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WGA West Members Facing Higher Health Care Costs

33 minutes ago

Members of the Writers Guild of America West will face higher health costs next year, the guild’s leaders have told members.

The missive was sent Monday to the 9,000 members of the WGA by president Howard Rodman, VP David A. Goodman, secretary-treasurer Aaron Mendelsohn, and executive director David Young.

The changes are due to concessions that the guild made in its negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers in order to shore up its health plan, which had been running at a deficit. The two sides reached a deal less than an hour before the contract expired on May 1.

“Our Mba deal includes both contribution increases from our employers and an agreement by the Guild to cut costs,” the missive said. “Basically, the companies agreed to increase contributions by $30 million annually and we agreed to make cuts that yield $7 million in savings annually. Now comes the tough part.”

The »


- Dave McNary

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Sony Pictures Chief Taps Internal Trio to Lead TV Production Division

56 minutes ago

Sony Pictures chief Tony Vinciquerra has tapped a trio of insiders to lead its TV production division. Business affairs veteran Jeff Frost has been promoted to president of Sony Pictures TV Studios, while drama development chiefs Chris Parnell and Jason Clodfelter have been upped to co-presidents focusing on creative matters.

The trio will serve as an “office of the president” spearheading all production and development, per Sony. Frost reports to Vinciquerra, who took the reins of the studio in June. Parnell and Clodfelter report to Frost.

The new structure fills the void left last month by the departures of longtime Sony Pictures TV presidents Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, who segued to launch a TV production operation for Apple.

Jeff, Chris and Jason are the perfect team to run our U.S. television business,” Vinciquerra said. “Over the last several weeks, I have been able to see first-hand the strong leadership qualities possessed by Jeff, Chris »


- Cynthia Littleton

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Mario Cantone Wants to Play Anthony Scaramucci on ‘Saturday Night Live’

1 hour ago

Saturday Night Live” has some big shoes to fill now that Melissa McCarthy won’t be needed to play Sean Spicer, who resigned last week as White House press secretary.

Over the weekend, after Donald Trump’s new communications director Anthony Scaramucci made the rounds on the Sunday talk shows, Twitter users speculated about what actor could parody him on the long-running NBC sketch show.

Among one of the more popular suggestions: Mario Cantone, who played another Anthony — Charlotte York’s gay best friend on “Sex and the City.”

When reached by Variety, Cantone said that he’d seen the online chatter about him taking on the role. “Of course I’d do it,” Cantone said. “It would be a very big deal for me and a lot of fun. I know this guy. I have cousins.”

It will be up to “SNL” creator and executive Lorne Michaels to make the decision when the show comes back »


- Ramin Setoodeh

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Nickelodeon Web Show ‘Welcome to the Wayne’ Premieres as Full-Length Animated Series

2 hours ago

The 2014 animated web series “Welcome to the Wayne” is checking into Nickelodeon on Monday as a full-fledged series, debuting at 5:30 p.m. Et/Pt.

“Welcome to the Wayne” was Nick’s first web-only short-form series, with six four to five-minute episodes telling the tale of 10-year-olds Ansi Molina and Olly Timbers, and Olly’s little sister Saraline, as they try to unlock the secrets of the mysterious New York building they live in, the Wayne.

The series was created by Emmy winner Billy Lopez (“Peg+Cat,” “Wonder Pets!”), who doubles as the voice of Olly, and is inspired by his childhood in New York’s Greenwich Village. “I especially remember Halloween, when my neighborhood friends and I would go through the buildings we’d lived in. We would just start from the penthouse and tear down the stairs and bang on everyone’s door. It was sort of like ‘Where the Wild Things Are.’ We »


- Terry Flores

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‘Game of Thrones’ Actress Carice van Houten Reveals Her Picks for ‘Prince Who Was Promised’

3 hours ago

Spoiler Alert: Do not keep reading if you have not seen Season 7, episode 2 of “Game of Thrones.”

This week’s episode of “Game of Thrones” revealed that the prophesied “prince who was promised” could actually be a princess instead.

In a conversation with Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), the Red Woman herself, Melisandre (Carice van Houten) tells the Mother of Dragons of the mythical prince who is said to be the only one capable of stopping the Night’s King and his army of the dead. But Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) points out that in the original Valyrian, the word for prince has no gender, meaning the person could be either male or female. So which character could be Westeros’ salvation?

