‘United States Of Al’: Farrah Mackenzie Joins Chuck Lorre’s CBS Comedy Series


January 20, 2021 10:30am

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EXCLUSIVE: Utopia‘s Farrah Mackenzie is set as a series regular opposite Adhir Kalyan and Parker Young in United States of Al, CBSmulti-camera comedy series from Chuck Lorre, David Goetsch and Maria Ferrari.


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Created and written by Goetsch and Ferrari, United States of Al is about the friendship between Riley (Young), a Marine combat veteran struggling to readjust to civilian life in Ohio, and Awalmir, aka Al (Kalyan), the interpreter who served with his unit in Afghanistan and has just arrived to start a new life in America. Kelli Goss, Dean Norris and Elizabeth Alderfer also star.

2020-21 CBS Pilots & Series Orders

Goetsch & Ferrari, Lorre, Reza Aslan, Mahyad Tousi and director Mark Cendrowski (pilot only) are executive producers for Warner Bros. Television and Chuck Lorre Productions.

Mackenzie recently starred as Alice in Amazon’s straight-to-series adaptation of British drama Utopia opposite John Cusack and Rainn Wilson. She also starred as Stella Parton in the NBC television movies Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors and the Emmy-nominated Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love. On the film side, she appeared in Magnolia Pictures’ Please Stand By opposite Dakota Fanning and in Steven Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky alongside Channing Tatum and Katie Holmes.

Mackenzie is repped by A3 Artists Agency, Luber Roklin Entertainment and Brecheen Feldman Breimer.

Hollywood’s Unions Celebrate Inauguration Of President Joe Biden & VP Kamala Harris: “Most Pro-Union President” & “Partner In The White House”


January 20, 2021 10:25am


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Kamala Harris is sworn in as vice president of the United States.
Mega Agency

Refresh for updates… Hollywood’s unions are celebrating today’s inauguration of a new, pro-labor president and vice president.

SAG-AFTRA, which is in the process of expelling Donald Trump after its national board found “probable cause” that he violated the union’s constitution, tweeted out, “Congratulations to Joe Biden on being sworn in as POTUS and to Kamala Harris on her historic inauguration as VP.”

Congratulations to @JoeBiden on being sworn in as @POTUS and to @KamalaHarris on her historic inauguration as @VP. #InaugurationDay https://t.co/Wzy75xL1zD

— SAG-AFTRA (@sagaftra) January 20, 2021

“We’re excited for the possibilities awaiting this country today as Joe Biden, who’s pledged to be ‘the most pro-union president,’ takes the helm,” the WGA West said on Twitter. “As we recover from this crippling pandemic, we will unite behind leaders who will fight for us and be our partners in change. Think about the monumental change that can be accomplished when we have a President and partners in Congress who believe in collective bargaining, the importance of accessible healthcare, the value of pension plans and the importance of checking nearly unfettered corporate power.”

We're excited for the possibilities awaiting this country today as @JoeBiden, who’s pledged to be “the most pro-union president,” takes the helm. As we recover from this crippling pandemic, we will unite behind leaders who will fight for us and be our partners in change. #1u https://t.co/AYhbO1iIL8

— Writers Guild of America West (@WGAWest) January 20, 2021

“The WGAE congratulates and looks forward to working with pro-labor, pro-science @POTUS Joe Biden and history-making @VP
Kamala Harris,” The WGA East tweeted today.

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"But while democracy can be periodically delayed,
It can never be permanently defeated."
– From Amanda Gorman's poem "The Hill We Climb".

The WGAE congratulates and looks forward to working with pro-labor, pro-science @POTUS Joe Biden and history-making @VP Kamala Harris. pic.twitter.com/qX2g0OQ5hB

— Writers Guild of America, East (@WGAEast) January 20, 2021

“As a country, today we will celebrate the inauguration of a new president on a stage built by IATSE union members,” IATSE tweeted. “Today the labor movement is uniting for a victory they delivered by electing pro-worker and pro-union politicians. Today is the first step on the road to recovery for workers in need of support. We celebrate having a partner in the White House who will create a national strategy to bring the pandemic under control and put the arts back to work. Welcome President Joe Biden.”

Today the labor movement is uniting for a victory they delivered by electing pro-worker and pro-union politicians.

Union workers from @AFSCME @steelworkers and @ATUComm are showing solidarity by using the hashtag #LaborUnity2021

Submit yours at https://t.co/ltSQUqHy6M pic.twitter.com/BBIsPks36j

— IATSE (@IATSE) January 20, 2021

“Today is the first step on the road to recovery for workers in need of support,” Actors’ Equity said via Twitter. “We celebrate having a partner in the White House who will create a national strategy to bring the pandemic under control and put the arts back to work. Welcome President Joe Biden.”

