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Fox News Firestorm: The Lesson All of Corporate America Can Learn

3 hours ago

In the wake of Bill O’Reilly’s departure from Fox News, a narrative is taking shape to explain the tumult the 21st Century Fox-owned cable channel is undergoing. But the problem is that it’s an oversimplification of what went on there, one that obscures a larger lesson all of corporate America would be wise to heed.

It’s impossible to look at the sex-harassment scandals that ended the long, wildly successful tenures of Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes without viewing them through the filter of the Murdochs who control 21st Century Fox. But it’s at the board-room level where their fascinating family dynamics begin to warp the optics for those of us looking from the outside in, wondering how Fox culture could go so wrong.

The conventional wisdom that explains Fox News’ dysfunction is rooted in the slow-motion baton pass playing out atop the parent company: Rupert Murdoch is gradually ceding ground to »

- Andrew Wallenstein

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Jill Soloway Says ‘Transparent’ Season 4 Will Be ‘More Political’

5 hours ago

Amazon’s “Transparent” hit the Emmy trail once again with a For Your Consideration event Saturday evening, featuring a two-episode screening and Q&A with the cast and creative team. The panel was moderated by a “surprise guest,” singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette.

Held at the Hollywood Athletic Club in Los Angeles, “Transparent” creator Jill Soloway was joined by stars Jeffrey Tambor, Judith Light, Gaby Hoffmann, Amy Landecker, Kathryn Hahn, Alexandra Billings and Trace Lysette to discuss the series’ third season.

Tambor, whose portrayal of Maura Pfefferman has already garnered him two lead actor Emmys, said he is “grateful” for the time he has spent with the role. “I think it’s made me a more responsible actor and person, and also made a better husband, citizen and dad,” he said.

Given the current tense political climate, nearly every member of the cast and crew agreed it was “unavoidable” not to address the influx in Lgbtq discrimination since the »

- Arya Roshanian

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Former Fox News Anchor Alisyn Camerota: ‘Roger Ailes Did Sexually Harass Me’

6 hours ago

Another ex-Fox News anchor is going public with allegations of sexual harassment against former CEO Roger Ailes.

Alisyn Camerota, who worked with Fox News as a reporter and weekend anchor for more than a decade, told CNN’s Brian Stelter on “Reliable Sources” that she was targeted by Ailes, who resigned under pressure last July.

“Yes, Roger Ailes did sexually harass me,” she said.

Roger Ailes was — could be charming,” she said. “He could be quite charismatic. He could be uproariously funny. He could also be a bit of a bully, and mean. And he also was often kind of grossly inappropriate with things that he would say, and I think that many of us experienced that. He would talk about body parts. He would say ‘Give me a spin.’ He would want to be greeted with a hug.”

Camerota recalled an instance in which she told Ailes that she wanted more responsibility. Ailes »

- Alex Stedman

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Bill O’Reilly to Return With Podcast on Monday

8 hours ago

Bill O’Reilly isn’t wasting any time.

The former Fox News host will return to pontificating with a new episode of his podcast “No Spin News” on Monday at 7 p.m. Et, reads a banner announcement on his personal website. The podcast, which O’Reilly has been hosting for years, is available to premium subscribers of his website.

The news comes less than a week after Fox News gave O’Reilly the axe (along with a possible $25 million payout) following an investigation into multiple allegations of sexual harassment. If O’Reilly does indeed return Monday, it will mark his first time speaking publicly since the ouster on Wednesday, and gives him a chance to continue communication with his still-large legion of fans.

His website also features the statement sent to media outlets after Fox News made his firing official, in which he called it “tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims.”

O »

- Alex Stedman

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Amazon Japan Checks in to Sono Sion’s ‘Tokyo Vampire Hotel’

19 hours ago

Maverick Japanese director, Sono Sion will make his Amazon Original series debut this summer with “Tokyo Vampire Hotel.” All 9 episodes will be available to binge watch on Amazon Prime Japan from June 19, 2017.

The series is Sono’s first based completely on an original screenplay, and tells the story of humanity battling against a vampire tribe. It stars actress Kaho, taking on her first full-scale action role; Shinnosuke Mitsushima; Ami Tomite, a young actress who is mentored by Sono; Yumi Adachi; and Megumi Kagurazaka, the director’s wife.

