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Intermedia Labs
Game Over for HQ
App Game Show Shuts Down After 2 1/2 Years
From CNN

It's over for HQ Trivia.

The company behind the once-popular live mobile trivia game has abruptly shut down, CNN Business reports. HQ will part ways with 25 full-time employees & contractors with the company ceasing operations immediately. Apparently, HQ Trivia hired a banker to find additional investors and received an offer to be acquired by an "established business." For "reasons [the company] is still investigating," though, the acquisition fell through. And since its current investors are no longer willing to fund the company, it has to shut down.

Games that were scheduled for season 15, which was due to start today, have been canceled.

When HQ launched in 2017, its first game HQ Trivia quickly attracted millions of people across the world who stopped whatever they were doing twice a day to play the game on their smartphones. The company was profiled by The New York Times and its original host Scott Rogowsky became a household name, appearing on programs like NBC's "Today" show.

But over the next year, the game's popularity faded and its parent company was hit with a series of setbacks. The company grappled with internal turmoil, including the death of HQ cofounder Colin Kroll, who died in December 2018 from a drug overdose.

CEO Rus Yusupov said in a company-wide email on Friday that "lead investors are no longer willing to fund the company, and so effective today, HQ will cease operations and move to dissolution."

In the email, which was obtained by CNN Business, Yusupov also disclosed that the company had hired a banker "to help find additional investors and partners to support the expansion of the company." He said the company had "received an offer from an established business" and was expected to close the deal on Saturday, but the potential acquisition fell through.

Yusupov went on Twitter and posted, "With HQ we showed the world the future of TV. We didn't get to where we hopes but we did stretch the world's imagination for what's possible on our smartphones. Thanks to everyone who helped build this and thanks for playing.

The app was launched by parent company Intermedia Labs in August 2017. At its peak HQ Trivia — which spawned a rash of copycats — had attracted some 2.3 million live viewers, each looking to earn a piece of a steadily growing pool of prize money for answering 12 trivia questions correctly.

In recent months, HQ tried to expand its audience by launching new products, including a photo challenge game in December called HQX.

"Since Colin and I founded the company, we really set out to develop this network of live interactive shows on mobile phones," Yusupov told CNN Business at the time.

HQ generated millions in revenue through brand partnerships and in-app purchases — a feat few young consumer tech companies could boast of in their early years. It worked with big-name brands such as Nike and Google and partnered with NBC, ABC and CBS to promote their programs. HQ's sponsored show for Warner Bros' "The Lego Movie 2" was nominated for an Emmy.

The game signed off with a profane, drunken After Dark finale on Friday. In a final, booze-filled send off to the show, hosts Matt Richards and Anna Roisman took to the internet to deliver fans one last live stream for a grand prize of a whopping $5. The winnings were split between 523 players, leaving them with just under a penny each, but that was hardly the point. Near the end of the stream, which lasted about 40 minutes– far longer than the usual time– Roisman says that those still watching are the "real fans" of the now-defunct HQ.

On Saturday, former host Scott Rogowsky — known as "Quiz Daddy" to HQ Trivia players and long the public face of the app — ripped the company's management.

"HQ didn't die of natural causes," he said in a tweet. "It was poisoned with a lethal cocktail of incompetence, arrogance, short-sightedness & sociopathic delusion." He did not elaborate. Rogowsky left the company last April, reportedly after a disagreement with management.


Digital Trends

posted 2/16/2020

Shropshire Star

"Love Island" UK Host
From TV Line

Caroline Flack, former host of Love Island UK, has died at the age of 40.

The British TV personality died by suicide.

She was found in her London residence on Saturday, according to her family's attorney.

The family also provided the following statement to Sky News, which reads as follows:

"We can confirm that our Caroline passed away today, 15 February. We would ask that the press respect the privacy of the family at this difficult time and we would ask they make no attempt to contact us and/or photograph us."

Flack presided over Love Island UK — which streams Stateside on Hulu — through Season 5. She was removed as host in December and replaced by Laura Whitmore, following allegations that she assaulted her boyfriend, English tennis player Lewis Burton.

She was set to stand trial on March 4.

She started out as an actress on the British sketch-comedy series Bo' Selecta! in 2002. She eventually made a career for herself as a television and radio personality, presenting on such reality series as Escape From Scorpion Island, Gladiators and I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! NOW! Flack went on to co-host the X Factor companion series The Xtra Factor, then presided over Season 12 of X Factor proper, alongside Olly Murs. In 2014, she won Season 12 of the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing with dance partner Pasha Kovalev.

ITV has postponed another episode of Love Island following the death of Caroline Flack but the show will return on Monday night with a tribute to the former presenter.

The British broadcaster said that the decision had been made after "careful consideration" between Flack's representatives and the Love Island production team. The British commercial broadcaster did not air Love Island: Unseen Bits on Saturday night, and there had been suggestions that the network would pull the plug on the series, which is due to end on February 23. It is understood that ITV execs spent much of Sunday discussing what to do following Flack's death.

Meanwhile, Channel 4 announced that it will not broadcast a new show fronted by Flack, called The Surjury, which wrapped filming late last year. Produced by Gobstopper Television, it was Flack's first show for Channel 4 and featured a 12-strong jury of the public deciding if people get the cosmetic surgery they've always dreamed of.

If you are in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

TV Line

ITV News

posted 2/16/2020

Weekend Lightning Round
... or "Unmasked"

  • Masked Singer UK bows out with 6.4 million (Deadline)

  • Bachelor Nation has its first broken marriage (The Wrap)

  • A FEW GOOD MINUTES with Vanna White (WSFX Wilmington)

posted 2/16/2020

CBS Found Love
"Love Island" Season 2 Drops May 21
From the Futon Critic

CBS delivered a Valentine's Day message today, announcing the second season of LOVE ISLAND will kick off with a two-hour premiere Thursday, May 21 (8:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

Following the premiere, one-hour episodes will air six nights per week (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT), including five originals plus a new weekly recap show on Saturdays. Host Arielle Vandenberg and narrator Matthew Hoffman will return with an all-new cast of Islanders for the U.S. version of the international reality sensation.

The series is produced by ITV Entertainment, an ITV America company.

