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Appeals Court Throws Out ‘Making a Murderer’ Confession

5 hours ago

An appellate panel on Thursday upheld a lower court’s ruling awarding a new trial to Brendan Dassey, the teenage murder convict made famous by the Netflix documentary “Making a Murderer.”

In a 2-1 ruling, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals panel held that Dassey’s confession was coerced. The judges ruled that Wisconsin courts had failed to consider Dassey’s age — he was 16 at the time of the confession — and his diminished mental capacity when they rejected his earlier appeals.

Dassey was convicted in 2007 of helping his uncle, Steven Avery, rape and murder Teresa Halbach at Avery’s salvage yard in Wisconsin. »


- Gene Maddaus

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Seth Meyers, Amy Poehler Revive ‘SNL’ Segment to Mock Pro-Trump Protesters

5 hours ago

Former “Saturday Night Live” Weekend Update co-anchors Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler reunited on “Late Night With Seth Meyers” Wednesday night to resume roles in their classic segment “Really!?! With Seth and Amy.”

In the skit, the duo prodded pro-President Trump protesters who interrupted a Shakespeare in the Park production of “Julius Caesar,” in which Caesar resembled Trump.

“Really, really protesters? Now let me get this right,” Poehler started off the sketch. “You waited in line to get tickets to a play you already hated and then you watched it for three hours and then you ran on stage to protest, »


- Rebecca Rubin

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‘Criminal Minds” Virgil Williams Inks Overall Deal with Universal TV

5 hours ago

Virgil Williams has signed a new two-year overall deal with Universal Television, Variety has learned.

Under the terms of the agreement, Williams will develop new series for broadcast, cable, and streaming services. He previously served as co-executive producer on the long-running CBS series “Criminal Minds,” a position he held from 2012-2017. He is also credited with writing 18 episodes of the series. During his time on the show, Williams was involved in a violent incident with series star Thomas Gibson, which led to Gibson being fired.

Williams also recently co-wrote and executive produced his first feature film, “Mudbound,” which was sold »


- Joe Otterson

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How NBC and Endemol Shine Built ‘The Wall’ Into a Business

5 hours ago

In its first season on NBC, “The Wall” proved solid. The Chris Hardwick-hosted game show averaged a 1.7 rating in the 18-49 demo and 6.7 million total viewers, according to Nielsen live-plus-same day data — more than respectable for a freshman primetime unscripted series.

But those numbers are not the only reason that the show was picked up for a second season, scheduled to premiere Thursday night at 9 p.m. “The Wall” is one of the first series to hail from Universal Television Alternative Studio — the production operation launched last year by NBC veteran unscripted exec Meredith Ahr under the network’s alternative programming president Paul Telegdy. »


- Daniel Holloway

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ABC Moves ‘Still Star-Crossed’ to Saturdays After 3 Low-Rated Episodes

6 hours ago

The end appears to be in sight for “Still Star-Crossed.”

Variety has confirmed that ABC is moving the freshman Shondaland drama from Mondays to Saturdays after just three episodes, an almost sure sign that the network will cancel the series after its first season. All three episodes of the show that have aired thus far have failed to make an impact in the Nielsen ratings, even with a “Bachelorette” lead-in. To date, the series is averaging just a 0.4 rating in adults 18-49 and 1.95 million viewers per episode in live-plus-same day. It will begin airing on Saturdays on July 8.

The period »


- Joe Otterson

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‘Queen Sugar’ Season 2 Premiere Is Series’ Highest-Rated Episode Ever

8 hours ago

Queen Sugar” came roaring back to television this week, with the Season 2 premiere of the Own series scoring the show’s highest ratings ever.

The premiere episode, which aired Tuesday, averaged a 2.1 rating in the key women 25-54 demographic and 2.3 million total viewers, also making it the night’s number two cable telecast for women and number one with women in its time slot according to Nielsen data. The second episode on Wednesday notched a a 1.6 rating and 1.7 million total viewers, making it Wednesday night’s number one cable telecast for women 25-54 and women 18-49 as well as number »


- Joe Otterson

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New York Legislators Approve Groundbreaking TV Diversity Tax Credit

8 hours ago

New York’s state Assembly and Senate have passed a bill backed by the DGA and WGA East that would create a tax incentive program for TV shows that hire women and people of color in top writing and directing positions.

