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Super Bowl, Olympics demonstrate enduring power of live sports

Yet the next few weeks will offer a concentrated demonstration of sports programming's enduring..

Yet the next few weeks will offer a concentrated demonstration of sports programming's enduring power, and why TV remains so fixated on it, to the point of paying exorbitant premiums.This Sunday brings Super Bowl LII, a TV event that dwarfs all others, followed by another sports showcase so big that it calls for Roman numerals, NBC's broadcast of the XXIII Winter Olympics. Even in the age of peak TV, the Olympics are perceived to be such a potent draw that other networks have largely gotten out of their way, with CBS, for example, trotting out "Celebrity Big Brother" as a means of (hopefully) helping to inexpensively keep the lights on for those 17 days.Fox, meanwhile, just acquired rights to the NFL's Thursday-night football package, which had been shared by CBS and NBC. Part of that has to do with Fox's unique position — the network is currently struggling, and will lose its sister production division whenever the Disney-Fox merger deal goes through — adding a measure of desperation to its bid that football owners have always been happy to exploit.Fox's five-year deal will reportedly pay the NFL more than $3 billion, a dramatic increase over the $450 million that the previous rights holders were shelling out per year.As 21st Century Fox president Peter Rice noted in announcing the agreement, the NFL played a central role in establishing Fox as a fourth network, and 25 years after Fox stunned the TV industry by snagging football rights, "we understand that nothing beats the NFL when it comes to television that captures people's attention."That's especially true in an age where roughly half the audience has a DVR and can zap through commercials. Sports remain almost unique in terms of programming that viewers feel compelled to watch live, making such events particularly attractive to advertisers.For all the focus on the NFL's recent struggles, it's also worth noting that other sports have bucked the gravity dragging down ratings, including NBA basketball and this year's college football championship game, which surged 13% above its 2017 performance.Small wonder that NBC is emphasizing the live component of its Olympic coverage from PyeongChang, South Korea, having faced past criticism for offering an abundance of delayed events in primetime.Related: Olympics buff Leslie Jones joins NBC's Winter Games coverageCiting the 14-hour time difference between the Olympic venue and the East Coast, NBC is touting live competition every night, excluding the opening and closing ceremonies. The network will also broadcast live across U.S. time zones — as it now does with "Saturday Night Live" — "creating a unique national collective experience for this event," Jim Bell, president of NBC's Olympics production, said in making that announcement.It's become fashionable to portray the major networks as dinosaurs, and ESPN — as the main beneficiary of a cable bundle that pays the sports titan billions each year — as living on borrowed time thanks to the phenomenon known as cord-cutting, as people seek cheaper programming alternatives.The juxtaposition of the Fox-NFL deal, Super Bowl and Olympics, however, provides a pretty stark reminder that broadcasting, in the truest sense of the term, still has some life left in it, even if the medium achieves that kind of reach with less and less regularity.

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007 film must treat Bond girls properly, says Waller-Bridge

Fast cars, martinis and Bond girls are core parts of the formula for 007 films, but one of those ele..

Fast cars, martinis and Bond girls are core parts of the formula for 007 films, but one of those elements is set for a change in the latest adventure.

Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who is working on the script for the 25th Bond film, is on a mission to make sure the movie will "treat women properly" – even if the spy does not.

Image: Cast members (l-r): Lea Seydoux, Ana de Armas, Naomie Harris and Lashana Lynch at the launch of the new Bond film

Ahead of the release of the as-yet-untitled film, Waller-Bridge told Deadline: "There's been a lot of talk about whether or not (the Bond franchise) is relevant now because of who he is and the way he treats women.

"I think that's b*******. I think he's absolutely relevant now. It has just got to grow.

"It has just got to evolve, and the important thing is that the film treats the women properly.

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"He doesn't have to. He needs to be true to this character."

Sean Connery and Mie Hama in You Only Live Twice, 1967
Image: The Bond films have been criticised for their sexism
Dr No turned Sean Connery into an international superstar
Image: Dr No featured the famous scene with Ursula Andress walking out of the sea in a white bikini

Waller-Bridge says she intends to ensure the female characters, including those played by Lashana Lynch, Lea Seydoux and Ana de Armas, feel "like real people ".

More from Phoebe Waller-bridge

She added: "I just want to make sure that when they get those pages through, that Lashana, Lea and Ana open them and go, 'I can't wait to do that'.