Casting is now open for singles across America looking for their own sizzling summer love - visit https://www.cbs.com/casting/ for details.

For information on the open casting call in Minneapolis, Minn. (Feb. 15) visit www.wcco.com/loveisland and Orlando, Fl. (March 4) visit https://www.clickorlando.com/features/2020/02/10/news-6-holds-love-island-casting-call-in-orlando/. .

The Futon Critic

TV Line

posted 2/14/2020

Zoe Lyons the "Lightning" Lady
Comedian to Host New Show For BBC Two
From Variety

The BBC has tapped stand-up comic Zoe Lyons to host "Lightning," a fast-paced afternoon entertainment show to be broadcast on BBC Two.

Mixing elements of the traditional game show and quiz show, "Lightning" will have six contestants battling it out over six frenetic rounds, answering trivia questions and undertaking physical trials while trying to avoid a roving spotlight that will instantly eliminate whomever it lands on. Award-winning comic and one-time "Survivor" contestant Zoe Lyons will play host, guiding the players towards an ultimate prize of £3,000 ($3,900).

"It's incredibly exciting to be the host of 'Lightning,'" says Lyons. "It's a dream job for me as I'm a massive quiz fan and – unlike the contestants – I love being in the spotlight."

This 25 x 30' format was created by Banijay Group's Fizz (part of RDF) and the Belfast-based Nice One Productions. The two previously collaborated on BBC Three's "Fight Dirty," working under a co-development and co-production partnership meant to spur television outside of London and south-east England.

"Lightning" will film in Northern Ireland with support from Northern Ireland Screen. Executive producers are Neale Simpson (Fizz) and Chris Jones (Nice One). It was commissioned by Carla-Maria Lawson, BBC head of daytime and early peak, and Muslim Alim, commissioning editor for BBC daytime and early-peak. .



posted 2/14/2020

WGA Trying to End Stalemate
Goodman Cites "Substantive Discussions"
From Deadline

WGA president David A. Goodman told members Friday that the guild has had "substantive discussion with all but one" of the five biggest talent agencies about making deals that could end the guild's 10-month battle over packaging fees, adding that "those we have spoken to have said directly to me they would like to make a deal." He didn't say which of the five agencies has refused to talk.

In his latest message to the writers guild's members, Goodman said the guild continues to "place pressure" on the holdouts who refuse to sign its franchise agreement "by pursuing the lawsuit, by negotiating with the smaller agencies, and by withholding their ability to represent writers. The goal remains in sight: to realign all our representatives' financial interests with their writer clients by ending packaging fees and curtailing agency ownership of production."

The guild is currently in a legal battle with three of the biggest agencies – WME, CAA and UTA – in which both sides accuse the other of antitrust practices. Goodman also disputed "rumors" that many writers have returned to their unsigned agents, and challenged the notion that the battle with the agencies has weakened the guild going into its talks with the major studios and production companies for a new film and TV contract.


posted 2/14/2020

Young Sheldon Gives CBS Total
From the Futon Critic

ABC (5.075 million viewers, #2; adults 18-49: 0.9, #1) held the demo line on Thursday thanks to its trio of "Station 19" (5.979 million viewers, #4; adults 18-49: 0.9, #3), "Grey's Anatomy" (5.549 million viewers, #5; adults 18-49: 1.0, #T1) and "A Million Little Things" (3.698 million viewers, #8; adults 18-49: 0.6, #T7).

CBS (5.802 million viewers, #1; adults 18-49: 0.7, #2) was the silver draw with its mix of "Young Sheldon" (8.835 million viewers, #1; adults 18-49: 1.0, #T1), "The Unicorn" (6.041 million viewers, #3; adults 18-49: 0.8, #T4), "Mom" (6.255 million viewers, #2; adults 18-49: 0.8, #T4), "Carol's Second Act" (4.867 million viewers, #6; adults 18-49: 0.6, #T7) and "Tommy" (4.408 million viewers, #7; adults 18-49: 0.4, #T14).

Next up was FOX (3.156 million viewers, #3; adults 18-49: 0.6, #3) with originals from "Last Man Standing" (3.682 million viewers, #9; adults 18-49: 0.6, #T7), "Outmatched" (2.174 million viewers, #13; adults 18-49: 0.5, #T11) and "Deputy" (3.384 million viewers, #10; adults 18-49: 0.5, #T11).

Meanwhile, NBC (2.377 million viewers, #4; adults 18-49: 0.5, #4) served up new episodes of "Superstore" (2.342 million viewers, #12; adults 18-49: 0.6, #T7), "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" (1.790 million viewers, #15; adults 18-49: 0.5, #T11), "Will & Grace" (1.957 million viewers, #14; adults 18-49: 0.4, #T14), "Indebted" (1.527 million viewers, #16; adults 18-49: 0.3, #16) and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (3.324 million viewers, #11; adults 18-49: 0.7, #6).

And finally, week two of "Katy Keene" (0.557 million viewers, #18; adults 18-49: 0.1, #18) and a new "Legacies" (0.623 million viewers, #17; adults 18-49: 0.2, #17) closed out the evening on The CW (0.590 million viewers, #5; adults 18-49: 0.2, #5).

On cable Thursday (total viewers/A18-49)
- Project Runway (Bravo): 1.189m/0.22
- Ex on the Beach: Peak of Love (MTV): 298k/0.15

The Futon Critic

Showbuzz Daily

posted 2/14/2020

More on "Supermarket Stakeout" Season 2
Catch It on Food Network March 17
From the Futon Critic

Food Network's hit series Supermarket Stakeout, where the action begins when unsuspecting customers leave the store aisles and luck, negotiation and cooking skills are the ingredients to win, returns for a second season of fast-paced pop-up culinary battles on Tuesday, March 17th at 10pm (all times ET/PT).

Hosted by Iron Chef and Chopped judge Alex Guarnaschelli and shot on-location at supermarkets around the country, each episode features four talented chefs who must ambush shoppers as they exit the store and blindly bid on their grocery bags without knowing what's inside. Over three themed rounds with a budget of only $500 and pop-up kitchen setups, the chefs can only cook with the items they are able to negotiate out of the customer's carts with persuasion and a little cold hard cash. A rotating panel of judges, which this season includes Scott Conant, Giada De Laurentiis, Bobby Flay and Molly Yeh, ultimately determine each week which competitor made the most successful menu and is awarded enough cash for a year's worth of groceries.

