Posts tagged with "NBC"

American Song Contest is open for submissions

July 7, 2021

NBC has announced that submissions for the new musical series, American Song Contest ,are now being accepted, Variety reports.

Based on the  Eurovision Song Contest—an annual international original songwriting competition sponsored by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU)–the series will feature a series of live music performances by U.S. contestants who are in competition to win the country’s vote for best original song.

All 50 states, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Washington, D.C., each will be repped by a solo artist, duo, band, or DJ.

The “Eurovision Song Contest” has been held annually since 1956 and has featured contestants from 52 different countries. The American version of the competition will lead to the semi-finals and, subsequently, to the primetime March Madness-style grand finale

American Song Contest is looking for artists, signed or independent, who can own the stage and captivate an audience with their original music (cover or tribute bands are not allowed to participate). As the submission process to represent each state or territory is underway, the showrunners welcome all varieties of music—including country, dance/electronic, pop, rap, R&B, and rock.

Applicants must be 16 or older, and groups can comprise up to six members.

The first-place winner will receive:

  • $10,000 (Provided by LiveXLive),
  • Co-Publishing contract with LiveXLive Music Publishing, a division of LiveXLive Media,
  • A two–page feature spread in the American Songwriter March/April 2022 issue,
  • Career consultation with a reputable record label, and
  • Lifetime American Songwriter membership.

Winners will retain ownership of their songs—and can enter more than one song, for a price: $25 for 1 entry, $50 for 2 entries, $67.50 for 3 entries, $85 for 4 entries, or $100 for 5 entries.

Netflix recently released the musical-comedy “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga,” which starred Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams as two Icelandic singers participating in the renowned music celebration.

The indie studio, AdditPropagate Content, will create The American Song Contest Academy, a jury that will consist of artists and music industry notables that will represent all genres and backgrounds. The event is scheduled to debut sometime in 2022.

The deadline for entry is December 1, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. (CT).

Research contact: @Variety

Sorry, you actually haven’t been accepted to the University of Kentucky

April 14, 2021

Half a million high school students learned a hard lesson about the ins and outs of college acceptance earlier this year.

As the story goes, a month ago, the University of Kentucky emailed acceptance letters to 500,000 high-school seniors, only to quickly dash their dreams of becoming a Wildcat. As a follow-up email explained, the vast majority of the messages were sent in error, New York Magazine’s Intelligencer reports.

The students originally received an email on March 15 that read, “We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted into the selective Clinical and Management program in the University of Kentucky College of Health Sciences for the Fall 2021,” according to LEX 18, Lexington’s local NBC network affiliate.

The acceptance was for the school’s Clinical Leadership and Management program, which reportedly accepts 35 to 40 new students every year, Intelligencer notes.

Within 24 hours, the students had an apology email from the university that cited a “technical issue” as the cause of the mix-up.

“Only a handful of those on the prospect list had been admitted to UK. The vast majority had not—nor had the vast majority of these students expressed an interest in the program,” University of Kentucky spokesman Jay Blanton said in an interview with LEX 18. “Nevertheless, we regret the communication error and have sent correspondence to all those who were contacted, offering our apologies.”

As for why people received acceptance emails for a program they never applied to, Blanton said, “The student could have indicated [that he or she was] interested in UK at some point or they may have sent an application. There are a number of ways we would have their contact information.”

Research contact: @intelligencer

NFL gives TV networks more ad time to sell during playoffs

January 19, 2021

Fully 78% of the audience for the annual Super Bowl watches the ads only as entertainment, according to Marketing Charts.

Most of those folks also are avid fans of the playoffs, we have to believe. And along with the TV networks, those viewers will be particularly pleased that this year the National Football League will allow CBS, NBC, and Fox to sell an additional two minutes of commercials during the playoff games, The Wall Street Journal reports.

That will mean several million dollars of new revenue for the networks, as NFL postseason games are among the most sought-after content for advertisers. A spot usually runs as high as $1 million during the early playoff rounds and can top $2 million for the conference championships that determine who plays in the Super Bowl, network executives said.

The league agreed to the additional ad inventory after requests from the broadcast networks, which had already sold the bulk of commercial time for the playoffs and wanted to capitalize on strong demand from advertisers.

The extra ad inventory will be for all of the playoff games starting this weeken—but doesn’t include Super Bowl LV, which will air on CBS on February 7, direct from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Florida. CBS is seeking as much as $5.5 million per commercial for the Super Bowl, people with knowledge of the matter have said.

“The marketplace has been very good,” said John Bogusz, executive vice president of sports sales for CBS. Bogusz told the Journal that the network is close to being sold out for the playoffs and has a few spots remaining for the Super Bowl.

This seasons’s playoffs will include two more games than usual, the NFL having expanded the number of teams that qualify to 14 from 12.

“We already had more inventory in the postseason to begin with, but the demand was really strong,” said Hans Schroeder, chief operating officer of NFL Media. Schroeder said the changes wouldn’t become permanent: “This is more about the moment we’re in.”

