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ITV, Netflix in Race to Sign ‘Top Gear’ Trio for New Show

3 July 2015 5:26 PM, PDT | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

The race to sign the three former “Top Gear” hosts for a new automotive-focused unscripted series is said to be heading into the final laps, with ITV and Netflix in the lead. Hulu is also said to be in the mix.

It’s no secret that Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May have been in negotiations for weeks to set up a new show that would compete with the BBC mainstay, which is being relaunched with a new host, Chris Evans.

Clarkson was fired from “Top Gear” in March after physically assaulting a producer during a location shoot. He’d hosted the show in various incarnations since 1988 but for an absence from 1999 until the series relaunched in 2002.

Wme is understood to be among those advising the threesome as they finalize their next chapter. Also joining the new program will be longtime producer Andy Wilman.

Hammond and May declined to »


- Cynthia Littleton

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NBC Cancels ‘A.D.’ As Producers Plan Digital Revival For Biblical Drama

3 July 2015 12:00 PM, PDT | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

NBC has canceled “A.D.:The Bible Continues” after one season, but producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey plan to return to the greatest story ever told on their nascent digital channel.

“A.D” averaged about 6.5 million viewers and a 1.o in adults 18-49 in live-plus-7 Nielsen ratings across its 12-episode run, which ended June 21. The series was designed to pick up where Burnett and Downey’s blockbuster 2013 miniseries “The Bible” left off and chronicle stories from the formative years of Christianity.

The numbers were too soft for a renewal on NBC. But now that the “A.D.” moniker is established with a devoted cadre of viewers, Burnett and Downey see it as a perfect tentpole for the launch of the Ott channel they have been working on since partnering with MGM to form United Artists Media Group last fall.

The online channel is envisioned as a hub for »


- Cynthia Littleton

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Is Detective Truly a Snooze? Is UnReal Couple 'Shippable? LOLcats on Zoo? Dreadful Heartbreak? And More TV Qs

3 July 2015 10:30 AM, PDT | TVLine.com | See recent TVLine.com news »

We’ve got questions, and you’ve (maybe) got answers! With another week of TV gone by, we’re lobbing queries left and right about shows including Penny Dreadful, UnReal, Scream and Suits!

1 | Does Defiance now change its show logo, at least until the arch is repaired? Also, where do we get the NeedWant’s apparently winning pancake recipe?!

2 | Are people seriously trying to apply logic to Teen Beach 2, which is about kids who are transported in and out of a movie musical?

3 | Did Lifetime’s Perfect High inform us that, among heroin’s other side effects, it makes your hair piecey, »


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‘Humans’ Series Premiere Ratings Grow To 2.5M In L+3

3 July 2015 10:29 AM, PDT | Deadline TV | See recent Deadline TV news »

AMC’s sci-fi drama Humans clocked 2.5 million total viewers in Live+3 for its June 28 series premiere, up 43% from Live+Same Day. In the key demos, it scored 1.2 million adults 25-54, up 50% from Live+Sd, and 1.0 million adults 18-49, up 52% from L+Sd, according to Nielsen stats. As noted previously, the debut of Humans was just over 30% of what it got in the UK when the Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley-written series launched there on June 14. The first showing of the… »


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BBC Faced with $1.01 Billion Bill as U.K. Government Shifts Welfare Costs (Report)

1 hour ago | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

The BBC is facing the prospect of absorbing £650 million ($1.01 billion) in lost income as the U.K. government seeks to make the public broadcaster pay for television licenses for the elderly.

At present, the Department for Work and Pensions picks up the bill for the 4.5 million TV licenses, which cost £145.50 ($227) per household, for those over the age of 75. According to the Sunday Times, George Osborne, the U.K. government’s chancellor of the exchequer, is seeking to shift that bill onto the BBC’s books.

In return, the BBC will be allowed to charge for its video-on-demand service, the iPlayer, which stores BBC content and is currently free of charge. Many people are avoiding the license fee, which is compulsory, by watching TV on tablets and other mobile devises rather than on TV sets. Charging for its streaming services would bring in additional revenue totaling around £150 million ($234 million).

The BBC »


- Leo Barraclough

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