- Apple Music: Editor's Notes
When Drake released the dance-routine-ready “Toosie Slide” roughly a month ahead of his Dark Lane Demo Tapes, fans were near incredulous that he’d discovered yet another musical frontier in which to stake his claim. (Those who weren’t busy choreographing TikTok videos to the song, anyway.) With the release of Dark Lane Demo Tapes, Drake delivers a handful of additional forays into the sound of right now. The project, per Drake’s own Instagram, features music compiled by OVO cohorts Oliver El-Khatib and Noel Cadastre, and comprises “some leaks and some joints from SoundCloud and some new vibes.”
Found within are Drake-helmed masterpieces of post-regional drill music (“Demons,” “War”), linkups with Future (“Desires”) and Chris Brown (“Not You Too”), and a Pi’erre Bourne-produced Playboi Carti collaboration (“Pain 1993”), as well as the kind of hazy, regret-steeped R&B that so many contemporary playlists are built on (“Time Flies”). In its approach to these familiar vibes, this particular collection of music is the most of-the-moment Drake has ever sounded—more present than his usual prescient.
- Original Article: Andy Serwer / Yahoo
Only a few months ago we were complaining there were too many TV shows to watch, and that it was impossible to keep up.
Now is the time to catch up.
The coronavirus has stopped the production of movies and TV shows cold. In a matter of weeks we’ve gone lickety-split from peak content to trough content, i.E., no new shows.
What does this shutdown mean for Disney, Netflix, YouTube, and HBO et al., and never mind the media-entertainment-complex, what about all of us couch-potatoing our lives away during the pandemic?
I put those questions to legendary media investor Mario Gabelli, and he suggested all this was going to engender some serious seismic change.
“You have a lot of stuff that was put in the pipeline,” Gabelli said with his usual rapid-fire sagacity. “But who has the library and content and how do they keep it fresh? And you will get some strange things, and there will be those that structurally change. Will movie studios look to go direct to the consumer and bypass the theaters? Those are the questions we ask.”
This wither-the-entertainment-world question is no small potatoes, sideshow matter. Hollywood (writ large) is one of America’s last great businesses. (Software being another.) The United States doesn’t make the most steel or the most ships or the most cars anymore, but we do make the most content. And not only do we make the most, we make the best. Our story-telling, narratives, visual motifs and production values are emulated around the world. And we’re not going to relinquish that leadership position anytime soon. (Yes, I know Hollywood makes a ton of trash. And yes I love foreign films too.)
It’s also the case that entertainment has become vastly more important in our lives. BC (Before Covid), you’d ask someone what they were watching when the conversation flagged. AC, it’s pretty much the third thing you want to know. As in: “Are you and your family OK? How’s work? What are you watching?”
Watching content has become completely core.
And so thanks to fortuitous timing, shows like “Tiger King,” the Michael Jordan docuseries “The Last Dance,” and Season 3 of “Ozark” are literally off the charts. Here are the numbers: Some 6.1 million watched the MJ doc, according to ESPN, a record for the network. Netflix’s “Ozark” tripled its viewership so far over Season 2 and according to Indiewire, is “projected…[to] have a viewership of 29 million within its first four weeks.” As for “Tiger King,” Netflix is saying 64 million households chose to watch Joe Exotic et al. (That’s a global number, but just for a point of reference there are 128 million households in the U.S.)
That’s an insane amount of eyeballs.
A man looks at a mural depicting Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as "Joe Exotic," in Dallas, Friday, April 10, 2020. The Netflix series "Tiger King," has become popular watching during the COVID-19 outbreak. Maldonado-Passage was convicted in an unsuccessful murder-for-hire plot. (AP Photo/LM Otero)And guess which company’s benefiting?
“The best positioned is Netflix,” says Deana Myers, research director at media & communications for S&P Global Intelligence. “They spend a lot on fresh content and have a vast library of acquisitions or older content. The company has so much in production and can hold out for the longest period. For another six months they could have significant fresh content.”
In case you missed it, Netflix reported beyond-boffo growth this week, adding 15.8 million new subscribers in the first quarter, more than double the expectation. The question now is how do CEO Reed Hastings and chief content officer Ted Sarandos proceed?
You can’t just flip a switch to make a show. These babies typically take many months to make, (especially since Netflix typically releases its shows in one fell swoop.) Take “Ozark” for instance. There was a 13-month gap between Season 1 and Season 2, and a 19-month gap between 2 and 3. Season 4 hasn't even been greenlit (though it almost certainly will), so we’re talking a release date of late 2021 or 2022 even.
Neflix gave details in its just released letter to shareholders: “...We’ve paused most of our productions across the world. No one knows how long it will be until we can safely restart physical production.”
But the release continued, “In Q2, there is only a modest impact on our new releases…we are working hard to complete the content we know our members want and we’re complementing this effort with additional licensed films and series.” And: “Since we have a large library with thousands of titles for viewing and very strong recommendations, our member satisfaction may be less impacted than our peers’ by a shortage of new content.”
If Netflix is in the catbird seat, relatively speaking, who’s not?
Myers has concerns about traditional TV. “Streaming services in general are in a better position than broadcast or cable networks, which rely on sports programming — that’s a tough position. [And they] don’t have vast [amounts of] new programming. There wasn’t a lot teed up right now.” BTW, Netflix never getting into sports looks pretty smart—or lucky—right now.
Adds Alan Wolk, co-founder and lead analyst at TV[R]EV, author of “Over The Top: How The Internet Is (Slowly But Surely) Changing The Television Industry”: “If the economy goes really bad we think cord cutting will pick up tremendously. People will say I don’t have $50 to $100 to spend on stuff I hardly watch, versus pay $40 and have four services.”
Now let’s turn to some streaming upstarts, where the jury is out.
-Take Quibi. The new mobile-only streaming app launched on April 6 is off to a respectable enough start with 2.7 million downloads. “Quibi is building nicely,” chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg told me. “Especially given how crazy the environment is that we’re all living with. Quibi will not have a content delivery issue. We are fully supplied into November.” Myers though wonders if that will be enough.
-NBC’s Peacock, which did a limited rollout on April 15, goes full bore on July 15, but without the Olympics which was to give it a boost. That might end up being a blessing though. “About a year from now, we may get a content drought,” says Wolk. “That could work to Peacock’s advantage if the Olympics go on, and people would be tuning into that.”
-What about Disney+? “They’re in a tougher position. They have a lot in production,” says Myers. “But they’re not going to be able to finish a lot and air it.” On the other hand, Myers says, Disney will benefit from its strong line-up of kids’ programming, as Myers notes, “children will watch the same video 800 times.”
-Apple TV+? “The service that might get hurt I think is Apple, in terms of nobody will subscribe,” says Wolk. “They don’t have a deep library.” Wolk worries value-conscious consumers will balk.
‘Creative people are, well, going to be creative’As for TV and movie producers who actually create the content, work has become a risky business. “We backed up all of our footage on drives and did a massive move of equipment to the editors’ and assistants’ homes,” says Daphne Pinkerson, producer at Blowback Productions, which has made a number of award-winning documentaries for HBO. “We had two films in The Tribeca Film Festival so it was pretty crushing when it was canceled. One was our Quibi series, “I Promise,” on the new school started by LeBron James and the other was an HBO film on Stockton, Calif.’s millennial mayor, Michael Tubbs.
“If we are not able to start new films soon because of social distancing, we are not going to survive,” she says. “Either that, or all our characters will have masks on. Maybe we can create transparent masks so we can see their lips move!”
Actually there are a few forms of media-making that continue unabated. If you’re a kid—or a fan of that, to my mind, awkward category of grown-up animation (“The Simpsons,” “South Park,” “Family Guy,” etc.) —good news, your game is still on. That’s not lost on Netflix which noted in its shareholder letter that “within two weeks of the shelter-in-place orders coming into effect in Los Angeles, most of our animation production team was back up and running, working from home.” Wolk thinks you may see even more animation coming out of Netflix. Disney too.
The Simpsons: (l-r) Bart, Lisa, Maggie, Marge and Homer with dog, "Santa's Little Helper", photoAnother category going full tilt is audio books. “Because we’re a virtual, digital platform we're in good shape,” Audible founder and executive chairman Don Katz told Yahoo Finance. “TV shows are being canceled, and movies and Broadway are closed down. We have a network of individual studios and actors and a lot of famous people who know how to do this at home. We're trying to put a lot of people to work.”
Even with most of the entertainment business closed, creative people are, well, going to be creative. “People will start rolling out things that can be produced,” says Wolk. “Hollywood is putting minds together, maybe people will double or triple down on animated series and documentaries, things that don’t require a cast. We may even see, I don't know how feasible it is, innovations with computer generated actors.” And who knows, something like John Krasinski’s at home show, “Some Good News” which gets some 10 million views, might have staying power.
Remember too, what Gabelli alluded to. You are likely going to see mergers and deals. Some big ones probably. (Think at the Apple, Disney, Netflix level.)
But here’s the rub for all of you at home (ha.) Given the crazy number of TV shows and movies made over the past decade, there is no way anyone is going to run out of things to watch. Good things too.
Netflix alone released more than one new show or movie a day (270) in 2019, according to an analysis by Variety, more than the entire industry created in 2005. Bet you haven’t seen 10% of it. (BTW, ‘South Park” parodied all that content creation in an amusing send up: “Netflix. You’re greenlit. Whom am I speaking with?” SNL did a similar bit.)
Look at this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to catch up, an opportunity we hope to never see again. So go ahead and run through all those best streaming show lists. (I’ve seen only five on this one.) There’re a million shows out there. Seen “Giri/Haji?” Or “Stisel?” Or “Babylon Berlin?” Good stuff there.
Sometime in 2021 you may have had your fill and by then, with any luck, we will be back to some kind of normal. And soon enough, new shows will be on the way!
This article was featured in a Saturday edition of the Morning Brief on April 25, 2020. Get the Morning Brief sent directly to your inbox every Monday to Friday by 6:30 a.M. ET. Subscribe
Andy Serwer is editor-in-chief of Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter: @serwer.
- Article: Samsung News
Samsung already offers Apple's TV app on its smart TVs — in fact, it was the first TV manufacturer to offer that app — and now Apple Music is joining the party. It's available now for Samsung's 2018, 2019 and 2020 Smart TVs.
Adding Apple Music to your TV is as easy as opening the Samsung Smart TV App Store and downloading the app. From there, you can sign in with your Apple ID if you're a member or sign up for a three-month free trial. Either way, you'll be able to start listening in no time.
The interface for Apple Music will be similar to what users are accustomed to on iOS, macOS, watchOS and even tvOS. It's probably closest to the user interface on the Apple TV itself. If you've used the Apple TV app on Samsung TVs, it will be nearly identical.
You'll get six menus up top: For You (which shows recommended music for you), Browse, Videos, Radio, Library and Now Playing. Easy access to search is found at the top, along with access to settings. It's simple and sleek.
And with Apple Music, you get access to more than 60 million songs ad-free, tons of music videos, playlists curated by real people (artists and DJs included) and Live Radio. You can tune in for shows by Elton John, The Weeknd, DJ Khaled, Nicki Minaj and many others.
Earlier this week, Samsung rolled out a number of fitness apps for its smart TV platforms. And the rollout of Apple Music comes a year after Samsung was the first to roll out the Apple TV app. It not only shows a strategic partnership with Apple, but also provides more value for Samsung TV owners, even those with models dating to 2018.
