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Fox News Seeks to Dismiss Controversial Rod Wheeler Suit

33 minutes ago

Fox News on Tuesday moved to dismiss a controversial lawsuit levying the wild allegation that employees of the 21st Century Fox-owned cable-news network fabricated quotes in a now-retracted article about a murdered Democratic National Committee operative and helped spark a furious round of speculation about Fox News’ role in potentially spreading false information.

In a filing made in United States District Court in the Southern District of New York, Fox News and the two employees, Ed Butowsky and Malia Zimmerman, claim the allegations are “overloaded with sensationalistic allegations,” and suggests “his case is one in search of a viable legal theory.”

The filing is the latest twist in a case filled with outlandish charges and counterclaims.

In August, private detective Rod Wheeler filed suit alleging Fox News was working with the Trump administration to disseminate fake news in order to distract the public from Russia’s alleged attempts to influence the nation’s most recent presidential election »


- Brian Steinberg

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Paramount Channel Latin America Snags Exclusive Latinamerican Rights to Multi-Emmy Winner ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ (Exclusive)

1 hour ago

Eight Primetime Emmy Award-winner “The Handmaid’s Tale” will soon be available in Latin America, thanks to Paramount Channel Latin America, which grabbed the exclusive Pay TV and VOD rights for the show in the region.

Set to bow in early 2018 across Latin America, the 10-part series is based on Margaret Atwood’s eponymous novel, a bestseller in Argentina and Brazil in particular, which takes place in the dystopian nation of Gilead where a totalitarian and fundamentalist regime has seized control. Faced with a near zero birth rate, the authorities have subjected the country’s fertile women to sexual servitude in a last twisted attempt to repopulate the world.

“We’re thrilled to be adding the massive success that is ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ to our programming roster, reinforcing our commitment to bringing the best, high-quality entertainment to our audiences throughout the region,” said Tiago Worcman, senior vice president, Music and Paramount Brand Head, Vimn »


- Anna Marie de la Fuente

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HBO Nordic Moves Into Originals With Comedy Drama ‘Gosta’

1 hour ago

HBO Europe is moving into originals in the Nordics with “Gosta,” a comedy drama about a child psychologist who moves from the city to small-town rural Sweden. He sets out to be the kindest person in the world, with both good and bad consequences.

“I want ‘Gosta’ to be a mix of comedy and Dostoevsky: as funny as possible and as serious as possible,” said Lukas Moodysson, the Swedish filmmaker behind the series. It is his first effort in TV, and he has written all eight episodes and will direct. Memfis Film will produce the series, and Lars Jönsson, Moodysson’s long-term collaborator at Memfis, will produce.

The series shoots in Sweden next year, before a 2019 release on HBO Europe’s channels and digital services. TrustNordisk will distribute “Gosta” outside HBO Europe’s footprint.

The project is a landmark for HBO as its first commissioned drama series out of Scandinavia. It »


- Stewart Clarke

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CBS Wins Bid For Australia’s Ten Network, Defeats Lachlan Murdoch

6 hours ago

Shareholders at Australia’s Ten Network on Tuesday voted to accept a revised takeover offer from the U.S.’s CBS Corporation.

The decision is a defeat for a counter-proposal from Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon. It follows a court decision on Monday that rejected a plea from Murdoch and Gordon to delay the creditors’ meeting.

Mark Korda, partner at the accountancy firm that is currently Ten’s administrator, called it an “overwhelming vote in favor of CBS.” “What they decided was to vote – more than 50% of value [in votes] and more than 50% in number [of individual votes] – to accept the CBS deed of company arrangement,” Korda said.

CBS had originally offered A$32 million (Us$25.6 million) to creditors. Murdoch and Gordon proposed A$35 million (Us$28 million) and increased that to A$55 million (Us$43.9 million), promising to leave some equity for creditors, but their offer document also appeared to imply substantial cutbacks and studio closures. CBS is understood to have increased its offer »


- Patrick Frater

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Tucker Carlson Slams Issa Rae for Saying ‘I’m Rooting for Everybody Black’ at Emmys

9 hours ago

Diversity may have scored several big wins at Sunday night’s Emmys, but Issa Rae’s comment ahead of the show that she’s “rooting for everybody black” is raising some eyebrows — at least, those of Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

Rae made the comment to Variety on the red carpet Sunday night. Carlson, on his Fox News show “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” began a segment lambasting the politics of the Emmys by taking aim at the “Insecure” star’s comments.