The bill will now head to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign. Cuomo has been a strong supporter of New York’s entertainment community and tax incentive programs to grow the volume of production in the Empire State. The next big hurdle will be getting $5 million set aside in the state’s budget to fund the credit.

WGA »


- Cynthia Littleton

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YouTube Red to Launch New Comedy Shows from Rob Huebel, Ryan Hansen

9 hours ago

YouTube Red has ordered two new comedy series from Rob Huebel and Ryan Hansen.

“Do You Want to See a Dead Body?” is an eight-episode comedy series that follows Huebel–who has previously starred on “Childrens Hospital” and “Transparent”–and his celebrity friends who join him on adventures that see them frolicking at the beach, getting tacos, and yes, seeing a dead body. Celebrity guest stars include Adam Scott, Judy Greer, Terry Crews, Craig Robinson, and John Cho along with many more. Huebel, Owen Burke, Nick Jasenovec, and Jonathan Stern serve as executive producers. The series is being produced by »


- Joe Otterson

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The Best TV Shows of 2017 (So Far)

9 hours ago

One of the most notable things about this list is its omissions. So many good shows debuted, returned or continued good seasons this year that it’s difficult to keep up. I’ve surely left off one or two or three of your favorites off this list (and I will continue to spend every spare hour trying to finish — or start — seasons of shows I haven’t seen).

Even so, coming up with 20 entries for this list wasn’t difficult — I actually had to prune back my first attempt at a roster (and once again, my end-of-year lists will likely »


- Maureen Ryan

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‘Glow’ Creators on Why They Wanted to Make a Series About Women’s Wrestling

9 hours ago

Women’s wrestling might not seem like the most natural of subjects for producers Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch to (pardon the expression) tackle. The two writers, who’ve been friends for years dating back to their time on “Nurse Jackie,” were looking for another project to team up on. “We knew we wanted it to be female-focused, we wanted it to be a comedy, but we had no other insight beyond that,” says Flahive.

And then they came across a documentary about the women of “G.L.O.W.” (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling), talking about their time making the »


- Debra Birnbaum

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Bill Cosby to Hold ‘Town Halls’ on Sexual Assault Following Mistrial

10 hours ago

Bill Cosby is planning a series of talks about sexual assault in the wake of his own sexual assault court case ending in a mistrial.

“Mr. Cosby wants to get back to work,” his spokesman Andrew Wyatt said on Wbrc’s “Good Day Alabama” in Birmingham. “We’re now planning town halls and we’re going to be coming to this city sometime in July … to talk to young people because this is bigger than Bill Cosby.”

“This issue can affect any young person, especially young athletes of today, and they need to know what they’re facing when they’re hanging out and partying, »


- Joe Otterson

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Stephen Colbert Takes ‘Late Show’ to Russia in Dig at Trump

10 hours ago

Stephen Colbert has never been shy about going the extra mile for comedy, and this time he went more than just a mile.

On Thursday, the “Late Show” host tweeted a response to President Donald Trump’s announcement that he has no tapes of conversations with former FBI Director James Comey in which Colbert is strolling through the streets of Russia. “Don’t worry, Mr. President. I’m in Russia,” Colbert wrote. “If the ‘tapes’ exist, I’ll bring you back a copy!” It is unknown exactly when Colbert will air footage from the trip, with a spokesperson for CBS »


- Joe Otterson

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Ryan Seacrest on Hosting ‘American Idol’ Reboot: ‘I Think It’s Doable’

10 hours ago

Ryan Seacrest is still negotiating the terms of a contract to host a rebooted “American Idol” on ABC next season, a process that he compared to a puzzle. “Do I think I will?” Seacrest asked. “The puzzle is a matrix. I love the show. I have great affection for the show, and I think the show will be tremendously successful on ABC.”

Seacrest was in the South of France this week at Cannes Lions, the annual advertising conference, with his first full-time job at iHeartMedia, where he hosts “On Air With Ryan Seacrest” and “American Top 40 With Ryan Seacrest.” He »


- Ramin Setoodeh

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PBS’ Independent Lens Announces Season 16 Slate (Exclusive)

11 hours ago

Despite the fact that President Donald Trump’s proposed federal budget calls for the eventual elimination of government funding for public TV, Independent Lens isn’t going anywhere… at least not for the next 12 months.

