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    ‘How to Get Away With Murder’ Season 4 Midseason Finale: Pete Nowalk Interview


    [Warning: This story contains spoilers from the “Live. Live. Live.” episode of ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder.]

    The midseason finale of ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder historically builds to a tense climax, finally revealing what exactly happened in the moment each season flashes forward or back to. And in true HTGAWM fashion, season four’ss big reveal Thursday was no less dramatic.

    It turns out that the team’s law school nemesis found out that they were up to no good, but accidentally shot himself in a scuffle at the firm where Michaela (Aja Naomi King) is interning. But that’s not even the craziest part: Laurel (Karla Souza) then gave birth prematurely in the elevator of Annalise’s apartment building, with Annalise (Viola Davis) stumbling on the bloody scene, pulling the tiny premature baby through the elevator gate and giving the newborn CPR as she waited for paramedics to arrive.

    Here, HTGAWM showrunner Pete Nowalk talks with The Hollywood Reporter about coming up with this season’s mystery, exec producer Shonda Rhimes’ input, and the show’s declining favor among critics and viewers.

    The graphic ending, especially Laurel’s ordeal in the elevator and Annalise giving the baby CPR, how much do you think about the impact for the audience? When you’re writing toward something like that, how surprising do you want it to be for the audience?

    I don’t get that hung hung up on the surprises and actually this season, when we started, we had a good sense of what was going happen. Usually I just believe that—I never knew who was under the sheet until the last minute, but this season it’s like, I just wanna know what we’re going towards. So, you saying you were surprised is surprising to me because I wasn’t. It’s what we planned from the beginning. We built that whole thing with Laurel in the elevator and the gate, we put a gate on the elevator just for that. That was all designed from the beginning. I never know whether people are going be surprised or not. I more just know that that’s what I think happened. I want people to find it believable and stuff, or not be surprised to the point that they don’t believe it, but it’s so out of my control. I have no perspective on how you all watch the show. Like, I think you’re going to be shocked and you’re not and vice versa.

    Those last few moments, beginning when the gun went off, seemed to be coming together in a very How to Get Away With Murder kind of way. But that elevator scene with Laurel and then Annalise with the CPR was definitely one of the most dramatic things ever seen on your show. Would you agree?

    It’s one of those things you’re like, ‘Oh yeah, Laurel’s gonna have the baby in the elevator and Annalise is gonna have to pull it through the gate.’ It’s like, ‘OK, we’re going to do that.’ And then you write it and all that stuff and then honestly, Karla Souza I just was so impressed with. We actually had a version of the show we wrote where we cut back and forth between her and the elevator and I just found her performance so gripping and horrifying and nauseating that I didn’t want to leave it. So we actually re-edited it just so she played every moment of that in real time. I was shocked by what I saw too. I still am every time I see it and I know it’s really uncomfortable for people but I found that very—any time I’m shocked I’m like okay, ‘I want more of this.’

    That was a heavy moment, which you followed with an almost surreal scene of Annalise coming and pulling the baby through the gate. Then you have Viola Davis performing CPR on this tiny little baby doll. What are the conversations with Viola like when pitch her this insane thing?

    I have the easiest job in the world because when I pitch her these things, she’s like, ‘I like it.’ She so not phased by anything. But I think ultimately why we’ve done this is really Annalise has her own scars about losing her own child. So it really did just feel like it comes circle, which she thinks is Wes’s baby. So it felt like a no-brainer in terms of she would want this baby to live, and I really actually love watching her do something heroic. Just pure emotional heroism. Do you get notes from Viola on stuff like that? Yeah. That I didn’t,. She’s so un-phased by everything. She’s very chill. She’ll just say, ‘Oh, I like that I get to save the baby’s life.’ I think she liked doing something different. But yeah, we collaborate all the time. I rely on her opinion all the time. So if she doesn’t like something, I’ll try to make her like it because she’s really my number one audience person.

    What are the notes from the network and studio, especially with something, for example, as crazy as this episode ending?

    They’re really supportive. I’m actually, as a person, very scared of things and I think working for Shonda for so long made me try to take bigger risks. I’ve always just tried to go to sleep at night just saying, ‘Do the thing that’s risky, and do the thing that’s a big swing, and don’t take this for granted and do something boring.’ I’d rather go down with a big bang than with a little whimper. So they have always been very supportive of the crazy of the show. Clearly, that’s what they put on the commercials.

    How involved is Shonda in the show these days?

