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Gary Dourdan Books Roles In ‘Being Mary Jane’ & ‘Glee’; Sammi Hanratty Set To Recur on ‘Salem’

3 hours ago

Gary Dourdan has been cast in a recurring role on Bet’s Being Mary Jane and a guest starring gig on Fox’s Glee. On the Bet comedy, he’ll play Sheldon Armstrong, a smoothly charming and casually handsome retired civil trial attorney who made a fortune suing corrupt corporations. He’s coming out of retirement to pursue his charitable outreach. He’s famous for never having given an interview in his life — but when Mary Jane (Gabrielle Union) sets out to interview him, he is quite taken with her and just might change his mind. On Glee, Dourdan plays D’Shon, Mercedes’ (Amber Riley) record producer. Dourdan, whose credits include CSI and Mistresses, is repped by Prestige Talent Agency and managed by Ata. Sammi Hanratty has booked a recurring role on Wgn America’s Salem. She’ll play Dottie, a leader among her peers whom Mercy (Elise Eberle) knows a little from school. »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Aereo Slammed One Last Time By Broadcasters Before Scotus Hearing

7 hours ago

With just days to go before they meet their Aereo foes face-to-face at the Supreme Court, the broadcasters this week took one last swipe at what they claim is the “blatant and unapologetic copyright infringement” by the Barry Diller-backed streaming service. “Aereo is in the business of retransmitting performances of the copyrighted works of others to the public for a profit,” said bluntly in a final reply brief filed by Disney, CBS, NBC, Fox and the other plaintiffs on April 14 with the Scotus (read it here). Aereo and the broadcasters are set to present their respective oral arguments in a 1-hour hearing before the High Court on April 22. In their March 26 response to the broadcasters’ February 24 filing, Aereo insisted that they are not engaged in public performance of copyrighted works. The company also said “this Court should not rewrite the Copyright Act in an effort to protect petitioners from »

- DOMINIC PATTEN

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ABC News Backhands Print Partner Over Pulitzer Prize Credits

7 hours ago

Weekly Column: Few things in this world are more painful than the realization that an estrangement has occurred between two news organizations who had worked amiably together investigating doctors and lawyers squashing benefits claims of miners dying of black lung, at the behest of the coal industry. That is just what has happened after the Center for Public Integrity won a Pulitzer Prize this week for an investigation into this medical travesty, after other organizations had jointly awarded Cpi and ABC News for the report. ABC claims Cpi threw its staffers under the bus to soak up all the Pulitzer glory; Cpi claims ABC News doesn’t deserve to share the Pulitzer because it only parachuted in periodically on the lengthy investigation, produced “sporadic” reports for television — not print — and repeatedly had to be saved from making embarrassing factual errors on its broadcast segments about the investigation. Related: Pulitzer Board »

- LISA DE MORAES, TV Columnist

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Sony Pictures TV Prevails In ‘Shark Tank’ Lawsuit

7 hours ago

A judge in Florida has ruled in favor of Sony Pictures Television in a $50 million lawsuit over the reality TV show Shark Tank. “Sony Pictures Television won a directed verdict and the entire case was settled afterwards,” said Sony TV spokeswoman Paula Askanas today. The suit against the producers of the entrepreneurial reality show was filed by Florida attorney Bobbie Cellar. He claimed that he’d hired two of the show’s “sharks,” Daymond John and Robert Herjavec, to appear at an event he called the “Shark Tour,” an expo for people trying to start their own businesses. The suit claimed that Sony Pictures Television coerced John and Hervavac to withdraw from Cellar’s event because Spt didn’t want anyone to think the show and his expo were in any way connected. Cellar was unavailable for comment. »

- DENISE PETSKI

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Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer Made $24.9M In 2013, -31.9%

10 hours ago

It would have been obscene if Yahoo had matched the $35M in stock awards it gave Marissa Mayer in 2012 to woo her over from Google. So her total compensation was down for 2013 the company’s latest proxy shows, even though all of the components aside from stock awards were up in a year when Yahoo shares appreciated 103%. Her package: $1M salary, $2,250 bonus (only because she’s a co-inventor on some pending patents), $8.3M in stock awards, $13.8M in option awards, $1.7M in non equity incentives, and $73,863 in other compensation. The “other” category includes $50,000 for security (not including the protection she receives at work and on business travel), and $18,248 to reimburse for attorney fees. Yahoo says that twice last year family members and guests joined Mayer on the company plane during a business trip. It didn’t include that in her compensation “because we leased the entire aircraft and were not »

