Now that 20th Century Fox and director Josh Trank have their “Fantastic Four” in place, they've turned their attention to the movie's villain — Dr. Doom.
Four rising stars remain on the short-list, all of whom have accents and are 30-34 years old. A fifth contender, Jack Huston, was rumored to up for Dr. Doom several weeks ago, though he is no longer believed to be in the mix.
One of them is expected to antagonize superheroes Mr. Fantastic (Miles Teller), the Human Torch (Michael B. Jordan), the Invisible Woman (Kate Mara) and the Thing (Jamie Bell).
20th Century Fox, which declined comment, will release “Fantastic Four” in June 2015.
To find out which actors are being considered for the coveted role, watch the video.
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“Fast & Furious 7″ is shifting back into production later this month, Universal told TheWrap.
The studio said production, delayed since star Paul Walker's death in a car crash last November, will resume March 31.
The franchise's star, Vin Diesel, telegraphed that it was near Tuesday in a Facebook post.
“The transition into that Dom state of mind has always been an interesting one,” he wrote. “Only this time there is added purpose, a collective goal to make this the best one in the series… P.s. The long awaited completion of Seven, begins…”
Production on the seventh installment of the long-running vehicular action series has been delayed since Walker's death in a fiery car crash. Production was more than half-completed at the time of the accident, and was slated to go to Abu Dhabi to continue filming.
Universal canceled what were supposed to be the final days of production to allow the cast and crew to grieve, as well as to figure out how to proceed and adjust the story in the wake of his loss. The studio, director James Wan, producer Neal Moritz and writer Chris Morgan have considered starting from scratch, as The Wrap previously reported.
The film, initially slated to be released this year, was pushed back to April 10, 2015.
Anne Sweeney's successor will take on a slew of responsibilities, from overseeing ABC Studios and the Disney channels to heading the ABC Family and Disney's interest in A&E Networks and Hulu. But the most obvious problem for the Disney-ABC Television Group is the flagship network's ratings.
Sweeney is announcing her resignation during a season in which ABC has slipped to fourth place in the key 18-49 demographic. It is down 9 percent year-over-year, with a 2.1 average in the ratings that reflect viewing over a week.
The person directly responsible for ABC is Paul Lee, who answers to Sweeney. Whoever replaces her will need to find a way to jumpstart the network, where reliable reality hits like “The Bachelor” and “Dancing With the Stars” no longer earn the ratings they once did. “Modern Family” is the network's top-rated scripted show. “Scandal” and the aging “Grey's Anatomy” continue to be top-rated dramas.
But ABC, like most networks, hasn't found many big hits this season. “Agents of S.H.I.EL.D.” started strong but has slipped. And the network has suffered the cancellations of “Lucky 7,” “The Assets” and “Back in the Game.” “Killer Women” is shelved, and the new “Mind Games” is averaging a mere 0.8 in the advertiser-sought 18-49 demographic.
One new bright spot? Sunday's “Resurrection” debut scored a 3.6 rating. Also, last month, the Oscars on ABC hit a 10-year viewership high, with 43 million.
All told, the network has 20 regular shows that have averaged below the 2.6 mean rating for shows across ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC. Only nine of its shows are at or above a 2.6.
Below are the season-to-date primetime ratings and rankings of the top networks.
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Katherine Heigl has left CAA and signed with WME. The actress’ mother and manager, Nancy Heigl, who is intimately involved with every detail of her daughter's career, played a factor in the split, TheWrap has learned.
Heigl broke out on the popular teen show “Roswell” before being launched to stardom when she landed the role of Dr. Izzie Stevens on ABC's long-running hit “Grey's Anatomy.”
From there, Heigl starred opposite Seth Rogen in Judd Apatow's “Knocked Up,” though she later called the project “sexist” and never worked with the director again despite the fact that Apatow often employs the same actors.
After a few movie misfires including “Killers,” “Life as We Know It,” “One for the Money” and “The Big Wedding,” Heigl decided to return to television, and multiple networks were involved in a bidding war over her upcoming NBC pilot “State of Affairs,” in which she'll play a maverick CIA officer.
