Comcast Makes $31 Billion Takeover Offer for Sky – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


Comcast has made a £22 billion ($31 billion) offer for Sky, offering a 16% premium to the existing 21st Century Fox offer for the European pay TV giant.

“We think Sky is an outstanding company. It has 23 million customers and leading positions in the UK, Italy, and Germany. Sky has been a consistent innovator in its use of technology to deliver a fantastic viewing experience and has a proud record of investment in news and programming. It has great people and a very strong and capable management team,” said Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and CEO of Comcast Corporation.

Comcast is well-versed in media mega-mergers having acquired NBCUniversal in 2011, creating a cable and content giant. Rumors in the U.S. had linked Comcast with a renewed bid for 21st Century Fox, but now it has tabled a rival offer to Fox for Sky.

Comcast’s non-binding offer is for £12.50 per share, a 16% increase in value over the existing 21st Century Fox offer for Sky. Fox, which is itself the subject of a takeover bid from Disney, has struggled to get regulatory approval for its Sky deal. As late as last week it was offering concessions to get its deal, which had been accepted by Sky shareholders, over the line. Specifically, Fox has been attempting to buy the 61% of Sky it does not already own.

Sky is Europe’s largest pay-TV operator with substantial bases in the U.K., Germany, and Italy, as well as a low-cost streaming services in Spain. It has been making a huge investment in original content to sit alongside the sports rights that have been a staple on the service. In the U.K. it is based on a sprawling west London campus. NBCUniversal has a central London HQ.

Roberts added: Comcast intends to use Sky as a platform for growth in Europe. We already have a strong presence in London through our NBCUniversal international operations, and we intend to maintain Sky’s UK headquarters. Adding Sky to the Comcast family of businesses will increase our international revenues from 9% to 25% of Company revenues.”



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What Serena’s Sex Scene Says About Consent – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


SPOILER ALERT: This story contains spoilers from the “UnReal” Season 3 premiere, which aired Feb. 26 on Lifetime.

The Season 3 premiere of “UnReal” introduced the show’s first-ever female “suitress,” a high-powered tech executive, Serena (Caitlin Fitzgerald) who goes on the reality dating show “Everlasting” to find love.

Serena, a meticulously strategic and seemingly perfect type-A woman, makes a mistake on her first night of the show when she drunkenly has sex with one of the show’s contestants. Though the scene comes about quickly and is somewhat jarring, the “UnReal” writers put much thought into the moment that could have otherwise been perceived much differently, if the behind-the-scenes effort wasn’t applied in the writers’ room and editing room.

“When we conceived of that story and wrote the script, it was very much that Serena made a mistake…Serena gets drunk and f–ks the wrong guy…It was very much to show her own vulnerabilities and her own flaws, and that she made a mistake — not that she was too drunk to consent and got date-raped by one of the contestants, ” said “UnReal” showrunner Stacy Rukeyser on a panel for the Lifetime series at the Athena Film Festival last week.

The third season of “UnReal” wrapped shooting well before the #MeToo movement began, but Rukeyser and series creator Sarah Gertrude Shapiro were deliberately conscious of properly depicting the issue of sexual consent in the scene. In fact, there was originally another version of that same scene, which Rukeyser and Shapiro fought to edit, in order to convey a drunken mistake, rather than a non-consensual date-rape.

“It’s a very fine line in how you depict that,” Rukeyser explained. “We were completely edited and in the can back in August of last year before there was a #MeToo movement, but that scene was very, very tricky in the editing room. There was a version that is not the version that you see here that, we felt, went too far.”

“Stacy and I fought very hard for what ended up on the screen,” Shapiro added. “It’s interesting. To male producers or a male director, it did not seem that she was not too drunk to consent and that’s what she was doing, and they couldn’t understand why we were so up in arms about this. And we were saying that’s a fine story to tell, that’s just not the story we’re telling…it was a big conversation with the studio and the network to have it be that way.”

“We’re talking about shots and frames — it’s not a huge difference that can make a huge difference in what issuing communicated,” Rukeyser added.

The remainder of the season of “UnReal” will touch on the #MeToo movement with a major storyline centering around Shiri Appleby’s character, Rachel Goldberg.

“If you want to talk about #MeToo, this season is really Rachel Goldberg’s #MeToo moment, and that was really conceived before there was a movement,” Rukeyser teased.



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Can Vegans Get Enough Protein? | The Exam Room Podcast – #Helping others with #HeathTips and #Research #Videos



Dr. Neal Barnard clears up common myths about plant-based diets, including concerns about protein, calcium, and supplements in a new episode of The Exam Room podcast. Listen to the full episode: http://www.pcrm.org/podcast/new-year-new-you or on iTunes or Google Play.