Research contact: @WSJ

Small hamlet of Swastika, New York, votes to keep name, despite complaint

January 8, 2021

It took us a few months to catch up with this news, but have you heard about a town in upstate New York State where most people would avoid living—COVID pandemic, or not?

NBC’s local New York affiliate reported last September that the rural upstate New York hamlet of Swastika had opted retain its name—despite a complaint that the moniker symbolizes the hate and intolerance of the Nazi regime.

The unincorporated crossroads in the Adirondack Mountain town of Black Brook, about 35 miles south of the U.S.-Canada border, has been known as Swastika for more than a century.

According to NBC, Swastika’s town council members considered a name change a few months ago, after a visitor from New York City said the designation was offensive, and disrespectful to the memory of the World War II veterans buried in graves in the nearby countryside. Michael Alcamo said he was bicycling through the

 “I was stunned that the people who live there wouldn’t have a meeting and pick a different name sometime after 1945, if not prior,” Alcamo said.

However, council members met on September 14 and unanimously nixed a name change.

“We regret that individuals, from out of the area, that lack the knowledge of the history of our community become offended when they see the name,” Black Brook supervisor Jon Douglass wrote in an email. “To the members of our community, that the board represents, it is the name that their ancestors chose.”

The symbol has been indelibly linked to Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party since the 1930s, but the town’s name actually originates from the Sanskrit word meaning well-being.

State Senator James Skoufis questioned in a tweet shortly after the vote whether the debate would’ve looked different if one of the council members was Jewish. He also called for legislation.

“Since the town board won’t do the right thing, I’ll be introducing legislation prohibiting use of the name,” Skoufis said.

One of the four council members who voted to keep the name, Howard Aubin, told the Adirondack Daily Enterprise that “only an intolerant person” would assume the name is connected to Nazis.

Douglass said the name came from settlers in the 1800s. The Press-Republican of Plattsburgh related a different story in a 1977 article that quoted a former postmaster as saying the rural community was once known as Goodrich Mills, but became known as Swastika in 1913 after that name appeared on the local post office.

Douglass, who did not take part in the vote, told NPR people have requested the name be changed several times before, including after World War II.

“And some of the residents that were from that area actually fought in World War II and refused to change the name just because Hitler tried to tarnish the meaning of swastika,” he said.

Alcamo said he was disappointed but hopes the town will reconsider at some point.

In April 2019, the Cherry Hills Village City Council in Colorado voted unanimously to drop the name “Swastika Acres” from a subdivision.

Research contact: @nbcny

He says, she says: First Democratic presidential debate set for Miami in June

May 13, 2019

The first Democratic presidential debate will take place at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Miami on the nights of June 26 and June 27, NBC News announced on May 10.

NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo—all three, divisions of NBCUniversal—are hosting the first official debate of the primary season, which will air live across all three networks from 9p.m. to 11 p.m. (ET) each night. The debate will be broadcast simultaneously on all three networks, with real-time Spanish translations on Telemundo.

A maximum of 20 candidates will have the opportunity participate—ten on each night. To qualify, candidates must meet one of two thresholds: Either confirm at least 1% support in at least three major polls; or collect at least 65,000 online donations.

So far, at least 18 candidates have qualified, according to an unofficial analysis by NBC News.

If more than 20 qualify, which looks increasingly likely as the Democratic 2020 field keeps growing, then candidates who meet both qualifications will be given a preference, followed by those who have the highest polling average, then those with the most online donations.

According to NBC News, “The debate is expected to be a defining moment in Democrats’ nomination battle to take on President Donald Trump, and the crowded field of candidates view making the stage as crucial to their overall campaigns.”

Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez said, “ I am committed to running an open and transparent primary process.  To that end, we’ve spent months working with media partners to provide this unprecedented opportunity for candidates and voters to get to know each other. Because campaigns are won on the strength of their grassroots, we also updated the threshold, giving all types of candidates the opportunity to reach the debate stage and giving small-dollar donors a bigger voice in the primary than ever before.”

A July debate will be broadcast on CNN, CNN International, and CNN en Español in prime time on back-to-back weeknights if more than one night is needed. An unauthenticated live stream of the debate also will  be available for all users on CNN’s website, mobile apps and connected TVs via CNNgo.

Information for those interested in attending the NBC debate will be announced at a later date. Moderators, format, and logistics of the first and second debates will be announced at a later date.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Daily Beast: NBC admonished Ronan Farrow to stop reporting on Harvey Weinstein

September 4, 2018

Even the hottest and most widely sourced stories can be blocked by news outlets that capitulate to the pressures of politics and profitability. That’s exactly what happened at NBC News, an exclusive report by The Daily Beast alleges, when Ronan Farrow tried to air a story on Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment of, and assaults on, female film industry associates in August 2017.

Indeed, even after Farrow left the network, NBC News General Counsel Susan Weiner made a series of calls to the writer and “threatened to smear him,” if he continued to delve into whispers about the Hollywood mogul, The Daily Beast claims in its August 30 scoop.

