‘Big Bang Theory’ Leads Slow Monday – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine

“The Big Bang Theory” was easily the top-rated and most-watched show on a steady Monday night, according to Nielsen data.

Airing at 8 p.m. on CBS, “Big Bang Theory” drew a 2.7 rating in adults 18-49 and 12.8 million total viewers, approximately even with its performance last week. The next highest-rated program of the night was “The Voice” on NBC, which drew a 2.2 and 9.9 million viewers, down slightly in the demo from its Monday airing last week.

Later on CBS, “9JKL” (1.4, 7.3 million) was up slightly in both measures. “Kevin Can Wait” (1.2, 6.3 million) saw a small lift in the demo, while “Me, Myself, and I” (0.9, 4.7 million) was up slightly in total viewers. “Scorpion” (0.8, 5.1 million) was even.

After “The Voice,” “The Brave” (1.0, 5.3 million) posted its most-watched episode since the series premiere.

On ABC, “Dancing with the Stars” (1.3, 9.3 million) was even, as was “The Good Doctor” (1.9, 10.7 million).

For Fox, “Lucifer” (0.8, 3.2 million) dipped in the demo, while “The Gifted” (1.0, 3.3 million) was even.

On The CW, “Supergirl” (0.5, 1.8 million) was even, as was “Valor” (0.2, 0.94 million).

NBC won the night in the demo with a 1.8 but was second in total viewers with 8.4 million. ABC was second in the demo with a 1.5 but first in total viewers with 9.8 million. CBS was third overall with a 1.3 and 6.9 million viewers. Fox was fourth  with a 0.9 and 3.2 million viewers. The CW averaged a 0.4 and 1.4 million viewers.

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ESPN to Drop 150 Employees in Latest Round of Layoffs – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine

ESPN to Drop 150 Employees in Latest Round of Layoffs – Variety

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Rai Fiction Looks to Conquer International Audiences – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine

Italy’s leading broadcaster Rai, which invests nearly 200 million euros in roughly 400 hours of content every year, is aiming to become a key player on the international drama scene.

The Frank Spotnitz and Nicholas Meyer-created “Medici: Masters of Florence,” whose second season stars Daniel Sharman as young Lorenzo, known as the Magnificent, in 15th century Florence, underscores Rai’s ambition to push the Italian drama industry beyond local borders.

“As a public broadcaster we think that being an important player at a national level is not enough, Rai has decided to play a fundamental role in the development of Italy’s audiovisual industry overseas,” said Eleonora Andreatta, the head of Rai Fiction, who is attending this week’s Content London conference.

Producing “Medici: Masters of Florence,” a show about Italian history, in English presented a risk because it could have alienated local audiences; but it turned to be a big ratings hit for Rai. The series also traveled in all major markets. Medici: Masters of Florence. The Magnificent” is being sold by Jan Mojto’s Beta Film.

“TV series can build the imaginary identity of our country even better than films, and bring it to an international dimension,” said the exec, adding that the 24 million euros series “Medici” was mainly produced by Lux Vide and lensed with an Italian crew across 30 locations in Italy between Tuscany, Lazio and Lombardy.

Besides “Medici,” Rai has a flurry of internationally-driven drama series in the pipeline, notably “L’amica Geniale” (“My Brilliant friend”) an Italian language series commissioned by HBO and Rai which is being directed by Saverio Costanzo and started shooting in October.

Based on the first of the four bestselling “Neapolitan Novels” by Elena Ferrante, “Brilliant Friend,” is being directed by Italian auteur Saverio Costanzo. The entire neighbourhood of Gianturco, where Ferrante’s novel is set, has been meticulously rebuilt for the series, which is being produced for HBO and Rai by Fremantle Italy.

Andreatta has called Ferrante’s work “one of the most powerful and universal stories of female friendship,” and underlined that Rai feels “very strongly” that it “belongs to the realm of what European public service television should be doing.”

Also on Rai’s slate: Giacomo Battiato’s “The Name of the Rose” with John Turturro and Rupert Everett which will start shooting in January at Cinecittà, where a library and an abbey are being built for the series.

The ambitious “Name of the Rose” skein marks the first TV adaptation of Eco’s groundbreaking historical murder mystery which in 1986 was made into a movie by Jean-Jacques Annaud after selling millions of copies.

