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‘Big Little Lies’ Moved From Limited Series To Drama Series Category By PGA Awards Following HBO Renewal

Hours after HBO today greenlighted a second, seven-episode installment of Big Little Lies, the Producers Guild has moved to reclassify the show’s original installment from a limited series to a drama series for the upcoming 2018 PGA Awards. The guild sent an email to members on Friday night, notifying them of the change that is re-setting the TV nominations ballot after two days of voting. The votes that have been already cast are being annulled, and TV voting for the 2018 awards is being re-started.

Producers Guild of America

“At the time of the release of the ballots, HBO’s series Big Little Lies qualified for the Guild’s Long-Form Programs category,”the email, obtained by Deadline, read. “However, with today’s announcement that HBO has ordered a second season of the series with the main characters continuing into the second season, the series no longer qualifies within that category. In accordance with our rules, we have determined that the most equitable course of action is to adjust the ballots – placing Big Little Lies in the Episodic Drama category for which it now is qualified – and re-start the voting afresh… Please take a moment to re-cast your votes as all ballots submitted to date for television for the 2018 Producers Guild Awards have been voided.”

Reached for comment on Friday night, an HBO spokesperson said that HBO does not agree with that decision.

I hear the decision came after a string of back-and-forths between the guild and the network following the 11:30 AM announcement of Big Little Lies’ renewal by HBO. Big Little Lies competed as a limited series and won big at the Primetime Emmy Awards. While it would be very challenging for the show to continue to be recognized as a limited series going forward, given that the second installment is expected to pick up where the first one left off, with the same characters played by the same cast, led by Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, the PGA decision applies to the first installment. I hear HBO argued that it had been conceived as a limited series based on a book with a beginning, middle and an end, with the creative auspices and the actors had been contracted for a limited series with no options for a second season.

In the end, the PGA ruled that the fact that the story will be getting a continuation — even with a brand new chapter — also disqualifies the original installment as a limited series. I hear that no other guilds are making such a change for BLL‘s first season.

“It was submitted and qualified as a limited series. Nominations voting is already underway. It will remain in the limited series category for this year,” a rep for SAG told Deadline.

Voting already has closed for the Golden Globes nominations, which will be announced on Monday,  followed by SAG Awards nominations later in the week.

PBS

There have been precedents. Hit BBC/PBS period drama Downton Abbey drew eyebrows when it competed as a miniseries in its first season, sweeping the 2011 Emmy longform categories, even though it already had been renewed for a second season. It moved to the drama series starting with Season 2.

Ryan Murphy used the anthology nature of his American Horror Story to successfully petition the TV Academy, whose Awards Committee and Board of Governors in 2012 ruled that AHS was eligible for both the Drama Series and Miniseries categories despite having filmed a pilot. FX opted to submit the series, as well as its subsequent offshoot, American Crime Story, and another anthology, Feud, as miniseries/limited series.

Meanwhile, HBO’s 2014 anthology True Detective was submitted as a drama series from the get-go upon request from creator Nic Pizzolatto, despite the fact that the first installment, conceived as a one-off limited series, had a self-contained story with a cast and characters that did not continue.

The adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s novel Big Little Lies cleaned up a the Emmys, winning eight in all including Best Limited Series (Witherspoon earned a statuette as an executive producer) and Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for star/exec producer Nicole Kidman.

The 29th Annual Producers Guild Awards will be held on January 20, 2018, with Murphy set to receive the 2018 Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television.

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Apple May Acquire Shazam App By Monday To Beef Up Music – Report

Apple may be close to acquiring multi-faceted audio-video app Shazam, which lets users identify any song, TV show, film, or advertisement by reviewing a clip. It then matches that to content relevant to the search

A report by the TechCrunch news service indicates the deal could be announced as soon as Monday. Speculation on the deal price had large spreads, with some valuing the company as low as $400 million, while others speculating Shazam would fetch nine figures. The company was valued at $1.02 billion in its last funding round in 2015.

Shazam has been rumored to be an acquisition target this year as its losses declined. The company has a glittering array of partners, including venture capitalists Kleiner Perkins and London’s DN Captial, plus content providers Sony Music, Universal Music and Access Industries (owner of Warner Music). Shazam has allegedly raised $143.5 million from that group.

The app’s last reported download tally was more than one billion, but the number dates to September, 2016. Shazam reported $54 million in revenues last September for its 2016 fiscal year, which marked a renaissance from declines between 2014 and 2015 FY. Still, Shazam took a statutory pre-tax loss of $5.3 million in 2016. The good news from that was that it was only a quarter of its reported $20 million in losses from 2015.