13 Shakespeare-inspired Movies To Stream In Honor Of His Birthday, From ‘Macbeth’ To ‘10 Things I Hate About You’Read Now
- Article: Washington Post
Shakespeare’s plays have been adapted hundreds of times by artists around the world, many of whose works have since wound up online. So whether you’re looking to celebrate his contributions to society — or just need a pseudo-intellectual break from Netflix reality shows — here are 13 such films available to stream right now. (Note: Many great, older adaptations are available as rentals.)
‘10 Things I Hate About You’ (1999)
Streaming on Disney Plus, “10 Things I Hate About You” is among the most beloved teen rom-com takes on a Shakespeare play — in this case, “The Taming of the Shrew.” The modern-day retelling centers on Padua High School students Kat (Julia Stiles) and Bianca Stratford (Larisa Oleynik), whose father won’t let Bianca date until Kat does. To get around this, Bianca’s wannabe suitor, Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), pays the school rebel, Patrick (Heath Ledger), to sweep the stubborn Kat off her feet. The film was career-changing for its young actors, particularly Gordon-Levitt, Ledger and Stiles.
‘The King’ (2019)
Streaming on Netflix, “The King” is David Michôd’s dour take on Shakespeare’s “Henry” plays. While the overall film received mixed reviews, Michôd made a smart choice in casting the very watchable Timothée Chalamet in the lead role of Prince Hal. But the most memorable casting decision was Robert Pattinson as the Dauphin of France, who taunts his English rival in an over-the-top accent.
‘Lady Macbeth’ (2017)
Streaming on Hulu, “Lady Macbeth” is a great choice for those who have come to love Florence Pugh after her Oscar-nominated role in “Little Women” (or, depending on who you ask, her Oscar-snubbed turn in “Midsommar”). The Shakespeare connection is distant, as “Lady Macbeth” is actually an adaptation of Nikolai Leskov’s 1865 novella, which itself was only inspired by the play. But Pugh’s cunning protagonist, who is trapped in a loveless marriage, recalls the Bard’s own creations.
‘The Lion King’ (1994)
Streaming on Amazon, “Macbeth” thrives on the striking presences of Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, who play the couple plagued by paranoia after usurping the Scottish throne. Fassbender seems an obvious choice for the role, Cotillard perhaps less so — which Variety critic Guy Lodge pointed to while praising her “exhilarating” performance, which he added “deserves to be viewed as near-definitive.”
‘The Merchant of Venice’ (2004)
Streaming on HBO, Michael Radford’s film is one of few on-screen adaptations of “The Merchant of Venice.” It stars heavyweights Jeremy Irons and Al Pacino as the titular merchant, Antonio, and the Jewish moneylender Shylock, who states he is owed a pound of flesh if his loan is not repaid.
Streaming on Disney Plus, “Motocrossed” is a Disney Channel Original Movie that, yes, is a loose adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” The classic DCOM follows a motocross-loving teenager named Andi (Alana Austin) who, unbeknown to her sexist father but with the help of her supportive mother, races in place of her brother after he injures his knee before a big competition.
‘Much Ado About Nothing’ (1993)
Streaming on Vudu, Kenneth Branagh’s version of “Much Ado About Nothing” is said to be one of the most successful Shakespeare adaptations ever made — a lengthy list that includes several others also directed by and starring Branagh. This film benefits greatly from his chemistry with then-wife Emma Thompson, as well as the other talents involved: Robert Sean Leonard, Denzel Washington and Keanu Reeves.
Streaming on Hulu’s Starz add-on, "O" marked veteran actor Tim Blake Nelson’s second outing as a feature director. The modern-day “Othello” adaptation also takes place in an American high school, where the star of the basketball team, Odin (Mekhi Phifer, playing a version of Othello), is driven into jealousy-fueled madness by his deceitful best friend and teammate, Hugo (Josh Hartnett, as the Iago stand-in). Julia Stiles stars Odin’s girlfriend, Desi, an updated version of Desdemona.
‘Richard III’ (1995)
Streaming on Amazon, “Richard III” relocates to 1930s Britain, where Richard (Ian McKellen) is a fascist trying to usurp the throne after a fictional civil war ends with his older brother as king. The film was based on a stage production also starring McKellan and added several notable names to the on-screen cast, including Annette Bening, Jim Broadbent, Robert Downey Jr., Kristin Scott Thomas and Maggie Smith.
‘Romeo + Juliet’ (1996)
Streaming on Hulu’s Starz add-on, “Romeo + Juliet” joins Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 adaptation in still being a staple of high school classrooms across the country. While director Baz Luhrmann stuck to Shakespearean dialogue, the film takes place in contemporary society and replaces swords with guns. The Montagues and Capulets are rival mafia families, and the depicted romance between their children, Romeo (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Juliet (Claire Danes), did wonders for each actor’s burgeoning career.
‘Shakespeare in Love’ (1998)
Streaming on Hulu’s Showtime add-on, “Shakespeare in Love” isn’t an adaptation but a fictionalized account of Shakespeare’s (Joseph Fiennes) life while writing “Romeo and Juliet” that alludes to many of his plays, whether through characters or specific lines. The film earned Gwyneth Paltrow an Oscar, which she won for playing Viola de Lesseps, a merchant’s daughter with whom Shakespeare has an affair.
‘She’s the Man’ (2006)
Streaming on Hulu’s Cinemax add-on, “She’s the Man” is the more popular modern take on “Twelfth Night.” It stars Amanda Bynes as a soccer player named Viola who attends boarding school as her brother, Sebastian, after her own school cuts the girls team. It also features the memorable scene in which team captain Duke (Channing Tatum) catches “Sebastian” with a tampon, who pretends it’s for a nose bleed.
Fandango logo. Los Angeles-based Fandango has signed an agreement to acquire Vudu, the video-on-demand service owned by Walmart. Fandango isn’t selling movie tickets right now, due to the coronavirus crisis that has closed the nation’s cinemas. But the NBCUniversal-owned company is in a buying mood as it looks to sell users more movies online.
Los Angeles-based Fandango has signed an agreement to acquire Vudu, the video-on-demand service owned by Walmart, a spokeswoman confirmed Monday.
Financial details were not disclosed. The company declined to comment further.
Fandango, run by President Paul Yanover, plans to use Vudu to increase its presence in the digital video space. The company already has a service called FandangoNow, which lets users buy and rent films, similar to Apple’s iTunes and Google Play.
Vudu announced the deal in a blog post addressed to users.
“While there will be many more exciting things to share in the months ahead, nothing about the Vudu experience is changing — your movie & TV library is safe, and you will continue to have access to all your Vudu apps across your favorite devices,” the company said in the post.
“Vudu will continue to deliver an amazing experience, and we promise that the future will bring more new features, offerings, and other benefits as we join the Fandango family,” Vudu said.
The deal comes as Fandango’s parent company, Comcast-owned NBCUniversal, is increasingly experimenting with early video-on-demand releases for its theatrical movies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Universal Pictures on April 10 released “Trolls World Tour” on digital platforms, charging customers $20 to rent the DreamWorks Animation movie. Universal did not say how much money the release generated in sales, but said the results exceeded the company’s expectations.
“Trolls World Tour” is the top-selling movie on FandangoNow for the second weekend in a row, the company said Monday.
Fandango has worked to grow its brand in recent years from a mere ticketseller to a more all-encompassing service for film fans. In 2016, it bought the influential film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
Burbank, Calif.-based studio Warner Bros. Owns a minority stake in Fandango.
©2020 Los Angeles Times
Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.Latimes.Com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Philo TV is one of the more underrated streaming TV services out there. For just $20 per month, you get access to 59 channels. And the majority of these channels are not available on its competitors. Making it a really great complimentary service for something like YouTube TV or Hulu Live TV.
Some of the channels included with Philo TV include: A&E, AMC, Animal Planet, BET, BET Her, Comedy Central, Food Network, Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Drama, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, HGTV, History, MTV, Nick Jr., Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, TLC, VH1 just to name a few.
The majority of the channels are Viacom channels, which for some reason, most other streaming TV services do not offer. You also don't get live sports here or your local channels. Which is why we say that this is a good add on to use for other services. Especially if there's a show on BET that you want to watch, and it's only on for a few months of the year. You can subscriber and then cancel once it is over.
After all, that's what makes cord cutting so efficient.
Philo TV also offers DVR, and it's unlimited. But it will only stay on your account for up to 30 days. After that, it'll be removed. Unlike YouTube TV which does nine months.
You can watch on up to three devices at the same time. And create up to ten profiles. Which makes it great for a family, but not a large family. Since you are limited to three screens simultaneously. But TV everywhere apps work too, to fill in those gaps.
Philo TV offers up a free seven day trial. Just put in your phone number and you'll be sent a link to download the app and start watching. After 48 hours, you'll be prompted for billing info, to finish out your trial. Now if you don't want to keep the service, you can still cancel before the seven days are up, and not get charged.
You can sign up for Philo TV by clicking here.
Get $300 in AT&T Visa® Reward Cards when you buy AT&T TV + internet online. Plus, enjoy a year of HBO on us.*Read Now
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- Article: ComicBook
The Batman is one of countless upcoming films that is being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as production was forced to shut down to help encourage social distancing. It's unclear at this point when a lot of films and TV shows will be able to resume production, much less how release dates will eventually be affected. Even then, the shutdown has created an interesting situation for the film's writer-director, Matt Reeves. In a recent interview with The Daily Beast, Reeves spoke about how the pandemic has impacted the film, including the tragic loss of one of its crew members, Andrew Jack. At the same time, Reeves said that the time away from filming The Batman has given him time to take stock of what has already been filmed.
"There is that thing too, when you get to push pause. I’ve worked on some other movies where, for various reasons, you have a shutdown—whether it’s an actor gets sick and needs time to recover, or actually one time I got sick and needed time to recover. I do find that any time you’re in the midst of something enormous where you can suddenly stop and take a little stock of where you’re at, that can be a creative gift as well. But I think the hardest thing is just that we lost a beloved crew member. That, to me, is something we’re all still dealing with."
This echoes previous comments that Reeves has made, namely that he will look over existing The Batman footage and hopefully find pleasant surprises, which could impact production once it resumes.
"It happens any time you shoot anything. The unexpected — happy accidents and things you didn’t quite expect: That is the lightning in a bottle for something that is alive," Reeves explained earlier this month. "I would say that the changes really have to do with ‘Oh, seeing the tone of this’ with these scenes we haven’t done which connect to that part of the storyline. It feels like there might be an opportunity to explore some of that unexpected tone that we found. With these movies, you never have enough prep time, because they’re so complex and so enormous in so many ways. It also gives me a moment to think about the larger sequences that have yet to come up and how I want to realize those."
The Batman will star Robert Pattinson as the titular caped crusader, with Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Colin Farrell as The Penguin, Paul Dano as The Riddler, Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon, John Turturro as Carmine Falcone, Peter Sarsgaard as Gil Colson, Jayme Lawson as Bella Real, and Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth.
The Batman is set to be released on June 25, 2021.
Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.
Sony/ATV Teams With Music Production Marketplace BeatStars To Provide Publishing Services To Producers & SongwritersRead Now
- Article: Music Business Worldwide
Sony/ATV Music Publishing has inked a new partnership with music production marketplace BeatStars, which received a lot of media attention last year for being the source of the track used for Lil Nas X’s global hit Old Town Road.
With this partnership, Sony/ATV says that it will work on behalf of BeatStars’ clients to pitch original songs and beats for synchronization opportunities and recorded music.
Additionally, Sony/ATV will provide global publishing and administration services and offer its foreign royalty payments feature, which promises to give songwriters and producers “easier and faster access” to their earnings.