    She watches it and I’ll go to her when I will need help or I need an opinion but she’s pretty hands off these days and she’s one of my biggest fans and one of our show’s biggest fans. So it’s really nice because obviously I respect her opinion. She’s done so many crazy things on her shows, though, so I feel like nothing we do is ever going to shock her.

    You mentioned before that you knew how this would all piece together, which is different than how you’d done it in the past. How much has your process changed over the course of the four seasons? Do you write toward an end game every season?

    Definitely in the middle of the season—You know, what I’m tired of is not knowing. Sometimes it’s worked well and sometimes it’s probably gotten more criticism in terms of the puzzle of it. The first season we had so many pieces, we saw so many flash-forwards, and it was fun, but I was exhausted. I think at this point I just try to know a little bit more and back ourselves into a corner less just in terms of being able to have the stamina to always figure out how the puzzle comes together. It’s not any easier than it was, honestly, but I’m just trying to make it. Sometimes I’m like, ‘what’s the simplest version?’ And we go with that.

    The show has looked very different over the four seasons in terms of how you’ve played with the structure. What do you think of the response to this season in particular?

    I don’t know what the response is. I don’t read any of the things.

    Considering everything that’s happening politically in our country and the insanity of this industry, and you have this show that’s about lawyers, do you consider kind of tackling some of those issues and making it politically relevant?

    I feel like doing the class-action this year, we’re we’re deal with that more, but the emphasis for Annalise taking on the justice system—really she’s suing the entire justice system—it’s a little bit about that, but we’ve always tried to integrate social issues that we care about or that I find I’m learning about and I’m like, ‘Ooh, let’s put this in the show.’ For me, even since the show started, the world has changed. Obviously the country has changed so much. I get why there’s shows where people are heroes and are doing well and where it’s nice because I feel like I want that too. But for this show, I’m just trying to stick to the point of view that we have of these characters and they don’t exist in a Trump world. Trump doesn’t exist on the show. I think of it more like I’m making this for the long term. So someone might view it in a completely different political environment and will apply then. Only if it makes sense for the character, I guess, versus trying to make a big statement about the here and now. I don’t know when people watch it. People don’t watch it live. I hope they watch it in 20 years, that’s my goal.

    You do touch on social issues, particularly the Oliver/HIV positive storyline, which hasn’t been mentioned on the show recently. Is that something that you plan to explore further?

    I don’t know. A lot of people ask me that question. I think it’s a great question. We do mention it when I think it’s appropriate. Like, Connor mentioned it with his father because he thought his father didn’t like Oliver because Oliver was positive. They’re both on Prep. But, really, what’s fascinating to me is the stigma of HIV is still very relevant in the world. I don’t think with the characters on the show—they’re murdering and stuff, so the stigma of Oliver having HIV is sort of a big nothing. Which to me means a lot. I want it to be a big nothing to people as long as you can get proper treatment. It doesn’t have to be a big deal for the characters and people who are getting treated. I think to me the Oliver story isn’t just about that, it’s just one of the many, many millions of characteristics about him. I think that’s sort of my point.

    Do you have a long-term plan for the show? Do you know how the show itself ends?

    I think about it, especially since we’re in season four. I don’t know how much longer we’ll go. I don’t think anybody does. Yes, I definitely think about the last season and I have a vague idea of [what will happen]. We always have a question and I definitely have a question for the last season, but it’s going to depend on where I want see Annalise end up and what I want to happen to her, so I won’t know, I guess, until we get there.

    Ratings though have been off considerably. Are you concerned by that?

    I don’t know if I’m concerned. I definitely wish everyone and their mother watched the show, of course. People don’t really talk to me about it. You’re the first person. You know the live plus sevens are always really good. We go up a ton [with DVR]. I don’t know if people watch it live. I know my trainer’s like, ‘I need to binge them all at once.’ I’m just trying to make each episode as good as it can be and then maybe in 20 years someone will watch it, maybe they won’t. But I’m not chasing the ratings as much as I’m just trying to maintain some quality. I think if you watch these actors and what they’re doing, whether or not the show is for you, I think you can’t help but admire their performances and the depth their bringing. I’m pretty proud of that.

    The baby cried at the end of the episode. What can you say about where the story goes from here?

    We’re going pick up in the immediate aftermath of that night, where the paramedics are about to arrive. The baby is really premature and Laurel is waking up and screaming, ‘Where’s the baby?’ Normally, we would’ve answered that before the mid-season finale, but we have one less episode to air because of where Thanksgiving fell, so you’ll find that out in the premiere.

    How to Get Away With Murder returns in 2018.



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    Late-Night Hosts Tackle Sen. Al Franken Sexual Harassment Claims


    “I guess there are no good people left. Let’s just get it over with,” said Stephen Colbert. “Just tell us whatever you did Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama, Tom Hanks, Malala.”

