Thursday, January 17, 2019

News Briefs

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  • Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018
Ariana Grande in new four-part docu-series on YouTube
In this June 2, 2018 file photo, Ariana Grande, center, performs at Wango Tango in Los Angeles. Grande is giving fans an all-access pass into her musical life through a new documentary series on YouTube. The streaming service announced Wednesday, Nov. 28, that Grande will be featured in “Ariana Grande: Dangerous Woman Diaries.” (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

Ariana Grande is giving fans an all-access pass into her musical life through a new documentary series on YouTube.

The streaming service says Grande will be featured in "Ariana Grande: Dangerous Woman Diaries." The four-part series is set to launch Thursday on the "No Tears Left to Cry" singer's YouTube channel.

The series will show highlights from the making of Grande's latest album, "Sweetener," which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart in August. The documentary will also show new footage from her Dangerous Woman Tour, which was suspended after a terrorist bombing killed 22 and injured more than 500 at Manchester Arena in May 2017.

Parts of Grande's One Love Manchester concert that helped raise money for the bombing victims will also be shown.

  • Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018
Margaret Atwood writing "Handmaid's Tale" sequel, out in 2019
In this Oct. 14, 2018 file photo, Margaret Atwood arrives at the 16th Annual Hammer Museum Gala in the Garden in Los Angeles. Atwood is writing a sequel to her million-selling “The Handmaid’s Tale.” “The Testaments” will be published next September by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, the publisher announced Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Thanks to public demand, and a certain American president, Margaret Atwood is writing a sequel to her million-selling "The Handmaid's Tale."

"The Testaments" will be published next September by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, the publisher announced Wednesday. The book is set 15 years after the final scene of Offred, narrator of "The Handmaid's Tale." Atwood's novel about a dystopian society in the imagined land of Gilead was a best seller when first published in 1985 and was back on the charts after Donald Trump's election in 2016. The novel is also the basis for an acclaimed miniseries on Hulu.

Atwood, a Canadian author, said in a statement that the sequel was inspired by readers' questions about Gilead and by the "world we've been living in."

  • Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018
Fox begins digital service for people who want more opinion
This combination of photos shows Fox News Channel personalities Steve Doocy (l) and Dana Perino. Doocy will host a cooking show, tied to a cookbook he's releasing. And Perino will have a book club highlighting new releases on the new streaming service Fox Nation, that launches Tuesday. (AP Photo)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

The new streaming service Fox Nation that launched today (11/27)  is aimed at people who don't think Fox News Channel offers enough opinion.

Fox is becoming the latest television news operation to stake out digital turf. Rather than an attempt to seek out young cord-cutters, Fox Nation is a subscription-based service designed to complement Fox News Channel.

The bulk of its original offerings will post between 9 a.m. and the TV primetime hours. While Fox Nation will offer video on demand at all hours, the intent is not to compete with FNC's most popular opinion-based programs "Fox & Friends" and the evening lineup with Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham.

"With our massively loyal, dedicated fan base, it gives us an opportunity to give them more of what they want from us," said John Finley, the executive overseeing Fox Nation.

Daily programming will emphasize short-form commentary from conservative hosts, many of whom Fox viewers are familiar with. Tomi Lahren offers "Final Thoughts" on the news at dinnertime. Britt McHenry and Tyrus anchor a regular show called "UN-PC." Andrew Napolitano has a regular morning show. Each morning the service offers highlights of what Fox's primetime hosts said the night before, in a program described as a less-snarky "Talk Soup," as well as full-show streams for people who miss them on TV.

Ingraham will co-host a program with Raymond Arroyo, one of her prime-time show's regular guests. Although Fox Nation has promised Hannity and Carlson's involvement, their roles haven't been announced.

The last new program at 7 p.m. each day will be a trivia game show hosted by comic Tom Shillue.

"Creatively, it's very exciting because we can try a lot of things ... that are going to surprise the audience, different sorts of projects that might not have found a home on the news channel," Finley said.

"We thought we were in a unique position to offer something different," he said.

"Fox & Friends" host Steve Doocy is doing a show tied to a cookbook he's released. Dana Perino will have a book club highlighting new releases. Morning co-host Brian Kilmeade, a history buff, is hosting "What Makes America Great," a show where he will travel to places like Mount Rushmore and Andrew Jackson's home, The Hermitage, to tell stories.