.@IssaRae at the #Emmys: "I’m Rooting for Everybody Black" (Watch) https://t.co/YYfzvUXIpK pic.twitter.com/A7ZnmFxkmD

— Variety (@Variety) September 18, 2017

After showing the clip of Rae, followed by a video of “Atlanta” mastermind Donald Glover jokingly thanking President Donald Trump for “making black people number one on the most-oppressed list” while accepting the Emmy for comedy actor, Carlson criticized both of them. “Those comments didn’t seem to raise an eyebrow, but »


- Alex Stedman

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Inside Emmy Parties With Nicole Kidman, Donald Glover, Elisabeth Moss and More

10 hours ago

TV’s top talent and executives celebrated this year’s Emmy nominees far after the ceremony ended. Emmy darling Sterling K. Brown was caught dashing from party to party with wife and “This Is Us” co-star Ryan Michelle Bathe on his arm. Another popular guy about town was none other than Alex Skarsgard, who brought his mom (all the way from Sweden) as his date to HBO’s popular fete. His onscreen wife, however, was not coy with her date. Nicole Kidman packed on the Pda with her real-life better half Keith Urban before going inside the Pacific Design Center. To much surprise, Sean Spicer received a fair amount of love while spending Emmy night in Hollywood, rubbing elbows with the stars (even after many of them participated, or at least, found joy in his weekly roasting on “Saturday Night Live” this past year). But he wasn’t the only surprise guest during Emmy week.

Keep »


- Variety Staff

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‘Kid Nation’ Boss Reflects on ‘Controversial and Groundbreaking’ Reality Series

12 hours ago

When “Kid Nation” premiered on CBS 10 years ago, it was amidst a firestorm of controversy. Ever since the reality series was first picked up, critics and viewers alike were raising questions about the wisdom of putting 40 children — between the ages of 8 and 15 — in a makeshift town and having them fend for themselves without adult supervision.

Addressing the Television Critics Assn. a few months before the premiere, then-cbs entertainment president Nina Tassler took the controversy in stride, saying that in order for a reality show to “change the landscape of television, you have to stir public debate.” CBS’ goal, said Tassler, was to “do something different, and try and reach out and have people talk about the show.” And in that, they certainly succeeded. Here, executive producer Tom Forman talks with Variety about the genesis of the show, his take on the controversy, and whether he’d ever revisit the idea.

Forman »


- Danielle Turchiano

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Charles Payne Accused of Rape in New Lawsuit Against Fox News

12 hours ago

Charles Payne, the Fox Business Network host who was recently reinstated after facing allegations of sexual harassment, now faces even stronger accusations, as the woman who made the claims filed suit against him as well as Fox News now alleges she was raped and subsequently defamed.

Scottie Nell Hughes may be best known as a Trump surrogate who regularly appeared on Time Warner’s CNN during the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. But she has also been a familiar face on Fox News Channel. In a complaint filed Monday in United States District Court in the Southern District of New York, Hughes claims Payne raped her in 2013 and alleges she was retaliated against after she came forward with charges a few years after the initial incident is said to have occurred.

An attorney for Payne, Jonathan Halpern, said his client would prevail against “outrageous” charges. Payne  “vehemently denies any wrongdoing and will defend himself vigorously against this »


- Brian Steinberg

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‘The Voice’ Coaches on the ‘Chair-Turning’ Moments That Launched Their Careers (Watch)

13 hours ago

Although most fans know Jennifer Hudson from “American Idol,” the newest coach to join “The Voice” doesn’t consider performing on the Fox show the show to be her biggest “chair turning moment.”

“I was seventh place,” Hudson says in a video tease ahead of the show’s Sept. 25 premiere on NBC. “I consider that not a big break, but a great opportunity.” But going home, she confesses, wasn’t easy. “When you are eliminated you think it’s over,” adds Hudson. Not surprisingly, she considers her breakthrough moment to have come two years later when she was cast as Effie in the movie, “Dreamgirls.” She would go on to win an Academy Award for the role. “If that’s not the biggest break, I don’t know what is honey,” Hudson cracks.

With “The Voice” fresh off of an Emmy win for Best Reality Competition, season 13’s current coaches, Blake Shelton »


- Michele Amabile Angermiller

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Emmys Social Media Data: Donald Glover, Sean Spicer Drive Most Conversation

13 hours ago

The 69th Emmy Awards had some definite highlights and lowlights, with social media data pointing to Donald Glover’s multiple wins and Sean Spicer’s unexpected cameo as big drivers of conversation.

According to information provided by Twitter, Glover was the most-tweeted about nominee, followed by Nicole Kidman, Stephen Colbert, Lena Waithe, and Sterling K. Brown. But Glover’s show, FX comedy “Atlanta,” was not among the five most-tweeted about series for the night. That honor belongs to, in order: “Black Mirror: San Junipero,” “Big Little Lies,” “Stranger Things,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and “Saturday Night Live.”