Heigl next stars as a lesbian in the indie movie “Jenny's Wedding,” and she'll soon be seen alongside Patrick Wilson in the indie “North of Hell.”
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“Definitely there are things that we do that are infused with meaning,” says “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner. “This gallery shoot is not necessarily infused with meaning.”
Weiner spoke to TheWrap about the brand-new promotional photos for the seventh and final season of his closely watched drama. Despite his warning, we couldn't help but try to interpret them.
Since last season ended with Don Draper ejected from his own ad firm, we assumed that the images of him sitting alongside Roger Sterling and Peggy Olson must be part of a dream.
But no, Weiner said: The images aren't from upcoming episodes, and don't hint at plot developments. They're standalone images meant to evoke a feeling.
“It's more designed as something we do every year before we launch the the show to present the characters in an abstract setting and remind everybody who's there, and show off our hair and makeup and costumes and photography and the incredible cast, in a way that whets your appetite for the show,” he explained. “One of the great things we get to do… is kind of show off the glamour of the characters in a way we don't always in the show.”
But surely the airport represents… um… Don's… journey?
“We picked the airport this year because it harkens back to something that has truly disappeared, which is – not the adventure of travel, hopefully that will never go away – but certainly the idea of glamour and travel is gone. We don't see Peggy waiting in line with her iPod and sweat pants,” Weiner said.
So really, no symbolism at all?
“I have to disappointingly say that it's not particularly symbolic,” Weiner said. “For me the answers to the show get answered when you watch the show.”
Oh well. The photos are still gorgeous. Enjoy:
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Anne Sweeney's surprising resignation to begin a new career as a television director leaves void at the top of Disney/ABC Television Group – but the company could easily fill it from within.
A slew of potential replacements – including the heads of entertainment at NBC, CBS, and Fox – all appear to be locked into their contracts. CBS's Nina Tassler and NBC's Bob Greenblatt have signed on through 2017, and Fox's Kevin Reilly signed a deal in 2012 that his boss, Peter Rice, said would keep him with the network for “many more years.” Showtime president David Nevins was also just promoted and extended his contract to 2018.
So who's left? Plenty of people. And most of them work for Disney already. Disney CEO Bob Iger could easily promote existing employees rather than poach from elsewhere.
Also read: Bob Iger to Remain as Disney CEO Into 2016
1. Paul Lee
Sweeney was his boss, so ABC's head of entertainment would seem an obvious choice, except that ABC is having ratings troubles this season. The network has slipped to fourth place in the key demo, and it hasn't had any big hits this season.
2. Ben Sherwood
Since taking over as president of ABC News, Sherwood has led the divisions's flagship program, “Good Morning America,” to unseat NBC's “Today” as the top-rated morning show after 16 years. But he's not just a news guy. Sherwood has written three novels, including “The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud,” which became a movie starring former Disney star Zac Efron. Here's to unintentional corporate synergy.
3. Nancy Dubuc
The president and CEO of A&E Networks presides over a suite of successful networks including A&E, Lifetime, and History. Ratings for shows like “Duck Dynasty” and “The Bible” make other networks salivate. She also successfully navigated what looked like a no-win “Duck Dynasty” standoff in December, as A&E suspended and then quickly unsuspended star Phil Robertson for anti-gay remarks. That took some doing. At 45, she's also the youngest of our potential candidates. One hiccup: A&E networks is a joint venture between Disney and Hearst, and Hearst will want to keep her in place.
4. Gail Berman
The co-founder of media company BermanBraun has already led Paramount Pictures and Fox Broadcasting Company, so she could thrive in a Disney job that involves plenty of repackaging hit Disney-Marvel films for TV. (“Marvels Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” won't be the last of them.) Berman is now a free agent again, after leaving the company she founded with Lloyd Braun five years ago.
5. John Skipper
Iger could simply ask Skipper, Sweeney's co-chair of Disney Media Networks Group, to take over her division, Disney-ABC Television Group, in addition to continuing his duties as president of ESPN. But heading ESPN is a huge job as it is. There's a reason he and Sweeney have had two separate jobs all this time. Still: Skipper has been with Disney since 1990, he oversaw incredible growth, and ESPN is a major moneymaker for Disney.
