Friday, November 24, 2017

News Briefs

Displaying 1 - 10 of 2726
  • Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017
Credibility at risk, media cuts stars loose over harassment allegations
This image released by CBS shows, from left, Norah O'Donnell, Charlie Rose and Gayle King on the set of "CBS This Morning." (CBS via AP)

The consequences came swiftly after the allegations emerged against Charlie Rose. Within hours, the veteran news host was suspended by CBS and his PBS interview show was pulled off the air. The next day, he was fired.

Rose became the latest in a string of prominent journalists felled abruptly by accusations of sexual misconduct. While news organizations aren't the only companies taking prompt measures against the accused, they face particular pressure to act because of the risk of losing the audience's trust as they cover the sex scandals coursing through politics, Hollywood and the media itself.

"Our credibility in that reporting requires credibility managing basic standards of behavior" inside the network, CBS News president David Rhodes told staffers Tuesday in a memo announcing the firing of Rose, the "CBS This Morning" co-host and "60 Minutes" contributor. PBS also cut ties to Rose.

Rose's downfall came after he was accused in The Washington Post of groping women, walking naked in front of them or making lewd phone calls. He apologized for his behavior while questioning the accuracy of some of the accounts.

He wasn't even the only big-name journalist whose career was rocked Monday by sexual misbehavior allegations. The New York Times suspended White House reporter Glenn Thrush after he was accused of making drunken, unwanted advances on women. Thrush disputed some of the accusations but apologized for "any situation where I behaved inappropriately" and said he had had a drinking problem.

In recent weeks, journalist Mark Halperin was fired from NBC News and lost a book contract amid allegations he partially denied, and NPR news chief Michael Oreskes was ousted over behavior he acknowledged as "wrong and inexcusable."

The disciplinary actions inside the media unfolded as news organizations have been busy covering the explosive accusations against such figures as Hollywood studio boss Harvey Weinstein, comedian Louis C.K., actor Kevin Spacey and, in the political sphere, Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore and Democratic Sen. Al Franken.

While the journalists' apologies or acknowledgements surely made it easier for their employers to cut them loose, a journalism expert said news organizations in particular can't afford to hesitate and come off looking hypocritical.

"Especially in the news business, where it's our job to ferret out the truth and hold powerful people accountable, executives realize that they must investigate reports about their own employees swiftly, and that means promptly suspending alleged perpetrators when there are credible allegations," said Indira Lakshmanan, a journalism ethics scholar at the Poynter Institute, a media think tank in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The fever over sexual misconduct involving media figures began in the summer of 2016 with Gretchen Carlson's accusations against Fox News Channel founder Roger Ailes. Within two weeks, Ailes was out of a job. Similarly, Bill O'Reilly's career at Fox imploded quickly in April when The New York Times reported on how much had been paid to settle misconduct allegations against him.

To be sure, recent accusations have also sparked some quick professional separations in entertainment and other spheres. Weinstein was fired from the company he co-founded, Spacey was canned from "House of Cards" and excised from the finished movie "All the Money in the World," and the release of Louis C.K.'s new movie was canceled.

Some in Hollywood and beyond have complained of a rush to judgment. But public-relations and employment-law experts say that in the post-Weinstein era, companies feel they have to take fast, decisive action — and should, even at the risk of being sued by those who have been fired.

"Brands that are making quick decisions are doing the right thing" to limit potential damage to their reputations, said Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR, which specializes in crisis PR. "Firing somebody quickly allows you to stop the bleeding much, much, much quicker."

Laurent Drogin, a New York-based employment-law attorney, said: "Employers would rather take the risk from the accused turning around and coming after them for something than to possibly be faulted for not remedying a work situation."

"There's a below-zero-tolerance policy now," he said.

  • Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017
Crash report turns out to be scene for Billy Crystal film
In this Sunday, March 15, 2015, file photo, actor Billy Crystal walks the red carpet for "The Comedians" during the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP, File)

A report of a car crashing into a pizza and ice cream shop on Long Island turned out to be a scene for a film starring Billy Crystal.