Glover picked up Emmys for outstanding directing for a comedy series and outstanding lead actor in a comedy series for “Atlanta’s” freshman season. His victroy for directing made him the first African-American to win in the category.

Influencer tech company Influential, which analyzed almost one million social mentions, including the keywords @televisionacad, #emmys »


- Joe Otterson

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Sean Spicer’s Emmy Cameo: Why Not Everyone Is Laughing

14 hours ago

Washington — In a surprise appearance on the Emmys, Sean Spicer did what a lot of celebrities, politicians, and other controversial figures do when they are trying to reset their image: They turn to comedy.

So why aren’t people laughing?

On Monday, Dan Rather wrote that “It is not funny that the American people were lied to. It is not funny that the press was attacked for doing its job. It is not funny that the norms of our democracy have been trampled.”

NPR’s Eric Deggans: “Isn’t it funny! Sean Spicer comes out @ Emmys to lampoon moment he tried intimidating White House press corps over inauguration crowd. Sigh.”

After an evening in which he was hounded for selfies at post-Emmy parties, Spicer told the New York Times on Monday that he now has regrets chiding reporters over their reporting on the inaugural crowd size.

Kellyanne Conway, in an appearance on “Fox & Friends,” credited »


- Ted Johnson

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Showtime to Air Documentary on George Michael

15 hours ago

A new documentary chronicling the life and career of George Michael will air on Showtime this fall.

George Michael: Freedom” centers on the formative period in the musician’s life, leading up to and following the making of his album “Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1.” The film also follows his subsequent, infamous High Court battle with his record label that followed, while also getting personal about the death of his partner, Anselmo Feleppa. Filmed before Michael’s death in 2016, the documentary is narrated by the singer, who was heavily involved in making the film that serves as his final work.

The feature also includes the original five supermodels from his “Freedom! ’90” video — Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, Tatjana Patitz, and Linda Evangelista — who discuss their experiences on making the music video. Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Ricky Gervais, Nile Rodgers, Mark Ronson, Tracey Emin, Liam Gallagher, Mary J. Blige, Jean Paul Gaultier, James Corden »


- Rebecca Rubin

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Pablo Escobar’s Brother Calls for Netflix to Increase Security Protocols After ‘Narcos’ Location Manager’s Death

15 hours ago

Pablo Escobar’s brother, Roberto De Jesus Escobar Gaviria, is calling for Netflix to increase its security protocols in the wake of the death of Carlos Muñoz Portal, a location scout for the Netflix series “Narcos” who was found shot to death last week in the violent region of Hidalgo, Mexico, while scouting for the show’s fourth season.

Gaviria was the lead accountant and chief of hitmen for the Colombian Medellin cartel before his arrest and later release. Since then, he has authored several articles, books, and patents and is a co-founder of Escobar Inc., a private holding company.

Olof K. Gustafsson, CEO of Escobar Inc., said in a release that Portal’s death indicates that it is “clearly not safe to film shows about drug lords.” “People are dying,” he said.

“We tried to contact Netflix after the news of Carlos Muñoz Portal passing last week to speak about their security issues with no response »


- Matt Fernandez

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Netflix Issues Cease-and-Desist Order on Unauthorized ‘Stranger Things’-Themed Bar

16 hours ago

The world is turning upside down for a “Stranger Things”-themed bar in Chicago that has been ordered by Netflix to close its doors.

“The Upside Down” pop-up in Chicago, named after the dark parallel universe from the Netflix show, launched in August and became a hit. The bar serves drinks including a syrup-flavored cocktail called “Eleven’s Eggos,” and features decor that matches the show, like the Christmas-light alphabet wall. Due to the bar’s success, the owners had planned to extend their six-week run to coincide with the premier of “Stranger Things” Season 2. However, Netflix issued an (albeit cheeky) cease-and-desist letter.

“Unless I’m living in the Upside Down, I don’t think we did a deal with you for this pop-up,” the letter reads. “You’re obviously creative types, so I’m sure you can appreciate that it’s important to us to have a say in how our fans encounter the worlds we »


- Matt Fernandez

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‘American Ninja Warrior’ Continues to Evolve in Unscripted Landscape

16 hours ago

Heading into Monday’s season finale, “American Ninja Warrior” is building momentum.

Last week’s episode drew a 1.6 rating in Nielsen’s 18-49 demo, according to live-plus same day numbers, hitting a season high. The ratings surge followed two straight weeks in which the series had tied its previous season peak.

