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  • Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020
In this Sunday, Sept. 11, 1977 file photo, screenwriter William Blinn, left, Ed Asner, center, and David Greene pose with their Emmy statuettes at the annual Primetime Emmy Awards presentation in Los Angeles. William Blinn, a screenwriter for the landmark TV projects “Brian’s Song”, “Roots” and the Prince film “Purple Rain,” has died, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. He was 83. (AP Photo/File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

William Blinn, a screenwriter for the landmark TV projects "Brian's Song" and "Roots" and the Prince film "Purple Rain," has died. He was 83.

Blinn died Thursday of natural cases at an assisting living community in Burbank, California, his daughter, Anneliese Johnson, said Saturday.

He won Emmy and Peabody honors for the 1971 TV movie "Brian's Song," which dramatized the friendship of Chicago Bears players Brian Piccolo and Gayle Sayers. It was a hit when it aired and is a enduring favorite with sports fans and critics.

Last month, Hall of Fame running back Sayers died at age 77.

Blinn's work on "Roots," the blockbuster 1977 miniseries adapted from Alex Haley's book about his African American ancestors in slavery and freedom, won an Emmy and a Humanitas Prize. 

"He was a master of his art and a gentleman of the first order. Rest easy, my friend," actor Jim Beaver ("Deadwood," "Supernatural") posted on Twitter.

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  • Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020
The ASC Clubhouse
LOS ANGELES -- 

The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) will celebrate the 35th ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards on April 18, 2021. The annual ceremony will be streamed live from the ASC Clubhouse in Hollywood, with plans for a simultaneous in-person component to be determined at a later date. The last time the ASC held their awards at the historic society headquarters was in February 1987--at the 1st Annual ASC Awards. The winner that year: Jordan Cronenweth, ASC for Peggy Sue Got Married, presented by Gregory Peck.

“The ASC Awards recognize the finest work of the year and its exceptional creators,” noted ASC Awards co-chair Dana Gonzales. “We look forward to celebrating the exceptional visual art of the many talented cinematographers contributing to the stories that are entertaining us through these unprecedented times.”

The organization has also officially opened the call for entries in four television categories:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020
AFM 2020 Online campus
LOS ANGELES -- 

The American Film Market (AFM®) unveiled its initial speakers, topics, and programming calendar for AFM 2020 Online. Its 70+ sessions will take place over five days, November 9-13, alongside the AFM’s marketplace and screenings at AFM2020.online.   

The AFM’s opening Conference--The Future of Film--will launch with two marquee one-on-one conversations: Mark Gill, president and CEO of Solstice Studios, will take the online stage to discuss his views and predictions of how independent film, the marketplace, and audience consumption will change in the near future.  The morning will continue with a dialogue with Elissa Federoff, president of distribution for NEON, who will share her insights on the future of feature film distribution and exhibition.   

Gill just realized his goal of having the first new film in theaters since the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown with Unhinged, the first film his company also financed. Federoff recently made history More

  • Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020
This screengrab released by Time shows Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, hosting a special Time100 talk Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, focusing on the digital world. They said the idea is to help make online communities safer and free of misinformation. (Time via AP)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Creating online communities free of danger and misinformation is crucial in building a better world, the Duchess of Sussex told an online audience Tuesday during a special Time100 Talks episode she curated with her husband, Prince Harry.

"This isn't just a tech problem. This isn't solely a mental health or emotional well-being problem. This is a human problem. And what's happening to all of us online is affecting us deeply offline," Meghan said in opening the two-hour session that gathered academics, experts in misinformation, advocates for teens and the marginalized, journalists and others.

Since the start of 2020, after the two left the U.K., they've been spending quality time with son Archie at their California home and also educating themselves on issues swirling in the digital space. They've made new friends among those working to make that space better, both said.

"What our job is, especially throughout these conversations, is More

  • Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020
This Aug. 13, 2020 photo shows a logo for Netflix on a remote control in Portland, Ore. Netflix Inc. (NFLX) on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020 reported third-quarter net income of $790 million. The Los Gatos, California-based company said it had profit of $1.74 per share. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)

Netflix's subscriber growth slowed dramatically during the summer months after surging in the spring fueled by pandemic lockdowns that corralled millions of people in their homes.

The summer slump came as more people sought distraction from the pandemic outdoors and major U.S. professional sports resumed play, offering other entertainment alternatives to the world's most popular video streaming service.