Founded by Abe Batshon (pictured) in 2008, the BeatStars has now paid out over over $70 million to its producers, songwriters and beatmakers, up $20m since last June, when the company announced that it paid out over $50m.
In addition to enabling the creation of Lil Nas X’s mega hit Old Town Road, BeatStars has launched the careers of hit producers including Dababy’s producer Jetsonmade, Dystinkt Beats, CashMoneyAp, Menoh Beats, and Popsmoke’s producer 808melobeats.
“We are huge fans of BeatStars and are pleased to partner with Abe and his incredible team to help propel the careers of its beatmakers.”
Sony/ATV Chairman & CEO Jon Platt said: “We are huge fans of BeatStars and are pleased to partner with Abe and his incredible team to help propel the careers of its beatmakers.
“BeatStars has successfully created a new lane, fostering the collective talent of emerging songwriters and producers online, and we look forward to furthering this effort with Sony/ATV’s best-in-class service.”
“At BeatStars, we have been the driving force in artist and producer collaboration online for over 11 years and we can’t wait to work with Sony/ATV to help showcase the hardest working talent on our platform from all over the world.”
Abe Batshon, BeatStars
BeatStars CEO Abe Batshon, added: “BeatStars couldn’t be more excited to partner with Jon and his amazing team at Sony/ATV.
“We believe Sony/ATV is the most forward-thinking publisher in the world – it has embraced our community with open arms and shares the same vision of serving and empowering global creators.
“At BeatStars, we have been the driving force in artist and producer collaboration online for over 11 years and we can’t wait to work with Sony/ATV to help showcase the hardest working talent on our platform from all over the world.”
- Music Business Worldwide
- Article: New York Times
The original “Trolls” movie in 2016 was about the unique privilege associated with being a Troll — kaleidoscopically colorful lives, unrelenting joy, hourly hug-a-thons. Chipper, loopy songs peppered the film, which presented pop music, and Pop Trolldom, as sources of joy that are unimpeachably good (if a little oblivious).
What horror lies beneath, though? In “Trolls World Tour,” which was released last week, Poppy, queen of the Pop Trolls, discovers that her tribe isn’t the only one out there, and that the Rock Trolls are intent on conquering them all, a residual effect of a time when Pop Trolls were, in fact, invaders. The real lesson of the movie? That one Troll’s privilege never comes without another Troll’s suffering.
And yet in a movie that features musical megastars including Justin Timberlake, George Clinton, Mary J. Blige, Kelly Clarkson, J Balvin, Ozzy Osbourne and Gustavo Dudamel, it is, somehow, the genial, sometimes grating funk-soul singer-rapper Anderson .Paak who’s tasked with the sociopolitical heavy lifting.
He voices Prince D — a Funk Troll, but really a Hip-Hop Troll — who interrupts Poppy (played by Anna Kendrick as a walking embodiment of Troll privilege) on her quest to save Troll Kingdom from the evil, rhythm-deficient intentions of the Rock Trolls, led by Queen Barb (Rachel Bloom). Prince D presents her with a brief lesson in appropriation history called “It’s All Love (History of Funk)”: “The Pop Trolls started snatching up all of the strings/Put the melodies on top of poppy lil’ beats/They cut us out of the scene.”
Turns out all that Pop Troll joy was built upon the subjugation of other musical Trolls. The actual truth: Pop absorbed all of the things that made each of the other styles great and watered it down! Pop wrote the history books — a scrapbook, in this universe — suggesting that it wasn’t, in fact, the aggressor!
For 6-year-olds who sang along with Poppy and Branch (a tepid Timberlake) last time around, this might be a destabilizing plot twist. But this is exactly the sort of conversation that’s been de rigueur in music criticism for the last couple of decades, especially when compounded by the film’s other plot throughline, the impending imperialism of the Rock Trolls.
This is the film’s central battle: poptimists vs. Rockists. (Or, in non-critic terms, the idea that pop music has real cultural value vs. The belief that rock determines the framework through which popular music should be analyzed.) But in “Trolls World Tour,” which reads like a position paper written by someone extremely, perhaps unreasonably frustrated about how the dark side of pop history was erased by the first film, both sides are flawed.
There are, in fact, six Troll tribes — Pop, Funk, Country, Techno, Classical and Rock — that do not overlap (apart from Cooper, a Funk Troll raised by Pop Trolls). The Country Trolls — fronted by Delta Dawn, voiced by an almost embarrassingly good Kelly Clarkson — are robust and protectionist, just like in real life. Classical and Techno merit little narrative exposition, however. There are characters representing reggaeton (played by J Balvin) and K-pop (played by girl group Red Velvet) as bounty hunters living between tribes, though ones inclined toward dance-offs.
As for pop, the genre is presented as a tonally narrow emotional ethos. “We love music with a hummable hook, with an upbeat melody, with a catchy rhythm that makes you want to snap your fingers, tap your toes and wiggle your butt,” says the Pop Troll king. This is, of course, a very specific and narrow definition that doesn’t much resemble the pop landscape in 2020 — no Post Malone-style miserablism, Drake-esque sing-rapping or Weeknd-like glittery angst.
In this pluralist kingdom, rock is a convenient villain — its Trolls dress in shades of gray and black and prefer clothes and vehicles with spikes; its chords zing out from guitars like blades; and it is also out of fashion. The Rock Trolls come off like a tribe of aggrieved ancients, eager to restore their draconian dullness. They’re also cool villains: Perhaps the next generation of troublemaking kids will turn to rock for inspiration. Cue a heavy metal resurgence around 2030 or so.
Though rock and pop are at odds in “Trolls World Tour,” the movie suggests their impulses are fundamentally the same — to colonize and absorb from others. Pitting pop against hip-hop or funk would have unwelcome racial overtones.
And so all the wisdom comes from the Funk Trolls, whose king and queen are played by Blige and Clinton, black music legends. Even though Poppy ultimately foils the Rock Trolls’ plan for rock zombification of all the Troll nations, it’s only with the wisdom she gleans from the Funk Trolls that she’s set on that path.
In the first “Trolls,” most of the rapping came from Zooey Deschanel’s character, a grave error corrected here with Anderson .Paak’s Prince D, and also Tiny Diamond (Kenan Thompson). There’s another nod to hip-hop’s generative power, too. In the climactic scene (spoiler alert), in which Poppy rescues everyone from rock’s clutches, the thing that begins to restore life, color and music to all of the Trolls is Cooper’s heartbeat, followed by Prince D’s beatboxing. Pop gets the glory, but hip-hop is the foundation. Business as usual.
c.2020 The New York Times Company
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Whose Line Is It Anyway? Gary Anthony Williams and Jeanine Mason are guests. (N) 8 p.M. CW
Bob Hearts Abishola Abishola (Folake Olowofoyeku) is upset when Bob’s (Billy Gardell) ex-wife (Nicole Sullivan) tries to maneuver her way back into his life in this new episode of the romantic comedy. Maribeth Monroe, Christine Ebersole, Matt Jones and Gina Yashere also star. 8:30 p.M. CBS
Roswell, New Mexico On the verge of a breakthrough in her quest to save Max (Nathan Parsons), Liz (Jeanine Mason) turns to Kyle (Michael Trevino) for one last favor. Michael Vlamis, Tyler Blackburn and Kayla Ewell also star. 9 p.M. CW
Better Call Saul When what looks to be a simple errand for a client goes sideways, Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) feels himself pushed to the limit. Also, Mike (Jonathan Banks) takes steps to keep a lid on the anger of the cartel. Tony Dalton, Rhea Seehorn, Patrick Fabian and Giancarlo Esposito also star. 9 p.M. AMC
Spring Baking Championship This new episode revolves around the animated feature “Trolls World Tour.” 9 p.M. Food Network
The Plot Against America Evelyn and Rabbi Bengelsdorf (Winona Ryder, John Turturro) receive an invitation from Mrs. Lindbergh (Caroline Kaplan) to a state dinner for Nazi Germany’s foreign minister in this new episode. 9 p.M. HBO
Manifest Michaela and Ben (Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas) put everything on the line to attempt a dangerous rescue in the season finale of the mystery series. Also, as Zeke’s (Matt Long) final hours tick down, Saanvi and Vance (Parveen Kaur, Daryl Edwards) make a desperate attempt to reach the Major (Elizabeth Marvel), who may be the only person who can save Zeke. 10 p.M. NBC
Breeders During a school break Luke is responsible for taking Lenny the class bear on an adventure; Lenny has been to Italy, Peru and beyond, but Paul can’t even manage to get the family and the bear out of the house to the local park. 10 p.M. FX
Dispatches From Elsewhere (N) 10:15 p.M. AMC
Coronavirus Pandemic (N) 10 and 11 a.M. CNN
Coronavirus Update (N) Noon and 7 p.M. CW
Pandemic: What You Need to Know (N) Noon ABC
White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefing (N) 2 p.M. CSPAN
Washington Journal Primetime (N) 5 p.M. CSPAN
Coronavirus Crisis (N) 7 p.M. Fox
The iHeart Living Room Concert for America Elton John hosts a one-hour benefit special in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Performers include Alicia Keys, Backstreet Boys and Billie Eilish. 9 p.M. Fox
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Secrets & Surprises Former hosts Regis Philbin and Meredith Vieira join new host Jimmy Kimmel in a behind-the-scenes look at the long-running game show. 10 p.M. ABC
Broken Places This new special explores how trauma in childhood shapes people’s lives as they become adults. 10 p.M. KOCE
CBS This Morning LeVar Burton. (N) 7 a.M. KCBS
Today (N) 7 a.M. KNBC
KTLA Morning News (N) 7 a.M. KTLA
Good Morning America (N) 7 a.M. KABC
Good Day L.A. (N) 7 a.M. KTTV
Live With Kelly and Ryan Via video chat: Jon Cryer (“Supergirl”); Laura Prepon (“You and I, as Mothers”). (N) 9 a.M. KABC
The View (N) 10 a.M. KABC
Rachael Ray Hummus; a twist on a classic Italian pasta dish; cooking with pantry staples; Moscow Mule cocktail. (N) 10 a.M. KTTV
The Talk (N) 1 p.M. KCBS
Tamron Hall How the pandemic impacts children in underserved communities; managing anxiety disorder; insomnia. (N) 1 p.M. KABC, 1:07 a.M. KABC
The Dr. Oz Show (N) 1 p.M. KTTV
The Kelly Clarkson Show Matt LeBlanc; Bellamy Young. (N) 2 p.M. KNBC
Dr. Phil Medical workers on the front lines are fighting the coronavirus and risking their own lives. (N) 3 p.M. KCBS
The Doctors Adult ADHD; safer alternatives for stimulant drugs; a procedure that gives a keyhole pout. 3 p.M. KCOP
To the Contrary With Bonnie Erbé Jen Wong. (N) 6 p.M. KVCR
Amanpour and Company (N) 11 p.M. KCET; midnight KVCR; 1 a.M. KLCS
The Daily Show With Trevor Noah 11 p.M. Comedy Central
Conan Kevin Bacon. (N) 11 p.M. TBS
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Justin Timberlake; Lady Gaga; Billie Joe Armstrong performs. (N) 11:34 p.M. KNBC
The Late Show With Stephen Colbert 11:35 p.M. KCBS
Jimmy Kimmel Live! 11:35 p.M. KABC
The Late Late Show With James Corden 12:37 a.M. KCBS
Late Night With Seth Meyers Tracy Morgan. (N) 12:37 a.M. KNBC
Nightline Coronavirus. (N) 12:37 a.M. KABC
A Little Late With Lilly Singh Former figure skater Adam Rippon; actress Anna Camp. (N) 1:38 a.M. KNBC
Where’s My Roy Cohn? Matt Tyrnauer’s revelatory 2019 documentary profiles attorney Roy Cohn, who was known for many years primarily as legal counsel for disgraced Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy during his “witch hunt” for covert Communists in America. Cohn died of AIDS in 1986, and since then has often been more closely associated with the work he did in the 1970s and early ’80s with then New York real estate developer Donald Trump. 9 p.M. Starz
Suicide Kings (1997) 8:45 a.M. Cinemax
The Little Minister (1934) 9 a.M. TCM
Super 8 (2011) 10:35 a.M. Epix
Dan in Real Life (2007) 10:45 a.M. Showtime
Logan (2017) 11 a.M. FX
Eddie the Eagle (2016) 11 a.M. FXX
Grindhouse Presents: Death Proof (2007) 11:30 a.M. IFC
Once Upon a Time ... In Hollywood (2019) 12:05 p.M. Starz
State of Play (2009) 12:27 p.M. Encore
Stranger Than Fiction (2006) 12:30 p.M. Showtime
The Green Years (1946) 12:45 p.M. TCM
An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) 1 p.M. Sundance
Coach Carter (2005) 1:30 p.M. AMC
Drumline (2002) 1:30 p.M. VH1
The Old Man & the Gun (2018) 2:25 p.M. Cinemax
Lorenzo’s Oil (1992) 2:37 p.M. Encore
Hills of Home (1948) 3 p.M. TCM
22 Jump Street (2014) 3:30 p.M. FXX
Saving Private Ryan (1998) 4 p.M. Sundance
Platoon (1986) 4:30 p.M. Showtime
Widows (2018) 5:50 p.M. Cinemax
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) 6 p.M. Freeform
Fighting With My Family (2019) 6:05 p.M. Epix
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) 6:30 p.M. Syfy
A Star Is Born (2018) 6:40 p.M. HBO
The Grey (2012) 7 p.M. Encore
Searching (2018) 7:14 p.M. Starz
The Paleface (1948) 7:15 p.M. TCM
Black Panther (2018) 7:45 p.M. TNT
A League of Their Own (1992) 8 and 11 p.M. BBC America
A Few Good Men (1992) 8 p.M. Sundance
The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005) 8 p.M. TRU
The Pledge (2001) 8:50 p.M. Cinemax
Schindler’s List (1993) 9 p.M. Encore
Ray (2004) 9 p.M. Ovation
John Travolta as Mafia loanshark turned Hollywood Producer Chili Palmer in this sequel to GET SHORTY. This time, Chili finds himself mixing it up in the rough and tumble world of rock stars, pop divas, and hip hop gangstas when a new idea for a movie leads him into the music business. Will his wise guy attitude succeed in the ever-changing world of music or will more people just end up dead?Directed by: F. Gary Gray
Starring: John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Vince Vaughn, Cedric the Entertainer, André Benjamin, Dwayne Johnson, Danny DeVito, Harvey Keitel, James Woods
Just 13 years ago, Steve Jobs introduced a radical new tech device to the world, one that was an iPod for music, a "revolutionary" mobile phone and a "breakthrough internet communications device."
