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October 31, 2014

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ABC Family Finally Coming to Canada -- as ABC Spark

by Denette Wilford, posted Oct 26th 2011 4:30PM
The world of television is a fickle one. Where procedurals and medical dramas once reigned supreme, they have since been taken over by reality shows and talent competitions. There is one exception, though. A genre that doesn't ever seem to fall by the wayside is the teen drama. From 'Beverly Hills, 90210' to 'Gossip Girl' to 'Pretty Little Liars,' soaps targeting teenagers (and let's face it, some adults, too) will never leave television.

In its seven years, ABC Family has been a growing network in the U.S. (available in more than 98 million homes), and Canadians have been fortunate enough to see some of the channel's hits -- 'PLL,' 'Greek,' 'The Secret Life of an American Teenager' -- on MuchMusic, which is owned by Bell Media.

But thanks to a deal between Disney/ABC Television Group and Corus Entertainment, Canadians who have been hankering for 'Melissa & Joey,' 'Make It or Break It,' 'Switched at Birth,' 'The Lying Game' and the upcoming 'Jane By Design' can rest easy, because those shows are finally coming north of the border, to a channel called ABC Spark.

Can we get an amen?!

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Demi Lovato Won't Return to 'Sonny With a Chance'

by Jean Bentley, posted Apr 19th 2011 4:45PM
Demi Lovato'Sonny With a Chance' is officially not getting its Sonny back.

Demi Lovato
told People today that following her stint in rehab for "physical and emotional issues," she won't return to the hit Disney show about a kids' sketch comedy series.

"I don't think going back to 'Sonny' would be healthy for my recovery," Lovato told People. "Being in front of a camera would make me nervous."

Instead, the 18-year-old will pursue her already successful music career. Lovato has released two albums with Hollywood Records.

"It made sense for me to go ahead and leave the show to focus on my music," Lovato said. "It's kind of sad for me that a chapter of my life has ended but there couldn't be a better time for me to move on."

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Syfy Renews 'Face Off,' 'Mad Men' and 'FNL' Faves Book TV Roles and More

by Jean Bentley, posted Mar 16th 2011 6:00PM
Face OffSyfy announced today that it's bringing back 'Face Off,' its reality competition to find Hollywood's best special effects makeup artists.

The show's first season averaged 1.4 million viewers, Deadline reports.

'Face Off' pits a combination of seasoned Hollywood pros and up-and-coming artists against each other in a series of timed challenges, TV Squad's own Mike Moody explained at the beginning of the season. The winner walked away with $1,000,000 and a year's worth of professional makeup supplies.

In other TV news ...

Disney has anointed the new heir to Miley Cyrus' crown: Debby Ryan. The 'Suite Life' starlet is the latest actress to get her own show on the channel. 'Jessie' follows a teenager from Texas who moves to New York and becomes an au pair for a wealthy family. [The Hollywood Reporter]

'Mad Men' still isn't officially coming back, but Rich Sommer has booked a guest role in the meantime. The man also known as Harry Crane will appear in an upcoming episode of 'Nikita' as an electrical engineer and CIA consultant who helps Nikita break into Division. [TV Line]

Recent 'Vampire Diaries' and 'Chuck' guest star Lauren Cohan has scored her own CW show. The actress will play a young female attorney who tackles cases with a former angel. '90210' star Ryan Eggold has also landed a lead role. Meanwhile, 'Gossip Girl' guest star Kevin Zegers will play one of the leads on Josh Schwartz's 'Georgetown' pilot. [Deadline]

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Jennifer Hudson Christens a Disney Cruise Ship Where She Used to Work on 'GMA' (VIDEO)

by Nick Zaino, posted Jan 19th 2011 1:15PM
Jennifer Hudson goes Disney on 'Good Morning America'Oscar winner and former 'American Idol' contestant Jennifer Hudson appeared on 'Good Morning America' (Weekdays, 7AM on ABC) this morning to christen a new Disney "Dream" cruise ship. It was a personal honor for Hudson, as one of her pre-'Idol' gigs was singing in the chorus on a Disney cruise ship production of 'Hercules.'

So she came to the set prepared with her own Mickey Mouse t-shirt. "I did not get this here, since I've been here," she said. "This was in my closet, and I was like, ooh, I'm going to take this and be the Disney way when I get there."

Hudson said she felt a little pressure coming back to her old job; it still seems weird to her that she's returning to a Disney cruise ship as a special celebrity guest. Of course, there was also the pressure of swinging a 16-foot bottle at a ship, but she seemed to handle that pretty well.

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CW Boss Dawn Ostroff to Step Down, 'Young Justice' Gets Premiere Date and More

by Chris Harnick, posted Dec 22nd 2010 2:40PM
Dawn Ostroff, entertainment president of The CW, will step down at the end of the season.