Police in Long Beach tell Newsday that officers and firefighters were dispatched Monday morning after someone reported a vehicle had crashed into Slices & Ices. Police department officials say they were aware that a movie was being filmed there, but had to be sure a real accident hadn't occurred.

An officer was posted at the location to direct motorists around the scene, which may have led someone to believe that there had been a crash.

Crystal grew up in a Long Beach neighborhood near where the scene was being shot for a comedy titled "We Are Unsatisfied." Another scene was shot Monday at a local coffee shop.

  • Monday, Nov. 20, 2017
Tilby & Forbis, "Spongebob" creator Hillenburg among those set to receive ASIFA-Hollywood Juried Awards
The creator of "Spongebob Squarepants," Stephen Hillenburg, will receive a Windsor McKay Award
BURBANK, Calif. -- 

ASIFA-Hollywood announced this year’s slate of recipients for its Juried Awards honoring career achievement and exceptional contributions to animation.   The Juried award recipients will be honored at the 45th Annie Awards™ set for Saturday, February 3, 2018 at UCLA’s Royce Hall.     

The Winsor McCay Award for career contributions to the art of animation are being presented to three recipients --British character animator, James Baxter; SpongeBob SquarePants creator, Stephen Hillenburg; and the Canadian animation duo, Wendy Tilby & Amanda Forbis. The Ub Iwerks Award for technical advancement that has made a significant impact on the art and industry of animation will be presented to TVPaint for its versatile software for 2D animation; The Special Achievement Award recognizing the unique and significant impact on the art and industry of animation will be presented to Studio MDHR Entertainment for its 1930s inspired wonder-game Cuphead; and the June Foray Award for significant and benevolent or charitable impact on the art and industry of animation will be awarded to animation historian, Didier Ghez. The Certificate of Merit award will be presented to David Nimitz, devoted friend and caretaker of veteran voice actress, and ASIFA-Hollywood & Annie Award pioneer June Foray, who passed away in July at the age of 99. 

ASIFA-Hollywood is the world’s first and foremost professional organization dedicated to promoting the art of animation and celebrating the people who create it. Today, ASIFA-Hollywood, the largest chapter of the international organization ASIFA, supports a range of animation activities and preservation efforts through its membership. Current initiatives include the Animation Archive, Animation Aid Foundation, animated film preservation, special events, classes and screenings.    

Created in 1972 by Foray, the Annie Awards have grown in scope and stature for the past four decades.

  • Monday, Nov. 20, 2017
ADG Lifetime Achievement Award to be presented to production designer Norm Newberry
Norm Newberry

Norm Newberry, former ADG awardee and a 21st century renaissance production designer best known for his work on War of the Worlds, The Polar Express and Beowulf, will receive the Art Directors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award (ADG, IATSE Local 800) at the 22nd Annual Excellence in Production Design Awards. The 2018 ADG Awards, themed “Production Design: Celebrating 100 Years of Imagination,” will be held Saturday, January 27, 2018 at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood and Highland.

In a career that has spanned five decades, Newberry has done it all. From his work as a set designer, art director and production designer, his creative contributions at Universal Studios span dozens of television shows, and feature films. These include The Hindenburg, Jaws and The Sting. He also worked as an art director on Twentieth Century Fox films including History of the World: Part I and Avatar, which won both an Oscar for Best Production Design and an ADG Award for Best Production Design for a Fantasy Film.

Newberry has pushed the excellence of his craft, first by becoming an expert in design and traditional visual effects and then by re-inventing himself as a “motion capture” art director who embraces the cutting edge of digital technology. He has worked on films which have been created in this way including Polar Express, Beowulf, A Christmas Carol, and the biggest of them all, Avatar.

ADG Lifetime Achievement Awards are awarded to outstanding individuals in each of the guild’s five crafts: Art Directors; Scenic, Title and Graphic Artists; Illustrators and Matte Artists; and Set Designers and Model Makers; and Previs Artists. Honorees in the other crafts will be announced shortly. Previous recipients include production designers René Lagler (2017), Patrizia von Brandenstein (Amadeus) (2016) and Jim Bissell (Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation) (2015).