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It takes her a few tries, but “Noah” star Emma Watson eventually introduces the newest trailer for the Darren Aronofsky film.
The second preview (above) for the Biblical epic focuses on Watson's romantic relationship in the film with Shem (Douglas Booth) while her dad, Noah (Russell Crowe), clashes with a warrior, played by Ray Winstone, who is bent on stealing the giant ark God told Noah to build.
There also appears to be plenty of fire and brimstone falling from the skies as the Heavens flood the earth to scourge it of human pestilence.
Logan Lerman (“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”) co-stars as Watson's brother, while Jennifer Connelly plays their mother in the March 28 release from Paramount Pictures.
The movie made its world premiere on Monday in Mexico City.
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Lena Dunham found herself in hot water Tuesday with several co-hosts of “The View,” who questioned whether the “Girls” star was a comic in the wake of a controversial joke she deleted on Twitter.
Dunham's controversial molestation tweet took center stage on “Hot Topics” as Barbara Walters panned Dunham's joke saying she thought making light of that kind of sensitive subject matter was never funny. Co-host Sherri Shepherd argued that outrageous comedy can sometimes work with the right people but not Dunham, who in her eyes, was not a comic.
“Number 1, Lena Dunham is not known as a comedian so therein lies a big problem,” Shepherd observed. “Because you've got comedians who in a comedy club can make a certain joke. You've got a Sarah Silverman, Lisa Lampanelli, Chelsea Handler. They're known for doing a lot of risqué. So if they did something like that, I don't think it would surprise anybody.”
“Let me ask you a question,” Walters asked Shepherd. “They can be funny and they can be off-color and so forth. But is molestation ever funny?”
“But she's not known for that, Barbara!” Shepherd interjected. “Yes! I've heard people make those kind of jokes!”
“I would never find it funny,” Walters opined.
“If Chelsea Handler made a very risque comment even something like that I wouldn't be surprised if Chelsea said it or Lisa Lampanelli. I might even laugh. Because that's what they're known for doing. Lena Dunham is known being a feminist, empowering women, so that is a contradictory (sic)!”
Jenny McCarthy asked guest Jeff Ross if those kinds of jokes ever worked.
“I think jokes in context are always okay,” Ross contended. “I mean, laughter comes from pain. If we don't make fun of the darkest things in the world, then comedians aren't doing their job. So hats off to Lena.”
“But she's not a comic,” Whoopi Goldberg argued.
“She's not a comic!” Shepherd chimed in.
“She *is* a comedian, because she has a comedy show,” Ross affirmed. “She roasted Howard Stern at his birthday party. She's a comedy writer.”
McCarthy added that victims of molestation would not find Dunham's joke humorous.
Watch the women of “The View” over Dunham's comic cred below:
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The face-off between ABC late-night host Jimy Kimmel and Toronto mayor Rob Ford is going into overtime.
Kimmel, who interviewed the party-positive Canadian politician on his show last week, will appear on Ford's YouTube show “Ford Nation,” the mayor's brother Doug Ford told the Toronto Sun on Tuesday.
According to Doug Ford — who's also involved in “Ford Nation” — Kimmel will appear via Skype.
Kimmel and Ford will likely have plenty to talk about. The Toronto mayor was reportedly “a little upset” about the tone of the “Jimmy Kimmel Live” interview after appearing on the show — though he reportedly calmed down by the time he reached Los Angeles International Airport to depart.
“Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that you are here, but why are you here?!” Kimmel asked Ford during the appearance. “What good could come of this? Have you ever seen this show?”
Kimmel addressed Ford's reported displeasure on his show the following night.
“”We had an interesting night last night. The mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, was here — and after that, I'm not sure what happened,” Kimmel said. “It seemed like we were having fun. We went over — much of his remarkable life. We reviewed some of his home videos. But then after the show, he was apparently upset. Why, I'm not exactly sure. I asked him about drinking and smoking crack. What were we supposed to talk about? His other hobbies?”