Today is the first step on the road to recovery for workers in need of support. We celebrate having a partner in the White House who will create a national strategy to bring the pandemic under control and put the arts back to work. Welcome President @JoeBiden #Inauguration2021

— Actors' Equity (@ActorsEquity) January 20, 2021

AFM Local 802, the musicians union in New York City, tweeted that “Local 802 and the entire labor movement celebrate Inauguration Day. Time to work together for justice, equity and recovery! Congratulations Joe Biden and Kamala Harris!”

@Local_802_AFM and the entire labor movement celebrate INAUGURATION DAY. Time to work together for justice, equity and recovery! Congratulations @joebiden and @kamalaharris! pic.twitter.com/u1W4apUIHB

— Local 802 AFM (@Local_802_AFM) January 20, 2021

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the parent union of Hollywood’s Teamsters Local 399, tweeted: “Today, Teamsters congratulate President Joe Biden. and our first woman, first Black, first South Asian Vice President Kamala Harris. We look forward to a new day of repairing and healing America with good jobs, strong unions and dignity for working families.”

Today #Teamsters congratulate President @JoeBiden and our first woman, first Black, first South Asian Vice President @KamalaHarris. We look forward to a new day of repairing and healing America with good jobs, strong unions and dignity for working families. #Inauguration2021 #1u pic.twitter.com/xVMt9XOhf5

— Teamsters (@Teamsters) January 20, 2021

‘NCIS’ Returns From Fall Finale To Lead Tuesday Ratings As ‘This Is Us’ Sidelined


January 20, 2021 10:16am

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Courtesy of Sonja Flemming/CBS

CBS saw the return of NCIS as well as FBI: Most Wanted on Tuesday in primetime. NCIS came back firing on all cylinders with two episodes, ticking up in its return from hiatus. The first hour delivered a 0.8 in the adults 18-49 demographic and 9.34 million viewers, which topped the night in ratings and in audience in Nielsen Live+Same Day numbers. The second hour earned a 0.7 and 8.48 million viewers. FBI: Most Wanted (0.5, 5.70M) held steady with its last fresh episode.

At NBC, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (0.4, 2.40M) was steady, while Nurses (0.2, 1.81M) took a two-tenths hit. Sandwiched in between the two episodes was a repeat of This Is Us

Fox’s The Resident (0.5, 3.26M) ticked down from last week’s Season 4 premiere, while Prodigal Son (0.5, 2.34M) was on par with last week’s sophomore season premiere.

After its two-episode Season 2 premiere last week, The CW’s Two Sentence Horror Stories served another double helping of the horror series (0.1, 652,000 at 8 p.m.; 0.1, 464K at 8:30), both steady. It was the same story for Trickster (0.1, 395K), which nearly matched its series debut.

President Joe Biden Pledges To End America’s “Uncivil War” In Passionate Inaugural Speech; Poet Amanda Gorman Declares “History Has Its Eyes On Us”


January 20, 2021 9:56am


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UPDATED with video of speech: “America has been tested anew, and America has risen to the challenge,” President Joe Biden said Wednesday in his inauguration speech at the U.S. Capitol, after being sworn in as the 46th President of the United States.

“Today, we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of a cause, the cause of democracy,” he told a masked and socially distanced gathering under unprecedented security. “The people, the will of the people has been heard, and the will of the people has been heeded. … At this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.”

“On this January Day my whole soul is in this, bringing America together,” Biden proclaimed, paraphrasing Abraham Lincoln.

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“Uniting our people. Uniting our nation. And I ask every American to join me in this cause,” he said, frankly asking political foes to give him a chance to bind the wounds of the past four years.

“We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal,” Biden declared, without ever mentioning Donald Trump by name. “We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts. If we show a little tolerance and humility and if we’re willing to stand in the other person’s shoes.”

Coming just two weeks after the very Capitol he was standing in front of was attacked by a MAGA mob spurned on by Trump, Biden took on the challenges of tattered national unity and the coronavirus pandemic in his speech. He also bluntly addressed the divisions and the evils of white supremacy and racial injustice, as well as seeking to capture the historical moment as Kamala Harris became the first woman and first person of color to serve as Vice President.

“The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer,” the former VP told a crowd that included ex-Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and his old boss Barack Obama. “This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge, and unity is the path forward.”

“I know speaking of unity can sound to some like a foolish fantasy these days,” President Biden said, taking the blade out of his critics’ hands in a few words. “I know the forces that divide us are deep and they are real. I also know they are not new. Unity is the path forward.”

