The T-Rex Awakens in New Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Teaser

Rexy is awake! The iconic T-Rex from the original Jurassic Park is back in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. And this time she’s coming face to face with Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard in the third teaser for the big trailer release this Thursday. It’s pretty great, but what is Universal doing to us?

Universal is attempting to build up hype for its impending Fallen Kingdom trailer later this week. And perhaps it’s overkill. When Avengers: Infinity War arrived, there was no teaser. Instead, Marvel gave the world an MCU recap promising the full trailer the next day. And when the first Infinity War footage arrived all at once, it literally blew the roof off the collective internet and went onto become the highest viewed trailer of all-time.

Jurassic World 2 is killing some of its momentum by releasing footage in 15 second chunks. And apparently we’ll get one more of these tomorrow. When it’s all said and done, that’s nearly two minutes of footage before the first trailer arrives. Are these all scenes that won’t be included in the trailer? That would be awesome. But if the trailer arrives with all of this footage in tact, it could be a disappointment to fans who are awaiting something monumental.

The great thing about this latest footage is that it gives us another look at Rexy. She’s been tranquilized and is ready for transport. Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady looks at the magnificent beast and declares, ‘Awesome!’ And it is, considering this ain’t no CGI dinosaur.

One of the biggest fan complaints when it came to reviving Jurassic Park with Jurassic World is that the 2015 release used too much CGI. The filmmakers have promised fans that won’t be the case with Fallen Kingdom. And here, we’re looking at an animatronic T-Rex that dates all the way back to Steven Spielberg’s original 90s classic. She looks ready to wake up and cause havoc.

Yesterday’s new footage gave us our first look at a new dinosaur, who appeared to be loose in the sewers, terrorizing Bryce Dallas Howard and Justice Smith. Producer Colin Trevorrow confirmed this slobbery-mouthed dino is the never-before-seen on the big screen fan favorite from Michael Crichton’s original novel, the Baryonyx. It is one of several new dinosaurs coming in Jurassic World 2. Just don’t hint that there are human-dinosaur hybrids in the movie. That could rankle some of the more hardcore fans in ways you can’t imagine.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom reteams Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard with executive producers Steven Spielberg and Colin Trevorrow. The ensemble cast includes James Cromwell, Ted Levine, Justice Smith, Geraldine Chaplin, Daniella Pineda, Toby Jones, Rafe Spall, while BD Wong and Jeff Goldblum are reprising their earlier roles from the franchise. J.A. Bayona is directing this latest big dinosaur adventure from a script written by Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow and its co-writer, Derek Connolly. Take a look at the latest footage from Universal Pictures.

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Celebrated Conductor James Levine Is Suspended In Wake Of Sex Allegations

The Metropolitan Opera has suspended its peerless former music director, James Levine, in the wake of on-the-record allegations of sexual misconduct reported in The New York Times. The suspension will preclude Levine’s participation in several high-profile events crucial to the nonprofit’s financial health, including the  upcoming New Year’s Eve debut of a new production of Puccini’s Tosca.

The suspension was announced Sunday by Met general manager Peter Gelb, who said Levine’s upcoming engagements with the company have been canceled and that Robert J. Cleary, a partner at the Proskauer Rose law firm who was previously a United States attorney in New Jersey and Illinois, has been engaged to investigate the claims.

Metropolitan Opera House


The disturbing allegations, including assertions that Levine engaged in sexual activity with teenage boy musicians in ensembles he conducted, go as far back as  1968, when Levine was a member of the summer program faculty at the Meadow Brook School of Music in Michigan.

The suspension of one of the best-known and most revered figures in the classical music world is the latest bombshell to strike the worlds of culture, politics and media in the wake of allegations of sexual abuse and assault that began with the testimony that brought down film producer Harvey Weinstein.

Levine has been associated with the Met Opera for more than four decades, stepping down in 2016 as music director. His influence extends far beyond the company’s Lincoln Center home, with its Austrian crystal chandeliers, marble grand stairway and Marc Chagall paintings. During that time, he re-shaped the Met orchestra into one of the world’s best – and most recorded – ensembles, guest conducted most of the top orchestras, served simultaneously as music director of the Boston Symphony and continued working despite crippling physical challenges, including Parkinson’s disease, that often had him conducting from a specially built wheelchair.

Levine’s popularity has helped the Met – with its annual budget in excess of $300 million, the U.S.’ largest nonprofit – stay afloat in perilous times for all classical music enterprises as audiences seek less expensive alternatives and public and private subsidies dwindle. In recent months, Gelb has overseen staff buyouts and other moves to trim the company’s budget.

The Met will also have to confront the fact that Levine’s off-podium behavior has for decades been another of those “worst-kept secrets” within their cultural, political and media spheres. The investigations they have prompted are likely to reveal a systemic blind eye to unacceptable and possibly illegal activities when they involve powerful, charismatic leaders. Gelb told the Times that previous accusations regarding Levine had been brought to the board’s attention, but that Levine had vigorously denied any improper behavior.