Former CNN President Jon Klein and former NBC Universal Chairman Jeff Gaspin announced on Tuesday the launch of the latest generation of online ventures, called TAPP, a paid, online video platform featuring multiple channels based on individual media personalities. TheWrap spoke to Klein in the wake of the announcement. Klein will be CEO, while Gaspin will be chairman.
How did this venture come about?
Jeff and I both came to this from different directions. At CNN I used to sit there and wonder when it would occur to Anderson Cooper and Sanjay Gupta and Christiane Amanpour that CNN needed them more than they needed CNN these days. Technology allows personalities to connect with their biggest fans.
To me TAPP is the fulfillment of that. We've created the company that I feared would come along .
For Jeff, who oversaw distribution at NBC, he helped establish young networks… We're living in the age of specificity – whether it's a TV channel that let's you pick the star you love most and watch their network and pay for that. You get more of the person you love and less of the person you don't care about.
TAPP will take advantage of that.
Who have you signed for the network?
We haven't talked about personalities and channels, but basically we're looking for personalities who have a strong social presence – it could be on the radio show, a TV series, a blog, where they have regular contact with the audience. People with an intense base of super fans who crave more from their idol.
So, more Howard Stern?
Howard Stern is a good example of that personality. There are a lot of people who are not household names bur nonetheless have millions of loyal fervent fans who want more of them. That's a rich vein for us to tap.
And you'll monetize this how?
We charge a monthly subscription fee — $9.95 a month. You pay per channel. We're not building up the TAPP brand initially, the brands of our stars are so strong.
So you're taking the Glenn Beck, you're taking the WWE, the Andrew Sullivan model?
Yes. We see Glenn Beck's huge success – 300-400,000 subscribers, paying him $10 a month. So we want to do Glenn Beck at scale – dozens of channels over the next several years.
How much money have you raised?
A lot of money from Discovery, they're a major investor and on our board. And individuals including Eric Schmidt of Google, Ken Moelis of Moelis & Co, Peter Ezersky of Quadrangle – it's a fantastic group.
Is this what, in the $50 million range?
We've got deep pockets to spend. Enough to really put the pedal to the metal.
Where will you be based?
We're based in the cloud right now. Jeff's in LA. I'm in New York. We'll have production facilities at each of the channels. We meet every day on Skype.
When will be the first rollout?
The first channel rollout is in the next month, we're in the midst right now of taping some of shows.
And how many stars have you signed?
We've got a number of stars. A number of personalities.
And I hear agents are calling you today?
Yes, and that's great.
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“Game of Thrones” star Kristian Nairn, who plays Bran Stark's 6' 10″ protector Hodor, is fully aware that the gay community considers him “a bear” — because he is a member of that community.
The actor has been waiting for someone to ask him about his sexuality so he could publicly “stand up and be counted.”
“Well, in all honesty, when you talk about ‘the gay community,’ you are talking about MY community,” Nairn told WinterIsComing.net when asked about his “bear” status. “I am aware of it, yeah, and I think it's really lovely. There's not a day that I don't get a few messages, but 99 percent or more are super sweet and nothing smutty at all!”
A “bear” in the LGBT community is considered a large, typically hairy man who projects an image of rugged masculinity.
“Again, it's a privilege, and I really mean that,” the Irish actor continued. “I've never hidden my sexuality from anyone my whole life, in fact. And I've been waiting for someone to ask about it in an interview, because it's not something you just blurt out. I've tried to lead the questions a few times, to no avail!”
Nairn, a DJ and actor who hails from Belfast in Northern Ireland, says he understands why it has taken so long for someone to ask about his sexuality, and respects the privacy of other performers who may not want to address their own publicly, but he felt it was important to be open about it.
“It's a very small part of who I am on the whole, but nonetheless, in this day and age, it's important to stand up and be counted,” Nairn added. “I have and always will stand my ground. So, yeah, people have been great, on the show, but I don't see why it would be an issue.”
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The following is a transcript of President Obama's interview with Zach Galifianakis on his Funny or Die show, “Between Two Ferns.”
