TheWrapMedia – TheWrap Covering Hollywood Mon, 23 Apr 2018 05:51:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Will Publishers Stop Fearing Facebook and Start Demanding Change? Mon, 23 Apr 2018 03:16:08 +0000 Sharon Waxman Thanks to Nellie Bowles’ reporting for The New York Times this weekend, we have a window into the obscure role played by the head of news partnerships at Facebook, Campbell Brown.

Bet you didn’t realize Facebook had a head of news partnerships, right?

There’s a lot of fresh intelligence in this well-reported piece about what goes on inside the Facebook fortress, but the upshot is that Brown’s clout inside the organization is unclear at best. She and Anne Kornblut — a former Washington Post reporter turned aide-de-camp to COO Sheryl Sandberg — are meant to promote relationships with publishers, with Brown convening salons and cocktail parties for the Manhattan media elite to make everybody feel better about all the money Facebook isn’t sharing with them.

But as far as impacting Facebook’s self-awareness around its impact on the news ecosystem, Brown appears to be more outward-facing PR, and less an influencer of policy. “Almost all question what influence she has at a company where the chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, has viewed news — both making it and displaying it — as a headache,” writes Bowles.

And despite plans by the platform to spend $90 million on news shows, Bowles writes in this revealing passage:

“When it comes to decisions related to publishers, the power at Facebook has traditionally been more with the product staff, who tend to be aligned more with Mr. Zuckerberg and cloistered from meetings with partners, according to several media executives. Google, in contrast, has a similar power dynamic but, publishers said, a more robust partnership structure and easier contact with product teams.

“She’s smart, but we’re different beasts,” Richard Gingras, the vice president for news at Google, said of Ms. Brown. “I’m in a fortunate position where I’m involved with the product. I can make change. I feel for her, I really do.”

Mr. Gingras, please save your sympathy for us publishers, ignored and disrespected. And Facebook — how about you keep your cocktail parties and start meaningfully revenue sharing with those of us who inform your users and keep our democracy alive?

The power brokers in my circles of entertainment and media are scared to call Facebook what it is — naïve, duplicitous, opaque, unaccountable and arrogant.

They’re afraid because Facebook is so powerful, a monopoly for all practical purposes that has already brought down or fatally diminished many digital publishers, that it’s been better to wait and see if the company will ever begin to share significant revenue as it has repeatedly promised. (And hasn’t.) And as far as entertainment, Facebook has billions to spend and has only just started down that path — why should Hollywood piss them off?

Just a few months ago, CEO Mark Zuckerberg dealt a harsh blow to publishers when he adjusted the feed for his 2.2 billion users to downplay news and favor content by friends and family. That was billed as a return to Facebook’s roots of community, but actually it was a transparent reaction to the trouble Zuckerberg has had dealing with all that fake news we’ve seen in those congressional hearings.

Quite apart from failing to protect the private data of 50 million — no, sorry, make that 87 million, no wait, maybe it’s more — from politically motivated groups like Cambridge Analytica, Facebook has also worked hard to avoid accountability as a publisher. Indeed, only recently — in those congressional hearings — has Zuckerberg made public noises to take responsibility for the content on his platform.

For what it’s worth, last November I practically begged Facebook to join a panel conversation about the dangers to the First Amendment that are facing our country in the age of Trump… and Facebook. I wrote Sheryl Sandberg and stalked the head of corporate communications. I finally got some polite responses but zero buy-in. I am told this is commonly the case when Facebook is invited to be part of this conversation.

But well before that pivot in its feed, Facebook mounted a brilliant, years-long bait and switch with publishers and so-called influencers. The company lured us all to its platform, then gradually cut off access to our own subscribers unless we paid. The instructive research paper “How to Boil a Frog” (which I’ve cited before) chronicles this insidious process.

The company convinced publishers to put all our content into “Instant Articles” so its users could have easy access to the news we create — and also would never leave the social platform — and then offered to pay us a pittance. Facebook touted video and more video — but there’s no money for those creating the video.

I can count back three years and as many social media and business development folks in my organization who would regularly show up to meetings and say they just talked to Facebook, and we should expect a monetization strategy to come together in about three months. Every three months.

Meanwhile, Facebook made $40 billion in revenue last year, and $16 billion in net income. 

So Campbell Brown, good luck fighting the good fight at a place like Facebook. Unlike the journalists who put their news on your platform, your company has no credibility to be a “news partner.”

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Congressional Candidate Buys Time for Anti-Sinclair Ads on Sinclair-Owned TV Stations (Video) Sun, 22 Apr 2018 22:22:16 +0000 Jeremy Fuster

Sinclair-owned broadcast stations in Montana will air ads this week from congressional candidate John Heenan that attack Sinclair Broadcast Group for “using its power to take advantage of journalists.”

Heenan, who is one of four Democrats challenging Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte, is a consumer rights attorney from Billings who bought morning ad time on three NBC affiliate stations in the western and southern areas of the state, all of which are owned by Sinclair.

“This station is owned by Sinclair Broadcasting, a powerful corporation that forces its journalists to read corporate talking points on the air,” Heenan says in the ad. “A corporation using its power to take advantage of journalists, our democracy and the people of Montana? Not on my watch.”

Sinclair has come under scrutiny from Democrats after Deadspin tweeted out a devastating mashup of Sinclair broadcasters from around the country repeating right wing anti-media talking points denouncing “fake news” from “members of the media [who] use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control ‘exactly what people think.'”

Tamy Wegner, general manager of the NBC affiliate airing the ad, told The Associated Press that they received the ad on Friday and said, “We don’t turn away candidate ads.”

The Democratic primary for Montana’s congressional race will take place on June 5. The winner will face Gianforte in the general midterm election in November. Gianforte won the seat last year as part of a special election, replacing Republican Ryan Zinke who was appointed Interior Secretary by Trump. According to FEC filings, Sinclair director Robert E. Smith has donated a maximum $5,400 to Gianforte’s campaign in 2017 and 2018.

Watch Heenan’s ad in the clip above.

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Kellyanne Conway: Question About My Husband’s Tweets Was ‘Meant to Harass and Embarrass’ (Video) Sun, 22 Apr 2018 20:53:22 +0000 Rosemary Rossi

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway clashed Sunday with CNN’s Dana Bash when she was asked about her husband’s tweets that criticize President Trump.

“What is up with your husband’s tweets?” Bash asked.

George Conway’s tweets critical of the POTUS have drawn attention, considering his wife’s job within the administration. Last month, he began deleting tweets that commented on the president’s legal problems and staff shakeups.

“He writes a lot of things that are also supportive, and he writes a lot of things about corgis and Philadelphia Eagles and sports, too,” Conway responded with a smile to Bash.

After inserting Hillary Clinton’s name into the conversation, Conway went on to say defensively, “It’s fascinating to me that CNN would go there, but it’s very good for the whole world to have just witnessed that it’s now fair game… how people’s spouses and significant others may differ with them.”

Although Bash said she wasn’t criticizing Conway’s husband, Conway quickly begged to differ.

“It was meant to harass and embarrass,” she interrupted, adding that spouses frequently have differences of opinion. “So this is a fascinating ‘crossing the Rubicon moment’… and I’ll leave it at that.”

Bash tried to smooth ruffled feathers, but…

Watch the video above for the awkward exchange.

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Kanye West Applauds Black Lives Matter Critic; Many Fans Revolt: ‘This Is So Disturbing’ Sun, 22 Apr 2018 02:55:45 +0000 Rosemary Rossi Kanye West voiced his liking of conservative YouTube personality Candace Owens on Saturday, upsetting many of his fans.

Owens — a frequent guest on Fox News and InfoWars — launched a website and YouTube channel in 2017 called Red Pill Black, which promotes black conservatism. She has hailed President Trump as not “just the leader of the free world, but the savior of it as well,” and has been known to blast Black Lives Matter.

West tweeted Saturday: “I like how Candace Owen thinks.”

Upon seeing West’s endorsement, Owens quickly responded: “I’m freaking out. @kanyewest ….please take a meeting with me. I tell every single person that everything that I have been inspired to do, was written in your music. I am my own biggest fan, because you made it okay. I need you to help wake up the black community.”

West giving his nod of approval to Owens didn’t sit well with many of his 11 million followers.

But Owens held her ground and clarified her perspective.

West met in December 2016 with then President-elect Donald Trump. TMZ reported at the time that West requested a 15-minute meeting with Trump, who later told reporters, “We discussed life.” Two months later, West deleted all of his tweets supportive of the new president.

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Trump Attacks ‘Third Rate’ NY Times Reporter Maggie Haberman in Wild Tweet Storm Sat, 21 Apr 2018 14:14:52 +0000 Thom Geier President Donald Trump launched a wild tweet storm on Saturday morning to attack New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman by name as a “third rate reporter” following a Friday story about his attorney Michael Cohen.

Trump also defended Cohen, whose records were recently seized by the FBI, and made some startling claims about how “most people will flip if the Government lets them out of trouble, even if it means lying or making up stories.”

The series of tweets appeared to respond to Haberman’s Friday story that questioned Cohen’s continued loyalty to Trump now that he himself may be under legal jeopardy and quoted longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone saying “Donald goes out of his way to treat [Cohen] like garbage.”

Trump was in such a rush on Saturday that he deleted and retweeted some of his messages to correct typos and spelling mistakes, including at first adding an extra B to Haberman’s name.

He derided the veteran journalist as “a Crooked H flunkie who I don’t speak to and have nothing to do with, are going out of their way to destroy Michael Cohen and his relationship with me in the hope that he will ‘flip.'”

The president also accused the paper, without substantiation, of using “nonexistent ‘sources’ and a drunk/drugged up loser who hates Michael.” The latter is an apparent reference to Sam Nunberg, a former Trump aide who is quoted in Haberman’s Friday story and who announced last month he was seeking treatment following a series of bizarre TV interviews.

The Times quickly responded in a tweet that the paper is “extremely proud” of Haberman, “who is part of a team that just won a Pulitzer Prize.”

