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  • Wednesday, Jun. 24, 2015

Representatives from Women in the Arts & Media Coalition, Inc., and the Writers Guild of America, East, are circulating a letter asking people to lobby the New York State Assembly in Albany, NY, so that its members will support and vote on a proposal which would modify the very successful production tax credit slightly so it would provide an incentive to networks and producers to hire women and people of color to write and direct television in New York. 

However, time is running out in the current legislative session. The NY Assembly and Senate are scheduled to wrap their sessions this week. Supporters of the diversity proposal would like to have both houses vote on the measure before the current legislative sessions conclude.

Click here to email the Speaker of the NY Assembly asking that the bill be voted on More

  • Wednesday, Jun. 24, 2015
In this Nov. 14, 2014 file photo, Ben Affleck poses in the press room with the Hollywood film award for "Gone Girl" at the Hollywood Film Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

PBS put its "Finding Your Roots" series on hold Wednesday after determining an episode that omitted references to Ben Affleck's ancestor as a slave owner violated its standards.

The public television service said it is postponing the show's third season and delaying a commitment to a fourth year until it is satisfied with improvement in the show's editorial guidelines.

PBS launched its investigation after it was reported that Affleck requested the program not reveal his ancestor's slave-holding history in the 2014 episode. The Associated Press examined historical documents and found that Affleck's great-great-great-grandfather owned 24 slaves.

The review found that co-producers violated PBS standards by allowing improper influence on the show's editorial process and failed to inform PBS or producing station WNET of Affleck's efforts to affect the program's content.

In a statement, series More

  • Wednesday, Jun. 24, 2015
In this April 21, 2015 file photo, Tom Cruise, star of the upcoming film "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation," addresses the audience during a surprise appearance at the Paramount Pictures presentation at CinemaCon 2015 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

The film arm of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group said Wednesday it will invest in the next "Mission: Impossible" movie in its first Hollywood venture, adding to a flood of Chinese money into the global film business.

Alibaba Pictures Group Ltd. announced the agreement with Paramount Pictures Corp. They gave no details of how much Alibaba would invest in "Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation" but said they will collaborate in online ticketing, promotion in China and merchandising.

"Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation is our first step toward internationalization and Alibaba Pictures looks forward to collaborating with more international movie studios," said Zhang Qiang, CEO of Alibaba Pictures, in a statement.

The film, starring Tom Cruise, premieres July 31 in the United States.

Chinese companies have sealed a series of deals with Hollywood and other foreign production partners in an effort More

  • Tuesday, Jun. 23, 2015
In this March 24, 2013 file photo, actor Tom Holland, winner of Best Male Newcomer Award appears at the Jameson Empire Film Awards 2013 in London. (Photo by Jon Furniss/Invision/AP, File)

The Spidey search is over.

Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures announced Tuesday that "The Impossible" star Tom Holland would be taking over the role of Peter Parker and the web-slinging superhero in the next Spider-Man film, set to hit theaters on July 28, 2017.

Jon Watts, who directed the indie thriller "Cop Car," has been set to direct the still-untitled film

Sony Pictures promises a new creative direction for this iteration of Spider-Man. Since 2002, there have been five films in the $4 billion series, with Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield previously in the title role.

Holland, a 19-year-old English actor, has also appeared in "Locke" and the TV series "Wolf Hall." He can be seen this December in Ron Howard's "In the Heart of the Sea."

  • Tuesday, Jun. 23, 2015
In this Aug. 13, 2006 file photo, actor Dick Van Patten poses for photographers on the red carpet before Comedy Central's "Roast of William Shatner," in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Rene Macura, File)

Dick Van Patten, the genial, round-faced comic actor who premiered on Broadway as a child, starred on television in its infancy and then, in middle age, found lasting fame as the patriarch on TV's "Eight is Enough," has died.

Van Patten died Tuesday in Santa Monica, California, of complications from diabetes, said his publicist, Jeffrey Ballard. He was 86.

Born in New York, the veteran entertainer began his career as a model and child actor, making his Broadway debut in 1935 at the age of seven, billed as "Dickie Van Patten." He would go on to appear in 27 other Broadway plays, acting alongside such giants as Melvyn Douglas, Tallulah Bankhead and, for three years, as the son of Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne in "O Mistress Mine."

In 1949, he began a seven-year run on one of TV's earliest series, the CBS comedy "Mama," playing one of the sons of a Norwegian-American family in early 1900s San Francisco.

