Friday, January 19, 2018

News Briefs

Displaying 21 - 30 of 2812
  • Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018
Cumming: important to portray gay character in time of Trump
Alan Cumming, center, executive producer and star of the new CBS series "Instinct." takes part in a panel discussion on the series with fellow cast members Sharon Leal, left, and Bojana Novakovic at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- 

Actor Alan Cumming, who is portraying what is believed to be the first gay lead character in a broadcast network drama, said Saturday that it's particularly important that the milestone is happening during President Donald Trump's administration.

His crime procedural "Instinct" arrives at a time when Cumming said "the president is actively condoning, by his silence, violence and persecution against the LBGT community."

He saluted CBS for committing to a series with a married gay couple. There was no immediate comment from the Trump administration.

While some might consider this a difficult time to give such a character a platform, Cumming said "I think it's actually the perfect time. It needs to be done and I'm glad to be a part of it."

In real life Cumming, 52, has described himself as bisexual and has a husband, Grant Shaffer. But he was also once married to a woman.

Cumming portrays Dr. Dylan Reinhart, an author and university professor who is an expert on serial killers, and is asked by New York police to help solve a case where a criminal is basing his behavior on one of his books. It's based on James Patterson's novel.

Cumming, who had a longtime role as a political strategist on the CBS drama "The Good Wife," said he was attracted to playing the part of Reinhart because there are so many aspects to the character. The professor is a combination of a fuddy-duddy and a dandy with an expertise in extremely anti-social behavior.

"There are so many different layers, and I guess the challenge is to make it into one character," he said.

The show's executive producer, Michael Rauch, described "Instinct" as a procedural — meaning a different crime is solved in each episode — "with a light tone."

  • Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018
Barack Obama to be David Letterman's first Netflix guest
In this Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, file photo, David Letterman speaks during the unveiling of a Peyton Manning statue outside of Lucas Oil Stadium, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)

David Letterman has lined up former president Barack Obama to be his first guest when he returns to a TV talk show later this month.

Obama will join Letterman on Jan. 12 for the launch of the new "My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman" on Netflix.

Other guests slated to be on the show include George Clooney, Malala Yousafzai, Jay-Z, Tina Fey and Howard Stern. In each hour-long episode, Letterman will conduct a long-form conversation with a single guest and explore topics of his own outside the studio.

"My Next Guest Needs No Introduction" is produced by RadicalMedia and Letterman’s Worldwide Pants, Incorporated, for Netflix

It will be the first talk show Letterman has hosted since he stepped down from CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman" in May 2015.

  • Friday, Jan. 5, 2018
Attorneys Greenbaum, Murphy to lead advertising law discussion in Santa Monica
Jeffrey A. Greenbaum, managing partner of Frankfurt Kurnit
SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- 

Attorneys Jeffrey A. Greenbaum and Brian G. Murphy of Frankfurt Kurnit will lead an informative discussion about recent advertising law developments that every advertising lawyer and business affairs team should know about for 2018. The session, titled “A Dozen Advertising Law Tips for 2018,” is slated for Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica on Wednesday, January 31.

2018 promises to be yet another year filled with rapid changes in advertising law and enforcement that will have a great impact on the way advertising lawyers and business affairs teams do their jobs. With new commissioners on the horizon at the Federal Trade Commission, a new low budget digital waiver under the SAG-AFTRA Commercials Contract, new challenges involving transparency in contracting, and new cases involving infringement claims, there’s much to talk about.

Among the topics, questions to be addressed, are:

  • What are the big issues that the FTC will be looking at in 2018?
  • What’s new with influencers?
  • What are best practices for disclosures in social media?
  • What impact do recent music infringement cases (including the infamous “Blurred Lines” case) have on the way we produce original music for commercials?
  • How do I reference pop culture in social media without getting sued?
  • What are the key things to watch out for when doing a media buy that includes custom content production?
  • When does comparative advertising cross the line?
  • How do I effectively use the low budget and other SAG-AFTRA waivers?
  • What do I need to know about allocations and SAG-AFTRA audits?
  • How do I effectively run a social media contest?

For more info on the event, click here.


  • Friday, Jan. 5, 2018
Las Vegas' "What happens here" slogan returns after shooting
In this Oct. 16, 2017, file photo, workers install a #VegasStrong banner on the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino in Las Vegas. The official slogan of Las Vegas, "What happens here, stays here," is back by popular demand. The destination's tourism agency revived the 15-year-old slogan this week, three months after it was put on hold following the October mass shooting. Stephen Paddock opened fire from the hotel on an outdoor country music concert, killing 58 and injuring hundreds. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

"What happens here, stays here."