Haberman, who joined the Times in 2015 after five years at Politico, offered her own commentary, noting that the president had (initially) misspelled her last name.

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Teen Vogue Reporter: ‘I Was Groped 22 Times’ at Coachella While Covering Sexual Harassment Fri, 20 Apr 2018 22:55:18 +0000 Ashley Boucher Sexual harassment was rampant at this year’s first Coachella weekend, Teen Vogue’s Vera Papisova reported.

“This year’s Coachella experience was also full of moments I never saw on Instagram: being repeatedly violated by strangers,” Papisova wrote in her report for the magazine.

She said of 54 women she interviewed, every single one of them had a story of being harassed during the weekend.

“In the three days I was at Coachella, I only spent a total of 10 hours at the actual festival, where I watched numerous performances and interviewed festival goers about their experience with sexual assault and harassment for Teen Vogue,” she said, adding that she was also a victim of harassment.

“During the 10 hours I was reporting on this story, I was groped 22 times,” wrote Papisova.

The women cited in Papisova’s story said that the crowded concerts seemed to make harassers feel like they could get away with touching them inappropriately.

From the article:

“It never goes further than a touch on my butt or my back, but it’s not an OK place to be touched,” said June, 20. “Would you do that to a coworker? Or another guy? Then don’t do that to me. This is my third day, and it’s probably happened to me 40 times this weekend.”

“In a really big crowd, you want to have a good time, and you want to dance,” said Phoebe, 20, “It’s just really uncomfortable to feel someone right behind you, touching you or rubbing you. It happened to me a lot at Post Malone.”

More than 90 percent of female concert goers experience harassment, according to a survey by OurMusicMyBody.

Some incidents went beyond unwated touching. Papisova said that one man called her a “heinous b—-” after she refused to kiss him in a VIP area. She described another instance in which a male stranger accused her of having “attitude” after she told him not to follow her into a bathroom stall.

Read Papisova’s full report here.

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Laura Ingraham Accused of Pregnancy Discrimination in Lawsuit Fri, 20 Apr 2018 19:49:35 +0000 Jon Levine Laura Ingraham’s former personal assistant filed a pregnancy discrimination law suit against the conservative Fox News host on Friday.

Karolina Wilson, who worked for the network star in 2017, filed suit in D.C. Superior Court, saying that she was fired from her job at Ingraham Media Group after she told her boss that she was pregnant.

“As a result of Defendants’ discrimination, interference and retaliation, Plaintiff lost her income and health insurance at the exact moment when she needed it most, depriving her of health insurance within a month of the birth of her first child and her family’s primary income within three months of adding a new member,” the suit reads.

“No pregnant woman should have to choose between her family and her economic security. Karolina Wilson asserts that when she told her employer she was pregnant, everything changed and she was ultimately shown the door,” said Wilson attorney Linda M. Correia. “Pregnant women and new mothers deserve fair treatment on the job and to be able to celebrate a new baby without fear of discrimination.”

A spokesperson for Fox News directed TheWrap to Ingraham’s attorney, Betty S.W. Graumlich, who did not immediately respond to request for comment from TheWrap.

“Ms. Wilson’s claims are wholly without merit as our filed defenses to the Complaint make abundantly clear. We look forward to litigating this case vigorously,” Graumlich told the Washington Post.

Ingraham, according to the suit, had always been a demanding boss but had an overall good relationship with Wilson. The suit went on to say that changed when Wilson became pregnant and that the company refused to provide reasonable accommodations. She was ultimately fired on the day she returned back from maternity leave.

Wilson is suing Ingraham on the grounds that she violated Washington D.C.’s “Pregnant Workers Fairness Act” and its “Family and Medical Leave Act.”

Ingraham is unmarried and is the mother of three adopted children.

The lawsuit could not come at a worse time for the embattled Fox News star, who currently faces an advertiser boycott that was driven by Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg. So far more than two dozen sponsors have fled her show.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this reporting.

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4/20 Is Also ‘National Lima Bean Respect Day’ – Here’s How You Can Show Some Respect Fri, 20 Apr 2018 18:58:21 +0000 Jon Levine April 20 is a day of mixed emotions. For some it is a time to mourn the anniversary of the Columbine massacre and gun violence, while for others it’s 4/20, a time to get blazed out of their minds.

For a (much) smaller segment of the population, however, 4/20 is about lima beans.

Yes, really.

Believe it or not, April 20 happens to be National Lima Bean Respect Day — it’s a niche holiday, so if you haven’t heard of it, don’t feel too bad. It even surprised some of the pros.

“This is new to me,” Nathan Sano, manager of the California Dry Bean Advisory Board, told TheWrap on Friday. “I think it’s fantastic. Some of my favorite beans are lima beans, so that they’re getting recognition I think is fantastic.”

Sano said he would definitely pass along the information to his lima-bean people so that they could be better prepared with promotional material for next year.

“I would probably put together a big pot of bean soup and include some lima beans to celebrate,” he told TheWrap when asked how the day might be best observed.

The origin of the day — which is recorded in various online calendars — is a mystery, which perhaps makes the observance even more special. According to National Day Calendar, the best way to celebrate might just be eating a lot of lima beans.

“Enjoy lima beans with any of your meals as a way to celebrate the day. Share your thoughts about lima beans using #LimaBeanRespectDay on Social Media,” they say — including a hashtag which suggests the day may be of a recent vintage.

Fun addition fact — according to TrackMaven’s “ultimate list” of National Days, April 20 is also National Cheddar Fries Day, National Lookalike Day and National Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Day.

And who said service journalism is dead?

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Democratic Party Sues Trump Presidential Campaign and Wikileaks Fri, 20 Apr 2018 15:56:32 +0000 Jon Levine The Democratic Party has filed a lawsuit against the Donald Trump presidential campaign and Wikileaks over what they say was a conspiracy to deliver the 2016 election to Trump.

The news was first reported by the Associated Press on Friday.

“In the run-up to the 2016 election, Russia mounted a brazen attack on American Democracy. The opening salvo was a cyberattack [sic] on the DNC carried out on American soil,” the suit reads. “In the Trump campaign, Russia found a willing and active partner in this effort.”

The suit mirrored language by DNC Chairman Tom Perez, who blasted the Russian effort in his own statement Friday.

“During the 2016 presidential campaign, Russia launched an all-out assault on our democracy, and it found a willing and active partner in Donald Trump’s campaign,” he said in a statement provided to the Washington Post.

“This constituted an act of unprecedented treachery: the campaign of a nominee for President of the United States in league with a hostile foreign power to bolster its own chance to win the presidency.”

The suit names the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone, the Russian Federation among others as defendants.

President Trump and his campaign are also the subjects of a special counsel probe looking into whether there was collusion with the Russian government. The president has consistently maintained that there had never been any coordination between his campaign and Russia.

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Watch Rachel Maddow and James Comey Have a Friendly Conversation About Russian Hookers (Video) Fri, 20 Apr 2018 15:13:32 +0000 Jon Levine

Former FBI Director James Comey sat down with MSNBC host Rachel Maddow Thursday evening on her show that turned into a conversation about Russian hookers and golden showers.

“In your words, the president brought up the golden showers thing and said it really bothered him if his wife had any doubt about it. He then explained, as he did at our dinner, that he hadn’t stayed overnight in Russia during the Miss University trip,” said Maddow, sitting across from a stone-faced Comey.

“The president said he hookers thing is nonsense but that Putin had told him we have some of the most beautiful hookers in the world.”

“He told you he had a personal conversation with President Putin about hookers?” Maddow finally asked.

“Yes,” said Comey.

Just hours before the interview, a series of Comey memos written during his last months as FBI director were provided to lawmakers on Capitol Hill. The real-time memorialization of his encounters with President Trump leaked to the media almost instantly and provided fresh material for Comey to weigh in on.

Though the memos had been demanded by GOP representatives, the accounts from Comey align with his public statements since leaving the FBI and on his book tour.

After a stormy relationship, President Trump fired James Comey from his job at the FBI last year. The decision was in part due to Comey’s investigation of ties between Russia and the Trump presidential campaign. The effort to stem the probe backfired, however, and played a direct role in the decision by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint a special counsel.

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‘Morning Joe': NBC Political Analyst Compares Trump to Hitler: ‘This Is a Diseased Republic’ Fri, 20 Apr 2018 14:04:07 +0000 Jon Levine

The set of “Morning Joe” was without co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski Friday, but that didn’t stop the gang of regulars from delivering their usual outrage towards President Donald Trump.

MSNBC regular and NBC political analyst Anand Giridharadas offered his view that Republicans refuse to stand up to Donald Trump was evidence that the country was “diseased” — and yes, he also managed to crowbar in an oblique Trump- Hitler reference too.

“This is a diseased republic in which so many people agree on not speaking truth to power, in which so many people are so motivated by the protection of their careers, that they won’t do the thing that they promised themselves they would do when they were in high school and college reading about the rise of Hitler or reading about corrupt dictators in Africa and they said, ‘you know, if I’m even in a a moment like that — you think to yourself in college — I’m going to be that guy who is brave.'”

Giridharadas continued:

“We have an entire governing class on the right in which not one person, with a couple of exceptions, is willing to do this suggests to me a very diseased body politic.”

Needless to say, none of what Giridharadas said went challenged, and the conversation swiftly moved into a dryer discussion about the deficit.

This is not the first time “Morning Joe” has compared President Trump to 20th century dictators. In the past, Mao, Stalin and Pol Pot have all been mentioned as Scarborough, Brzezinski and their guests reach for more arresting comparisons.

Scarborough, however, is notoriously sensitive about comparing anyone else to these dictators. On an airing of his show earlier this month, the former GOP congressman launched into an extended diatribe against Newt Gingrich and Fox News for suggesting as much about Robert Mueller.

“When you start comparing Robert Mueller to Stalin or Hitler, you are not attacking Robert Mueller, you are attacking the United States of America, you are attacking the United States Constitution,” Scarborough thundered in a rant which came complete with a dramatic camera zoom on his face.