"Supermarket Stakeout quickly become a must-watch for our viewers in its first season and we are so excited to deliver another season this soon," said Courtney White, President, Food Network. "You never really know what you are going to get in each episode - personality, luck and cooking all play a part, so each week's battle is filled with edge-of-your-seat unexpected results."

The Futon Critic

Niagra Froneier Publications

posted 2/14/2020

Happy Friday Lightning Round
... or "Love"

  • WHY THE BLEEP IS THIS NEWS? Something having to do with Italian sausage (Yahoo!)

  • LIST ABUSE: Stuff you didn't know about "The Circle" (Nicki Swift)

  • Jameela Jamil accused of ... Munchausen Syndrome? (Paper)

posted 2/14/2020

For God... Country... and Drag
Check Out the Trailer for the New Season February 28
From the Futon Critic

Emmy(R) award-winning host RuPaul will be joined by an epic line-up of celebrities to help show regulars Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley and Ross Mathews as they decide who will stay, lip-sync for their life or "sashay away" in the new season of "RuPaul's Drag Race" premiering Friday, February 28th at 8:00 PM ET/PT on VH1.

Be there to witness the first group of queens as they join the ruvolution in an electrifying two week long premiere episode that will give the audience a more intimate look at each queen as they pledge their allegiance to the drag.

This season's guest judges consist of film, music, television, fashion and political icons including Nicki Minaj, Whoopi Goldberg, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Chaka Khan, Robyn, Leslie Jones, Normani, Jeff Goldblum, Daisy Ridley, Thandie Newton, Olivia Munn, Rachel Bloom, Daniel Franzese, Jonathan Bennett and Winnie Harlow.

The thirteen competing queens will give their all to impress the judges as they vie for the ultimate title of "America's Next Drag Superstar" and a grand prize of $100,000.

Previously announced queens include Aiden Zhane (Acworth, GA), Brita (New York, NY), Crystal Methyd (Springfield, MO), Dahlia Sin (Los Angeles, CA), Gigi Goode (Los Angeles, CA), Heidi N Closet (Ramseur, NC), Jackie Cox (New York, NY), Jaida Essence Hall (Milwaukee, WI), Jan (New York, NY), Nicky Doll (New York, NY), Rock M. Sakura (San Francisco, CA), Sherry Pie (New York, NY), and Widow Von'Du (Kansas City, MO).

For more information on "RuPaul's Drag Race" and up-to-date news, go to vh1press.com and follow RuPaul's Drag Race on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook for all the latest tea. Join the conversation using #DragRace.

THe Futon Critic

TV Line
The Wrap

posted 2/13/2020

Daytime Emmys? There's An App for THat
NATAS Launches Dedicated Streamer
From Daytime Confidential

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) will broadcast this year's Daytime Emmys on its new streaming app.

Variety reports that NATAS plans to launch the as-yet-unnamed service in the first quarter of 2020 - just in time to broadcast both the Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards and the Sports Emmys.

NATAS president and CEO Adam Sharp said:

We were making it available on PCs and mobile in a clunky way. But with the Emmys OTT app available on any platform, if you want to watch on your phone you can watch on your phone. You want to watch on your TV, you can watch on your TV. And really be accessible to the audience. Wherever they are consuming the shows, we're on it.

Per Variety, the app will work on "web, mobile, and major settop platforms including Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Fire stick and Android TV."

Fans will also be able to find moments from past Daytime Emmys and other awards ceremonies, as well as new original shorts like "Behind the Emmy." The app will be free, at least at first, and without commercials.

Sharp added:

It is going to be there as a resource. Long term, I think we certainly see opportunities for ad support and/or sponsor support. That is not in the plan for launch day. I think our focus right now is really on building the content and building the audience. Then we'll look at the monetization path down the road. There are certainly opportunities for it, and it's something where in the engineering we are baking in. Monetization is not the focus, at least for 2020.

Daytime Confidential

Soap Opera Digest

posted 2/13/2020

WEDNESDAY: Masks and Winners
Fox, NBC Split Night; Survivor Keeps CBS Competitive
From the Futon Critic

FOX (5.110 million viewers, #3; adults 18-49: 1.5, #1) held off the demo competition on Wednesday with fresh installments of "The Masked Singer" (6.628 million viewers, #5; adults 18-49: 1.8, #1) and "LEGO Masters" (3.591 million viewers, #9; adults 18-49: 1.2, #3).

NBC (7.780 million viewers, #1; adults 18-49: 1.1, #T2) was the most-watched broadcaster with originals from "Chicago Med" (8.132 million viewers, #2; adults 18-49: 1.1, #T4), "Chicago Fire" (8.235 million viewers, #1; adults 18-49: 1.1, #T4) and "Chicago PD" (6.974 million viewers, #3; adults 18-49: 1.0, #6).

Next up was CBS (5.771 million viewers, #2; adults 18-49: 1.1, #T2) with the two-hour launch of "Survivor: Winners at War" (6.684 million viewers, #4; adults 18-49: 1.3, #2) plus a new "Criminal Minds" (3.945 million viewers, #6; adults 18-49: 0.6, #T10).

Meanwhile, ABC (2.951 million viewers, #4; adults 18-49: 0.6, #4) offered up originals from "The Goldbergs" (3.881 million viewers, #7; adults 18-49: 0.8, #8), "Schooled" (2.895 million viewers, #10; adults 18-49: 0.7, #9), "Modern Family" (3.720 million viewers, #8; adults 18-49: 0.9, #7), "Single Parents" (2.473 million viewers, #11; adults 18-49: 0.6, #T10) and "Stumptown" (2.369 million viewers, #12; adults 18-49: 0.4, #12).

And finally, a new "Riverdale" (0.680 million viewers, #13; adults 18-49: 0.2, #13) and a rebroadcast of "Katy Keene" (0.314 million viewers, #14; adults 18-49: 0.1, #14) closed out the evening on The CW (0.497 million viewers, #5; adults 18-49: 0.1, #5).

