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‘Scandal’: Shonda Rhimes Does It Again With Season Finale

34 minutes ago

Major Spoiler Alert: This story contains many details of Thursday’s season finale episode of ABC’s Scandal. ABC’s D.C. drama, created by Shonda Rhimes, has grabbed big ratings over three seasons with a potent mix of wild plot twists and savvy use of social media. In another signature Shonda shocker, Washington fixer Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) tonight watched Potus Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn) become a virtual certainty to lose his re-election bid when a bomb intended for him goes off at the funeral of a U.S. Senator, who’d been assassinated by Olivia’s terrorist mom Maya Lewis (Khandi Alexander) in order to get Grant at the funeral, only Potus isn’t there. But his chief presidential-race rival — and Vpotus –  Sally Langston (Kate Burton) was there, and survived, and becomes simultaneous ministering angel and Irony Lady at the scene of the blast. President Grant’s day »

- LISA DE MORAES, TV Columnist

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Stephen Lang Joins Wgn America’s ‘Salem’

2 hours ago

Stephen Lang (Avatar) has been tapped for a recurring role on Wgn America‘s drama series Salem. Set in the volatile world of 17th century Massachusetts, it explores what really fueled the town’s infamous witch trials and centers on Mary Sibley (Janet Montgomery), the beautiful, ruthless but vulnerable wife of the ancient, ailing but very wealthy George Sibley (Michael Mulheren), one of Salem’s town Selectmen. Innovative Artists-repped Lang will play Increase Mather, an old-line, hard-core Puritan who led the way across the ocean to the Promised Land in the late 1600s. Intellectually, spiritually and politically, he’s the most influential man in the country — and the most feared. “Stephen Lang is a tremendous actor armed with an almost frightening knowledge of history and psychology — perfect for our twisted Salem, where Increase Mather is a man driven to monstrous deeds by the intensity of his convictions; and a loving »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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R.I.P. Doris Kanter

2 hours ago

The sitcom and feature writer, who was married to Hal Kanter for 70 years, has died. Doris Kanter died last month in Encino after a brief illness, the WGA said today. She was 95. Her writing credits include Chico And The Man, Night Court and the 1980 Beau Bridges sitcom United States. She also designed the colorful opening title credits for her husband groundbreaking 1968-71 series Julia, starring Diahann Carroll. A native of NYC, Doris Kanter started out working at Parents magazine in the 1930s. She married Hal Kanter in 1941 after he had been drafted into the Army. She also helped her husband in writing and editing – mainly comedy– for television and film. He died in 2011. Doris Kanter is survived by her three daughters, Lisa Shafer, Donna Kanter — a writer-director-producer who owns the Kanter Company — and Abigail Jaye; her granddaughter Kaleigh Shafer; and sons–in-law Anthony Shafer and Michael Jaye. »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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ABC Pulls Promos For New Series ‘Black Box’ Featuring Bryan Singer’s Name Amid Controversy

3 hours ago

With Hollywood director Bryan Singer at the center of accusations of molesting a minor 15 years ago, his name will not be used to promote new ABC drama series Black Box. A small portion of the promos in circulation for the series, which premieres next Thursday, featured the X-Men director’s name. They have now been pulled, at least for the time being, according to sources. Former House executive producer Singer serves as an executive producer on the straight-to-series drama starring Kelly Reilly as a famous neuroscientist who is bipolar. Below is the official long trailer for the show, widely available online, in which Singer is indirectly referenced as Black Box being “from the executive producer(s) of House.” Related: ‘X-Men’s Bryan Singer To Skip This Weekend’s WonderCon In addition to Black Box, Singer also executive produces the upcoming CBS drama series Battle Creek, from Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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Selena Gomez Leaves CAA; Signs With Wme, Brillstein

4 hours ago

Former Disney star and recording artist Selena Gomez has exited as a client of CAA and has signed with Wme. The 21-year-old singer and ex-Wizards of Waverly Place actress has also signed with Brillstein Entertainment Partners as she restructures her team and transitions from teen star to more adult projects. I hear the change has been long in the works as Gomez has taken meetings around town with various management firms. Last year she made a bold leap playing a partying coed in Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers. Gomez has a huge social media following, with 57.9M Facebook fans and 19.3M Twitter followers. She’ll next be seen in William H. Macy’s directorial debut, Rudderless, which premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival. Gomez continues to be repped by attorney P.J. Shapiro. »