“While we await the results of the investigation, based on these news reports the Met has made the decision to act now,” Gelb told The Times, adding that the Met board supported the moves. “This is a tragedy for anyone whose life has been affected.”


‘Tarantula’ To Debut Entire First Season On TBS Website And App

The first season of TBS new animated series Tarantula is set to debut today with all episodes available to binge in one sitting. The series comes from comedy producers with impressive track records including Carson Mell of Silicon Valley and Danny McBride and Jody Hill of Vice Principals and Eastbound & Down. Brandon James and David Gordon Green are also producers.

The full-season drop marks a first for a network. Tarantula will debut its Season 1 episodes through the TBS app and beginning today. For those who prefer traditional viewing methods, the show will air on TBS today at 10 PM ET/PT. Two new episodes will air on Monday each week following Family Guy.

“TBS is continuing to reimagine the viewing experience,” said Brett Weitz, executive vice president of original programming, “By releasing all ten episodes of Tarantula on the TBS app, we hope to engage fans who find the series as delightfully addictive as we do!”

This continues TBS’ rebrand and newest strategy of releasing their shows in binge-worthy morsels. The Rashida Jones cop show satire Angie Tribeca premiered in a 25-hour marathon in early 2016, while the mystery-comedy Search Party aired its entire first season over Thanksgiving week.

Set at the Tierra Chula Resident Hotel, aka The Tarantula, the series centers on Echo Johnson (Mell), a respected but uncertified tattoo artist who delivers absurd yet introspective monologues. Echo’s poetic ramblings tell tales of misadventures with the other residents including Lucas (Dan Bakkedahl) the sci-fi writer and bread truck driver, Booty (Mell) the sensitive lead singer, and Bess (Lauren Weedman) a lady whose toughness was forged in the local honky-tonks. They partake in party crashing, dumpster diving, and other socially dubious acts of mischief. Riki Lindhome, Jacob Vargas, Steve Jones and Tati Gabrielle also lend their voice talents to the series.

“I started this show as a web series, a total labor of love, almost six years ago.” said Mell.  “Since then, the world of Los Palicios, California and its oddball inhabitants has grown and grown in my head. I’m beyond excited to finally share Echo Johnson, and all his friends new and old, with the world in this new, more complete, way.”

Tarantula is written and executive produced by Mell alongside executive producers McBride and Hill. James and Green also executive produce for Rough House Pictures alongside Claudia Katz and Gregg Vanzo of Rough Draft Animation.


‘Shooter’ Renewed For Season 3 By USA Network

Just days after Shooter star Ryan Phillippe announced on social media that he has fully recovered from the serious off-set injury that cut short Season 2 of the popular USA Network drama, the network has renewed the series for a third season.

I hear Season 3 will consist of 13 episodes, up from the 10-episode Season 1 and 2 orders. Shooter ended up airing an eight-episode second season after Phillippe broke his leg on July 16 while Shooter was in the midst of filming the ninth episode of its 10-episode second season. At the time, USA, along with the series producing companies Paramount TV and Universal Cable Prods., made a decision to only air the completed episodes, with Episode 8 serving as a Season 2 finale. It aired Sept.5.

Season 3 of Shooter is based loosely on Black Light, the second book in the Bob Lee Swagger series by Stephen Hunter. As Bob Lee struggles to put an end to the events of season two, a nemesis reveals mysterious details surrounding his father Earl’s death, leading Bob Lee towards a startling conspiracy that hits close to home.

I hear Season 3 will pick up where Season 2 left off using all new footage. While the new story for Season 3 is revealed, viewers also will get resolution on the events in Season 2.

While sidelined, Phillippe was very active supporting Shooter on social media, live-tweeting the Season 2 premiere on July 18 and doing a Twitter Q&A with fans.

Production on Season 3 of Shooter begins this January in Los Angeles.


Plaxo, Comcast’s Early Social Network, Logs Off

Plaxo, a digital address-book organizer that presaged social networking in the early 2000s, has been shut down by Comcast.

In a message on its home page, Plaxo bid a straightforward farewell, saying no new accounts can be created and service will wind down on Dec. 31. Consumer data will be purged beginning on Jan. 1, 2018. “Thank you for subscribing to Plaxo,” it read. “We appreciate the support you have given us over the years and we wish you all the best.”

Comcast acquired Plaxo in 2008, reportedly for $150 million to $170 million. At that point, it had 50 million accounts. An internal memo from Plaxo’s CEO at the time gushed, “Together, we intend to deliver on a vision of making ‘social media’ a natural part of the lives of regular people, not just early-adopters.”

Even though it was early enough that the phrase “social media” was still in quotes, Plaxo was quickly eclipsed by MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social platforms. (One of Plaxo’s founders, Sean Parker, would go on to participate in the birth of Facebook.)

One factor was the fact that Plaxo was a premium service, compared with rivals, which did not charge users and made money on advertising. Like a lot of companies, Plaxo also struggled to adapt to the mobile and smartphone era.


