Sunday, February 17, 2019

News Briefs

Displaying 21 - 30 of 3427
  • Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019
ABC's "Modern Family" to end next year after 11 seasons
This image released by ABC shows, from left, Ed O'Neill, Ty Burrell, Sofia Vergara, obscured, Julie Bowen, Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson in a scene from "Modern Family." ABC's "Modern Family," the five-time Emmy Award winner for best comedy, will end its run next year after 11 seasons. ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke announced the end of the series about the boisterous extended family on Tuesday. (Richard Cartwright/ABC via AP)
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- 

ABC's "Modern Family," the five-time Emmy Award winner for best comedy, will end its run next year after 11 seasons.

ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke announced the end of the series about the boisterous extended family on Tuesday. It will finish three seasons short of the longest-running sitcom ever, "The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet."

The series produced by Christopher Lloyd and Steve Levitan was an immediate hit after its debut in September 2009. It began a five-year streak of winning the Emmy for best comedy a year later. Actors Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen and Eric Stonestreet each won two Emmys.

It's currently seen by nearly 5 million viewers a week.

  • Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019
Michelle Williams returns to TV in "Fosse/Verdon" series
Sam Rockwell, left, and Michelle Williams participate in the "Fosse/Verdon" panel during FX TCA Winter Press Tour on Monday, Feb. 4, 2019, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- 

Michelle Williams is returning to television for the first time in 16 years, playing dancer and actress Gwen Verdon whose career aspirations were supplanted by her marriage to choreographer-director Bob Fosse.

Oscar winner Sam Rockwell plays Fosse in the eight-episode FX series "Fosse/Verdon," debuting April 9.

Williams' last TV work was the hit series "Dawson's Creek" that ended in 2003.

She sees parallels with Verdon, who was a working mother like Williams.

Williams pointed out a long gap in Verdon's career while she stayed home to raise Nicole, her daughter with Fosse. Nicole Fosse is a creative consultant on the series.

Williams told a TV critics' meeting on Monday that such gaps are something all working mothers struggle with and something invariably suffers. She called it "a very complicated dilemma."

  • Monday, Feb. 4, 2019
Film featuring disabled actors wins Spain's top Goya award
Actor Jesus Vidal celebrates his Goya award as best emerging actor for "Campeones", during the Goya Film Awards Ceremony in Seville, Spain, Saturday Feb. 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Laura Leon)
MADRID (AP) -- 

The film "Campeones" ("Champions"), a comedy about a basketball team featuring actors with mental disabilities, won best picture at the Spanish Film Academy's Goya Awards.

Directed by Javier Fesser, "Campeones" took the top prize at the gala that ended early Sunday morning in Seville, while the dark thriller "El reino" ("The Kingdom") was the night's big winner, sweeping up seven awards.

The Goya for best new actor went to Jesus Vidal, who has a visual disability, for his role in "Campeones."

"You have recognized an actor with a disability. You don't know what you have done. Three words come to mind: inclusion, fun and visibility," Vidal told the audience.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez congratulated the winners, above all Vidal, on social media. Sanchez said Vidal's acceptance speech was "unforgettable."

"El reino," a dive into the murky realm of corruption in Spain, earned Rodrigo Sorogoyen the best director award. It also won best screenplay and best actor for Antonio de la Torre.

Sorogoyen will compete at this year's Oscar Awards in the category of best short film with "Madre" ("Mother").

Alfonso Cuaron's "Roma" won the best Spanish-language film made from outside Spain, while Pawel Pawlikowski's "Cold War" won for best European film.

The annual Goya Awards are Spain's version of the Oscars, honoring excellence in filmmaking for full-length features, shorts, animated films and documentaries. Members of the Spanish Film Academy are eligible to vote.

  • Friday, Feb. 1, 2019
Vice Media to cut 10 percent of workforce
In this Oct. 30, 2014, file photo, the Vice logo is seen at a joint venture announcement between Vice Media and Roger Communications in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Vice Media is cutting 250 jobs globally as it seeks to achieve profitability. It is the latest round of layoffs as the media industry contracts.

The cuts affect about 10 percent of Vice's 2,500 staff, said company spokeswoman Danielle Carrig. But she said Vice plans to add jobs as well in departments including sales and digital news as it focuses on its units with potential for growth.

The media industry has been facing a wave of layoffs as Facebook and Google gobble up the bulk of digital advertising dollars.

Also on Friday, newspaper publisher McClatchy said it will offer voluntary buyouts to 13 percent of its staff, about 450 people.

Digital media company BuzzFeed said last week it is cutting 200 people. Verizon is cutting about 800 jobs in its media division, which includes Yahoo and HuffPost.

Vice has grown from a Canadian magazine to a global media company based in New York. Some news outlets reported last year that the privately held company instituted a hiring freeze and might seek a reduction in staff through attrition, but that was not confirmed.