Currently in its ninth season, “American Ninja Warrior” has proven to be a durable and evolving reality staple. The show has outlasted the network on which it launched — the defunct cable channel G4 — and become a mainstay of NBC’s summer programming strategy. A competition show in which athletes wind their way through a complex obstacle course, the series was a precursor to other physical-challenge reality shows such as Netflix’s “Ultimate Beastmaster” and NBC’s own “Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge.”

“People never seem to get tired of seeing ordinary people – both men and women alike – do extraordinary things,” says »


- Daniel Holloway

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Fox News to Launch Laura Ingraham at 10 p.m. and Rework Primetime

16 hours ago

Popular radio host Laura Ingraham is coming to Fox News Channel in a big way, and the cable-news network will shake up its primetime schedule to accommodate her.

Fox News said Ingraham would start to anchor “The Ingraham Angle” on October 30th at 10 p.m, and focus on stories and news of how the news of the day affects “everyday, hard-working Americans who serve as the backbone of the nation.”

“I look forward to informing and entertaining the audience and introducing new voices to the conversation,” Ingraham said in a statement.

To set the show in motion at 10 p.m., Fox News will rework its schedule. Sean Hannity’s long-running program will return to 9 p.m., while”The Five,” which had previously occupied the network’s 9 p.m. hour, will return to its original 5 p.m. timeslot. The last two changes will take place next Monday, and rotating hosts will cover the 10 p.m »


- Brian Steinberg

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Jackie Hoffman Jokingly Screams ‘Damn It,’ Slams Laura Dern After Emmy Loss

17 hours ago

Jackie Hoffman didn’t take home an Emmy during Sunday night’s 69th awards show, but her reaction to losing stirred up some attention of its own.

When Laura Dern’s name was announced for supporting actress in a drama, Hoffman, nominated for her role as Mamacita, Joan Crawford’s loyal maid in “Feud: Bette and Joan,” was seen yelling “Damn it, damn it” and hitting the chair in front of her.

Best moment of the #Emmys so far: Jackie Hoffman yelling "dammit!!" when she lost to Laura Dern pic.twitter.com/euCWaRFsAy

— Adam Feldman (@FeldmanAdam) September 18, 2017

Her Twitter tirade against Dern began shortly after, with the first tweet reading: “Laura Dern had famous parents. Forgive me for being from real people #elitism.”

She continued to jab at Dern throughout the night, writing “I hear that Laura Dern runs a child porn ring #soreloser” and “I hear that Laura Dern looted art from Nazi victims.”

Her »


- Rebecca Rubin

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Emmys Poll: What Did You Think of Sean Spicer’s Cameo?

17 hours ago

When it was rumored that Sunday night’s Emmy Awards would have a surprise political guest, many assumed it would be Hillary Clinton… but it was actually a former member of President Donald Trump’s administration.

Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer made an appearance during host Stephen Colbert’s opening monologue, drawing laughs at the ceremony but outrage on the internet. While many thought the bit was funny, others decried that it was normalizing Spicer’s lies on behalf of Trump.

“Hollywood just enabled Sean Spicer and that’s not funny,” read one CNN headline. Slate called the cameo a “sickening, cynical laugh grab.” One New York Times editorial criticized the “shameful embrace of Sean Spicer at the Emmys.”

During his appearance, Spicer parodied his own “alternative facts” about Trump’s inauguration crowd size after Colbert questioned the audience size of the Emmys (which, it was revealed on Monday, was »


- Variety Staff

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Clive Davis Documentary ‘Soundtrack of Our Lives’ Gets Trailer, Release Date

17 hours ago

The documentary “Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives,” which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival back in April, will debut exclusively on Apple Music on Oct. 3, with a limited theatrical release in select cities starting on Sept. 27.

The film, which was directed by Chris Perkel, examines Davis’ life and career in great detail. Davis, now 85, began his career as an attorney and was hired by Columbia Records, a client of the firm for which he worked, in 1960. He rose through the ranks and was appointed president of the label in 1967, and shortly afterward experienced an epiphany at the Monterey Pop Festival (the 50th anniversary of which is coming up in June), coming away with not just a vision of the burgeoning rock revolution, but also a contract for Janis Joplin.

In the half century since then — at Columbia, the two labels he founded, Arista and J, and his current role as chief creative officer for Sony »


- Variety Staff

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Emmys 2017: Photos From the After-Parties

18 hours ago

Inside the Emmys after-parties, which included the Governors Ball, HBO, Fox, and Netflix. »

- Jacob Bryant

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