ON cable (total viewers/A18-49 rating)...
- Guy's Grocery Games - 9p (Food): 725k/0.22
- Guy's Grocery Games - 10p (Food): 644k/0.21
- America's Top Dog (A&E): 629k/0.16
- Get a Clue (GSN): 341k/0.03

THe Futon Critic

Showbuzz Daily

posted 2/13/2020

Who Will Be The Gamemaster?
Wil Wheaton to Host
From the Hollywood Reporter

A new esports reality competition series hosted by Wil Wheaton is coming this spring.

GameMaster places 12 amateur, aspiring esports athletes under one roof where they will live together and compete for a $100,000 grand prize. Each week, a contestant will be sent home with the season culminating in a one-on-one battle between the top two competitors. The nine-episode season will debut on an unspecified streaming service.

GameMaster is produced by Georgia-based Peach Maria Productions and powered by Santa Clara tech company AMD.

Outside of his work on the big and small screen (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Big Bang Theory), Wheaton has a history in video games, having voiced roles in titles such as Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Fallout: New Vegas. On March 15, he will host the SXSW Gaming Awards at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas and host a GameMaster panel alongside exec producer and show creator John Colp, exec producer Laurie Lockliear, and head writer Michael Sokolon on March 21.

"GameMaster takes the love of gaming and elevates it to a whole new level through the first immersive, multi-platform, head-to-head competition for both casual and diehard gaming fans," says Colp. "Our players won't play the same game from noon to night. They will play different games throughout and, at the end, the person who has the best cumulative score will be crowned the champion."

THe Hollywood Reporter

Broadway WOrld
THe Gamer

posted 2/13/2020

Dancing with the Star (TV)
Greek Network Picks Up Format
From C21 MEdia

Greek broadcasters have been shopping for formats at BBC Studios (BBCS), with one deal giving talent show hit Dancing With The Stars a new home in the country. The format, known as Strictly Come Dancing in the UK and one of BBCS's biggest hits worldwide, has been licensed to Star TV, where the first of two seasons will debut this autumn. The deal marks the seventh and eighth seasons of the show in the Greek market, following six earlier seasons on rival network ANT1, produced since 2010 by the broadcaster's in-house prodco Ena Productions.

C21 Media

TBI Vision

posted 2/13/2020

Speaking of "Masked Singer"
Live Tour Heads on the Road
From TV Insider

Get your masks ready: The Masked Singer is coming to a city near you.

On tonight's episode of the hit Fox singing competition, it was announced that The Masked Singer National Tour will hit the road in 2020, kicking off in Detroit, MI, on May 28 before zigzagging its way to more than 45 cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Los Angeles.

The live show will feature two celebrity guest hosts, as well as one local celebrity who will be in a top-secret disguise, keeping the audience guessing until they are unmasked at the end of the night. Audiences can also expect to see their favorite characters brought to life onstage, as well as surprise celebrity guests, new performances, and a can't-miss spectacular live show for audiences of all ages, according to a release announcing the news.

"As the formation of FOX Alternative Entertainment allowed us to bring production of The Masked Singer under the FOX banner, we can now explore new and exciting ways to grow this hit franchise," said Rob Wade, President, Alternative Entertainment and Specials, FOX Entertainment in a statement.

"The Masked Singer National Tour is a perfect example of this growth and, more importantly, a fun way for us to bring The Masked Singer and its beloved characters to fans and families across the across the country, live and in person."

Right Angle Entertainment, the company behind the live stage productions of Dancing With the Stars, America's Got Talent, and The Bachelor, is producing the tour alongside Guy Phillips, with Mark Swanhart set to direct.

For more information, including the full tour schedule and ticket information, check out www.themaskedsingertour.com. Tickets for the tour are on sale now at LiveNation.com.

TV Insider

Entertainment Weekly
WTTV Indianapolis

posted 2/13/2020

Thursday Lightning Round
... or "Celebrity Feud Rocks!"

  • Joining Jonathan Mangum & Wayne Brady on the Feud this summer? Fall Out Boy and Weezer (RockSound.TV)

  • BRUTALLY HONEST REVIEW: Love Is Blind (Netflix) (Newsweek)

  • ViacomCBS about to get a visit from the Pink Slip Express (The Wrap)

  • Mike Darnell wants to bring "The Voice Kids" to the US... and doesn't think Love Island and The Bachelor can coexist... and also has that Sideshow Bob haircut still (Deadline)

  • "Survivor: Winners at War" is nothing without Richard Hatch. This coming from... Richard Hatch (TV Line)

  • A FEW GOOD MINUTES with Miss Monster (THe Wrap)

posted 2/13/2020

Finally... A Triple Up.
NBC Sets Return Dates for "The Wall", "Songland"
From the Futon Critic

Two years after the season 2 finale, "The Wall" will return on Sunday, March 15 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

"The Wall," with Chris Hardwick returning as host, has changed people's lives, giving away more than $11 million to date. This season executive producer LeBron James has a game-changing twist to give away record-breaking money. Get ready for the all-new Superdrop, when all seven balls rain down in a waterfall drop that takes the total possible prize each night to over $13 million. But with more reward, comes more risk and the potential to lose it all. Every question and every decision could be the difference of millions of dollars in what is truly the most unpredictable show on television.

During the 2017-18 season, "The Wall" averaged a 1.2 rating in adults 18-49 and 6.0 million viewers overall in "live plus seven day" Nielsens, for growth versus the show's next-day "live plus same day" results of +20% or +1.0 million persons in total viewers. "The Wall's" 2017-18 finale on Feb. 5, 2018 hit season highs to deliver the show's most-watched episode in more than a year, and has grown with delayed viewing since that telecast to a 1.72 rating in adults 18-49 and 7.4 million viewers overall.

"The Wall" is a collaboration between SpringHill Entertainment and Glassman Media with James, Hardwick, Maverick Carter and Andrew Glassman serving as executive producers. "The Wall" was developed by Glassman Media in conjunction with CORE Media and produced in association with Universal Television Alternative Studio.