Vice will structure itself around its five businesses: studios, news, digital, TV and Virtue, Vice's advertising segment. Its current structure is organized around its different international offices.

  • Friday, Feb. 1, 2019
Sony boosts profit on tax cut, yen, sales of music, movies
In this May 22, 2018, file photo, Sony Corp. President Kenichiro Yoshida attends at a press conference at the company's headquarters in Tokyo. Japanese electronics and entertainment company Sony on Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, reported a 45 percent surge in fiscal third-quarter profit on tax reductions, a favorable exchange rate and gains in its music segment. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)
TOKYO (AP) -- 

Japanese electronics and entertainment company Sony posted a 45 percent surge in its October-December profit thanks to tax cuts, a favorable exchange rate and gains in its music and movies segment.

Tokyo-based Sony Corp.'s profit in the last quarter was 429 billion yen ($3.9 billion), up from 295.9 billion yen in the same period a year earlier. Quarterly sales fell 10 percent to 2.4 trillion yen ($22 billion).

Other sectors such as games and semiconductors logged a weak performance, but they were offset by strong box-office receipts from the movie "Venom," and earnings from its imaging solutions, used in digital cameras.

Sony, which makes Alpha digital cameras, Bravia digital TVs and the Aibo robotic dog, raised its profit forecast for the fiscal year through March to 835 billion yen ($7.7 billion) from an earlier estimate of 705 billion yen ($6.5 billion). That's up from 491 billion yen recorded last year.

The company's music division benefited from the acquisition of EMI, which has a vast music catalog.

Falling PlayStation 4 console sales hurt results, while an increase in game software sales helped, according to Sony. A shift in sales to more expensive TVs boosted the bottom line, while smartphone sales lagged, it said.

  • Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019
Engine Room Edit, Brewhouse VFX merge into Conductor Productions
Noah Lydiard
BOSTON -- 

Scott Knowlton and Noah Lydiard, co-owners of Conductor Productions, have recently announced the merger of Engine Room Edit and Brewhouse VFX into Conductor.  With the merger, Knowlton and Lydiard will share ownership and leadership responsibilities for the expanded Conductor Productions, a full-service production and post company.

Conductor’s new structure provides an opportunity for Knowlton and Lydiard to offer clients full service production expertise under one roof, while also providing essential a la carte production and postproduction services.  “For 13 years Engine Room Edit has served the production community with innovative editorial and visual effects,” said Knowlton.  “This strengthened connection with Conductor gives clients opportunities to bring editorial into a project earlier in the production process. We believe it’s a valuable creative option for our clients.”

Lydiard added, “By formalizing this new relationship, our clients can pick and choose the services they need. Our in-house staff will now have the flexibility to be involved with projects from the idea phase to the edit suite, as well as provide targeted expertise at specific points in the pipeline. With the experience of our combined staff, Conductor Productions can fulfill the specific needs of our clients- whether they prefer one stop full service or a unique boutique experience.”

The company will continue to provide a collaborative atmosphere for clients to create their commercial, broadcast, web and film projects.  “Scott and Noah saw an opportunity to consolidate and strengthen the Conductor brand, and 2019 seemed to be the right time to take this next step,” said Don Packer, co-founder of all three companies.  “I am proud of my role in the creation of these businesses and I’m thrilled that Scott and Noah are taking the reins of the new Conductor Productions. It will be exciting to see where these two seasoned professionals will take this new venture.”

  • Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019
"The Batman" set for 2021 release, star to be determined
In this June 19, 2017 file photo, director Matt Reeves appears at the screening of the film "War for the Planet of the Apes" in London. Reeves, who directed “Cloverfield” and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” will helm the Batman film. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

Who will be inside the suit remains unknown but "The Batman" has a release date.

Warner Bros. on Wednesday announced that Matt Reeves' stand-alone Batman film will hit theaters in June 2021. Ben Affleck was previously set to star in the film following his performances in "Justice League" and "Batman v. Superman," but a new Caped Crusader is to be cast.

Affleck, who was at one point also to direct "The Batman," tweeted that he's excited to see Reeves' vision of the film "come to life."

Warner Bros. also dated the next "Suicide Squad" film, to be written by James Gunn, for 2021. The studio set an adaption of Stephen King's "The Shining" sequel, "Doctor Sleep," for November this year, and Robert Zemeckis' "The Witches" for October 2020.

  • Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019
CBS bets big with new talent show "The World's Best"
Alison Holloway, from left, Mike Darnell, RuPaul and Ben Winston participate in the "The World's Best" show panel during the CBS presentation at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour at The Langham Huntington on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- 

CBS is betting big on "The World's Best," handing over the coveted post-Super Bowl time slot to the new talent competition shepherded by reality TV titans Mark Burnett and Mike Darnell.

Burnett has a track record following the NFL's showcase game. In 2001, his "Survivor: The Australian Outback" debuted in that slot, drawing more than 45 million viewers.