"We are so consumed in the elections, who's winning and who's losing and who's doing what to whom," Kilmeade said. "Maybe we can remember when we were just formulating, what brought us together back them."

The service will also livestream video of Kilmeade's radio show, which begins minutes after he steps off the "Fox & Friends" set.

Fox Nation is also building a library of documentary programs, including shows on familiar conservative talking points like Chappaquiddick, Whitewater, Clarence Thomas' confirmation hearings, Robert Bork's failed Supreme Court nomination and Gregg Jarrett's theories on an attempt to "frame" Donald Trump.

Fox Nation is the latest of several attempts by TV news divisions to reach a digital audience. The CBSN streaming news service, much like a cable news operation online, is the most established and has operated since 2014. Besides being available on the CBS News website, it is also part of the CBS All Access subscription service.

CNN streams its domestic and international networks online, but consumers need an authenticated cable or satellite subscription for access.

ABC News Live began operating on Roku in May and has now spread to other platforms. It offers a mix of filmed news reports, debriefs, some original programming and live coverage of big stories. NBC has aggressively sought younger news viewers online and next year will launch the 24-hour streaming service NBC News Signal.

What most of these services share is an implicit attempt to entice younger viewers who don't watch much news on TV. That isn't necessarily the mission at Fox Nation.

Fox Nation has offered enticements to charter subscribers, including a $1,200 package that includes a three-year subscription, a "deluxe gift box" and customized watch. A monthly subscription costs $5.99.

Like CBS, which has closely held information on how many people use its streaming service, Fox won't discuss how many people have signed up or what the expectations are.

One analyst likened Fox Nation to ESPN's efforts to reach an online audience, saying there's a belief that Fox — consistently the most popular cable news network — has enough dedicated fans to make it financially viable.

"The only question is they tend to have an older audience that is not particularly digitally savvy," said Alan Wolk, co-founder of TV(R)EV, a media consulting business. "Will this be something that they get digitally savvy for?"

Getting names, demographic and credit card information about their most dedicated fans may also be of great value to Fox, Wolk said.

  • Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018
Don Mischer to receive DGA Lifetime Achievement Award in TV
Don Mischer
LOS ANGELES -- 

Don Mischer will be the recipient of the DGA Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Achievement in Television Direction. 

Thomas Schlamme, president of the DGA, said, “Don’s mastery of directing live events is a sight to behold: a fast-paced symphony of meticulous planning and on-the-spot decision-making that brings our nation’s greatest cultural events into our living rooms. And he does it all with grace and confidence. For decades, Don has captivated generations of audiences with our shared moments – from the Oscars and Super Bowl half time shows to the Olympics and President Obama’s historic inauguration. His skill as a director captures a range of human experiences which transcend the present, creating lifelong memories for audiences around the world. Along the way, he’s picked up a record 10 DGA Awards, countless industry awards and nominations for his outstanding work, and the admiration of his peers and colleagues. But that still wasn’t enough for us. We couldn’t be more proud to present Don with our Guild’s highest honor in television for his enduring contributions.”

Mischer will be the fourth recipient of the DGA Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Achievement in Television Direction. The award was created by the DGA Board of Directors in 2014, joining the Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Achievement in Motion Picture Direction as the two highest honors bestowed by the Guild. Winners are nominated by a blue ribbon committee of prominent television directors and approved by the present and past presidents of the Guild. Television-directing icons James Burrows and Robert Butler received the inaugural honor in 2014, and commercial directing great Joe Pytka received the award in 2016.

The honor will be presented to Mischer at the 71st Annual DGA Awards on Saturday, February 2, 2019 at the Hollywood & Highland Center’s Ray Dolby Ballroom in Hollywood.

For the second year in a row, Mischer will also serve as Awards chair for the event.

  • Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018
Global lawmakers grill Facebook exec in U.K. parliament
In this file photo dated Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011, Richard Allan, Facebook's director of policy for Europe, gestures as he speaks at the London Cyberspace Conference in London. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, FILE)
LONDON (AP) -- 

Lawmakers from nine countries grilled a Facebook executive on Tuesday as part of an international hearing at Britain's parliament on disinformation and "fake news."