The official slogan of Las Vegas is back by popular demand three months after it was paused following the mass shooting that rattled the city.

The destination's tourism agency revived the 15-year-old slogan this week in a new ad running online and on several TV networks nationwide, marking a return to normalcy in the city where the backbone industry was directly affected by the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

The ad shows some of the city's iconic casinos as part of a time-travel story line.

Cathy Tull, senior vice president of marketing for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said the public agency tests its advertising regularly with focus groups and others. It did so after the shooting and results showed the slogan still resonated with people.

"We went back out and we weren't sure where visitors would be with the mindset around 'What happens here, stays here,'" she said. "What we heard from our research was that people wanted their Vegas back."

The ad shows a scientist getting in a time-traveling machine and arriving at the Las Vegas Strip in 2018 in front of the Bellagio casino-hotel fountains. He is shown dining, partying at a nightclub and taking part in a pool party at Caesars Palace casino-hotel before going back in time still holding a cocktail.

Networks airing the ad include Travel Channel, Food Network and USA.

On Oct. 1, a high-stakes gambler killed 58 people and injured hundreds more after he shattered the windows of his suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino and unleashed gunfire on a country music festival below before killing himself.

The agency immediately put the "What happens here" motto on hold and went to work creating a new pitch.

A spot featured a cityscape and the voice of Las Vegas native and retired tennis star Andre Agassi. "What is strength?" Agassi asked, playing off the #VegasStrong slogan that exploded on Twitter. "Strength is valet parkers who become medics, mothers who become emergency responders."

A TV ad that followed and aired on several networks, including ESPN, Fox Sports and Bravo, featured real-life social media messages posted after the shooting.

The destination saw monthly declines in visitation from June through November. December figures are expected to be released at the end of the month.

Larry Kamer, a marketing and public relations consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area, said that while "Vegas Strong" became a rallying cry after the shooting, it would be a mistake for the city to wrap its identity around it any longer than it feels it is necessary.

He added that if "What happens here" continues to evoke sly smiles and tested better than any other alternatives, it's a safe bet.

"The campaign works because it's playful, it's kind of a wink, an inside joke, and it draws on the old Sin City element of Las Vegas," he said. "If it can still elicit that feeling and the shooting didn't fundamentally change that, I would argue it still works."

  • Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018
New York Festivals 2018 International Advertising Awards unveils Sports competition
Michael Demetriades, president and executive director of New York Festivals

New York Festivals® International Advertising Awards®  added a new competition to its Advertising Awards lineup: Sports. The 2018 Advertising Awards Sports competition will honor all facets of advertising, marketing, sponsorships, and creative communications on all platforms in the sports industry sphere. 

“Sports advertising accounted for 814 million U.S. dollars alone on TV ads aired during sports programming in 2016,” according to Statista. 

Michael Demetriades, president and executive director of New York Festivals, stated, “With sporting events playing out on the world stage daily, this new competition insures that there is a highly regarded place for this innovative creative work to be awarded and showcased.” 

NYF’s Advertising Awards honors advertising excellence through 21 competitions in all media from 80+ countries and represent the full spectrum of today’s advertising communications: Activation/Engagement, Audio, Avant-Garde/Innovation, Branded Entertainment, Creative Marketing Effectiveness & Strategies, Design, Digital, Direct & Collateral, Film, Film Craft, Integrated Media Campaign, Media, Mobile, Outdoor / Out of Home, Package & Product Design, Print, Public & Media Relations, Public Service Announcements, Sports, and Student.

New York Festivals recognizes exceptional contributions by individuals and companies within the international advertising, marketing, and communications community. In addition to Best of Show, Global Brand of the Year, Global Agency Network of the Year, Regional Agency of the Year, and Best New Agency of the Year, special awards in the competition shine the spotlight on innovation and include: Boutique Agency of the Year, Independent Agency of the Year, and Best Commercial Film Director. 

New York Festivals will celebrate 2018’s award-winning entries at the New York Show awards ceremony and gala. The annual event will take place the evening of Thursday, May 17, 2018 at the world-class performance space, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall.

The 2018 competition entry deadline is January 31. To enter the competition please click here.


  • Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018
Final "Game of Thrones" season will air in 2019
This file publicity image released by HBO shows Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen in a scene from "Game of Thrones." (AP Photo/HBO, Keith Bernstein, File)

The final season of "Game of Thrones" will feature veterans of the show behind the scenes when it airs in 2019.

HBO said Thursday that David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, David Nutter and Miguel Sapochnik will direct and Benioff and Weiss along with Bryan Cogman and Dave Hill will write the episodes. They will collaborate on the six-episode, eighth and last season.

