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Danger, Will Robinson 2.0! Netflix sets "Lost in Space" reboot for 2018

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 30, 2016

Or is that 2.5? I guess we should count the 1998 movie? Naw.

The official word: Netflix, the world’s leading Internet TV network, has ordered a 10-episode first season of the one-hour sci-fi drama, from Legendary TV, based on the beloved 1960’s sci-fi classic from Irwin Allen. Reimagined by feature writing team Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless (Dracula Untold, Last Witch Hunter), with Zack Estrin (Prison Break) showrunning, the series will premiere worldwide on Netflix in 2018.

Taking its cues from the original series, the show centers around the Robinson family, who is forced to come together in a time of crisis. Stranded light years from their intended destination, they find themselves battling a strange new alien environment and also their own personal demons. Equal parts family drama and sci-fi adventure, it is a survival story for the ages.

“The original series so deftly captured both drama and comedy, and that made it very appealing to a broad audience. The current creative team’s reimagining of the series for Netflix is sure to appeal to both fans who fondly remember the original and to create a new generation of enthusiasts around the world,” said Cindy Holland, Netflix Vice President of Original Content.

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A big bunch of "Star Trek" on TV

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 30, 2016

The Heroes & Icons channel will begin carrying all five live-action series (TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager and Enterprise), in order, in a programming block starting July 24. Here's the announcement:

Heroes & Icons TV Network (H&I) will boldly go where no network has gone before, as it proudly presents All Star Trek. This historic television programming first will feature all five of the original live action Star Trek TV franchises airing together, six days a week. Beginning Stardate Sunday, July 24, 2016, at 8:00pm ET, viewers will see Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise. H&I will broadcast all five series, beginning with the first episode of each one, all on one network, for the first time in the history of the franchise.


Fifty years ago this fall, the original Star Trek series debuted on television, transporting viewers to a creative universe that grew to include five successful television shows, and many movies. Now the H&I Network is providing fans and viewers of all generations the unique opportunity to enjoy the complete package of All Star Trek series together on one broadcast network. Presented as a continuous 5 hour block on Sunday nights, and as 5 hours each weeknight Monday through Friday, H&I’s All Star Trek begins with the very first episode of each iconic series and will present them all in sequence. Viewers can watch the All Star Trek trailer and find out where to watch each night of All Star Trek programming on the H&I website.

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Movies and a TV show to watch before the conventions

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 29, 2016



I've been planning a column about fictional representations of conventions but, when you get down to it, the selection is pretty thin. Part of that may have to do with the way conventions by themselves are notoriously dull for anyone not interested in how North Dakota is going to split up its votes, or what superlatives Georgia will use to describe itself.

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Kasich signs expanded movie-production credit for Ohio

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 29, 2016

Since productions have come to Ohio because of the credit ("Draft Day" would have been in Buffalo without it), this is good news for the economy and film fans. The official word from the Greater Cleveland Film Commission:

The Greater Cleveland Film Commission (GCFC) is excited to announce that Ohio Governor John Kasich has signed into law a revised Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit, passed last month by the Ohio General Assembly, which raises the annual incentive cap to $40 million, removes the $5 million per project cap, and changes the incentive rate to a flat 30% on all production dollars spent in Ohio.

"The changes to Ohio's incentive will help us bring thousands more jobs, and hundreds of millions of dollars to the state, and is one more step toward making us more competitive with other states that are leaders in media production like Georgia and Louisiana," said GCFC President Ivan Schwarz. "We are grateful to Governor Kasich, the Ohio House, and the Ohio Senate for giving us this opportunity to continue to grow a thriving and adaptive media industry in Northeast Ohio. I'd also like to thank Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, Rep. Kirk Schuring, and Sen. Tom Patton, who have championed this legislation, and know just how much a sustainable media industry can benefit Ohio."

The changes to the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit are the latest in a line of recent successes for Northeast Ohio's media industry. In April, officials from the State of Ohio and Cleveland State University announced $7.5 million in funding for a new School of Film, Television, and Interactive Media, Ohio's first standalone school of the sort. On June 10, second unit shooting wrapped in Cleveland for Universal's "Fast 8", which was expected to create more than 380 direct jobs for Ohioans, book almost 9,000 hotel room nights and engage over 200 Ohio businesses for a range of goods and services.