Richard Allan, Facebook's vice president for policy solutions, answered questions in London in place of his boss, CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who ignored repeated requests to appear.

Allan, sitting next to an empty chair reserved for Zuckerberg, said the Facebook founder and CEO had already appeared before numerous other committees this year. He acknowledged that the company has not been without blame in how it handled various scandals.

"I'm not going to disagree with you that we've damaged public trust with some of the actions we've taken," he said.

Allan was responding to Canadian lawmaker Charlie Angus, who said the social media giant has "lost the trust of the international community to self-police," and that lawmakers have to start looking at ways to hold the company accountable.

British lawmakers were joined by their counterparts from eight other countries at the hearing held by the parliament's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

Zuckerberg accepts that what's needed is "a regulatory framework and action by responsible companies like ours - it's the two in tandem," Allan said.

The hearing comes after the committee's chairman, Damian Collins, took the unusual move of forcing the CEO of an app maker to turn over confidential Facebook documents.

  • Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018
Amazon Studios’ “Modern Love” sets cast, directors
Sharon Horgan serves as director/writer of an episode of Amazon Studios' "Modern Love"
SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- 

Amazon Studios’ highly-anticipated adaptation Modern Love, based on the popular New York Times column and weekly podcast, has assembled a stellar cast of actors to appear in the anthology series. From Storied Media Group and The New York Times, each episode of the half-hour series will explore love in all of its complicated and beautiful forms.

Academy Award winner Anne Hathaway, Emmy Award winner Tina Fey, Emmy Award nominee John Slattery, Academy Award nominee Dev Patel , Academy Award nominee Catherine Keener , Academy Award nominee Andy Garcia , Cristin Milioti, Emmy Award nominee Brandon Victor Dixon , Olivia Cooke , Andrew Scott, Julia Garner, Shea Whigham, Gary Carr, Sofia Boutella  and Tony Award winner John Gallagher, Jr.  are among the stars that will appear in the upcoming series.

John Carney (Once, Sing Street) serves as writer, director and executive producer. Additionally, Emmy Rossum (Shameless), Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe, Divorce) and Tom Hall (Sensation) will also direct episodes of the anthology series. Horgan will direct the Tina Fey-John Slattery led episode, which she also penned. Hall also wrote his episode and Rossum will direct an episode written by the late Audrey Wells (Under the Tuscan Sun, The Hate U Give).

Todd Hoffman will executive produce alongside Carney and Trish Hofmann serves as producer. Sam Dolnick and Choire Sicha of The New York Times will also serve as executive producers on the series; "Modern Love" column editor Daniel Jones serves as consulting producer. Modern Love is currently in production in New York.

  • Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018
U.K. film director Nicolas Roeg dies at 90
In this Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012 file photo, Nicolas Roeg arrives for the Film Critics Circle Awards at a central London venue. (AP Photo/Jonathan Short, file)
LONDON (AP) -- 

Nicolas Roeg, the prominent British film director known for making provocative films and working with rock stars Mick Jagger and David Bowie over a six-decade career, has died. He was 90.

The director of "Don't Look Now" and many other films died Friday night, his son, Nicolas Roeg Jr., told Britain's Press Association.

"He was a genuine dad," Roeg Jr. said. "He just had his 90th birthday in August."

He didn't provide details about his father's death during a brief telephone call.

Roeg worked with Jagger in "Performance" and David Bowie in "The Man Who Fell to Earth."

Roeg's last major film was "The Witches," in 1990, which starred Anjelica Huston.

He worked his way into directing after winning acclaim as a cinematographer. He began his career as an editing apprentice in 1947. He said he couldn't understand how someone could become a director without first working in cinematography.

Roeg didn't believe in meticulous planning when it came to scripts and shooting schedules, preferring to give himself room to maneuver and improvise as needed. He was fond of saying that God laughed at people who made too many elaborate plans.

"I shoot a lot of stuff," he said. "I think that's probably come from not having gone to film school. Things work themselves out. You've lost the showmanship thing, the fairground barker, come-see-what's-inside aspect of filmmaking when you try to plan everything for the audience."

Roeg, who was born in London, worked on several famous films including "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Fahrenheit 451" before he entered the directing ranks in 1970.

  • Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018
Documentary follows Israeli family grappling with transition
This image released by Abramorama shows Galilt, left, and Amit Tsuka scene from the documentary "Family in Transition" that tells the story of an Israeli family adjusting to their patriarch transitioning into a woman. (Abramorama via AP)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

"Family in Transition" is a new documentary that tells the story of an Israeli family adjusting to their husband and father transitioning into a woman.

Set in the northern Israeli town of Nahariya and shot over two years, the film follows husband and wife Amit and Galilt Tsuk, who have been married for 20 years and have four children.

It's a "film about love," explains producer Tal Barda. "There's so many forms of love and so many changes but it's still very much a film about finding your own path and being a loving person and partner and mother and wife or whatever it is. So that is very much the message of the film."

The 70-minute documentary , directed by Ofir Trainin, shows how the family pulls together to support Amit when he reveals his desire to undergo gender-reassignment surgery.

"One of my daughters came to her mother, to Galit, and she said, 'Our daddy is sick or he is hiding a big secret,'" said Amit. "And then we decided that we have to go and tell the children what is happening."

They started with the eldest, 17-year-old Yuval. The couple admitted they didn't know what was going to happen. "So she said, 'OK. I will try. We will be like the Kardashian family.' All that matters to her back then was that we're staying together," said Amit.

While some extended family members did not initially fully support Amit's decision, she and her wife and kids remained close. The family bond seemed solid at first, but cracks in their relationships began to show. Barda said the initial impulse was to show a love story about "a husband and wife who become wife and wife" but "at some moment this thing kind of collapses."

While her family's journey wasn't easy, Amit said she hopes that by letting cameras film the process they can help others.

"I think that I sacrifice my private life each day," she said, "to make Israel, and I hope the world, a better place for our community and to make people better people."

  • Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018
Cabral-Ebert, Stevenson To Receive Lifetime Achievement Honors At Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards
Susan Cabral-Ebert
LOS ANGELES -- 

Susan Cabral-Ebert, outgoing Local 706 president and Emmy®- nominated make-up artist, and Robert Louis Stevenson, legendary Emmy-winning hair stylist, will receive Lifetime Achievement Awards at the Annual Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards (MUAHS, IATSE Local 706) honoring outstanding achievements for make-up artists and hair stylists in motion pictures, television, commercials, and live theater. The black-tie awards gala returns to the NOVO by Microsoft in L.A. Live on Saturday, February 16, 2019.

“I am truly honored to receive this special tribute as I leave the leadership role of the guild after so many productive and meaningful years. And I’m thrilled to celebrate alongside Robert Louis Stevenson, for his illustrious body of work over the past four decades,” said Cabral-Ebert.

Emmy-nominated make-up artist Cabral-Ebert has been the president of the Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild for the past 15 years after an award-winning career in television and motion pictures. She was one of the first women to join the guild as a make-up artist. Nominated for four Primetime Emmy Awards in Outstanding Makeup (ER, And the Beat Goes On: The Sonny and Cher Story, MADtv), her proficiency with all types of make-up from runway beauty to prosthetics kept her constantly working--from Dallas to LA Law. She transitioned into motion pictures as department head on numerous films such as The Perfect Storm, Erin Brockovich, Pleasantville and Dead Poets Society, among many others.

After 25 years on the sets of both television and film, she rose to leadership of Local 706 as VP, assistant business representative and president, an office she has held for an unprecedented five terms. During her tenure, Sue has worked tirelessly to elevate the visibility and importance of the talented Local 706 make-up artists and hair stylists. She has been elected chair of numerous IATSE committees, from Legislative to Diversity and was an original Women’s Committee member. She has become recognized for her work to bring jobs back to California with the California film tax incentive and successfully defeated an assembly bill that threatened Local 706 hair stylists. Sue has been an outspoken advocate for the 10-hour turnaround, recently accomplished in the latest contract negotiations. In addition, Cabral-Ebert is the chairperson for the Make-up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards, plans the education for all classifications of Local 706 members, and is the editor for The Artisan, the guild’s magazine.