The drop-off disclosed Tuesday in Netflix's latest earnings report was more dramatic than management had warned it might be. 

After picking up 2.2 million customers in the July-September period, Netflix finished the quarter with 195.2 million worldwide subscribers. Earlier, company had forecast an addition of 2.5 million subscribers during the quarter. 

Even so, Netflix is still ahead for the year. It has added 28 million subscribers through the first nine months of the year — locking in the company's largest annual increase More

  • Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020
Los Angeles Dodgers' Cody Bellinger celebrates his home run with Enrique Hernandez against the Atlanta Braves during the seventh inning in Game 7 of a baseball National League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Arlington, Texas.(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

The Los Angeles Dodgers played for their season Sunday night on Fox, the seventh game of the National League Championship Series. Win and go to the World Series, lose and go home.

At the same time, the Los Angeles Rams played a regular season game on NBC against the San Francisco 49ers, a loss that dropped the Rams to a 4-2 record.

There's no question which game meant more. But for a national audience, the football game was watched by 12.6 million people, while 9.7 million tuned in to see the Dodgers complete a memorable comeback against the Atlanta Braves.

There's no clearer illustration of how football is the more popular sport, and why networks line up with open checkbooks whenever television rights come due.

Baseball, despite its reputation as the National Pastime, is more of a local attraction. People have a limited interest if their favorite team is not involved.

Case in point: the Los Angeles market. The Nielsen More

  • Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020
In this Feb. 5, 2015 file photo, Tony Award-winning theater and film director Stephen Daldry poses for a portrait in New York. Daldry is exiting the project, a studio representative confirmed Tuesday. The “Billy Elliot” director has been associated with the adaptation for years, going back as far as 2012. Universal Pictures earlier this year removed “Wicked” from its release schedule. It was last slated for a Dec. 22, 2021 theatrical launch. (Photo by Drew Gurian/Invision/AP, File)

The long-gestating film adaptation of the Broadway hit "Wicked" has hit another snag. Director Stephen Daldry is exiting the project, a studio representative confirmed Tuesday. 

The industry trade website Deadline first reported the news. 

The "Billy Elliot" director has been associated with the adaptation for years, going back as far as 2012. Writer Winnie Holzman, who wrote the musical, wrote the script with "Wicked" composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz. At one point, the film was supposed to hit theaters in Dec. 2019. 

Universal Pictures earlier this year removed "Wicked" from its release schedule. It was last slated for a Dec. 22, 2021 theatrical launch. 

No cast has been officially announced.

In addition to directing the stage and movie versions of "Billy Elliot," Daldry's Broadway credits include "An Inspector Calls," "Skylight" and he just got a Tony Award nomination for "The Inheritance." He has won two Tonys More

  • Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020

Grassroots initiative Green The Bid has been launched to support the advertising industry in shifting to zero-waste, carbon neutral, sustainable and regenerative practices. The initiative is a volunteer coalition, led by its founding members and the stakeholders of the commercial community (brands, agencies, production companies, postproduction facilities, vendors and affiliates) who pledge to come together in this important endeavor. 

Each year the global commercial production industry produces thousands of tons of carbon, along with thousands of tons of waste. This happens despite the fact that we already have the technology and ability to make all productions both net carbon neutral and zero-waste (90% diversion from landfill). 

Green The Bid aims to break down industry silos by applying the B-Corp practice of pre-competitive problem solving, harnessing the collective knowledge of More

  • Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020
This image released by Open Road Films shows Kate Walsh, left, and Liam Neeson in a scene from "Honest Thief." (Open Road Films via AP)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

Liam Neeson's thriller "Honest Thief" stole the top spot at the box office in yet another quiet weekend of moviegoing. 

The Open Roads Films movie brought in $3.7 million in North America the weekend of its U.S. debut. The film, starring Neeson as a notorious bank robber who turns himself in but was double crossed by two FBI agents, opened in Canada last week.

The film also played well in markets including Miami, Chicago, San Diego and Atlanta, according to the studio.

"Honest Thief" overtook "The War with Grandpa," which claimed No. 1 last week. Despite coming in second, the comedy starring Robert De Niro earned $2.5 million. It has garnered $7.3 million domestically within a 10-day timespan. 

Christopher Nolan's "Tenet" came in third with $1.6 million. The action-thriller starring John David Washington and Robert Pattinson has totaled $50.6 million in the U.S.

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