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‘The Voice’ Sings Praises for Season 12 Winner

52 minutes ago

Spoiler Alert: Do not read on unless you’ve seen the “The Voice” Season 12 finale, which aired May 23 on NBC.

The Voice” finally reached the end of Season 12 on Tuesday night, crowning Chris Blue as the winner for Team Alicia. He beat out fellow finalists Lauren Duski, Aliyah Moulden, and Jesse Larsons for the title of the NBC competition. Duski and Moulden from Team Blake placed 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

This is the first win for coach Alicia Keys, making her the second female to win after Christina Aguilera won with Alisan Porter in Season 9. Keys placed third in her coaching debut during Season 11 with Wé McDonald.

Season 12 of “The Voice” saw the return of coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, and Keys, however, Stefani was the only mentor to not have a representative in the finale. Stefani and Keys will be replaced by returning coach Miley Cyrus and Season 3 advisor Jennifer Hudson on the panel »


- JD Knapp

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‘Becoming Bond’ Director Sees George Lazenby and Daniel Craig as Kindred Spirits

3 hours ago

Every serious 007 fan has a particular film that hooked them on the franchise. For Josh Greenbaum, the writer and director of Hulu’s new docudrama “Becoming Bond,” that film was the Pierce Brosnan blockbuster “GoldenEye.”

“That’s the one that did it for me,” says Greenbaum at a premiere screening at Cinefamily. “As many people my age will attest, the Nintendo game version of that film was huge. It took the movie and turned it into a first-person shooter where you could walk around the sets of a real James Bond film and kill your friends.”

Becoming Bond” tells the unlikely story of George Lazenby, a charismatic Australian fashion model who fibbed his way into starring in the 1969 classic “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” Though many Bond aficionados consider it one of the best entries in the series, Lazenby stunned audiences around the world when he walked away from the role after just one film.

“My »


- Matthew Chernov

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Former News Corp. Exec David Haslingden Sells Business to Blue Ant (Exclusive)

4 hours ago

Producer, distributor, and channel operator Blue Ant Media has bought Racat Group, the media firm set up by former Fox Networks Group president and Rupert Murdoch lieutenant David Haslingden. Under the cash-plus-equity deal, Haslingden will retain a significant stake in the enlarged Blue Ant.

The agreement gives Toronto-based Blue Ant natural-history producer Nhnz, Australian production company Northern Pictures, and Singapore’s Beach House Pictures. It also gets DirecTV joint-venture kids net ZooMoo and mobile-games business Runaway Play.

The deal has been a long time in the making, Michael MacMillan, Blue Ant CEO, told Variety. “It positions us more deeply in the international market and in content creation,” he said. “We have a significant new shareholder with David, and with Ward Platt and the executives in the Racat Group, we have significantly grown our senior executive team.”

Haslingden will sit on the Blue Ant board. He was president of Fox Networks Group, News »


- Stewart Clarke

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‘Dancing With the Stars’ Awards Its 24th Mirrorball Trophy

5 hours ago

Spoiler Alert: Do not read on unless you’ve seen the “Dancing With the Stars” Season 24 finale, which aired May 23 on ABC.

One couple just danced their way to victory.

After a season full of shocking send-homes, “Dancing With the Stars” awarded its mirrorball trophy to winner Rashad Jennings and his partner Emma Slater Tuesday night. They beat fellow finalists David Ross and Lindsay Arnold, and Normani Kordei and Val Chmerkovskiy in order to win Season 24 of the ABC staple.

Jennings joins a line of NFL players who have won the dancing competition, including Donald Driver, Hines Ward, and Emmitt Smith. It was the first win for pro dancer Emma Slater. Had Ross won, he would’ve been the first Mlb player to take the title.

Kordei’s Fifth Harmony bandmates Ally Brooke, Dinah Jane, and Lauren Jauregui were all in the audience for the live finale and visibly disappointed by the results. Kordei »


- JD Knapp

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Sean Hannity Says He Will ‘Cease’ Discussing Seth Rich Case

5 hours ago

After several days of promoting a debunked theory surrounding the death of Democratic National Committee staffer, Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity said he would cease discussing the matter out of respect for the man’s family.

During Monday night’s broadcast of his regular primetime show, Hannity told viewers he had been in contact with the brother of former DNC Staffer Seth Rich and had expressed his condolences. Hannity had on a few recent occasions begun to take up a discredited story that has been promoted in other right-leaning publications suggesting that Rich, who was murdered in Washington D.C. in July had been targeted in retaliation for the leak of internal DNC documents to Wikileaks. There has been no credible evidence to date supporting the allegations, and Hannity’s broadcasts prompted outcry from Rich’s family.