Galifianakis: Sorry I had to cancel a few times. My mouse pad broke last week and I had to get my Great Aunt some diabetes shoes and uh…
Obama: Uh, you know what, Zach? It's no problem. I mean, I have to say, when I heard that, like people actually watch this show, I was actually pretty surprised.
Galifianakis: Shh, shh! Hi, welcome to another edition of “Between Two Ferns.” I'm your host, Zach Galifianakis and uh, my guest today is Barack Obam…President Barack Obama.
Obama: Good to be with you, Zach.
Galifianakis: First question. In 2013, you pardoned a turkey. What do you have planned for 2014?
Obama: We'll probably pardon another turkey. We do that every Thanksgiving. Was that depressing to you? Seeing that, uh, one turkey kinda taken out of circulation? A turkey you couldn't eat?
Galifianakis: So, how does this work? Do you send Ambassador Rodman to North Korea on your behalf? I read somewhere that you'll be sending Hulk Hogan to Syria, or is that more of a job for Tonya Harding?
Obama: Zach, he's, he's not our ambassador.
Galifianakis: What should we do about North Ikea? (Looks at paper) Kor… North…
Obama: Why don't we move on?
Galifianakis: I have to know. What is it like to be the last black president?
Obama: Seriously? What's it like for this to be the last time you ever talk to a president?
Galifianakis: It must kinda stink though, that you can't run, you know, three times. You know?
Obama: No. Actually, I think it's a good idea. Uh, if I ran a third time, it'd be sorta like doing a third “Hangover” movie. It didn't really work out very well, did it?
Obama: Now I have to say that I've seen this show before and, uh, some of the episodes have probably been a little better than this. You know, for example, the one with Bradley Cooper, that was a great show.
Galifianakis: (muffled) Bradley Cooper…
Obama: He kinda carried that movie, didn't he?
Galifianakis: Uh, which, which film are you speaking of?
Obama: Uh, those “Hangover” movies. He, he, basically, he carried them.
Galifianakis: Yeah, everybody loves Bradley. Good for him.
Obama: Good lookin’ guy.
Galifianakis: Being like that in Hollywood, that's easy! Tall, handsome, that's easy. Be short, fat, and smell like Doritos and try to make it in Hollywood.
Galifianakis: Is it going to be hard in two years when, uh, you're no longer president and people will stop letting you win at basketball?
Obama: How, how does it feel having a three inch vertical?
Galifianakis: It's a three inch horizontal so…
Galifianakis: Where are you planning on building your presidential library, in Hawaii or in your home country of Kenya? Because, I mean, both places seem like they would be…
Obama: Zach, that's a ridiculous question.
Galifianakis: Well, you know, not to bring up the birth certificate question, but you really never did really produce your real…
Obama: (Interrupting) Where's your birth certificate? Why, why don't you show it to us right now?
Galifianakis: I don't want to show anybody my birth certificate cause it's embarrassing.
Obama: What's embarrassing about it?
Galifianakis: My weight on it. It says I was born 7 lbs, 8 — hundred ounces.
Galifianakis: You know what I would do if I were president, Mr. President? I would make same-sex divorce illegal, then see how bad they want it.
Obama: I think that's…why you're not president. And that's a good thing.
Galifianakis: You said if you had a son, you would not let him play football. What makes you think he would want to play football? What if he was a nerd like you?
Obama: You think a woman like Michelle would marry a nerd? I…why don't you ask her whether she thinks I'm a nerd.
Galifianakis: Could I?
Obama: No. I'm not going to let her near you.
Galifianakis: So do you go any websites that are dot-coms, or dot-nets or do you mainly just stick with dot-govs?
Obama: No, actually, we go to dot-govs, have you heard of Health Care-dot-gov?
Galifianakis: Here we go, okay, let's get this out of the way, what did you come here to plug?
Obama: Well, first of all, I think it's fair to say that I wouldn't be with you here today if I didn't had something to plug. Have you heard of the Affordable Care Act?
Galifianakis: Oh yeah, I heard about that, that's the thing that doesn't work. Why would you get the guy that created the Zune to make your website?