Meanwhile, NBC's groundbreaking series "Songland" is back for a second season beginning on Monday, April 13 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

The 10-episode series is an authentic peek into the creative process of songwriting and provides undiscovered songwriters the chance to pitch their original creations to top recording artists and a panel of the most sought-after producers in music - Ester Dean (Grammy-nominated songwriter and producer of Rihanna, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj), Shane McAnally (three-time Grammy-winning songwriter and producer of Kacey Musgraves, Kelly Clarkson and Sam Hunt with over 40 #1 country records and two-time ACM Songwriter of the Year) and Ryan Tedder (lead singer of OneRepublic and four-time Grammy Award-winning songwriter and producer of Adele, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and Jonas Brothers) - in the hopes of creating the recording artists' next big hit songs.

THe Futon Critic

TV Line

posted 2/12/2020

Unmasked in Russia
"Masked Singer" Heads Overseas
From Deadline

The Masked Singer bandwagon keeps moving at breakneck speed, with Russia the latest country to climb aboard the Korean entertainment show-turned global megahit.

Endemol Shine Group's Weit Media will produce a local version of the celebrity singing contest for free-to-air television channel NTV, with the nine-part series premiering in primetime next month. Endemol Shine North America first launched The Masked Singer for Fox last year, acting as a producer-for-hire on the format owned by Korea's MBC.

Endemol Shine stopped making the U.S. show after Fox opened an in-house production company in 2019, but the producer still makes versions in Mexico, Germany and Italy.

The Masked Singer has now been adapted in more than 50 countries after first premiering in Korea in 2015. Season 3 of the U.S. version launched with a record 23.7M viewers earlier this month in a prized slot following the Super Bowl, while the UK edition is also currently performing strongly for ITV.



posted 2/12/2020

TUESDAY: Super-ish Tuesday
NBC Splits the Night with CBS
From the Futon Critic

NBC (5.130 million viewers, #2; adults 18-49: 1.0, #1) claimed the adults 18-49 crown thanks to its mix of "Ellen's Game of Games" (4.534 million viewers, #6; adults 18-49: 0.9, #4), "This Is Us" (6.373 million viewers, #3; adults 18-49: 1.4, #1) and "New Amsterdam" (4.483 million viewers, #7; adults 18-49: 0.6, #T8).

The silver went to CBS (8.885 million viewers, #1; adults 18-49: 0.8, #2) and its trio of "NCIS" (11.647 million viewers, #1; adults 18-49: 1.0, #3), "FBI" (8.914 million viewers, #2; adults 18-49: 0.8, #5) and "FBI: Most Wanted" (6.096 million viewers, #5; adults 18-49: 0.6, #T8).

Next up was ABC (3.568 million viewers, #3; adults 18-49: 0.7, #3) with originals from "The Conners" (6.339 million viewers, #4; adults 18-49: 1.1, #2), "Bless This Mess" (3.601 million viewers, #8; adults 18-49: 0.7, #T6), "Mixed-ish" (2.569 million viewers, #10; adults 18-49: 0.6, #T8), "Black-ish" (2.542 million viewers, #11; adults 18-49: 0.6, #T8) and the debut of "For Life" (3.178 million viewers, #9; adults 18-49: 0.7, #T6).

Meanwhile, FOX (1.821 million viewers, #4; adults 18-49: 0.4, #4) offered up a repeat of "The Resident" (1.642 million viewers, #13; adults 18-49: 0.3, #T13) plus a new "Gordon Ramsay's 24 Hours to Hell and Back" (2.000 million viewers, #12; adults 18-49: 0.6, #T8).

And finally, fresh installments of "The Flash" (1.137 million viewers, #14; adults 18-49: 0.3, #T13) and "DC's Legends of Tomorrow" (0.746 million viewers, #15; adults 18-49: 0.2, #15) over on The CW (0.942 million viewers, #5; adults 18-49: 0.3, #5) closed out the night.

On cable (total viewers/A18-49)...
- Chopped - 9p (Food): 748k/0.20
- The Biggest Loser (USA): 659k/0.18
- Chopped - 10p (Food): 623k/0.17
- Ink Master: Turf War (Paramount): 486k/0.16
- Nick Cannon Presents Wild'n Out - 8p (VH1): 394k/0.20

The Futon Critic

Showbuzz Daily

posted 2/11/2020

Mo Better Booze
Discovery Greenlights "Master Distiller" for March 3
From the Futon Critic

Three competitors. Three judges. One winning spirit. In an all-new Discovery Channel series, MASTER DISTILLER, America's top legal and outlaw distillers go head to head in the ultimate booze-making competition to see who has what it takes to join the ranks of the greats and win the title of Master Distiller.

The all-new series, MASTER DISTILLER, premieres Tuesday, March 3 at 10pm ET/PT on Discovery Channel after an all-new episode of MOONSHINERS at 9pm ET/PT.

Across the country, distillers carry on a centuries old tradition. While some operate on the legal side, others perfect their craft in the shadows and beyond the reach of the law. Now, these diverse distillers will compete to earn their place in liquor-making history.

Judged by three legendary Moonshiners - Mark, Digger and Tim of Discovery's MOONSHINERS - three competitors will faceoff each week in a series of challenges focused on making a specific type of spirit, including American whiskey, rum, gin, mountain brandy, and mezcal among others. Beyond the necessary amount of skill required to complete the challenges, these competitors will need to prove their knowledge of the craft and demonstrate profound creativity as they convert raw local ingredients into authentic, handcrafted spirits that will impress the most seasoned of distilling experts. The champion of each episode will receive a limited release of their winning recipe through Sugarlands Distilling Co.

With bragging rights on the line and a limited run of their winning product on the shelf, who will have what it takes to be named MASTER DISTILLER?

MASTER DISTILLER is produced for Discovery Channel by Magilla Entertainment. Executive producers for Magilla Entertainment are Matthew Ostrom, Laura Palumbo Johnson, Jason Fox and Cristin Cricco-Powell. For Discovery Channel, executive producer is Bill Howard and associate producer is Paola Espinosa.

THe Futon Critic

posted 2/11/2020

MONDAY: Give a Little, Get a Little
ABC Wins the NIght
From the Futon Critic

ABC (6.106 million viewers, #1; adults 18-49: 1.5, #1) was the Monday champ thanks to new episodes of "The Bachelor" (6.377 million viewers, #3; adults 18-49: 1.8, #1) and "The Good Doctor" (5.564 million viewers, #8; adults 18-49: 0.9, #T4).

