Katie Nolan to Leave Fox Sports for ESPN

Katie Nolan is departing Fox Sports for ESPN. It’s a rare move these days for talent to move in this direction, as mass layoffs due to cord-cutting and a strict Disney corporate culture have sent more than a handful of ESPN vets over to Fox.

Beginning October 16, Nolan will “appear across multiple platforms in a variety of projects,” per ESPN’s official announcement. “She will have a prominent digital presence while also making appearances across ESPN studio programming.”

“Katie is smart, dynamic and brings to ESPN a fresh perspective and a great sense of humor,” said Connor Schell, executive vice president, content, ESPN. “She is a rare talent and will represent our brand incredibly well as we continue to expand across the digital space.”

Also Read: Latest Sign of ESPN’s Lost Clout: Disney’s Standoff With Cable Giant Altice USA

“I could not be more excited to have a prominent digital presence while also making appearances across ESPN studio programming,” Nolan added. “When I was a little girl, I always dreamed that one day announcements regarding my specific assignments would be forthcoming.”

That last part is a (pretty solid) joke about this line in Wednesday’s media release: “Announcements regarding her specific assignments are forthcoming.”

Nolan most recently hosted Fox Sports 1’s “Garbage Time with Katie Nolan,” which won a Sports Emmy for Outstanding Social TV Experience. Nolan joined FS1 in 2013 as a digital correspondent for the sports and pop culture show “Crowd Goes Wild.” She recently hosted “NFL Films Presents” and has previously produced and hosted various digital videos for FoxSports.com.

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BBC, FremantleMedia Set Up World War II Drama Series

The run-up to World War II and the conflict itself are the subject of new dramas from FremantleMedia and the BBC. FremantleMedia has sealed a deal with Robert Harris and will adapt the writer’s latest novel, “Munich.” It will be produced by Euston Films and UFA Fiction, and shot in the U.K. and Germany. The […]

‘Queen Sugar’ Star Nicholas Ashe on Shooting Cop Scene, Aftermath: ‘It Was Terrifying’

(Spoiler alert: Please do not read on if  you haven’t watched Tuesday’s episode of “Queen Sugar”)

The Season 2 premiere of “Queen Sugar” where Micah (Nicholas Ashe) was pulled over by a police officer and had a gun pulled on him was sadly a little too familiar for many people.

Fortunately for Micah, his arrest didn’t end up with him being shot but that doesn’t mean that the experience still wasn’t traumatizing. In the midseason finale, Micah finally confesses to Davis West (Timon Kyle Durrett) what exactly happened between the time of his arrest and being held in jail — the arresting officer had made a pit stop before taking him in and put a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger pretending that he was going to actually shoot him.

Also Read: ‘Queen Sugar’: How Charley’s Breakdown Reminds Black Women That It’s OK to Be Human

“It was terrifying, honestly,” Ashe told TheWrap about filming the scene.

Black people in the United States are disproportionately targeted by cops and the consequences of it are often times devastating. According to the Washington Post, “black Americans are 2.5 times as likely as white Americans to be shot and killed by police officers.”

“We always talk about how life imitates art but life really does imitate art in what we do on “Queen Sugar,” said the 22-year-old actor. “As a result, I felt a big responsibility to people who don’t get to live to tell their encounter with police that ended much more tragically.”

Also Read: How ‘Queen Sugar’ Normalizes Discussion of Mental Health for Black Women

In the midseason premiere, once Charley Bordelon West (Dawn-Lyen Gardner) learns what happened to Micah, she breaks down during a conversation with her mother where she says that she should have better prepared her son for living in the South.

“Often times people will place guilt where they feel appropriate as Charlie does, but I don’t think anything she could have said could have prepared him exactly for what it would it be like to be stripped of what little privilege he had,” Ashe explained.

Ashe added that it actually doesn’t even matter how conscious you are of systemic racism and how much we know that these kinds of things happen, nothing can really prepare you for these experiences.

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“That’s the paradigm that we’re dealing with with race in our country today,” the actor said. “Even having rational, coherent information is not enough to combat the evil and sadistic twisted things that have been happening both locally and nationally, internationally with our government.”

