Sunday, February 17, 2019

News Briefs

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  • Friday, Jan. 4, 2019
NAACP Image Awards to televise live from Dolby Theatre
In this Monday, Jan. 15, 2018 file photo, host Anthony Anderson speaks at the 49th annual NAACP Image Awards at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

The NAACP Image Awards will be televised live for the first time from the Dolby Theatre.

NAACP and TV One officials announced Thursday that the 50th awards ceremony will be televised on the cable network at the venue in Hollywood, California, on March 30. The event will spotlight the contributions of the NAACP and the organization's impact on the community.

NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson called the award's 50th anniversary a "major milestone in bringing visibility" to the achievements of the African-Americans in entertainment, literature and the arts.

Along with the live telecast, TV One will air the announcement of nominees. The date for nominations has not been announced.

Last year, Ava DuVernay was named entertainer of the year. Hit series "black-ish" and "Power" won multiple awards.

  • Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019
Michael B. Jordan, Ben Stiller among Golden Globe presenters
In this Nov. 28, 2018, file photo, actor Michael B. Jordan poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Creed II', in London. Jordan, Ben Stiller and Idris Elba are among the first presenters announced Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019, for Sunday's Golden Globe Awards. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

Michael B. Jordan, Ben Stiller and Idris Elba are among the first presenters announced for Sunday's Golden Globe Awards.

Other presenters announced Thursday by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association include Catherine Zeta-Jones, Dick Van Dyke, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chrissy Metz, Felicity Huffman and Mike Myers.

Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg will host the 76th annual Golden Globe Awards that will air on NBC.

The Globes show is also adding the Carol Burnett Award, an accolade that focuses on life achievement in television. The inaugural award will go to the 85-year-old Burnett, a five-time Globes winner.

Jeff Bridges will receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award, an accolade for film. The 69-year-old actor won a Globe in 2010 for his role in "Crazy Heart."

  • Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019
Carrie Ann Inaba gets host gig on "The Talk"
In this Sept. 11, 2016, file photo, Carrie Ann Inaba arrives at night two of the Creative Arts Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Inaba is no longer a temp on “The Talk.” The CBS daytime show announced Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019, that Inaba has joined the panel of hosts, moving up from recurring guest host. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

Carrie Ann Inaba is no longer a temp on "The Talk."

The CBS daytime show announced Wednesday that Inaba has joined the panel of hosts, moving up from recurring guest host.

"The Dancing With the Stars" judge replaces Julie Chen, who left the talk show in September.

Chen's departure came a week after her husband, CBS Corp. boss Leslie Moonves, was ousted from the company due to sexual misconduct allegations.

In announcing her exit on-air, Chen appeared to endorse Inaba as her successor.

Inaba, who has served as guest host on "The Talk" for two seasons, joins hosts Sara Gilbert, Sheryl Underwood, Sharon Osbourne and Eve.

Inaba's career in dance includes performing on Madonna's "The Girlie Show World Tour." She's also an actress and singer.

  • Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019
Bob Einstein of Super Dave and "Curb" fame dies at 76
In this June 27, 2018 file photo, Bob Einstein arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind" at the TCL Chinese Theatre. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

Bob Einstein, the veteran comedy writer and performer known for "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour," ''Curb Your Enthusiasm" and his spoof daredevil character Super Dave Osborne, has died, according to his brother, filmmaker Albert Brooks. Einstein was 76.

Einstein will be "missed forever," Brooks said in a post Wednesday on his verified Twitter account.

"R.I.P. My dear brother Bob Einstein. A great brother, father and husband. A brilliantly funny man," tweeted Brooks, 71.

Details of Einstein's death were not immediately available. Representatives for him and Brooks did not immediately respond to calls or emails.

Einstein was scheduled to be part of the 10th season of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" but his health barred him from filming, HBO said.

On the comedy, Einstein played annoying pal Marty Funkhouser to Larry David's equally off-putting character. In a statement, David said he'd never seen an actor enjoy a role more than Einstein did playing Marty.

"It was an amazing, unforgettable experience knowing and working with him. There was no one like him, as he told us again and again," David said Wednesday. "We're all in a state of shock."

Einstein created and played Super Dave, a stuntman far more ambitious than he was agile. The character appeared on comedy-variety specials and series, most recently "Super Dave's Spike Tacular" in 2009.