“We’ll lead not merely by the example of our power, but by the power of our example,” Biden added in what may become one of the most cited quotes of the 21-minute speech, which contained a poignant moment of silence for the more than 400,000 Americans who have died from Covid-19.

Even Fox News had some nice things to say about Biden’s remarks. A survivor of that cringe inducing first debate between Biden and an unhinged Trump, Chris Wallace on FNC today called Biden’s speech “the best inaugural address I ever heard.”

As powerful and direct as the new President’s praised speech was, the words of the day belonged to poet Amanda Gorman. The 22-year old former National Youth Poet Laureate truly captured the moment and lightening in a bottle with her reading of her work “The Hill We Climb” following Biden’s remarks.

Written with the horrors of the pitchfork assault on Congress’ certification of the electoral college votes in mind, the verse soared over Washington DC and those watching at home.

The poem from the Los Angeles-based Gorman said in part:

We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it,
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.
And this effort very nearly succeeded.
But while democracy can be periodically delayed,
It can never be permanently defeated.
In this truth, in this faith, we trust.
For while we have our eyes on the future,
history has its eyes on us.

Watch Gorman read “The Hill We Climb” in full here, via Stacey Abrams:

Amanda Gorman’s message serves as an inspiration to us all. #InaugurationDay pic.twitter.com/7zkyDoFHaQ

— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) January 20, 2021

With no security incidents reported, Biden went into the Capitol to participate in signing documents and receiving some gifts from the leadership. Then the Bidens, Harris and her husband and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff will oversee a review from the military. After that he will pay tribute to the fallen with a visit to Arlington National Cemetery and then head to the Oval Office to sign up to 17 Executive Orders to begin to undo the damage of Trump’s term. Among those being inked: ending the Muslim ban, demanding the wearing of masks on federal property and over state lines, and stopping the border wall construction.

Taking to social media soon after taking office, and before the semi-virtual parade and a primetime special tonight, Biden asserted he was on the job already in verse of his own:

There is no time to waste when it comes to tackling the crises we face. That's why today, I am heading to the Oval Office to get right to work delivering bold action and immediate relief for American families.

— President Biden (@POTUS) January 20, 2021

Meanwhile back on the scene, the Capitol lawn seemed to get colder as the morning went on, Ted reports from DC itself, and there were even snow flurries at around 11:30 AM ET. But the skies cleared to a bright sunshine by the time that Biden took the stage for his inaugural address. Given how relatively few people were here for the swearing in, there was not cheering for what he said but what sounded like a smattering of applause. The benediction at the end of the ceremony, from the Rev. Silvester Beaman, was a fitting climax, drawing people to their feet.

Among the attendees was Jeff Flake, the former Republican senator from Arizona who endorsed Biden. He said that he thought it was “so important to have this as scheduled on the west front of the Capitol as we always do.”

Asked what advice he has for Republican senators weighing whether to vote to convict Trump in the upcoming second impeachment trial, Flake said, “There is no choice really to make, other than vote your conscience. In my view the president committed impeachable acts. Someday they won’t be in the Senate anymore. Maybe sooner, maybe later, but they will want to know their place in history, that they did the right thing. That is the way I would treat it.”

The scene on the west lawn of the Capitol cleared out quickly after the speeches and poetry.

Members of the Biden family, along with donors and other supporters, went inside a bit for a short ceremony. That was quite a contrast from the two Obama inaugurations, when hundreds of thousands of people remained on the grounds and the National Mall, as the throngs made it next to impossible to exit the area quickly.

Doug Jones, former senator, wearing one of those special inauguration mask: “More than anything it just gives everybody hope. Everyone was anxious about coming, but once you are here it is just exciting, it’s exilirating. It’s been a long time for an old friend up there, but it is just one of hope and optimism.”

Jones lost his Senate race, but said of the Democrats now taking the majority, “At the end of the day I think it’s just a fulfillment of the hope and optimism that is shared by so many in the country.”

Rep. David Cicilline, who is an impeachment manager: He said that having the swearing in ceremony outside was “a reminder that this building is not just any ordinary building, it’s a symbol of the greatest democracy in the history of the world. And that’s why the bloody violent attack by these domestic terrorists is something that everyone must be held accountable for.”

“It’s sad because this is an event that is always attended by millions of people who watching the inauguration of a new president…so it is necessary for the moment, but we shouldn’t lost sight of what an exciting day this is.”

Asked if he had a sense of trepidation about the past few days, he said, “I haven’t thought about it very much. I have been thinking much more about the new president and the new administration and the work that lies ahead. I think [Trump] is going to become less and less relevant.”

Watch: Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez & Garth Brooks Sing In Biden-Harris Administration


January 20, 2021 9:50am


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Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks each took centerstage, however briefly, at President Joe Biden’s inauguration today. Watch the performances here.