In 1987, Newberry was tapped for his “Place Making” film design expertise and began work as executive art director for Universal Creative. He was a lead designer responsible for the planning and construction of Universal Studios’ theme parks and back-lot set streets. He continued designing theme parks across the globe including Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Universal Escape and Porto Europa in Wakayama, Japan. He was an in-house consultant on planning projects at Universal Studios Hollywood and on projects in Barcelona, Paris, London and Singapore. He culminated his 14 years of experience at Universal Creative as the creative director for Universal Studios Japan.

Currently Newberry consults with themed environment design companies, film schools and film studios. He continues his active involvement in the Art Directors Guild and the Designers Branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

As previously announced, Kathleen Kennedy will be honored with the “ADG Cinematic Imagery” Award. Additionally, the ADG will premiere the “ADG Excellence in Production Design for Animated Features” Award this year, marking the 12th category of awards to be bestowed during the awards gala.

Online nomination voting will be held December 6, 2017-January 3, 2018 and nominees announced on January 4, 2018. Final online balloting will be held January 8-25. ADG Awards are open only to productions when made within the U.S. by producers signatory to the IATSE agreement. Foreign entries are acceptable without restrictions.

  • Monday, Nov. 20, 2017
CBS suspends Charlie Rose, PBS halts his show following allegations
In this April 13, 2017 file photo, Charlie Rose attends The Hollywood Reporter's 35 Most Powerful People in Media party in New York. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)

PBS says it is immediately halting distribution of Charlie Rose's interview program and CBS News suspended him following The Washington Post's report of eight women who accused the veteran newsman of multiple unwanted sexual advances and inappropriate behavior.

The women, three of whom spoke on the record in the deeply-reported story, accused Rose of groping them, walking naked in front of them and relating an erotic dream.

Rose told the Post that he was "deeply embarrassed" and apologized for his behavior.

Rose's PBS show features his in-depth interviews with newsmakers. The 75-year-old journalist is one of three hosts of "CBS This Morning" and is also a contributor to "60 Minutes."

  • Monday, Nov. 20, 2017
Justice Dept. sues to stop AT&T's $85B Time Warner deal
In this Oct. 24, 2016, file photo, clouds are reflected in the glass facade of the Time Warner building in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

The Justice Department is suing AT&T to stop its $85 billion purchase of Time Warner, setting the stage for an epic legal battle with the telecom giant.

The government claims that consumer cable bills will rise if the merger goes through, saying the deal would "substantially lessen competition, resulting in higher prices and less innovation for millions of Americans." AT&T would be able charge rival distributors such as cable companies "hundreds of millions of dollars more per year" for Time Warner's networks, the Department of Justice charged in a press release.

Those payments are ultimately passed down to consumers through their cable bills. The government also said the combined company would use its power to slow the TV industry's shift to new ways of watching video online. Web TV services are cheaper than traditional cable.

The government's objections to the deal have surprised many on Wall Street. AT&T and Time Warner are not direct competitors. Mergers between such companies have typically had an easier time winning government approval.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said earlier this month that he would not sell "key franchises" of Time Warner to get the deal done. A person familiar with the matter, who could not go on record, had previously told the AP that DOJ wanted the company to sell either Turner, the parent of CNN, TBS and other networks, or DirecTV.

In an emailed statement Monday, AT&T general counsel David McAtee said the lawsuit is a "radical and inexplicable departure from decades of antitrust precedent" and that the company is confident that a court will reject the government's claims.

Sadie Gurman contributed from Washington.

  • Monday, Nov. 20, 2017
Camera operator dies in Ghana on set of Netflix drama
A scene from "Sherlock," one of the series worked on by camera operator Mark Milsome (courtesy of BBC/PBS).

A British camera operator has died on the set of the BBC/Netflix miniseries "The Forgiving Earth."

Agent Sarah Prince said Monday that Mark Milsome died in Ghana over the weekend while filming a night-time stunt sequence for the thriller. She said an investigation is underway.

Prince said Milsome was "an incredibly humble and talented man. ... We are all devastated by his loss."

Milsome, 54, worked on TV series including "Sherlock" and "Game of Thrones" and films including "Saving Private Ryan" and "Quantum of Solace."