NBC (6.025 million viewers, #3; adults 18-49: 0.9, #T2) was the silver draw with its duo of "America's Got Talent: The Champions" (7.167 million viewers, #1; adults 18-49: 1.0, #T2) and "Manifest" (3.741 million viewers, #9; adults 18-49: 0.6, #10).

Sharing the silver was FOX (4.410 million viewers, #4; adults 18-49: 0.9, #T2) with fresh installments of "9-1-1: Lone Star" (5.682 million viewers, #6; adults 18-49: 1.0, #T2) and "Prodigal Son" (3.138 million viewers, #10; adults 18-49: 0.7, #T6).

Next up was CBS (6.047 million viewers, #2; adults 18-49: 0.7, #4) with originals from "The Neighborhood" (6.436 million viewers, #2; adults 18-49: 0.9, #T4), "Bob (Hearts) Abishola" (6.019 million viewers, #5; adults 18-49: 0.7, #T6), "All Rise" (5.596 million viewers, #7; adults 18-49: 0.7, #T6) and "Bull" (6.318 million viewers, #4; adults 18-49: 0.7, #T6).

And finally, new episodes of "All American" (0.812 million viewers, #11; adults 18-49: 0.3, #11) and "Black Lightning" (0.653 million viewers, #12; adults 18-49: 0.2, #12) closed out the night on The CW (0.732 million viewers, #5; adults 18-49: 0.2, #5).

On cable (total viewers/A18-49)...
- Kids Baking Championship (Food): 1.097m/0.25
- CHopped Sweets (Food): 765k/0.21
- Girl Scout Cookie Challenge (Food): 732k/0.18
- Common Knowledge (GSN): 501k/0.05
- Spy Games (Bravo): 358k/0.13
- Get a Clue (GSN): 302k/0.04

The Futon Critic

Showbuzz Daily

posted 2/11/2020

More on "Top Chef All-Stars LA"
Catch It on Bravo March 19
From the Futon Critic

Bravo's "Top Chef" jets to the City of Angels for Season 17 with All Stars LA, premiering with a supersized episode on Thursday, March 19 from 10 - 11:15 pm ET/PT. The Emmy and James Beard Award-winning series returns with 10 Finalists and 5 Front Runners, chasing the one thing that eluded them all -- the coveted title of "Top Chef."

It has been nine seasons since the first All Stars competition, and these chefs aren't holding any punches as they battle it out for the largest cash prize in "Top Chef" history. The chefs will compete across iconic locations in Los Angeles including the Griffith Observatory, The Getty Center, The Walt Disney Concert Hall, the LA Coliseum, and for the first time in show history, an epic finale in Italy. The series returns with host Padma Lakshmi, head judge Tom Colicchio, and judge Gail Simmons, along with some of the biggest names in the culinary world, as well as some of your favorite celebrity foodies.

Beginning Thursday, March 26, Bravo Media's Emmy-Winning digital companion series "Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen," hosted by Tom Colicchio, returns for season nine as the eliminated chefs go head-to-head to try to cook their way back into the competition. Presented by BMW of North America, each week's episode will be available on Bravotv.com, On Demand or wherever you stream Bravo's "Top Chef" at the conclusion of each week's episode.

In this spectacular season, the chefs will be challenged on the biggest trends hitting the food stage in Los Angeles, including mastering Kaiseki for Michelin-winning chefs of N/Naka, creating a tribute for the Pulitzer Prize winning and critically acclaimed food critic, the late Jonathan Gold, and honoring one of the most influential restaurants in the country, Michael's in Santa Monica. Along with these celebrated names, the All Stars will get to cook for some of the biggest players in food, Olympic legends, as well as A-list celebs such as Ali Wong and Randall Park, Kelly Clarkson for a Quickfire challenge themed to her new DreamWorks Animation film Trolls World Tour, dynamic duo Jon Favreau and Roy Choi, music maestro Gustavo Dudamel, and LA legend and taco maven, Danny Trejo. And with the help of OpenTable to run the restaurants, Top Chef's signature elimination challenge Restaurant Wars is back with a two-part throw down you won't want to miss.

The cheftestants also must impress a host of culinary megastars including: Nancy Silverton, Ruth Reichl, Jeremiah Tower, Marcus Samuelsson, Michael Cimarusti, Suzanne Goin, Ludo Lefebvre, Jeremy Fox, Timothy Hollingsworth, Hunter Lewis, Stephanie Izard, Brooke Williamson, Kelsey Barnard Clark, Sherry Yard, Carol & Niki Nakayama, Jonathan Waxman, Mauro Delgreco, Clare Smyth and Dario Cecchini.

The winning chef will earn the coveted title of "Top Chef," the largest cash prize ever, $250,000 furnished by S.Pellegrino(R) Sparkling Natural Mineral Water, a feature in FOOD & WINE magazine and an appearance at the annual FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen. Also with "Top Chef" official beer sponsor, Peroni, contestants will have the chance to imbibe in style after their hard-won efforts in the kitchen.

This season, from the beach to the mountains, the competition heats up as the chefs go to sleepaway camp for the ultimate cookout-inspired challenge, sponsored by BUSH'S(R) Beans, and recreate a famous chef's dish while being guided by their family members over the phone, powered by wireless sponsor Metro by T-Mobile. Thanks to the spacious luxury of the BMW X7, with its Intelligent Personal Assistant, they'll arrive on time and in style to every destination.

The Futon Critic

posted 2/11/2020

SYNDIES: Week 31
Results for the Week Ending February 2
From TV Newscheck

Magazines were the standout performers in an otherwise tepid session ending Feb. 2 as five days of impeachment hearings blacked out numerous shows in many markets.

In the household rating rankings that follow, % change is from the previous week; * indicates a new season-high rating; ** indicates a new season low; NC indicates no change from the previous week; NA mean not applicable.