And now, a new kind of TV camera too!
Well, he didn't say that about the original iPhone. But have you looked at TV this week?
Conan O'Brien shot his late-night comedy show with an iPhone. And he wasn't alone. Al Roker reported the weather for the "Today Show" on an iPhone, as well. Similarly, Seth Meyers, Samantha Bee and Jimmy Kimmel opted for an iPad to film their late night shows.
- Conan O'Brien mugs with an iPhone (Photo: TeamCoco)
The TV industry didn't turn to the mobile devices out of choice. There are better cameras with higher resolution out there. But due to the coronavirus sending us all to work at home, the industry has two choices: reruns forever, or innovate to create new programming.
Rich DeMuro, whose tech segments air on KTLA in Los Angeles and 40 stations nationally, set up the iPhone at home on a tripod, housed within a small ring light he picked up from Amazon for $100.
He is able to broadcast live by connecting the iPhone to TVU, professional software sold to broadcasters. Roker and the Today Show uses TVU, as well.
"You only need a smartphone, software and a microphone now," says DeMuro. "You can go live from anywhere in the world now with your iPhone and one of these apps, which to me is just so amazing. We used to need a huge rig, satellite truck and microwave transmission. Now you can do it all the phone."
Not everyone is using an iPhone for remote broadcasts. Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum is broadcasting from her apartment, but with a professional Sony ENG camera, the same kind Fox photographers use in the field to report stories, she says.
Her neighbor also works for Fox, set it up and runs the camera during her broadcasts. "I really lucked out," she says. "We both like having work to do, and this gives us both focus."
For his part, CNN's Chris Cuomo, who announced that he's positive with COVID-19, is anchoring his show from his basement. CNN says a camera was installed for him, he has no staffer helping him operate it, and it's not an iPhone. It wouldn't specify what type of camera it is.
The late night shows, meanwhile, are recorded and edited before they're broadcast. Thus, the hosts tape their bits into their devices and send them to producers, who add graphics and edits that get assembled into the show.
For the guests portion of the late night shows, they move onto other devices, most notably the same two-way video chat software many of us have turned to since COVID-19 first struck earlier this year. Namely, Skype, Zoom and FaceTime.
The mobile devices have great cameras, but as great as they are ... Come on, there's a huge quality difference them and professional cameras.
So if you were watching "Live with Jimmy Kimmel" this week and wondered, wait a minute, that looks too good for an iPad, you're right.
He's switched to professional presentation gear from Cisco, which costs tens of thousands of dollars and can be operated remotely from his home.
If you too want to start making professional TV shows on your iPhone, a few tips to consider:
Can you go live with TVU software? Probably not, unless you have a broadcast division behind you. Sorry folks.
But you can always broadcast live video to free tools like Facebook Live, YouTube Live and BeLive.TV.
For best quality, use the dedicated camera on the phone, and not an app like TikTok or Facebook to record on, because they downgrade video quality for faster uploads. Always shoot at the highest resolution. Most smartphones let you record in 4K, make use of it.
Play with different frame rates. Both iPhones and Samsung Galaxy phones let you choose from 24 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps. Advantages: 24 fps for a more cinematic look, 30 fps for better dynamic range in the highlights, and 60 fps for capturing fast motion and looking cool when you slow it down later for slow motion.
You can also record two-way video on new iPhone models with an app called FILMiC Pro, which lets you record on both the front and back cameras at the same time.
Or you could do something which is way easier. Set up a meeting with one other person on the Zoom video conference service and click record. You get the option to save the recording to your computer. If you want to touch it up in an editing program you can easily do that as well.
So, let's say we're going to produce "Tonight with Jefferson Graham."
I open the show with an monologue, which I record directly into my iPhone. Like DeMuro, I have it mounted on a tripod (we really don't want to see camera shake, right?) and have lighting to make the image look better. (That, or sit by a window, to get natural light from the window.)
Before I click record, I make sure to tidy up my background, get all the junk off the desk, comb the hair and make everything look as good as possible.
Once the recording is done, I save the file and move onto the second segment – the interview.
I set up my Zoom meeting with my editor Josh (he's editing this – so who else am I going to invite?)
We begin the Zoom meeting, I record it, and get a cool split-screen interview that hopefully everyone will find fascinating.
Then, we either bring on another guest (a second Zoom interview) or return to the iPhone, for closing remarks and an invite to come back tomorrow.
In editing software, we put the three pieces together, add some theme music, save the file and upload it to YouTube or wherever it may land.
So be sure to tune in tomorrow folks. But first, a word from our sponsor ...
In other tech news this weekSpeaking of Zoom, the popular video conference service said this week that usage has skyrocketed, from 10 million users monthly in December to 200 million in March. It apologized for security breaches that have come with the new scrutiny and said it has taken several steps to tighten them.
Facebook looked to renew interest in its Messenger video chat program by releasing a new Windows and Mac desktop application. The advantage: most folks you know are already on Facebook, and thus you won't have to invite them in, just click their name.
T-Mobile and Sprint are now one, after two years of waiting for the merger to close. For now, both T-Mobile and Sprint are operating independently, and still offering their respective service plans. Sprint rates are still cheaper than T-Mobile. But for how much longer?
Microsoft renamed Office 365 to Microsoft 365 as it looked to give the subscription service for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive and other programs more of a consumer focus.
Keep the tripod police away with the Platypod. Larry Tiefenbrunn,, a New Jersey pediatrician who is known as "Dr. T" explains his unique tripod alternative.
Follow USA TODAY's Jefferson Graham (@jeffersongraham) on Twitter
Read or Share this story: https://www.Usatoday.Com/story/tech/2020/04/04/conan-obrien-and-jimmy-kimmel-used-iphone-and-ipads-make-tv-shows/5108929002/
After two years and two price cuts, Khaled Mohamed Khaled—much better known as DJ Khaled—has finally sold his epic Florida mansion. The waterfront retreat on a private island in Aventura, Fla., was on the market for $5.9 million. It’s currently in pending sale status, with a deal imminent. The New York Post reports that the buyer is a “a Florida-based tech mogul."
The 44-year-old music mogul first listed his over-the-top abode two years ago, for $7.9 million. The price dropped to $6.6 million last April, before dipping to the current price last December. No word yet on the final sale price.
The music exec and social media personality purchased the property back in 2015 for $3.84 million.
He then pumped an eye-popping $2.5 million into a massive remodel, which included his own personal designs, custom sneaker closet, and 14-karat gold chandeliers with Swarovski crystals.
With approximately 6,700 square feet of living space, the five-bedroom, six-bathroom Mediterranean estate is an ideal party pad. The dramatic layout features open spaces highlighted by floor-to-ceiling windows, an elevator, and a grand foyer with a granite staircase.
The interior includes formal dining and living rooms, a gourmet kitchen that opens out to a family room, and a wine room. Along with a screening room, there’s also an office, which housed the DJ’s memorabilia. High-end details include vaulted 30-foot ceilings, marble and walnut hardwood floors, and an iPad-controlled smart house system.
Done up in a purple hue, the master suite contains a platform bed, a sitting area and veranda with water views, and the walk-in sneaker closet, which has room for 500 pairs of kicks.
The bay-front home is located in the exclusive gated community of Island Estates, and is the only home on a double lot with 240 feet of water frontage. Outside, you'll find a tropical pool and spa overlooking the bay, where Khaled has hosted celebrity-studded parties.
The outdoor space includes a 50-foot boat dock, a tropical pool and spa overlooking the bay, outdoor kitchen and dining area, a cabana, and golf cart parking.
As for the hip-hop hit maker, he’s moved on. In 2018, Khaled upgraded to a $25.9 million Miami Beach contemporary estate with an 80-foot-long pool, the Wall Street Journal reported.
And for trips to the West Coast, there’s his mansion in the exclusive Mulholland Estates neighborhood above Beverly Hills, which he purchased from the British pop singer Robbie Williams in 2017.
Janet Ben Zvi with One Sotheby's International Realty held the listing.
The 2011 film “Contagion,” featuring an all-star cast of Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Jude Law and Laurence Fishburne, has seen a resurgence. People are rewatching the movie and comparing the fictional outbreak to the current coronavirus pandemic. Veterinary pathologist Tracey McNamara, who served as a scientific adviser for the film, tells Yahoo Entertainment, “The movie rings so true.”