Production was in the Nikkatsu studios in Japan, and also various locations in Transylvania, Romania, including Dracula’s Castle and the Salina Turda salt mines.

The show was developed and produced with Nikkatsu Corporation, with the screenplay written by Jun Tsugita, Manabu Ikarimoto. Tomohiro Kubo, Daisuke Matsuo serve as directors and screenwriters of two episodes.

“Our focus is to work with the content creators to be innovative and deliver a »

- Patrick Frater

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‘Happy Days’ Star Erin Moran Dies at 56

22 hours ago

Erin Moran, best known for playing Joanie Cunningham on the 1970s sitcom “Happy Days,” has died. She was 56.

According to TMZ, Moran’s body was found unresponsive Saturday afternoon by authorities in Indiana. The cause of death is unknown.

The California-born actress, who also starred in the “Happy Days” spinoff “Joanie Loves Chachi,” had fallen on hard times in recent years. She was reportedly kicked out of her trailer park home in Indiana because of her hard-partying ways.

Henry Winkler, who starred opposite Moran as The Fonz in ABC’s iconic series, tweeted: “Oh Erin…now you will finally have the peace you wanted so badly here on earth. Rest In It serenely now…too soon.”

Oh Erin… now you will finally have the peace you wanted so badly here on earth …Rest In It serenely now.. too soon

Henry Winkler (@hwinkler4real) April 23, 2017

In a statement on Sunday, Winkler also said, “I »

- Stuart Oldham

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Series Mania: Viaplay-Backed Cold War Thriller ‘M.A.D.’ Unveiled at European Co-Production Forum

22 April 2017 3:13 PM, PDT

Paris  — Denmark’s contribution to the European Co-production Forum at 2017’s Series Mania came in the form of the Cold War era political thriller M.A.D, short for Mutually Assured Destruction. The show is being produced by Arena Films with backing from Viaplay, the Modern Times Group’s Svod service available in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and the Baltic countries. Viaplay offers unlimited rental streaming packages with access to high-end TV, film and sports.

Representing the project in Paris were producer and co-creator Ulrik Bolt Jørgensen and lead-writer and co-creator Michael Soussan. Soussan, having worked at the United Nations, CNN, and contributed to many major news publications in the U.S., recently had his 2008 book “Backstabbing for Beginners” adapted into a feature film starring Ben Kingsley and Theo James. It is due out this fall.

Throughout the Cold War the phrase “Mutually Assured Destruction” referred to the idea that any conflict between nuclear powers would not »

- Jamie Lang

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‘Your Honor’ Tops 2017’s Series Mania

22 April 2017 2:46 PM, PDT

Already snapped up for a U.S. remake deal, Israeli series “Your Honor,” created by Shlomo Mashiach and Ron Ninio, took the top Grand Jury Prize on Saturday night in Paris at the 8th Series Mania, whose vibrance

was a telling reminder of the robust good health enjoyed by scripted show production at large.

“This is truly a new golden age of television and it was one of the highlights of my life to celebrate it by being on the jury for Series Mania, said jury president Damon Lindelof, show runner of “The Leftovers” and “Lost.”

Few who attended Series Mania could not have been struck by the bullishness of its industry events. FremantleMedia, eOne, Zdf and Federation Entertainment all announcing new productions or desired expansive moves and Co-Production Forum attendance up about 110% to just over 900 delegates as the market for foreign – and often foreign-language – TV dramas, though usually still niche in the latter case, continues »

- John Hopewell and Jamie Lang

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Pascal Breton’s Federation Entertainment Develops U.S. Remake of ‘The Bureau,’ ‘Joan of Arc’ Series (Exclusive)

22 April 2017 1:44 PM, PDT

Pascal Breton’s European indie studio and production company Federation Entertainment is developing a U.S. remake of Eric Rochant’s hit spy thriller “The Bureau,” and a series adaptation of iconic French heroine Joan of Arc.

Federation Entertainment is teaming with Alex Berger and Eric Rochant’s banner The Oligarchs Productions, which is also the producer of the original series.