Gaga took the stage first, performing an emotional rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” making a dramatic pivot to face the flag when she got to the part about it still being there (unspoken was “after Trump and the Capitol siege”).

Backed by the U.S. Marine Band and wearing a custom Schiaparelli Haute Couture blue and red ensemble designed by Daniel Roseberry, Gaga sang into a gold microphone matching her gold dove brooch.

“Out of the Park!,” tweeted Bette Midler. “Lady Gaga, a new and sensational version of the Star Spangled Banner!!”

Out of the Park! Lady Gaga, a new and sensational version of the Star Spangled Banner!!

— bettemidler (@BetteMidler) January 20, 2021

Playing no favorites, Midler also praised Lopez’s performance of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful” immediately following the swearing-in of Vice President Kamala Harris. (“Another great version of two American standards!” tweeted Midler.)

Dressed in white Chanel, Lopez also said, in Spanish, “one nation, with liberty and justice for all.”

Dress in black, Brooks performed an a cappella, slightly country-ish version of “Amazing Grace,” asking his audience on site and at home to join in the last verse “as one, united.”

Watch the Gaga performance above, and the others below.

‘Bridgerton’: Netflix Teases “Exciting News” This Week As Shondaland Drama Closes In On Renewal


January 19, 2021 1:19pm

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Bridgerton fans can expect some “exciting news” later this week, according to Netflix.

The hit Shondaland drama is expected to be renewed any day after the breakout success of its first season and the streamer used its latest quarterly financial results to tease viewers.

“This title has proven immensely popular and we’ll have some exciting news about Bridgerton later this week,” it noted in its fourth quarterly shareholder letter.

This comes after Netflix disclosed that the period drama, which debuted on December 25, was on course to be watched by 63M households across its first 28 days – making it the streamer’s fifth biggest original series launch.

The show follows eight close-knit siblings of the Bridgerton family look for love and happiness in London high society.

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Starring Phoebe Dynevor as Daphne Bridgerton and Rege-Jean Page as Duke of Hastings Simon Bassett, the series is based on Julia Quinn’s novels set in the world of Regency London.

There are eight books in Quinn’s series and creator and showrunner Chris Van Dusen has said that while the first season was primarily about Daphe’s love story with Simon, he would like to tell stories for all of the Bridgerton siblings – including four sons Anthony, Benedict, Colin and Gregory and three other daughters Eloise, Francesca and Hyacinth. Van Dusen said that, in success, he would like for it to run eight seasons.

A second season, if it follows the course of the books, is expected to follow Anthony Bridgerton, played by Jonathan Bailey. The second book – The Viscount Who Loved Me – focused on his story.

There are also plenty of loose ends to tie up from season one after [SPOILER] Penelope Featherington, played by Derry Girls’ Nicola Coughlan, was revealed to be shady gossip columnist Lady Whistledown, and Polly Walker’s Portia Featherington found out who inherited her late husband’s estate.

Season one also starred Adjoa Andoh as Lady Danbury, Ruby Barker as Marina Thompson, Sabrina Bartlett as Siena Rosso, Harriet Cains as Philipa Featherington, Bessie Carter as Prudence Featherington, Ruth Gemmell as Violet Bridgerton, Florence Hunt as Hyacinth Bridgerton, Claudia Jessie as Eloise Bridgerton, Ben Miller as Archibald Featherington, Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton, Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Charlotte, Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton and Julie Andrews as the voice of Lady Whistledown.

Bridgerton marks Shondaland’s first show for Netflix after Shonda Rhimes striking a major overall deal. Rhimes exec produces alongside Van Dusen and Betsy Beers.

Netflix Beats Q4 Subscriber And Revenue Forecasts, Sees Cash-Rich Future


January 19, 2021 1:08pm

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Associated Press

Netflix beat forecasts for subscriber growth and total revenue in the fourth quarter, adding 8.5 million subscribers to reach a global total of 203.7 million.

The wave of new subscriptions exceeded company guidance for 6 million new customers in the fourth quarter and caps a remarkable 2020, when Netflix added about 37 million subscribers. Revenue hit $6.6 billion, just a shade ahead of expectations. Earnings per share fell about 20 cents short of expectations at $1.19 a share.

Notably, the streaming leader said it expects to be cash-flow positive in every year beyond 2021 and expects this year to be break-even. With ample cash on hand, Netflix noted that it will pay bonds maturing February 1. If that comes to pass, it will mean less dependence on the debt market, where prior fundraising efforts have raised concerns from some Wall Streeters despite the company’s weed-like growth.