“It’s just a guessing game. It’s a lottery at this point,” van Houten told Variety. “Anything can happen in this show. I would like to live in a world where it could be Samwell Tarly, but »


- Joe Otterson

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ABC Sets Fall Premiere Dates for Marvel’s ‘Inhumans,’ Daveed Diggs’ ‘The Mayor’

3 hours ago

ABC has set their fall premiere dates for the 2017-2018 season.

The network’s new offerings will kick off with medical drama “The Good Doctor” starring Freddie Highmore premiering on Monday, Sept. 25 following “Dancing with the Stars.” The new Marvel series “Inhumans” will then launch with a two-hour premiere on Friday, Sept. 29.

The Kyra Segdwick-led drama “Ten Days in the Valley” will begin on Sunday, Oct. 1 following the Season 9 premiere of “Shark Tank.” Comedy series “The Mayor,” from executive producer and “Hamilton” breakout Daveed Diggs, will premiere on Tuesday, Oct. 3 after the Season 4 premiere of “black-ish.” “Kevin (Probably) Saves the World,” formerly “The Gospel of Kevin,” will air immediately after.

ABC’s other new series orders–“Alex Inc.,” “The Crossing,” “Deception,” “For the People,” and “Splitting Up Together”–will debut at midseason.

Read the full list of premiere dates below. All times listed are Et, and new shows are listed in bold.

Monday »


- Joe Otterson

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‘Modern Family’ Kids Set Two-Season Deal With Big Pay Bump

4 hours ago

Manny, Luke, Haley and Alex will all be back with the family.

The core “Modern Family” kids have closed their deals to sign onto two more seasons of the ABC sitcom, Variety has learned. Insiders say “significant” pay raises were given to each of the young adult actors — Rico Rodriguez, Nolan Gould, Sarah Hyland and Ariel Winter.

Kids actors Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, who plays Lily, and Jeremy Maguire, who plays Joe, joined the series later on in its run and have more time left on their current deals, unlike the other four TV kids, who are now all adults and at least the age of 18 in real life.

ABC and 20th Century Fox Television declined to comment on the actor deals.

The close of the younger actors’ contracts marks the end of rather lengthy negotiations for the regular “Modern Family” cast, who are now all officially set for Seasons 9 and 10. In early May, ABC »


- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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Fox News, New York Times Tussle Over Isis Raid Report

4 hours ago

Fox News and the New York Times are in a war of words over Fox News reports that a Times story from 2015 compromised U.S. military efforts to capture a key Isis leader.

The New York Times asked Fox News for an apology and correction for a July 22 report on “Fox & Friends” that cited recent comments from U.S. Gen. Tony Thomas asserting that a June 8, 2015, report in the Times about a raid in Syria  cost military intelligence a lead that could have led to the capture of the Isis leader known as Abu Sayyaf.

The Times in a letter to the executive producer of “Fox & Friends” protested the lack of opportunity to respond to Thomas’ claims, and it noted that Fox News reported on the same raid three weeks before the Times report was published. President Donald Trump comments on the “Fox & Friends” segment in a tweet on Saturday.

The »


- Variety Staff

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‘Justice League,’ ‘Walking Dead’ Among Most Tweeted Topics at Comic-Con

4 hours ago

As a mecca for fans of franchises ranging from Marvel to “Star Trek,” it’s no surprise that San Diego Comic-Con’s output of teasers, panels, and meet and greets would foster an explosion of tweets. Topping this year’s outpouring of excitement with the most tweets were properties that revealed new trailers or are supported by obsessive fandoms.

Marvel’s pantheon of offerings was pushed out by DC’s “Justice League” as the most-tweeted about movie, followed by “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Black Panther,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” and “Kingsman.” Warner Bros. released an Sdcc-exclusive “Justice League” trailer, which may have prompted the tweets.

As for television, MTV’s “Teen Wolf,” with its massive following, beat out The CW’s “Supernatural,” “Arrow,” ABC’s “Once Upon A Time,” and AMC’s “The Walking Dead” as the most-tweeted show. The series’s main star, Dylan O’Brien, was also the most-tweeted about celebrity at Sdcc. A »


- Erin Nyren

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Starline Nabs Tighe O’Donoghue Ross Film ‘Why Is There Anything Instead of Nothing’ (Exclusive)

5 hours ago

Starline Entertainment will take “Why Is There Anything Instead of Nothing” to the international market after snagging the global rights to the feature documentary about Irish-American painter, sculptor and printmaker Tighe O’Donoghue Ross.

The artist had enormous commercial success and won international acclaim during the 1970s and 1980s while living in the Us, before withdrawing from the art scene, and moving to his ancestral home in Killarney, Ireland, where he is now hereditary chieftain of the O’Donoghue’s of Ross.