Weiss and Benioff have been co-creators, executive producers and showrunners for every season of the hit show. The others have all had roles creating the mythical world of author George R. R. Martin.

When season seven ended late last year, an all-time high of 12.1 million viewers tuned in. An additional 4 million caught the episode on streaming channels.

  • Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018
Netflix greenlights "Bright" sequel, Smith to return as star
This undated image released by Netflix shows Will Smith, left, and Joel Edgerton in a scene from "Bright." (Matt Kennedy/Netflix via AP, File)

Despite scathing reviews from critics, Netflix has greenlit a sequel to "Bright," with star Will Smith and director David Ayer expected to return.

The streaming service announced the plans Wednesday, just two weeks after the fantasy police drama debuted. "Bright" is Netflix's first big-budget, tentpole-style release, with estimates that it cost at least $90 million to produce.

With a sequel, Netflix hopes to turn "Bright" into its first film franchise — the kind Hollywood studios rely on. But it will be doing so with one of the worst reviewed films of the year. "Bright" has garnered just a 28 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Yet viewer data suggests "Bright" is a hit — or, at least, a Netflix version of one. Nielsen reported that 11 million watched "Bright" in the United States in the first three days release. If that many moviegoers had paid tickets for "Bright," it would have earned close to $100 million over its first weekend, if going by the average movie ticket price. And Nielsen's tabulation is based on TV-connected Netflix viewing, and doesn't include those watching on their phones or computers.

Netflix doesn't release viewing numbers, but it said "Bright" has been its most viewed movie in all of Netflix's 190-plus countries. It called "Bright" its highest viewed original film ever in its first week of release.

The film stars Smith as a police officer in an alternate version of Los Angeles where orcs, fairies and magic co-exist. Netflix announced the sequel with a mock audition tape from various orcs hoping to land a role in the follow-up.

Co-star Joel Edgerton is also set to return. One person not coming back is screenwriter Max Landis, whose original script sparked a bidding war. Ayer ("Suicide Squad," ''Fury") will write the sequel.

  • Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018
Olivia Munn to emcee Critics' Choice Awards after T.J. Miller
In this Dec. 7, 2016, file photo, Olivia Munn arrives at the premiere of "Office Christmas Party" at the Village Theatre Westwood in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

Organizers said Wednesday that Olivia Munn will host the 2018 Critics' Choice Awards to be broadcast Jan. 11 on the CW.

Munn follows T.J. Miller, who has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman when he was in college. Munn is among Brett Ratner's sexual harassment accusers and has been fighting for reforms in Hollywood.

Joey Berlin, president of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, said in a statement that Munn's work as an actress along with her activism give her a powerful voice, making her the perfect candidate to lead the night.

The awards are organized by Berlin's group and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association.

Munn's next film will be the action thriller "Hummingbird." She will star in Shane Black's "The Predator" opposite Keegan-Michael Key and Sterling K. Brown.

  • Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018
L.A. prosecutors weighing charges against James Toback
In this Thursday, July 25, 2013, file photo, James Toback takes part in a panel discussion during HBO's Summer 2013 TCA panel at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

Prosecutors in Los Angeles are weighing criminal charges in five cases against writer and director James Toback.

Los Angeles County district attorney's office spokesman Greg Risling says Tuesday that prosecutors are reviewing two cases from the Los Angeles Police Department and three submitted by Beverly Hills police.

Toback, who received an Oscar nomination for writing "Bugsy," has been accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of women. Many of the women said Toback had promised them stardom and their meetings would end with sexual questions and Toback masturbating in front of them or simulating sexual intercourse with them.

Toback has vehemently denied the allegations.

The cases are being reviewed by a task force District Attorney Jackie Lacey established to handle any criminal complaints arising from the Hollywood scandal.

  • Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018
Los Angeles DA reviewing 2 cases against Harvey Weinstein
In this Nov. 23, 2011 file photo, film producer Harvey Weinstein poses for a photo in New York. (AP Photo/John Carucci, File)

Los Angeles prosecutors are reviewing two cases brought by the Beverly Hills Police Department against disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

District attorney office spokesman Greg Risling said Tuesday that the cases were presented last month, but he didn't offer other details.

Dozens of women have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault. Those allegations rippled across the entertainment industry, other media businesses, sports and politics and unleashed a flood of sexual misconduct complaints that have upended several careers.

Police in Los Angeles, New York and London are also investigating accusations against Weinstein.

The Beverly Hill cases are being reviewed by a task force District Attorney Jackie Lacey established to handle any criminal complaints arising from the Hollywood scandal.

Representatives for Weinstein have denied all accusations of non-consensual sex.