Monday, July 23, 2018

News Briefs

Displaying 1 - 10 of 3100
  • Monday, Jul. 23, 2018
Activist to star as TV's first transgender superhero
In this Sunday, June 26, 2016 photo Nicole Maines poses at her home in Portland, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
BURBANK, Calif. (AP) -- 

A transgender activist who won a discrimination lawsuit after her school refused to let her use the girls' bathroom will be TV's first transgender superhero.

Nicole Maines will star in The CW/Warner Bros.' "Supergirl" as Nia Nal, aka Dreamer. Producers describe her character as a "soulful young transgender woman with a fierce drive to protect others."

Maines gained national attention for her battle against her Orono, Maine school district over her right to use the girls' bathroom.

Maine's highest court ruled in 2014 that school officials violated state anti-discrimination law when they required her to use a staff restroom.

It was the first time a state high court concluded that a transgender person should use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify.

  • Saturday, Jul. 21, 2018
Actor Riz Ahmed praises Sandra Oh as a diversity trailblazer
Riz Ahmed attends the "Venom" press line on day two of Comic-Con International on Friday, July 20, 2018, in San Diego. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (AP) -- 

Riz Ahmed, who shattered glass ceilings as the first Asian man to win an acting Emmy, is celebrating fellow trailblazer Sandra Oh.

The "Grey's Anatomy" actress became the first nominee of Asian descent in the leading drama actress category when Emmy nominations were announced earlier this month.

"I'm incredibly happy for her. Massively well deserved," Ahmed said Friday at Comic-Con. "I think we're living in a moment where we are all realizing that it's not enough to just carry on with business as usual. If we just sleep walk forward, we can end up walking off a cliff and I think a lot of people think we've done that politically, both in Europe and in America."

Last year, Ahmed took home an Emmy for "The Night Of." Oh received five bids for "Grey's" and has earned critical praise as a spy hunter in BBC America's "Killing Eve."

Comic-Con attendees got a look at Ahmed's upcoming Spider-Man spinoff "Venom." His co-star is Tom Hardy.

  • Friday, Jul. 20, 2018
Facebook suspends Boston analytics firm over data usage
In this May 16, 2012, file photo, the Facebook logo is displayed on an iPad in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Facebook said Friday that it has suspended Boston-based analytics firm Crimson Hexagon while it investigates how it collects and shares Facebook and Instagram's user data.

Facebook has been facing increased scrutiny over how third-party firms use its data since news broke in March that data firm Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed user data.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that Facebook had suspended Crimson Hexagon. The newspaper says among the firm's clients is a Russian nonprofit with ties to the Kremlin.

"We don't allow developers to build surveillance tools using information from Facebook or Instagram," said Ime Archibong, Facebook's vice president of product partnerships. "We take these allegations seriously, and we have suspended these apps while we investigate."

Facebook said Friday that Crimson Hexagon is cooperating and that so far its investigation hasn't found evidence that the firm obtained Facebook or Instagram information inappropriately.

Crimson Hexagon says on its website it has access to over one trillion consumer conversations from social media, forums, blogs and reviews.

In a blog posting , Crimson Hexagon Chief Technology Officer Chris Bingham said the company "abides completely" by the rules social media sites including Twitter and Facebook put in place to limit the ways third-party companies can use their data.

He said the firm only collects publicly available social media data. He contrasted that with Cambridge Analytica's use of private user data.

Users of Crimson Hexagon's platform, which include government customers, analyze the data to understand large-scale consumer trends and preferences, Bingham wrote.

"Government entities that leverage the Crimson Hexagon platform do so for the same reasons as many of our other non-government customers: a broad-based and aggregate understanding of the public's perception, preferences and sentiment about matters of concern to them," he wrote.

  • Friday, Jul. 20, 2018
Walter White may appear in "Better Call Saul," creator says
Vince Gilligan attends the "Better Call Saul" panel on day one of Comic-Con International on Thursday, July 19, 2018, in San Diego.(Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (AP) -- 

"Breaking Bad" is gone, but Walter White may be coming back to television.

"Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan said Thursday at Comic-Con that there is an excellent chance that the Bryan Cranston character and Aaron Paul's Jesse Pinkman will be in the show's spinoff "Better Call Saul" at some point.

