Thursday November 30, 2017

Here are all of the major Fear The Walking Dead changes and updates.

What's left at ESPN after yesterday's layoffs?

Helluva double blindside last night. #survivor

The Walking Dead is losing me fast.  Let's get Negan and Rick in a old fashioned show down and put this war to rest already!

Matt Lauer issued an apology.  "There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions. To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry. As I am writing this I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC. Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed. I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly. Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching and I’m committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full time job. The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my own troubling flaws. It’s been humbling. I am blessed to be surrounded by people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace.” Deaf ears.  More on this a-hole below.

Here are some ideas of who might replace Lauer on Today.

Add Geraldo Rivera to the list of sexual offenders, which should surprise exactly no one.

Russell Simmons announced Thursday he is stepping away from his empire, and released a statement addressing charges leveled against him by Jenny Lumet, the daughter of director Sidney Lumet: "I have been informed with great anguish of Jenny Lumet’s recollection about our night together in 1991. I know Jenny and her family and have seen her several times over the years since the evening she described. While her memory of that evening is very different from mine, it is now clear to me that her feelings of fear and intimidation are real. While I have never been violent, I have been thoughtless and insensitive in some of my relationships over many decades and I sincerely and humbly apologize. This is a time of great transition. The voices of the voiceless, those who have been hurt or shamed, deserve and need to be heard. As the corridors of power inevitably make way for a new generation, I don’t want to be a distraction so I am removing myself from the businesses that I founded. The companies will now be run by a new and diverse generation of extraordinary executives who are moving the culture and consciousness forward. I will convert the studio for yogic science into a not-for-profit center of learning and healing. As for me, I will step aside and commit myself to continuing my personal growth, spiritual learning and above all to listening.”

This is so far beyond exhausting at this point, I'm not sure where things go from here.  

A&E debuts The Menendez Murders: Erik Tells All tonight.

"CeeLo Green, George Clinton and Rev Al Sharpton will all contribute to a U.K.-produced documentary about the last year in the life of iconic musician and star Prince. Prince’s Last Year has been commissioned by British broadcaster Channel 4. The one-off documentary will look at the last twelve months of the star’s life, starting with a secret gig at The White House and including footage from his solo gigs on the Piano & Microphone tour. Prince sold over 100 million records during a long career. He died in April, 2016, aged 57. U.K. and U.S-based indie Lincoln Square Prods. is making “Prince’s Last Year,” which will also look at the star’s addiction to painkillers, which he took to alleviate pain from performing, and kept from his friends and family. Running to one-hour, the doc also includes insight into Prince’s politics and activism."

matt-lauer-today-160902-tease-04_069199d5add1268a95e26fd8668bb46c.jpg

Turns out yesterday's news on Matt Lauer was just the tip of the iceberg.  He's a grade A piece of shit.  Read on . . . "As the co-host of NBC’s Today, Matt Lauer once gave a colleague a sex toy as a present. It included an explicit note about how he wanted to use it on her, which left her mortified.

"On another day, he summoned a different female employee to his office, and then dropped his pants, showing her his penis. After the employee declined to do anything, visibly shaken, he reprimanded her for not engaging in a sexual act.

"He would sometimes quiz female producers about who they’d slept with, offering to trade names. And he loved to engage in a crass quiz game with men and women in the office: 'f—, marry, or kill,' in which he would identify the female co-hosts that he’d most like to sleep with.

"These accounts of Lauer’s behavior at NBC are the result of a two-month investigation by Variety, with dozens of interviews with current and former staffers. Variety has talked to three women who identified themselves as victims of sexual harassment by Lauer, and their stories have been corroborated by friends or colleagues that they told at the time. They have asked for now to remain unnamed, fearing professional repercussions.

"On Wednesday, NBC announced that Lauer was fired from Today. It was a stunning move for a co-host who was widely considered the crown jewel of the network’s news division, with a $25 million annual salary. The cause of his dismissal, according to sources, was a detailed complaint from another current NBC employee about inappropriate sexual conduct from Lauer that started on a trip at the Sochi Olympics in 2014 and continued for several months.

"The employee met with human resources at NBC on Monday night. In a statement, NBC News Chairman Andy Lack called this the first complaint about his behavior in over 20 years and acknowledged that it may not be the last: 'We were also presented with reason to believe that this may not have been an isolated incident,' Lack said.