    After Sen. Al Franken was accused of sexual harassment by TV host and sports broadcaster Leeann Tweeden on Thursday, late night hosts across the dial addressed the issue. 

    Tweeden, an anchor on McIntyre in the Morning, wrote in a first-person essay on the website for KABC talk radio that Franken kissed and groped her without her consent in 2006. Late night hosts criticized Franken for his lewd gestures in a picture Tweeden shared that shows the senator posing with his hands over her chest during a USO tour to entertain troops in the Middle East. 

    On the Late Show, host Stephen Colbert jokingly questioned who are the good people left as sexual harassment allegations continue to plague Hollywood and Washington. 

    “I guess there are no good people left. Let’s just get it over with,” said Colbert. “Just tell us whatever you did Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama, Tom Hanks, Malala. As a fellow comedian I long admired Al Franken, but I got to say this does not bode well for Louis C.K.’s senate hopes.”

    Colbert went on to criticize Franken’s pose in the photo Tweeden shared. “For those of you not in showbiz actors call that technique sexual harassment,” joked Colbert. The late-night host also responded to Franken’s statement that the photo was “clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t.”

    “Intended to be funny, but wasn’t? No. You’re movie Stuart Saves His Family was intended to be funny but wasn’t. That photo was intended to embarrass her. That’s why he did it while she was asleep. Nobody goes up to their buddy when he’s awake and says ‘Hey can I draw a penis on your forehead?’”

    Over on Late Night, Seth Meyers called the photo “horrifying” when he addressed the incident during his “Sexual Harassment in Congress” segment. 

    “She’s wearing army gear because it’s a USO tour but honestly who could blame women if they started wearing military gear whenever they are around men,” said Meyers. 

    “Al Franken, hashtag you, too?” said the Daily Show‘s Trevor Noah after showing the same picture on his show. 

    “Even if there wasn’t a woman in that picture, that pose is it’s own crime,” said Noah. “If I saw Franken doing that in the supermarket I’d be like “Hey leave that fruit alone!”

    Noah added, “This story is another example how at all levels we men have been complicit in perpetuating the culture that devalues women. I don’t care who you are: Democrat, Republican, black, white, rich, poor, men. Because you forget it’s not just Al Franken in the picture. It’s the guy who is taking the picture. His Billy Bush. Who’s that guy?”

     



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    ‘Royals’ Female Cast, Crew Accuse Mark Schwahn of “Repeated Unwanted Sexual Harassment”


    The letter comes after Schwahn was suspended from his role as showrunner on ‘The Royals’ on Wednesday.

    After sexual harassment allegations were levied against television producer Mark Schwahn by former One Tree Hill cast and crew members, the female team behind E!’s The Royals is speaking out.

    In a letter released on Thursday signed by 25 cast and crew members from the series, the women on the drama accuse the showrunner of “repeated unwanted sexual harassment of multiple female members of cast and crew.” The letter comes a day after Schwahn was suspended from his role as showrunner on the show. 

    What’s more, star Elizabeth Hurley released her own comments on Twitter. In the statement, she revealed that she was unaware of Schwahn’s behavior but felt she had “let down” her cast by not picking up on what was allegedly happening. 

    Read the full statement below.

    Despite hearing rumours about his behaviour on One Tree Hill, those of us involved from the early stages went into the filming of the pilot hoping they were just that — rumours. By the time we wrapped this had irrevocably proven not to be the case. It became all too apparent reading their statement earlier this week that the betrayal and anger so many of us had experienced during our time on The Royals is not exclusively ours. And we were angry then, and we are angry now.

    This statement is a collection of voices from those women involved in The Royals who would like to finally respond to the behaviour of our showrunner. Who felt the inclination to abuse his power and influence in an environment where he had it over women who felt they did not. This manifested itself in the repeated unwanted sexual harassment of multiple female members of cast and crew.

    Where we should have been excited to meet new female cast and crew members, we felt nauseating concern in case they too should have him track down their mobile number. Where we should have offered our friends who auditioned for The Royals scene help and advice, we offered warnings about the man they would meet in the room. More than all of this, where we should all collectively have felt pride over jobs hard won and roles much loved, we felt undermined as artists and creatives. And in many cases, no more than a sum of body attributes.

    Whilst voraciously condemning the actions of one man, we would like to make note of our gratitude to others. Thank you to so many of the Royal men who ensured we were never alone in social situations with him and took two steps towards us for his every one. Thank you to the friends, loved ones and partners who supported us at the time and ever more so now in coming forwards.