- Jeopardy (CTD) 6.3 +2%
- Wheel of Fortune (CTD) 6.2 NC
- Family Feud (Debmar-Mercury/FMNA) 6.1 -2%
- 25 Words or Less (Fox) 1.0 NC
- America Says (Sony) 0.7 NC
- Funny You Should Ask(Entertainment Studios) 0.5 NC

TV Newscheck


posted 2/11/2020

More on "Hot Ones: The Game Show"
Catch It on truTV February 18
From Complex

Later this month, after the mind-numbing effects of Valentine's Day and the New Hampshire primary have subsided, truTV will unveil the game show version of Hot Ones.

The game show-ified extension of the hit digital series, which counts Shia LaBeouf and Margot Robbie among its long and fearless list of top-tier guests, will debut Feb. 18 with host Sean Evans.

Below, catch a new teaser clip of the surefire hit series:

#HotOnesGameShow is only ONE week away. ���

Make sure you tune in on 2/18 @ 10 PM EST #HotOnes Could you survive the @HotOnesGameShow? pic.twitter.com/P6j3BKRVyN — Complex (@Complex)


Atlanta Journal Constitution

posted 2/11/2020

Banijay Speeds Toward the Finish
$2.6 Billion Raised to Buy EndemolShine
From World Screen

Banijay Group (The Challenge, The Crystal Maze) has completed its refinancing drive to raise €2.4 billion ($2.6 billion) for the acquisition of Endemol Shine Group (Big Brother, MasterChef).

"Following positive feedback from the investor community, the business was oversubscribed and raised the full investment across euros and U.S. dollars with a maturity of five years; the necessary funds to refinance the group's existing debt, as well as that of ESG," the company said in a statement.

The financing includes €575 million ($627.8 million) senior secured notes due 2025; $403 million senior secured notes due 2025; €400 million ($436.7 million) senior notes due 2026; €453 million ($494.6 millio) term loan B facility; $460 million term loan B facility and €170 million ($185.6 million, equivalent) multicurrency Revolving Credit Facility.

World Screen


posted 2/11/2020

WEEKEND: And the Award Goes to...
Fox Wins Demo on "Masked Singer"/"LEGO Masters" Combo; NBC Wins Total
From the Futon Critic

ABC (19.160 million viewers, #1; adults 18-49: 4.2, #1) was the network to beat on Sunday courtesy of "The Oscars Red Carpet Show" (15.070 million viewers, #2; adults 18-49: 2.9, #2) and "The 92nd Annual Academy Awards " (20.521 million viewers, #1; adults 18-49: 4.6, #1).

CBS (4.273 million viewers, #2; adults 18-49: 0.4, #T2) was the second place draw with its repeat mix of "60 Minutes" (5.853 million viewers, #3; adults 18-49: 0.5, #3), "NCIS" (3.943 million viewers, #5; adults 18-49: 0.4, #T4), "FBI" (4.071 million viewers, #4; adults 18-49: 0.4, #T4) and "NCIS: New Orleans" (3.224 million viewers, #6; adults 18-49: 0.3, #T11).

Next up was NBC (2.134 million viewers, #3; adults 18-49: 0.4, #T2) with second runs of "America's Got Talent: The Champions" (2.534 million viewers, #7; adults 18-49: 0.3, #T11), "Ellen's Game of Games" (1.790 million viewers, #8; adults 18-49: 0.4, #T4) and another "Ellen's Game of Games" (1.676 million viewers, #9; adults 18-49: 0.4, #T4).

FOX (0.981 million viewers, #4; adults 18-49: 0.3, #4) likewise opted for repeats of "Last Man Standing" (1.057 million viewers, #11; adults 18-49: 0.2, #T14), "Outmatched" (0.801 million viewers, #15; adults 18-49: 0.2, #T14), "The Simpsons" (0.945 million viewers, #14; adults 18-49: 0.3, #T11), "Bob's Burgers" (0.952 million viewers, #13; adults 18-49: 0.4, #T4), "Family Guy" (1.026 million viewers, #12; adults 18-49: 0.4, #T4) and another "Family Guy" (1.103 million viewers, #10; adults 18-49: 0.4, #T4).

And finally, rebroadcasts of "Batwoman" (0.441 million viewers, #16; adults 18-49: 0.1, #T16) and "Supergirl" (0.360 million viewers, #17; adults 18-49: 0.1, #T16) rounded out the night on The CW (0.401 million viewers, #5; adults 18-49: 0.1, #5).

On cable Friday...
- The Crystal Maze (Nick) 466k
- The Crystal Maze (Nicktoons): 158k

On cable Sunday...
- Worst Cooks in America (Food): 967k
- Beat Bobby Flay - 10:30p (Food): 646k
- Beat Bobby Flay - 10p (Food): 644k

The Futon Critic

Showbuzz Daily
Showbuzz Daily

posted 2/11/2020

NBC/Warner Bros. Television

PAULA KELLY: 1943-2020
"Night Court" Actress, Dancer Appeared on "Match Game/Hollywood Squares Hour"
From the Hollywood Reporter

Paula Kelly, the actress, singer and dancer who starred in the film version of Sweet Charity and earned an Emmy nomination for her turn on Night Court, has died. She was 76.

Kelly had heart complications for many years and died Sunday in Inglewood, her nephew, Kyle Norton, told The Hollywood Reporter.

Kelly also appeared in such movies as The Andromeda Strain (1971), Cool Breeze (1972), Top of the Heap (1972), The Spook Who Sat by the Door (1973), Soylent Green (1973), Uptown Saturday Night (1974) — as Leggy Peggy — and Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling (1986).

After playing the dancer Helene on the London stage, Kelly reprised the role alongside Shirley MacLaine and Chita Rivera for the 1969 film adaptation of Sweet Charity, directed by Bob Fosse in his feature debut (he also had guided it on Broadway). She sparkled in the numbers "Hey, Big Spender" and "There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This."

"The only time I feel complete expression is when I'm dancing," Kelly said in a 1968 interview before she embarked on the movie. "Then, I have no problems, no worries, no hang-ups. I feel I could do anything in the world."

Kelly earned an Emmy nomination in 1984 for portraying public defender Liz Williams on the first season of the NBC sitcom Night Court and received another in 1989 for playing Theresa, one-half of a lesbian couple, on the ABC miniseries The Women of Brewster Place.

In 1984, she made her sole game show appearance toward the end of the run on NBC's "Match Game/Hollywood Squares Hour".