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‘Hunger Games’ Producer Rips Hollywood ‘Conventional Wisdom’ About Diversity as ‘Bulls— Prejudice’ (Video)

Nina Jacobson, who was the producer on the “Hunger Games” movies and whose next project includes “Crazy Rich Asians,” slammed Hollywood’s diversity problem as “bulls— prejudice which is disguised as conventional wisdom when it’s just bias.”

“For me, [projects are] especially meaningful if it feels like it would inspire other people,” Jacobson said at TheWrap’s annual media and technology conference, TheGrill, on Tuesday. “Something like ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ about the young person who has never seen a person that looks like them on a big poster like that or on the big screen.

“Or with ‘Hunger Games,’ for girls to see somebody they really admire, but who guys admire just as much, and to break through some of the really … honestly just bulls— prejudice which is disguised as conventional wisdom when it’s just bias,” Jacobson said, like false opinion such as “‘oh don’t you know, black movies don’t travel’ and ‘don’t you know, girls will identify with a male protagonist but boys won’t identify with a female protagonist.’ These things were all taught to me as though they were truths and they are all just biases. Bias, and it’s bulls—.”

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The producer, whose credits also includes “American Crime Story,” also talked about the “relentless” pursuit of the young white male audience.

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“The relentless sort of chasing of the young white male as like the holy grail, when by the way, you will never find a more distracted group of people who have more options for entertainment than the young male,” she said. “What with sports, video games, porn — they’re busy! They’ve got a lot to do.”

Jacobson, who spoke on the panel with president and CEO of eOne, Darren Throop, then talked about a movie she made with Wes Anderson titled “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” a project she was very passionate about, which caused them to spend way more money than they should have.

Also Read: TheGrill 2017: Diversity Departments ‘Have No Power,’ Mitu Founder Beatriz Acevedo Says

“You’re going to make mistakes, so at least they should matter,” she said.

Watch the video above.

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American Confidence in the Media Climbs in New Poll, as Trump’s Numbers Fall

A new opinion poll from Reuters/Ipsos shows that despite Donald Trump’s repeated claims of “fake news,” Americans have increasing faith in the media and decreasing faith in the current president.

The poll of more than 14,300 people released on Tuesday shows that the percentage of adults who said they had a “great deal” or “some” confidence in the press rose to 48 percent in September, compared to 39 percent in November.

The increase comes after Trump branded the entire industry as the “enemy of the American people,” Reuters reported.

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Meanwhile, those who said they had “hardly any” confidence in the press dropped to 45 percent from 51 percent.

On the flip side, the poll found that in late January, 52 percent of Americans had a “great deal” or “some” confidence in the new president’s executive branch. But by May, that had dropped to 51 percent, and to 48 percent in the poll released Tuesday.

When Barack Obama was closing out his presidency in November, 57 percent of Americans had a “great deal” or “some” confidence in the outgoing POTUS.

Also Read: President Trump Calls Las Vegas Shooting an ‘Act of Pure Evil’ (Video)

The poll also found that the shift in trust was not simply a partisan reaction to a Republican president, according to Reuters.

From January to September, the percentage of people who had a “great deal” or “some” confidence in the executive branch dropped 6 percentage points among Republicans and 3 points among Democrats; those who expressed similar levels of confidence in the media rose 3 points this year among Republicans and 11 points among Democrats.

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How Netflix, Amazon Could Really Disrupt Legacy Networks: Buy Sports Rights

We’ve already seen cord-cutting, the rise of digitally focused tech companies in the entertainment content space and a wave of mega-mergers.

But according to experts who have been studying the business of Hollywood, the digital disruption may soon extend to the last remaining example of appointment TV: live sports.

“If you want to destabilize the entire entertainment ecosystem and you were Google, Facebook or Amazon, the best way to do it is to suck sports out of the legacy ecosystem,” Rich Greenfield, a managing director at BTIG, told moderator Mike Slade of Second Avenue Partners on Tuesday at TheWrap’s annual media conference, TheGrill.

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Greenfield believe it’s only a matter of time before traditional broadcasters, increasingly under pressure from Wall Street, decide they no longer want to pony up even larger amounts to carry games from the major sports leagues. “You’re going to see meaningful sports rights acquired by non-legacy players,” he predicted.

“Sports is the only thing that people watch the same day,” said Chris Silberman, the managing partner at ICM Partners. “There’s huge value in that.”

The panelists said that with the proliferation of dozens of streaming services — and established content owners increasingly making their shows and movies available on demand — cable and broadcast companies can’t count on a regular audience, to their detriment.