"Several women told Variety they complained to executives at the network about Lauer’s behavior, which fell on deaf ears given the lucrative advertising surrounding Today. NBC declined to comment. For most of Lauer’s tenure at Today, the morning news show was No. 1 in the ratings, and executives were eager to keep him happy.

"It’s not clear if NBC is paying Lauer through the end of his contract, which expires in 2018. Lauer couldn’t be reached for comment.

"Insiders say that NBC was forced to act quickly after this week’s complaint, given the severity of the accusations and the national dialogue around sexual harassment that has ended the careers of Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K. and other prominent men. Now, against a series of questions about the future of Today, a troubling portrait has emerged of Lauer. In front of the camera, for more than two decades, Lauer had positioned himself as America’s squeaky-clean dad. But behind the scenes, Lauer was a different person.

"Despite being married, Lauer was fixated on women, especially their bodies and looks, according to more than 10 accounts from current and former employees. He was known for making lewd comments verbally or over text messages. He once made a suggestive reference to a colleague’s performance in bed and compared it to how she was able to complete her job, according to witnesses to the exchange. For Lauer, work and sex were intertwined.

“'There were a lot of consensual relationships, but that’s still a problem because of the power he held,' says a former producer who knew first-hand of these encounters. 'He couldn’t sleep around town with celebrities or on the road with random people, because he’s Matt Lauer and he’s married. So he’d have to do it within his stable, where he exerted power, and he knew people wouldn’t ever complain.'

"Lauer, who was paranoid about being followed by tabloid reporters, grew more emboldened at 30 Rockefeller Center as his profile rose following Katie Couric’s departure from Today in 2006. His office was in a secluded space, and he had a button under his desk that allowed him to lock his door from the inside without getting up. This afforded him the assurance of privacy. It allowed him to welcome female employees and initiate inappropriate contact while knowing nobody could walk in on him, according to two women who were sexually harassed by Lauer.

"According to sources, the sexual harassment extended to when Lauer traveled on assignment for NBC. Several employees recall how he paid intense attention to a young woman on his staff that he found attractive, focusing intently on her career ambitions. And he asked the same producer to his hotel room to deliver him a pillow, according to sources with knowledge of the interaction.

"This was part of a pattern. According to multiple accounts, independently corroborated by Variety, Lauer would invite women employed by NBC late at night to his hotel room while covering the Olympics in various cities over the years. He later told colleagues how his wife had accompanied him to the London Olympics because she didn’t trust him to travel alone.

"The spotlight on Lauer intensified earlier this month, when his longtime booker Matt Zimmerman was fired over sexual harassment complaints. The two were very close, and Lauer had promoted Zimmerman to a high executive position and offered him a powerful perch.

"Lauer’s conduct was not a secret among other employees at Today, numerous sources say. At least one of the anchors would gossip about stories she had heard, spreading them among the staff. 'Management sucks there,' says a former reporter, who asked not to be identified, speaking about executives who previously worked at the show. 'They protected the s— out of Matt Lauer.'

"Some producers told Variety they were conflicted about what to do around Lauer. They worried that their careers would be sidelined if they didn’t return his advances. 'There is such shame with Matt Lauer not liking you,' the former employee added. 'I did this special with him and we are traveling and I had a cold sore on my lip and I heard him say to Bryant Gumbel, "She has this really ugly cold sore on her lip," like that was something to be ashamed of. He was just really cruel.'

"According to producers, Lauer — who had considerable editorial clout over which stories would ultimately air on Today — would frequently dismiss stories about cheating husbands. However, in the wake of Roger Ailes and Harvey Weinstein, Lauer had to keep up with a national conversation about sexual harassment. It often made for awkward moments on TV for staff members who knew about Lauer’s private interactions.

"In September, Lauer asked Fox News star anchor Bill O’Reilly if he’d ever sent lewd text messages to colleagues. 'Think about those … women and what they did,' Lauer said. 'They came forward and filed complaints against the biggest star at the network they worked at. Think about how intimidating that must have been. Doesn’t that tell you how strongly they felt about you?'”

lck_feature_image.png

Per EW, "[w]ith Top Chef Season 15 premiering next Thursday, Dec. 7, fans have a lot to be excited about — but today, they’re getting even more, because Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen came a week early. That’s right, you can watch the full, 15-minute premiere of the digital miniseries, which lets eliminated challengers compete to return to the main show, right now!