THe Hollywood Reporter

posted 2/10/2020

Tuesday Lightning Round
... or "Not Dismissed Yet"

posted 2/11/2020

KTTV Los Angeles

ORSON BEAN: 1928-2020
Character Actor, Game Show Mainstay Struck, Killed
From KABC Los Angeles

Veteran actor Orson Bean was struck and killed by a car in Venice Friday night, a friend has told Eyewitness News. He was 91 years old.

Los Angeles police say a pedestrian was walking in the area of Venice Boulevard and Shell Avenue when he was clipped by one vehicle and fell.

Other bystanders tried to warn a second driver, but he also struck the pedestrian. Police say the second collision was fatal. Both drivers stayed at the scene.

"The car coming westbound did not see him and clipped him and he went down," said Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Brian Wendling. "A second vehicle was coming up, was distracted by people trying to slow him down and then looked up and then a second traffic collision occurred and that one was fatal."

Police did not identify the pedestrian, but a friend of the veteran actor who witnessed the collision confirmed to Eyewitness News that Bean had been struck and killed.

Investigators say the initial indication is this was just a tragic accident. It appears Bean had come from between two vehicles when he was crossing the street and was not seen by the drivers.

Bean made more than 100 appearances in television and film in an acting career that spanned back to the 1950s. His credits include films such as "Being John Malkovich" and "Miracle on 34th Street" and TV shows like "Modern Family" and "The Bold and the Beautiful." He had a recurring role in "Desperate Housewives" from 2009 to 2012.

His game show appearances run the gamut between "Match Game", various incarnations of "PAssword", "To Tell the Truth", "Body Language", "The $10,000 Pyramid", "Hollywood Connection", "Break the Bank", "Tattletales", and "What's My Line?", to name a few. He also hosted the pilot to "Concentration" in the 1980s.

Bean had been married for 27 years to actress Alley Mills, best known as the mother in "The Wonder Years." Witnesses say she was at the scene.

The collision happened in front of the Pacific Resident Theatre, where both Bean and Mills were company members. Bean was crossing busy Venice Boulevard to the theater, where his wife was working, friends say.

Bean continued to perform into his 90s, appearing in the show "Superstore" and the film "The Equalizer 2" in 2018. Most recently, Bean and Mills had been performing in a play called "Bad Habits" at the Ruskin Group Theatre in Santa Monica, which just ended its scheduled run last week.

KABC Los Angeles
TV Line
The Hill
The Washington Post

posted 2/10/2020

NBC News

ROBERT CONRAD: 1935-2020
"Wild Wild West" Actor Played "Hollywood Squares"
From the Lisbon Morning Journal

Robert Conrad, the rugged, contentious actor who starred in the hugely popular 1960s television series "Hawaiian Eye" and "The Wild Wild West," died Saturday. He was 84. With his good looks and strong physique, Conrad was a rising young actor when he was chosen for the lead in "Hawaiian Eye." He became an overnight star after the show debuted in 1959. In "The Wild Wild West," which debuted in 1965, he was James T. West, a James Bond-like agent who used innovative tactics and futuristic gadgets (futuristic for the 1800s anyway) to battle bizarre villains. He was ably assisted by Ross Martin's Artemus Gordon, a master of disguise. The show aired until 1969. The series "Baa Baa Black Sheep" followed in 1976 and was roughly based on an autobiography by Marine Corps ace and Medal of Honor recipient Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, who wrote of the raucous fliers he commanded during World War II. Throughout Hollywood, Conrad had a reputation as a tough customer and was sued more than a half-dozen times as a result of fist fights. Playing himself in a 1999 episode of the TV series "Just Shoot Me," he lampooned his threatening, tough-guy persona. He was also featured in 1970s commercials for Eveready Batteries, with a battery on his shoulder, a menacing stare and a popular catchphrase, "I dare you to knock this off."

His game show appeareances include "Don Adams' Screen Test" in 1975 and "The Hollywood Squares" in 1978.

THe Lisbon Morning Journal
TV Line

posted 2/10/2020

ITV to Rest "X Factor" for 2020
From Deadline

The X Factor won't air on ITV in the UK this year as Simon Cowell figures out how to breathe new life into his once all-conquering talent show.

Cowell recently signed a five-year deal with ITV for Britain's Got Talent and The X Factor, with the plan being to broadcast a final season of the latter in 2020. But Cowell and ITV are now keen to rest the show until 2021.

A source said: "Simon is planning to rest The X Factor this year. He and the producers want to take a breath to really think through the show and how to reinvigorate it for the future. And they don't believe they can do that if they go straight into another cycle of the show this year."

They experimented with the format last year, launching X Factor: Celebrity and X Factor: The Band, but both shows failed to reignite the brand and turn around its falling ratings.



posted 2/10/2020

"Holey Moley" Jumps the Shark
Greg Norman Joins Australian Version; Rob Riggle to Host Along Brian "BT" Taylor
From 7News

Australian golfing legend Greg Norman will lead the cast of Channel 7's new miniature golf competition series Holey Moley, the blockbuster US smash hit set to premiere in Australia later this year.

One of the most successful golfers the world has ever seen, Greg will serve as Resident Golf Pro of the Holey Moley course and appear in every episode.

"Holey Moley is mini golf like you've never seen before and I couldn't be more excited to be part of this fresh, fun, new TV series," said Greg. "I look forward to joining the other incredible talent on the Holey Moley team and seeing all of the competitors in the 'Thunderdome' of mini golf. Let the games begin!"

The series will be hosted by American comedian/actor Rob Riggle (Step Brothers, The Hangover, The Other Guy), direct from the US version of Holey Moley. He'll also be alongside popular Australian commentator and presenter Brian 'BT' Taylor.


TV Blackbox

posted 2/10/2020

Monday Lightning Round
... or "Movie References"

  • COMING ATTRACTIONS: "The Bachelor" reenacts "Ghost" (TV Line) and "American Idol" reenacts "Almost Famous" (Deadline)

  • #ICYMI: RuPaul on SNL (TV Line)

  • A FEW GOOD MINUTES with Rob Mariano (TV Line) and Sandra Diaz-Twine (TV Line)

posted 2/10/2020

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