But in the world of apps, high numbers do not always translate into profits: In September 2017, reported $54 million in revenues in its 2016 fiscal year, which was a turnaround from the declines between FY 2014 and 2015. It made a statutory pre-tax loss of $5.3 million in 2016, which was still a loss but significantly smaller than its massive loss in FY 2015 of more than $15 million.

Shazam launched in 1999 as an SMS code service. It has since grown into a company that not only spotlights music is, but can tell you what famous people have on their playlists, engage in McDonald’s Karaoke, or get on board with VR racing. Other apps like Snapchat and Apple’s Siri are integrated, and it has a major revenue stream from sending customers to streamers like Apple Music, which pays for converted purchases by referrrals.

Last month, Apple announced financial results for its fiscal 2017 fourth quarter ended September 30, 2017. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $52.6 billion, an increase of 12 percent from the year-ago quarter, and quarterly earnings per diluted share of $2.07, up 24 percent. International sales accounted for 62 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

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Appeals Court Ruling Keeps Netflix “Making A Murderer’ Killer In Prison

A Wisconsin inmate featured in the Netflix Making a Murderer series will stay in prison after a federal appeals court overturned a ruling that could have freed him.

Brendan Dassey had claimed that he was tricked into confessing that he helped his uncle rape and kill photographer Teresa Halbach in 2005.

However, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a 4-3 ruling that the findings by a Wisconsin state court that he participated were “reasonable,” even thought one dissenting judge said the case was “a profound miscarriage of justice.”

Dassey was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 for his role in the Halbach murder. The 7th Circuit said in a 39-page ruling that although it was not unreasonable to debate whether Dassey’s confession was voluntary, as the state court ruled, their finding was reasonable.

Judge Ilana Diamond Rovner strongly disagreed. “His confession was not voluntary and his conviction should not stand, and yet an impaired teenager has been sentenced to life in prison,” she wrote in her dissent. “I view this as a profound miscarriage of justice.”

Also dissenting was Chief Judge Diane P. Wood. “Without this involuntary and highly unreliable confession, the case against Dassey was almost nonexistent,” she wrote.

 A federal magistrate judge overturned Dassey’s conviction last year on the grounds that his age (he was 16 at the time of confession) and learning disabilities allowed detectives to take advantage of him.

A three-judge panel from the 7th Circuit upheld the magistrate’s ruling in June. But Wisconsin prosecutors asked for a review by the full 7th Circuit, which came back with a different decision today.

Dassey’s attorneys, Laura Nirider and Robert Drizin, said they were “profoundly disappointed” and would petition the U.S. Supreme Court on his behalf.

“Today’s ruling contravenes a fundamental and time-honored position of the United States Supreme Court: interrogation tactics that may not be coercive when applied to adults are coercive when applied to children and the mentally impaired,” they said in a statement.

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Could Local TV Stations Drive Slimmed-Down 21st Century Fox Post-Disney Deal?

As Disney and 21st Century Fox continue negotiations on the acquisition of a group of prized Fox divisions in a deal that could be announced as early as next week, one of the assets left behind has largely been overlooked in reports on the mega-merger: the 28 Fox owned & operated TV stations.

They are expected to remain under the control of the Murdoch family along with Fox Broadcasting Co, Fox News Channel and national sports networks FS1 and FS2. While not as visible as the others (see our story examining what could be FBC’s future if its sister studio 20th Century Fox TV moves to Disney), the stations could be key to Rupert Murdoch’s growth plans for s trimmed-down 21st Century Fox, industry insiders say.

Fox owns and operates 28 stations in 17 markets covering more than 37% of U.S. television homes — just below the current 39% cap — including duopolies in seven of the top 10 markets in the U.S. In 2016, the stations pulled in $1.7 billion, ranking No. 1 among all station groups in revenue. (The broadcast networks reach their viewers via local TV stations. Some of them, called O&Os,  are owned by the network’s parent company; they currently cannot cover more than 39% of the U.S. households. For the rest of the country, the nets have to rely on affiliate stations owned by other companies.)

The station ownership cap could soon be lifted by the Republican-controlled FCC, which has been arguing that the rules were put in place before stations faced advertising and programming competition from a number of different platforms. Possibly anticipating that, as part of the ongoing station-group consolidation, Fox recently made an unsuccessful bid for Tribune Media, owner of what was the largest independent station group in the U.S. Fox lost out to Sinclair Broadcast Group, which is emerging as the largest station owner in the country with its $3.9 billion Tribune acquisition. Their combined station footprint would reach a startling 72% of U.S. households if no divesting is made.