“Now you have this almost infinite choice of what you could do tonight,” Greenfield said. “Whether it’s ‘Monday Night Football’ or catching up on ‘Game of Thrones,’ the choice is yours. It really screws up the legacy ecosystem of you watching the show at 8 o’clock, sitting through ads, and doing the same next week.”

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“There have been some big changes because of this explosion of choices,” Ross Gerber, the president and CEO of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth Management, said. “It’s just the beginning of the consolidation of the legacy players.”

With a nearly unimaginable amount of options available to anyone with an internet connection, there’s not as much must-see TV. And what does exist, like HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” is in high demand, which is why AT&T wanted to lock it down by buying parent company Time Warner for $85 billion. And incumbent distributors have to step up their game or risk being left behind — or buy someone else.

However, tech companies have largely tried to start up their own things. Greenfield said the reason companies like Apple and Amazon haven’t tried to buy old-school content owners like Disney is that they’d inherit a dependence on the pay-TV model.

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“The problem that these legacy media companies have is they’re wedded to the cable model,” he said. “They can’t do things like no commercials.”

However, Gerber said that while cable providers have shed tens of millions of subscribers, that business is hardly in a death spiral.

“The death of cable is greatly exaggerated,” Gerber said. “The cable companies are just too greedy.”

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Gerber said if cable companies lowered their price a little bit, consumers would stick with them out of the ease of having one login versus a variety of individual apps. And TV delivered over the existing pipes remains more reliable than internet TV — as millions of people who ordered the Floyd Mayweather – Conor McGregor fight online can attest.

“The internet is a disaster too,” Gerber said. “Who knows if we can handle everybody streaming in 4K at the same time? I bet we can’t.”

After praising Netflix’s international rights strategy, the panelists discussed how increasingly ambitious TV shows and a continued proliferation of streaming services have strained the movie business.

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“The theaters are gone, the theaters are Blockbuster [Video],” Gerber said.

Greenfield said one of the defining moments of this year was when three major movie stars, Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern and Nicole Kidman, decided to do “Big Little Lies,” a miniseries on HBO.

“There’s not a lot of roles for them in ‘The Avengers,’” said Susan Williams, the deputy chair of Loeb & Loeb’s entertainment practice, needling Hollywood’s reliance on superhero blockbusters.

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“The conversation about how much we love television is at the expense of the movies,” Chris Silbermann, the managing director of ICM Partners, said.

And with Netflix and Amazon — and now Apple and Facebook — dedicating real resources to original video content, there is even more pressure on legacy content owners to keep their top talent.

“You now see Shonda Rhimes go over to Netflix for a record deal,” Williams said. “You look at what Apple is trying to build. Amazon is doing the same thing.”

Also Read: Fox Boss Dana Walden Addresses Sexual Misconduct Scandals: ‘Our Organization Is Changing’

 

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Bleecker Street Lands Toronto Title ‘On Chesil Beach’

EXCLUSIVE: Bleecker Street has a deal for U.S. rights to On Chesil Beach, the Dominic Cooke-directed drama that stars Brooklyn‘s Saoirse Ronan and Dunkirk‘s Billy Howle, with Emily Watson, Anne-Marie Duff, Samuel West and Adrian Scarborough also starring. Adapted by Ian McEwan from his bestselling novel, the 1960s-set drama centers on a young couple honeymooning on the English seaside.
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Alyssa Milano To Topline Lifetime Mayor Comedy, Upped To Regular On Netflix’s ‘Insatiable’, Developing ‘Hacktivist’ At CW

Alyssa Milano has closed deals on three separate projects. She’s set to develop, executive produce and star as herself in Alyssa Milano for Mayor, a comedy series in development at Lifetime. She also has been promoted to series regular on the upcoming Netflix drama Insatiable after guest-starring in the pilot, and has set up a new adaptation of her 2014 graphic novel Hacktivist at the CW.
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Anna Paquin Cast as Robert DeNiro’s Daughter in ‘The Irishman’

Oscar and Emmy winner Anna Paquin has been cast as the daughter of Robert De Niro’s hitman character in Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman,” an individual with knowledge of the project tells TheWrap.

Paquin joins an all-star cast in the Netflix Original that includes Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Harvey Keitel, Bobby Cannavale, Joe Pesci and Ray Romano.