Gilligan, Cranston and Paul were joined by many of their fellow "Breaking Bad" castmates in the 6,500-seat Hall H to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the show.

Gilligan said the characters will not appear in season 4 of "Better Call Saul" when it picks up in August.

"We don't want to jerk folks around," Gilligan said. "But we would be sorely remiss if these characters didn't appear in the show before it ended."

"Better Call Saul" is a prequel spinoff of "Breaking Bad" that tracks the rise of a struggling lawyer played by Bob Odenkirk into the go-to attorney for top criminals in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

"Breaking Bad" aired for five seasons on AMC, earning Cranston four outstanding drama actor Emmy Awards for his role as White. Paul won three supporting actor Emmys.

Paul brought his infant daughter onstage wearing a yellow hazmat suit and respirator like the one his character donned on the show while making meth.

"I miss you all, I miss the show," he told his former co-stars at one point.

Cranston also said that "Breaking Bad" will never be a feature film, but Gilligan countered not to rule it out.

  • Thursday, Jul. 19, 2018
CNN chief Jeff Zucker undergoing heart surgery
In this April 18, 2018 file photo, CNN boss Jeff Zucker attends the Tribeca Film Festival opening night world premiere of "Love, Gilda" in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

CNN's top executive, Jeff Zucker, is undergoing heart surgery and will take a six-week leave of absence from running the news network.

CNN said Zucker made the announcement to his staff Thursday following a morning editorial meeting. His top deputy, Michael Bass, will be in charge during his absence.

The network said Zucker's surgery is elective, to address a condition that he has had for a decade. He's already a cancer survivor. Brian Stelter, CNN's media reporter, tweeted that Zucker assured staff members that he is going to be fine.

CNN, and Zucker in particular, have been frequent targets of President Donald Trump's campaign against the media.

  • Wednesday, Jul. 18, 2018
"The Dark Knight" returning to IMAX screens in August
In this May 12, 2018, file photo, director Christopher Nolan poses during a photo call at the 71st international film festival, Cannes, southern France. (Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

"The Dark Knight" is returning to the big screen — actually, four of the biggest ones — in celebration of its 10th anniversary.

Warner Bros. announced Wednesday that the middle film in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy will be shown on IMAX screens in Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco and Toronto for one week beginning Aug. 24.

The theaters chosen will play the movie in the 70mm IMAX film format that Nolan used for some of the film's action sequences. He has used the format in two of his subsequent movies, "Interstellar" and last year's World War II epic, "Dunkirk."

"The Dark Knight" features Heath Ledger's performance as The Joker, which won him a posthumous Oscar.

Warner Bros. says tickets for the opening-day showings will go on sale Friday.

  • Wednesday, Jul. 18, 2018
Bruce Springsteen's Broadway show to be seen on Netflix
In this Nov. 10, 2015 file photo, Bruce Springsteen performs at the 9th Annual Stand Up For Heroes event in New York. (Photo by Greg Allen/Invision/AP, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Put away your wallet — you won't have to pay hundreds of dollars to see Bruce Springsteen's Broadway show.

Netflix announced Wednesday that it will broadcast The Boss' one-man show on Dec. 15, his last performance.

"Springsteen on Broadway" has been extended three times. He had previously planned to end in February, then pushed it to June 30, then pushed that to Dec. 15.

In the show, Springsteen performs more than a dozen songs and tells stories about growing up in New Jersey. Tickets for the show at the Walter Kerr Theatre have been reselling for more than $1,000.

  • Monday, Jul. 16, 2018
FCC head has "serious concerns" with Sinclair-Tribune deal
In this Dec. 14, 2017, file photo, after a meeting voting to end net neutrality, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai smiles while listening to a question from a reporter in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission is raising "serious concerns" about Sinclair's $3.9 billion deal for Tribune's television stations.

Sinclair wants to buy Tribune Media and its 42 TV stations, including KTLA in Los Angeles and WPIX in New York. To address potential antitrust concerns, Sinclair has said it would sell stations to several buyers.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says Sinclair might still be able to operate the stations "in practice, even if not in name." One potential buyer is the Cunningham Group, which has ties to Sinclair's founding family.