That is a model observers see Murdoch possibly pursuing with the Fox station group if the cap is lifted, pointing to such station owners as Nexstar, Gannett, E.W. Scripps and Hearst as possible acquisition targets. Some go as far as speculating Murdoch could get ABC TV stations in the Disney deal. (Disney owns the smallest group of O&Os among the broadcast networks, consisting of eight stations). That of course is an extreme scenario, which I hear appears unlikely, though media companies had been talking about decreasing their reliance on broadcast in the future and eventually going direct-to-consumer. FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s deregulation plan would allow broadcasters to own two Big 4 network affiliates in any market regardless of size and also operate additional stations in the same market through local sales and marketing agreements.

Industry observers see a lot of upside in the local station business. Unlike national networks, which are threatened by well-funded digital upstarts like Netflix and Amazon, depressing viewership and driving up the cost of content, stations focus squarely on local programming — news, weather and sports — so they won’t have to compete with cable and digital platforms.

The biggest problem has been scale, with 40% reach in the country only providing modest aggregated ratings to sell. “But when you get to 80% as (Sinclair executive chairman) David Smith is doing, you get a real business,” one industry insider said.

Additionally, local stations yield “much more influence on political opinion than national news,” a source said, noting that owning multiple TV stations in key swing states like Ohio and Florida could be a financial windfall.

Fox’s station group is run by one of Murdoch’s closest confidants, Jack Abernethy, who also serves as co-president of another asset that would be part of 21st Century Fox 2.0: Fox News. There could be a symbiotic relationship, with the centralized ad sales, promotion and other forces handling all stations, bringing efficiency to their management.

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Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Review: A Risque, Hilarious Adventure

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a serviceable sequel with a surprising amount of risqué content. The primary gag is that horny, self-centered teenagers are turned into adult characters; who are complete physical opposites. The sexual innuendo is the thrust of all the humor, with the adventure aspect playing a distant second fiddle. I thought the film was hilarious, but certainly didn’t capture the wonder of the original. It’s hard to surpass Robin Williams. His Alan Parrish gets a slight nod, but not much else.

Four stereotypical high school teens are stuck, for various reasons, in detention. Assigned to clean out an old warehouse, they come upon a dusty old video game system on a shelf. When the teens start to play, they are magically drawn into the game and transformed into their selected avatars. Shy nerd Spencer (Alex Wolff) becomes muscled explorer, Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson). Football jock Fridge Johnson (Ser’Darius Blain) is cut down to the diminutive zoologist, Moose Finbar(Kevin Hart). Bethany (Madison Iseman), the head cheerleader and local Instagram queen, switches sexes into rotund cartographer, Professor Shelly Oberon (Jack Black). Rounding out the gang is the demure Martha (Morgan Tenure), who finds herself as dance-fighting vixen, Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan). The teens must work together to beat the game, or risk a permanent game over.

Karen Gillan’s scanty outfit raised eyebrows when initial footage was released. It’s all part of the provocative gags where a modest girl has to play an ass-kicking, sexually objectified woman. The reverse is true for Jack Black. His portrayal of a snobby teenage girl in a middle-aged, fat guy’s body is knockdown funny. The interaction and reactions of these two characters are, by far, the most entertaining part of the film. They elicit laughs a plenty, but it’s far less innocent than the original. Jumanji was the definition of a family film. The idea of penis jokes in that story is unthinkable. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle skews more suggestively to say the least.

There needed to be a bit more creativity with the visual effects and action scenes. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is effects laden, but it’s all so familiar and humdrum. There’s no creature or monster that sticks out. The wildlife in general is pretty lackluster. One of my favorite parts of the original was the mischievous monkeys. I was stunned they weren’t in this movie, along with much of the animal characters from the first. My thought is that director/writer Jake Kasdan didn’t see their value. His story is about the teenagers getting over themselves for the greater good. The jungle is just a setting. It’s too bad. This film would have been so much better if the wildlife and plants were given more character.

From Sony Pictures, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is very funny. The humor alone warrants viewing. The cast, both young and old, are solid in their performances. My primary issue is that it’s not “Jumanji” enough. Give me less penis jokes and more monkeys, vines, lethal insects, the whole damn zoo. I also thought that Bobby Cannavale was wasted as the villain. He needed more to do and barely registers on screen. If only he had a few naughty monkeys to liven things up.

