake! I just sort of hung around because I have three daughters and a wife, and I figured out I »


- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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Ratings Rat Race: ‘Mindy Project,’ ‘Apt. 23′, & ‘New Normal’ Hit New Lows, ‘Vegas’ Up, ‘The Voice’ Down

21 November 2012 9:25 AM, PST

On the second to last night before the end of the November sweeps, it was a bit of a rollar coaster on TV on Tuesday. Fox’s The Mindy Project (1.3/4) took a 19% dive from last week, falling to a new series low. On NBC, The Voice’s (3.3/10) live results show was down 15% from last week. Matthew Perry’s Go On (2.2/6) was flat with last week. At 9:30 Pm, The New Normal (1.6/4) was down 11% from last week. That’s series low for the new Ryan Murphy show. Following The New Normal was Parenthood (1.6/5), which was also down.  The comedy/drama fell 16% from last week, which is a tie for Parenthood’s lowest ever rating. Fox’s Raising Hope (1.5/5) was down one-tenth from last week. Newbie Ben and Kate (1.1/3) was flat with last week, which is a tie for its series low and New Girl (2.0/5) tumbled 9% from its November 13th show. ABC »

- DOMINIC PATTEN

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