Tuesday, December 11, 2018

News Briefs

Displaying 21 - 30 of 3316
  • Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018
Producers Guild to honor Kenya Barris with Visionary Award
Kenya Barris (photo by Matt Sayles)
LOS ANGELES -- 

Celebrated producer and writer Kenya Barris will be honored with the Producers Guild of America’s 2019 Visionary Award. Barris will accept the award at the 30th Annual Producers Guild Awards on Saturday, January 19, 2019, at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles.

The Producers Guild Visionary Award recognizes television, film, or new media producers for inspiring storytelling of unique and uplifting vision or quality to our culture. 

Barris is being recognized with the Visionary Award as a trailblazing storyteller whose work has advanced and expanded the representation of diverse perspectives within mainstream media. As the creator of the hit, Peabody award-winning and Emmy-nominated® series “Black-ish,” along with its successful spin-off series “Grown-ish,” and the writer of last summer’s comedy blockbuster “Girls Trip,” Barris has earned praise for honest portrayals of the Black experience that have not only resonated with a broad spectrum of audiences but have continually served as a catalyst for conversations around an array of timely topics. Through his work, Barris has fearlessly tackled difficult social issues, poignantly reflected our culture, and unified audiences through powerful stories that highlight our shared humanity.

“Kenya Barris is simply a fearless producer,” read a joint statement from PGA presidents Gail Berman and Lucy Fisher.  “Time and again, Kenya has stepped up to tackle the difficult conversations, from the ones we have as families at the kitchen table to the ones we have as colleagues in company boardrooms and network offices.  These are challenging days for many of us, but Kenya’s unique voice—honest, passionate and so very funny—has been one of our industry’s strongest antidotes to ignorance and intolerance.  We are gratified to recognize his inspiring work with the Visionary Award.”

Previous honorees include: producer and director Ava DuVernay; Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, and Jeremy Kleiner’s Plan B Entertainment; producer and founder of Illumination Entertainment Chis Meledandri; producer Laura Ziskin; and Participant Media’s Jeff Skoll.

  • Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018
FX Networks named recipient of DGA Diversity Award
John Landgraf, CEO, FX Networks and FX Productions, participates in the executive panel during the FX Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour at The Beverly Hilton hotel on Friday, Aug. 3, 2018, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)
LOS ANGELES -- 

FX Networks will be the recipient of the Directors Guild of America’s 2019 Diversity Award. The honor is being given for the network’s commitment to, and leadership in, inclusive hiring in DGA-covered categories--and for the example they set for the rest of the industry. The award will be presented at the 71st Annual DGA Awards on Saturday, February 2, 2019.

“The DGA Diversity Award is a rare honor, given only when exceptional leadership in inclusive hiring is exhibited--and today, FX embodies the spirit of this special award,” said Thomas Schlamme, DGA president. “Just three short years ago, FX made a promise to transform themselves from a network that trailed behind in the area of director diversity, to one that blazed a new trail. In the time since, they’ve gone above and beyond to turn words into action. From CEO John Landgraf to all corners of the network, status quo hiring practices were overhauled into expansive searches for talented women directors and directors of color. By chipping away barriers for talent to be discovered, FX not only impacted the careers of diverse directors, they also enhanced the quality of their shows. FX is an extraordinary advocate for inclusion throughout our industry, and a shining example of how an institution can change its culture. We are very proud to recognize them with the DGA’s Diversity Award.”

Over the last several years, FX has emerged as an industry leader in diversity by actively and consistently creating an inclusive environment. Not long ago, the company lagged behind the other networks in diverse hiring: just 12% of the network’s directors were women or people of color in the 2014-15 season. It was at that time that the company announced a serious commitment to taking action and improving diversity behind the camera. FX CEO John Landgraf kicked off the initiative in January 2016, urging for a diversified pool of directors, and developing network resources to aid in those efforts. Hiring practices were overhauled, and the changes made a big impact. In the most recent TV season, 52.6% of the channel’s roster of directors were women or people of color. 

The DGA Diversity Award has only been given five previous times in its history: in 1997 to Bruce Paltrow, John Wells and Christopher Chulack; in 1999 to Steven Bochco; in 2000 to HBO; in 2005 to Stephen McPherson; and in 2014 to Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers. 

  • Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018
Warner Bros.' Toby Emmerich to receive Producers Guild's Milestone Award
Toby Emmerich
LOS ANGELES -- 

Toby Emmerich, chairman of Warner Bros. Pictures Group, will be honored with the Producer Guild of America’s 2019 Milestone Award.  Emmerich will receive the award at the 30th Annual Producers Guild Awards on Saturday, January 19, 2019 at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles.

In a joint statement, Gail Berman and Lucy Fisher, presidents of the PGA, shared, “Toby Emmerich is one of the most respected studio executives. He continues to deliver high-quality films in a variety of genres and attract some of the finest up-and-coming and veteran directors, as well as producers, and talent to create them. Under his leadership, Warner Bros. Picture Group had a record-breaking year in 2017 with hits including ‘Dunkirk,’ and continues to dominate this year’s box office with critical and commercial, but non-formula, hits such as ‘Crazy Rich Asians,’ and ‘A Star Is Born.’ He embraces filmmakers and filmmaking, which is why we are honored to be able to recognize him this year with the Milestone Award.”

Emmerich said, “The Producers Guild knows better than most that studio filmmaking is an intensely collaborative art-form, and more often than not it is the producer who initiates, enables and protects great Hollywood movies. I’ve been lucky to work with and learn from many great producers throughout my career and want to thank the members of PGA for recognizing me, and the contributions of our teams at Warner Bros. and New Line, with this honor.”

The Milestone Award is the PGA’s most prestigious honor, recognizing an individual or team who has made historic contributions to the entertainment industry.  In the past, the Guild has paid tribute to such industry leaders as Clint Eastwood, Jim Gianopulos, Alan Horn, Bob Iger, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Sherry Lansing, Ron Meyer, Steven Spielberg, Tom Rothman, and 2018 recipient Donna Langley, among others.

  • Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018
Rita Moreno joins Steven Spielberg's "West Side Story" film
In this Aug. 25, 2018, file photo, Rita Moreno arrives at the 33rd annual Imagen Awards at the JW Marriott L.A. Live in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Rita Moreno's portrayal of Anita in the classic 1961 film "West Side Story" won her an Oscar. Now, she has a different part in a remake directed by Steven Spielberg.

The publicist for the 86-year-old Moreno confirmed Wednesday that she'll play Valentina, a reworked version of the character of Doc, the owner of a corner store where Tony works. Ansel Elgort has been cast as Tony.

The story follows two star-crossed lovers, Tony and Maria, who are each associated with rival New York street gangs. The Pulitzer-winning playwright Tony Kushner is adapting the script. Moreno will also serve as an executive producer.

Filming is set to begin next summer.

  • Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018
Google CEO to make long-awaited congressional appearance
In this Jan. 24, 2018, file photo Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, speaks during a conversation as part of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File)
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- 

Google CEO Sundar Pichai will testify next week at a congressional hearing on the company's business practices, just three months after aides put up an empty chair to symbolize his refusal to appear.

Pichai's scheduled Dec. 5 appearance before the House Judiciary Committee comes after he traveled to Washington in late September to meet privately with lawmakers peeved by his refusal to appear. After that private meeting, Pichai promised to come back to testify.

Among other things, lawmakers are expected to grill him on whether Google rigs its influential search engine to stifle conservative voices. President Donald Trump asserts that Google's search engine favors media coverage that he believes distributes "fake news."

Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

  • 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.

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