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#Helping others with #HeathTips and #Research #Videos

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Ben Howard to Head up New Production Company Third Coast Content – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


Veteran film executive Ben Howard has launched his new production company, Third Coast Content, an independent production company dedicated to producing content for faith and family audiences.

Howard will serve as CEO for the new venture that will span feature films, television, and publishing. Endeavor Content is an investor in Third Coast Content and will provide sales and advisory services for the company.

“With Third Coast Content, we look forward to working with leading artists and brands to bring more stories in the faith and family worlds that move, inspire and entertain audiences,” said Howard. “We are grateful for the relationships, expertise and resources that Endeavor Content brings to the table.”

The faith-based film genre has seen tremendous growth over the past decade, including breakout box office hits such as “Heaven is for Real,” “Miracles from Heaven,” “War Room,” and “God’s Not Dead.”

The genre has drawn increased interest from major studios, distributors, and top talent and filmmakers. The number of releases has also steadily climbed, almost tripling over the past decade.

“Ben has built a tremendous business in the faith and family space, supporting Endeavor Content’s continued mission to invest in content that is underserved,” Endeavor Content co-presidents Graham Taylor and Chris Rice said.

Howard was most recently the executive VP of Provident Films, running the company since its formation in 2005.



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Michael Chiklis Joins Teyonah Parris in CBS Pilot ‘Murder’ – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


Michael Chiklis is returning to the cop genre.

Chiklis has been cast in one of the lead roles opposite Teyonah Parris in the CBS drama pilot “Murder,” Variety has confirmed.

The series explores crime through the unique and often conflicting perspectives of cops and killers, witnesses and victims, friends and family. Shot like a true crime documentary, the series invites the audience inside the emotional journey of an investigation, allowing them to discern the truth and judge the suspects’ guilt or innocence for themselves.

Chiklis will play Detective Mason “Mace” Garrity, described as a veteran NYPD detective with deep empathy and sharp instincts, which have been the foundation of an exemplary career. But now, his usual style is disrupted by his new partner, outspoken rookie Detective Ayana Lake (Parris), who will challenge all his assumptions.

Chiklis is best known for his role as Vic Mackey on the critically-acclaimed FX cop drama “The Shield,” for which he won an Emmy in 2002 and a Golden Globe in 2003. Chiklis also starred as Tony Scali in “The Commish,” in which he played a small town police commissioner. He most recently appeared as police captain Nathaniel Barnes in Fox’s “Gotham.” His other credits include the 2005 “Fantastic Four” film and its sequel, “Rise of the Silver Surfer,” “Vegas,” and “American Horror Story.”

He is repped by WME and Management 360.

“Lethal Weapon” vet Amanda Green will write and executive produce “Murder.” Dan Lin will also serve as executive producer, with Lindsey Liberatore serving as co-executive producer. Lin Pictures will produce in association with Warner Bros. Television and CBSTelevision Studios. Variety reported exclusively on the project’s development in September.
Deadline first reported Chiklis’ casting. 



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Avid Terminates CEO for Improper Workplace Conduct – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


Avid Technology announced Monday that the company’s board of directors terminated CEO Louis Hernandez, Jr. due to “violations of company policies related to workplace conduct.” He has been replaced by former SVP Jeff Rosica as CEO, effective immediately; Hernandez also resigned from his position on the Avid Board of Directors and Nancy Hawthorne has been elected chairman of the board.

Avid’s products include the popular music-production program Pro Tools.

A company press release reads: “With the assistance of independent external legal counsel, a Special Committee comprising independent members of the Board of Directors conducted a thorough investigation into allegations of improper non-financially related workplace conduct by Mr. Hernandez. After reviewing the findings of the Special Committee’s investigation, the Board of Directors unanimously concluded that the findings warranted immediate termination of Mr. Hernandez’s employment.”

“The board is committed to the company’s core values and to upholding an environment of the utmost respect and integrity,” Hawthorne said in a statement. “We remain confident in the strategy and the long-term business plan of the company.”

Regarding Rosica’s appointment, Hawthorne said, “Jeff’s deep experience as an industry expert coupled with his impressive knowledge of Avid’s business and strategy make him the natural choice to lead the Company.”

Rosica said, “I am honored and excited for this opportunity to lead Avid through this important moment in the Company’s history. The outlook for Avid is strong, and I look forward to working with the leadership team, the Board and our incredibly talented employees as we execute on our strategic priorities and continue our journey to be a best-in-class company and leader in our industry.”

 



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‘Corporate’ Renewed for Season 2 at Comedy Central – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


Corporate” has been renewed for a second season at Comedy Central, the network announced Monday.