This eight-episode English-language show with a reported Euros 23 million ($27 million) budget is being sold internationally by Germany’s Tele München Group

Rolling off the crime series “Suburra,” a Netflix original which Rai co-produced, the broadcaster is also co-producing Davide Marengo’s fantasy romance “Mermaids” and “The Hunter,” an organized crime series set in Sicily in the 1990’s. Both are Italian-language series set in Italy which have the potential to lure younger audiences and the international market thanks to their visual language, writing and acting, said Andreatta.

“Mermaids” is a contemporary show in that it addresses gender, diversity and feminism; while “The Hunter” tells a true story about a young and ambitious prosecutor who brought down more than 300 Mafiosi, according to Andreatta.

The daring “Mermaids,” in which four sirens surface in the port of contemporary Naples seeking a mythological male sea creature who has disappeared, debuted in October on Rai’s flagship Rai 1 channel where the show has been scoring solid double digit ratings in prime time. The show, which is Italy’s first fantasy skein, is being co-produced by Rai with Cross Productions and Germany’s Beta Film, which is selling internationally.

“The Hunter,” which is about Italy’s real Mafia wars of the 1990’s and the battle between Cosa Nostra and the Italian state, debuted on Rai 2 in October. This innovative mob show, in which crimes are reconstructed through the eyes of a Palermo prosecutor who thanks to brilliant hunches, spectacular raids and front-page arrests, manages to put hundreds of Mafiosi behind bars, has the same trio of companies co-producing as “Sirens” and is also being sold internationally by Beta.

The exec pointed out that the arrival of streaming services which deliver content for global audiences has pushed “Rai, like all other European public service broadcasters, to rethink its role and its identity — one that’s defined by Italian creativity, Italian culture, history and tradition.”

“Medici,” for instance, speaks about the Renaissance which Andreatta defines as the “DNA of the West, the social and cultural revolution that belongs to all of us, to Italian and the Western world.”

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Singapore Video Platform Viddsee Makes Original Production Move – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine

Singapore-based video platform Viddsee has hired local filmmaker Kenny Tan (“Terrorville”) to head its original content venture Viddsee Studios. The company is also partnering with the Info-communications Media Development Authority to create local content.

The IMDA deal was unveiled on Wednesday, the first day of the Asia TV Forum, by Chee Hong Tat, senior minister of state for communications & information & health. He said the first five series would be based on Viddsee’s most popular content categories: short film anthologies, documentary, romantic drama, thriller and family drama. The five series will be distributed on Viddsee’s platform from 2018.

“This will empower them to create even more impactful stories that will resonate with audiences. We look forward to a strong line-up of local content for Singapore viewers through this partnership,” Dorothy Lai, director, public service media & assessment, IMDA.

“Viddsee has generated 1 billion views globally by utilizing data and insights to grow its viewership and to optimize content discovery,” said Chee.

“As we move from curation to creation, for both our company and community of content creators there will be greater collaboration and opportunity for content creators to tell more stories,” said Viddsee co-founder and CEO Ho Jia Jian.

Tan served as a senior producer at Mediacorp Studios, focusing on developing transmedia online content.

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‘Sexy Durga’ Release Certification Rescinded by Indian Censors – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine

The on-off saga of releasing “Sexy Durga” in India has come to a sorry conclusion, for now. The film did not play at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa, despite a court order requiring that it should be. Instead, it must now be re-certified by India’s Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

Sanal Kumar Sasidharan’s film won the Hivos Tiger award at Rotterdam earlier this year and played at the Singapore International Film Festival last week. But it is proving too controversial to play in its country of origin.

Along with “Nude,” the film was dropped from the Goa festival line-up on technical grounds. The head of the Panorama section’s selection committee and two others resigned, while several other jury members signed a letter of protest.

Sasidharan moved the Kerala High Court, who ordered the festival to screen the film. The version to be screened was a censored version certified by the CBFC where the title was changed to ‘S Durga’ (Durga is the name of an Indian goddess and a popular female name) to avoid offending Hindu religious sentiments. Swear words were also muted. India’s information and broadcasting ministry appealed against the court decision, but it was quashed.

The Panorama selectors, with three new members replacing the ones who resigned, viewed the film again on Nov. 27, the penultimate day of IFFI, and put it to a vote. The jury voted 7-4 in favor of screening the film.

On Nov. 28, the last day of IFFI, the CBFC issued a letter to the film’s producer Shaji Mathew stating: “We have received complaints from the IFFI (selectors) at Goa that the title of the film on the title card is shown by the film maker as “S### Durga” (where the # means rectangular white boxes) which has totally different implications and are effectively undermining and attempting to defeat the very basis of the title registration and changes effected thereby.”