Obama: Health Care-dot-gov works great now and millions of Americans have already gotten health insurance plans and what we want is for people to know that you can get affordable health care and most young Americans, right now they're not covered and the truth is they can get coverage all for what it costs to pay your cell phone bill.
Galifianakis: Is this what they mean by drones?
Obama: The point is that a lot of young people think they're invincible.
Galifianakis: Did you say invisible? Because uh…
Obama: No, no, not invisible, invincible. Meaning that they don't think they can get hurt.
Galifianakis: I'm just saying that nobody could be invisible, if you had said invisible.
Obama: I understand that, if they get that health insurance they can really make a big difference, and they've got until March 31st to sign up.
Galifianakis: I don't have a computer so how does…
Obama: Well, then you can call 1-800-318-2596.
Galifianakis: Oh, I don't have a phone, I'm off the grid, I don't want you people like, looking at my texts. Know what I mean?
Obama: First of all, Zach, nobody's interested in your texts but second of all, you can do it in person, and the law means that insurers can't discriminate against you if you've got a preexisting condition anymore.
Galifianakis: Yeah, but what about this, though? (Rolls up sleeve and shows Obama his arm)
Obama: That's disgusting. How long have you had that?
Galifianakis: Oh, just four months.
Galifianakis: Spider bites. I got attacked by spiders.
Obama: Zach, you need to get that checked right away, you need to get on Health Care-dot-gov, because that's one of the most disgusting things I've ever seen.
Galifianakis: Is your plug finally over?
Obama: Uh, I suppose so.
Galifianakis: So which country were you rooting for in the Winter Olympics?
Obama: Seriously? I'm the president of the United States. What do you think, Zach?
Galifianakis: I want to thank President Obama for being on the show.
Obama: I'm going to press this.
Galifianakis: Don't touch that, please! (Obama presses red button, the backdrop falls to reveal the show is being filmed in the White House)
Galifianakis: Thanks for the interview and thanks for letting me shoot my show here all these years.
Obama: You've been shooting these shows…here in the diplomatic room? Who gave you permission to do that?
Obama: Seriously? Who gave him clearance?
(Galifianakis shakes Obama's hand)
Galifianakis: Watch the spider bite!
Obama: That's the other hand.
Galifianakis: They're everywhere.
Watch the video below:
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The organization behind the Emmy Awards has a new name.
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has undergone a rebranding as part of its “New Look — New Vision — New Destination” campaign, including a streamlining of its name from The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences to, simply enough, The Television Academy.
The rebranding will be accompanied by a “once-in-a-generation” $40 million fundraising campaign for the Television Academy Foundation.
The funds raised from the campaign will be used to establish a tuition-based scholarship program and bolster the philanthropic wing's internship program.
The Academy also plans to initiate new studies, research and white papers illuminating and exploring the changing face of the industry, and will launch a massive new construction project for its NoHo Arts District campus in the San Fernando Valley.
“This is the most important and pivotal year in our organization's history,” Television Academy chairman and CEO Bruce Rosenblum (pictured above) said of the overhaul. “The Academy is expanding, innovating and evolving alongside the dramatic changes in our industry. The quality of storytelling in television has never been better, and the ability of our global audience to experience those stories in personal ways has been permanently enhanced by the creativity of our members and technology advances within our industry.”
Rosenblum will share details of the rebranding at Tuesday night's Television Academy Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.
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Anne Sweeney, the co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney/ABC Television Group, is exiting the company in January 2015 to pursue a career in television directing.
Calling the past 18 years at Disney the highlight of her executive career, Sweeney said “there has always been a nagging voice in the back of my head” to leave that comfort zone and move more directly into the creative realm. Sweeney acknowledged that the move might seem surprising, “but to me, it's a long realized dream,” tipping her hat to Disney chair and CEO Bob Iger for his support.
“I've been a part of an amazing evolution in our business and our industry, and have achieved far more than I ever thought possible,” Sweeney said in a statement accompanying Disney's announcement of her departure. “But as wonderful as the experience has been, there has always been a nagging voice in the back of my head pushing me to step out of the comfort zone of the executive ranks and more directly into the creative arena that enticed me to TV in the first place.