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Ready Player One Photos Arrive, Trailer #2 Coming This Sunday

To help get you ready for the new Ready Player One trailer arriving on Sunday, some brand new images from the highly-anticipated movie have arrived online. The movie is based on Ernest Cline’s beloved, best-selling novel of the same name, which is loaded with tons of pop culture references from the 80s. Steven Spielberg, a man responsible for many of those references, is directing the movie. Here’s what he had to say about it in a recent interview to go along with the new photos.

“There are so many more compelling reasons to escape into the OASIS than exist in real life. A lot of our movie is a comparative study: Which world would they rather spend their lives in, with all the distractions and complexities and perks of the digital world of the OASIS, or with the responsibilities of being a student or a parent living in real life? It’s real life versus virtual life. Which is more compelling?”

The images give us a little bit of a better look at some of the world that will be explored in Ready Player One. We get a look at Wade’s hideout, a massive explosion, a look inside the OASIS and a brand new look at Olivia Cooke as Art3mis. Tye Sheridan is playing Wade Watts, the main character in the book, in Steven Spielberg’s adaptation and had this to say about his OASIS character Parzival, and how he contrast’s to Wade in real life.

“[Parzival] is a bit more confident than Wade. It’s a nice little contrast between who he is in the OASIS and who he is in the real world. When we first meet Parzival, he wins the first race and his avatar becomes this celebrity within the OASIS. But [Wade] is an outcast and an underdog in the real world, and no one knows that he’s actually Parzival. It’s almost like a Clark Kent thing, where he’s someone super, but no one knows about it.”

The teaser trailer for Ready Player One was released by Warner Bros. at San Diego Comic-Con this year and absolutely blew away everyone, even with high expectations. So getting to see the full-length trailer this Sunday could be very exciting. Here’s what Olivia Cooke had to say about her character, Art3mis, in the movie.

“We’re starting to see people are more locked into their phones than looking up and interacting with people. In 2045, there is world famine, there is world war, and the cost of a plane ticket, travel, and of living life to a high standard in reality has gotten so exorbitant that the only form of escape for them is to log into an alternate reality…Art3mis is something of a legend. She is known for being tough, fearless, and confident. I feel like Samantha is that as well. There’s really no differentiation. She prides herself on being true to the core.”

Ready Player One is set to arrive in theaters on March 30, 2018. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the new trailer this Sunday, as we’ll be sure to bring it to you as soon as it’s made available online. In the meantime, check out the new photos from Ready PlayerOne, courtesy of Entertainment Weekly, for yourself below.

Exclusive: See 4 new first look photos of Steven Spielberg’s @ReadyPlayerOne: https://t.co/IqFxzKRRU7#ReadyPlayerOnepic.twitter.com/QDW9Y90wyJ

— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) December 8, 2017

New images and details from Steven Spielberg’s ’80s-retro sci-fi READY PLAYER ONE: https://t.co/2E4bFGOh3apic.twitter.com/iivNURaFp3

— Anthony Breznican (@Breznican) December 8, 2017

COMMENTARY
(this movie is deep y’all)#ReadyPlayerOnepic.twitter.com/nafhcljvH6

— Beth Elderkin (@BethElderkin) December 8, 2017

Here’s our first look at Steven Spielberg’s dystopian adaptation – Ready Player One, coming to cinemas March 30! #ReadyPlayerOnepic.twitter.com/Dl0nhqFrsD

— We Have a Hulk (@wehaveahulkpod) December 8, 2017

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Rose McGowan Calls Out Alyssa Milano for Supporting Weinstein’s Ex

Actress Rose McGowan took aim at her former Charmed cast mate Alyssa Milano for her continued friendship with Georgina Chapman, ex-wife of disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. McGowan took to social media to tell Milano that she makes her “want to vomit” for remaining friends and supporting Chapman. McGowan alleges that Harvey Weinstein raped her in 1997 at the Sun Dance Film Festival and according to the New York Times, he paid her a settlement of $100,000 to keep silent about the matter.

While Alyssa Milano has been considered a huge ally in the Me Too movement sweeping the country, resulting in many powerful men being fired or resigning from positions due to sexual misconduct allegations, Rose McGowan isn’t having any of it after Milano appeared on the Megyn Kelly Show revealing that Georgina Chapman is an “amazing mother” and an “amazing woman.” McGowan took to Twitter to share her feelings about her old friend and she did not hold back. She had this to say.

“You make me want to vomit. You actually gave me a body flashback. Well done, fake one.”