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“Combined with our $8.2 billion cash balance and our $750 million undrawn credit facility, we believe
we no longer have a need to raise external financing for our day-to-day operations,” the company said in its quarterly letter to shareholders.

In the third quarter, it had signed up just 2.2 million subscribers, a sharp drop from the boom in the first half of 2020 due to the most severe lockdowns of the coronavirus pandemic.

Netflix stock has sagged almost 7% in 2021 to date, but it rose 4% today to finish at $501.77 and rocketed after hours. It surged more than 60% in 2020 amid a broad advance by tech stocks during the onset of Covid-19.

In terms of financials, Netflix had projected fourth-quarter revenue of $6.6 billion and earnings per share of $1.35. Wall Street’s consensus expectation from analysts was very similar, except for a $1.39 outlook on earnings.

A price increase for Netflix subscriptions in the U.S. was announced in the fourth quarter and has just taken effect, boosting the monthly rate of the most popular plan to $14 a month from $13. It was the first hike in two years and comes as Netflix faces mounting competition domestically.

Netflix remains well ahead of fast-rising Disney+, which reached 86.8 million global subscribers in December, but it faces more competition than ever. Parents of new streaming rivals like Disney+, HBO Max, Apple TV+, Peacock and Discovery+ will soon also report their quarterly financials and shed some light on their progress.

In the shareholder letter, Netflix name-checked all other recent entrants, even throwing in a couple on the next tier down, Discovery+ and Paramount+, the rebranding of CBS All Access slated to kick in on March 4. Unlike past letters, which conspicuously omitted other companies, this one even noted Disney’s subscriber tally with an admiring exclamation point.

“It’s a great time to be a consumer of entertainment,” the letter declared. “There are a wealth of options ranging from linear TV to video gaming to user generated content on YouTube and TikTok. We continue to work hard to grow our small share of screen time against these major competitors.”

Programming highlights for Netflix in the quarter include the fourth season of The Crown, the debut of The Queen’s Gambit and original movies like The Christmas Chronicles 2 and Oscar hopefuls like Mank.

Mike Pence Not Scheduled To Attend Donald Trump Send Off Ceremony But Will Make It To Joe Biden And Kamala Harris Swearing In


January 19, 2021 1:00pm

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Vice President Mike Pence addresses staff on the steps of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex.
(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Vice President Mike Pence plans to attend the swearing in ceremony on Wednesday of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, but is not expected to be present at a sendoff ceremony planned earlier in the day for Donald Trump.

Pence’s schedule includes attendance at the Capitol, where Biden and Harris will be sworn in at noon ET.

Earlier in the day, Trump is scheduled to depart Joint Base Andrews with a morning ceremony, but CNN and other outlets reported that Pence is not scheduled to be there. Pence was presiding at the Senate when rioters stormed the Capitol, some screaming threats about the vice president because he did not maneuver to overturn electoral results so that Trump could win the election.

Trump’s sendoff ceremony, to be held at Joint Base Andrews, will be unusual for a departing president. He declined to attend Biden’s inaugural or even congratulate him on his victory. The closest he came to conceding the race is when he acknowledged in a Jan. 7 video that a new administration would be coming in on Jan. 20.

Normally, the departing president invites the president-elect to the White House for a morning tea, and they ride together to the inauguration, a symbol of the peaceful transfer of power. Trump will be the first president since Andrew Johnson in 1869 to skip a successor’s inauguration.

‘The Walled City’: Elliott San Adapting Ryan Graudin YA Novel For SK Global


January 19, 2021 12:46pm

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Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

EXCLUSIVE: We have learned first that SK Global has set screenwriter Elliott San to adapt Ryan Graudin’s Little, Brown Books YA novel The Walled City for Crazy Rich Asians producer SK Global.

The novel, which is in the spirit of Maze Runner, but based in Chinese Mythology, follows teens Mei Yee and Dai, who live in the Walled City, a lawless labyrinth run by crime lords and overrun by street gangs. Teens there traffic drugs or work in brothels–or, like Jin, hide under the radar. But when Dai offers Jin a chance to find her lost sister, Mei Yee, she begins a breathtaking race against the clock to escape the Walled City itself.

SK Global executives on the feature project are John Penotti and Xian Li. Matt Reeves’ 6th and Idaho will also produce.

Elliott San

Back in October 2019, San sold his untitled spec competitively to New Line with Mary Lee of A-Major Media and John Cho producing, as we first reported. The project was billed as a mind-bending genre tale that centers around an Asian-American protagonist.