Cork-based Southernman Films produced the film, which was directed by Patrick O’Shea and produced by Aidan Stanley. It is expected to have a festival run, with Starline selling it to broadcasters and digital services and platforms.

Starline’s Carey Fitzgerald negotiated the rights deal with Southernman at the Galway Film Fair. “’Why Is There Anything Instead of Nothing’ is a beautifully realized exploration of the creative process as witnessed through the eyes of a »


- Stewart Clarke

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Our Staff Picks: TV Shows to Watch the Week of July 24, 2017

5 hours ago

Welcome back to Tune In: our weekly newsletter offering a guide to the best of the week’s TV.

Each week, Variety‘s TV team combs through the week’s schedule, selecting our picks of what to watch and when/how to watch them. This week, “Rick & Morty” makes a long awaited return, while “Midnight, Texas” finally premieres.

“Midnight, Texas,” NBC, Monday, 10 p.m.

Based on the novels of the same name from author Charlaine Harris, who wrote the books that inspired HBO’s “True Blood,” this series is set in the remote town of Midnight, Texas, where your neighbor could be a vampire, a witch, a werewolf or even an angel. Mystery, horror and romance combine to both enthrall and frighten any outsiders who decide to venture into this unusual place. The series will star François Arnaud, Dylan Bruce, Parisa Fitz-Henley, Arielle Kebbel, Jason Lewis, Peter Mensah, Sarah Ramos, and »


- Joe Otterson

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George R.R. Martin Says ‘Winds of Winter’ Could Hit Shelves in 2018

6 hours ago

George R.R. Martin gave fans another update on his long-awaited next installment in the “Song of Ice and Fire” novel series.

“I’ve seen some truly weird reports about [‘Winds of Winter’] on the internet of late, by ‘journalists’ who make their stories up out of whole cloth,” Martin wrote on his Livejournal. “I don’t know which story is more absurd, the one that says the book is finished and I’ve been sitting on it for some nefarious reason, or the one that says I have no pages. Both ‘reports’ are equally false and equally moronic. I am still working on it, I am still months away (how many? good question), I still have good days and bad days, and that’s all I care to say.”

Martin also said that he is working on a two-volume history of Westeros’ history under the Targaryen dynasty, which is currently titled “Fire and Blood,” with »


- Joe Otterson

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Building Brands by Relating to Fans (Guest Column)

6 hours ago

In an April 2, 2016 guest column, Susan Kresnicka described Troika’s plans to embark on a year-long, comprehensive study of fans and fandom. In this follow-up, Susan, President of Kresnicka Research & Insights, and Dan Pappalardo, President of Troika, share some key insights from this work.

From March 2016 through February 2017, the Research and Insights team at Los Angeles-based brand experience agency, Troika, devoted itself to figuring out the basics of fandom. With a set of six research methods, 50 weeks of continuous fieldwork, and over 12,000 research participants, our team of eight social scientists tackled core questions: Why do some people become fans, but not others? What role does fandom play in people’s lives? How does fandom start? How does it change over time? What is fandom? And, most importantly, how can the entertainment industry use the answers to these questions to build stronger businesses?

We knew from the outset that the entertainment industry was beginning to see the potential »


- Susan Kresnicka and Dan Pappalardo

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TV Ratings: ‘Candy Crush’ Sinks for Second Straight Week

6 hours ago

CBS’ live game show version of “Candy Crush” suffered another large drop in the Sunday overnight ratings in its third week, according to Nielsen data.

Airing at 9 p.m., the show averaged a 0.5 rating in adults 18-49 and 2.4 million viewers, down approximately 38% in the key demo and 17% in total viewers compared to last week (0.8, 2.9 million). It also shed the vast majority of its lead in from “Big Brother” (1.8, 6.1 million) at 8.

CBS aired only repeats for the rest of primetime.

On ABC, “Celebrity Family Feud” (1.1, 6.1 million) was even, as was “Steve Harvey’s Funderdome” (0.8, 4.3 million) and “The $100,000 Pyramid” (0.8, 4.3 million).

Fox aired mostly repeats except for “American Grit” (0.4, 1.1 million), which was up in total viewers.

NBC’s overnight numbers are currently not totally accurate, given the extended overrun of the Nascar Brickyard 400. Due to the overrun of the race, “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly” did not air until 9, but is currently averaging a 0.5 and 2.7 million viewers. “Spartan: »


- Joe Otterson

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Princess Diana TV Film From PBS, Channel 4 Promises Never-Seen-Before Footage

7 hours ago

A new documentary on Princess Diana from PBS and Britain’s Channel 4 will feature never-before-seen footage of the royal and style icon captured by her speech coach in the early 1990s.