    But thank you most of all to the women of One Tree Hill, whose solid gold backbones have moved us enormously. To you we doff our crowns.

    Kind regards,
    The Ladies of The Royals.

    Hatty Preston, Sophie Colquhoun, Alex Watherson, Lydia Rose Bewley, April Church, Annalise Beusnel, Poppy Corby-Tuech, Florence Chow, Charlie Jones, Isabella Artitzone, Jade Armstrong, Rachel Walsh, Tania Vernava, Bonnie Vannucci, Merritt Patterson, Kate Benton, Jerry-Jane Pears, Jodie Simone, Kate Royds, Leonie Hartard, Lisa Mitton, Marie Deehan, Alice Woodward, Rachel Lennon, Kimberly Macbeth



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    BritBox to Offer Near-Simulcasts, “BritMas” Content for Holiday Season


    “U.K. television has a rich tradition of celebrating the holidays in a big way,” said Soumya Sriraman, president of the BBC Worldwide and ITV subscription VOD service.

    BritBox, the subscription VOD service launched in the U.S. earlier this year by BBC Worldwide and ITV, will offer special holiday season content under the banner “BritMas” and provide its first near-simulcast programming, including the Queen’s traditional Christmas speech.

    BritBox, also backed by AMC Networks, which has a joint venture with BBC Worldwide for cable channel BBC America, launched with the promise of providing “the most comprehensive collection of British television, across all genres, available anywhere in the U.S.” with thousands of hours of programming at launch, the majority of it exclusive.

    In December, it will provide near-simulcasts — meaning almost-live airings with only slight transmission delays similar to online streaming of live awards shows or sporting events — of The Queen’s Message on Christmas Day and Carols From Kings on Christmas Eve as part of its inaugural BritMas lineup.

    Offering 100-plus holiday-themed specials and events, it promises to give U.S. viewers “THE authentic British holiday TV experience.” BritMas programming will include holiday-season episodes from comedies, soap operas and period dramas, such as The Office, Only Fools & Horses, Sherlock Holmes and Upstairs Downstairs, along with modern favorites such as Mum, Inside No. 9 and QI

    BritMas also will include lifestyle programming, such as Nigella Lawson’s Nigellissima and the U.S. streaming premieres of British classics Last of the Summer Wine and To the Manor Born.

    BritMas kicks off Dec. 1 with an event called “The Dickens Dossier,” featuring the BritBox premiere of the drama Dickensian, starring Stephen Rae (War and Peace), which is set within the fictional realms of Charles Dickens’ novels A Christmas Carol and Great Expectations.

    “U.K. television has a rich tradition of celebrating the holidays in a big way, and now you can get the authentic British experience right in your own home without the travel — you just join us for our BritMas extravaganza,” said BritBox president Soumya Sriraman. “BritBox is the ultimate streaming destination for lovers of British TV. We are giving our audience 100-plus shows in December, and we have the largest offering of British premieres, near simulcast, and classic British holiday specials anywhere in the U.S.”

    BritBox launched with a monthly price of $6.99.



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    Jeffrey Tambor Accused by ‘Transparent’ Star of Sexual Harassment


    Trace Lysette, who plays yoga instructor Shea on the series, is the second accuser to allege misconduct by the show’s star; Amazon says the new information “will be added to our ongoing investigation.”

    In the second season of Transparent, the groundbreaking Amazon series that traces one father’s journey to womanhood, Maura Pfefferman — played by Jeffrey Tambor, in a role that has won him two Emmys — struggles to find the right inflection for the popular queer catchphrase, “Yas queen.”

    Her teacher is Shea — played by Trace Lysette — a yoga teacher and sometimes stripper, who steps in to show her fellow transgender, a newbie, the ropes.

    The moment, which went viral shortly after the season debuted in November 2015, plays out as sweet, hilarious and authentic. But Lysette now says the circumstances around its filming were anything but.

    According to Lysette, when she emerged from wardrobe in her costume — a salmon-colored lingerie top and matching short-shorts — Tambor remarked, “My God, Trace. I want to attack you sexually.” Alexandra Billings, the third actor in the scene, was present to hear the remark, she confirms. Both “laughed it off because it was so absurd,” Lysette says.

    A few minutes later, while waiting for a camera setup between takes, Lysette was standing in a corner of the soundstage set. That’s when she says Tambor, dressed as Maura, wearing a green satin kimono and gray wig, approached her.

    “He came in close, put his bare feet on top of mine so I could not move, leaned his body against me, and began quick, discreet thrust back and forth against my body. I felt his penis on my hip through his thin pajamas,” Lysette says.

