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  • Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020
Ron Cicero and Kimo Easterwood co-directed "Happy Happy Joy Joy--The Ren & Stimpy Story," which was selected for the Documentary Premieres lineup at this year's Sundance Film Festival.
LOS ANGELES -- 

Though it’s been barely a year since veteran executive producer Ron Cicero launched INVADER, the company has seen its directors make a couple of high profile industry marks--a documentary set to make its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, and a DGA Award nomination in the Variety/Talk/News/Sports--Specials category.

On the former score, the feature documentary Happy Happy Joy Joy--The Ren & Stimpy Story was selected for Sundance’s Documentary Premieres lineup. Written and co-directed by Cicero and Kimo Easterwood, the film explores the rise and fall of the groundbreaking animated series Ren & Stimpy and its controversial creator, John Kricfalusi, through archival footage, show artwork and interviews with the artists, actors and executives behind the show. (Cicero and Easterwood direct commercials via INVADER as a duo under the LGI Collective moniker.)

As for the DGA Award nomination, that honor was bestowed upon More

  • Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020
This July 26, 2018 file photo shows Bill Abbott, left, with a dog named Happy at Hallmark's Evening Gala during the TCA Summer Press Tour in Beverly Hills, Calif. The head of Hallmark's media business is leaving the company after 11 years. No reason was given for Bill Abbott's departure as CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, and no replacement was immediately named. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

The head of Hallmark's media business is leaving the company after 11 years, just a month after its flagship Hallmark Channel faced an outcry over a decision to pull an ad with a lesbian couple kissing.

No reason was given for Bill Abbott's departure, and no replacement was immediately named.

In a statement, Mike Perry, president and CEO of Hallmark Cards Inc., said that with immense competition from TV networks and streaming services, it is important for the company to find "relevant new ways to grow our business."

Abbott was CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, a company controlled by Hallmark Cards. Crown Media's flagship cable channel is The Hallmark Channel, known for family-friendly programming, particularly made-for-TV Christmas-themed movies. 

In December, the Hallmark Channel's decision to pull an ad featuring the same-sex couple  led to an outcry online. The company later reversed the decision.

Crown Media More

  • Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020
Kansas City Chiefs' Damien Williams runs for a touchdown during the second half of the NFL AFC Championship football game against the Tennessee Titans Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, in Kansas City, MO. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

It's no secret, sports fans. Better games produce better ratings.

That was the simple lesson for the NFL this week, after a dip in viewership for its conference championship games, compared to 2019. The Nielsen company said 42.8 million people watched the San Francisco 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers to punch their Super Bowl ticket, and 41.1 million people watched Kansas City beat Tennessee.

Both conference championship games went into overtime last year, and the audiences were 44.2 million and 53.9 million, Nielsen said. By contrast, this year's games were one-sided.

LSU's win over Clemson in the college football national championship game was seen by 25.6 million on ESPN, Nielsen said. That's a little over a million more than last year's game reached.

With the benefit of an NFL game in primetime, Fox led all the broadcast networks in ratings last week, averaging 9.9 million viewers. CBS had 4.9 million viewers in More

  • Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- 

The International Cinematographers Guild Publicists (ICG, IATSE Local 600) will honor veteran publicist Sheryl Main with the esteemed Henri Bollinger Award at the 57th Annual ICG Publicists Awards Luncheon on February 7 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel. Main is a publicity and marketing strategist with over 25 years’ experience in both the entertainment and political arenas. More than 800 industry leaders are expected to attend this year’s luncheon, which traditionally occurs the week leading up to the Academy Awards®.
 
The Henri Bollinger Award is named after the renowned award-winning entertainment industry publicist. It is bestowed on occasion to recognize a person who epitomizes the definition of special merit in the field of entertainment. The ICG Publicists Awards celebrate excellence in publicity and promotion for motion pictures and television programs.

“I can think of nobody more deserving of receiving the Henri Bollinger Award More

  • Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020
This Oct. 8, 2019, file photo shows the Netflix app on an iPhone in New York. Netflix reports financial results Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- 

Netflix added 8.8 million worldwide subscribers during its fourth quarter, surpassing expectations at a time when it faces heated competition from new streaming challengers such as Disney.

Netflix had said it expected to add 7.6 million subscribers, and analysts thought the service would fare even better. The increase pales slightly next to the 8.9 million subscribers the service added in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The stock dropped about 2.5 percent in after-hours trading, likely due to a cautious forecast for its first quarter.

The company — a pioneer in producing streaming media and binge-worthy shows — now boasts more than 167 million subscribers worldwide, bolstered by a list of well-received movies and shows released late last year including Oscar nominees "The Irishman" and "Marriage Story." 