“Diana: In Her Own Words” will go out on Channel 4 and PBS in their respective countries in August, ahead of the 20th anniversary of her death. It will center on videotapes of the princess recorded at Kensington Palace by her speech coach, Peter Settelen, as he helped her prepare to publicly present her account of her life and marriage to Prince Charles.

In the recordings, Diana reflects on her early life, her relationship with the Prince of Wales, and life in the public eye. The filmmakers say the tapes are the only known unmediated video ever recorded with Diana.

There is also footage of Diana rehearsing as she sought to reinvent her public persona and prepared to make the recordings for Andrew Morton’s »


- Stewart Clarke

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Chelsea Handler to Host HFPA Grants Banquet

7 hours ago

Chelsea Handler will serve as host for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual grants banquet, set for August 2 at the Beverly Wilshire hotel.

Presenters for the evening, which awards more than $2.6 million in funds to a range of non-profits, will include Ava DuVernay, Bob Odenkirk, Kumail Nanjiani, Mark Hamill, Patrick Stewart, Elizabeth Moss, Chrissy Metz, Robert Pattinson and Stan Lee.

Tony Award nominee Keala Settle will perform at the dinner.

For 25 years, the HFPA has been making charitable contributions to entertainment-related organizations with the proceeds from television rights to the Golden Globes. The organization has provided more than 1,500 scholarships and helped restore more than 90 historic films.

Grants have gone to universities including UCLA and Nyu, organizations such as AFI and Sundance, film preservationists  such as the Film Foundation, and projects including the Latin American Cinemateca of Los Angeles, the Echo Park Film Center and the Last Remaining Seats.

“We are delighted to welcome Chelsea Handler as »


- Variety Staff

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Chris Noth to Receive Inaugural Canopy Award at North Fork TV Festival

8 hours ago

Chris Noth will be honored with the inaugural canopy award at this year’s North Fork TV Festival. The actor will accept the award on Friday, Sept. 8 at the Greenport Theatre in Greenport, NY.

The North Fork Canopy Award honors a member of the New York creative community whose work embodies the independent spirit of persistence, integrity and collaboration. The influence of this individual generates opportunities and inspires the ambitions of anyone with a story to tell and the diverse collection of people who help tell it.

“I’m so honored to be presented with the Canopy Award at this year’s North Fork TV Festival,” Noth commented. “I’ve lived and worked in New York for years, and I’ve shot all over New York State and Long Island, so being a part of this particular festival really means a lot to me. I can’t wait to see everyone out east this September.”

Noth »


- Dixie Limbachia

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BBC Boss Responds to Female Stars Over Pay: ‘We Need to Do More’

12 hours ago

The director general of the BBC, Tony Hall, has responded to a letter from the public broadcaster’s female stars over its gender pay gap, acknowledging that the organization must do more to fix the problem and adding that the salary figures for next year will “look very different.”

Last week, the BBC was forced to publish the earnings and names of the stars whom it pays more than £150,000 ($195,600), revealing a startling pay gap between men and women.

Two thirds of the top earners were men, prompting a group of the BBC’s female stars to sign an open letter to Hall in which they wrote: “You have said that you will ‘sort’ the gender pay gap by 2020, but the BBC has known about the pay disparity for years. We all want to go on the record to call upon you to act now.”

Hall responded with his own letter, saying »


- Stewart Clarke

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‘Game of Thrones’ Recap: New Alliances Begin to Form as War Approaches

20 hours ago

Spoiler Alert: Do not keep reading if you have not seen Season 7 Episode 2 of “Game of Thrones

This week’s episode of “Game of Thrones” opened at Dragonstone, the new island home base of Daenerys Targaryen. The island is beset by a storm, which Tyrion remarks is not dissimilar from the storm on the night Daenerys was born. She and her advisers plot the best way to take over Westeros with the smallest number of lives lost. But Daenerys is weary of Varys, due to his repeated changes of loyalty throughout his life. But Varys delivers an impassioned speech in his defense, saying he lives to serve poor people, like he once was, and that he has only ever worked for the good of the realm. Daenerys accepts his answer, but promises that if he betrays her, she will burn him alive.

Grey Worm then informs her that Melisandre has arrived to speak with her. Melisandre »


- Joe Otterson

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