The CBFC said that the filmmakers are in violation of the Cinematograph Act and the film will be re-examined. Until then, the film cannot be exhibited. IFFI concluded without screening the film. The CBFC letter provided an excuse to the festival and the ministry who would have been in contempt of court if they had not screened the film.

The censored “S Durga” played at the Mumbai Film Festival and at a commercial screening in Thiruvananthapuram without a hitch. It will now have to go through another battle before the rest of India can watch it.

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What’s Leaving Netflix in December 2017 – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine

Another month has come and gone, and for Netflix, that means that some content has to leave in order to make room for new things to watch.

Among the shows and movies set to be removed from the streaming service this month are the first 11 seasons of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadephia,” the “Scary Movie” series, “Young Frankenstein,” and the “Jeff Dunham: Arguing with Myself” comedy special.”

Here are the rest of the movies and series that are leaving Netflix at the end of December.

All I Want for Christmas
Black Snake Moan
Cousin Bette
La Viuda Negra: Season 1
Picture Perfect
Practical Magic
Scary Movie 2
Scary Movie 3
Super Size Me
Terriers: Season 1
The Crucible
The Gospel Road: A Story of Jesus
The Man from Snowy River
Touch: Season 2
Two Girls and a Guy
Waking Life
Young Frankenstein
Yu-Gi-Oh! Bonds Beyond Time
Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal: Seasons 1-2
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Seasons 1-11
Lucky Number Slevin
The Rite
Dollhouse: Season 2
The Queen of Versailles
America’s Funniest Home Video Kids: Holidazed
America’s Funniest Home Videos Kids: Animals with Attitude: Season 1
America’s Funniest Home Videos Kids: It’s Tough Being a Kid: Season 1
America’s Funniest Home Videos Kids: Playtime Ain’t for Wimps: Season 1
America’s Funniest Home Videos: New Collection D: Nincompoop Nation
Jeff Dunham: Arguing with Myself
Dance Academy: Series 1-3
Che: Parts 1 & 2
Amores Perros
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

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Live-Action ‘Dora the Explorer’ Moves Forward With Nick Stoller – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine

In today’s film news roundup, Paramount Players hires Nick Stoller for “Dora the Explorer,” Sean Patrick Flanery will star in racecar action film “Dirt Track,” Steve McQueen signs an overall deal with New Regency, “Mudbound” wins at Middleburg Film Festival, and Orion hires Kevin Shelby.


The fledgling Paramount Players division has hired writer-director Nick Stoller to work on the script for a live-action “Dora the Explorer” movie.

Michael Bay and his Platinum Dunes partners Andrew Form and Brad Fuller are producing the movie, which has been in the works since 2015.

Details are under wraps beyond the movie centering on Dora as a teenager. The animated “Dora the Explorer” television series ran on Nickelodeon from 2000-2014 with 172 episodes aired following a young Latina girl who went on adventures around the world.

Platinum Dunes has a first-look deal with Paramount. Stoller’s writing credits include “Get Him to the Greek,” “Neighbors,” the Muppet movie reboots, animated films “Storks” and “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie,” and Kevin Hart’s “Night School.”

Stoller is repped by UTA and Ziffren Brittenham.


Sean Patrick Flanery will star in ESX Entertainment’s independent racecar action film “Dirt Track,” with filming set to start in Petaluma, Calif., on Oct. 27, Variety has learned exclusively.

Producers are Ali Afshar, Christina Moore, Daniel Carrey, and Ava Rettke. Forrest Lucas is executive producing. Shaun Piccinino is directing from a script by John Ducey, Nicholas Gramenos, and TK McKamy.

The story is set in the world of dirt track racing with late model cars. Flanery portrays the younger of two brothers, whose older brother was killed in a race 16 years ago on the same night that his daughter was born. The daughter has a brand new driver’s license and is determined to find the answers about her father that her mother has refused to give.

Flanery is best known for having starred in the feature films “Powder” and “The Boondock Saints.” He also starred in the final season of Showtime’s series “Dexter.” He is repped by SMS and managed by Ben Press.


New Regency has signed a multi-year overall deal with Steve McQueen for what’s described as premium feature film content to be produced and financed by New Regency.

The deal extends a working relationship between New Regency and McQueen, as the two previously collaborated on “12 Years a Slave.” McQueen is also currently helming New Regency’s upcoming feature film “Widows,” starring Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Rodriguez, and Cynthia Erivo.

“Steve is not only an outstanding director but also a true artist with a real vision. We are thrilled to have him as part of the Regency family and to continue this exciting journey together,” said Yariv Milchan, chairman of New Regency.