The boost helps reaffirm Netflix's strong standing in the increasingly crowded world of video streaming. The fourth quarter was More

  • Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020
Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg speaks during a press conference in London, Tuesday Jan. 21, 2020. Facebook says it plans to hire 1,000 more staff in Britain, mainly for its technology and harmful content teams, and that it will add the new roles by the end of the year, which will bring its U.K. workforce to more than 4,000. (Dominic Lipinski/PA via AP)
LONDON (AP) -- 

Facebook said Tuesday it plans to hire 1,000 more staff in Britain, mainly for its technology and harmful content teams. 

The U.S. tech company said Tuesday that it will add the new roles by the end of the year, bringing its U.K. workforce to more than 4,000.

More than half of the new jobs will be in technology-focused roles such as software engineering. 

There will also be a "large number" of jobs working on building tools to detect and remove harmful content from Facebook and its other platforms, which include WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram. The company did not give an exact number. 

Facebook is devoting more effort to keeping harmful content such as spam and abusive material off its sites as authorities put more pressure on the big tech companies to better police their platforms. 

  • Monday, Jan. 20, 2020
Chelsea Winstanley
LOS ANGELES -- 

Chelsea Winstanley--a producer on Jojo Rabbit, recently nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture--has launched production company This Too Shall Pass and optioned the first project under its banner, The Appeal. Winstanley will write and make her feature directorial debut with The Appeal, after having directed several shorts and a segment of the critically acclaimed Waru anthology, which screened in the Discovery section of the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.

The Appeal is the powerful story of Samoan lawyer Tiana Epati who defended forestry contractor and Black Power member Mac Kapene in a leading case that challenged the criminal justice system in Aotearoa, New Zealand. In a country where over 50% of the prison population are Māori, institutional racial bias against the indigenous people is prevalent. Epati defended Kapene in the Court of Appeal after she believed he was wrongly More

  • Monday, Jan. 20, 2020
Feature film Camera Operator of the Year recipient Geoff Haley, SOC behind the scenes on "Joker."
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- 

During its Lifetime Achievement Awards ceremony on Saturday evening (1/18) at the Loews Hollywood Hotel, the Society of Camera Operators (SOC) announced and honored Geoff Haley, SOC and Jim McConkey, SOC as Camera Operator of the Year in Film and Television, respectively.

Haley won in film for his work on Joker, topping fellow nominees Sam Ellison (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Craig Haagensen, SOC (Motherless Brooklyn), David Luckenbach, SOC (Ford v. Ferrari), and Dale Myrand, SOC (Knives Out).
 
McConkey won the TV honor on the strength of his work on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. He beat out nominees Chris Cuevas (Watchmen), Mitch Dubin, SOC (Legion), Jeff Muhlstock, SOC (Mr. Robot), and Sean Savage, ACO, SOC (Game of Thrones).

Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman was given the SOC’s Lifetime Achievement Awards Governor’s More

  • Monday, Jan. 20, 2020
Wilson Cruz speaks at the "Visible: Out on Television" panel during the Apple+ TCA 2020 Winter Press Tour at the Langham Huntington, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

Actor Wilson Cruz says a new documentary on the evolution of LGBTQ depictions on television is a "love letter" to the medium's power.

It's also a testament to how LGBTQ people and their allies harnessed TV to tell the community's stories, said Cruz, who along with actor-comedian Wanda Sykes was an executive producer for "Visible: Out on Television." The five-part documentary will be released Feb. 14 on the new Apple TV Plus streaming service.

"It's through television that we got to tell the entire society and our own culture what our lives are really like. Because of that amount of authenticity, we were able to move the needle to acceptance." said Cruz, whose TV roles include Dr. Hugh Culber in "Star Trek: Discovery" and Dennis in "13 Reasons Why."

"Visible: Out on Television" includes an interview with Ellen DeGeneres about coming out as gay along with her sitcom character, and Adam Lambert discussing his experience as an "American More

  • Monday, Jan. 20, 2020
In this Sept. 16, 2019, file photo writer-producer Julian Fellowes attends the premiere of "Downton Abbey," at Alice Tully Hall in New York. “Belgravia,” set in the grand London neighborhood of that name, was adapted by Fellowes from his eponymous 2016 novel. Asked to compare the series to “Downton Abbey,” the hit TV drama that unfolded in the early 1900s, Fellowes said the projects reflect the periods in which they’re set. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- 

The period costumes of a Julian Fellowes drama can be excruciatingly accurate, as an actress in his new series "Belgravia" discovered.

The Epix drama from "Downton Abbey" creator Fellowes and executive producer Gareth Neame is set in 19th-century London and features Tamsin Greig, who starred in the TV comedy "Episodes," and Philip Glenister ("Cranford").

Asked if the elaborate outfits were difficult or easy to work in, Greig gave a quick reply.

"Do you think that they look easy?' she said. "I was under the care of an osteopath within a week of filming, and I realized that I should have prepared better by wearing a corset for a few hours each day in the weeks up to beginning shooting."

It's impossible to get the silhouette of the 1840s without the binding undergarment that women wore, she said. If the limited series' actresses look like they're comfortable, Greig added, "it's really great acting."

Alice Eve ("Bombshell More

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