“I ask those leading Fox News, I ask Republicans on Capitol Hill, conservatives across America, are you really comfortable attacking law enforcement officers and personnel who were protecting your children against the next ISIS terror attack on American soil, comparing those FBI agents to Joseph Stalin, a man who killed between 25 and 40 million of his own people?”

Watch above.

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Vice Media Launches India Channel Today Fri, 20 Apr 2018 12:53:27 +0000 Jon Levine VICE Media will launch in India on Friday, TheWrap has learned.

VICE India will be a joint project between Vice Media and the Times of India Group. The rough blueprint calls for combining Vice’s youth-focused approach to news with culturally relevant content and local news.

The VICE India project had been in the works for several months. The company previously announced that Chanpreet Arora would serve as CEO of the effort with Samira Kanwar taking on the role of head of content.

The operation will be based out of offices in Mumbai and Delhi.

“Everything we do, our aim is to reach the aspirational mass audience which is about to make their voices heard loudly in India,” Hosi Simon, CEO of VICE Asia Pacific, said in press release after this article was published.

“We hope to create ground-breaking content and play a significant role in creating and giving a voice to the youth of India, and helping to bring their stories and creativity to all parts of India, and to the rest of the world.”

News of the launch provides a bit of much needed triumphalism for a company that has been buffeted by bad news all year. Like many high profile media organizations, Vice has seen it’s executive ranks rocked by the MeToo movement.

A much-anticipated New York Times article last December exposed multiple accusations of sexual misconduct from past employees, including at least four settlements. Among the accused was company president Andrew Creighton who dropped $135,000 in hush money to a former employee who said she was fired from the company after turning him down, the Times reported.

The revelations led to the ouster of the company’s chief creative officer, Mike Germano and what has become a semi-permanent suspension for Creighton.

The company also missed a 2017 revenue target by $100 million, imperiling what had been a planned 2018 IPO.

Last month, Vice Media co-founder Shane Smith announced he would step down from his role as the company’s longtime CEO and hand over the reins to former A&E chief Nancy Dubuc.

“Why Nancy Dubuc? Simply put, because rarely in business do you get to work in a perfect partnership,” said Smith in a press release at the time. “We are a modern day Bonnie and Clyde and we are going to take all your money.”

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Jimmy Kimmel: If Trump Is Innocent, ‘Why Does It Matter if Cohen Flips?’ Fri, 20 Apr 2018 11:10:55 +0000 Phil Owen The story of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen is sticking with us for the duration, and Jimmy Kimmel had some interesting thoughts about the latest development: that some folks in Donald Trump’s inner circle are apparently worried that Cohen, in the wake of the FBI raid on his office and home last week, will seek a deal with investigators and spill the beans on Donald Trump.

“The bigliest concern for Team Trump right now — the story that is reportedly driving him to the edge — is whether or not his personal lawyer Michael Cohen is going to ‘flip’ on him. Cohen has been under federal investigation for months, and many of Trump’s closest friends and advisers are worried that he’ll make a deal to tell federal prosecutors everything he knows,” Kimmel said.

“One of the President’s former lawyers told Trump that, on a scale of one to 100, where 100 represents full protection of the president, Cohen ‘isn’t even at a 1.’ Which, I don’t know about that. I mean, Does this look like the face of someone who is going to crack under pressure from federal investigators? I don’t think so. He looks like a dog that got caught peeing on the rug. But who knows. Michael Cohen once said he’d take a bullet for Donald Trump. And Robert Mueller was like, ‘Oh, great! Stand right there. You want a cigarette or anything?’ “

Kimmel then expressed a pretty keen observation about the whole thing: that their concern over whether Cohen will flip sure makes it seem like Trump must be guilty of something.

“Trump confidantes are openly concerned that Cohen might flip. Which, I think that alone is interesting? I mean, if he isn’t guilty of anything, why does it matter if he flips? Flip away! Flip like an acrobat!” Kimmel joked.

That aside, Kimmel also wondered why anything would think somebody would stay loyal to Trump.

“But here’s the thing — almost no one is loyal to Donald Trump, because Donald Trump isn’t loyal to them. He cheats in business, he cheats in golf, he cheats in marriage. He definitely cheats on his taxes, that’s why we haven’t seen them,” Kimmel said. “He throws everybody who works for him under the bus eventually. ‘Loyalty’ to Donald Trump means, ‘You scratch my back, and then we’re done.’ “

Kimmel then played a clip of a reporter asking Trump about the situation, to which Trump responded by talking about something else entirely.

“Thank you, everybody. I hope you saw the crowds in key west. they’ve never seen anything like that. It was really very inspirational. And what we just witnessed was incredible. Those crowds coming in, I think even the media will have to say that was quite something,” Trump said in the clip.

“That was quite something, he ignored the question,” Kimmel said. “And went into yet another monologue about how big his crowds were. Someday, I feel like he’ll be in prison going, ‘You should have seen them, all the way back to the edge, they were chanting my name.’ “

You can watch all of Thursday’s episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on right here.

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Jimmy Kimmel: Comey Book 'Combines the Two Things Trump Hates Most — Criticism and Reading'

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Comey’s Memos About Trump Have Finally Been Made Public — Read Them Here Fri, 20 Apr 2018 04:56:45 +0000 Ross A. Lincoln According to former FBI director James Comey, Donald Trump once bragged that Vladimir Putin personally told him Russia has “some of the most beautiful hookers in the world.” And, Comey wrote, Trump did this while denying he had ever made use of their services.

We know this because detailed memos penned by Comey during the first few months of Donald Trump’s presidency have finally been made public. On Thursday night, the Department of Justice turned them over to Congress, and unsurprisingly, they were quickly leaked to multiple news outlets and posted online.

Covering seven conversations between Comey and Trump between January 7 and April 11, 2017, four of the notes are partially redacted, while three of them have been released in full. So what’s in them? They mostly reiterate a lot of what Comey has already said over the last year and, most recently, in his tell-all memoir “A Higher Loyalty,” though in much more immediate terms.

For instance, as Comey would later say in “A Higher Loyalty,” Trump is extremely concerned about the Steele Dossier’s salacious claim of a “golden showers” tape, which POTUS has consistently denied. In fact, Comey says Trump brought the matter up in four out of the seven conversations they had.

The first time is described in the memo dated January 7, 2017, in which Trump is said to have bragged about “being the kind of guy who didn’t need to ‘go there.'”

Comey said the second time came two weeks later, as detailed in the memo dated Jan. 28. Comey said Trump repeatedly tried to convince him to open an official investigation “to prove it was a lie.”

The third time came a couple of weeks after that, according to the memo dated Feb. 8, 2017. This time, Comey wrote that Trump said “‘the hookers thing’ is nonsense but that Putin had told him ‘we have some of the most beautiful hookers in the world.'”

The fourth time came almost two months later, according to the memo dated March 30.

There’s a lot more than just “the hookers thing” of course. Comey describes several of what he calls “conversation-as-jigsaw puzzle” encounters that touched on topics including the inauguration crowd, Michael Flynn and former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe. Among many others.

Read them for yourself below (via the Associated Press):

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Sex Workers Mad at Bernie Sanders, and Cardi B’s Involved Fri, 20 Apr 2018 01:46:13 +0000 Reid Nakamura Bernie Sanders has drawn the ire of sex workers after voting in favor of a bill to curb sex trafficking and then tweeting a reference to Cardi B.

On Wednesday, the Vermont senator shared a quote from the rapper in defense of social security, writing, “Cardi B is right. If we are really going to make America great we need to strengthen Social Security so that seniors are able to retire with the dignity they deserve.”

As Salon noted on Thursday, that tweet was met with a number of responses from those noting that Cardi B is a former stripper and Sanders had very recently helped to pass a bill that some say will endanger sex workers.

“Hey Bernie: Cardi is a former stripper. You voted for SESTA which endangers sex workers,” wrote adult film actress Sydney Leathers. “Please don’t try to use her for clout. We know how you really feel.”

SESTA refers to the Stop Enabling Sex-Trafficking Act, which Sanders voted for in the Senate and was signed into law by President Donald Trump last week. Critics of the legislation say it confuses consensual sex work with illegal sex trafficking and could make life more dangerous for sex workers.

“Conflating sex trafficking with consensual adult sex work does so much more harm than good,” sex worker Ginger Banks told Salon. “Decriminalizing sex work is what I believe is the answer to protecting not only people who choose to do sex work but those who are forced into it.”

Banks said she was inspired by Sanders’ tweet about Cardi to create a video that would “ask him to possibly add the rights of sex workers to the list of things that he’s willing to fight for,” adding that she is still a supporter.

Others have not been a generous: “I love when Bernie tries to make relevant tie ins with his campaign but forgets he’s quoting a former sex worker who would have definitely been harmed by his decision to vote yes on SESTA/FOSTA,” read another tweet highlighted by Salon.

Representatives for Sanders did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

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A Year After Bill O’Reilly Exit, Fox News’ 8 O’Clock Ratings Are Down – But Up From Pre-Trump Years Thu, 19 Apr 2018 18:52:23 +0000 Jon Levine It’s been one full year since Bill O’Reilly’s abrupt exit from Fox News, and there’s good and bad news for Tucker Carlson, his successor in the 8 p.m. ET slot.

The bad news: Carlson can’t touch the ratings Bill O’Reilly scored during the 2016 election and the first days of the Trump administration. The good news is that Carlson is beating O’Reilly’s ratings from before all that drama broke out — and more than holding his own in a slot that the disgraced host ruled for more than a decade.

The other good news: Fox News continues to dominate its competitors, CNN and MSNBC, as the No. 1 network in cable news, including in the 8 o’clock hour.

O’Reilly’s 2016 and 2017 ratings were spectacular, but they were also amplified by the 2016 presidential election and early weeks of President Donald Trump in the White House. In 2016, O’Reilly rode the Trump train to an average of more than 3.3 million total viewers, and about 573,000 viewers in the key 25-54-year-old demographic coveted by advertisers.