She explains that director Steven Soderbergh got a lot of stuff “very, very right.” The film shows how quickly a virus can spread and how it can spread from an animal to humans. “There are many people who have been sounding the alarm for many, many years about a threat of infectious diseases,” McNamara says. She adds: “Up until now we have dodged the bullet.”
Another thing she feels the movie got right is how long it will take to develop a vaccine and that there won’t be enough for everybody.
When Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) returns to Minneapolis from business in Hong Kong, what she thought was jet lag takes a virulent turn. Two days later, she's dead in the ER and the doctors tell her shocked and grieving husband (Matt Damon) they have no idea why. Soon more cases are reported as the virus begins to spread. Researchers mobilize to break the code of this unique biological pathogen as it continues to mutate. Deputy Director Cheever (Laurence Fishburne) tries to allay the growing panic despite his own personal concerns, and must send a brave young doctor (Kate Winslet) into harm's way. As the death toll escalates and people struggle to protect themselves and their loved ones in a society breaking down, one activist blogger (Jude Law) claims the public isn't getting the truth about what's really going on, and sets off an epidemic of paranoia and fear as infectious as the virus itself.
The Associated Press Published 10:50 a.M. ET April 1, 2020
Retailers report a 50% revenue impact amid coronavirus. Buzz60
NEW YORK (AP) — Small businesses seeking loans through the government’s $2 trillion coronavirus relief package could receive money as soon as Friday.
That prediction came Tuesday from senior administration officials who spoke to reporters about the details of the loan program.
Companies will be able to submit applications on Friday. Because the government is using an approval process that has been stripped down from the one used for traditional business loans, the money can be available to borrowers the same day, the officials said.
The officials spoke with reporters on the condition of anonymity because the details have not been officially made public.
The loans are available to small businesses ranging from sole proprietors and freelancers to companies with up to 500 employees.
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The money is intended to help companies that have suffered massive revenue losses due to the outbreak, including restaurants across the country forced to shut down.
The loans are being guaranteed by the Small Business Administration. They provide for deferred payments and offer the prospect of forgiveness if the money is used to retain workers or hire back those who have been laid off.
Companies can borrow up to $10 million at an annual rate of 0.5% based on their payroll costs as well as their expenses for rent, mortgage interest and utilities. They will need to provide documentation of those expenses, the officials said.
All banks, credit unions and institutions in the farm credit system that are federally insured will be able to make the loans, not just the institutions that are current SBA lenders. The government will consider accepting non-bank lenders like online companies as program participants. It is expected that most borrowers will apply for the loans online.
The loans, under what’s being called the Paycheck Protection Program, are one facet of the government’s relief program. The SBA has begun lending money under its Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and is also offering bridge loans that offer up to $25,000 in loan money with a quick turnaround. Details on all the coronavirus relief loans can be found on the SBA website at www.Sba.Gov/coronavirus.
In addition, the Federal Reserve plans a program of direct loans to small businesses. Details of that program have not been released.
Read or Share this story: https://www.Usatoday.Com/story/money/2020/04/01/coronavirus-small-businesses-may-get-relief-loans-soon-friday/5102576002/
A few days ago, Samantha Bee was filming a segment for her TBS late-night series, “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee,” when she encountered a complication she had never dealt with before.
“There was literally a screeching hawk, circling up in the sky,” she recalled, speaking from her home in upstate New York where she and her family have been sheltering in place — and which has become the de facto soundstage for her TV program.
So, Bee turned to her makeshift crew — her husband and executive producer, Jason Jones, and their three children — and delivered an unusual direction.
“We had to hold for hawk sounds,” she said. “You have to be OK with whatever nature provides. This is really uncharted territory for any of us.”
In the days since the coronavirus pandemic forced them into hiatus, the late-night comedy shows are gradually coming back. This week, many of them returned to their familiar broadcast time slots, but in radically different, minimalist forms.
Gone are the lavish studios, elaborately produced field segments and cushy face-to-face conversations with celebrity guests. Instead, the hosts are delivering their nightly monologues into iPhones from home and conducting their interviews by video conference.
Now that their shows are up and running, the people behind them say their continuing challenge is to provide viewers — for whom television has become one of a few remaining outlets for information and fresh entertainment — with a sense of comfort and continuity while commenting on events that have turned increasingly dire.
“We’re in a weird space,” said Trevor Noah, the host of “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central. “It feels like the end of the world, and it’s not, but we also cannot treat it like nothing is happening. So we do have to find that balance.”
Most of the late-night shows, which are produced in New York and Los Angeles, recorded their last traditional episodes around March 12, as social-distancing and self-quarantining guidelines were being adopted in those cities. Their casts and crews went home for a long weekend and contemplated next steps.
Molly McNearney, the co-head writer and a producer of ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” said that creating a short, homemade monologue with its host was far more challenging than it might appear.
“It took three hours to shoot six minutes,” she said. “Just trying to get his eye line correct took forever. He’s used to having a teleprompter guy and a team of 140 people helping him there.”
McNearney, who is also Kimmel’s wife and the mother of their two young children, added that for that production, “it was just him and partially me.”
“I was the prop master and camera person and lighting person,” she continued. “We didn’t even worry about hair and makeup.”
As these shows hurriedly reinvented themselves for a new, ad hoc era, their staffers confronted a range of unexpected technological trials, teaching themselves to use new software and hardware while discovering the limits of their home internet connections.
Mike Shoemaker, an executive producer of NBC’s “Late Night With Seth Meyers,” said that show’s host — who was formerly accustomed to reading his topical “A Closer Look” monologues from cue cards — has had to adjust to teleprompter software he downloaded onto his portable devices.
Describing raw footage of Meyers from some of the earliest attempts, Shoemaker said, “You’d see him reading something and then it’s going too fast, and then he reaches in like a grandpa on Skype, trying to slow it down.”
The segments that “Late Night” has deemed fit for posting have, nonetheless, drawn scrutiny from critics who are native to online media. “YouTubers are saying, ‘Dude, your lights; your sound,’” Shoemaker said. “Of course YouTubers are good at this. We’re not good at it.”
Even as these programs were experimenting, they began publicly committing to coming back on the air.
Jeff Ross, who is an executive producer of TBS’s “Conan” and has worked with Conan O’Brien since his 1993 debut on NBC, said that the host and his colleagues have kept the show running through all kinds of adversities and hardships.
“Look, we went through 9/11,” Ross said. “We went through the writers’ strikes. We just said we have to do it.”
Beyond that spirit of camaraderie, Ross said that “Conan” needed to keep going out of economic necessity so that its employees could continue to get paid.
“At a certain point, where you’re not delivering shows, the network comes to you and says we can only do this for so long,” he said. “The day of reckoning comes.”
In this respect, Ross said, people in his line of work were fortunate to have jobs that they could still perform during the pandemic. “We’re lucky because we can figure this out and work,” he said. “Other people are not so lucky.”
The hosts and producers of many late-night series are finding that, in these concentrated formats, they are rediscovering the fundamental values that make them unique. “The Tonight Show” has offered an intimate portrait of Fallon and his family. His young daughters, Winnie and Frances, often steal the show.
“For us, these shows have been about the presenting idea that we’re all going through this together,” said Gavin Purcell, an executive producer for “The Tonight Show.” “People are adjusting to working from home, and what is it like to be stuck there? People have let Jimmy into their homes forever, and he thought it might be cool to let them into his home.”
Meanwhile, “The Daily Show” has focused on its trademark satire of current events while mixing in a bit of public service.
Noah, the “Daily Show” host, drew praise (and more than 10 million YouTube views and counting) for an interview he conducted last month with Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. That conversation was largely free of comedic zingers, and it focused on information about the spread of the coronavirus.
“One thing I didn’t want to do was have Dr. Fauci’s interview be politicized in any way,” Noah said. “I was being as selfish as I was being benevolent — it was truly one of those instances where I’m asking the questions that I myself have as a human being.”
Dr. Fauci also appeared as a guest on the first home-produced episode of “Desus & Mero,” the Showtime late-night series, which aired Monday. He spoke about the virus, yes; but he also spoke about his enduring Yankees fandom and lamented the disappearance of his favorite Italian eateries in New York.
Daniel Baker (also known as Desus Nice) explained that their interview was an opportunity to educate viewers while allowing Dr. Fauci to show a more human side.
“Every time you see him, he’s stressed and he has to be super-serious,” Baker said of Dr. Fauci. “He’s getting cut off by Donald Trump, and he has to be careful about what he says. But there’s more to him than numbers about viruses and telling you to wash your hands. He has hella good advice, but he also has restaurants he likes.”
As other professionals have, the sequestered hosts and producers with small children said they have struggled to maintain boundaries between their work and their parental duties. Joel Martinez (a.K.A., The Kid Mero) has been contributing his half of “Desus & Mero” from his home in northern New Jersey, where he and his wife live with their four children.
“We have a nanny on weekdays and on weekends we don’t,” Martinez said. “On weekends it’s like ‘Lord of the Flies.’ Weekdays is ‘Lord of the Flies’-light. I feel very much like Piggy sometimes.”
McNearney, who juggles child-rearing responsibilities with Kimmel said she felt “guilty when I can’t give a 100 percent effort at my job.”
“Our 5-year-old can easily be set aside, she can sit and draw for an hour,” she added. “Our 2-year-old, he needs an episode of ‘PAW Patrol.’ And thank Jesus for Disney Plus. Those things have saved our lives.”
The situation was different for Bee, whose children range from 9 to 14. Her children are old enough that she and her husband can recruit them to perform occasional tasks for “Full Frontal,” she said. But that, too, has its challenges.
“We don’t have a choice but to integrate them, actually,” she said. “We’re like, ‘Stand outside in the cold and hold this light bounce under mommy’s chin.’ And they’re like, ‘I hate this.’”
Bee said that she was grateful to have her work to focus on right now, but that there were also aspects of her regular office routine that she missed.
“Work is blessedly taking my brain out of the anxiety of the world at large, which is a nightmare,” she said. But other than her husband, there were no other collaborators to test out new material with — and “no one to commiserate with.”
Despite the pastoral qualities of where she has found herself lately, Bee said, “It’s not tranquil at all. The world is burning. There’s nothing predictable in our future.”
She added: “It feels like an adventure, but I’m basically just trying to put one foot in front of the other. I know that we can make a show. As long as there’s internet.”
- article: movieweb.com
Jesse Eisenberg, best known for his roles in movies such as Zombieland and The Social Network, is staying quite busy these days. Much of the time, in recent years, that is spent on slightly smaller indie movies, which vary greatly in scope and genre. Case in point, Eisenberg is starring in not one, but two movies that are coming out on the same day this week in Resistance and Vivarium.
In the case of Resistance, directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz, Jesse Eisenberg portrays real-life mime Marcel Marceau who went on to become something of an unlikely hero during World War II, becoming a member of the French Resistance, which helped to save the lives of thousands of children. On the other side of the fence, we have Vivarium. Directed by Lorcan Finnegan, this contained sci-fi flick reteams him with his Art of Self-Defense co-star Imogen Poots and sees them as a couple looking to buy a house and they become trapped in the labyrinth of a development, forcing them to live in a suburban nightmare.
I recently had the good fortune of speaking with Jesse Eisenberg on behalf of both movies. It's actually the third time in a year I've spoken with the actor, a tradition I hope to see continue. We discussed their commonalities, what sets them apart, how the current coronavirus pandemic is influencing the way in which they will be viewed and much more.
Hey man, are you doing alright?
Jesse Eisenberg: Yeah! We're about to drive cross country in an RV.
Oh man. That's wild.
Jesse Eisenberg: It's pretty weird, yeah. So unbelievably surreal.
