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The Atlantic Partners with PBS NewsHour

The AtlanticThe Atlantic is partnering with PBS’ NewsHour to produce broadcast adaptation’s of the magazine’s work. The series begins tonight, with NewsHour co-anchor Judy Woodruff and The Atlantic’s Hanna Rosin discussing Rosin’s cover story on teens and sexting.

“We’re excited to see our stories brought to broadcast, and honored to be working with the NewsHour to make it happen,” said James BennetThe Atlantic’s president and editor-in-chief, in a statement. “No one in the business cares more about journalistic integrity and depth.”

The Atlantic and PBS deal will last for the next six months.

Keanu Reeves Makes Ghostly Headlines

It’s been quite the week of celebrity throwback recollections on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

On Tuesday’s program, Bill Murray recalled his days as a Little Caesars pizza slinger and impoverished raw-dough eater, working alongside another employee in Evanston, Illinois who would go on to become a celebrity chef. On Wednesday, it was Keanu Reeves‘ turn to remember how he and his nanny Renata, when he was around six or seven, witnessed a jacket floating mysteriously into the doorway of a New York City apartment bedroom.

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The Daily Mail wins for best Keanu headline: “He’s Seen Dead People…” And the New York Post gets our vote for savviest SEO redeployment, having dropped the John Wick star into the middle of today’s 36-photo slide show “The Creepiest Celebrity Ghost Stories.”

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Ed Asner Explains How He Changed Up Lou Grant

LouGrantThe publication is called Smashing Interviews magazine. And certainly, Melissa Parker‘s Q&A with Ed Asner for the Birmingham, Alabama-based outlet lives up to that lofty title.

The record holder for male actor Emmy Awards covers a lot of topics. One of the conversation highlights involves how Asner transitioned from The Mary Tyler Moore Show to Lou Grant:

Asner: We continued to work on the [Lou Grant] first year, and finally I came to the realization that I was using my two older brothers as inspirations for the “Mary Tyler Moore Lou.” I realized in the different scripts that were being written, that same character would not work for me, and I began to plunge into myself to find that [less comedic] character of Lou in the hour show, and that’s what I came up with.

Parker: Very interesting.

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Bill Simmons Gets NBA Show

Bill Simmons GLooks like things between Bill Simmons and ESPN are back to normal. At least for now. The company has announced that Simmons is hosting The Grantland Basketball Hour starting this Thursday at 7 pm ET. The weekly show will feature Simmons alongside Jalen Rose. It will also include special guests, like ESPN’s Michelle Beadle and Grantland’s Zach Lowe.

“We are delighted to bring the Grantland brand to television – it’s the natural evolution for our site and for everything Jalen and I have been doing on our video channel,” said Simmons, in a statement. “We want to be creative, we want to be unpredictable and we want to stand out.”

Not too much, of course.

Simmons has just returned from being suspended by ESPN for calling out NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Obviously the show has been in the works for awhile, but we imagine it won’t get that crazy, as there is little doubt ESPN execs will be watching closely.

Letterman Cue-Card Holder Details Sudden, Sorry Exit

On Thursday, October 9, long-time Late Show cue-card holder Tony Mendez grabbed writer Bill Scheft by the shirt collar at the beginning of the work day. He was immediately expelled from the premises and on Monday, October 13, informed by executive producer Rob Burnett that he had been terminated.

On Friday, October 17, Sheft returned to the Ed Sullivan Theater, telling co-workers he is suffering from PST, and today, thanks to the New York Post‘s Gary Buiso, everyone is talking about this. In an interview that is remarkably candid and perhaps a little foolish, given the fact that Mendez could face legal action from 57-year-old Scheft, the 69-year-old ex-employee talks about everything. How his relationship with Scheft was, for a long time, fractious. And how he had carved out a unique way of communicating with the boss:

On Wednesday, October 8, the three [Mendez, Scheft, Letterman] were rehearsing in Letterman’s backstage digs when Mendez said he reacted to one of Scheft’s interruptions, telling him, “I know what I’m doing. Get off my back.”

But suddenly Letterman growled, “Tony, your sour disposition isn’t helping,” Mendez recalled.

“‘You’re the one who has the sour disposition, motherf–ker,’” Mendez snapped back.

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Sting Retools ‘Message in a Bottle’

It’s been a stellar week for Jimmy Fallon musical bits. On Wednesday, he took a break from show prep to engage in a “Breakdance Conversation” with Brad Pitt. And on last night’s telecast, he ran Sting through some fun-fun Smartphone business.

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The first half of the Sting shtick, wherein Fallon gets Mr. Sumner to sing versions of three familiar ringtones, is cool. Especially when the ringtone sounds suspiciously like an old copyrighted Police song. But where this bit really soared is towards the end (starting at the three-minute mark), when the host enlists the superstar to record an audience member’s mobile phone outgoing voicemail message.

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WNBC’s Chuck Scarborough is a ‘Giant of Broadcasting’

We attended the 12th Annual Giants of Broadcasting luncheon in New York City today where prominent members of the broadcasting, media and corporate communities honored leaders of TV and radio. Chuck Scarborough longtime main anchor at WNBC’s was honored and jokingly thanked NBC for “not firing me.” Scarborough joined WNBC in 1974 and has won 31 Emmy Awards in his storied career. Other honorees included former ABC, NBC and CBS executive Fred Silverman and Regis Philbin, who couldn’t attend due to a scheduling conflict, so his former “LIVE” co-host Kathie Lee Gifford accepted on his behalf. 170 Giants of Broadcasting have been honored since 2003, including Barbara Walters, Charlie Rose, Bob Schieffer, Brian Williams, Tim Russert and Ken Burns. TVNewser has more on today’s event.

HBO to Launch Stand-Alone Streaming Service

hboAfter years of watching Netflix gain popularity, HBO has finally decided to fight fire with fire. The network has announced it’s launching a stand-alone streaming service next year.

“We will work with our current partners,” HBO’s CEO Richard Plepler said, in a statement. “And, we will explore models with new partners.  All in, there are 80 million homes that do not have HBO and we will use all means at our disposal to go after them.”

Plepler didn’t give many details about the service. Instead, he described it as “over-the-top” and insisted “It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO.”

The man is a goddamn hero.

Brooklyn Blogger Competes on Sports Jeopardy!

AlexDeFrankPicIn the middle of the contestants’ panel for Episode #2 of Sports Jeopardy! is nascent Brooklyn sports blogger Alex DeFrank. Following each episode’s TV airing, the competitions are posted to Crackle on Wednesdays.

DeFrank’s patter-portion with host Dan Patrick addressed an age-old cliche about bloggers:

“Here’s the problem with sports bloggers,” suggested Patrick. “Everybody says you’re guys in your underwear, in the basement. True?”

“I thought you said there was a problem?” DeFrank joked back.

“I’m jealous!” exclaimed Patrick.

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An SNL Writer’s Trick of the Trade: ‘KENAN REACTS’

KenanThompsonSNLIn some ways, social media has rendered Saturday Night Live bulletproof as it heads into its 40th anniversary season. Sketches that misfire and hosts who bomb typically now power a social discussion that is as robust as when everything clicks.

But there will be plenty of time for that soon. In the meantime, we have been enjoying Slate’s delivery of show writers talking about specific cast members. Today, in installment #2, co-head writer Bryan Tucker zeros in on Kenan Thompson:

Here’s a secret. If you’re a Saturday Night Live writer, and you want to get an extra laugh in your script, just add this line: “KENAN REACTS.” Sure, it’s sort of cheating. But we still do it sometimes. Because it works.

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