San is a native of Libertyville, Illinois. He sold his original feature script, an erotic thriller entitled An Affair to Die For when his trajectory took a sharp turn and he was suddenly diagnosed with leukemia. Faced with getting a bone marrow transplant, San returned to his hometown of Chicago to undergo the procedure. After two years spent regaining his health, he found himself at a bit of a crossroads, but continued to pursue his love of screenwriting and returned to Los Angeles. Affair to Die dropped on Netflix back in 2019.

San is repped by UTA and managed by Pacific View.

Tubi Says Streaming Rose 58% In 2020, With Half Of Viewers Younger Than 35


January 19, 2021 12:31pm

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Fox-owned streaming service Tubi said total viewing hit 2.5 billion hours in 2020, up 58% from 2019.

Half of all viewers of the free, ad-supported platform were younger than 35 years old, the company added in its year-end audience report. Black, Hispanic and Asian audiences made up 39% of Tubi’s total base of 33 million monthly active users.

The coronavirus pandemic has boosted streaming across the board, accelerating the shift in viewing away from legacy TV.

The growth and demographic profile of Tubi are noteworthy for advertisers, the company said. Fox closed its $440 million acquisition of the streaming outfit last year. Facing headwinds at its still-lucrative traditional linear networks, the company has positioned Tubi as a complement to its legacy portfolio and a way for brands to expand their reach.

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Along with viewership stats, the annual report outlined a case study on regional grocer WinnDixie, which found that nearly four out of five of the Tubi households it reached were incremental to those of its linear campaign.

Ad approaches in streaming are still evolving, but in general the experience aims for shorter ad loads and targeting that is superior to “spray and pray” linear blitzes. Early tests of Tubi’s ad tech tools show a 366% reduction in “over-frequency” of spots and 20% efficiency in increasing reach.

In addition to a sizable library of film and TV titles, Tubi has increasingly been used as a platform for Fox unscripted originals like The Masked Singer, which stream after their broadcast network premieres.

When Tubi launched as a startup several years ago, it was among a small cluster of ad-supported streaming services in a marketplace heavily tilted toward subscription services like Netflix and Hulu. AVOD has boomed recently, though, with the $65 billion annual TV advertising business suddenly more in play than ever before. NBCUniversal, Amazon and others have launched new platforms, Pluto has become a key asset for ViacomCBS and Crackle is on a profitable course under its new owners.

Josh Duhamel In Early Talks To Take Over For Armie Hammer in Jennifer Lopez’s ‘Shotgun Wedding’


January 19, 2021 12:20pm


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Deadline has confirmed that Transformers actor Josh Duhamel is in early talks to take over Armie Hammer’s role in the Jennifer Lopez action comedy Shotgun Wedding. The news comes less than a week after Hammer exited the project after a social media controversy entailing some sexual messages he allegedly sent out.

Shotgun Wedding follows Darcy (Lopez) and Tom (who Duhamel would play), who gather their lovable but very opinionated families for the ultimate destination wedding just as the couple begin to get cold feet. And if that wasn’t enough of a threat to the celebration, suddenly everyone’s lives are in danger when the entire party is taken hostage. Jason Moore directs from a screenplay by Mark Hammer and Liz Meriwether. Lionsgate is releasing, and if Duhamel can commit, the pic’s cameras can roll next month.

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After the salacious news broke about Hammer last week, The Social Network and Rebecca actor responded “I’m not responding to these bullshit claims but in light of the vicious and spurious online attacks against me, I cannot in good conscience now leave my children for 4 months to shoot a film in the Dominican Republic. Lionsgate is supporting me in this and I’m grateful to them for that.”

Prior to Hammer’s response last week, a spokesperson for the production said, “Given the imminent start date of Shotgun Wedding, Armie has requested to step away from the film and we support him in his decision.”

Mandeville’s Todd Lieberman and David Hoberman, who produced Lionsgate’s hit film Wonder, are also producing with Nuyorican Productions’ Lopez, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and Benny Medina. Alex Young is overseeing the production and executive producing for Mandeville Films, and Courtney Baxter for Nuyorican Productions. Ryan Reynolds is also executive producing along with George Dewey. James Myers and Scott O’Brien are overseeing the production for Lionsgate.

Duhamel next appears in the Netflix series Jupiter’s Legacy which he is the lead of. The actor’s feature credits include Love, Simon, Transformers: The Last Knight, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Transformers, and Win a Date With Ted Hamilton!. For 106 episodes, Duhamel played Danny McCoy on NBC’s Las Vegas.

‘This Is Us’ To Air Repeat Instead Of Original Episode Tonight Due To Covid-Related Production Delays


January 19, 2021 12:15pm

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This Is Us fans who are hoping to find out what happened to Kevin after the ominous car crash teaser at the end of last week’s episode will have to wait a bit longer.