I don't know if you remember but I got to interview you twice in the last year. I got to talk to you for The Art of Self-Defense and Zombieland 2, so I guess we're making this something of a tradition when you have a new movie coming out.
Jesse Eisenberg: [laughs] That would be great! And hopefully this won't end, given the current pandemic.
Touching on that a little bit, we're here to talk about Resistance and Vivarium. You have two movies coming out on the same day at a time when people could really use a break from life. How does that feel for you? You mentioned the word surreal.
Jesse Eisenberg: Yeah. Also, you make these movies with a certain kind of intention and they end up coming out at a time that will necessarily affect the way they are viewed. Vivarium is this kind of claustrophobic fever dream of a movie about characters that are totally isolated who literally have no interaction with anybody besides themselves and their increasingly stir-crazy child. I think it will be filtered through the gaze of being stuck at home and quarantined now. And Resistance is this really beautiful, uplifting movie about a guy who is keeping these children entertained and distracted through a war. Again, I think it will be filtered through the lens of parents keeping their children occupied when they are not allowed to go outside or play with other kids, which is exactly what I'm dealing with now. So it's really strange, in that, you think a movie will be perceived a certain way and they always end up being perceived the way that the culture decides based on the circumstances in which they're coming out.
With Resistance specifically, World War II is perhaps one of the most well-trotted genres in all of film. What sets Resistance apart, in your mind, from other movies people might be familiar with from that subgenre of filmmaking?
Jesse Eisenberg: You hit it in on the head, in terms of what I was thinking about it, in terms of, how is this different? I lost family in World War II and wanted to write something about it at some point. What I ended up writing about it was a play where this brash young man visits his Holocaust surviving cousin based on my life and my experience with my cousin. The play was kind of an unusual take on that story. In terms of this movie, I thought of it as the story of an artist who is coming to terms with, A, not being able to do his work because he's Jewish and in Europe in the late 30s, then reluctantly becoming a hero and using his art for the benefit of others. It's something I think about all the time. I think a lot of what I do is very self-indulgent, and self-serving, and navel-gazing. And yet, I married a woman who grew up volunteering at her mother's domestic violence shelter, and who works with the poorest schools in New York City. So I'm constantly trying to reconcile, how do you have a life in the arts but also try to help people more explicitly? So that's kind of what I like about this movie, and what I think it touched upon so beautifully, rather than just a typical story of the wary.
Switching to Vivarium, which is a very different kind of movie. I think it's a little difficult to distill, but at the core of it is this "be careful what you wish for" idea. You play a character named Tom. How do you think that theme affected the character? Without getting into spoilers.
Jesse Eisenberg: The movie was written in response to this housing crisis in Ireland where there was a shortage of housing in Dublin and people were increasingly desperate to find a house, and they moved further and further outside the city to do so. So I was thinking of it in those terms and how we, in an eager need to have some kind of normal life, and to respond to social pressure of growing up, getting married and having a child, and finding a house, you may make these kinds of compromises or sacrifices. I think of this movie as the kind of fever dream you would have the night before you get married or buy a house. All of these unconscious fears you have of commitment manifesting in the scariest of ways. In a way, it kind of speaks to what you said, of be careful what you wish for. But also, I think what makes the movie so great, is that it's this kind of abstracted version of a nightmare, rather than a literal commentary on how bad the suburbs are, or how bad marriage can be. It really is this abstracted version of that stuff in a way that I thought was just really terrifying, rather than a more literal commentary.
Both of these movies, while very different, I think the similarity that they share is that they're very intense. For you, was one of them more intense to film than the other?
Jesse Eisenberg: I mean, doing a World War II movie and playing a Jewish guy at a time when there was antisemitic attacks happening in America was particularly because, oftentimes you do a movie, most of the time it's fiction so you're no longer encountering it in anyway. But doing a movie like this where the temple in Pittsburgh, where I have a lot of friends, was attacked after rehearsal for a Holocaust movie was particularly unnerving, especially when I have survivors in my family. You have the sense, at least the Holocaust is over and becoming an increasingly distant memory, and there there is attacks on a temple that you've been to in Pittsburgh. Or my wife's temple, where she grew up, there was an attempted bombing there, and a defacement of it. Particularly strange, especially doing the movie in Munich, about 20 minutes away from Dachau. That was, I would say, unusually difficult to remove myself. On the other hand, it has this really wonderful feeling, because the beautiful theme of the movie is, the character says, "The best way to resist is to survive." It's not to kill the Nazis, but to survive and live past them. In a way, doing the movie, it felt like we were doing just that.
You mentioned the whole idea of responsibility vs. Entertainment. I've always felt entertainment is a good thing for people. An escape. The Social Network felt like a movie that, at the time when it came out, was shining a light on things people didn't realize. But so much has happened with Facebook in the time since that movie came out. Do you think there could be some sort of social responsibility in doing a sequel that shines a light on what happens since we last saw Mark Zuckerberg?
Jesse Eisenberg: There's a great movie that I just saw at the Boulder [International] Film Festival called The Social Dilemma which, in a way, serves as exactly that. I mean, it's a really unnerving documentary about the dangers of social media. I don't have any social media accounts, so it was kind of an education for me, as well as a warning. Or maybe for many of the other people in the audience who have social media, it was just kind of a shock to the system. I would recommend people see it, because it's really great and terrifying.
Would you be interested in playing Zuckerberg again if the opportunity came up?
Jesse Eisenberg: My background is in theater where you play a character 200 times and it still doesn't feel like enough. So when I do a movie it always feels like it ended far too quickly. I love doing anything like that. That's why I've done a few sequels. It's exciting. I like that kind of thing. That last play I did, I did like 200 times in two different countries, and to me it felt like I still wanted to do it again. So I don't ever feel bored, or exhausted, or uninterested in characters.
Vivarium is available on both VOD and Digital HD from Saban Films, with Resistance also available on that date on both VOD and Digital HD from IFC Films.
Topics: Resistance, Vivarium
Tom and Gemma (Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots) are looking for the perfect home. When a strange real-estate agent takes them to Yonder, a mysterious suburban neighborhood of identical houses, Tom and Gemma can't leave quick enough. But when they try to exit the labyrinth-like housing development, each road takes them back to where they started. Soon, they realize their search for a dream home has plunged them into a terrifying nightmare, in this taut thriller filled with white-knuckle suspense.
As self-isolation and social distancing because of the coronavirus roars on, we need TV shows and movies now more than ever to keep us entertained and sane. Thankfully, this week's lineup of new programming is solid.
See, below, all the TV shows and movies that will help you pass the time over the next few days.
iHeart Living Room Concert for America: Elton John and iHeart are banding together to throw a benefit concert for coronavirus relief. Dubbed the iHeart Living Room Concert for America, the concert will feature several artists who all recorded their sets from home using their personal phones and audio equipment. Billie Eilish, Mariah Carey, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, Alicia Keys, and others are slated to perform. It will air commercial-free on Fox on Sunday, March 29, at 9 p.M. ET. It will also air on Fox and iHeart's other digital, broadcast, and linear platforms at the same time. Viewers will be encouraged to donate to Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation. 9 P.M. ET on on Fox
Homefest: James Corden's Late Late Show Special: "With all the artists and guests safely at home — and James in his garage — we'll be raising money for charity and hopefully raising your spirits in the process," an Instagram post about this special reads. Featured artists include Dua Lipa, Billie Eilish, and John Legend. 10 P.M. ET on CBS
Coachella: 20 Years in the Desert: A YouTube documentary about the history of Coachella. Streaming on YouTube
The Scheme: Per HBO, this documentary explores the 2017 arrests of Adidas executives and assistant coaches at major college basketball programs after the FBI uncovered some major corruption. 9 P.M. ET on HBO
The Iliza Shlesinger Sketch Show: Per Netflix, "From the mind of comedian Iliza Shlesinger comes a fun, irreverent mix of kooky characters, sly social commentary and pop culture gags," Streaming on Netflix
Nailed It!: Because disaster baking will always calm my nerves. Streaming on Netflix
The Real Housewives of New York City: With Bethenny Frankel out, how will the dynamic of this season be? I can't wait to tune in...With Pinot Grigio, of course. 9 P.M. ET on Bravo
Coffee & Kareem: A new movie starring Taraji P. Henson and Ed Helms about an inept cop who must team up with his girlfriend's son after their first bonding experience leads to a criminal discovery. Streaming on Netflix
9 Months with Courteney Cox: Per a press statement, this docuseries "gives viewers raw access to people from all over America of various race, religion, and class as they self-document their nine-month journey of pregnancy." It is hosted by Courteney Cox. Stream on Facebook Watch
Josh Gad of 'Frozen' is hosting online story time for kids stuck at home during the coronavirus outbreak. USA TODAY
From her home in Falls Church, Virginia, teacher Kalpana Sharma gathered her props: three water bottles she made into puppets, paper for drawing a picture of her feelings and tinfoil shaped into boats that could float in the kitchen sink.
Then Sharma took a deep breath, clicked a link on her computer and began recording a 30-minute lesson for her preschool students — and for any other young child with a television near Washington, D.C. The lesson is slated to air on a local Fox television channel starting Monday at 10 a.M.
As districts scramble to deliver distance learning for weeks of coronavirus school shutdowns, some are turning to television as a way to reach students who lack broadband internet or computers.
While imperfect and less personalized than Zoom chats or online lessons, district-vetted television programming attempts to bridge the digital divide. Internet access or no, just about all households have a TV and a way to access local channels.
"This is at least a light of hope for low-income families," said Sharma, who's taught preschool in the District of Columbia Public Schools for 19 years. She works at Brightwood Education Campus, where almost all K-8 students come from low-income families.
"If parents don’t have internet access, they can watch something on TV and get some learning done with their kids," she said.
Kalpana Sharma, a preschool teacher at Brightwood Education Campus, is one of the first educators in the District of Columbia Public Schools to record weekly television lessons for students. The 30-minute segments begin Monday, March 30 and will air on a local Fox station that partnered with the Washington Teachers Union. (Photo: Kalpana Sharma)
Is online school illegal? With schools closing, special education concerns give districts pause
The Washington Teachers' Union is putting its own educators on television. Other districts, such as in Los Angeles, Boston and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, have created partnerships with local PBS stations to re-purpose existing programming and air segments for certain grade levels at specified times.
While many have applauded the efforts, advocacy groups say televised lessons alone are not enough to close the gap in equity between traditionally developing, digitally connected students and those who are disadvantaged. Nor will it fully close the gap in access for those with disabilities.
Educational content on TV is certainly better than nothing for students, but people with hearing or sight impairments may still have trouble tuning in, said Mark Shapiro, president of the Bureau of Internet Accessibility, a group that advocates for making the web accessible for all people.
While creative, the TV programming highlights another problem: Districts weren't ready to conduct remote learning in a calamity. Some of that is understandable in a sudden pandemic. But districts should use the coronavirus outbreak as the impetus to change, Shapiro said.
"Schools need to prepare for the next time we see an increase in the need for distance learning," he said. "For students to have the same chance at success, they need to have access to the same materials, regardless of who they are and their circumstance.”
'You can't Netflix them all day:' Coronavirus closed a school where all kids have special needs
Los Angeles launches 'low-tech' learningThe Los Angeles Unified District, which runs its own public broadcast station, quickly partnered with two more PBS stations in mid-March to air educational programs every day.
Many of the episodes are coupled with quick interludes from the district that connect the show to content standards and that give students new ideas to consider.