"As an actrRead More – Source (more…)

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Sir Elton hits out at Russia for ‘cruel’ Rocketman censorship

Sir Elton John has criticised Russian censors for cutting gay sex scenes from the hit musical biopic..

Sir Elton John has criticised Russian censors for cutting gay sex scenes from the hit musical biopic Rocketman.

The critically acclaimed film charts the British singer's rise to fame, and its scenes of kissing and sex between men, as well as drug use, contributed to it earning a 15 certificate in the UK.

But in a bid to play down the sexuality of Sir Elton, played by actor Taron Egerton, for a conservative Russian audience, an estimated five minutes of footage was reportedly removed ahead of its debut in Moscow.

Taron Egerton on Sir Elton: 'I adore him'

The Moscow Times quoted a Russian film critic who had seen the film at its world premiere in Cannes on 16 May as saying "all scenes with kissing, sex and oral sex between men have been cut", as well as a photo displayed during the end credits featuring Sir Elton and his husband David Furnish.

Sir Elton, 72, a prominent gay rights campaigner, released a joint statement with the makers of the film to accuse censors of being "cruelly unaccepting of the love between two people".

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"We reject in the strongest possible terms the decision to pander to local laws and censor Rocketman for the Russian market, a move we were unaware of until today," they said.

"That the local distributor has edited out certain scenes, denying the audience the opportunity to see the film as it was intended, is a sad reflection of the divided world we still live in and how it can still be so cruelly unaccepting of the love between two people.

More from Elton John

"We believe in building bridges and open dialogue, and will continue to pushRead More – Source

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Ben Affleck steps out to drop off kids as Robert Pattinson is announced as new Batman

Ben Affleck played Batman until earlier this year (Picture: Backgrid)
Ben Affleck has been pictured ..

Ben Affleck played Batman until earlier this year (Picture: Backgrid)

Ben Affleck has been pictured performing his parental duties in Los Angeles, as his official replacement in the Batman role is announced.

The 46-year-old actor was seen in the early hours on Friday (31 May) dropping off son Samuel, seven, and daughter Seraphina, 10, to school.

Affleck has three children with ex-wife Jennifer Garner – Seraphina, Samuel and 13-year-old Violet.

On the same day the actor was pictured, it was announced Robert Pattinson will take over as Batman in a planned trilogy of movies with director Matt Reeves.

Brentwood, CA - Ben Affleck was on daddy duty this morning in Brentwood ahead of the weekend. Pictured: Ben Affleck, Seraphina Rose Elizabeth Affleck, Samuel Garner Affleck BACKGRID USA 31 MAY 2019 BYLINE MUST READ: Boaz / BACKGRID USA: +1 310 798 9111 / usasales@backgrid.com UK: +44 208 344 2007 / uksales@backgrid.com *UK Clients - Pictures Containing Children Please Pixelate Face Prior To Publication*
Ben Affleck was on parent duties (Picture: Backgrid)

Affleck, who played Bruce Wayne in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice and 2017s Justice League, stepped down from the role in January earlier this year – after being originally down to direct and star in his own film.

More: Ben Affleck

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Speaking about his departure in March, Affleck stated how he was never happy with the script they were planning to use.

Brentwood, CA - Ben Affleck was on daddy duty this morning in Brentwood ahead of the weekend. Pictured: Ben Affleck BACKGRID USA 31 MAY 2019 BYLINE MUST READ: Boaz / BACKGRID USA: +1 310 798 9111 / usasales@backgrid.com UK: +44 208 344 2007 / uksales@backgrid.com *UK Clients - Pictures Containing Children Please Pixelate Face Prior To Publication*
Ben Affleck has a number of roles in the pipeline (Picture: Backgrid)
Brentwood, CA - Ben Affleck was on daddy duty this morning in Brentwood ahead of the weekend. Pictured: Ben Affleck, Seraphina Rose Elizabeth Affleck, Samuel Garner Affleck BACKGRID USA 31 MAY 2019 BYLINE MUST READ: Boaz / BACKGRID USA: +1 310 798 9111 / usasales@backgrid.com UK: +44 208 344 2007 / uksales@backgrid.com *UK Clients - Pictures Containing Children Please Pixelate Face Prior To Publication*
Ben Affleck with son Samuel and daughter Seraphina (Picture: Backgrid)

We worked on the script, I was trying to figure out how to cRead More – Source

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