“No new episode of This Is Us tonight – Covid-related production delays in LA have forced us to delay a few weeks,” series creator/executive producer announced on Twitter this morning, Jan. 19, before giving fans something to look forward to. “But the next few are big ones, and we are close, so we hope you’ll hang in there with us. Sorry!”

Because of the massive surge of coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County, This Is Us was one of many Los Angeles-based series whose return from a holiday hiatus was delayed, so other shows also may not be able to deliver a new episode in time for air this month. For This Is Us, the delay is believed to be about a week and a half.

The acclaimed NBC family drama, which yesterday landed three Critics Choice TV nominations, for the series and stars Sterling K. Brown and Justin Hartley, resumed filming yesterday, Jan. 18.

It will air repeats tonight, Jan 19, and next Tuesday, Jan. 26, with a fresh episode slated for Feb. Feb. 2.

No new episode of #ThisIsUs tonight – Covid-related production delays in LA have forced us to delay a few weeks. But the next few are big ones, and we are close, so we hope you'll hang in there with us. Sorry!

Dan Fogelman (@Dan_Fogelman) January 19, 2021

Doug Schoen Joins Newsmax TV As Analyst


January 19, 2021 12:01pm

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Newsmax TV

Doug Schoen, a Democratic political strategist and pollster, has joined Newsmax TV as an analyst.

Schoen will be a regular on the outlet, giving analysis on Joe Biden’s administration.

Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy said in a statement, “Doug is a Democrat who plays it fair and square and calls it as he sees it. Since our founding over two decades ago, Newsmax has striven to give our readers and viewers ‘both sides’ and we’re now lucky to have one of the very best joining our roster.”

Since the election, the right-leaning outlet has seen its viewership climb, as it has been a platform for defenders of President Donald Trump to advance unfounded claims of election fraud. Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy has defended the network’s coverage as one that captures all points of view.

In December, Newsmax aired a clarification about election systems company Smartmatic, after the company fired off a legal threat and demanded repeated retractions after on-air personalities and guests floated claims that its software was rigged and that it had ties to the Venezuelan government and George Soros. Smartmatic is also considering legal action against Fox News and One America News Network.

Newsmax also has trumpeted its ratings gains, particularly for its 7 PM ET show Greg Kelly Reports, as coming at the expense of Fox News, which drew the ire of Trump when it called Arizona for Biden on election night.

Schoen was a contributor to Fox News and frequent columnist for Newsmax magazine. He founded the political consultancy Penn, Schoen & Berland with Mark Penn and Michael Berland, and worked on the campaigns of Jay Rockefeller and Evan Bayhm two centrist Democrats, and Richard Shelby, a Republican. He also was a top adviser to Bill Clinton’s 1996 reelection campaign and later to Michael Bloomberg for his mayoral runs.


SAG-AFTRA Board Finds “Probable Cause” To Expel Donald Trump, Pending Trial, On Charges He Violated Union’s Constitution


January 19, 2021 11:51am

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Donald Trump on The Celebrity Apprentice” in 2008

SAG-AFTRA took a major step Tuesday towards kicking Donald Trump out of the union. Meeting in special session, the national board of directors voted overwhelmingly to find “probable cause” that Trump, who has been a member for over 30 years, has “violated the union’s Constitution,” and ordered the matter to be heard by SAG-AFTRA’s Disciplinary Committee.

If found guilty by the committee, possible penalties include reprimand, censure, fines, suspension from the rights and privileges of membership, or expulsion.

The charges cite Trump’s role in inciting the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, and his “sustaining a reckless campaign of misinformation aimed at discrediting and ultimately threatening the safety of journalists, many of whom are SAG-AFTRA members.”

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The charges were initiated by David White, the union’s national executive director, at the request of SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris, who have requested the imposition of the most severe penalty available to the union: his expulsion from membership.

“Donald Trump attacked the values that this union holds most sacred – democracy, truth, respect for our fellow Americans of all races and faiths, and the sanctity of the free press,” Carteris said. “There’s a straight line from his wanton disregard for the truth to the attacks on journalists perpetrated by his followers.”

“Our most important role as a union is the protection of our members,” said White. “The unfortunate truth is, this individual’s words and actions over the past four years have presented actual harm to our broadcast journalist members. The board’s resolution addresses this effort to undermine freedom of the press and reaffirms the principles on which our democratic society rests, and which we must all work to protect and preserve.”

SAG-AFTRA, which represents thousands of broadcast journalists across the country, said that reports of intimidation and physical assaults against journalists “have escalated throughout Trump’s presidency.”