The Season 1 finale is set to air on March 14. Created by Jake Weisman, Matt Ingebretson and Pat Bishop, the series stars Weisman and Ingebretson as two junior executives-in-training at Hampton DeVille, a heartless, corporate hell-hole led by tyrannical CEO Christian DeVille (Lance Reddick) and his top lieutenants, sycophants John and Kate (Adam Lustick and Anne Dudek).

The series also stars Aparna Nancherla, with the first season featuring guest appearances by Natasha Lyonne, Baron Vaughn, Kate Walsh, Fred Willard, and more.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to continue selling our souls making some more anti-corporate comedy for one of the biggest corporations in the world,” said Weisman, Ingebretson and Bishop.

The half-hour dark comedy is the first of a trio of scripted series that Comedy Central has added to their upcoming slate. The network has also ordered “The Other Two” from former “Saturday Night Live” co-head writers Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider and Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video; and “South Side,” which hails from former “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” writers-performers Diallo Riddle and Bashir Salahuddin as well as Bashir’s brother, Sultan Salahuddin.



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Amazon Renews ‘Lore’ for Season 2, Sean Crouch Set as Showrunner – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


Amazon has given a second season order to “Lore,” the horror-themed docu-drama based on the podcast that explores the origins of modern myths and legends.

Sean Crouch, an alum of Fox’s “The Exorcist” and CBS’ “Numbers,” has signed on as showrunner for season two, replacing “The X-Files” veteran Glen Morgan. “Lore” hails from Gale Anne Hurd’s Valhalla Entertainment and Propagate Content, the banner headed by Howard T. Owens and Ben Silverman.

“Lore” is a blend of documentary and narrative segments, including animation, to bring to life such stories as the origins of the werewolf in 16th-century Germany.

“Customers loved the first season of ‘Lore’ for its unique blend of narrative and documentary storytelling, and we’re excited to give them another season of this suspenseful hybrid series,” said Heather Schuster, Amazon’s head of unscripted. “Sean brings great experience in the supernatural genre, and we’re excited for him to help us tell even more frightening and visually captivating stories.”

The series was inspired by the popular podcast launched in March 2015 by Aaron Mahnke. In addition to the Amazon series, Mahnke cut a three-book deal with Del Rey Books for a “World of Lore” series that kicked off in October with publication of “Monstrous Creatures.”

Season two of the Amazon series is set to begin lensing in April. Hurd, Silverman, Owens, Brett-Patrick Jenkins, Jon Halperin, and Mark Mannucci are exec producers. Mahnke is co-exec producer.



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Kevin Smith Reveals ‘Massive Heart Attack’ and Treatment – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


Kevin Smith (“Clerks”) has told fans on Twitter that he suffered a massive heart attack and would have died if he had not canceled a comedy special and gotten to hospital for treatment.

“After the first show this evening, I had a massive heart attack,” Smith wrote on Twitter in the early hours of Monday morning, with an accompanying picture of him in a hospital bed covered in tubes.

“The Doctor who saved my life told me I had 100% blockage of my LAD artery (aka “the Widow-Maker”). If I hadn’t canceled show 2 to go to the hospital, I would’ve died tonight. But for now, I’m still above ground!,” he said.

Smith, 47, had performed a standup show Sunday night and was due to perform again, but ended up seeking medical help.





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Oh Seok-geun Appointed As Chairman – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


Filmmaker-turned-administrator, Oh Seok-geun has been appointed as chairman of the Korean Film Council (KOFIC), South Korea’s film industry regulator and funding body. The position had been vacant for six months following the resignation in dubious circumstances of Kim Sae-hoon.

Oh takes up the post with immediate effect, according to an announcement by the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism. He has a three-year term running until Jan 2021.

The organization has been buffeted by the political and economic scandals that led to the impeachment of the previous national president Park Geun-hye. As a result, Oh will have to rebuild bridges and help KOFIC regain the trust of the industry.

Oh directed 1993 film “The 101st Proposal,” and then became GM of the Busan festival, before directing “Love is a Crazy Thing” in 2005. In 2010 he co-produced Korea-Japan-Thailand co-production “Camellia,” which was the closing film of Busan festival that year. Oh subsequently became director of the Busan Film Commission, which has played a leading role in Asia.

“We put emphasis on appointing the (right) figure with experiences and abilities to bring together and communicate with the film industry as well as to solve pending issues,” said the Ministry. “We expect that (Oh’s) appointment will help re-establish KOFIC’s role and status which have been tarnished by the ‘blacklist,’ as well as solve industry’s pending issues.”

Kim was accused of embezzling public money and of colluding with Park’s regime. Park and her associates interfered in film policy and operated a secret list of cultural industry talent who were denied public funding because of their political views. Kim resigned in May, a day after the inauguration of current president Moon Jae-in.



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