CBS Research Guru David Poltrack Sees “Bright Future Ahead” For Broadcast TV

Making the same bullish case he and other network executives have been making for years even as headwinds have picked up speed, CBS research guru David Poltrack added some new wrinkles to it, pointing to ad spending by tech giants and embrace of TV by millennials.

In a 40-minute presentation at the 45th annual UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in New York, Poltrack proclaimed, “The broadcast business is entering a period of growth and prosperity.”

Until 1992, he noted, broadcasters had a single revenue stream, but now enjoy billions in retransmission revenue and are also exploring direct-to-consumer opportunities. While the universe of vMVPD subscribers (i.e. people paying for “skinny bundle” services like Sling or YouTube TV or PlayStation Vue) is estimated by Nielsen at 1.6 million, the number is growing.

CBS’ direct-to-consumer OTT service, CBS All Access, is ahead of the company’s expectations, Poltrack noted. “If it were in isolation, you’d say, ‘Wow, this is one of the hottest businesses out there.’ But people tend to focus on the other side, which is advertising.”

While there is a great deal of pessimism about traditional TV’s prospects to keep ad rates up as ratings keep eroding, Poltrack said the networks have a vast number of impressions that are not monetized. Counting both the network and CBS affiliates, Poltrack said the company has 1.2 trillion total impressions. “We are not even close to monetizing that,” he said.

He predicted mid-term elections, Olympics and World Cup coverage would drive a 5% gain in ad revenue for 2018, contradicting forecasts from media buyers for a 2% decline.

Poltrack took pains to differentiate the ad environments on broadcast TV and in the digital realm. He cited a Nielsen study of 868 ad campaigns TV reach 58%, digital reach 2% and said 90% of network ads are bought by just 200 companies, compared with the million-plus brands buying space on Facebook and Google.

And speaking of digital giants, Poltrack noted increases in spending on broadcast ads by the “FAANG” companies–Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, up 23% in 2016 versus 2015 and up 27% this year to date. “Perhaps the best testimony to the power of network television is that the FAANG forces–with all of their sophisticated data capabilities …. are putting their money into network television advertising.”

Poltrack also addressed a lonstanding knock against broadcasters, that free-spending millennials are not regular viewers due to cord-cutting and the array of digital entertainment options. “As they are aging, millennials are watching more television,” he said. People between 35 and 39, the oldest of the millennial population, are watching 71% more network TV than when they were in their early 20s, he said.

“This is the delayed generation,” he said. “They’re doing everything later.”


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Shyamalan Wraps Production on Split and Unbreakable Sequel Glass

That’s a wrap! M. Night Shyamalan has worked his way back into people’s good favor, mostly because of Split, which is one of the most successful movies of 2017. What people didn’t know heading in is that the movie was actually a sequel to Unbreakable. Given the success, the director quickly got to work on Glass, which will conclude the Unbreakable trilogy. Now, thanks to some of the cast, we can confirm that the movie has officially wrapped production.

Toward the end of November, M. Night Shyamalan took to Twitter, announcing that he was heading into the last week of production, saying, “Spent last two days in the editing room deciding what shots I need to get or redo in the last week on #Glass.” Anya Taylor-Joy, who reprises he role as Casey in Glass, took to Instagram to confirm that those final shots are in the can and that Split 2/Unbreakable 2 is one step closer to arriving in theaters. Here’s what she had to say about it.

“Buh bye Casey Bear! Two years ago, I secretly paraded around 30th street station in a giant bear costume to prank Mcavoy and the crew. It was the last day of filming and I’ll remember it forever. Having just wrapped Glass, I am filled with so much gratitude and love. The memories we’ve made on these two movies are beautiful and sacred and I am a lucky girl indeed to have shared them with all of you. Beaming with pride, joy+ affection”

Glass picks up following the conclusion of Split and finds David Dunn (Bruce Willis) pursuing Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), aka The Beast, in a series of encounters that begin to escalate. All the while, the shadowy presence of Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), aka Mr. Glass, emerges as an orchestrator who holds secrets critical to both men. Here’s what James McAvoy had to say in his Instagram post, confirming that production on the highly-anticipated sequel has wrapped.

“Had an amazing time last night at @surayaphilly where we had our wrap party for #glassmovie . The food was AWESOME and the staff (pictured) where fantastic!!! They’ve cherry picked some of the best people from around Philly to run this place and it’s rockin!”

Split grossed a very impressive $278.3 million worldwide, working from a production budget of just $9 million. Perhaps more importantly, at least for Shyamalan’s career, the movie was very well-liked by critics and fans alike. So, we’re finally going to see the return of David Dunn and Mr. Glass. Unfortunately, even though production has wrapped, the release date for Glass isn’t until January 18, 2019. So we still have more than a year to wait. You can check out Anya Taylor Joy and James McAvoy’s social media posts for yourself below.

Spent last two days in the editing room deciding what shots I need to get or redo in the last week on #Glass.

— M. Night Shyamalan (@MNightShyamalan) November 22, 2017

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