Pai is ordering a hearing on Sinclair's proposed acquisition of Tribune. Even ordering a hearing could stop a potential deal. The last deal an FCC hearing blocked was a 2002 merger of satellite TV companies DirecTV and Echostar.

  • Sunday, Jul. 15, 2018
Yvette Nicole Brown is interim guest host of "Walking Dead"
In this Feb. 26, 2018 file photo, Yvette Nicole Brown arrives at the world premiere of "A Wrinkle in Time" at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Yvette Nicole Brown is filling in for Chris Hardwick as host of "The Walking Dead" and "Talking Dead" while AMC Networks reviews sexual-assault allegations against Hardwick.

AMC announced Friday that Brown will be "interim guest host" of "The Walking Dead Season 9 Preview Special" on Aug. 5. Brown also will host "Talking Dead" on Aug. 12.

Brown starred in the NBC comedy "Community" and already was stepping in for Hardwick as moderator of "Walking Dead" panels next week at San Diego Comic-Con.

Hardwick has acknowledged that an online post by his ex-girlfriend Chloe Dykstra alleging she had been sexually assaulted and emotionally abused referred to him. He has denied the allegations but has said the couple's three-year relationship was imperfect and included arguments.

  • Friday, Jul. 13, 2018
Papa John's is pulling founder's image from its marketing
In this Oct. 18, 2017, file photo, Papa John's founder and CEO John Schnatter attends a meeting in Louisville, Ky. Papa John’s plans to pull Schnatter’s image from marketing materials after reports he used a racial slur. Schnatter apologized Wednesday, July 11, and said he would resign as chairman after Forbes reported that he used the slur during a media training session. Schnatter had stepped down as CEO last year after criticizing NFL protests. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Papa John's, which has featured founder John Schnatter as the face of the company in logos and TV ads, is pulling his image from its marketing after reports he used a racial slur. 

His face was off at least some materials by late morning Friday, though the company said the details and exact timing for everything were still being worked out. The pizza chain said there are no plans to change its name.

Schnatter is still on the board and is the company's largest shareholder — meaning he remains a key presence. Papa John's has acknowledged in regulatory filings that Schnatter's public role as its pitchman could be a liability if his reputation was damaged. The company got a taste of that last year, when Schnatter stepped down as CEO after blaming disappointing pizza sales on the outcry surrounding football players kneeling during the national anthem.

This week, Papa John's was already trying to further publicly distance itself from Schnatter after Forbes reported he used the N-word during a conference call in May. Schnatter apologized and said he would resign as chairman. That prompted the company's stock to recover some of the losses it suffered after the report, and shares were up less than 1 percent Friday. Schnatter owns nearly 30 percent of the stock.

In addition to appearing in TV ads, Schnatter's image has been on packaging and at the center of a logo that usually was all over the website of the Louisville, Kentucky-based company.

Keith Hollingsworth, a professor with Morehouse College's business department, said keeping Schnatter in the marketing and advertising would signal to people that the company does not have a problem with his comments, or that it doesn't think they are a big deal.

"Five years from now, they might be able to start bringing him back. But at the moment, you have to be very decisive and show you take this very seriously," Hollingsworth said.

Schnatter had used the slur during a media training exercise, Forbes said. When asked how he would distance himself from racist groups, Schnatter reportedly complained that Colonel Sanders never faced a backlash for using the word. Schnatter subsequently issued a statement acknowledging the use of "inappropriate and hurtful" language.

"Regardless of the context, I apologize," the statement said.

The fallout from his comments continued Friday. The University of Louisville said it will remove the Papa John's name from its football stadium, and that it will rename the John H. Schnatter Center for Free Enterprise at its business college. Earlier in the week, the school said Schnatter resigned from its board of trustees.

Major League Baseball had also said it was indefinitely suspending a promotion with Papa John's that offered people discounts at the pizza chain after a player hit a grand slam.

Papa John's International Inc. began operations in 1984 and had more than 5,200 locations globally. The company cannot afford to alienate customers, with sales already under pressure from rivals such as Domino's. For the first three months of this year, Papa John's said a key sales figure fell 5.3 percent in North America.

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