An award-winning hair stylist, Stevenson, whose career in motion pictures spanned 40 years, continues to serve as a wig designer and consultant on films since his retirement. He is a pioneer to the art and the first male black hair stylist in Local 706. One of the most sought-after hair stylists in films with over 120 credits over his career, he is respected and well known throughout the industry for his creativity, speed and winning personality.

Stevenson has won a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Hair styling for The Jesse Owens Story and was also nominated for The Atlanta Child Murders and for The Jacksons: An American Dream. He won a Hollywood Make-up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Award for The Butler, and has been included in an elite group of 5,000 well-known and respected African-Americans to be in the History Makers national archives at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.

He’s also known for his work on Flash Dance, Get On Up, Amistad, Waiting to Exhale, Coming to America, What’s Love Got To Do With It, The Color Purple and 14 years working with Samuel L. Jackson as his personal hairstylist. His film credits with Jackson included Soul Men, Unbreakable, Shaft, Rules of Engagement, The Long Kiss Good Night, A Time to Kill, The Great White Hype and Jackie Brown, among others. His TV department head credits include Murder, She Wrote; Life Goes On; The Jacksons: An American Dream; and a hair stylist on Melrose Place. Stevenson has also been hair stylist to Angela Bassett, Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor.

The Lifetime Achievement Award will be given to one make-up artist and one hair stylist for extraordinary Lifetime Achievement, exceptional contributions to the motion picture arts and sciences, or outstanding service to their union or the entertainment industry. Previous recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award for Make-Up Artists are Greg Cannon, Leonard Engelman, Ve Neill, Rick Baker, Montague “Monty” Westmore, Bob Schiffer, John Chambers, Jack Pierce, Daniel Striepeke and Dick Smith. Previous recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award for Hair Stylists are Mary Guerrero, Barbara Lorenz, Yolanda Toussieng, Kathryn Blondell, Sydney Guilaroff, Vivienne Walker, Paul LeBlanc, Colleen Callaghan and Gail Ryan.

Additional awards will honor a Distinguished Artisan and nominees for outstanding achievements in motion pictures, television, commercials and live theater. Nominations for this year’s awards will be announced on Thursday, January 10, 2019. Final ballot on-line voting closes on Friday, February 8, 2019. Winners will be announced on Saturday, February 16, 2019 at the Awards gala.

  • Monday, Nov. 19, 2018
On Netflix now, Frank Grillo is looking for a fight
This image released by Netflix shows actor and self-described fight enthusiast, Frank Grillo, right, in a scene from "Fightworld," a docu-series that follows Grillo as he goes globe-trotting to explore fighting styles and the cultures behind them. (Netflix via AP)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Most travelers to new places usually aren't looking for a fight. Frank Grillo definitely is.

"Fightworld," a new Netflix docu-series, follows Grillo, an actor and self-described "fight enthusiast," as he goes globe-trotting to explore fighting styles and the cultures behind them.

"I immerse myself in certain fight cultures" said Grillo. "And through the eyes of the fighters, we explore the culture of that place in a very different way. It's very similar to what Anthony Bourdain did, but instead of food, it was fighters."

Grillo travels to places such as Mexico, Thailand and Senegal, locations chosen based on his familiarity with those country's various fighting disciplines such as Muay Thai, wrestling and boxing. "I know these things well, so I could go there and immediately embed myself," he said.

Grillo also visited Israel, where citizens are required to join the army since the country is surrounded by hostile nations. He asked the mayor of Jerusalem to define Israelis in one word. "He said 'fight' because that's in their in their DNA, that's in their blood."

Grillo has had film roles in "Zero Dark Thirty," ''End of Watch" and plays Brock Rumlow in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and "Captain America: Civil War." He hears lots of rumors about the next Captain America, even that the iconic character may not look like previous versions of the superhero.

"I don't know what will happen with Captain America. But wouldn't it be great if Captain America was African-American?" Grillo remarked. "Or a woman?" Then he said: "Or an African-American woman?"

He also hopes that instead of asking people of color to portray traditional superheros, it might be better to create new, diverse characters.

"Superman was a white guy with black hair and who has a curl, right? So that's kind of the iconic look of Superman. Could Superman be Anthony Mackie? Yeah, sure. But I'd rather see Anthony Mackie do something else," said Grillo. "Where are the new characters who represent certain people?"

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