The Bureau” stars Matthieu Kassovitz (“Munich”) as a member of the French Secret Service’s clandestine branch who returns to his home base after a six-year mission in Damascus. The show has been sold worldwide.

The series has been a hit in English-language markets. In the U.S. and Canada, “The Bureau” launched in June 2016 on iTunes and ranked within the Top Five, while in the U.K. it rolled out on Amazon Prime.

Greenlit by French pay TV channel Canal Plus for a fourth season, “The Bureau” earned strong reviews for its realistic depiction of »

- Elsa Keslassy

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10 Trends in the International TV Business

22 April 2017 1:36 PM, PDT

Paris — Variety held its first-ever TV Summit Europe in Paris on Thursday at its Series Mania TV festival. At it, key top executives from Europe and the U.S. analyzed their production strategies in a vibrant, if complex, international TV drama market. 20th Century Fox’s Manuel Alduy summed up the studio’s strategy in international as “diversification.” That could be said of many companies as, outside the U.S., they ring multiple production options along a global-local axis and as scripted series boost channels’ market shares, by as much as 26% for ITV and 35% for Denmark’s TV2, according to a EuroData TV Drama Overview presented at Series Mania. Below, incorporating news and analysis from the Summit and the whole of Series Mania, are 10 observed cutting-edge trends in  the international TV business:

1.The Split

“Distribution will go through mobile and telecom [companies], that, [given[ the way they are shaping the convergent world, are key partners. The only way to build scale in the game is to partner with these telcos,” said Dominique Delport, chairman, Vivendi Content (pictured), in a spirited keynote conversation at the Variety TV Summit Europe, explaining why Vivendi, the France-based communications group, has rebuilt as a premium content creator-producer. Increasingly, series look to split two ways: Those that can build decisive brand and subscriber driven value for telecoms, digital platforms and big pay TV platforms; the remainder. This explains why Vivendi, despite being Europe’s second biggest pay TV operator, has created Studio Plus, an app delivering digital first, premium short-form series produced by Vivendi Content that it is actively selling to telecoms worldwide. Launched in Feb. 2017, telco clients include Spain’s Telefonica-Movistar Plus, Brazil’s Vivo, Telecom Italia and France’s Bouygues TV and Orange. Studio Plus subscriptions stand at 200,000; Vivendi targets 2 million by year-end, said Delport. Vivendi is in talks with “30-to-50 telcos today,” among them three of the top four U.S. telcos, he added.

2.Post Nordic Noir 

Nordic Noir is over, Piv Bernth, producer »

- John Hopewell and Jamie Lang

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Series Mania: Sean Bean in ‘Broken,’ Jimmy McGovern on British TV

22 April 2017 1:09 PM, PDT

Paris — Ned Stark he is not. In BBC1’s upcoming primetime drama “Broken,” created and co-written by Jimmy McGovern, Sean Bean plays Father Michael Kerrigan, a Catholic priest in North-West England struggling with inner demons, seeking atonement for the sins of youth, shy, retiring, broken. Of an evening, he goes down the bingo, listens to the BBC shipping forecast about Dover, White and Sole; or sings “Chattanooga Choo Choo” to his bedridden dying mother.

World premiered at Series Mania in main competition, in Ep. 1 and Ep. 2 of “Broken,” Father Michael only appears a man of action, dashing down a street, but that’s because he’s late for a parish meeting. His immediate reaction to his parishioners’ problems – and they are legion: Unemployment, and uncaring welfare state and police malpractice – is to scratch his temple or play nervously with his hands. In Episodes 1 and 2, in a performance that won her best actress award at Series Mania, Anna Friel »

- John Hopewell

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‘Feud’s’ Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange on Recreating Bette Davis and Joan Crawford

22 April 2017 10:57 AM, PDT

The riveting performances by Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange as Bette Davis and Joan Crawford in FX’s “Feud” have shown the deeper story of two Hollywood legends. The show’s cast and producers, led by Ryan Murphy, reunited for a screening of the season one finale and a panel to talk about how the idea of making the show scared everyone at first.

Murphy praised the leading ladies, saying, “Jessica and Susan lean into their fears. It was intimidating to recreate these huge icons.” Sarandon said that after being approached to play Davis in various projects, “Feud” was “the scariest right thing” in which to finally tackle playing the Hollywood legend.