In the first quarter of 2017 — his last full quarter on air — O’Reilly averaged more than 4 million viewers overall and 740,000 in the key demo.

In the first quarter of 2018, his successor, Tucker Carlson, averaged just under 3 million viewers daily, and just over 600,000 viewers in the demo — down from the last two years but beating O’Reilly’s numbers for Q1 of the pre-Trump era 2013, 2014 and 2015.

And the primetime newbie was well ahead of his time-slot competitors. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes was just shy of 2 million viewers and 422,000 in the demo for the first quarter of 2018, while CNN’s Anderson Cooper drew 1.17 million viewers, with 394,000 in the demo for the first hour of “AC360.”

“The ratings for ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ continue to exceed our expectations and we’re thrilled that he has dominated the timeslot since moving to 8 p.m.” a network spokesperson told TheWrap.

O’Reilly was fired from Fox News on April 19, 2017, weeks after the New York Times reported that he and Fox News had paid $13 million in settlements with numerous women who had accused the star of sexual harassment. The news prompted an advertiser boycott that led to his final episodes running almost commercial-free.

After his departure, the Times revealed the existence of an additional O’Reilly settlement totaling $32 million — a deal the New York Times said Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox, was aware of.

O’Reilly was fired from Fox News before the broader awareness brought on by the #MeToo movement swept Hollywood and the news media last year.

The host has continued to remain in the public eye, both on Twitter, his own web show and occasionally as a contributor to Newsmax TV.

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Murdoch Family Scores $206 Million in Golden Parachutes After Disney-Fox Deal Thu, 19 Apr 2018 18:01:31 +0000 Tony Maglio The Murdochs have a lot of money, and once Disney’s $52.4 billion acquisition of the bulk of 21st Century Fox goes through, Fox’s top executives can go swimming in a pool of gold coins a la Disney’s Scrooge McDuck.

According to a lengthy Disney SEC filing on Wednesday, Rupert Murdoch stands to get a golden parachute of $66.7 million, with about $40 million of that coming in cash, once the mega-deal is completed.

Now that truly puts the “gold” (and safety concept) in “golden parachute.”

Rupert’s eldest son, Lachlan Murdoch — an executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, like dad — could get $69.1 million after the merger is finalized, with the majority coming in equity and $25.6 million in cash. Lachlan also has $1.2 million in pension coming to him, something pops does not.

Fox CEO James Murdoch actually receives the most of the bunch: $70.6 million. His breakdown between cash and equity ($42.2 million) is the same as big bro — but his pension payout is about $1.5 million higher.

All three of the Murdochs get an additional $15,000 in benefits, which is chump change to those guys.

Now, all of this is assuming there are no roles for the fellas at the Mouse House. Their “New Fox” compensation is unrelated to this Disney filing.

Furthermore, if for some reason Lachlan or James Murdoch is fired before June 30, 2018, that ex-executive will get $22 million in cash six months later as severance.

See those smiles in the above picture? You’d be beaming too.

By the way, it goes Lachlan, Rupert, James, left-to-right — in case you need to know whom to approach for a loan.

Here is a snapshot of golden parachute compensation table, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission:

Need more Disney-Fox financial deets? Here’s a few hundred pages of Wednesday’s S-4.

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Roseanne Barr, Tiffany Haddish, Chadwick Boseman Make Time’s 100 Most Influential People List Thu, 19 Apr 2018 17:24:27 +0000 Ashley Boucher Time Magazine has revealed its 2018 List of the World’s 100 Most Influential People, which includes a wide array of notable figures, from TV personalities like Roseanne Barr and Jimmy Kimmel to “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler.

The list is broken down into five categories: Pioneers, Artists, Leaders, Icons and Titans. Each person on the list is introduced with a short profile written by another notable figure — like the Duffer Brothers, Bill Gates, Aly Raisman, Cher, Adele.

The first category, Pioneers, includes the likes of Cardi B, Tiffany Haddish, Kumail Nanjiani and Parkland Survivors Cameron Kasky, Jaclyn Corin, David Hogg, Emma Gonzalez and Alex Wind — the latter whose profile was written by Barack Obama.

Artists on the list include “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler, Roseanne Barr, Jimmy Kimmel, Greta Gerwig, Millie Bobby Brown and Lena Waithe. Leaders included Donald Trump, Robert Mueller and Kim Jong Un, as well as Prince Harry and his fiancé Meghan Markle.

Icons on the list include “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman, Olympic darling Adam Rippon, and Ronan Farrow, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twoey. The three reporters’ profile was written by Ashley Judd.

Finally, in the Titans category, Oprah, Jeff Bezos, and Cindy Holland all made the list.

In Time’s article introducing the list, Edward Felsenthal wrote, that the list is a “designation of individuals whose time, in our estimation, is now.”

“The TIME 100 isn’t a measure of power, though many on the list wield it,” he continued. “Nor is it a collection of milestones accumulated. As our staff considers candidates, we often find ourselves wowed by those with stunning lifetime achievements. But editorial director Dan Macsai, maestro of the TIME 100, brings us back to the key question: Was this their year?”

Explore the full list over here.

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Michael Cohen Withdraws Libel Suits Against BuzzFeed, Fusion GPS Thu, 19 Apr 2018 14:38:49 +0000 Jon Levine Michael Cohen has withdrawn his libel suit against BuzzFeed and Fusion GPS, a lawyer for the Trump attorney revealed on Thursday.

“The decision to voluntarily discontinue these cases was a difficult one,” Cohen attorney David Schwartz told Politico Thursday, which reported the news. “We believe the defendants defamed my client, and vindicating Mr. Cohen’s rights was — and still remains — important. But given the events that have unfolded, and the time, attention, and resources needed to prosecute these matters, we have dismissed the matters, despite their merits.”

Schwartz did not immediately respond to request for comment from TheWrap.

The longtime Trump fixer had been suing both companies for their role in the now legendary dossier compiled by ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele. The dossier — which was paid for by Fusion and published by BuzzFeed — is the origin of the so-called “pee tape” and rumors that the president had a urine-filled encounter with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room in 2013.

In a statement to TheWrap, BuzzFeed defended its decision to publish the dossier.

“The lawsuits against BuzzFeed over the Steele dossier have never been about the merits of our decision to publish it. If there’s one thing Democrats and Republicans agree on today, it’s that the dossier was an important part of the government’s investigation into potential collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russia,” said BuzzFlack Matt Mittenthal.

“Its interest to the public is, and always has been, obvious. Today’s news suggests that Donald Trump’s personal lawyer no longer thinks an attack on the free press is worth his time.”

Cohen’s decision comes as his own legal troubles mount. Last week, his offices and personal apartment were raided by the FBI and this week it was revealed that — in addition to Trump — Cohen had some legal relationship with Fox News host Sean Hannity.

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‘Fox & Friends’ Says Hillary Clinton ‘Shouldn’t Be Immune From Prosecution': ‘Evidence of Guilt is Overwhelming’ Thu, 19 Apr 2018 13:32:22 +0000 Jon Levine

The set of “Fox & Friends” turned to a familiar subject Thursday morning — Hillary Clinton.

With longtime legal guru Andrew Napolitano, the cast on the couch yammered that it still wasn’t too late for President Trump to prosecute his former rival.

“She shouldn’t be immune from prosecution because she ran for president and lost or because her last name is Clinton,” said Napolitano. “The evidence of guilt is overwhelming, the statute of limitations in ten years … There’s evidence of serious felonies on her part.”

“Why doesn’t Jeff Sessions do it?” demanded show co-host Steve Doocy.

“You’re asking the wrong person,” Napolitano sighed. “I’ve been asking the attorney general to do this for months and I wish he would.”

For what it’s worth, Napolitano offered the critics view as well, saying that those opposed to prosecuting Clinton are likely willing to look past her guilt to avoid the “banana republic” appearance of a victorious presidential candidate jailing a defeated one.

Trump — as we all know — is a regular “Fox & Friends” viewer and it’s hard not to wonder if the segment was a deliberate reminder for him about his “lock her up” campaign pledge. With Trump’s “Fox & Friends” tweets often coming in real time during the show, it looks like he didn’t take the bait today.

“Prediction on Hillary. Justice department will not seek her indictment. Contrary to all reason,” Napolitano said dejectedly at the end of the segment.

“We already know that,” added co-host Ainsley Earhardt.

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Chris Cuomo Slams ‘Morning Joe’ for Attacks on Hannity After Past Trump Chumminess: ‘How Is This Different?’ (Video) Thu, 19 Apr 2018 12:40:58 +0000 Jon Levine

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo unleashed some fresh media-on-media fire Thursday, telling his audience on “New Day” that Sean Hannity’s relationship with Trump now is similar to the one the president once enjoyed with “Morning Joe” hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.

“Remember in the days of the glow, when [Joe] and Mika spoke to Trump all the time, they had him on, discussed what questions to talk about in the break. They were the Trump whisperers,” said Cuomo — speaking of a very well documented period of chumminess between Trump, Joe and Mika around 2015 and early 2016.

“I was watching the headlines closely, because I believed it worked against us here,” Cuomo added. “We didn’t have that kind of access because we weren’t ‘mwah mwah mwah’ with Donald Trump all the time.”


Cuomo, as he disclosed in the segment, is uniquely situated to comment on the matter as “New Day” is currently up against “Morning Joe” in the morning and he will be heading to prime time for his network to go against Hannity this summer.

On hand also during the interview was CNN’s Brian Stelter, who did his best to throw cold water on the comparison.

“Isn’t the difference that he’s now president and Hannity is providing a shelter from the storm,” said Stelter. “Yes the ‘Morning Joe’ relationship when he was a candidate was curious and certainly deserving of scrutiny. But now he’s the president and now the President of the United States is able to use this shelter on Hannity’s show every night.”

Cuomo seemed unconvinced.