“Out of respect for the family’s wishes, for now, I am not discussing the matter at this time »


- Brian Steinberg

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HBO Scraps Jon Stewart-Led Digital Animation Venture

5 hours ago

HBO and Jon Stewart have scrapped plans for a short-form animation venture that was designed to provide topical segments to various HBO platforms.

The venture was announced in November 2015, shortly after Stewart signed off of “The Daily Show” after a 17-year run. HBO said it would continue to pursue other projects with Stewart. HBO set a four-year production pact with Stewart that included the animation project and a first-look option on film and TV projects.

“HBO and Jon Stewart have decided not to proceed with a short form digital animated project. We all thought the project had great potential but there were technical issues in terms of production and distribution that proved too difficult given the quick turnaround and topical nature of the material,” HBO said in a statement. “We’re excited to report that we have some future projects together which you will be hearing about in the near future.”

Stewart »


- Cynthia Littleton

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Tyra Banks Accused of Humiliating Girl on ‘America’s Got Talent’

7 hours ago

A contestant on “America’s Got Talent” filed a lawsuit Tuesday claiming that host Tyra Banks humiliated her daughter at a recent taping of the show.

The contestant, identified in the suit only as Jane Doe, performed a song with her husband at the taping on March 19. The song is about her bond with her daughter, who is identified as Mary and who was present at the taping. She says that she and her husband were “humiliated” by the judges and the audience, who criticized the song.

According to the suit, Banks added to the humiliation by making fun of the song in front of Mary. The contestant alleges that Banks pulled her daughter’s hair back, physically manipulated her, and insinuated that the girl was accidentally conceived.

Afterward, “Mary was traumatized and became deeply depressed,” the suit states. “Mary would become extremely nervous and anxious whenever, among other triggering events, she »


- Gene Maddaus

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TV News Roundup: Nickelodeon Orders ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ Season 12

10 hours ago

In today’s roundup, Nickelodeon has ordered a 12th season of “SpongeBob SqaurePants,” The History Channel has commissioned a one-hour Watergate special, Investigation Discovery is airing a documentary special about Bill Cosby’s downfall, and production has begun on Cartoon Network’s “DC Super Hero Girls.”

Renewals

Nickeloden has ordered Season 12 of “SpongeBob SquarePants,” the number-one animated series across all TV with kids. The 26-episode pick up will further the nautical adventures of SpongeBob and his Bikini Bottom friends Patrick, Sandy, Mr. Krabs, Plankton and Squidward, and is scheduled to premiere in 2019, the series’ 20th anniversary year. Season 11 debuts later this summer. Nickelodeon has also greenlit a third SpongeBob film for release in 2019 as well. “Spongebob Squarepants” is executive produced by creator Stephen Hillenburg.

Casting

Richard Kind has been cast in the guest starring role of Benny Konopka in Electric Entertainment’s series “The Librarians,” which will run for a fourth season on TNT this winter. “The »


- Erin Nyren

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FCC Will Not Take Action Over Stephen Colbert’s Trump Remarks

11 hours ago

The FCC will not take any action in response to complaints over a May 1 broadcast of “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” in which the host quipped during his opening monologue that “the only thing [Trump’s] mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s c— holster.”

The FCC received thousands of complaints following the broadcast. In response to an inquiry, an FCC spokesman provided a statement on the status of its review.

“Consistent with standard operating procedure, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has reviewed the complaints and the material that was the subject of these complaints,” the FCC statement said. “The Bureau has concluded that there was nothing actionable under the FCC’s rules.”

Colbert’s remark was bleeped out of the broadcast and his mouth was blurred.

The FCC’s conclusion means that it found that Colbert’s remark did not rise to the level of obscenity or indecency to warrant any kind of sanction or »


- Ted Johnson

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Stephen Colbert’s ‘Late Show’ Tops Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Tonight Show’ in 2016-2017 Season Ratings

12 hours ago

Stephen Colbert’s “Late Show” has officially overtaken Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show” in the ratings for the 2016-2017 season.

With three nights left in the traditional September to May season, Colbert’s CBS late-night show is averaging 3.195 million viewers per episode, compared to Fallon’s 3.173 on NBC, according to Nielsen data through May 19. Colbert’s victory marks CBS’ first late night win since the 1994-1995 season, excluding 2009-2010 when NBC replaced Conan O’Brien with Jay Leno midway through the season. “The Late Show” was also the only late-night program to post year-to-year growth in total viewers, up 11% from 2.89m.