    Lysette pushed Tambor away and “rolled my eyes.” Billings was not present for this alleged incident, and several crewmembers were nearby “but they were focused on their jobs. It was discreet. If you were behind Jeffrey you might have thought he was giving me a hug.”

    The actress, who is transgender, is the second on the Transparent payroll to come forward with allegations that Tambor, 73, has subjected them to sexual harassment, sexual assault and generally abusive behavior on the set of the critically adored series.

    The first accuser, Van Barnes, is a trans woman who worked as Tambor’s personal assistant, and whose allegations have led to an internal investigation by Amazon Studios. She has previously appeared on E!’s I Am Cait.

    According to Barnes’ lawyer Alana Chazan, her client signed a nondisclosure agreement while working for Tambor and therefore could not comment on Lysette’s claims. Nor would Barnes detail what workplace abuses she allegedly suffered at Tambor’s hands — accusations which were made in a private Facebook post that had leaked and circulated within Hollywood transgender circles.

    A copy of that Facebook post was obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. In it, Barnes, without directly naming Tambor, vents about an employer who made comments like “I should be sleeping with him if I want a Hollywood industry appropriate pay grade” and “it wouldn’t take long, he pops quick.” She says the employer subjected her to “butt pats,” pornography played at loud volumes, and complaints that she “was useless, could do nothing right,”

    “Despite having made no public statements to date, the disclosure of Van Barnes’ identity by the press has already led to Ms. Barnes receiving numerous threats and harassment online,” Chazan says. “Ms. Barnes is cooperating with the investigation being conducted by Amazon and will not be making a statement while the investigation is pending.”

    Lysette shared a house with Barnes while Barnes worked as Tambor’s assistant. “She would pick him up in the morning and bring him home at night and everything in between,” Lysette recalls. “She would come home wrecked and stressed. I saw him break her down. She for the most part kept it to herself. She was just like, ‘Girl, he is a piece of work. If you only knew what I’m going through.’ But I knew.”

    For Lysette, an acting neophyte who came to Hollywood directly from New York City, where she worked as a dancer, Tambor’s attentions began early and innocently enough.

    She describes a moment in her first season on the show, a scene set in a yoga studio, when she had trouble finding her mark. “Jeffrey stepped in and said, ‘Come on, that’s hard. I couldn’t even do that.’ And then he and the [director of photography] had a little back and forth. He was sticking up for me.”

    When the exchange was over, Tambor approached Lysette and “kissed me on the forehead and was like, ‘Are you good?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I’m fine.’ It started with things like that. Telling me I looked great, things like that.”

    As Lysette began to step into the spotlight and enjoy her first tastes of fame, she recalls running into Tambor at red carpet events, where she “would go to hug him and kiss him on the cheek — and it would land on my lips. And I was like, ‘OK. What was that about?'”

    She says it wasn’t until the filming of the “yas queen” scene and the alleged physical assault that she was certain she was being targeted and sexually harassed by Tambor. From that moment on, she says life on the set with the actor “has been a roller coaster. One minute Jeffrey is lovely, the next it’s a temper tantrum or flirtation.”

    Lysette describes another moment “that sticks in my brain” from later in production of season two: Tambor had set up a meeting between Lysette and his manager for potential representation.

    Lysette thanked Tambor for the gesture, she says, “and he said, ‘Well, yeah Trace. I really believe in you. And you know what? I don’t even want to have sex with you.’ And then he just looked at me as if he very much indeed wanted to have sex with me. It was an up-and-down look. I rolled my eyes and went to my trailer and thought, ‘This man is something else.'”

    Both Lysette and Barnes say they approached Transparent producers with their complaints about Tambor, but no action was taken.

    Tambor issued this statement to THR in response to Lysette’s allegations:

    For the past four years, I’ve had the huge privilege — and huge responsibility — of playing Maura Pfefferman, a transgender woman, in a show that I know has had an enormous, positive impact on a community that has been too long dismissed and misunderstood. Now I find myself accused of behavior that any civilized person would condemn unreservedly. I know I haven’t always been the easiest person to work with. I can be volatile and ill-tempered, and too often I express my opinions harshly and without tact. But I have never been a predator — ever. I am deeply sorry if any action of mine was ever misinterpreted by anyone as being sexually aggressive or if I ever offended or hurt anyone. But the fact is, for all my flaws, I am not a predator and the idea that someone might see me in that way is more distressing than I can express.

    An Amazon spokesperson says, “This information will be added to our ongoing conversation.”