A spokesperson for MSNBC declined to comment.

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Jimmy Kimmel: Trump Loves Giving Thumbs Up Because His ‘Thumb Is the Only Normal-Sized Finger on His Hand’ Thu, 19 Apr 2018 11:15:59 +0000 Phil Owen Jimmy Kimmel made note of one of Donald Trump’s more fascinating tics during his “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” monologue Wednesday night when he was discussing Trump’s meeting this week with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump’s propensity for giving a thumbs-up sign in photos, and how very often everyone else in the photo with him also gives a thumbs up sign.

“Speaking of nuts, President Trump is at Mar-a-Lago this week to meet-slash-golf with the prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe. It was his 108th day on the golf course since taking office. But he wants to make it very clear they’re there to work. In fact, he tweeted, ‘Prime Minister Abe Shinzo of Japan and myself this morning building an even deeper and better relationship while playing a quick round of golf at Trump International Golf Club.’ A quick round of golf and a plug for my golf course,” Kimmel joked, before taking a closer look at the picture that was attached to the tweet.

“Look at this photo. Zoom into this. I stared at this for four full minutes today. Look at these two. They’re all dressed up in their golf outfits. Trump gives that dopey thumb up that he always gives,” Kimmel said, as this image displayed on screen:

“Donald Trump loves giving the thumb up in pictures, making everyone else feel like they have to do it too. And they do do it,” Kimmel said, as he began listing off a series of situations in which Trump gave a thumbs up and whoever else was in the picture also gave the thumbs up. “Here he is with the Republican leadership at dinner last week.”

“This is the staff on Air Force One.”

“This is last month with the Saudi prince.”

“The reason he does it, it’s interesting,” Kimmel continued, about to deliver the punchline. “The reason he does it is the thumb is the only normal-sized finger on his hand.”

Kimmel then took a shot at another thing that Trump did during Prime Minister Abe’s visit.

“So after the golf thing and thumbing, the president and Prime Minister Abe held a joint press conference at which Trump spoke both fondly and oddly about his November visit to Japan,” Kimmel said, before a clip played in which Trump made the following comment:

“It was a true privilege to be welcomed to the magnificent land of Japan, or as I’ve heard all my life, the land of the rising sun. It’s true. So great.”

“So great. Even greater than you realize. You know he only knows that from the Wesley Snipes movie, right?” Kimmel quipped, referring to the 1993 crime drama “Rising Sun,” which starred Snipes and Sean Connery.

Kimmel also had some shots to take an another key Republican figure in the U.S. government: Sen. Mitch McConnell.

“With all that’s going on right now, lawmakers in the House and Senate are concerned that Trump might actually fire Robert Mueller and all hell will break loose. So they’re working on bipartisan legislation that would protect the special counsel from the president,” Kimmel said. “Republicans Lindsey Graham and Thom Tillis are trying to push this through. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he won’t allow a vote on it. McConnell was on Fox News yesterday and Neil Cavuto asked if there was a need for legislation to prevent the president from firing the guy in charge of investigating him.”

Then a clip played from that interview, in which McConnell made this comment: “That’s not necessary. There’s no indication that Mueller’s going to be fired. I don’t think the president’s going to do that.”

Kimmel, of course, thought that’s an odd stance given, well, the entire history of Donald Trump.

“You don’t? Everybody else does. Why do they want to introduce legislation? Listen, his catch phrase, before he was even president, his catch phrase was, ‘you’re fired.’ No chance he might fire the guy? He’s already tried to fire him twice but his people talked him out of it,” Kimmel said, before slapping McConnell with a joke about how he looks like a turtle. “But Mitch McConnell doesn’t think it’s necessary. The only time Mitch McConnell ever sticks his neck out is to slowly eat a piece of lettuce.”

You can watch all of Wednesday’s episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live on right here.

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Jeff Bewkes Says DOJ’s Key Antitrust Argument Against AT&T-Time Warner Merger Is ‘Ridiculous’ Wed, 18 Apr 2018 22:29:41 +0000 Trey Williams Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes testified on Wednesday in DC District Court, saying the Department of Justice’s assertion that a merger with AT&T would allow the mega-company to blackout pay-TV operators as a negotiating ploy is “ridiculous.”

“If our channels are not in distribution we lose lots of money (from subscriptions and advertising),” he said while defending the potential $85.4 billion merger against the government’s antitrust arguments, according to a Reuters report.

The DOJ had previously warned District Judge Richard Leon — the sole decider in whether the deal goes through — that a combined AT&T-Time Warner would allow the company to raise licensing fees and blackout pay-TV operators in the midst of negotiations.

Bewkes believes that makes no sense.

The Time Warner CEO offered up as evidence that less than 2 percent of subscribers jump ship in the event of a blackout, something that is not uncommon during carriage fee negotiations. Blackouts in pay-TV happen occasionally when operators and distributors can’t agree to terms.

Last week, economists for both sides argued over one of the lynchpins in the DOJ’s case against AT&T-Time Warner, which is an arbitration provision the companies agreed to.

The arbitration provision essentially says that AT&T won’t black out Time Warner channels during negotiations with carriers, and it requires the combined company to enlist an arbiter to use fair market value to determine prices for things like licensing fees.

So yeah, this blackout thing is a big issue.

But it’s not the only one — and Time Warner isn’t exactly without concern for the future itself.

The pending merger is in Time Warner’s best interest, Bewkes said today in court, and a way for the company to combat the impact it feels from the likes of Google, Facebook and other Internet companies.

Bewkes explained that Time Warner has been at a disadvantage in innovating and advertising because of the lack of granular information about the viewers that pay-TV and Internet companies have. You know, like the Facebook data news you simply cannot avoid these days.

The government has rested its case, but AT&T-Time Warner still have plenty left to say. The trial goes on.

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Ex-Playboy Model Karen McDougal Free to Tell Her Trump Story After Settling Lawsuit With American Media Wed, 18 Apr 2018 21:53:07 +0000 Tim Kenneally and Meriah Doty Former Playboy model Karen McDougal has been freed up to tell her story about an alleged affair she had with Donald Trump, after settling a lawsuit with publisher American Media, McDougal said in a statement provided to TheWrap on Wednesday.

“I am pleased to have reached a settlement with AMI on my own terms, which restores to me the rights to my life story and frees me from this contract that I was misled into signing nearly two years ago,” McDougal said. “My goal from the beginning was to restore my rights and not to achieve any financial gain, and this settlement does exactly that. I am relieved to be able to tell the truth about my story when asked, and I look forward to being able to return to my private life and focus on what matters to me. Thank you to my family, friends, legal team, and the public for the support I have received.”

McDougal’s attorney, Peter Stris, said in his own statement, “We are glad that AMI has agreed to a settlement that restores Karen’s life rights to her, and makes right the wrongs that had been perpetrated against her. She is now able to move on from this and go back to living her private life, as she has wanted from the beginning. Our firm is happy to have been able to help Karen reach this favorable outcome and free her from the fear of speaking her truth.”

A spokesperson for AMI told TheWrap, “AMI is pleased that we reached an amicable resolution with Karen today that provides both sides what they wanted as a result.”

Under the settlement agreement, McDougal will appear on the September 2018 cover of Men’s Journal, with the issue also containing a feature-length article on her.

AMI will also publish five additional health and fitness columns written by McDougal, and retain the right to publish articles about her “in the normal course of its journalism.”

The agreement also says that AMI is maintaining a financial interest in any re-sale of an exclusive on McDougal’s personal story

According to the New York Times, National Enquirer parent company American Media bought McDougal’s story in August 2016, but never ran the story.

In a March interview with Anderson Cooper, McDougal, who says she had an affair with Trump in 2006 and 2007, apologized to Trump’s wife Melania.

“What can you say except I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m sorry. I wouldn’t want it done to me. I’m sorry.”

Trump has denied having an affair with McDougal.

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David Hogg and His Sister Lauren Score a Book Deal Wed, 18 Apr 2018 21:09:35 +0000 Tim Kenneally Parkland school shooting survivor and gun-control activist David Hogg and his sister Lauren will release a book, publisher Random House said Wednesday.

The book, “#NeverAgain: A New Generation Draws the Line,” is described as “a manifesto” for the movement that began following the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The movement “has already changed America–with voices of a new generation that are speaking truth to power, and are determined to succeed where their elders have failed,” Random House said. “With moral force and clarity, a new generation has made it clear that problems previously deemed unsolvable due to powerful lobbies and political cowardice will be theirs to solve.”

“#NeverAgain” will be released June 5.

Since the Parkland shooting, David Hogg has been a particularly vocal advocate for gun control. He also launched a campaign that prompted numerous advertisers to pull out of Laura Ingraham’s Fox News program, after Ingraham tweeted that Hogg had whined about not getting into certain colleges.

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Alex Jones Blasted for Telling Unhappy African-Americans to ‘Go to Africa’ (Video) Wed, 18 Apr 2018 20:43:03 +0000 Jon Levine

Alex Jones revived a centuries-old racial taunt Wednesday, telling African-Americans that if they aren’t happy in the United States, they should go to Africa.

“Again, if America is so bad — the whole thing is — why don’t you go to Africa,” said Jones. “I’ve heard from so many black folks that were liberals until they went to Africa and they saw how bad it was in some areas and they went ‘Wow, man I’m glad I’m here.”

Criticism came swiftly from people who reminded Jones of the existence of slavery.

“Nope, Alex Jones. My ancestors were involuntarily brought to America in the 18th century,” one woman tweeted. “So, I am staying in America to give you something to talk about on your show.”

Jones, who is currently being sued for fueling false claims that the Sandy Hook shooting was faked, has previously accused Bill Gates of being a eugenicist, and speculated about child slave colonies on Mars. But his latest statement was still striking enough to catch the attention of Bobby Lewis, a researcher for the liberal group Media Matters. Lewis was the first to flag the remark on Twitter.

Jones did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheWrap.