- DAVID LIEBERMAN, Financial Editor

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Google Shares Slip After Q1 Earnings Fall Short Of Analyst Forecasts

11 hours ago

The stock is down about 5.6% in post market trading on the disappointing results, which include a 9% year over year drop in the average cost per click. The search giant reported net income of $3.45B, +3.2% vs the first three months of 2013, on revenues of $15.42B, +19.1%. If you factor out the impact from the sale of the Motorola Mobile business to Lenovo Group then earnings per share would have come in at $6.27, below the $6.33 that the Street anticipated. Revenues also were lower than the $15.51B analysts expected. Google says that revenues from its sites improved 21% to $10.47B while partner sites were +4% to $3.4B. But revenue costs, primarily for the data centers, jumped 25.8% to $2.73B while operating expenses were +31.2% to $5.34B. Per usual, CEO Larry Page had little to say in the company release: He noted that “We got lots of product improvements done, especially on mobile. I’m also excited with progress on our emerging businesses. »

- DAVID LIEBERMAN, Financial Editor

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Emmys: Major Deadline Looms And New Online Voting Process Rolls Out As The Race Takes Off

12 hours ago

Emmy season is revving up already even though the primetime awards show won’t be happening until the end of summer (Monday August 25th on NBC). But if you want to vote, the first major deadline looms tomorrow April 17, the last day to join the Academy, renew your membership or apply for hyphenate ballots in order to cast a ballot in this year’s contest. There is always a surge  of interest in joining the Academy around this time of year. In fact, last season there was a substantial increase in membership, primarily in order to cast an Emmy ballot. It’s not uncommon to see applications coming in bulk from staffs of shows that want those nominations, but unless these hopefuls apply by Thursday they will have to wait until next year. In addition to the deadline, the Television Academy (as it now calls itself – and full disclosure I »

- PETE HAMMOND

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NBCU’s Wilshire Studios Inks Overall Deals With Producers Stephanie Bloch Chambers & C. Russell Muth

12 hours ago

NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment’s Wilshire Studios is ramping up its unscripted development slate, inking new overall deals with Stephanie Bloch Chambers (Chrisley Knows Best, Married To Jonas) and C. Russell Muth (DEA, Bordertown Laredo). Chambers worked on Bravo’s Toned Up, It’s A Brad Brad World and three seasons of Bethenny Ever After. Muth produced shows for Discovery Channel and TruTV such as American Chopper, American Casino, Tiger Team, and America’s Toughest Bars. He also produced Coast Guard Alaska for the Weather Channel and Big Easy Justice for Spike. Wilshire Studios also is growing its internal development team, hiring reality vet Benny Reuven as VP Development and Programming. Reuven previously served as a development executive at Own and produced shows including Chef Wanted for Food Network. »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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TLC To Try Out New ‘Omg Emt!’ Series About Emergency Medical Responders

12 hours ago

TLC, the network that brought us obsessive coverage of families with armies of children, obsessive coverage of little people, and obsessive coverage of people with obsessions,  now appears to be going off the deep end with programs about emergency medical responders. The network that recently ordered 35 More episodes of Sex Sent Me To The ER today announced a series that explores the fast-paced lives of emergency medical techs, called Omg Emt! The four-episode series try-out launches Saturday, May 3 at 10 Pm Et. TLC’s announcement promises the new series will feature some of the “most memorable and unusual emergency calls…from the ridiculous to the downright crazy.” The premiere episode, for example, will feature an elderly woman with a prizefighter’s temperament and a dog with a taste for rescue team members, and the inevitable incredibly stupid college guys doing, yes, something incredibly stupid and involving a stairway. Future episodes involve »

- LISA DE MORAES, TV Columnist

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FX’s ‘Fargo’ Debuts With 2.65M Viewers

12 hours ago

There was a lot of snow, a broken nose, some low temperatures and a few dead bodies on the debut of Fargo on FX last night. There were also a lot of eyeballs catching the action: The 10 Pm premiere of the limited series based on the Coen brothers’ Oscar-winning 1996 pic was watched by 2.65 million total viewers and 1.02 million among adults 18-49. The 97-minute debut was down 12% from the 3.04 million who tuned in for the 91-minute premiere of The Bridge on July 10 last year in the same time slot. That cross-cultural police drama about a serial killer on the U.S./Mexico border garnered 1.16 million among adults 18-49. Over its three plays last night, Fargo pulled in 4.15 million total viewers with 1.79 million adults 18-49. “We are incredibly proud of the towering creative achievement by Noah Hawley and everyone involved with Fargo,” John Landgraf, CEO of FX Networks and FX Productions, said today in a statement. »