There are some caveats worth mentioning, however. Fallon is still the late-night king of adults 18-49. To date, Fallon is averaging a 0.81 rating in the key demo, compared to Colbert’s 0.58, meaning Fallon enjoys a 33% advantage over his nearest competition in that measure, which is the measure most important to advertisers. In »


- Joe Otterson

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Julie Ann Robinson Signs Overall Deal With Universal TV

12 hours ago

Director and executive producer Julie Anne Robinson has signed an overall deal with Universal Television. The two-year agreement agreement covers Robinson and her company CannyLads Productions.

Robinson and CannyLads had previously been under a deal at ABC Studios, where Robinson developed multiple projects including “The Catch” with Shonda RhimesShondaland. She has directed 10 broadcast pilots, including pilot for ABC’s “The Middle” and “How To Live with your Parents.” Her other directing work includes “Orange is the New Black,” “I’m Dying Up Here,” and “Masters of Sex.”

“We have been fans of Julie Anne’s work for quite some time, so when she became available, we literally jumped at the chance to bring her to Universal Television,” said Universal Television president Pearlena Igbokwe. “She’s an amazing director with a great eye for material.”

In addition to Robinson, CannyLads also includes head of development Kelly Pancho and creative exec Emman Sadorra.

“I »


- Daniel Holloway

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Manchester Explosion Coverage Reshapes Cable News Ratings

12 hours ago

MSNBC’s recent primetime ratings winning streak was halted Monday night as breaking coverage of the explosion around the United Kingdom’s Manchester Arena on Monday shuffled the recent pecking order of the cable-news networks.

Fox News Channel, which saw its usual dominance of primetime upset last week by MSNBC, led Monday night in terms of both viewers between 25 and 54 – the demographic most coveted by advertisers – as well as overall audience, according to preliminary numbers from Nielsen. Fox snared 884,000 viewers between 25 and 54, compared with 729,000 for CNN and 444,000 for MSNBC.

The fluctuating measures suggest that no network’s position is guaranteed in a chaotic news cycle that has sparked rabid consumption of TV news even as it has polarized audiences. MSNBC’s primetime schedule, led by 9 p.m. host Rachel Maddow, handily won last week. The audience spikes appeared to be driven by a series of news breaks surrounding the government’s ongoing investigation into Russian interference with »


- Brian Steinberg

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‘The Flash’ Season Finale Exclusive Clip: Savitar Holds Cisco Hostage

12 hours ago

Things are looking very bleak for Team Flash heading into the Season 3 finale.

After months of preparation and planning, Barry (Grant Gustin) still wasn’t able to stop Savitar from killing Iris (Candice Patton). On top of that, Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) — who is still in full Killer Frost mode and working with Savitar — traded blows with Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and has taken him hostage.

In an exclusive clip of Tuesday’s season finale, Savitar — really just another version of Barry — tells Cisco his plan to rule throughout time and how his former friend is going to help.

“You want to splice yourself throughout time?” Cisco asks. “Exist in every single moment there ever was?”

“I’ll be everywhere,” Savitar responds. “Every hour, every minute. And then I will rule from the Big Bang to the end of the world.”

Savitar reveals that he left Team Flash alive for so long because he needed Tracy Brand (Anne Dudek) to »


- Jacob Bryant

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James Corden on ‘Carpool Karaoke,’ Ratings and Staying Out of the Political Fray

13 hours ago

“What’s next?”

James Corden won’t let himself — or his team — sit still.

Two years into his surprise takeover of CBS’ 12:35 a.m. late-night slot, he’s not taking success for granted. While his “Carpool Karaoke” phenomenon may have turned the once unknown British comedian into a household name on these shores, he’s ever aware of the fickle nature of audiences. Especially in the wee hours.

“I think with a show like ours you’ve got to build tentpoles that will prop your year up,” he says. “We always want our show to be more ambitious than its time slot.”

Art Streiber for Variety

So his schedule is packed with plans to keep innovating beyond the 60 minutes of airtime allotted by CBS for his “Late Late Show.” Recent weeks have seen him invite Harry Styles to move in for a weeklong residency and launch another prime-time “Carpool Karaoke” special (which earned him one of »


- Debra Birnbaum

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Comedy Central Orders More Episodes of ‘The President Show’

13 hours ago

No one can tell at this point if President Trump will get four more years in office, but Anthony Atamanuik will get at least seven more episodes to make fun of him.

Comedy Central has extended the episode order for Atamanuik’s “The President Show,” in which he plays Trump as a rambling late-night host who holds court in the Oval Office and at the Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Fla.

The weekly half-hour, which launched April 27 in the 11:30 p.m. Thursday slot, snared 1 million viewers over the course of three days, according to the network, marking the biggest series premiere on the Viacom-owned outlet since the launch in 2014 of “Broad City.” Over four episodes, the program has attracted an average of 870,000 viewers and has increased its ratings in the adults 18-49 demo in the timeslot by 21%, the network said.