The "low-tech" solution has been one way to reach the nearly 700,000 students in the nation's second-largest district, said Austin Beutner, Los Angeles schools superintendent. About 80 percent of the students live in poverty, and roughly 1 in 4 don't have internet in the home. The district also has worked to provide online learning options for a more high-tech experience, he said.
"We know there's no real substitute for learning in a classroom," Beutner said. "In this time and environment, we want learning to continue, and so it's going to look different. We hope that this provides an opportunity for families to sit down together and maybe say, 'Let's watch this show on Reconstruction together.'"
Are we headed for summer school? After coronavirus school closings, states ponder options
About 71 PBS stations in 30 states have picked up the enhanced Los Angeles content, called At-Home Learning, PBS leaders said. In the second week of programming in Los Angeles, viewership has risen to about 140,000 homes and 200,000 people tuning in every day.
Reviewed editor-in-chief David Kender shares creative ways to keep your kids engaged while you're stuck at home. USA TODAY
On PBS, Boston focuses on teens, Bethlehem targets elementaryPublic schools in Boston and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, are also curating PBS content for students.
Starting Monday, Boston's PBS station and WGBH Boston will partner to provide five hours of daily programs for students in middle and high school, from noon to 5 p.M., on the public media WORLD channel. The programs will feature science, history and English language arts. PBS stations nationwide will have access to the material, according to leaders of both channels.
In Bethlehem, public television leaders and educators partnered to produce educational programming that will be broadcast to elementary students in the Lehigh Valley. That area includes Allentown, a city of more than 110,000, where many students lack internet access. The shows will begin Monday.
"The sole medium that can reach nearly 100% of students is broadcast television," said Victoria Scialfa, marketing manager of Lehigh Valley Public Media.
Seattle Public Schools, which has weathered criticism for not offering online learning to all students because it can't do it in an equitable way, also has put some educational programming on a public access channel and YouTube.
In D.C., 30-minute TV shows pair with phone callsThe teachers' union spurred the televised lessons in D.C. By partnering with a local Fox station that agreed to clear out a 10-10:30 a.M. Time slot each weekday. Monday is for early learners and first graders, Tuesday is for second and third graders, Wednesday for fourth and fifth grade students, Thursday for middle school students and Friday for high schoolers.
The televised lessons are a critical addition given that about half of D.C. Students don't have computers in their homes and the district has been slow to release more district-owned devices to families, said Elizabeth Davis, president of the Washington Teachers' Union.
"We're trying to find all the ways possible to get learning to students," she said.
Teachers can't cover much content in just a 30-minute time slot. And so far, they're having to record the lessons after their normal daily duties, which include connecting with students and families through a variety of platforms, including plain old phone calls.
Mandrell Birks, the technology instructional coach at Eliot-Hine Middle School, edits and produces the segments before sending them to the station. He's squeezing in the work on nights and weekends, after helping his colleagues troubleshoot a new reality of digital teaching each day.
Birks chats with teachers about how to design lessons for TV, what the background should look like and what props would work well. He then sends a link they can click to record themselves, and he watches live, from his own home, to offer feedback.
When Sharma recorded her first lesson for her preschool students, the half-hour she planned finished in a mere 18 minutes.
"No students in front of you and no checks for understanding — I'd never taught to a screen before," she said.
Birks told Sharma she'd need to record the lesson again, so she spent a couple hours gathering more props to keep viewers engaged. She turned water bottles into puppets. She drew multiple faces to stick on each side of a spatula: Happy and sad, calm and disappointed. She practiced floating and sinking her tinfoil boats in sink water. (She added coins to one of the boats to make it heavier).
Her second recording was masterful, her colleagues said. But Sharma thinks she can do better.
"The first lesson, I just wanted them to understand: It’s OK. We all have feelings and we are all living with uncertainty," Sharma said.
Academic content can come later, she added.
"I thought puppets would be a better way for them to express their feelings. And I hope families will get engaged with them to talk about their feelings."
Kalpana Sharma, a preschool teacher in Washington, D.C., is one of the first teachers in the district to record lessons for broadcast television to reach students without home computers or internet. She poses with one of her homemade props, a spatula puppet. (Photo: Kalpana Sharma)
Teaching kids at home? We tried Outschool, online classes taught by real teachers. Here's what happened.
Contact Erin Richards at (414) 207-3145 or erin.Richards@usatoday.Com. Follow her on Twitter: @emrichards
Education coverage at USA TODAY is made possible in part by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation does not provide editorial input.
The coronavirus outbreak is forcing parents to work from home with kids. Here are 4 tips to keep in mind to still work effectively. USA TODAY
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TV Pilots, A Big Employer In L.A., Are In Limbo. How The Coronavirus Could Change The Industry - Los Angeles TimesRead Now
This year's batch of TV pilots included some ominous names: "Triage," "Wreckage" and "Housebroken."
Now, those show titles also describe network TV's pilot season, which has been upended by the coronavirus outbreak.
Broadcast networks ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and the CW were gearing up to employ thousands of workers in Los Angeles; Vancouver, Canada; New York and beyond when film and TV production shut down two weeks ago.
Opportunities vanished overnight. For some, the work stoppage came just days after being hired onto a pilot, the industry term for the initial episode of a proposed series.
Pilot season, which typically runs from late February to early May, injects an estimated $500 million in annual spending into the entertainment economy, which also boosts small firms such as prop houses and catering firms that provide support.
The disruption of pilot season underscores the rippling economic effects of the health crisis. Some industry veterans are predicting that pilot season, as we know it, may never be the same, especially if network executives discover they can live without the compressed window of production — a mad dash to find the next big hit.
"I suspect that we'll look back on this event and say: 'That was the tipping point,' " said producer Warren Littlefield, who ran NBC Entertainment during its 1990s heyday. "All the walls have been crumbling, and this is the final blast."
Pilot season has long been television's petri dish. The custom began in the early 1960s to bring big advertising dollars to prime-time TV. A decade ago, the five broadcast networks combined would order nearly 100 pilots in February and early March, then task writer-producers with delivering their episodes in less than six weeks.
But as network TV's dominance waned, executives have increasingly bought shows out of season. They didn't want to lose another big-named writer-producer or prominent actor to a project for a streaming service such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, which are not hemmed in by the seasonal rhythms of network TV.
This year, the five broadcast networks had ordered 56 television pilots. ABC picked up its last pilot March 9, one week before the production shutdown. Only one pilot, "B Positive," for CBS from prolific producer Chuck Lorre ("The Big Bang Theory") and writer Marco Pennette ("Mom"), had finished shooting before production halted. Now, the other 55 pilots are in limbo.
Carla Banks Waddles, a writer and producer of "Good Girls" on NBC, was two weeks away from shooting a pilot she wrote for NBC called "At that Age," which explores an African American family's legacy in Harlem.
"We were in New York, location scouting and having daily meetings with key departments who were all ramping up to shoot," Waddles wrote in an email. Then came the order to shut down.
"I'm still in contact with the other producers to make any decisions we can, having story meetings, music meetings, minor casting and creative discussions, etc.," Waddles said. "Anything to keep the train moving forward."
Producers and studio executives say it is doubtful that full-scale TV production could resume before June or July. Several network executives predicted that new scripted shows might not be ready to air until November or January, delivering another blow to broadcasters, which have been steadily losing audiences to streaming services, video games and other TV outlets.
Viewers might not see a flurry of new scripted shows in late September, as is the tradition. Instead, several network executives said the September-through-May television season may become a thing of the past, with networks shifting to a calendar year by staging premiere week in January.
Executives said they intend to keep many of the pilots alive, particularly those that have received a series commitment. In addition, networks in the last week have asked show producers to submit scripts for a possible second episode so they can better evaluate a show's prospects in such a tumultuous climate.
One veteran TV producer, who asked not to be identified, said he considered second scripts as an "audition," so network executives can narrow the field without shooting any video, thus saving time and millions of dollars.
Waddles, the writer-producer for NBC, said she welcomed the request for an additional script, which she called "a great show of support and a way for everyone to stay engaged during uncertain downtime. And it puts us that much further ahead to have a second episode ready to go later."
Network executives said the situation will be in flux as long as the COVID-19 crisis continues.
"Everything has been disrupted. We don't have enough information at the moment to make decisions," said one senior network executive who was not authorized to comment. An executive at another network said: "There's no playbook for how you work through a pandemic."
This much is clear: TV production, a major source of employment in the Los Angeles region, will fall well short of last season. Broadcast networks, cable channels and digital platforms produced 196 new scripted dramas and comedies from June 2018 through May 2019, according to an analysis by FilmLA. (There were a total of 465 live action scripted shows last season, FilmLA said).
Of the new shows, 67 aired on a broadcast network; 53 were on a cable channel, and 76 were featured on a streaming service (up from 41 new streaming shows the year before). Last year marked the first time that streaming companies ordered more programs than cable channels or broadcast networks.
Even before the pandemic, broadcast networks already were cutting back. Last year's broadcast orders represented a 12% decline from the previous season, when the big networks bought 76 new dramas and comedies, according to FilmLA.
"This was a trend that was already gaining momentum," said Gary Newman, former co-chief executive of the Fox network and TV studio. "Now that trend will probably speed up."
Ordering a show "straight-to-series," without commissioning a pilot, has been gaining favor as the networks face fierce competition.
Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+ typically order a full season of episodes without making a pilot. So the broadcast networks increasingly have made similar deals to remain competitive. They want to be welcoming to top producers seeking a home for their projects, even if it means taking a leap of faith without first reviewing a pilot.
For example, in this year's crop of pilots are at least eight straight-to-series orders, including a proposed ABC drama, "The Big Sky," a Montana detective mystery from producer David E. Kelley. Fox made a straight-to-series order for "Call Me Kat," a comedy featuring Mayim Bialik, a fan favorite from "The Big Bang Theory." The show is co-produced by Jim Parsons, her former costar.
In the past, networks sparingly made series orders because of the high cost of gearing up a production, building sets and hiring a large cast and crew for an unproven concept. What if the jokes fall flat? What if the cast lacks on-screen chemistry? Networks preferred to shoot a pilot that could be screened for test audiences and pitched to advertisers.
Pilot season has long been a spring affair because networks needed it to mass-produce new shows to promote to advertisers in lavish presentations in mid-May. Those presentations, in New York City at Radio City Music Hall and Carnegie Hall, kick off frenetic negotiations known as the upfront market.
That's when advertisers scramble to buy commitments for commercial time in shows that will run in the upcoming season. The calendar was established some 60 years ago when TV networks bowed to Detroit automakers, who wanted to promote new models arriving in show rooms in late September. And the season stuck.
"The upfront process may seem anachronistic, but it's a functioning market that brings in around $7 billion in advertising commitments in just a few weeks," Newman said. "It would be chaos if you were to lose that process."
Television historian Tim Brooks agreed. "The upfront is the economic pillar that supports broadcast networks, and cable networks too. I would not be too quick to put it in its grave."
Earlier this month, the networks canceled the May upfront presentations because of the coronavirus. There were health concerns about drawing together thousands of people. In addition, without pilots, the networks won't have clips to show advertisers.
Now the fear is whether the health crisis will topple the larger economy into a recession, which would then strain advertisers' budgets.
The challenge for networks is to figure out how to keep the dollars flowing without the pilots and upfront presentations in large venues.
Producers say the shutdown might breathe new life into shows that have been drawing mediocre ratings. For example, CBS' "Carol's Second Act," which stars Patricia Heaton as a middle-age woman becoming a medical intern, could be brought back for a second season.