In accordance with federal labor law and the SAG-AFTRA Constitution, disciplinary action can only be taken if the charged member is found guilty after a hearing before the Disciplinary Committee. The union noted that members of the committee did not participate in today’s probable cause review, and that as charging parties, neither Carteris nor White will take any role in decision-making on this disciplinary matter.

A letter from the union is being sent to Trump today notifying him of today’s action, and providing notice of the charges against him. The process of expelling him could take three to six weeks, depending on the committee’s verdict — and possibly longer if Trump requests an extension of the upcoming hearing. If the committee votes to expel him, that ruling will still have to be approved by a two-thirds vote of the national board.

The former star of The Apprentice – and soon-to-be former president – has been a member of the union and its forerunners, SAG and AFTRA, since 1989. The two unions merged in 2012.

Article XIV of the SAG-AFTRA Constitution states that members may be suspended or expelled for “engaging in actions antagonistic to the interests or integrity of the union.” The union, which is non-partisan and does not endorse or donate to political candidates or parties, has criticized Trump in the past for calling the news media “the enemy of the American people.”

The breaking point for the union’s leaders, however, came on January 6 when Trump exhorted a crowd of angry supporters to march on the U.S. Capitol and to “fight like hell. And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” The violent insurrection that ensued led the House of Representatives to impeach Trump for the second time, accusing the president of having “willfully made statements that, in context, encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — lawless action at the Capitol.” During that now-famous speech, however, Trump also told the crowd: “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”

But earlier today, even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blamed Trump for provoking the rioters. “The mob was fed lies,” he said on the Senate floor. “They were provoked by the president and other powerful people.”

The day after the riot, which left five dead and temporarily halted the final counting of the Electoral College votes, SAG-AFTRA issued a statement that “condemns in the strongest terms yesterday’s attack on America’s foundational principles. Rioters, emboldened and encouraged by a sitting president and his enablers who have peddled baseless conspiracy theories, stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to subvert democracy. As a union and a democratic organization, we are appalled by this attack on the values we hold most sacred. The disgraceful scenes coming out of the nation’s capital have undermined America’s institutions and its standing in the world. Displays of the Confederate flag and other symbols of white supremacy and hate were meant to subjugate and terrorize people of color and those of certain faiths. This poison attacks the diverse membership of our union and the labor movement.”

In addition to his starring role on reality TV hit The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice (2004-17), over the years he’s also appeared as himself in numerous films and TV shows. His small-screen credits as himself include All My Children (1992), The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1994), The Nanny (1996), Suddenly Susan (1997), The Drew Carey Show (1997), NightMan (1997), Spin City (1998), Sex and the City (1999), The Job (2001) and Days of Our Lives (2005).

Films in which he’s appeared as himself include Ghosts Can’t Do It (1989), Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), Across the Sea of Time (1995), Eddie (1996), Celebrity (1998), Zoolander (2001), Two Weeks Notice (2002) and Marmalade (2004).

According to a financial disclosure report he filed in August, Trump receives a $90,776 pension for the acting work he performed on SAG-covered shows and an $8,724 pension for his AFTRA-covered work. If he’s expelled, his pension wouldn’t be affected, nor would he be prevented from working in SAG-AFTRA’s jurisdiction.

A+E Networks Pays Tribute To Jennifer Bulvanoski, VP Of Distribution


January 19, 2021 11:50am

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Courtesy of A+E

A+E Networks paid tribute to Jennifer Bulvanoski, who died on January 11 after an illness. She served as Vice President of Distribution and made significant contributions to Distribution and Digital Content Licensing.

A statement released by A+E said: “A+E Networks grieves the deep loss of one of their family. A beautiful person who was a bright star in our lives, Jennifer Bulvanoski, passed away last week following a year-long illness.”

They added, “Jen was a cherished teammate and a dearly beloved friend for so many of her colleagues at the company. An exceptional executive whose warmth, humor and vibrancy were contagious. Her contributions at A+E Networks, and more specifically to Distribution and Digital Content Licensing, where she served as Vice President of Distribution, will live on for years to come. Jen will be greatly missed.”

“The A+E Networks family’s heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to Jen’s family, including her daughter and son, Macy and Riley; their father, Travis; and her mother, Jane.”

Friends of Bulvanoski also honored her on Facebook. In a post, a group of friends writes: “It is with heavy hearts that we share news of the passing of our beloved friend, Jennifer Bulvanoski on January 11, 2021. Jen fought valiantly for several months after being diagnosed with a serious illness earlier last year. It is not often that life brings us someone as special as Jen. She was a remarkable and loving mother, beloved daughter, and cherished friend. Her warmth, kindness, humor, determination and enthusiastic spirit made its mark on those who knew her and her smile will continue to be unforgettable. There are simply no words to adequately express our sorrow.”