“I’m so grateful that Comedy Central has decided to end its tenure as a cable »


- Brian Steinberg

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Remote Controlled: ‘Amazing Race’ Producers on Casting Secrets, Travel Disasters and That Emmy Streak

13 hours ago

Welcome to “Remote Controlled,” a podcast from Variety featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera.

In this week’s episode, Variety‘s executive editor of TV Debra Birnbaum talks with “Amazing Race” executive producers Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri about their CBS reality hit, now in its 29th season.

Keeping the show fresh isn’t a challenge for them. “The world is a big place,” says van Munster. “We take (the contestants) to places they don’t know, they don’t recognize, very often they don’t speak the language. They always try Spanish, which doesn’t work in India.”

There are still a lot of places they haven’t been to, “including North Korea,” says van Munster. “We’re halfway through our Amazing Race,” says Doganieri.

Adds Doganieri, “Casting is also important to keep it fresh. It seems there was a whole new generation that has been »


- Debra Birnbaum

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Fox News Retracts Debunked Story on Murdered DNC Staffer Seth Rich

13 hours ago

Fox News said it had retracted a story about the murder of Seth Rich, a former Democratic National Committee staffer who was killed in Washington, D.C. last July and which has provided fodder for Sean Hannity, the network’s longest-serving primetime host. Hannity has in recent days promoted a debunked theory that Rich was killed in exchange for providing internal documents to Wikileaks, prompting statements of outrage from his family.

“On May 16, a story was posted on the Fox News website on the investigation into the 2016 murder of DNC Staffer Seth Rich. The article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting. Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed,” the network said in a posting online Tuesday. “We will continue to investigate this story and will provide updates as warranted. ”

The »


- Brian Steinberg

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‘Supergirl’ Cast Unites to Promote ‘Wonder Woman’ Film

13 hours ago

Supergirl’ Kara Zor-El’s boots aren’t just for fighting — they’re also for walking.

A new “Wonder Woman” promo paralleling the boots theme aired following Monday night’s season finale of “Supergirl.” The short clip, set to a version of “These Boots are Made for Walking,” features “Supergirl” stars Melissa Benoist and Chyler Leigh, along with recurring guest stars Lynda Carter and Teri Hatcher.

The D.C. heroines, all donning extravagant boots, unexpectedly meet up in National City’s alien bar. Kara’s boots in particular, were lent to her by a fellow D.C. leading lady and “Wonder-ous” friend.

Lynda, of course, played Wonder Woman on the small screen from 1975 to 1979. She currently plays the President on “Supergirl.” During the ’90s, Hatcher played Lois Lane on “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” and currently plays Rhea on The CW show.

Wonder Woman” hits theaters June 2, and stars Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Chris Pine (Steve »


- Rebecca Rubin

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SundanceTV Releases New Photos of ‘Top of the Lake: China Girl’

14 hours ago

SundanceTV has released new photos of “Top of the Lake: China Girl,” the second season of the BBC Two and See-Saw Films’ miniseries.

The crime mystery premieres in September 2017 on SundanceTV in the U.S., and stars Elisabeth Moss, Nicole Kidman, and Gwendoline Christie.

Four years after the first season, Moss reprises her Golden Globe-winning role as Detective Robin Griffin as she returns to Sydney to piece together her life. She takes on a new case involving an unnamed Asian girl whose body washes up on Bondi Beach. There initially seems to be minimal hope of finding the killer, but upon further investigation, Robin realizes “China Girl” didn’t die alone. Meanwhile, Robin grapples with wanting to find the daughter she gave up at birth and dreading revealing the truth of her conception. Her quest to uncover “China Girl’s” identity brings her closer to secrets of the city and her own heart.

David Dencik »


- Rebecca Rubin

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The Long Legacy of Conservative Media’s Assault on Truth: Ailes, Stone and Bannon (Column)

14 hours ago

The death of former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes last week underscored what an epoch we are currently witnessing in modern newsmedia. Ailes’ creation, Fox News, sparked and facilitated a polarization in American media that is unparalleled to this day; Stephen Metcalf, writing in the New Yorker, posited that “Ailes did more to degrade the tone of public life in America than anyone since Joseph McCarthy.” Since his dismissal in July 2016, the network has been embroiled in sexual harassment and racial discrimination lawsuits as well as an ongoing FBI investigation.

More significantly, the network is in hot water with its viewership, too. After years of reigning as the #1 cable news source, in the last few weeks it lost ground to competitors CNN and MSNBC. And last week, for the first time ever, MSNBC took the top slot. MSNBC is not a perfect analogue to Fox News — MSNBC flirts with moderation, while »


- Sonia Saraiya

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