He won an Emmy for writing on the 1960s series "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour," on which he also played opposite brothers Tom and Dick Smothers, and a second Emmy in 1976 for Dick Van Dyke's "Van Dyke and Company" variety series.

  • Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019
"Bird Box" Draws Viewership Of 45M Netflix Subscribers In 1st Week
Sandra Bullock appears in a scene from the film, "Bird Box." Netflix lifted the usually tightly sealed lid on its viewership numbers in a recent tweet that disclosed 45 million subscriber accounts had watched the thriller, “Bird Box,” during its first seven days on the service. (Merrick Morton/Netflix via AP, File)
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- 

Netflix said 45 million subscriber accounts worldwide watched the Sandra Bullock thriller "Bird Box" during its first seven days on the service, the biggest first-week success of any movie made for the company's nearly 12-year-old streaming service.

Netflix, which typically refuses to provide viewership numbers, made the rare disclosure in a recent tweet as movie producers, writers, actors and investors continue to size up a company that has already reshaped the way the world watches video.

The first-week audience means nearly one-third of Netflix's 137 million subscribers watched the film from Dec. 21 through Dec. 27 — a holiday-season stretch when many people aren't working and have more free time. Had 45 million people actually gone to the theater to watch "Bird Box," it would have translated into about $400 million in box-office revenue, based on the current average price of a ticket.

But people were watching the movie on a service for which they already had paid and had the luxury of doing so without leaving their homes. That makes watching "Bird Box" more comparable to watching a television program, Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said.

By that yardstick, the viewership for "Bird Box" is less impressive. For instance, the Super Bowl typically attracts 100 million to 110 million viewers in the U.S. alone. The annual telecast of the Academy Awards has drawn a U.S. audience of 26 million to 40 million in recent years. And those totals are for a single day.

Television viewership and theatrical box-office numbers also are calculated by third-party firms, unlike the "Bird Box" figure released by Netflix. The Los Gatos, California, company has steadfastly refused to divulge its viewership because it regards the data as a competitive advantage in deciding what kind of programming will attract subscribers. All Netflix will say about its "Bird Box" number is that it counted only accounts that watched at least 70 percent of the film.

  • Monday, Dec. 31, 2018
Judge denies Kevin Spacey's request to skip court appearance
In this May 24, 2017 file photo, Kevin Spacey participates in the speaker series in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
BOSTON (AP) -- 

A Massachusetts judge has denied Kevin Spacey's request to skip his appearance in court on accusations that he groped a young man.

The decision by Nantucket District Court Judge Thomas Barrett on Monday means Spacey will have to attend his Jan. 7 arraignment.

Spacey had argued he should be excused from appearing because his presence would "amplify the negative publicity already generated in connection with this case." He's pleading not guilty.

The 59-year-old Oscar-winning actor is accused of groping the 18-year-old man in a Nantucket restaurant in 2016. He is charged with felony indecent assault and battery.

Spacey's lawyer, Juliane Balliro, said in the documents that his presence in court would only "heighten prejudicial media interest in the case" and increase the risk of contaminating the jury pool.

  • Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018
Lopsided games, schedule drag down CFP television ratings
Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray (1) leaves the field at the end during the second half of the Orange Bowl NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Alabama defeated Oklahoma 45-34. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Television ratings for the College Football Playoff on ESPN dropped from last season, dragged down by lopsided games and not being played on New Year's Day.

ESPN says Alabama's 45-34 victory against Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl on Saturday night drew a 10.4 overnight rating, peaking at 11.8 early in the first quarter when the Crimson Tide jumped out to a 14-point lead. Alabama eventually led 28-0.

The network says Clemson's 30-3 victory against Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl earlier Saturday drew a 10.3 rating, peaking at 11.2 when the Tigers scored with 2 second left in the first half to make it 23-3.

Last season, when the semifinals were played on New Year's Day and Georgia and Oklahoma went to overtime in the Rose Bowl, the games averaged a 13.9 overnight rating.

The best television ratings for the College Football Playoff came in the first year, when Florida State and Oregon played in the Rose Bowl and Alabama and Ohio State played in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 2015, and both games were competitive into the second half. ESPN drew record audiences of more than 28 million viewers and an average rating of about 15.