    Lysette issued this statement to THR:

    Last week, it was reported in the media that Van Barnes, who previously worked as Jeffrey Tambor’s assistant while shooting Transparent, had privately spoken out on her social media about her experiences of abuse. Sadly, I must add my voice to the chorus. Jeffrey has acted inappropriate to me too.

    Jeffrey has made many sexual advances and comments at me, but one time it got physical.

    One day on set during Season 2, Jeffrey, Alexandra Billings and I were all outfitted in pajamas. I was in a flimsy top and matching short shorts. Upon seeing my in my costume, Jeffrey sexualized me with an over the top comment. Alexandra and I laughed it off because it was so absurd and we thought surely it had to be a bad joke. I shook it off. Then later, in between takes, I stood in a corner on the set as the crew reset for a wide shot. My back was against the wall in a corner as Jeffrey approached me. He came in close, put his bare feet on top of mine so I could not move, leaned his body against me, and began quick, discreet thrusts back and forth against my body. I felt his penis on my hip through his thin pajamas and I pushed him off of me. Again, I laughed it off and rolled my eyes. I had a job to do and I had to do it with Jeffrey, the lead of our show. When they called action, I put that moment in the corner into its own corner of my mind. Compartmentalizing has always been part of my survival took kit, long before I came to Hollywood. It’s shitty to admit out loud — and I don’t say it to justify what I went through — but given the journey and circumstances of my life, I was used to being treated as a sexual object by men — this one just happened to be famous.

    Despite multiple uncomfortable experiences with Jeffrey, it has been an incredible, career-solidifying honor to bring life to my character Shea on Amazon’s Transparent. Working on the award-winning series as a low-income trans woman with active roots in New York’s ball culture is a rare opportunity most of my sisters are not given.

    My hope is that Amazon can find the good in this, and use this as an opportunity, a teachable moment to re-center the other trans characters in this show with the family members instead of just pulling it. Let our brilliant writers continue to craft something that is entertaining and creates a social change the way they know how. Don’t let the trans community suffer for the actions of one cis male actor. Transparent has been a guiding light in the industry, by employing more trans people in Hollywood than any other production in history, which made it even more difficult to speak out. As trans-women and survivors we have often felt we never had the power of the voice to speak out on our personal and collective pain. I am so proud of my work on Transparent and its “trans-affirmative action” mission, as coined by its creator Jill Soloway. And I call on Amazon to make another bold affirmative move to our communities: Remove the problem and let the show go on. It’s vital that the show’s creator, showrunner and its studio re-center the narrative of Transparent on the experiences of the other trans characters and family members audiences have grown to love on the series.



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    'Newton': Film Review




    India’s Oscar hopeful ‘Newton’ is a political satire about a bureaucrat whose mission is to conduct free and fair elections in a tribal backwater.

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    Sarah Silverman Addresses Louis C.K.’s Sexual Misconduct: “It’s a Real Mindf—“


    “I love Louis,” she said on her Hulu talk show, ‘I Love You, America.’ “But Louis did these things.”

    Sarah Silverman is finally addressing the sexual harassment scandal surrounding Louis C.K.

    After the Louie star was accused of and later admitted to masturbating in front of female comics, among other instances of sexual misconduct, Silverman, a close friend of C.K.’s for many years, kept quiet on the matter. But in an incredibly poignant episode of her Hulu talk show, I Love You, America, Silverman breaks her silence on the painful subject and explains why it’s been so difficult for her to talk about it.

    “I’ve, of course, been asked to comment, and in full honesty, I really, really, really don’t want to. I wish I could sit this one out,” she said on the episode, out on the streaming service later today. After joking that she’s going to “address the elephant masturbating in the room,” her tone then grew serious as she struggled to find the words to talk about her close friend.

     

    “One of my best friends of over 25 years, Louis C. K., masturbated in front of women. He wielded his power with women in fucked-up ways, sometimes to the point where they left comedy entirely,” she continued, adding that she could couch it with heartwarming stories of their friendship and tales of what a great dad C.K. is — but that it’d be irrelevant now. “I hope it’s OK if I am at once very angry for the women he wronged and the culture that enabled it, and also sad, because he’s my friend,” she concluded.

     

    Hours after C.K. responded to allegations in a New York Times story that claimed he acted inappropriately toward five women from 2002 to 2005 by saying, “These stories are true,” FX cut ties with the creator and producer, a decision made by Netflix and HBO the day before. Subsequently, his agent, manager and publicist stopped working with him. “I’ve brought pain to my family, my friends, my children and their mother,” C.K. wrote in his statement. “I have spent my long and lucky career talking and saying anything I want. I will now step back and take a long time to listen.”