“I finally listened to that voice and thought, ‘If not now, when?’ I know my decision to step back from all of this to learn the art of directing may seem surprising, but to me it's a long realized dream.
“I am so thankful to Bob Iger for his leadership, guidance and his friendship over the years, and am grateful not only for his offer to remain with the company for many years to come, but his understanding and support of my decision to make this change,” she continued. “I'm excited to spend the remainder of this year positioning the TV Group for even greater success.”
Iger praised his outgoing exec, who joined the company in 1996 after 12 years at Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite, for her work growing Disney Channel, ABC Family and ABC.
“Since joining Disney, Anne has been a very successful executive in our senior ranks,” Iger said in a statement. “Over the years, she grew our Disney Channel business into a global powerhouse and the main brand driver of our Company around the world; built ABC Family into a top cable network here in the U.S.; made ABC a strong, successful content creation engine; and has been a great partner in leading our industry into the digital age.
“Anne's collaborative spirit, genuine curiosity and unwavering support have been a constant, but it is her friendship that I most value,” he continued. “I applaud Anne for knowing what she wants out of life and for having the courage to follow her dream. We're thrilled she'll be with us through the end of the year, and look forward to having her direct one of our shows in the future.”
Sweeney's oversight has been far-reaching. She oversees the Walt Disney Co.'s global entertainment and news television properties, which include ABC Studios, the ABC Owned Television Stations Group and the ABC Television Network. That represents more more than 200 affiliated U.S. stations and tens-of-millions of viewers.
Add to that youth-focused ABC Family and the Disney Channels Worldwide, the family of networks including Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Disney Cinemagic, Hungama, and Radio Disney.
She's also responsible for the company's equity interest in A+E Networks, Fusion, and Hulu.
Sweeney is credited with much of Disney-ABC's early adoption of digital platforms. It was one of the earliest of the media companies to put television content on new platforms, leveraging iTunes, an ad-supported full episode player online and on iPad.
She joined the company in 1996 as president of Disney Channel and executive vice president of Disney/ABC Cable Networks. Under her watch, Sweeney ushered Disney Channel to a 400% increase in subscribers; launched Toon Disney, which would later become Disney XD; and transitioned SOAPnet to Disney Junior this year.
Previously, Sweeney spent 12 years at Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite in various executive positions, most recently as senior vice president of Program Enterprises. Among many accomplishments, she oversaw Nickelodeon's international expansion, including launching the channel in the United Kingdom, resulting in a joint venture with British Sky Broadcasting.
Sweeney has served as a board member of A&E Television Networks, the Paley Center for Media, the American Film Institute and the Special Olympics.
She earned a BA from The College of New Rochelle and an Ed. M. degree from Harvard University.
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Spike TV's Sunday series premiere of Adam Carolla's “Catch A Contractor” nabbed 1.2 million total viewers — the largest audience for a series debut on the cable channel since “Coal” in March 2011.
In terms of live viewership, “Contractor” built on its “Bar Rescue” lead-in by 14 percent in the advertiser-sought 18-49 demographic and 17 percent in average audience.
“Catch a Contractor” earned a 0.76 rating in the key demo, the highest for a Spike Original Series premiere since “4th and Long” in May 2009 (which had a 0.8 and a strong UFC lead-in).
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What should be a very happy occasion on TLC's “The Little Couple” had an unexpected turn on TLC's “The Little Couple.”
On last week's season premiere, Bill Klein, Jen Arnold and their son Will traveled to Mumbai, India to pick up the newest addition to their family, daughter Zoey. She's cute and a handful. But, the best part was that while Will bonded with dad quickly, Zoey is very fond of mom Jen. But, then Jen's health took a turn.
Jen has begun to feel ill as they travel to New Delhi to finalize the last few steps of Zoey's adoption. But with her health on the line, Jen is forced into making a difficult decision.
In TheWrap's exclusive preview above, Jen is unable to attend Zoey's medical appointment. So, Bill must got it alone. But, Zoey hasn't warmed up her new dad yet and he's trying not to let it get him down.
Watch the video above.