Lange commented on playing Joan Crawford: “Joan was a great mystery. She created ‘Joan Crawford,’ a character she played as a collaboration between her and MGM and she played it for fifty years. What fascinated me about her was not playing the role of »

- Diane Gordon

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Donald Trump to Hold Rally Same Night as White House Correspondents Dinner

22 April 2017 10:48 AM, PDT

In a counter-programming twist, president Donald Trump has scheduled a Pennsylvania rally the same night as the White House Correspondents Dinner.

“Next Saturday night I will be holding a Big rally in Pennsylvania. Look forward to it!” he tweeted on Saturday.

Trump had previously announced that he would skip the annual event in Washington D.C., breaking a long tradition of the president dining with, and often getting roasted by, the media. The White House staff also will forgo the event.

The dinner, hosted by the White House Correspondents’ Association, is set for April 29 at the Washington Hilton. Hasan Minhaj, correspondent for “The Daily Show,” will be the featured entertainer.

Jeff Mason, president of the Whca, said in a statement, “We will be celebrating the First Amendment at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner next week, and we look forward to doing just that.”

Next Saturday night I will be holding a Big rally in Pennsylvania. Look »

- Stuart Oldham

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Modern Times Group Draws Record Sales, Strong Operating Profits in First Quarter

22 April 2017 10:35 AM, PDT

Modern Times Group punched record sales and a 15% increase in operating profits during the first quarter of this year, bolstered by its big push into premium content as well as its thriving streaming platforms Viaplay and Viafree.

Operative profits reached Sek 183 million ($20 million) while net sales were up 11% to Sek 4.2 billion ($4.7 billion) and earnings before interest and taxes rose by 22%. It was the third consecutive quarter with organic sales growth of more than 5%.

Mtg has been ramping up investments in both linear and streamed entertainment products. The company for instance launched Viafree in Sweden, Norway and Denmark last year. The video streaming service is dedicated to Mtg’s content from free-to-air channels and original productions exclusive to Viafree.

Jørgen Madsen Lindemann, Mtg’s president and CEO, said the group’s development and production roster included 50 drama series. Viaplay just commissioned its first original Icelandic show, “Stella Blómkvist,” a thriller which will be directed by “Trapped” helmer Óskar »

- Elsa Keslassy

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Series Mania: Belgium’s Wrong Men Productions Prepares ‘The Alert’

22 April 2017 4:52 AM, PDT

Paris — In a show of the gathering diversification  of European TV drama production, sixteen series were pitched at Series Mania’s European Co-production Forum, – series which stretch across time and sentiment, from ancient Rome to 2025 Paris, from Antarctica to medieval Europe. But few of the series are rooted as firmly in today’s zeitgeist as Wrong Men’s whistle blowing thriller “The Alert.”

Representing the series, producer Benoit Roland and writers Johan Massez and Vincent Vanneste pitched the series to a crowded auditorium looking to secure international deals, “broadcasters mainly but we have room for co-producers as well.”

Wrong Men describe itself as a company specializing in arthouse features like 2015’s “Prejudice,” shorts such as last year’s “Partner”, and political documentaries like “Wrong Elements,” an official selection for screening at Cannes in 2016. With “The Alert,” the company looks to take its first steps into the world of television. “I live in my time and obviously TV »

- Jamie Lang

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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: 12 Things We Learned at Tribeca Fest Premiere

22 April 2017 4:42 AM, PDT

Do something. Stay awake. Beware of morons. Those are the deeper messages expressed in Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s classic dystopian novel “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which bows April 26.

Stars Elisabeth Moss, Alexis Bledel, Yvonne Strahovski, Joseph Fiennes, Ann Dowd, Samira Wiley and other cast members, showrunner Bruce Miller, director Reed Morano and exec producer Warren Littlefield gathered Friday night for the premiere screening and panel at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Here are 12 things we learned from the conversation about the series that presents a chilling look at an America where women are enslaved as breeding machines for a totalitarian regime dubbed Gilead.