"Shows that were 'on the bubble' might get renewed," said veteran producer Gail Katz, who helped make "The Perfect Storm," and "Air Force One." "Networks will consider them a safer bet because they already have a cast, crew and a writers' room assembled — and an audience."
Katz has experience with catastrophic events: She was a producer on the 1995 movie "Outbreak," starring Dustin Hoffman and Morgan Freeman, about a rapidly spreading deadly virus. Now, that film is suddenly in demand. But another of her past projects, the ABC comedy-drama "Cashmere Mafia," debuted during the bitter Writers Guild of America strike in 2007-08. Only a handful of episodes were produced, and the show was quickly canceled.
"So much depends on how long this whole thing lasts," Katz said. "And it feels like a lot of things could be done online, without driving all over Los Angeles, because we are already doing so many things online.
"But one question is, what will people want to see after this?" she said. "Will they want comfort food, escapism, feel-good programs, comedies or more medical dramas?"
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- Article via Gold Derby
Talk about drama! An Emmy uproar exploded in my email box after our Senior Editor Joyce Engwrote an article exploring whether or not “This Is Us” will be nominated again for Best Drama Series.“Is she crazy?” some folks demanded to know. “Why does Joyce hate ‘This Is Us’?” Etc. Etc. She doesn’t, of course, but curious hubbub was brewing. Moments after he published it, our Executive Editor Paul Sheehan called me to ask, “Have you read Joyce’s article on ‘This Is Us’ yet? I think you need to take a look at it right away. It’s going to cause some controversy.”
Well, that’s what we love about the Emmys, isn’t it? Lots of suspense, gutsy opinions or at least suspicions. Of course, Joyce isn’t saying that “This Is Us” won’t snag that best-series nom. As a brilliant Emmyologist, she’s too smart for that. The widely beloved NBC series was consistently nominated for the past three years, but Joyce is just wondering if it can return in such a crowded field.
As Joyce notes, all of these nominees from last year are eligible to return: “Better Call Saul,” “Killing Eve,” “Ozark,” “Pose” and “Succession.” They’re now competing against these past nominees that weren’t eligible in 2019, but are back: “The Crown,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Stranger Things” and “Westworld.” So that means it’s now a fierce fight to get one of the seven slots in the category.
Joyce wonders if “This Is Us” can break through because it “took a massive hit when it missed out on a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for drama ensemble, aka the category in which it was a two-time defending champ.” OK, but Joyce doesn’t think that same snub is a problem for “Better Call Saul,” which also failed to return. Hmmm. “Saul” is ranked in third place in Gold Derby’s predictions for Best Drama Series.
Here’s something else to consider: “This Is Us” star Sterling K. Brown did get his usual SAG nom for Best Drama Actor this year, so that means the program is still on the radar of industry award voters. If you just want to focus on the ensemble category, it’s important to note that all of these drama series also failed to make that SAG race after getting nominated for best series at the last Emmys: “Killing Eve,” “Pose,” “Ozark” and “Succession.” As we all know, at least two or three of those shows will likely be back at the next Emmys.
Last year “This Is Us” scored an impressive tally of nine Emmy nominations. Lots of voters love it. So do average Americans, who watch 60 million episodes every week across all media platforms: broadcast, cable, web, streaming, social, etc. It’s a classy, upscale soap for smart people – and it’s highly addictive. The series has a passionate core base of loyal support and that’s what is needed to stand out on an Emmy ballot that will list more than 150 contenders for Best Drama Series. When competing against so many rivals splitting up the votes, a contender may not need a ton of support to break through. How much is enough? There’s a good chance that “This Is Us” has it.
- full original article with images here: cinemablend.com
Welcome to the unofficial Cats support group. It’s an exclusive club considering the movie musical completely bombed at the box office when it opened against Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker. But since the feline-filled film was recently made available on digital, more movie fans are turning to Tom Hopper’s magic and mythical musical to pass their extended couch time. Seth Rogen even got high and live tweeted his first viewing last week, along with uncovering the film’s mysterious “Butthole Cut”. In other words, you’re not alone Cats viewers. It’s time to process the unique experience (trauma?) through a ranking of the movie’s characters.
No, we’re not picking the Jellicle choice. That was the whole point of the movie, wasn’t it? The time has now come to reach into that memory and decide which Cats characters have become “Beautiful Ghosts” that have and will sear into our consciousness for years to come. We’re not talking about the scariest looking cat or worst music number – these are the show-stopping Jellicle cats that simply cannot be forgotten. They might just curl up in a corner hidden somewhere in our minds forever. Let’s get to it:
Victoria (Francesca Hayward)
The leading feline of Cats is Victoria – who is a rather plain character in comparison to the cat-human CGI hybrids she shares the screen with during the musical. She’s also the cat viewers spend the most time alongside as she gets to know each of the contenders for Jellicle Choice. Victoria is perhaps the only character with a complete story arc and she has the honors of singing Taylor Swift’s shiny new track made specifically for the movie. Francesca Hayward is a classically trained ballet dancer and wow does she keep dancing… and dancing… and dancing. Although Cats serves as an introduction to show her talent, Victoria’s at the bottom of this list because the movie demands the offbeat and she’s just playing the straight man here… err, woman-cat.
Bombalurina (Taylor Swift)
Speaking of Cats cast members who are trying, when Taylor Swift’s Bombalurina enters the movie about two-thirds of the way in she really stands out. The pop singer gives a cool cat performance of “Macavity” by strutting her unique charm and impressive vocals. Whereas many of the other scenes have an edge to them, Swift’s feels like a straight-up number from a musical. She’s a bit of a relief to witness (over-the-top British accent and all) but perhaps she comes in too late for us to bear. Swift is undoubtedly having a ton of fun being in Cats, but it’s not nearly enough to wake us from any music-filled fever dream. It’s almost soothing to hear her sing “Macavity’s not there", because we really wish he wasn’t. But, more on that later.
Rum Tum Tugger (Jason Derulo)
One recurring question many of us had during the viewing of Cats is this: are they supposed to be sexy? Jason Derulo is an early indication of Tom Hooper’s best efforts to awaken something sexually in those watching. Thankfully, even Rum Tum Tugger’s pop and locking doesn’t stick the landing. (But hey, to each its own?) Derulo’s fur-coat wearing, song-and-dance number at what can only be described as a cat rave is one of the more upbeat portions of Cats. Neutered manhood and all, Rum Tum Tugger is clearly a “player” cat and it shows. But that’s kind of it. He’s a CGI Jason Derulo dancing. The audience demands theatricality, make us believe you’re a Jellicle cat!
Mr. Mistoffelees (Laurie Davidson)
This, of course, leads us to one of the few fully clothed cats in Cats: Mr. Mistoffelees. Is there a Miss. Mistoffelees at home that made him his top hat? Anyway, Laurie Davidson’s cat is more hauntingly memorable perhaps due to his specific outfit choice in the show. That bedazzled coat is a real winner. He’s one of the more adorable characters in Cats – which is what felines are supposed to be right? He primarily finds himself in the middle of this ranking because of his signature musical sequence that still gets random airplay in my head whenever it’s convenient to hound at me. You know the one. “Oh! Well I never! Was there ever a cat so clever as magical Mr. Mistoffelees!” The lyrics repeat over and over in the sequence, we’d thought it might never, ever end.
Grizabella (Jennifer Hudson)
Cats’ Jellicle Choice makes it to the top five, but there are a ton more memorable performances blocking the way for her spot all alone in the moonlight. Jennifer Hudson’s Grizabella has of course a beautiful voice as she belts out “Memory” – well because she’s Jennifer Hudson. The singer knows how to bring out emotion in her performance, but someone needs to hand that kitty a Kleenex for meowing out loud!! If you witnessed Cats on the big screen, you must have noticed Hudson’s snot in high definition and wow. Why? Just why? She’s already a CGI cat human person. So it definitely might have been her tears running around her nose, but come on. Jennifer Hudson didn’t deserve that.
Macavity (Idris Elba)
And now back to Macavity. Taylor Swift told us “he’s not there” but wow is Idris Elba all there. The green-eyed villain of Cats wears a My Name is Dolemite type of coat for the most of the movie but once Swift starts singing about him, he takes off the extra fur and bares everything. Unlike the other cats in the production, Elba’s skin color matches the fur of his car character and there’s not a ton of fur to leave much to the imagination. That, his choice of a hat alongside his near-nakedness and that time when he says something “meow-out” as he uses magic to disappear into nothingness out of nowhere without context or warning, certainly makes Macavity a major contender for this list’s own Jellicle choice.
Bustopher Jones (James Corden)
It’s not easy to feel sorry for a wildly famous celebrity, but then James Corden’s Bustopher Jones appears on screen. Not to say he doesn’t do the best he can and give an entertaining few minutes to the film. The late night host is packed with talent as he musters through a musical number that has him (literally) busting his balls and eating a ton of gross trash. His character design is simply ridiculous. Bustopher Jones has a massive twisty mustache and eyebrows made of fur and again with the top hats! Did you notice he takes off a tuxedo to reveal that his fur actually takes the shape of a tuxedo as well? Incredible. We’ll never look at Carpool Karaoke the same again.
Old Deuteronomy (Judi Dench)
Sure Judi Dench has over a hundred acting credits to her name, but there’s no way we’re forgetting her Old Deuteronomy anytime soon. Dench’s royal cat earned the film one of many Razzie nominations, which she had the purr-fect response to. While the rest of the Cats characters have a creepy memorability about them, Judi Dench manages to achieve this along with finding some endearing quality to Old Deuteronomy. If the character was a normal looking cat and not weird human CGI, I might adopt her. Judi has a gentleness about her performance that the actress doesn’t often emit. However, the haunting quality of her character certainly has to be the moment when she looks right into the eyes of the camera and into our collective souls to say a cat is NOT a dog.
Gus the Theatre Cat (Ian McKellen)
It’s been well publicized that the actors of Cats went to “cat school” to get ready for the big-screen adaptation. It’s evident that Ian McKellan was paying attention the most because wow does he really go for it with the character work. If you didn’t catch it, Ian McKellan’s cat is named Asparagus and “Gus” is for short. Oftentimes it feels like McKellan is the only actor in Cats that really understood what kind of movie it was going to be and leaned into it in every way. From his random uses of “meow”, searing few seconds in which he just licks into a bowl of milk and “serious” musical monologues, Ian McKellan is absolutely perfect in Cats.
Jennyanydots (Rebel Wilson)
The only feline with an edge over Ian McKellen’s performance in Cats is Rebel Wilson’s Jennyanydots. And while McKellen is perfect in Cats, Wilson’s character encompasses the nightmarish quality of the movie to its full intensity. Whenever she is on screen, audiences are witnessing the most bonkers sequences in modern cinema. She’s the one to introduce viewers to humans dressed as cockroaches by the gift of CGI and children playing absolutely horrifying mice. Between her bumbling around and failed physical comedy, Jennyanydots actually unzips one of her catsuits to reveal another bit of fur during her musical number. And then she does it again in another scene! Which poor things is she skinning to add to the shock value of her songs? It’s the most hauntingly memorable bit of Cats that you have to see to believe.
Oscar®-winning director Tom Hooper transforms Andrew Lloyd Webber's record-shattering musical into a cinematic event. Starring James Corden, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson and introducing Royal Ballet principal Francesca Hayward. With a world-class cast of dancers showcasing styles from classical ballet to contemporary, hip-hop to jazz, street dance to tap, this film reimagines the stage musical for a new generation. You will believe in the fun and magic of Cats. Directed by: Tom Hooper
Starring: James Corden, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson, Francesca Hayward