The long-running documentary series that airs on PBS will launch its 16th season on Nov. 6 with John Scheinfeld’s “Chasing Trane.” About John Coltrane, the film premiered at the Telluride Film Festival last September followed by a screening at Toronto Intl. Film Festival. Pic includes interviews with Wynton Marsalis, former President Bill Clinton, and Common, with Coltrane’s own words spoken by Denzel Washington. Abramorama »


- Addie Morfoot

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Fox Sets Fall Premiere Dates, Including ‘Empire,’ ‘The Gifted,’ ‘The Orville’

11 hours ago

Fox has unveiled premiere dated for its 2017 fall lineup.

The fall season will kick off with a special Sunday night premiere of “The Orville” on Sept. 10 at 8 p.m., following an NFL doubleheader on Fox. The live-action comedic sci-fi drama from creator Seth MacFarlane will air again with the second installment of its two part debut on Sunday, Sept. 17, then settle into its regular Thursday-night time period Spet. 28 at 8 p.m.

“Empire,” the network’s highest rated show, will debut its new season and new timeslot Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 8 p.m., followed by the season premiere of “Star.”

New comedy “Ghosted” will debut Sunday, »


- Daniel Holloway

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Reality TV Crews Get Rush From Toughest Shoots

11 hours ago

Reality TV seems so spontaneous that it’s hard to believe how much work goes into making it. But for the DPs and camera operators tasked with capturing the action and the drama on the fly, the genre is one of the most demanding in the business.

“It can be busy, it can be hectic and it can be crazy,” says Shaun Newton, a camera operator on MTV’s “Are You the One?” which wrapped its fifth season in March.

“Twelve-hour days are typical for us,” Newton adds. “But it can be rewarding, and it’s a really cool job. »


- Calum Marsh

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Leadership Shifts at ITV, Channel 4 May Signal That U.K. Broadcasters Are at a Crossroads

11 hours ago

Vacancies at the top of British broadcasting don’t arise very often — and then two come along at once. Earlier this year, the heads of big commercial broadcasters ITV and Channel 4 announced within weeks of each other that they were quitting, setting off a leadership scramble at a time when the industry was already undergoing dramatic change. With ad revenue and audiences increasingly moving online, the broadcasters’ new bosses look set to preside over defining moments for each of their organizations.

Channel 4, the new home of “The Great British Bake Off,” has tapped seasoned TV exec Alex Mahon »


- Stewart Clarke

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Jay Duplass Shines in ‘Transparent’ Season 3 (Watch)

12 hours ago

Season three saw a lot of changes for the characters on Amazon’s “Transparent,” not least Jay Duplass’s Josh Pfefferman, the troubled son of Jeffrey Tambor’s Maura.

Josh stagnated after the end of his relationship with his fiancee Raquel (Kathryn Hahn) at the end of season two, and was forced to deal with the shock of his ex-lover, babysitter, and mother of his son Rita’s suicide. One of his attempts to move on took the form of an attempted relationship with Shea, an exotic dancer, trans woman, and friend of Maura’s played by Trace Lysette.

One »


- Erin Nyren

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Susan Sarandon on Why She Hasn’t Watched ‘Feud,’ Bette and Joan’s Relationship

12 hours ago

The role of Bette Davis was one Susan Sarandon had avoided playing until she was presented with Ryan Murphy’s scripts for “Feud.” Her performance as the legendary movie star has won raves — though she admits she’s hasn’t watched it herself.

Congratulations on “Feud.”

I haven’t seen it. It’s always heartbreaking when things are cut or you look at yourself and you think, “Well, I could have done that better or more courageously.” So I’ve decided just to dine out on everybody else saying they’re having a good time.

What made you sign on? »


- Debra Birnbaum

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Alison Brie on Her ‘Glow’ Role: I Want to ‘Shatter This Image That People Have of Me’

12 hours ago

Thirteen of the fourteen-woman cast of executive producer Jenji Kohan‘s new Netflix series, women’s wrestling show “Glow,” were present at the premiere Wednesday evening at the Arclight Hollywood cinema in Los Angeles.

Glow” is based on the real-life 1980s women’s wrestling show of the same name, and gives a fictional account of how the show began. Alison Brie stars as Ruth Wilder, a young “serious” actor struggling to find work, with Betty Gilpin as her soon-estranged best friend and ex-soap opera star Debbie Eagan. The two are accompanied by a large cast of other wrestlers, who each »


- Erin Nyren

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