An economic impact study prepared by Cleveland State University in June 2015 reported that since July 2011, the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit has accounted for the creation of the equivalent of 1,729 full-time jobs, over $400 million of total economic impact, and a return on investment of $2.01 (for every $1 spent by the state through the incentive, $2.01 went into the state's economy). Since 2009, over 65 productions have shot in Northeast Ohio, and in the last two years examined by the study, 71% of all Ohio production dollars were spent in Northeast Ohio.

The Greater Cleveland Film Commission is the only 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to fostering economic development in Northeast Ohio by attracting media production and businesses that can make a significant economic impact on the local economy, advocating for continued support of the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit and other public policies that promote and support media production and developing our local workforce by providing programs designed to provide local talent with the training, experience and professional connections to enable them to succeed in the film industry.

Promote the increase of media production in Northeast Ohio using effective strategies for attraction and workforce development including building an artistic infrastructure through film.

Achieve increased economic development in Northeast Ohio by using the artistic and culturally enriching activities of film and other media production to strengthen the workforce, support the media production industry and attract media production to the region.

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ABC prime-time premiere dates for Fall '16

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 28, 2016

The official list:
Monday, September 12
8:00-10:00 p.m. “Dancing with the Stars” (Season 23 premiere)

Sunday, September 18
7:00-8:00 p.m. “68th Emmy Awards Arrival Pre-Show” (live from Los Angeles)
8:00-11:00 p.m. “68th Emmy Awards” (live from Los Angeles)

Tuesday, September 20
8:00-10:00 p.m. “Dancing with the Stars Results Show”
10:00-11:00 p.m. “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (Season 4 premiere)

Wednesday, September 21
8:00-8:30 p.m. “The Goldbergs” (Season 4 premiere)
8:30-9:00 p.m. “Speechless” (Series premiere)
9:00-9:30 p.m. “Modern Family” (Season 8 premiere)
9:30-10:00 p.m. “black-ish” (Season 3 premiere)
10:00-11:00 p.m. “Designated Survivor” (Series premiere)

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LeBron's "Cleveland Hustles" details; Akron Honey Co. involved

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 24, 2016

The official word:

CNBC announced LeBron James’ and Maverick Carter’s selection of local judges and globally recognized c-suite host for the network’s highly anticipated unscripted primetime series, “Cleveland Hustles,” premiering ‪Wednesday, August 24 at 10pm ET‪/PT. The series teams four successful Cleveland business leaders with local entrepreneurs looking for an investment to launch their own brick-and-mortar stores. The series is set in the Gordon Square Arts District, a once troubled neighborhood that’s working to rebuild.


“This show is special to me because it’s about giving hard-working people a life-changing opportunity to make their dreams a reality while creating real change in the Cleveland community,” said Maverick Carter. “I’m proud that SpringHill Entertainment is behind a project like this that is more than a TV show – it’s a transformational series that can lift up all of Northeast Ohio and one that will resonate with people across the country.”

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CBS sets new-season premiere dates

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 21, 2016

The breakdown:

Thursday, Sept. 15


8:25 PM, ET THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL (NY Jets @ Buffalo Bills)

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"Believeland" getting revised ending; the women question remains

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 21, 2016

As I've mentioned elsewhere, ESPN is updating its "Believeland" documentary about Cleveland's history of sports frustration, thanks to the Cavs winning the NBA championship. Here's the official announcement:

With the Cavaliers delivering Cleveland its first major championship in over 50 years, ESPN Films has decided to update the 30 for 30 documentary “Believeland” with an ending focused on the 2016 NBA Finals and the immediate aftermath. The new version of the film will premiere Thursday, June 30, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.

“Believeland,” which originally debuted May 14, focuses on the struggles of Cleveland’s major sports franchises over the last half-century. Director Andy Billman and his production team were in Cleveland for Game 7 and will be there through the championship parade to capture the historic celebration. The Ohio native will also record a new introduction to the film based on the events of the last month.

John Dahl, ESPN Films VP told me this in a phone call today:

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More "Frozen" tie-ins

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 21, 2016

Disney announced "Frozen Northern Lights," an original story from the kingdom of Arendelle spanning a collection of books, animated shorts from the LEGO Group and new digital extensions. Beginning in July, "Frozen" fans can follow Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Kristoff and Sven on an epic adventure to restore the glimmer of the Northern Lights.