Here are some other responses:

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Why Carrie Underwood, James Comey and Giannis Antetokounmpo Are TV’s Social Media MVPs of the Week Wed, 18 Apr 2018 20:27:07 +0000 Fabric Media Check out this week’s most emotionally reacted-to TV personalities and characters.

A beloved singer, the former director of the F.B.I. and a player for the Milwaukee Bucks had viewers talking passionately on social media over the past seven days.

The Wrap has partnered with Canvs, the emotion measurement company, for a weekly look at some of the characters and personalities that have TV viewers the most worked up on social media. The data below covers April 11-17 and is drawn from the most emotionally reacted-to television programs, including broadcast, cable, streaming and PPV.

Celebrities of all sorts gathered during Sunday’s 53rd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, which were broadcast on CBS and generated 76,543 Emotional Reactions (ERs). Musician Carrie Underwood drove a critical mass of conversation throughout the evening, especially while performing her new single “Cry Pretty.” This was Underwood’s first official public appearance since an accident last fall resulted in her having to get stitches on her face — and fans made it crystal clear that she looks great and they love her all the more now.

Social media lit up during ABC’s exclusive interview between George Stephanopoulos and James Comey, which sparked 29,590 ERs. The broadcast provoked mixed emotions from viewers, with some people expressing support for the former F.B.I. director who was fired by President Trump last year, while others felt more negative, calling him a liar. And as you see with many live airings, there was some lighthearted commentary thrown into the mix as well.

During the first round of the NBA playoffs, the Boston Celtics faced off against the Milwaukee Bucks in a game that was broadcast on TNT and generated 21,133 ERs. Although the Celtics ended up winning, the player driving the most conversation was Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. Aside from the normal love/hate comments you often see during NBA games, there was a general subtext alluding to the idea that he was carrying his team.

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Fox News Employees Split Over Sean Hannity Disclosure: ‘I’m F-ing Livid’ to ‘It’s a Nothing Burger’ Wed, 18 Apr 2018 19:54:42 +0000 Jon Levine Fox News employees are divided over the news that Sean Hannity had been named as a client of Donald Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen even as the primetime star downplayed the nature of their professional connection — with one staffer calling the story “a nothing burger” and another suggesting the host may have violated company guidelines.

“I’m f—ing livid,” one senior channel staffer told TheWrap Wednesday over Hannity’s failure to disclose the relationship in his on-air discussions about Cohen, who has been at the center of many a news story in recent months. The staffer also voiced disappointment that the network has not sent any communication to employees over the issue.

“We’re left to reading press reports to find out what’s going on, what the company knew about this potential conflict of interest and what it is doing to investigate Sean Hannity’s public claims,” the staffer said.

The same individual also said Hannity’s conduct appeared to be in violation of acceptable behavior found within Fox News employee handbook, which reads in part:

“Conflicts between your private interests and the legitimate business interests of this Company generally arise when your personal interests or affiliations run counter to your responsibilities at work … You should not improperly use your position or resources of the Company in order to benefit yourself, your relatives, your friends or other businesses.”

Both Fox News and 21st Century Fox did not immediately respond to inquiries over whether Hannity had run afoul of company rules.

Other Fox News employees met the Hannity disclosure with a shrug. “Do I care personally? F— no,” one on-air talent told TheWrap. “Sean Hannity is still the No. 1 player in all of Fox shows. This isn’t such an egregious act that he would be fired. He’s not a journalist.”

“If this was something really serious, if they go in and find out something else — if there was a payment or something salacious or borderline illegal — I think that’s when it becomes a very, very big deal,” the individual added.

“A lot of the talk in the newsroom was kind of like poking fun at CNN’s complete obsession [with the story],” a third network staffer told TheWrap, adding that Fox News overseer Rupert Murdoch seemed unlikely to discipline its top star especially with another primetime host, Laura Ingraham, enduring an advertiser boycott over a tweet about high school anti-gun-violence activist David Hogg.

“There was talk that [Rupert] Murdoch didn’t like the way the Laura Ingraham situation was handled,” the staffer said. “Murdoch likes to be tough. When I heard that, I assumed Hannity was going to get a pass.”

On Tuesday, Fox News issued a statement that the company had been “surprised” by Hannity’s “informal relationship” with Cohen but that “he continues to have our full support.”

Still, Hannity has faced heat from some colleagues, including network analyst Alan Dershowitz, who handed Hannity a public rebuke on his Hannity’s own show Monday evening.

“I do want to say that I really think that you should have disclosed your relationship with Cohen when you talked about him on this show,” the Harvard law professor chided. “You could have said just that you had asked him for advice or whatever, but I think it would have been much, much better had you disclosed that relationship.”

Cohen has served as Donald Trump’s attorney fixer for a decade and according to the disclosure in federal court Monday also represented two other clients, Sean Hannity and former Republican National Committee Finance Chairman Elliott Broidy.

While Hannity has insisted his consultations with Cohen were limited and confined to real estate matters, the Trump attorney was directly involved in facilitating cash payments to women who have accused both Trump and Broidy of sexual affairs.

Related stories from TheWrap:

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People Magazine Renames ‘Most Beautiful’ Issue, Puts Pink on Cover Wed, 18 Apr 2018 14:43:49 +0000 Beatrice Verhoeven After People Magazine announced on Tuesday that it would be renaming its “Most Beautiful” issue, the magazine put Pink on the cover of the now-titled “The Beautiful Issue.”

“The Beautiful Issue” features “41 pages of gorgeous, inspiring stars.” The cover shows Pink and her two kids, Jameson Moon and Willow Sage.

“Over the years the name of the issue has evolved (’50 Most Beautiful,’ ‘Most Beautiful Woman,’ etc.), but the words ‘Most Beautiful’ have always been part of the title,” wrote Jess Cagle in an editor’s note. “This year we’re renaming it ‘The Beautiful Issue’ — to make clear that the issue is not a beauty contest. Nothing else has changed. As always it will feature beautiful women (and a few men) of all shapes, sizes and colors, and it will celebrate the most beautiful qualities of all: strength, humanity and artistry.”

At the time of the publication of the editor’s note, Cagle teased the cover as a woman “who checks all those boxes. She’s a performer, mother and role model whose honesty, humor, confidence and sheer star power make her one of the most beloved and fascinating entertainers on the plane.”

Pink joins previous cover stars like Michelle Pfeiffer, Lupita Nyong’o and Julia Roberts.

The new issue will hit newsstands on Friday.

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That Time Hannity Torched George Stephanopoulos for Not Disclosing a Clinton Foundation Donation Wed, 18 Apr 2018 14:37:23 +0000 Jon Levine

Fox News host Sean Hannity told the world this week that his relationship with Michael Cohen — and his failure to ever mention that to anyone — was a big nothingburger. But a review of the record suggests that the conservative firebrand would be far less charitable if the shoe were ever on someone else’s foot.

When news emerged in May 2015 that “Good Morning America” host George Stephanopoulos failed to disclose a $75,000 donation to the Clinton Foundation, Hannity was less than forgiving.

On his show — which ran with the story for a week — Hannity called it a “major scandal.”

“He’s such a hack,” said Hannity “How could he possibly have not know that he should reveal this?”

“Should George Stephanopoulos be punished by ABC News and if so what should that punishment be?” Hannity asked in another instance. “Is he coordinating with the Democratic Party?”

The mashup of painful footage was ably documented by the professional Fox News watchers at Media Matters for America — whose video you can watch above.

For what it’s worth, Stephanopoulos offered an apology over his failure to disclose the donation and ABC — like Fox did with Hannity —  announced that it would stand behind him.

In the days after a federal judge in New York forced lawyers for Michael Cohen to reveal that Hannity had been a client, his employer has struggled to contain the fallout. In a statement, Fox News said that while they had been taken by surprise at Hannity’s affiliation, the network would continue to stand by him.

“While FOX News was unaware of Sean Hannity’s informal relationship with Michael Cohen and was surprised by the announcement in court yesterday, we have reviewed the matter and spoken to Sean and he continues to have our full support,” a network spokesperson told TheWrap.

Related stories from TheWrap:

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Roger Stone Disses Barbara Bush as a ‘Nasty Drunk’ on News of Her Death Wed, 18 Apr 2018 13:29:28 +0000 Jon Levine Trump political consigliere Roger Stone unloaded on Barbara Bush in an Instagram post on Tuesday evening just hours after her death. There, Stone wrote that the former first lady was a “nasty drunk” and posted a quote from him suggesting that if you lit her body on fire it would “burn for three days.”

“Barbara Bush was a nasty drunk. When it came to drinking she made Betty Ford look like Carrie Nation #blottoBabs,” said Stone. “Barbara Bush drank so much booze, if they cremated her … her body would burn for three days.”

The former first lady died last night after several years in failing health. She was 92.

“She said far worse things about me,” Stone told TheWrap. “Barbara Bush was a vindictive, entitled, mean spirited woman. May she rest in peace.”

Stone was banned from Twitter last year over a series of expletive-ridden tweets aimed at a number of media personalities. He has increasingly moved his most fiery content to Instagram, where he remains in good standing — for now.

The self-described political “dirty trickster” has long been a ferocious critic of the Bush family and even dedicated a full-length book documenting their misdeeds in 2016. “Jeb! and the Bush Crime Family: The Inside Story of an American Dynasty,” — came out just months before Donald Trump was elected president.

“This book is very tough,” reads an editorial review of the work on Amazon from Donald Trump.

Stone has been associated with the real estate magnate for decades and was one of the earliest boosters in Trump’s unlikely rise to the White House in 2016.

Stone’s tough rebuke of Barbara Bush is contrary to the prevailing sentiments that have overflowed on social media and beyond after her death Tuesday evening, with most choosing to remember the former first lady more fondly.

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Trump Dismisses Stormy Daniels Sketch: ‘A Total Con Job’ Wed, 18 Apr 2018 12:43:09 +0000 Jon Levine President Donald Trump has pointedly declined to attack Stormy Daniels on Twitter, but on Wednesday morning, he decided to weigh in on the sketch Daniels released of a man who she says threatened her in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011.