- JEN YAMATO

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How Social Media Helps Drive ABC’s ‘Scandal’

4 hours ago

ABC‘s D.C. fixer drama Scandal has built big ratings in three seasons with a potent mix of often ridiculous plot twists and creator Shonda Rhimes’ savvy use of social media, which has bound fans closely to the show and its stars. That combo has paid off: Ahead of tonight’s season finale, which is certain to feature another signature shocker, Scandal has added 3 million viewers (for 11.5 million total). It’s up even more in the key adults 18-49 demo, +43% compared with last season, according to Nielsen. That demographic also represents most of the heaviest social-media users and is fervently sought by marketers. Related: ‘Scandal’ Among Peabody Award Winners Scandal‘s Omg moments, and the chance to feverishly chat about them online as they happen, have glued fans to the show’s actual broadcasts, instead of waiting to watch an episode later on DVR, VOD or Hulu. To further »

- DAVID BLOOM

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Fox Pulls ‘Animation Domination High-Def’ From Late-Night, Steers Initiative To Digital, Primetime

4 hours ago

Fox‘s Animation Domination High-Def will cease to exist as a late-night block on June 28 after 11 months on the air. The network is keeping alive the initiative, which employs 100 people working on six series in production. It will be geared exclusively towards younger-skewing digital platforms like Hulu and focus on incubating shows for primetime. Adhd is working on two half-hour primetime series that Fox has quietly greenlighted for next year. After a preview in Fox’s animation domination Sunday primetime block, Adhd got off to a slow start in the Saturday 11 Pm hour last summer and never gained traction. Its programming was considered too edgy, targeting young males who weren’t necessarily available at that hour. After Adhd exits late-night, Fox will resume airing repeats in the time slot. »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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NYC Mayor Names Cynthia Lopez New York Film Commissioner

5 hours ago

After a lengthy search, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has tapped PBS Pov exec Cynthia Lopez as the new commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting. We’ve learned Lopez’s appointment will be officially announced tomorrow at a noon press conference in NYC. Her exact start date has not yet been set. Lopez will replace Katherine Oliver, who exited in December at the end of former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s third and final term. With Lopez’s lack of experience in the city bureaucracy, sources tell Deadline that a key selection will be who the deputy commissioner could be in this new regime. The commission has been bullish about revitalizing the city’s film and TV production through generous tax credits and a streamlined permit process. Most recently Mayor de Blasio called Leslie Moonves, personally asking him to keep the Late Show »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Al Jazeera America To Air Docu On Low-Income Living In U.S. From Producers Of ‘Hoop Dreams’, ‘Life Itself,’ ‘New Americans,’ ‘Trials Of Muhammad Ali’

8 hours ago

CNN isn’t the only cable news network going in for documentary series. Al Jazeera America today announced its latest collaboration –  with Kartemquin Films on Hard Earned, a six-part documentary series exploring low-income life in America. Hard Earned is being executive produced by Kartemquin’s Steve James, Gordon Quinn, and Justine Nagan, who were responsible for Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters, The Trials of Muhammad Ali and recent Sundance hit Life Itself, among other documentaries. Five stories, set in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Milwaukee, and two in the Chicago area, will be intertwined into six one-hour episodes. The series will shed more light on an ever-growing sector of the American workforce. “Low wage jobs are the fastest growing sector of employment in the American economy,” says executive producer Steve James. Kartemquin’s previous multi-part series, The New Americans, a seven-hour series on immigration produced for PBS in 2004, was an International »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Bret Harrison, Aaron McCusker Join ABC’s ‘The Astronaut Wives Club’; Daniel London In Wgn’s ‘Manhattan’

8 hours ago

Updated: Bret Harrison (Orange County) and Aaron McCusker (Shameless, Dexter) have been cast as series regulars in ABC’s 10-episode drama series The Astronaut Wives Club, from Fake Empire, Groundswell Productions and ABC Studios, eyed for 2015. Written by Stephanie Savage based on Lily Koppel’s book and directed by Nick Cassavetes, it tells the real story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history during the height of the space race. Harrison will play Gordon “Gordo” Cooper, one of the original astronauts. His wandering ways pushed his wife, Trudy, to the brink of divorce, but he’s convinced her to come back so he can have his shot at space. McCusker, repped by UK’s Curtis Brown and Kritzer Levine Wilkins Griffin Nilon Entertainment, will play Wally Schirra, another one of the original astronauts who’s also a prankster. Daniel London (Minority Report, Patch Adams »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Fox News Signs Chris Wallace To New Contract