"As you’ll see, this year’s Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen has a new twist: Top Chef alums will be returning from previous seasons to compete for their own spot, and redemption, in the current season of the show. Judged by Tom Colicchio, the veterans will not just compete against themselves, but against new, just-eliminated 'cheftestants' from the main competition in Colorado. Announced for the first time, those returning favorites are:

Jennifer Carroll

After spending nine years under chef Eric Ripert at Le Bernadin, Carroll opened French-Mediterranean restaurants Requin in Virginia and Washington DC in 2015—and is also the Owner and Executive Chef of catering/consulting company Carroll Couture Cuisine, which helps her continue to be a major contributor to a variety of charitable causes including the American Brain Foundation, Women Against Abuse, and No Kid Hungry. She competed on both Top Chef Season 6: Las Vegas, Top Chef Season 8: All Stars, and Top Chef Duels. Addicted to the rush of cooking competition, she’s back once again, and this time, redemption is on the line.

Kwame Onwuachi

Bronx-born, French cuisine-trained, Afro-Carribbean-style Executive Chef at Washington, D.C.’s Kith and Kin, Onwuachi started his own catering company at 20 years old and has kept that energy going since. His world travels, time at New York’s Eleven Madison Park and Per Se, and philosophy of storytelling through food brought him to Top Chef Season 13, but with his return via Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen, it’s clear the final chapter has yet to be written.

Marcel Vigneron

First gaining national prominence at age 25, when he finished as the runner-up on Top Chef‘s second season, Vigeron has only grown his profile since through work with chefs like Joël Robuchon and José AndrésHe now runs L.A. restaurants Wolf and Beefsteak, and competed on Iron Chef and Cutthroat Kitchen, but despite a return on Top Chef All-Stars, he’s yet to take home the show’s top prize. Could this season of Last Chance Kitchen finally change that?

Lee Anne Wong

The chef and owner of Honolulu’s Koko Head Café, Lee Anne Wong didn’t just compete on the first season of Top Chef, but worked as the series’ Supervising Culinary Producer for the six following seasons. It’s been awhile since this core member of the Top Chef family battled it out herself, but she’s doubtless learned quite a bit in her time both at and away from the show.

"Will any of these returning chefs have what it takes to win it all? Find out on Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen, premiering on BravoTV.com, Bravo Now, VOD, and YouTube after each week’s Top Chef episode.

"Top Chef Season 15: Colorado premieres Thursday, Dec. 7 at 10 p.m on Bravo."

Johnny_Iuzzini_at_Star_Chefs_book_signing_October,_2014.jpg

"Four former employees have accused celebrity chef Johnny Iuzzini of sexual harassment or abuse between 2009 and 2011, Mic reported Wednesday.

"One employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Mic that Iuzzini would approach her while working in the kitchen of the Jean-Georges restaurant in New York and stick his tongue in her ear.

“'I cried every time,' she reportedly claimed, saying it happened 'three or four times.' She later resigned from her pastry chef position 'because of the way he treated me.'

"A second employee claimed Iuzzini was abusive, telling Mic: 'He used to say, "If I hit you with my hand, it’s harassment, but if I hit you with an object, it’s a mistake.”' She also claimed he would put his hands on her hips and simulate sex.

"All four employees, two of whom were full-time pastry chefs and two who were externs, claim that Iuzzini made them give him shoulder massages at the end of their shifts and also cracked crude jokes.

“'I thought, "I’m an extern," and it’s just a hard place to bring up anything,' one person said. 'This was such an open thing. He was just that way, very openly.'

"The second extern claimed Iuzzini asked her to sleep at his apartment before offering her the position.

“'He was 36, I was 19 and he had all the power,' she said. 'And if one person has all the power, it’s not really consent.'

"She kept the relationship, which eventually turned sexual, a secret because she wanted to be taken seriously, she said.

"In a statement to Mic, Iuzzini said, 'I am shattered and heartbroken at the thought that any of my actions left members of my team feeling hurt or degraded. More importantly, I am deeply sorry to those who felt hurt.'

“'Many of the other allegations are inaccurate, others I do not recall and none were meant to hurt people,' he said."

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

mariska-hargitay-law-order-svu-helped-more-victims-of-rape-come-forward.png

Per The Hollywood Reporter, "[o]n Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Lt. Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) has made a career out of treating sexual assault victims with respect and patience. But rarely has she opened up to them like she did in Something Happened, an emotional bottle episode in which Benson interrogated a rape victim, played by Melora Walters, only to ultimately discover that the woman hadn't been assaulted the night before.