This year's semifinals topped only the second year of the playoffs, when the semifinals were held in the Cotton and Orange bowls on Dec. 31, 2015, a Thursday. Compared with that season, the first game of the semifinal doubleheader was up 5 percent and the second game was up 4 percent.

  • Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018
Longtime British comedy star June Whitfield dies at 93
Nov. 16, 2017 file photo of Dame June Whitfield after she was made a dame. British actress and comedic star June Whitfield, whose long career included memorable roles in TV series “Absolutely Fabulous” and “Terry and June,” has died. She was 93. (Jonathan Brady/PA Wire/PA via AP, File)
LONDON (AP) -- 

British actress and comedic star June Whitfield, whose long career included memorable roles in TV series "Absolutely Fabulous" and "Terry and June," has died. She was 93.

Her agent said that she died Friday night.

Whitfield enjoyed a career spanning decades, appearing on some of Britain's most popular TV shows and earning generations of fans drawn by her wide range and impeccable timing.

She was prominent in the "Carry On" series and the sitcom "Terry and June" with Terry Scott in the '80s before playing a vital role in "Absolutely Fabulous."

Her time on "Ab Fab" playing the slightly odd mother of Jennifer Saunders' boozy character Edina introduced Whitfield to fans who hadn't been born when she started on radio decades earlier.

Fellow "Ab Fab" stars Saunders and Joanna Lumley praised Whitfield for the warmth and wit she brought to the hugely popular show.

"I will always be grateful that she agreed to be in Ab Fab and even more grateful that she became a dear friend," Saunders said in a statement. "She lived and worked with an extraordinary grace."

Lumley said she was "heartbroken to lose such a darling friend."

Whitfield's father was a telephone company executive and her mother an amateur actress. She once told The Telegraph newspaper she knew very early in life she wanted to be a performer.

"There was never one moment when I decided," she said. "I went to dancing classes and elocution classes and the appeal was simply that I loved it all."

She trained at London's renowned Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and started her career in radio comedy in the 1950s, moving into TV as the new medium eclipsed radio.

She received dozens of honors, including being made a "Dame," the female equivalent of a knighthood. She received the honor from Prince Charles in a Buckingham Palace ceremony in 2017.

Her husband Tim Aitchison died in 2001. She is survived by their daughter, the actress Suzy Aitchison.

  • Friday, Dec. 28, 2018
Kevin Spacey asks to skip Massachusetts court appearance
In this May 24, 2017 file photo, Kevin Spacey participates in the speaker series in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
BOSTON (AP) -- 

Lawyers for Kevin Spacey are asking a judge to allow the actor to skip his arraignment on sexual assault charges in a Massachusetts courthouse next month.

The Boston Globe reports that Spacey's attorneys have filed a motion asking to excuse his presence at a Jan. 7 hearing in Nantucket District Court. The reason wasn't disclosed.

Prosecutors asked the judge to deny the motion. The judge did not immediately rule.

Cape and Islands Assistant District Attorney Michael Giardino wrote that Spacey's appearance is required under state rules for criminal case procedure.

The 59-year-old Oscar winner is charged with felony indecent assault and battery.

Prosecutors say he groped an 18-year-old man in a Nantucket restaurant in 2016.

Spacey's attorneys have not spoken publicly about the case but in a court hearing questioned the evidence.

  • Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018
Franklin attorney: $3 million in back taxes paid to IRS
In this July 27, 2010 photo, Aretha Franklin performs at The Mann Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
DETROIT (AP) -- 

An attorney says the late Queen of Soul's estate has paid at least $3 million in back taxes to the IRS since Aretha Franklin's death last August in Detroit.

David Bennett, who represents Franklin's estate, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the estate is being audited by the IRS, which he says filed a claim this month in a county probate court north of Detroit.

TMZ reported earlier Thursday that legal documents it obtained showed the IRS claimed Franklin owes more than $6.3 million in back taxes from 2012 to 2018 and $1.5 million in penalties.

Bennett says all of Franklin's returns have been filed. He adds that the IRS is questioning the filed returns and that Franklin's estate is disputing what the IRS claims "was income."

Franklin died of pancreatic cancer in August. She was 76.

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