The BBC said he was a "hugely talented and a much respected colleague." The broadcaster said it was "deeply shocked and saddened."

Written by Hugo Blick, the war-crimes thriller is due to be broadcast by the BBC in Britain and Netflix elsewhere.

Netflix released a statement expressing their condolences to Milsome's family and friends and called his death a tragic loss.

  • Friday, Nov. 17, 2017
Comcast talking to Fox about a deal, source says
This Wednesday, March 29, 2017, photo shows a sign outside the Comcast Center in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Comcast is in discussions with 21st Century Fox about buying its movie studio, some cable channels and its international arms, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. This person wouldn't discuss the matter publicly.

The conversations are at a very early stage, and there's no guarantee that a deal would be finalized, this person said Thursday.

Comcast is interested in the same Fox assets that, according to reports last week, Disney had previously looked at, this person said. Those would include European broadcaster Sky and Star India, the National Geographic and FX cable channels and the company's film studio. Fox owns 39 percent of Sky and wants to buy the rest of it, but it has run into problems with U.K. regulators, in part over concerns about the sexual harassment scandals at Fox News.

The Wall Street Journal and CNBC earlier reported on Comcast's interest in Fox.

If such a deal took place, it would leave Fox with its Fox News channel, sports channels, the Fox broadcast network and several TV stations.

Selling the entertainment business would be a good deal for Fox, said MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson. "Maybe, just maybe, the company is acknowledging that the outlook for film has changed from an ok business to a bad business for everyone not owning a massive stable of global franchises," he wrote in a note last week.

The company may have realized it has a "better edge" in sports and news, he said, and that the investment needed to build out a streaming service, like Disney is doing , may be too much for Fox.

Other companies may also want the Fox assets. A person close to the matter, who wouldn't speak publicly, said Verizon is not in active discussions with Fox, but that Verizon might be interested in some parts of Fox's business.

U.S. cable and telecom companies have been buying up media assets and launching advertising businesses in the past several years. Comcast, the country's largest cable company, finished buying NBCUniversal's cable channels and movie studio in 2013 and added Dreamworks Animation in 2016.

Last year, AT&T agreed to buy Time Warner, the owner of the Warner Bros. movie studio and networks including CNN and HBO, for $85 billion. Regulators have taken a tougher-than-expected stance on that deal and have yet to clear it.

Reports that the Murdoch family could sell parts of its empire came as a surprise last week. The company has previously focused on building its business, and even offered to buy Time Warner in 2014. Fox was rebuffed.

  • Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017
Miss Golden Globe honor renamed Golden Globe Ambassador
Simone Garcia Johnson named Golden Globe Ambassador at the HFPA and InStyle Celebrate the 2018 Golden Globe Awards Season at Catch LA on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, in West Hollywood, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

The group behind the Golden Globe awards says its Miss Golden Globe honoree will now be known as the Golden Globe Ambassador.

Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Meher Tatna says the move was made in order to help expand the role to help recognize the association's philanthropic efforts throughout the year. The honoree is traditionally the child of a celebrity. This year's Golden Globe Ambassador is Simone Garcia Johnson, the daughter of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and his ex-wife, producer Dany Garcia.

The announcement was made at a party in Los Angeles on Wednesday night. The 16-year-old Garcia Johnson has been recently signed by IMG Models.

  • Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017
"Veep" production halted awaiting Louis-Dreyfus' treatment
In this Sept. 17, 2017 file photo, Julia Louis-Dreyfus arrives at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

A producer of "Veep" says filming of the HBO comedy has been postponed as its star, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, undergoes treatment for breast cancer.

During an interview on SiriusXM on Wednesday, Frank Rich said production of the new season was awaiting her recovery.

Rich said "the expectation is that we will shoot again," and said that scripts for what had already been announced as the seventh and final season are ready. He said as recently as 10 days earlier Louis-Dreyfus had taken part in a table read for one of the new episodes.

Louis-Dreyfus posted word of her illness on social media in September, just days after winning her sixth Emmy Award for her portrayal of former POTUS Selina Meyer. Before "Veep," she starred in the hit comedy "Seinfeld."