- DOMINIC PATTEN

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Fox News’ New Take On Female Panelist Daytime Talker Will Feature One Guy And Be Called ‘Outnumbered’

12 hours ago

Fox News Channel finally announced the replacement program with which it will fill the void left when Megyn Kelly moved to primetime — Outnumbered. It’s kind of like The View, in that it’s a panel of women taking on the day’s top news/pop culture headlines — only with an Fnc spin in that it’s got one rotating slot for a guy, who’s, you know, outnumbered. The announcement comes the same day The View announced it had talked all of its current and former co-hosts — including the ones who left under a cloud — to return to the show May 15 to say so-long to Babs Walters, who is retiring as show on-air Den Mom, though she’s continuing as show exec producer. Outnumbered debuts Monday, April 28 at 12 Pm Et; Fox Report Weekend anchor Harris Faulkner and Fox Business Network’s Sandra Smith are among the panelists named today. »

- LISA DE MORAES, TV Columnist

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IRS Says CBS Can Convert Billboard Business Into Real Estate Investment Trust

12 hours ago

CBS shares are up 1.6% while CBS Outdoor Americas — the billboard company that the broadcaster spun off earlier this month — is up 6% following the ruling. It means that CBS can save a bundle on taxes later this year when it unloads the 81% interest it still has in the outdoor business.  “CBS Outdoor’s conversion into a Reit will unlock its true value, and the completion of our Outdoor initiatives will enhance our ability to return capital to our shareholders,” CEO Les Moonves says. “We’re very pleased with the way CBS Outdoor has launched as a public company, and with this favorable IRS ruling, we look forward to great success in the future.” »

- DAVID LIEBERMAN, Financial Editor

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Matt Lopez Inks Overall Deal At Universal TV

13 hours ago

Exclusive: Feature writer Matt Lopez is formalizing his foray into television with a two-year overall deal at Universal Television. The pact, Lopez’s first overall TV arrangement, stems from One Kick, a drama project he developed at NBC through Uni TV this season. “Matt writes with texture and layers and creates dynamic characters,” Uni TV Evp Bela Bajaria said. “We enjoyed our development experience with him and are looking forward to working with Matt at Universal TV.” In features, Lopez, repped by Wme and Lichter, Grossman, is a go-to screenwriter for family fare, including Bedtime Stories, Race To Witch Mountain, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and the upcoming Clifford The Big Red Dog. On the producing side, he has teamed with Peter Chernin on Huck, about new adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, at Paramount. On TV, Lopez has explored darker territory, writing ABC pilots Gothica and Jekyll & Hyde the last two years. »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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Discovery & BSkyB Poised To Acquire UK’s Channel 5: Report

13 hours ago

Back in February, word began to spread that longtime frenemies John Malone and Rupert Murdoch were eyeing a joint acquisition of the UK’s Channel 5. Malone-backed Discovery Communications and BSkyB, majority owned by Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, have now reportedly gone ahead and sewn up a deal. Broadcast reported that Discovery and BskyB are nearing an announcement they have acquired the broadcaster in a deal valued at £350M, which would give the former a 70% stake and the latter 30%. But media entrepreneur Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell, owner of Channel 5, has said it received several bids and was still evaluating them, according to Bloomberg. The free-to-air broadcaster was thought to be seeking a buyer with about £700M to spend, but many were skeptical it would fetch such a price; Desmond paid about £103.5M for it in 2010. Other companies that have been said to have shown interest include Viacom, Turner Broadcasting, »

- NANCY TARTAGLIONE, International Editor

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Update: Warner Bros Taps Former Clinton Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers As Communications Chief; Sue Fleishman Exiting

13 hours ago

Updated With Comments From Myers And Fleishman: Warner Bros has hired former White House Press Secretary and longtime political strategist/analyst Dee Dee Myers as Evp Worldwide Corporate Communications and Public Affairs replacing nine-year veteran Sue Fleishman. The move comes after Fleishman had to negotiate through a very rocky transition at the studio through several shakeups in 2013. That included the ascension of new Warner Bros Entertainment CEO Kevin Tsujihara and the exits of the other two WB biggies angling for that gig — Warner Bros TV boss Bruce Rosenblum last May and Warner Brothers Pictures Group President Jeff Robinov the next month. Myers is coming into a studio rocked by these exits. And although Warner Bros is still reaping the benefits of the pictures greenlit by Robinov — Gravity, The Lego Movie, 300: Rise Of An Empire, and others — it is being led by a studio chairman who has been in the »

- ANITA BUSCH

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The ABCs Of Aereo: What Is Aereo And Why Are Broadcasters Taking It To The Supreme Court?