McGowan wasn’t done there. She then said, “Alyssa, maybe you and Georgina can call up Camille Cosby,” referring to Bill Cosby’s wife, who stood by the disgraced comedian even after dozens of women came forward with disturbing sexual assault allegations.

In the wake of a series of damning sexual assault and harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein, Georgina Chapman, who is the co-founder of fashion label Marchesa, announced that she was leaving the disgraced producer. In a statement, she said that her “heart breaks” thinking about all of the damage that her ex-husband had inflicted. A new report suggests that the couple is still separated and that Chapman has yet to file for divorce from Weinstein. Rose McGowan also insinuated that Georgina Chapman’s fashion label was built upon Harvey Weinstein’s money and bullying, alleging that he made abused women wear his wife’s clothing line.

Rose McGowan was not alone with her feelings about Alyssa Milano and Georgina Chapman. Actress Asia Argento also tweeted out to Milano, simply saying that the actress is, “no bueno.” Argento also alleges that Harvey Weinstein raped her on two separate occasions. Alyssa Milano has yet to respond to either McGowan or Argento and continues to stand by her friend Georgina Chapman. Rose McGowan has been using her voice to speak out on social media to her nearly 1-million supporters to call out hypocrisy wherever she sees it.

Unafraid to name A-listers, Rose McGowan has tweeted at powerful men including Donald Trump, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, and Jeff Bezos. After Affleck and Matt Damon maintained silent on their old pal Harvey Weinstein, who gave the duo their first big Hollywood break, McGowan shared some strong-worded tweets at the duo. McGowan called Damon “spineless” and alleges that Affleck has known about Weinstein’s behavior for decades and even called out Casey Affleck who is facing sexual misconduct allegations of his own. Check out what both actresses had to say about Alyssa Milano supporting Harvey Weinstein’s ex-wife via Rose McGowan’s Twitter account below.

You make me want to vomit. You actually gave me a body flashback. Well done, fake one – People https://t.co/XCdTWyp4dd

— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) December 8, 2017

Alyssa, maybe you and Georgina can call up Camille Cosby

— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) December 8, 2017

Milano is no bueno https://t.co/4Y0uh8RFbv

— Asia Argento (@AsiaArgento) December 8, 2017

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Sam Neill Returns as Alan Grant in Jurassic World 2 Cameo?

It looks like Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has quite a few surprises in store, including a possible cameo from one of the franchise’s most beloved characters. A new rumor suggests that Sam Neill may have a small scene in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, once again reprising his role as Dr. Alan Grant. For now, this needs to be regarded as mere rumor, but there’s reason to believe this one has some weight to it. The news comes from Mr. Sunday Movies, who made the reveal in a recent YouTube video posted to his channel. Here’s what he had to say about it.

“So this email I got, it’s not somebody who I know personally, so take this with some granule of salt. This person who was working on the soundstage, where some of this film was shot, said that Sam Neill rolled up in a blacked out BMW at the time that this was filming. Now, I’d say, if this is true, which I’m inclined to believe, it’s only going to be a minor cameo.”

So, proper amount of salt taken into account, this is some potentially very exciting news for fans of the Jurassic Park franchise. While it doesn’t sound like director J.A. Bayona wants to rely too heavily on the original movie to make Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom interesting, it would absolutely make sense to have Sam Neill back as Alan Grant, at least briefly, in this movie. Given the events of Jurassic World, and considering this movie will deal with what to do with the animals now that the park is abandoned and a volcano is going to erupt threatening the life on Isla Nublar, Grant would likely have some strong opinions on the matter.

We also already know that Jeff Goldblum is going to appear in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom as Dr. Ian Malcolm. He was featured rather prominently in the trailer, but J.A. Bayona has said that his role is more like a “cameo,” though it’s going to be important. Getting Alan Grant and Ian Malcolm together in the same movie for the first time since the original Jurassic Park in Jurassic World 2 is a tantalizing prospect. Though, there’s no guarantee the actors would appear on screen together, but that would feel like a big missed opportunity, if indeed Sam Neill is going to appear in the movie at all.

It’s worth noting that Mr. Sunday Movies was one of the people who broke the news of Matt Damon’s cameo in Thor: Ragnarok (which also featured Sam Neill in a cameo), so he does have a decent track record with these sort of things. We’ll know next year, as Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is set to arrive in theaters on June 22, 2018. You can check out the full video breaking down the new Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom trailer and with the news of the possible cameo, courtesy of Mr. Sunday Movies, for yourself below.

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