8 hours ago

Per terms of his new multiyear deal, the veteran newsman will continue as anchor and moderator of Fox News Sunday. Since joining Fox News Channel in 2003, Chris Wallace has served as moderator of the one-hour public affairs program presented on the Fox Broadcasting Co. and replayed on Fnc. He also has  contributed to Fnc’s political and election coverage. This year marks Wallace’s 50th year in the broadcasting industry; he began his TV career at 16 as a gofer for Walter Cronkite at the 1964 Republican National Convention. Prior to Fox, Wallace spent 14 years at ABC News, where he served as senior correspondent for Primetime Thursday and as a substitute host on Nightline. Before ABC News, he was with NBC News, where he served as the chief White House correspondent from 1982-89. Wallace also anchored Meet The Press from 1987-88 and anchored the Sunday edition of NBC Nightly News from 1982- »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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A&E Greenlights Reality Series ‘D.O.A.’ From Dick Wolf

8 hours ago

A&E Network has given the green light to unscripted series D.O.A. (working title) from Law & Order executive producer Dick Wolf and Left/Right Productions. The series follows an elite team of detectives who will re-examine controversial murder cases in which unresolved questions linger long after the verdict. Production begins this spring on eight hour-long episodes. The team includes Chicago homicide detective Michelle Wood, Miami Pd detective Joe Schillaci, and retired NYPD detective and supervisor and Kevin “Spider” Gannon. The three will begin their investigation at a reconstructed crime scene and work the case interviewing first-person players and forensic specialists. The question is whether they agree with the original verdict or if the wrong person is behind bars. This marks the latest reality play for Wolf, who has also cracked the reality space with TNT hit Cold Justice, which wrapped its second season last month. The network in »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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UTA Signs WattPad’s Breakout Novel ‘After’

9 hours ago

Exclusive: UTA has signed to represent screen rights for After, a serialized story by Anna Todd that has become the most followed literary property published by Wattpad, an online community in which writers tell stories chapter by chapter. According to Wattpad general manager Candice Faktor, the three-part series After has been clicked on by more than 500 million. Factor described the site as “a writer and reader community to collaborate and share nonfiction, fiction and fan fiction. It is a mobile experience that is very social and where writers establish a personal connection with their audience.” The site launched seven years ago and has built to 22 million monthly users, 80% of whom access the site on mobile devices. The company recently raised $46 million in Series C funding. Agencies usually rep works from traditional publishers, but the priority in Hollywood is to find rabid followings that warrant screen adaptations. For Wattpad, After is »

- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Update: Espn Can Generate Steady Profit Growth Through 2016 CFO Tells Wall Street

9 hours ago

Updated: Following CEO Bob Iger’s lead,  Disney CFO Jay Rasulo won’t break out financial numbers for Espn. But he strongly hints that its financial prospects are rosy by offering a few projections for Disney’s cable networks, which are dominated by Espn. He tells investors to expect high single digit annual growth in revenues from pay TV distributors through 2016, and a similar growth rate for operating income. He’s confident about these projections because Disney has programming deals with eight of the 10 largest pay TV distributors, with the remaining two due by year end. In addition, most of its contracts with sports leagues last for years. The company won’t project ad sales but says Espn has strong pricing power. Previous, 11:06 Am: Disney’s dumping a lot of data about Espn this afternoon to ease Wall Street fears that the company’s cash cow could face leaner »

- DAVID LIEBERMAN, Financial Editor

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Showtime Greenlights Documentary On NBA Star Kobe Bryant

10 hours ago

Kobe Bryant’s Muse takes an in-depth look into the life, inspirations and challenges facing one of the most successful and complex figures in professional sports, according to Showtime. Gotham Chopra (Decoding Deepak, Espn’s upcoming 30 For 30 film, The Little Master) directs the feature-length docu set to debut in the fall. “Kobe Bryant’s Muse will offer viewers a deep character portrait of a professional athlete who has transcended his sport to become a culture-moving personality,” said Stephen Espinoza, Evp and General Manager, Showtime Sports. “We are thrilled that Kobe has given us this unprecedented access, which will allow our viewers to witness such a challenging period of time in the life of one of the NBA’s greatest players.” The docu will follow the Los Angeles Lakers legend’s career, detailing his mentorships, allies and rivalries that have helped shape his 18-year tenure in the NBA. A 16-time All-Star »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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The ABCs Of Aereo: Streaming Service Wants “Something For Nothing”, Former Top Federal Lawyer Says