     

    Read a transcript of Silverman’s remarks and watch the emotional clip below.

    You’ve probably heard what’s happening in the news recently regarding sexual assault, especially in the entertainment industry. And to be clear, it’s not just Hollywood; it’s everywhere — like this stuff happens in bakeries too. It’s just not getting written up in The New York Times. This recent calling out of sexual assault has been a long time coming. It’s good. It’s like cutting out tumors. It’s messy and it’s complicated and it is going to hurt, but it’s necessary, and we’ll all be healthier for it.

    And it sucks, and some of our heroes will be taken down, and we will discover bad things about people we like, or in some cases, people we love. Let’s just say it. I’m talking about Louis. And I’ve of course been asked to comment, and in full honesty, I really, really, really don’t want to. I wish I could sit this one out. But then I remembered something I said on this very show, that if it’s mentionable, it’s manageable. So I’m going to address the elephant masturbating in the room. And full disclosure: I’m still processing all this shit. But here’s where I’m at on it as of this moment. It could change tomorrow, and if it does, I will keep you posted.

    One of my best friends of over 25 years, Louis C. K., masturbated in front of women. He wielded his power with women in fucked-up ways, sometimes to the point where they left comedy entirely. I could couch this with heartwarming stories of our friendship and what a great dad he is — but that’s totally irrelevant, isn’t it? Yes, it is.

    It’s a real mindfuck, you know, because I love Louis. But Louis did these things. Both of those statements are true, so I just keep asking myself, “Can you love someone who did bad things? Can you still love them?” I can mull that over later, certainly, because the only people that matter right now are the victims. They are victims, and they’re victims because of something he did. So I hope it’s OK if I am at once very angry for the women he wronged and the culture that enabled it, and also sad, because he’s my friend. But I believe with all my heart that this moment in time is essential. It’s vital that people are held accountable for their actions, no matter who they are. We need to be better. We will be better. I can’t fucking wait to be better.



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    AT&T Taps Hollywood Lawyer Daniel Petrocelli to Defend Time Warner Deal


    The Power Lawyer’s clients have included Fox, SiriusXM and Donald Trump.

    AT&T has hired Hollywood heavy-hitter Daniel Petrocelli to defend its $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner in case the government sues to block it.

    The deal has been met with antitrust concerns, as critics worry the acquisition could cause AT&T to give Time Warner content special treatment or slow streaming speeds of competitors. The company has lawyered up amid reports that the DOJ was attempting to rally support of state attorneys general to block the acquisition. AT&T confirmed Petrocelli’s hiring to The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday. 

    Petrocelli, who leads the trial practice committee for O’Melveny & Myers, is a mainstay on The Hollywood Reporter‘s annual Power Lawyers list. On Thursday he scored a big appellate win for client Fox Television in a dispute over the hit drama Empire

    He recently defended President Donald Trump in the Trump University fraud case and satellite music giant SiriusXM in a series of suits arising from the broadcast of pre-1972 sound recordings — both matters settled. Petrocelli is also representing Fox in its employee poaching battle with Netflix and repping Kesha in her legal war with producer Dr. Luke.

    AT&T CFO John Stephens also addressed the matter during a Morgan Stanley investor conference in Barcelona. Stephens told the audience the company is in discussions with the DOJ and he remains optimistic. “We continue to believe that the transaction will close,” he said. “If you look at the antitrust history, the facts, law, the economics, [that leads to] the conclusion that we will be able to close.”



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    Samantha Bee Encourages Women to Rally Against “Gatekeepers of Comedy”


    Closing her final show before Thanksgiving, the ‘Full Frontal’ host urged women in comedy to ignore the naysayers: “The future of comedy is yours.”

    As she closed her final show before Thanksgiving on Wednesday, Samantha Bee spoke about her experience in comedy in light of the recent sexual misconduct allegations against Louis C.K., which shed a light on some of what women go through in comedy.

    Bee encouraged women in comedy to rally and push back against sexual harassment.

    “People ask me all the time, what it’s like to be a woman in comedy?” Bee began. “Even if no one exposes his penis to you, you’re still dealing with a parade of total dicks, like lady-blind pieces of crap who interrupt you in every meeting. And when you do get to talk, [they] forget to write your jokes down.”

    The Full Frontal host proceeded to call out the “sentient hoodies” who disregard female comedians, explaining that they can “watch you kill onstage and then afterward go, ‘I just didn’t get it’ and then walk away and fist-bump the 11th guy who did a tight five [minutes] on the fucking friend zone.”