Credit: ©Disney*
Click here for photo and video assets including an interview with Josh Gad.

"Natural phenomenon meets cultural phenomenon in this all new story, 'Frozen Northern Lights,'" said Andrew Sugerman, executive vice president, Disney Publishing Worldwide. "We're excited to share this new adventure and offer fans great new ways to connect with their favorite characters thanks to a host of related books, digital games and activities."

The story titled, "Disney Frozen Northern Lights: Journey to the Lights," published by Random House, will be introduced as a deluxe novelization in July ahead of an extended collection of books featuring the familiar characters fans know and love, as well as a brand new protagonist named, Little Rock. The storyline will be reimagined by the LEGO Group with four new animated shorts and a full compilation airing on Disney Channel this fall. The shorts will bring the unique brand of stylized animation and witty LEGO humor to the world of "Frozen," with the voice talent from the movie reprising their roles.

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Two Guys Talkin': Stephen A. Smith and mansplaining Ayesha Curry's tweet

By staff Published: June 17, 2016

In this edition of Two Guys Talkin', Rich Heldenfels Malcolm X Abram take on comments made by the ever controversial Stephen A. Smith.

The setup: Smith called out Ayesha Curry, Steph's wife, for her "rigged" tweet during Game 6. During his rant, he goes to compare Ayesha to LeBron James' wife, Savannah. 

The response: Rich and Malcolm break down the sexist comments with a rant of their own.  

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CW sets fall premiere dates

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 17, 2016

The list:


8:00-9:00pm THE FLASH (Season Premiere)

9:00-10:00pm NO TOMORROW (Series Premiere)

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Cleveland Museum of Art sets festival of boxing movies before "Rocky." Lots of knockouts!

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 14, 2016


"Champion." "The Harder They Fall." "Requiem for a Heavyweight." "Fat City." More. Lots of cinema to love here. The official word:

Lords of the Ring: Boxing Films before Rocky and Raging Bull

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CMT makes deal for new "Nashville" season

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 10, 2016

Interesting details about the deal are in this story. 

The official word: Nashies rejoice! On the heels of tremendous outcry from legions of devoted fans, CMT, Hulu, Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) and ABC Studios today announced that the critically acclaimed and fan darling series “Nashville” will return with a brand new season on CMT. Long-time SVOD partner Hulu will continue to bring fans their favorite series 24/7 by making all “Nashville” episodes available to stream the day after they air on CMT.


The series is produced by Lionsgate, ABC Studios, and Opry Entertainment. Production will commence in Nashville with Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz (the creators of “Thirtysomething”)at the helm. The deal, negotiated by Lionsgate Television Group President Sandra Stern on behalf of Lionsgate and ABC Studios, Sarah Levy of Viacom Kids and Family Groupon behalf of CMT, and Hulu executives, is an orchestrated initiative to ensure that “Nashville” fans will continue to have the same level of access to their favorite show.

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Stuff I've been thinking about: Cavs and our feelings, Muhammad Ali, "Alias"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 6, 2016

In the fall of 1997, when Tom Feran and I were enjoying the success of our "Ghoulardi" book, Tom hypothesized that one reason for it doing well was that NE Ohio was feeling good about itself, not least because the Indians were doing so well (at least until the end of the World Series). And last night's Cavs loss underscored the way our emotions get tied up with how sports teams do. (And I don't just mean Cleveland teams; think how fans in Oklahoma City must have felt not long ago.) Even with the Indians back in first place in their division, the deflation of the Cavs gives this morning a sourness that is hard to get past. This is not how the Cavs are supposed to be, this is not how the world is supposed to be, particularly when other parts of the culture are so gloomy. Many of us look to our sports teams as a way to feel better about life. Last night sure did not do that. I turned the game off in the third quarter, devoid of any hope that a Cleveland comeback was in the cards.

Many years ago, a small group of young cynics sat in the bar of the Century Plaza, chatting about the day on the TV press tour. We were the sort who often proved hard to impress. Across the lobby, Muhammad Ali came walking with two associates. We stopped talking. Heck, we stared. One of Ali's sidekicks noticed and spoke to the champ. Ali looked toward us and waved. Jaws dropping, we waved back. Cynicism was gone. This was Ali. RIP.

How big was Ali? Look at the lineup in this TV special marking his 50th birthday.


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"American Pickers" hunting in Ohio

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 6, 2016

The official word:

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