11 hours ago

Editors Note: This is the second of three Deadline posts that lay out the issues in the Aereo case, which Deadline Legal Editor Dominic Patten will cover from the Supreme Court next week. Today: An interview with former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal, who is serving as an adviser to the broadcasters in their case against the streaming service.  Related: The ABCs Of Aereo: What Is Aereo And Why Are Broadcasters Taking It To The Supreme Court? On April 22, Aereo and major broadcasters will have their day in the Supreme Court. Broadcasters will say Aereo is stealing their copyrighted material, end of story. The Barry Diller-backed streaming service that launched in early 2012 will say it merely rents antennas to consumers so they can watch TV that’s already available for free over the public airwaves. Both sides will be represented by lawyers who know the Supreme Court well. David Frederick of D. »

- DAVID LIEBERMAN, Financial Editor

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Ratings Rat Race: ‘Arrow’ Down, ‘Survivor’ & ‘Idol’ Steady,’The 100′ Rises

11 hours ago

On a night of a lot of repeats on the networks, it was primetime battle between veteran reality shows last night. And though Survivor (2.2/8) dipped 8% from last week, the CBS show again was the reality TV victor. With 9.28 million viewers watching between 8-9 Pm, the 28-season-strong series topped the 8.25 million total viewers and 1.9 rating among adults 18-49 American Idol had in their common hour. This is the fourth week in a row Survivor has beaten Idol in viewership and the sixth consecutive week the CBS show has come out on top in the demo in the 8 Pm slot. Still, it wasn’t a stain-free victory march — as the numbers stand now, Survivor has hit a series low. That could change when the final numbers come in later today. Otherwise, CBS was all encores with Criminal Minds (1.4/4) and CSI (1.2/4). With visits from former X Factor judge Demi Lovato and Terry Bradshaw among others, »

- DOMINIC PATTEN

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‘Good Morning America’ Beats ‘Today’ By Biggest Margin In Three Months; ‘Today’ Tops In 18-49

11 hours ago

ABC NewsGood Morning America outstripped NBC News’ Today by 761,000 viewers and 279,000 news demo viewers the week of April 7. It’s Gma‘s seventh consecutive week on top of the morning infotainment show race in both metrics, and its largest demo margin in three months. Gma has ranked No. 1 in overall audience for 89 of the past 93 weeks, and No. 1 in the news demo for 25 of this season’s 29 weeks to date. Today meanwhile, boasted it finished first with the younger, 18-49 year old age bracket, for the 42nd consecutive week.  Today is on top of the ratings in the daypart with men 25-54 this season, NBC noted — as well as adults, men and women 18-49. Today has posted seven consecutive months of ratings growth in total viewers, and both the 25-54 and 18-49 demos which NBC says is the show’s biggest ratings uptick since ’97. For the week, Gma clocked »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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‘Game Of Thrones’ Latest Episode Breaks Piracy Record

12 hours ago

HBO‘s Game Of Thrones has made piracy history. According to TorrentFreak, more than 193,000 BitTorrent users shared a single copy of Sunday’s episode and about 1.5 million people downloaded it during the first 24 hours. The numbers are “unprecedented”, says TorrentFreak. The previous record was set last year, when 171.5K shared the same file of Got‘s Season 3 finale. Over 1 million BitTorrent users downloaded that episode. The HBO show is a network exclusive and not available on services like Netflix, leading to increased piracy numbers particularly overseas. »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Chelsea Handler Through Teasing Possible CBS Late-Night Gig, Rules Out Comedy Central: Video

13 hours ago

Chelsea Handler is no longer a part of the CBS late-night conversation, the comic having finished her deft manipulation of the media by announcing, “I would never go to CBS.” ”My mouth? What would they do with me there?” she told Ellen DeGeneres on Ellen’s talk show Wednesday, stating the obvious. “I would never be on a regular network. I would never do that to my fans, myself, or the network,” she added. Handler insisted the Instagram photo that she posted this week of her large-ish dog sitting on her lap, in which she’s seen holding papers upside down so that CBS logo could clearly be seen by viewers, was a giant misunderstanding, explaining she doesn’t look at photos before posting them. She’s talking to CBS about something entirely different, she said. DeGeneres noted the one solid fact in the Handler late-night saga is that she »

- LISA DE MORAES, TV Columnist

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