Farrow went on to publish his story in The New Yorker, causing nationwide reverberations that resulted in the #MeToo movement.

Since then, Farrow has been awarded a 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for a series of articles that revealed allegations of sexual harassment and assault—and questions have lingered about why the network gave up on the story.

Now, the supervising producer who worked beside him at NBC has quit the network, too, and is telling his own full story. Rich McHugh tendered his resignation on Friday, August 17—a year to the day after the Weinstein story left with Farrow.

A spokesperson for NBC News, speaking on the condition of anonymity, vigorously denied all allegations that Farrow was muzzled and intimidated by the network. “Absolutely false,” the spokesperson told The Daily Beast. “There’s no truth to that all. There is no chance … that Susan Weiner would tell Ronan Farrow what he could or could not report on.

“The sole point of the Susan Weiner’s conversation with Farrow, roughly a month after he had left NBC,” the spokesperson added, “ was to make sure he wasn’t still telling sources that he was working on the story for NBC, since he had moved on to The New Yorker.

How it all started

In February 2015, Farrow lost his daytime show on MSNBC and began working with NBC News’s investigative unit. In November 2016, Farrow and Rich McHugh decided they wanted to do a story about Hollywood’s “casting couch”— the longtime practice of producers and other powerful men exchanging sex with women for film roles, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.

They presented the idea to NBC News President Noah Oppenheim, who suggested that the team look into a October 2016 tweet by actress Rose McGowan, who said she had been raped by a Hollywood executive, according to two sources with knowledge of the investigation.

Over the next several months, Farrow began collecting evidence that suggested Weinstein had a pattern of inappropriate behavior toward women.  Weinstein pushed back, denying all allegations of non-consensual sex.

An order to stand down

In an interview with The New York Times published on August 30, McHugh accused “the very highest levels of NBC” of later stopping the reporting.

The same network spokesperson says that claim is inaccurate, telling The Daily Beast, “There was not one single victim or witness to misconduct by Harvey Weinstein who was willing to go on the record. Not one.”

By February, according to the sources, Farrow had secured an on-the-record interview with McGowan in which the actress said she had been sexually harassed by a powerful producer, though she did not name Weinstein. (McGowan subsequently named Weinstein during the NBC investigation, according to a source with knowledge of the story, but reportedly pulled her interview after being legally threatened by Weinstein, who had reached a $100,000 settlement with her in 1997 after she accused him of sexual assault.)

Farrow and McHugh also had obtained a bombshell audio recording from an NYPD sting in which Weinstein admitted to groping Filipina-Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez in 2015. (The Battilana audio was subsequently published by The New Yorker.)

However, during a meeting in summer 2017, Oppenheim mentioned to Farrow that Weinstein had raised objections to Farrow’s reporting—even though Farrow had not yet asked Weinstein to comment on the allegations, according to individuals briefed on the meeting.

“Externally, I had Weinstein associates calling me repeatedly,” McHugh told the Times. “I knew that Weinstein was calling NBC executives directly. One time it even happened when we were in the room.”

HuffPost reported last year that Oppenheim had gone so far as to relay concerns from Weinstein’s lawyers that Farrow could not report the story because the producer had worked with his estranged father, director Woody Allen.

“No, absolutely not, and Noah Oppenheim never had a conversation with Harvey Weinstein about the content of NBC News’ investigation,” the network spokesperson said.

By August 2017, Farrow was prepared to fly to California to interview a woman who was going to claim in silhouette on camera that Weinstein had raped her, according to the sources—however, network management said he “needed more” and would not allow Farrow to use an NBC News crew for the interview, a person familiar with the matter told The Daily Beast. Farrow went ahead with the interview anyway, paying for a camera crew out of his own pocket, according to sources.

“Three days before Ronan and I were going to head to L.A.,” McHugh told the Times, “I was ordered to stop, not to interview this woman. And to stand down on the story altogether.”

Dejected, Farrow approached longtime New Yorker media writer Ken Auletta, seeking advice about what to do. It was Auletta who suggested bringing the story to The New Yorker and called Editor in Chief David Remnick, who accepted the idea.

Immediately after Farrow published his bombshell at The New Yorker, top figures at NBC began pointing fingers at each other, two sources said.

While Oppenheim told staffers that he took responsibility for the decision to let the story go, he privately told at least one colleague that NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack and Senior Communications Vice President Mark Kornblau had made him a scapegoat.

The issue remains open. Questions about the story still are surfacing—and they are likely to cause more headaches in the coming months, The Daily Beast reports.

Earlier this year, publisher Little, Brown announced it was publishing a book by Farrow entitled Catch & Kill, in which he is expected to share his recollection of NBC’s decisions around the Weinstein story and report more broadly on the conspiracy of silence that protects powerful men.

More details on the story are available on The Daily Beast website.

Research contact: @maxwelltani