LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - NBC News said Brian Williams would anchor the unit's signature evening newscast live from Ferguson, Missouri, while CNN said it would stay live throughout primetime rather than running its usual Tuesday documentary, two signals that events surrounding the recent grand jury verdict in the death of teenager Michael Brown continues to absorb the national focus.
The grand jury chose not to indict the white police officer who shot and killed Brown, who was unarmed. Since that decision was revealed, protesters have vandalized buildings and set fires, and various news reports detailed dozens of arrests.
NBC News said correspondents Ron Allen and Miguel Almaguer were also present in Ferguson covering the events of last night as well news of the day. CNN said it had 11 correspondents in the area, including some of its best known: Anderson Cooper, Chris Cuomo, Don Lemon, and Jake Tapper. Other CNN staffers in Ferguson include Ana Cabrera, Jason Carroll, Stephanie Elam, Sunny Hostin, Ed Lavandera, Evan Perez and Sara Sidner.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Gullible media types have billed "Marco Polo" as Netflix's possible answer to "Game of Thrones." The more logical comparisons would be a thematic one to "Shogun" -- that splendid miniseries of yesteryear, about a European traveler navigating strange-to-his-eyes Asian culture -- and a qualitative tilt toward History's "Vikings," albeit with far more nudity, as well as clunkier dialogue. Handsome to look at, reasonably entertaining and questionable as history, the series luxuriates in a period setting that provides license for all the usual barbaric diversions. Still, having viewed the first six of 10 episodes, if somebody yells, "Marco!" nobody should feel compelled to answer right away.
Instead of a slavish devotion to the adventures of Marco Polo (newcomer Lorenzo Richelmy) -- the young Italian who spent time in the court of Mongol leader Kublai Khan (Benedict Wong) in the 13th century, and gave rise to a game played by children in swimming pools -- series creator John Fusco ("The Forbidden Kingdom") has used the exotic backdrop as an invitation to dabble in B-movie cliches. These range from the blind master Hundred Eyes (Tom Wu) who dispenses "Kung Fu"-like wisdom while teaching Marco the martial arts, to the beautiful and forbidden princess (Zhu Zhu) who immediately catches the visitor's eye.
Brought to China by his father, whom he barely knows, Marco is essentially left with the Mongol leader as an offering to secure Dad's access to lucrative trading routes. Yet his insights spur Khan's curiosity, and he is quickly drawn into the machinations and power struggles surrounding the court, teeming with threats in the form of spies and even family, as well as a concubine (Olivia Cheng) who's no slouch in the carnage department, either.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - "CSI" fans should get ready to say goodbye to Nick Stokes.
George Eads, who played the forensic investigator since "CSI's" pilot, will leave the show after its current 15th season, sources have confirmed to Variety.
Eads was one of the last remaining original cast members on "CSI." Last year, the drama lost Paul Guilfoyle, who was also with the show since the beginning. If "CSI" gets renewed for a 16th season, which has not been announced yet, Jorja Fox will be left as the only remaining original cast member.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - CNN reporter Sara Sidner was pelted in the head with a rock as she reported live from the streets of Ferguson, Missouri on Monday night.
Sidner was standing across the street from a local business that had recently caught on fire when an anonymous person hit the CNN reporter in the head as she spoke remotely to anchor Jake Tapper.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - The long day of build-up to the grand jury verdict in Ferguson, Mo., and its aftermath brought out the worst in cable news, from partisan scorekeeping to chaotic images with very little context.
Ferguson -- and the decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown -- hardly marks the first instance of a high-profile and tragic killing of an African-American youth, following the Florida shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman. But it continues a trend of Fox News Channel and MSNBC immediately retreating to their ideological corners, while CNN - despite seeking to remain even-handed - again fell into its more lamentable habits, filling time for hours with a "Breaking News" headline that became increasingly absurd the longer the channel went without any additional news.
What again emerged was cable's near-addiction to conflict, which the unrest and looting that followed the announcement yielded in abundance. And while one can admire the long hours and bravery exhibited by on-the-scene reporters under trying circumstances, the nature of this sort of coverage yields such a narrow aperture their hard work produces heat, perhaps, but scant illumination.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - HBO has rounded out the cast of "True Detective," tapping Kelly Reilly for a key role as wife of the crime boss played by Vince Vaughn.
Reilly will play Jordan, described as a former D-list actress who is an active partner in the criminal enterprises run by her husband, Frank Semyon.
HBO has also confirmed at long last that Taylor Kitsch and Rachel McAdams are co-starring the sophomore season of "True Detective" opposite Vaughn and Colin Farrell. Production on the eight-episode season has begun in California, HBO said Monday.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Netflix will premiere stand-up comedy special "Nick Offerman: American Ham," featuring the performer and thesp best known for his role on NBC's "Parks and Recreation," on Friday, Dec. 12.
The special will be available in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Ireland. Offerman announced the news in a tweet:
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - ABC's "American Music Awards" isn't the biggest event on TV, but one of its sponsors treated the awards show as though it was.
Chrysler Group ran four 30-second spots during the two-hour special, each featuring portions of music videos featuring new music from Interscope Records artists. Fergie promoted Chrysler while highlighting her song "L.A. Love." Eminem previewed a video for his song "Guts Over Fear" while throwing a spotlight on the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. Philip Phillips sang "Unpack Your Heart" while his ad promoted Ram Trucks. And Imagine Dragons helped advertise Jeep as they unveiled a sneak peek at a video for "I Bet My Life." Interscope ran a 60-second spot during the program that featured Gwen Stefani and her song "Spark The Fire" while tipping a promotional hat to Chrysler, Ram Trucks, Fiat and Jeep.