14 hours ago

Editors Note: The first 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: A primer about Aereo and what’s at stake in the dispute with broadcasters. U.S. Supreme Court justices are so mistrustful of technology that they bar TV cameras from their proceedings and require visitors to check their smartphones at the door. But on April 22 they will take an hour to hear arguments in a case that could re-shape television and the Internet. All of the major broadcast companies are challenging the legality of an upstart streaming service: Aereo, a company backed by Iac chief Barry Diller that began to sign up subscribers in New York City in February 2012. The issues both sides will raise are complicated. But the controversy boils down to an important question: What rights »

- DAVID LIEBERMAN, Financial Editor

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Spike TV Renews ‘Catch A Contractor’ For Second Season

14 hours ago

Spike TV has ordered a 10-episode second season of unscripted series Catch A Contractor hosted by Adam Carolla, slated for debut in the fall. Spike also is extending the new episodes to an hour, up from the current half-hour. Carolla, who happens to be a master carpenter, serves as a vigilant watchdog to homeowners who have been cheated by a contractor and left with an unfinished disaster. In each episode, Carolla, along with no-nonsense contractor Skip Bedell and his wife, investigator Alison Bedell, track down shady, evasive contractors, drag them back to their construction disasters and make them finish the job right. Catch A Contractor debuted March 9 and is averaging 1.2 million viewers after seven episodes. Eyeworks USA created the series, with Jd Roth, Todd A. Nelson, DJ Nurre and Brant Pinvidic executive producing. »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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FX’s ‘The Americans’ Renewed For Third Season

15 hours ago

FX Networks CEO John Landgraf teased the pending renewal at the company’s upfront presentation last week. The network now has ordered a 13-episode third season half way through Season 2. “The Americans continues to be one of the best shows on television,” said FX Networks president of original programming Eric Schrier. With tonight’s broadcast, there are six episodes remaining in the current season. Set in 1981 just after Ronald Reagan is elected president, The Americans, starring Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys and Noah Emmerich, chronicles the complex marriage of two Kgb spies posing as Americans in suburban Washington D.C. The series, from Fox TV Studios and FX Prods., was created by and is executive produced by Joe Weisberg, a former CIA agent. Joel Fields and Graham Yost are also executive producers, along with Amblin Television’s Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank. »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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Pivot Picks Up Sky Series ‘Fortitude’, Sets Development Slate, Revamps ‘TakePart Live’

15 hours ago

Participant Media‘s network Pivot today announced the pickup of Sky Atlantic’s 12-episode drama series Fortitude starring Stanley Tucci and Michael Gambon. The series became available in the U.S. in December when Starz, which originally had committed to the project, pulled out. Pivot is designed as a younger skewing network than Starz, with its target demo being 18-34. As part of its upfront presentation, Pivot also announced an overhaul of its nightly topical series, TakePart Live. Beginning Monday, May 12, the hour-long late-night program will move to primetime (10 Pm) with a new producer, Michael DaviesEmbassy Row, which is behind Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live and AMC’s Talking Dead/Bad. Also undergoing makeover is the hosting team of Jacob Soboroff and Cara Santa Maria, with only Soboroff coming back, joined by Sen. John McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain and comedian Eddie Huang. Pivot also unveiled a development »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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David Wisnia Named President Business Operations At Tvgn

15 hours ago

David Wisnia has been appointed President of Business Operations for Tvgn, a CBS Corp and Lionsgate partnership. He will oversee Tvgn’s operational strategy, including ad sales, content distribution, corporate strategy and business development, finance, and business and legal affairs. Wisnia’s appointment is effective immediately, and he will report to Tvgn’s Board of Directors working alongside Brad Schwartz, Tvgn’s President, Entertainment and Media. Wisnia succeeds Dennis Miller, who had been a consultant to Lionsgate for Tvgn, and later served as the interim president during the network’s recent transition of partnerships from One Equity Partners to CBS. Most recently, Wisnia has been a member of Tvgn’s Board of Directors. Previously, Wisnia served as Evp Business Development for CBS Corp, working with the company’s senior management as well as across the various CBS divisions on strategic development initiatives. During his tenure at CBS, he served as »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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