    Bee then referenced a scrolling list crediting “species of comedy penis.” The list featured mock names such as “Wannabe Tosh,” “Beanie Stand,” “Self-Declared Genius” and “Fatter, Older Will Ferrell.”

    Showing her annoyance over the “gatekeepers of comedy,” Bee argued, “If you don’t understand why all the women are so pissed off, that’s why. And if you still don’t get it, I invite you to go away. You are wrong about where the clitoris is and you’re wrong about what makes good comedy.”

    Transitioning to a more encouraging tone, Bee directed her next statements to women in comedy, hoping they refrain from worrying about what the “dinosaurs think.”

    Bee said: “Ladies, your jokes about Gilmore Girls and yeast infections and what it feels like to be angry all the fucking time are great. The meteor has already hit, so don’t worry about what the dinosaurs think. The future of comedy is yours. Because somewhere out there, there’s a woman who works at a bank who got a dick flashed at her in a meeting she wasn’t allowed to talk in. And when she gets off work tonight, she wants you to make her laugh about it. So burn it down, my witches.”

    A day after five women accused C.K. of masturbating in front of them in a New York Times exposé, the comedian admitted the allegations to be true. In a response sent to The Hollywood Reporter, C.K. revealed that he felt shame for the actions he tried to hide from.

    “I learned yesterday the extent to which I left these women who admired me feeling badly about themselves and cautious around other men who would never have put them in that position.” He later added, “There is nothing about this that I forgive myself for. And I have to reconcile it with who I am. Which is nothing compared to the task I left them with.”

     

     

     



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    NBC Gives Monday to ‘Good Girls,’ No Additional Episodes for ‘The Brave’


    The 10 o’clock slot goes to the new Jenna Bans drama.

    Autumn’s trend of a military dramas hasn’t paid the greatest dividends for the broadcast networks — and another is officially off the midseason schedule. NBC announced Thursday that The Brave won’t be getting a back nine.

    “Dean Georgaris and our executive producers and cast have created a compelling drama, with top-notch production values, that have captured the intense pressure facing our military personnel in the field and the analysts back home in their unrelenting fight to protect our freedom,” said Jennifer Salke, President, NBC Entertainment. “We couldn’t be prouder of the work they all do.”

    The original plan for The Brave was said to be 13 episodes — but, in success, would not have been out of the question. A network release noted that a decision about the future of The Brave, and a potential second season, won’t be made until a later date.

    The drama has been a consistent performer for NBC, but it’s hardly pulled the kind of numbers the network is capable of in Monday’s post-Voice time slot. Season-to-date, it’s averaged 8.5 million viewers and just under a 2.0 rating among adults 18-49.

    The next series to fill the enviable slot, which has NBC’s best lead-in short of drama This Is Us, is Good Girls. The Jenna Bans drama debuts out of The Voice’s midseason return on Feb. 26. Drama Rise gets This Is Us’ Tuesday slot on March 20 when its sophomore season wraps.

    Elsewhere in military programming, CBS’ SEAL Team got a quick full season order, but its live returns have diminished. On the CW, Valor did not get additional episodes either — though fellow freshman Dynasty has already been tapped for more.



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    ‘Stripes’ TV Adaptation in Development at CBS


    The single-camera effort will be based on the 1981 comedy film.

    CBS is developing a new series based on the comedy movie Stripes.

    Inspired by the 1981 film starring Bill Murray, the single-camera effort will follow a perennial rebellious outsider who ultimately finds his purpose in life when he joins the U.S. military and must unite a group of ragtag eccentrics. The original movie, directed by Ivan Reitman, grossed over $85 million during its run.

    The television reboot will be written by Trevor Moore, Sam Brown and Zach Cregger, who are known for their sketch comedy troupe The Whitest Kids U’Know. They later turned the troupe into a TV series of the same name that aired from 2007-2011 on Fuse and IFC. Reitman is set to direct the adaptation.

    The writing trio will also executive produce, along with Julius Goldy Sharpe, Amie Karp, Peter Fried and Reitman under his Montecito Picture Company banner. The project hails from Sony Pictures Television Studio in association with CBS Television Studios.

    Moore is repped by CAA, Generate and attorney Josh Sandler. Cregger is with CAA and Principato-Young Entertainment. Brown is repped by Principato-Young Entertainment. Reitman and Montecito Picture Company are repped by CAA. Sharpe is with WME and Jackoway Tyerman.



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    'Soufra': Film Review




    Against the odds, a group of women who live in a Lebanese refugee camp pursue their food-truck dreams in ‘Soufra,’ a documentary executive produced by Susan Sarandon.

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