Van Patten's greatest TV More

  • Tuesday, Jun. 23, 2015
A firefighter walks near charred debris following a plane crash near the town of Ventucopa, Calif., Monday, June 22, 2015. County fire spokesman Mike Lindbery says the crash happened around 9:30 a.m. Monday near Quatal Canyon in Los Padres National Forest. (Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP)
Plane in California crash registered to 'Titanic' composer
VENTURA, Calif. (AP) -- 

 A single-engine plane registered to Oscar-winning "Titanic" composer James Horner crashed Monday in Southern California, but the identity of the one person who died has not been released.

The crash happened at about 9:30 a.m. near Quatal Canyon in Los Padres National Forest, Ventura County fire spokesman Mike Lindbery said.

The pilot was killed. No one else was on board.

Jay Cooper, an attorney for Horner, said the plane was one of several owned by the 61-year-old composer, and that no one has heard from him since the crash.

"It was his plane and if he wasn't in it, he would've called," Cooper said.

The plane was an S-312 Tucano MK1 turbo-prop with two seats, said Ian Gregor, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Crews extinguished a fire that erupted in vegetation surrounding the remote crash site, about 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

Horner has been nominated for 10 Academy Awards, More

  • Monday, Jun. 22, 2015
This photo provided by NBC shows, Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal Lecter in the episode "Contorno," during season 3 of the NBC television series, "Hannibal." (Sophie Giraud/NBC via AP)

NBC is bringing the curtain down on "Hannibal" at the end of its summer run.

The drama about a psychiatrist turned serial killer won't return for a fourth year, the network said Monday. The series was canceled because of poor ratings.

"Hannibal" is based on a character portrayed in several Thomas Harris novels. Another Harris novel, "The Silence of the Lambs," was the source of the 1991 movie that was followed by a 2001 sequel.

In a statement, "Hannibal" executive producer Bryan Fuller credited NBC for keeping the series on the air despite its low ratings and dark subject matter.

"Hannibal," starring Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy, will finish out its current run with 10 more episodes on Thursdays at 10 p.m. EDT.

Its followers may be hoping the series will find new life elsewhere, as NBC's canceled "Community" did when it moved to Yahoo.

  • Monday, Jun. 22, 2015
This undated file image originally released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows director Stanley Kubrick. ( AP Photo/ Warner Bros., file )

An old screenplay by Stanley Kubrick is being developed as a trilogy by "World War Z" director Marc Forster.

Kubrick's script for "The Downslope" was written in 1956 shortly before he made his 1957 World War I film "Paths of Glory." It's also an anti-war story but one about the battles in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley during the Civil War.

Kubrick first developed the film with Civil War historian Shelby Foote. Producers say Kubrick's copious notes contain hundreds of maps and sketches.

Producers Lauren Selig, Barry Levin and Renee Wolfe said Monday their plans have the support of the Kubrick family. Steven Spielberg memorably turned a Kubrick script into 2001's "A.I." after the filmmaker's death in 1999.

The planned trilogy will expand beyond Kubrick's original story.

  • Monday, Jun. 22, 2015
In this Wednesday, May 20, 2015 photo, a wind effect is demonstrated on marketing director Yassamine Wahab at the CJ's 4DX Lab in the Hollywood Section of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Mike Koenig sat back in his seat for a recent screening of "Mad Max: Fury Road." But this was no ordinary theater chair.

As the theater darkened and death machines rumbled across the desert on screen, Koenig's chair rumbled with them. As bullets whizzed by Furiosa, the movie's heroine played by Charlize Theron, puffs of air shot out of Koenig's headrest. Wall-mounted fans in the theater gusted desert winds and fog machines pumped smoke from the mayhem.

The 46-year-old software salesman's Wednesday matinee was a "4-D" movie experience, the kind of rollicking thrill factory once reserved for theme park rides.

With domestic movie theater attendance stagnant in recent years, more theater owners are looking to provide these immersive jolts to goose both moviegoers and box office revenues.

"I loved it," Koenig said, having forked over $26.25 for a "4DX" ticket at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live More

  • Monday, Jun. 22, 2015
In this April 24, 2013 file photo, Twitter co-founder and Chairman Jack Dorsey speaks at a campaign fundraiser for Democratic Candidate for Public Advocate Reshma Saujani, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Jack Dorsey would have to give up his post at Square if he's to become CEO of Twitter.

The company he helped found and now leads on an interim basis said Monday that it is only considering candidates who can make a "full-time commitment to Twitter."

Dorsey was named interim CEO after Dick Costolo stepped down effective July 1 amid criticism over Twitter's disappointing financial performance and share price decline. Costolo had been Twitter's CEO for five years and led the company through a successful stock market debut in 2013. But Twitter has yet to make a profit and there are concerns about its ability to grow its user base.

Peter Currie, chair of Twitter's search committee, says the company is looking for a "bold thinker and proven leader."

While some analysts expect Dorsey to be hired to the permanent post, this would mean giving up his job at Square, the payments startup, and Dorsey More

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