Ostroff, the former head of UPN, has been with The CW since its inception and is the longest-running sitting broadcast president.

According to Deadline Hollywood, Ostroff will remain active with the network as her contract winds down in June. She'll oversee the midseason launch and order pilots for the fall 2011 season.

In other TV news ...

Damian Lewis has joined the cast of Showtime's 'Homeland.' The 'Life' veteran will play the male lead, Marine Sergeant Scott Brody, who returns home after spending eight years as a prisoner of war in Baghdad. Claire Danes also stars as Carrie Anderson, a CIA agent who suspects Brody may be plotting an attack on America. [Deadline Hollywood]

Cartoon Network's 'Young Justice' will premiere on Jan. 7. The show about DC Comics sidekicks launched with a movie event in November. Look for new episodes to air Fridays at 7PM. [Kryptonsite]

Disney was denied its appeal of a $319 million 'Millionaire' verdict. A federal judge ruled that Disney/ABC and Buena Vista cheated producer Celador International out of millions of dollars by cutting sweetheart deals to bring 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire?' to America. [Hollywood Reporter]

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Update: Disney Officially Signs Deal With Time Warner Cable

by Jean Bentley, posted Sep 2nd 2010 7:30PM
ABCDespite the threatening PSAs and rampant Internet speculation, Disney and Time Warner Cable announced today that they have officially reached a deal to broadcast networks such as ABC, ESPN, Disney and other channels via the cable provider.

The two companies had been publicly butting heads in the weeks leading up to today's contract deadline, with Disney asking for higher fees from TWC to carry the company's channels, and TWC refusing to pay up.

For the full back story of the fight, check out TV Squad's in-depth analysis from earlier this week. After the jump, the full terms of the new contract.

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Disney and Time Warner Cable Reach Truce, But More Battles Loom

by Gary Susman, posted Aug 30th 2010 9:00PM
ESPN's Ron Jaworski and Mike Tirico with Frank Gifford
The good news for Time Warner Cable's nearly 15 million subscribers in 28 states: It looks like the cable behemoth is no longer in danger of losing such Disney-owned channels as ABC and ESPN on the eve of college and pro football seasons and the new primetime broadcast season. The bad news: The deal between the two entertainment giants leaves the door open for further clashes between programmers and cable service providers, disputes that are likely to add to your cable and Internet bills in the near future.

Disney and TWC had been battling for weeks
in the run-up to Sept. 2, the day Disney's current contract with TWC expires. Disney wanted higher fees for its popular channels, including ABC (which cable service providers used to pay nothing for, since its signal was broadcast over the air for free), the Disney Channel, ESPN, ESPN2 and other viewer favorites. If its terms weren't met before the contract expired, Disney had threatened to pull the signals and darken those channels for TWC subscribers. For its part, TWC had resisted the higher carriage fees, though it would ultimately be passing on those increased costs to its subscribers.

Now, however, the two sides have reached a truce, and while there is no official deal in place, both sides seem to expect the details to be worked out before the threatened signal pull-out at midnight Wednesday night. While neither side will discuss the details of the negotiation, it's clear that Disney has won some concessions, which will eventually mean higher cable bills for TWC customers. And probably for other cable customers as well, since the current battle is hardly the first that has erupted this year over carriage fees; nor is it likely to be the last.

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Disney vs. Time Warner Cable: Yet Another Battle That May Take Away Your Favorite Channels or Raise Your Bill

by Gary Susman, posted Aug 7th 2010 6:00PM
Modern Family
Playing this week in summer reruns: another battle between a cable network and a service provider that threatens to either take away your favorite channels or increase your monthly cable bill.

There have been several such battles this year. The latest is between Disney (parent company to such widely-viewed channels as ABC, the Disney Channel and ESPN) and Time Warner Cable, the nation's second-largest service provider. Like other programmers in those earlier squabbles, Disney is negotiating for increased carriage fees, the per-subscriber amounts that the service provider pays to carry each channel.

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Teen Featured on 'Wife Swap' Sues Show

by Bob Sassone, posted Mar 23rd 2010 3:00PM
Wife SwapHere's a tip for anyone who wants to appear on television: don't go on a reality show. Sure, there are a few reality shows that might be OK, but for the most part, they are going to be edited to make you look bad or they're going to be a horrible experience in general. There are other ways to get your 15 minutes of fame (note: please don't go for your 15 minutes of fame either).

A teen who appeared on the ABC reality show 'Wife Swap' (the title should tell you pretty much what the show is about) is suing the show and Disney for $100 million (say that in a Dr. Evil-like voice). She says that people at the show actually told her how to act (like a spoiled brat) and even wrote specific lines for her to say (viewers who think that reality shows are 100% unscripted live in a fantasy world of unicorns and rainbows). She says that after the show aired she was physically and verbally assaulted at school.