The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.


The Middleburg Film Festival has awarded “Mudbound” its audience award for best narrative film, concluding the annual four-day festival.

“We want to congratulate Dee Rees on her remarkable film,” said Middleburg Film Festival executive director Susan Koch. “With ‘Mudbound,’ Dee Rees has firmly established herself as one of the most talented and important directors working in film and television today – and we look forward to presenting many more of her films in the future.”

Set in post-World War II Jim Crow Mississippi, “Mudbound” follows two returning veterans — one white and one black — as they navigate a quagmire of social codes in an unforgiving landscape. The film stars Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Jason Mitchell, Mary J. Blige, Rob Morgan, Jonathan Banks, and Garrett Hedlund.

“Mudbound” is the opening night film at the AFI Fest on Nov. 9 in Hollywood. Netflix is releasing the movie on Nov. 17.


Orion Pictures, recently relaunched by MGM as a standalone U.S. theatrical marketing and distribution company, has hired Kevin Shelby as senior vice president for marketing and distribution.

The announcement was made by John Hegeman, president of Orion Pictures. Reporting to Hegeman, Shelby began his new role at the company this month and oversees the day-to-day management of Orion’s theatrical marketing and distribution operations.

Shelby most recently served as senior VP of marketing at BH Tilt where he oversaw the planning, development, and execution of marketing, distribution, and advertising for theatrical releases including “The Green Inferno,” “The Darkness,” “Incarnate,” “The Belko Experiment,” “Sleight,” “Lowriders,” and “Birth of the Dragon.” Previously, Shelby served in marketing posts at New Line, Lionsgate, MGM, and Sony.

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ASCAP Appoints Stephanie Ruyle, Formerly of Viacom and Pivot, as Head of Licensing – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine

Stephanie Ruyle, formerly an exec VP of distribution and affiliate relations for Participant Media’s millennial television venture Pivot and a 17-year veteran of Viacom previously, has been named exec VP and head of licensing for ASCAP, the American Society of Composer, Authors and Publishers. She succeeds Vincent Candilora, who is set to retire at the end of 2017, and reports directly to ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews.

ASCAP is the first performance rights organization (PRO) to lock in annual licensing revenues of over $1 billion. Ruyle’s responsibilities will include licensing revenues and operations across all platforms including broadcast and cable television, terrestrial and satellite radio, digital, live concerts, venues, retail, restaurants and bars.

Said Matthews in announcing Ruyle’s appointment: “Stephanie brings a wealth of experience driving revenue growth and negotiating multifaceted licensing agreements, which is vitally important to the execution of our strategic plan of transformation and modernization in an increasingly complex and evolving media environment. Her deep understanding of content strategy, distribution, sales and affiliate marketing across media platforms will prove incredibly valuable to ASCAP as we innovate to provide our members and our licensing partners with new opportunities for success through music.”

The ASCAP chief executive also thanked Candilora for his “passion, advocacy, humanity and truly outstanding successes as our head of licensing for these past 22 years,” adding that he will continue to provide consulting services “to ensure a smooth transition.”

Said Ruyle: “I have seen first hand how important music is to the success of any media venture. ASCAP has the strongest repertory of music in the world and that is why I am so excited to be part of ASCAP’s mission to ensure that the music of its members is recognized in the marketplace for the enormous value it brings to our licensing partners.”


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Unscripted Exec Rob Smith Departs Endemol Shine – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine

Rob Smith is departing his post as head of unscripted programming at Endemol Shin North America. A 15-year veteran of Endemol Shine and its predecessor, Endemol, Smith is expected to exit at the end of the year.

“The timing was right for me to move on,” Smith said. “Fifteen years is a long time, and I’ve been approached with some intriguing new opportunities. It was a hard decision, but something I’ve been thinking about for a while. We’ve been lucky enough to have a tremendous run of success. I am enormously grateful to ESNA CEO Cris Abrego and everyone at Endemol Shine, and I am especially thankful to those talented individuals I’ve worked alongside over the years, from our network partners to executive producers to PAs to make such memorable television together.”

Smith’s departure comes three months after Spike TV veteran Sharon Levy joined Endemol Shine North America as president of unscripted. She is expected to seek a replacement for Smith.

“Rob has helped launch and oversee production on some of the most popular unscripted shows of the last decade,” Endemol Shine North America CEO Chris Abrego said. “It has been a real pleasure working with him and I’ll certainly miss his creativity and work ethic. I understand his desire to pursue new challenges and wish him all the best.”

Deadline first reported Smith’s exit.

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