Atwood makes a cameo in the first episode as a menacing aunt who delivers quite a slap to Moss’ Offred. Moss insisted that the blow look authentic. “She didn’t want to and then she really got into it,” Moss said. Moss was convinced that she needed to do the show by »

- Cynthia Littleton

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Series Mania: Lagardere’s Atlantique, Spain’s Portocabo Co-Develop TV Drama ‘Hierro’ with Movistar Plus, Arte France

22 April 2017 3:30 AM, PDT

In a co-production deal announced at the 8th Series Mania Festival, Lagardere’s Atlantique Productions is teaming with Spanish production company Portocabo to develop thriller TV series “Hierro,” a best project award winner at Berlinale’s 2015 CoPro Series.

Developed with leading Spanish paybox Movistar Plus and French network Arte France, the “Hierro” deal, unveiled Thursday at Paris’ Series Mania, marks an early co-development initiative between France and Spain for a TV series.

Previous Lagardere connections with Spain in terms of international TV fiction projects include Lucie Borleteau’s thriller “Cannabis,” a co-production by Tonie Marshall’s Tabo Tabo Films, Spain’s Arcadia Motion Pictures and Arte France, warmly received on its world premiere at Series Mania’s 2016 edition, handled for international by Lagardere Studios.

A eight 52-minute drama, “Hierro” is set on the volcanic island of El Hierro, the most southerly of Spain’s Canary Islands. There, a hidden corpse with signs of having been brutally murdered »

- Emiliano De Pablos

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Series Mania: Mediapro’s Javier Mendez, Ran Tellem Talking ‘The Head’

22 April 2017 3:12 AM, PDT

Paris — Spain’s Mediapro Group has been making waves with its drive into premium international TV content for some time now, co-producing “The Young Pope,” of which Season 2 is currently set to shoot next year, acquiring a stake in Daniel Burman’s Burman Office, teaming with Finnish pubcaster Yle for Nordic Noir “The Paradise” and “El futbol no es asi,” with DirecTV. Javier Mendez’s contents director and Ran Tellem, Mediapro head of international content development, were in Paris this week for the Series Mania European Co-Production Forum, looking to contact potential partners for their new English-language survival thriller “The Head.”

Already boarded as a co-producer is Patrick Nebout’s Swedish production company Dramacorp, a joint venture with Germany’s Beta Film.

The series, which featured an impressive multimedia presentation at Tuesday’s Co-pro Forum pitching sessions, draws inspiration from enclosed space thrillers like “Alien” but will itself remain terrestrial. Taking »

- Jamie Lang

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Series Mania: Julianna Margulies Reflects on Her Career, George Clooney’s Set Etiquette, Politics

22 April 2017 2:32 AM, PDT

Paris — Julianna Margulies was in Paris this week as a key note speaker at the 8th Series Mania.

She wasn’t pulling any punches in talking politics and was quick to defend the arts, advocate for victims of gun violence, and take a swing at the White House.

On protecting the arts: “What we have to remember is that what we are left with, our history as a people, is the arts. It’s so important in America now with the threat of arts funding being cut.”

She was cautious concerning what the future may bring. “Journalists are having to raise money to get paid to report truthfully. This is a frightening moment where our core values as human beings are being challenged.”

It was not all gloom and doom, however, as the actress noted that this is also a time of opportunity. “The beauty is the energy it’s created to overcome that. We »

- Jamie Lang

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Variety TV Critics Discuss Graphic Depictions of Rape and Suicide in Netflix’s ‘13 Reasons Why’

21 April 2017 4:21 PM, PDT

Few shows have prompted as much conversation as “13 Reasons Why” — which seems to be part of the point of the Netflix show. It’s almost infinitely discussable, given the weightiness of the show’s topics and the varied ways in which the show met the challenges of depicting them well. It’s caused its share of controversy, but “13 Reasons Why” has also met with a number of positive responses from critics and viewers — and according to Twitter, it’s the most tweeted show of 2017.

Variety’s TV critics, Sonia Saraiya and Maureen Ryan, found themselves with lots to say about the show — but beware, this conversation touches on a number of plot points from the first season of the show. Spoilers ahead. 

Sonia Saraiya: Mo, I just finished “13 Reasons Why,” and I am messed up. That was a doozy of an ending. It might be one of the hardest things I’ve seen on television, actually »

- Sonia Saraiya and Maureen Ryan

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