CBS scored again in 2010 when "Undercover Boss" followed the Super Bowl and lured more than 38 million viewers.

Hosted by James Corden, "The World's Best" premieres Sunday after Super Bowl 53.

Besides impressing judges RuPaul, Drew Barrymore and Faith Hill, contestants have to break through the "wall of the world" featuring more than 50 experts from 38 different countries who score the competition. Among them is Brazilian UFC fighter Anderson Silva.

The winner receives $1 million.

Burnett's other big hit is "The Voice." Darnell's credits include "American Idol" and "Ellen's Game of Games."

"The World's Best" joins a crowded field of reality competition programming, including "The Masked Singer," renewed for a second season by Fox on Wednesday.

Darnell noted to a TV critics' gathering that his show's format isn't based on any existing foreign programs and offers "the next new spin on a variety show."

If it works, Darnell envisions franchising the show to other countries.

"We have a very different voice, a very different flavor," executive producer Alison Holloway said. "We've dug deep to find talent that is new and exciting. Most of the acts on our show are professionals."

And there's no humiliation factor, executive producer Ben Winston said.

"Everybody is at the top of their game," he said. "No one is being laughed at. It's a very joyful and happy show."

The show offers RuPaul a broader platform than he's enjoyed as host of "RuPaul's Drag Race" on VH1.

"We were all not prepared for the emotional journey that the show and performances took us on," the drag performer said. "It was phenomenal to watch all these amazing people from around the world express themselves."

The second episode airs on Feb. 6.

  • Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019
Ettinger, Walker, Lagerhausen, McDonald team to form MADE-SF
MADE partners (clockwise from front, center) Doug Walker, Brian Lagerhausen, Jon Ettinger and Connor McDonald
SAN FRANCISCO -- 

MADE-SF, a creative studio offering editorial and other services, has launched in San Francisco. Executive producer Jon Ettinger, editor/director Doug Walker, and editors Brian Lagerhausen and Connor McDonald, all formerly of Beast Editorial, are partners in the new venture, which aims to provide agencies and brands with flexible, streamlined solutions for producing advertising and other content. Along with creative editorial, the company will provide motion graphic design, color correction and editorial finishing. Eventually, it plans to add concept development, directing and production to its mix.

MADE’s partners are drawing on their editorial expertise to build a platform that will give them the flexibility to work across many media, tailor services to individual projects, and provide the turnkey solutions that advertising clients are seeking. “Clients today are looking for creative partners who can help them across the entire production chain,” said Ettinger. “They need to tell stories and they have limited budgets available to tell them. We know how to do both, and we are gathering the resources to do so under one roof.”

MADE’s launch is also motivated by the partners’ desire to broaden their creative horizons. “It gives us a structure where we can form strategic alliances and collaborate with each other and with outside creatives,” noted Walker. “It’s a chance to apply our skills in new ways and create interesting content.”

MADE is currently set up in interim quarters while completing construction of permanent studio space. The latter will be housed in century-old structure in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood and will feature five editorial suites, two motion graphics suites, and two post-production finishing suites with room for further expansion.

The four MADE partners bring deep experience in traditional advertising and branded content, working both with agencies and directly with clients. Ettinger and Walker have worked together for more than 20 years and originally teamed up to launch FilmCore, San Francisco. Both joined Beast Editorial in 2012. Similarly, Lagerhausen and McDonald have been editing in the Bay Area for more than two decades. Collectively, their credits include work for top agencies in San Francisco and nationwide. They’ve also helped to create content directly for Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Salesforce and other corporate clients. “We have deep roots in the Bay Area and strong client relationships,” said Lagerhausen. “We look forward to, not just maintaining those relationships, but deepening them and exploring them in new directions.”

MADE is indicative of a trend where companies engaged in content development are adopting fluid business models to address a diversifying media landscapes, and where individual talent are no longer confined to a single job title. Walker, for example, has recently served as director on several projects, including a series of short films for Kelly Services, conceived by agency Erich & Kallman and produced by Caruso Co.

“People used to go to great pains to make a distinction about what they do,” Ettinger observed. “You were a director or an editor or a colorist. Today, those lines have blurred. We are taking advantage of that flattening out to offer clients a better way to create content.”

  • Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019
Peter Jackson making new documentary of Beatles in studio
In this file photo dated Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016, film director Peter Jackson poses for photographers at the world premiere of the Beatles movie, in London. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, FILE)
LONDON (AP) -- 

Director Peter Jackson is making a new documentary using never-before-seen footage of the Beatles in the studio.

The acclaimed Lord of the Rings director said Wednesday the film will be based on roughly 55 hours of footage of the band working on songs in the studio in January 1969.

"It's like a time machine transports us back to 1969, and we get to sit in the studio watching these four friends make great music together," he says.

The film is being made with the cooperation of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison, the widows of John Lennon and George Harrison.

The film was announced on the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' final performance on the roof of Apple Records in London.

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