The crime drama is based on Charles Brandt’s 2004 book, “I Heard You Paint Houses.”

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Brandt’s book follows revelations from Frank “the Irishman” Sheeran about the 1975 disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa, the killing of Joey Gallo, and J.F.K’s assassination.

A professional mobster and hitman, Sheeran claims to have killed and dismembered Hoffa, with the title of the book referring to Hoffa’s quote to him: “I heard you paint houses ” — mob talk meaning to kill a man, as a house’s walls are then covered with blood.

Production is underway in New York, and the film is expected to get an Oscar-qualifying theatrical release.

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Paquin’s most recent credits include the CBC crime drama “Bellevue” and History’s miniseries remake of “Roots.” Paquin recently wrapped shooting on “The Parting Glass,” which she is co-producing, and next will be seen in two streaming series that premiere in November: Netflix’s “Alias Grace” and Amazon’s Philip K. Dick’s “Electric Dreams.”

Paquin is represented by WME and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.

Deadline first reported the news.

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Amazon Developing Drama About 1980s Soaps Inspired By John Stamos’ Early Life

In a competitive situation, Amazon has landed for development a drama series project from  John Stamos and producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (Hairspray Live), which  chronicles the fame and excess of daytime soaps in the 1980s. Universal TV, where Zadan and Meron are under a deal for series and live events, is the studio.
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CNN Reporter Describes Harrowing Scene In Puerto Rico: ‘People Are Eating Dog Food’ (Video)

CNN: People in Puerto Rico Are ‘Eating Dog Food” pic.twitter.com/l9G50O3zwF

— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) October 3, 2017

With President Donald Trump (finally) en route to visit hurricane stricken U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico, CNN’s reporter on the ground, Leyla Santiago described a grim scene on the island.

Out beyond the capital of San Juan, Santiago said things were so dire that a doctor in the town of Toa Baja told her that people were literally “eating dog food.”

“I’ve got to tell you about an exchange I just had, just in the last 10 minutes, I spoke to the mayor of this town, and he was holding back tears, holding back tears, she said. “He is seeing people day-to-day, and he is saying the desperation is getting out of hand. He told me yesterday he had to deal with a gentlemen who was about to commit suicide. I spoke to a doctor who was right next to him who told me one of his patients was now eating dog food, eating dog food. Patients rating dog food in a clinic.”

Also Read: Hillary Clinton Lends Support to San Juan, While Trump Is Still Tweeting About Mayor’s ‘Complaints’

The camera panned back to CNN hosts Poppy Harlow John Berman — both of whom looked visibly disturbed at the news.

Though FEMA has stepped up its support of the island, President Trump has come in for very public rebuke for what critics say has been a lackluster response to the devastation from Hurricane Maria. While he promised support for mainland U.S. victims of hurricane Harvey and Irma, Trump scolded Puerto Ricans in a tweet for “poor leadership” and wanting “everything  to be done for them.” And on Tuesday, Trump said that “on a local level, they have to give us more help.”

He has also engaged in a very public feud with the mayor of San Juan — Carmen Yulín Cruz.

…Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They….

– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2017

…want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job.

– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2017

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Christian Bale’s ‘Hostiles’ Picked Up By Entertainment Studios

Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios has acquired the distribution rights to Christian Bale’s gritty Western “Hostiles,” which is directed by Scott Cooper and had its premiere at Telluride and Toronto.

“Hostiles” features Bale as Capt. Joseph J. Blocker, an army officer who agrees to escort a dying, imprisoned Cheyenne war chief named Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi), and his family back to their tribal lands so he may receive a proper burial. Along the way, they are joined by Rosalie Quaid (Rosamund Pike), a widow whose entire family was slaughtered by a band of warring Comanche, and a dangerous criminal who needs to be escorted North (Ben Foster).

Blocker just wants to get the job done so he can retire and head back east, but as the journey goes on, the distrustful group is left with no choice but to band together to survive the journey.

In addition to directing the film, Cooper co-wrote the script with Donald E. Stewart and produced with Ken Kao and John Lesher. The film has been set for a limited release in December and a wide release in January.

The deal was negotiated by ESMP Head of Acquisitions Chris Charalambous, WME Global Finance & Distribution, and the CAA’s Film Finance & Sales Group.

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