“The Little Couple” airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on TLC.
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“The Invention of Wings” tells a remarkable fictionalized story of real-life 19th century abolitionist sisters Angelina and Sarah Grimké. In the novel, for her 11th birthday, Sarah is gifted with a ten year-old enslaved girl named Hetty. And while Sarah attempts to reject the gift, ultimately she cannot, nor can she free Hetty or even really protect her when she needs it most. Sarah and Hetty's lives remain intertwined as they grow into women, each facing their own challenges with courage and faith that they have learned from, and inspired in, one another.
Also read: Is Oprah Winfrey Exploiting Lindsay Lohan?
The book, which follows the success of Kidd's previous novels ”The Secret Life of Bees” and “The Mermaid Chair,” debuted in January atop the New York Times Bestsellers List.
“In her book, Sue Monk Kidd has given us such a rich narrative, compelling characters, and a rare historical perspective that we know will be the ideal foundation for a wonderful film,” said Winfrey.
An exclusive interview with Oprah and Kidd will be broadcast on “Super Soul Sunday” on Sunday, April 13 at 11 a.m. ET on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.
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Jeff Gaspin, former chairman of NBC Universal Television, and Jon Klein, former president of CNN, announced Tuesday the launch of TAPP, an online video platform featuring multiple channels based on individual media personalities.
“They're going to be personality-based with people who have super-fans,” TAPP chairman Gaspin said on Bloomberg TV.
“Viewers and users can't get enough of these particular personalities — to the point where they want actually a more intimate relationship with these personalities than current TV and online offerings afford. So we hope to bring that capability with these channels.”
The venture has received backing from Discovery Communications and executive chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, according to Bloomberg.
Klein, who serves as CEO of TAPP, said the timing for introducing a new online video network is based on the changing landscape of television and video consumption.
“The television industry is exploding rapidly,” Klein said.
“It's just changing so fundamentally so quickly, and we just wanted to be a part of that because we've been a part of a few previous disruptions in the industry with reality television and online video, and this just felt like the moment and the right plan.”
Klein declined to confirm rumors that former 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin would be one of the first personalities to join TAPP, but he did say that hers is the type of brand that the platform aims to target.
“We're not talking about specific channel launches or specific talent, but I'll tell you that Sarah Palin is the kind of personality who's got a massive social media presence … and a core group of followers and supporters who hang on her every word, and that's exactly the characteristics hat this channel is–these channels are going to exhibit,” Klein told Bloomberg.
“We're looking for personalities that have that kind of connection with their fans.”
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In what may prove to be a formidable pairing, Jamie Foxx and Kevin Hart are in talks to star in “The Black Phantom,” which Tim Story is in talks to direct for Screen Gems, an individual familiar with the project has told TheWrap.
Hart's frequent collaborator Will Packer is producing the movie with Will Gluck. The script is credited to Dave Lease and Megan Hinds.
“The Black Phantom follows a double-crossed mob hit man who enlists the help of The Black Phantom, the very same hitman who had been sent to kill him.
Screen Gems president Clint Culpepper will oversee the project for the studio, which along with parent company Sony, is heavily invested in Hart and Foxx.
Hart currently stars in Screen Gems’ remake of “About Last Night,” and he'll soon be seen in the studio's sequel “Think Like a Man Too.” Foxx will soon be seen as Electro in Sony's “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” and he also stars in the studio's remake of “Annie.”
Hart is repped by UTA and 3 Arts Entertainment while Oscar winner Foxx is repped by CAA and LBI Entertainment.
The news was first reported by Variety.
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Steve Rogers can't rely on his trusty shield in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”
A new clip (above) from the upcoming Marvel release gives audiences a preview of what happens when Cap (Chris Evans) whips it at the titular villain: The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) whips it back. Twice as hard.
The sequel, which supposedly sets events taking place in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” in motion, follows Marvel's most patriotic hero trying to adjust to his new role in modern society, while teaming up with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and newcomer Falcon (Anthony Mackie) to expose an ever-widening conspiracy that threatens S.H.I.E.L.D. head Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson).
“Captain America” hits theaters on April 4.
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