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ABC Returns to Cablevision Airwaves

by Audrey Fine, posted Mar 7th 2010 1:48AM
Good news for Cablevision subscribers: According to the NY Times, the cable provider has reached a deal with ABC, ending a heated dispute that temporarily took WABC off the airwaves.

"We are happy to report that WABC Channel 7 has returned to Cablevision's 3 million New York area homes. We are very grateful to our customers for their support and pleased to welcome ABC back," said Cablevision executive vice president Charles Schueler in a statement, according to the NY Times.

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Disney Prepping Animated 'Tron' TV Show

by Mike Moody, posted Mar 3rd 2010 6:03PM
tron legacy tvDisney has big plans for 'Tron'.

Fans awaiting 'Tron Legacy', the upcoming 3D sequel to the 1982 cult flick, have already gotten a taste of the studio's elaborate viral marketing campaign for the film. Thanks to positive fan reaction to the campaign and the movie's teaser trailer, Disney is prepping a big merchandising push and new theme park attractions for the (surprisingly) hot 28-year-old sci-fi franchise.

So what's next for 'Tron'? A TV show, of course.

Blue Sky Digital is reporting that a computer-animated TV series set in the world of 'Tron Legacy' is in the works. According to the site, the show will serve as a "placeholder" to tide fans over between big screen 'Tron' projects.

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Oscars Held Hostage in Another Cablevision Dispute

by Gary Susman, posted Mar 2nd 2010 12:00PM
Some three million cable subscribers in three states may miss Sunday's Oscar telecast on ABC, thanks to a subscriber-fee dispute between New York's WABC-TV (and its parent company, Disney) and Cablevision over fees the broadcast station wants to collect from the cable service provider.

On Monday, New York City's WABC began telling Cablevision customers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut that it would pull its signal after midnight Sunday morning if a deal isn't reached by then. Cablevision, in return, issued a statement warning customers that ABC now wants to charge for what it used to give away for free, and that Cablevision customers might have to cough up an extra $40 million a year if ABC gets its way.

The threatened blackout follows two similar episodes earlier this year, including one involving Cablevision, but it probably won't be the last, as broadcast networks and basic cable channels are demanding a bigger share of cable subscription fees.

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Roger Ebert Angry Over Siskel Tribute Video's Removal

by Joel Keller, posted Feb 16th 2010 5:02PM
Roger Ebert at the Toronto Film Festival 2009Anyone who thinks that we in the blogging, Twittering, Facebooking universe have hastened the death of the long-form magazine story as we know it needs to take a look at this Esquire profile of Roger Ebert, written by Chris Jones.

As fans of 'At The Movies' know, Ebert's been off the air for almost four years, since complications from cancer surgery on his jaw left him unable to eat, drink, or speak. The pictures of Ebert that accompany the story are stark; no matter how many times I see it, the image of the withered lower half of his face is tough to see.

The article, though, is inspiring; it shows an Ebert who has been able to come to terms with how he's currently living his life and how he navigates through it, mostly through the excellent writing on his Chicago Sun-Times blog. But the most emotionally-charged moment in the whole story was his visible anger at seeing that the video of his 1999 Gene Siskel tribute show has been pulled off his 2009 blog entry about his partner and friend's death.

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'Lost' Final Season DVD Coming This Summer?

by Bob Sassone, posted Feb 1st 2010 2:00PM
LostThe final 16-episode season of 'Lost' hasn't even started yet (we'll have a live chat tomorrow night for the season's premiere) and already there's release date for the DVD for that final season.

VideoETA and TVShowsOnDVD have announced that ABC and Disney will release a DVD set (both regular and Blu-ray) for the final season of 'Lost' on August 24. The set will include various features such as a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the final season (and the show in general), interviews with cast and crew, audio commentaries, bloopers, deleted scenes, and hopefully some answers that we probably won't get when the show ends.

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Lost University's spring semester now in session

by John Scott Lewinski, posted Jan 18th 2010 11:00AM
Lost University is back in session to teach you about time travel physics.Just like scores of real world colleges and universities across the country, Lost University is now back in session.

The fictional university meant to teach Lost fans on the "fringe" science and other elements of J.J. Abrams' show can begin classes anew as the series approaches its final season.

It's no joke and no mere marketing gimmick as the "university" brings in legitimate scientists, psychologists, language experts and other experts to discuss the themes and science of Lost.

The current course catalog includes: PHI 201: I'M RIGHT, YOU'RE WRONG: THE US VS. THEM MENTALITY -- "This course examines the complex relationship between Right vs. Wrong, Us vs. Them, and Good vs. Evil, and applies it to both Lost and the real world."

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