“A sketch years later about a nonexistent man,” Trump tweeted. “A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!”

The response came as a quote tweet of this charming comment to one of the president’s earlier pronouncements, which suggested that the sketch was merely an image of an ex-boyfriend.

Daniels and her attorney, Michael Avenatti, have proved adept at keeping her story in the news. On “The View” yesterday, the pair released a sketch they said showed the man who told Daniels to leave Trump alone back in 2011.

“This isn’t what I want to be known for,” Daniels told the ladies on set. “It’s downright scary a lot of times. I’ve had to hire bodyguards.”

Avenatti also revealed the existence of a $100,000 reward for anyone who could offer a positive ID of the individual. All tips, he said, were welcome to be sent to the email address,

Stormy Daniels is suing President Trump in an attempt to extricate herself from an NDA she signed with his attorney Michael Cohen just days before the 2016 election. In exchange for her signature, she accepted a $130,000 payment from Cohen. Team Daniels has asserted that the contract is void as Trump himself never signed it. Trump has consistently denied the affair and said he had no prior knowledge of the Cohen payment.

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Barbara Bush: Presidents, Politicians and Media Figures Remember Former First Lady Wed, 18 Apr 2018 01:05:20 +0000 Reid Nakamura Prominent political figures and media personalities paid tribute to former First Lady Barbara Bush following her death on Tuesday, including her own family.

“My dear mother has passed on at age 92,” former president George W. Bush said in a statement. “Laura, Barbara, Jenna and I are sad, but our souls are settled because we know hers was … Mom kept us on our toes and kept us laughing until the end. I’m a lucky man that Barbara Bush was my mother.”

“My grandmother didn’t just live life; she lived it well,” wrote George P. Bush, son of former Florida governor Jeb Bush. “And the sorrow of her loss is softened by the knowledge of her impact on our family and our country. I will miss you, Ganny–but know we will see you again.”

“Barbara Bush was the rock of a family dedicated to public service … We’ll always be grateful to Mrs. Bush for the generosity she showed to us throughout our time in the White House,” former president Barack Obama said in a statement.

Barbara Bush, wife of George H.W. Bush and first lady of the United States from 1989-1993, had suffered COPD and congestive heart failure in recent years, leading to the announcement on Sunday that she had chosen to “focus on comfort care” and would not seek further medical treatment.

In a joint statement, president Donald Trump and wife Melania hailed Bush’s many achievements, highlighting her work to promote literacy as “a fundamental family value that requires nurturing and protection.”

“She will be long remembered for her strong devotion to country and family, both of which she served unfailingly well,” they continued.

Read more reactions to the former first lady’s death below:

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Parkland Survivor David Hogg Calls for Boycott of Gunmaker Investors BlackRock, Vanguard Group Tue, 17 Apr 2018 23:19:39 +0000 Jon Levine Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg announced two new boycotts on Tuesday, against financial services providers Blackrock and Vanguard Group.

“@blackrock and @Vanguard_Group are two of the biggest investors in gun manufacturers; if you use them, feel free to let them know. Thanks,” Hogg tweeted, tagging both companies to prompt a Twitter storm of reactions.

“#BoycottVanguard #BoycottBlackrock,” the student activist added for emphasis.

Representatives for both Vanguard and Blackrock did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

Hogg raised no shortage of eyebrows on Monday after teasing a new boycott. The story whipped around the web as jittery gun rights advocates held their breath.

The teenage gun control advocate has become a force to be reckoned since launching a ferocious advertiser boycott against Fox News host Laura Ingraham, after the conservative firebrand made fun of him on Twitter. So far, Hogg’s campaign against Ingraham has cost her more than two dozen advertisers.

Despite his earlier success, Hogg faces a much steeper climb in his quest to damage the financial titans. While Ingraham and Fox News were already lighting rods of consumer-facing controversy, Blackrock and Vanguard are far less well-known. Hogg’s boycott call has so far failed to take off in the same way as his call against Ingraham and has even come within a few hundred comments of being ratioed.

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Richard Cohen Reamed for Column Complaining He Once Lost Job to Woman He Admits Was Qualified Tue, 17 Apr 2018 23:19:15 +0000 Ashley Boucher Opinion writer Richard Cohen is having quite the bad day on Twitter after writing a column for the Washington Post about white male privilege. Or rather, as the headline puts it, “Privilege is real. But being a white man shouldn’t disqualify me.”

The column comes largely in response to an New York Times op-ed criticizing the appointment of “yet another white, male director” to head up the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a phrase Cohen says makes him “recoil.”

Cohen says he is on women’s “side,” but cautioned that if employers “choose a woman because she’s a woman,” then “you’ve eliminated a man because he’s a man.”

Cohen also told a personal anecdote about a time he didn’t get a job because it was given to a woman who, he admits, was qualified.

“Once I was passed over for a newsroom position I very much wanted. “We needed a woman,” an editor told me. I said nothing, although I seethed. In short order, I was made a columnist, so I didn’t even get a chance to cry. But the instant rush of utter unfairness lingers. The woman chosen was qualified, but her qualification had nothing to do with her sex. I was told she was just a needed statistic.”

The reaction to Cohen’s column online has… not been kind. Most comments seemed to agree that even in writing about his privilege, Cohen doesn’t understand it. But commenters didn’t stop there. Some dissed his journalistic credibility. Others the overall quality of his work. And plenty more talked about less flattering moments from Cohen’s past.

“I would go so far as to say that Richard Cohen has never, ever deserved a position in any newsroom in the western world,” said ThinkProgress senior editor Jason Linkins on Twitter.

“Richard Cohen personifies the saying that when you are accustomed to privilege, equality can feel like oppression,” added Vox writer Matthew Yglesias.

See more Twitter reaction below.

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YouTuber Mars Argo Accuses Ex-Partner of ‘Severe Emotional and Psychological Abuse’ in Lawsuit Tue, 17 Apr 2018 22:50:01 +0000 Tim Kenneally YouTube personality Mars Argo has filed a lawsuit against her former romantic and creative partner, accusing him of “severe emotional and psychological abuse” and causing her to develop post-traumatic stress disorder, according to court papers obtained by TheWrap.

The suit also accuses the former collaborator of creating a knockoff of the Mars Argo character, infringing on her copyright.

In the suit filed Tuesday in federal court in California, Mars Argo, whose real name is Brittany Sheets, said she met Titanic Sinclair (whose real name is Corey Mixter, according to the papers) and struck up both a romantic and creative relationship with him, releasing more than 90 videos on their YouTube channel.

However, the suit says, as Mars Argo’s popularity grew, “Ms. Sheets was living a nightmare and, behind closed doors, she was enduring severe emotional and psychological abuse and manipulation from Mr. Mixter.”

According to the suit, Sheets broke up with Mixter after confronting him “about his recurrent infidelity” in 2014, but continued to work with him professionally. Following the breakup, the suit says, Mixter “began to repeatedly harass, stalk, threaten, and abuse Ms. Sheets, including – but not limited to – threatening to commit suicide, repeatedly showing up unannounced at Ms. Sheets’ doorstep, breaking into her apartment, stalking her every move on social media, disparaging her to mutual friends, acquaintances, or others in the industry, and even physically assaulting her.”

Later in the year, the suit says, Sheets decided to stop producing new content with Mixter as well, but his “intimidation only intensified.” According to the suit, Mixter broke into Sheets’ apartment multiple times, and demeaned her on social media, calling her a “complete nutcase,” evil” and “a compulsive liar,” and claiming that he “invented” Mars Argo.

“As a result of Mr. Mixter’s actions, Ms. Sheets has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, for which she has received regular treatment,” the suit reads.

The suit says that, around the time that Mixter was “actively harassing” Sheets, he “calculatedly transformed another woman, Moriah Rose Pereira — known by the stage name ‘ThatPoppy’ or ‘Poppy’ or ‘I’m Poppy’ (collectively, ‘Poppy’) — into a Mars Argo knockoff.” Among the numerous similarities alleged in the suit, Pereira’s hair was dyed “a specific platinum blonde” and she started to alter her voice to a higher pitch “to mimic Mars Argo’s distinctive speaking voice.”

“From November 2014 to the present, through the Poppy project, Mr. Mixter and Ms. Pereira as Poppy, deliberately copied Mars Argo’s identity, likeness, expression of ideas, sound, style, and aesthetic in YouTube segments, music videos, live performances, internet videos, and other performances or shows,” the suit reads.

TheWrap has reached out to representatives for Titanic Sinclair and Poppy for comment.

Alleging copyright infringement and other counts, the suit is seeking unspecified damages, and a domestic violence restraining order against Mixter.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.

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Here’s What You Can Stream With Your Amazon Prime Membership in May Tue, 17 Apr 2018 22:37:50 +0000 Ashley Boucher New titles available to stream with your Amazon Prime membership next month include Season 5 of BBC’s “Orphan Black,” and several new Amazon Original series, including “Last Flag Flying,” “Picnic at Hanging Rock,” and “Diablo Guardian.”

Movies available include 2017’s “Baywatch,” “A.I. Artificial Intelligence,” and “Rocky” I through V. Beginning May 1, you’ll also be able to rent “Annihilation,” “12 Strong,” James Corden’s “Peter Rabbit” and “Fifty Shades Freed.”

See the full list below. For our May Hulu roundup, head over here.

Available May 1

3 Ways to Get a Husband (2009)

40 Days and 40 Nights (2002)

A Very Brady Sequel (1996)

A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)

An Inconvenient Truth (2006)

Baby Boom (1987)

Back to School (1986)

Bad News Bears (1976)

Barefoot (2014)

Beyond Borders (2003)

Blame (2017)

Brother Nature (2016)

Bull Durham (1988)

Cool World (1992)

Cyborg (1989)

Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

Dr. No (1962)

Eight Men Out (1988)

Elizabethtown (2005)

Evolution (2001)

Foxfire (1996)

Frailty (2001)

From Russia with Love (1964)

Gator (1976)

Ghost Town (2008)

Goat (2016)

Goldfinger (1964)

Holy Air (2017)

Hot Boyz (2000)

Immigration Tango (2011)

Insomnia (2002)

Iron Eagle IV: On the Attack (1999)

Kalifornia (1993)

Live and Let Die (1973)

Love Is A Gun (1994)

Manhunter (1986)

Men with Brooms (2002)

Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

Never Say Never Again (1983)

New Rose Hotel (1999)

Ninja Masters (2009)

Octopussy (1983)

Outcast (2014)

Perfect Score (2004)

Perfume: Story of a Murderer (2006)

Psychopaths (2017)

Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown (1977)

Rocky (1976)

Rocky II (1979)

Rocky III (1982)

Rocky IV (1985)

Rocky V (1990)

Sabrina (1995)

Saturday Church (2017)

School Ties (1992)

Set Up (2011)

Starting Out in the Evening (2007)

Strategic Air Command (1955)

The Benchwarmers (2006)

The Benefactor (2015)

The Box (2007)

The Brady Bunch Movie (1995)

The Counterfeit Traitor (1962)

The Crow (1994)

The Elephant Man (1980)

The Golden Compass (2007)

The Hangman (1959)

The House I Live In (2013)

The Hurt Locker (2008)

The Last Castle (2001)

The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)

The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

The Saint (1997)

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

Thief (1981)

Thirst Street (2017)

Thunderball (1965)

Twisted (2004)

Untamed Heart (1993)

Wild Thornberrys (2002)

Wish Upon a Star (1996)

Wonder Boys (2000)

You Only Live Twice (1967)

Aristocrats: Limited Series

Banished: Limited Series

Charles II – The Power and The Passion: Limited Series

Daniel Deronda: Limited Series

David Copperfield: Limited Series

Desperate Romantics: Limited Series

Ivanhoe: Limited Series

Jane Eyre (1983): Limited Series

Jane Erye (2006): Limited Series

Life in Squares: Limited Series

Little Dorrit: Limited Series

Lorna Doone: Limited Series

Love in A Cold Climate: Limited Series

Mansfield Park: Limited Series

Martin Chuzzlewit: Limited Series

Middlemarch: Limited Series

Oliver Twist (1985): Limited Series

Oliver Twist (2007): Limited Series

Our Mutual Friend: Limited Series

Pride and Prejudice: Limited Series

Sense and Sensibility (1981): Limited Series

Sense and Sensibility (2008): Limited Series

Sinbad: Limited Series

Tess of the D’Urbervilles: Limited Series

The Buccaneers: Limited Series

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Limited Series

The Lost World: Limited Series

The Office: Limited Series

The Pickwick Papers: Limited Series

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall: Limited Series

The Way We Live Now: Limited Series

Tom Jones: Limited Series

Vanity Fair (1998): Limited Series

Available May 4

Last Flag Flying

Available May 5

Warrior (2011)

Diablo Guardian (Prime Original series), Season 1

Available May 11

Rocky & Bullwinkle (Prime Original series), Season 1

Available May 12

Baywatch (2017)

Still Mine (2012)

Orphan Black, Season 5

Available May 15

How to Be a Latin Lover (2017)

Available May 18

You Are Wanted (Prime Original series), Season 2

Available May 19

Beatriz at Dinner (2017)

Shooters (2003)

Available May 22

Dino Dana (Prime Original series), Season 2

Available May 23

Beast of Burden (2018)

Available May 25

Picnic at Hanging Rock (Prime Original series), Season 1

Available May 27

Just Getting Started (2017)

The Wedding Plan (2016)

Available May 29

Howards End, Season 1

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Carl Kasell, Famed NPR News Announcer and Personality, Dies at 84 Tue, 17 Apr 2018 21:41:37 +0000 Ross A. Lincoln Carl Kasell, known for his decades-long career on NPR as a news announcer on programs like “Morning Edition,” and later in life as scorekeeper and judge on “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” died Tuesday of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 84.

Born and raised in Goldsboro, North Carolina, Kasell began his radio career while still in high school, as a late-night music DJ on a local station. Later, while attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kasell helped found student-run station WUNC, now an NPR member station.

Following college and a brief stint in the military, Kasell returned to Goldsboro, where he took a job as a DJ at a local all-news station. He left for the Washington, D.C. metro area in 1965 and became news director at WAVA in Arlington, Virginia. While serving in this role, Kasell notably hired Katie Couric as an intern, her first broadcasting job.

Kasell joined NPR in 1975 on a part-time basis as the news announcer for the weekend edition of “All Things Considered.” He went full-time with NPR in 1979, taking on the additional role of news announcer for NPR’s “Morning Edition,” a role Kasell held until 2009.

During his almost 40-years with NPR, Kasell served as one of its signature voices, helping to establish the radio network’s serious, measured tone of voice. But he memorably subverted that persona with the launch of NPR’s game show “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” in 1998.

Kasell served as announcer, judge, and scorekeeper on the game show until his retirement in 2014. Notably, the show didn’t have the budget for actual prizes during its first few years, so it offered listeners the chance to have Kasell record an outgoing message on their answering machines. Kasell would go on to record more than 2,000 such messages.

After announcing his retirement, Kasell recorded his final episode of “Wait Wait” on May 15, 2014 and broadcast two days later. President Barack Obama, Stephen Colbert, Tom Hanks, and Couric called in express appreciation for Kasell.

“For more than 30 years, he brought unflappable authority to the news,” NPR said on Twitter after his death was announced.

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America’s Most-Liked TV Media Personality Is … Tue, 17 Apr 2018 21:05:02 +0000 Tony Maglio You like David Muir! You really like him! Muir, the anchor of ABC’s “World News Tonight,” is our nation’s most-liked TV media personality, according to TheWrap‘s latest study of Q Scores.

The anchor’s ratings reflect America’s ongoing love affair. “World News Tonight” is now the most-watched newscast in the country, having won last season in total viewers for the first time since Peter Jennings anchored the program 21 years ago.

Muir, who took the newscast over on September 1, 2014, has grown his overall audience by 448,000 viewers per night, on average.

It’s worth noting here that although NBC’s Lester Holt still wins in the key news demographic, adults 25-54, Muir has closed that gap by a huge 46 percent compared with last season.

Muir’s strong Positive Q Score of 25 ranks him well ahead of Holt, who has a strong 18.

Q Scores, by the way, are an entertainment industry-used measurement of a celebrity or a brand’s likability. The higher the Positive Q Score, the more the 25- to 54-year-old survey respondents marked the individual or company as being among their favorites. The lower — well, you get it. Fortunately for Muir, he doesn’t have to worry about that possibility.

Muir’s 25 ranks him a full four Q Score points ahead of a mini logjam in second place.

Fox News host Chris Wallace, “Good Morning America” co-anchor Lara Spencer and “CBS Evening News” anchor Jeff Glor all have a 21 Positive Q Score, though only Wallace — with a 31 Familiarity score — is better-known to the general public than Muir (a 25 for Familiarity too).

CBS’ John Dickerson is the fifth most-liked TV media personality, with a 20. It’s worth noting that both Dickerson and Glor Q Scores are considered unstable because their Familiarity is under 20 (each is at 10 on that measure).

So those are all strong likability. If you want to see a bad Q Score, click here.

TheWrap researched the Q Scores of 30 well-known television media personalities and hosts and ranked them in the gallery below.

For the record, we technically looked into 57 total TV news personalities, but almost half of them — including CNN’s Don Lemon and Fox News Channel’s Laura Ingraham — did not yet have Q Scores.

Read also: America’s Least-Liked TV Media Personality Is …
And: 30 Most and Least-Liked TV Media Personalities: From David Muir to Megyn Kelly (Photos)

Related stories from TheWrap:

David Muir Wins 4 Straight Sweeps, an ABC First in 21 Years

David Muir's ABC Newscast Wins 3 Straight Sweeps for First Time Since Peter Jennings 21 Years Ago

ABC News Viewers Shell Out $800,000 to Help African Children After David Muir Report

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‘Hacksaw Ridge’ Producer Bill Mechanic Resigns From Film Academy Board Tue, 17 Apr 2018 19:30:47 +0000 Trey Williams Bill Mechanic, chief executive of Pandemonium Films, has exited the board of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, an Academy spokesperson confirmed to TheWrap.

“The Academy thanks William Mechanic for his five years of service on the Board of Governors, where he represented the members of the Executives Branch,” the spokesperson said in a statement provided to TheWrap.

The “Hacksaw Ridge” and “Coraline” producer declined to explain the reason for his resignation to Variety, which first reported his exit on Tuesday. A representative for Mechanic did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheWrap. The Academy spokesperson also did not immediately reply when asked why Mechanic resigned.

But in an interview in December, Mechanic was critical of the Academy’s new code of conduct addressing sexual misconduct within the industry. “This should be left to the companies people work for and to the police,” Mechanic told Vanity Fair. “Six months ago, all the moral police were silent. Was it wrong for people to be silent six months ago? Yes. Is it wrong to go overboard now? Yes. What you want is rationality to the process.”

Late last year the Academy updated its standards of conduct, vowing disciplinary action, “including suspension or expulsion,” for misconduct such as abuse of authority and power, harassment, and discrimination. The Academy enacted a new policy for reporting misconduct in January.

The Academy’s new standards were tested in March after Academy President John Bailey was accused of sexual harassment. Following an investigation, the Academy “unanimously determined” no action was warranted and that Bailey should remain in his post.

Mechanic, former top executive at Paramount, Disney and chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment, most recently produced the 2017 best picture-nominated “Hacksaw Ridge” and even co-produced the awards show in 2010.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Katie Couric Talks Matt Lauer, Sexual Harassment at TheWrap's Power Women Breakfast Austin

Disney Theatrical President Thomas Schumacher Accused of Sexual Harassment

SAG-AFTRA Issues Code of Conduct in Response to Sexual Harassment Climate

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