"On the day of her father's funeral, she went home with a man who looked like him — and, after their consensual sex, snapped and killed him. It turns out her father was a predator who systematically abused and raped her sister over the course of decades, and this was her way of seeking the attention of her father that she never got. The revelation came only after Benson pushed harder in her interrogation, ultimately opening up to the victim about her own past — that she was conceived via rape — and calling out the victim's lies. 

"'The episode is utterly tragic and complex and human,' Hargitay tells The Hollywood Reporter. 'I thought that was so powerful, the complexity of this human being and showing what this kind of trauma does and how it affects people. It was a real departure from what we’ve done. ... Obviously the material was so painful and dark, and it was just a very different kind of SVU and a different kind of relationship that Benson never has with the victim.'

"SVU has done bottle episodes before, but rarely has Benson shared so much of her own experiences with someone while questioning them. 'You think, where is this character going to go after 19 years? And I think that was the beauty of it. Benson has this need for justice — that's her human flaw,' Hargitay says. 'She needs to fix it. She needs to seek justice, and many times at the sacrifice of herself. I think this was the epitome of that — this little perfect microcosm of who she is, of what she is willing to do, to give, to do her job, to dig as deep as she can, and the lengths, the willingness of self sacrifice. This was really her stopping at nothing to find out who the attacker was.'

"Even when her colleagues told her to back down, she won't. 

"'It felt like being on the edge of a cliff. Is she going to fall down? It was right on the edge, and the scene vibrates with like, "Oh, gosh, is she going too far?" and not knowing if she was diving off the cliff or not. Here's this woman trying to prove to her colleagues, after everything that she's been through, been dragged through the mud, been through so much, and trying to prove to everyone that she's still in control, and that she still has it, she's still a leader, and she's still the best at what she does, and willing to stop at nothing. Her team was around her and trying to protect her, but she refused.'

"The episode featured plenty of sparring between Hargitay and Walters, which Hargitay said felt fresh and even dangerous. 

"'Melora and I joked every day because we were so terrified. We were terrified of doing justice to these scenes, which, of course, is so exciting and where you want to be, certainly, 19 years in. I was so grateful to be terrified. I was so grateful to be scared, and so grateful to be that engaged. When you, 19 years in, are still staying up at night worrying about the work the next day, going, "Can I do this material justice?" It was so layered, and so complex for Olivia to try to put these pieces together, because she is a victim first.'

"The episode, written by new showrunner Michael Chernuchin, was shot chronologically, and involved many more hours of rehearsal than a typical episode would get. "It was one of my favorite acting experiences," Hargitay says of working with Walters. 

"'One of the most brave actresses I feel like I've ever worked with, and so pure. We were so deeply connected. ... She's an incredible artist and so thoughtful in the conversations that we would have and the depths she could go to and the analogies she would invoke. The show deals with the cheetah and the antelope, and it turns out, as things would go, that she's also a painter and had painted a cheetah in heat two years before. She sent me the picture. There were so many bizarre and deep connections, like we were meant to do this. We talked so much about maybe one day performing it as a play.'

"While Walters' character was not a victim of rape, she was a victim of an abusive father. But Walters told THR that she didn't want to look too deeply at the impact the episode would have while she was still filming it.

"'For me, I have to just put blinders on and just become the person, because if I start thinking, 'Oh, this might have an impact or this might make a difference,' then I'm stepping out and I'm looking at it. So I just had to be in it,' she says. 'Women suffer, women get raped nonstop, so you hope this gives someone the courage to speak up or to not feel alone.'

"Encouraging victims and giving them a voice is something SVU and Hargitay have done for nearly two decades, and the fact that the current news climate is seeing more people speak out against powerful abusers is something that Hargitay is happy to see. 

"'It’s two sides of the same coin,' Hargitay tells THR. 'It’s extremely painful that this is happening, and it is so exciting that it’s coming to light and that people are getting their voices back. The times are changing and I am very grateful to see that.' 

"SVU is tackling the Harvey Weinstein scandal in an upcoming episode, and while Hargitay wouldn't speak to the specifics of the hour, she did say she was happy there is a larger discussion about abuse happening in the world today. 

"'What I think SVU has done so beautifully for years is to bring things that have been traditionally swept under the carpet to light. What's very exciting about this time is that not only is it coming out into the light but it's getting a very big spotlight shined on something that's been going on for years and demands attention,' she says. 'I'm very excited to see the change in our culture. It's been unfortunate how this has come to pass, but I've been talking about the statistics of sexual assault and domestic violence for so long and the statistics just don't lie. I think with shining a light on this, now is the time to change it.'

"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC."