Saturday, December 21, 2013

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A&E Up Against The Mighty Ducks and A Hard Whistle from the Family and Fans

'Duck Dynasty' Clan Warns Show Could End - No Sixth Season

Image: 'Duck Dynasty' Clan Warns Show Could End
Friday, 20 Dec 2013 09:12 AM
By Drew MacKenzie
"Duck Dynasty" is in danger of going off the air after the Robertson clan warned that they "cannot imagine" doing the A&E series without patriarch Phil Robertson who has been suspended indefinitely.

While one million people are supporting a proposed boycott of the show, the family released a statement on their Duck Commander website, saying they are in talks with the A&E cable channel over the future of the reality show blockbuster, Fox News reported Friday.

"We want to thank all of you for your prayers and support," said the Robertsons. "The family has spent much time in prayer since learning of A&E's decision. We want you to know that first and foremost we are a family rooted in our faith in God and our belief that the Bible is His word.

"While some of Phil’s unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible. Phil is a Godly man who follows what the Bible says are the greatest commandments: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart' and 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'

"Phil would never incite or encourage hate. We are disappointed that Phil has been placed on hiatus for expressing his faith, which is his constitutionally protected right.

"We have had a successful working relationship with A&E but, as a family, we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm. We are in discussions with A&E to see what that means for the future of Duck Dynasty. Again, thank you for your continued support of our family."

The series, one of the most popular on cable, is due to return for its fifth season on Jan. 15, with many episodes already filmed. But now it is not known whether a sixth season will be made.

Robertson was suspended after bluntly expressing his opinion on homosexuality in an interview with GQ magazine.

Asked what he considered sinful behavior, he said, “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.”

Paraphrasing a passage from Corinthians, he added, “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

A&E quickly decided to pull Robertson from the filming of the fifth season indefinitely while also declaring that his personal views do not represent those of the network, which has always been "strong supporters of the LGBT community."

Robertson's controversial remarks have sparked a national debate over freedom of speech and freedom of religion. His comments were condemned by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), but conservative Republicans, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, have come to his defense.

Duck Dynasty viewers have also weighed in. Over one million people have "liked" the Facebook page set up to demand Robertson's return to the show, called "Boycott A&E Until Phil Robertson is Put Back on Duck Dynasty."

"This page is to show support for the freedom of speech of Americans. Unless Phil is reinstated to the show, we refuse to watch the A&E channel," it reads, according to the CBS local affiliate in Houston.

According to CNN, 70,000 people have also signed a petition calling for Robertson to be brought back. The petition reads, "Freedom of speech along with freedom of religion is being attacked every single day in this country. Phil Robertson simply stated what his convictions are. Homosexuals have their convictions and Christians respect them."

But GLAAD takes a different view.

"What’s clear is that such hateful anti-gay comments are unacceptable to fans, viewers, and networks alike," said spokesperson Wilson Cruz. "By taking quick action and removing Robertson from future filming, A&E has sent a strong message that discrimination is neither a Christian nor an American value."

In his GQ interview, Robertson also made incendiary remarks about black people, prompting outrage from the NAACP.

"I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person," Robertson said in the interview, speaking about his state of Louisiana. "Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues."

The NAACP and the Human Rights Campaign have written a joint letter to the president of A&E expressing their "outrage and deep concern about the recent racist, homophobic, and ill-informed remarks made by Phil Robertson."

"Mr. Robertson claims that, from what he saw, African Americans were happier under Jim Crow. What he didn't see were lynching and beatings of black men and women for attempting to vote or simply walking down the street," the letter stated, according to CNN.

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

‘Bonnie & Clyde’ Mini Delivers 9.8 Million Viewers for A&E Networks

‘Bonnie & Clyde’ Mini Delivers 9.8 Million Viewers for A&E Networks

TV | By  on December 9, 2013 @ 10:33 am

‘Bonnie & Clyde’ Mini Delivers 9.8 Million Viewers for A&E Networks
Joseph Viles
Sunday’s premiere also scored 4.2 million viewers in the key 25-54 demo and dominated social media
Simulcast over three cable channels, Sunday’s premiere of A&E’s “Bonnie & Clyde” miniseries earned 9.8 million total viewers.
Additionally, the airing over Lifetime, A&E and History Channel attracted 4.2 million viewers in the networks’ key demographic Adults 25-54. That makes it the third-best miniseries opening ever on cable for total viewers since 2006’s “Broken Trail.” History’s “Hatfields & McCoys” and “The Bible” hold the top two spots.
It also dominated on social media. “Bonnie & Clyde” was the most tweeted program of the day, according to Nielsen SocialGuide (excluding sports programs). It also ranked No. 1 in Google Trends for Sunday, with more than 500,000 searches.
Interest in the series drove more than 420,000 visitors to A+E Networks sites and apps, according to Adobe Analytics.
The two-part miniseries starring “Borgias” actress Holliday Grainger and “Milk’s” Emile Hirsch in the title roles follows the notorious criminals as their lives intersect and then together go on a crime spree that captures America’s fascination in the 1930s.
Produced by Sony Pictures and executive-produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, it also stars Holly Hunter, William Hurt, Sarah Hyland and Lane Garrison.
Part 2 of “Bonnie & Clyde” airs Monday at 9/8c on A&E, Lifetime and History.

Monday, December 9, 2013

North Korea's Kim Jong Un ousts his second in command

By Jung-yoon Choi and Barbara Demick December 8, 2013, 8:46 p.m.

 Jang Sung Taek, an uncle of Kim Jong Un, is removed from all his posts and labeled a criminal. He helped groom Kim to lead North Korea and was seen as relatively liberal.

 SEOUL — In a palace intrigue that could shake the foundations of North Korea, 30-year-old leader Kim Jong Un has purged from the leadership the powerful uncle who had been his de facto regent for the last two years, North Korean news media confirmed Monday. Declaring that Jang Sung Taek was "soaked with the capitalist lifestyle," the Korea Central News Agency reported that he had been removed from all his posts and expelled from the governing Workers' Party. Jang, 67, had been seen as a moderating influence on the young Kim. North Korean state news outlets said the political bureau of the Workers' Party met Saturday and "adopted a written decision to dismiss Jang from all of his positions and release him from the party."

Kim reportedly attended the meeting.  South Korea's state spy agency, the National Intelligence Service, reported last week that Jang appeared to have been ousted from his position as vice chairman of the National Defense Commission, citing the recent public execution of two of his close confidants.

 In its report, KCNA said: "Jang Sung Taek's gang has carried out anti-party, anti-revolutionary factional activities that undermine the party's solidarity and sole-leadership system. Their crimes, which are antigovernment and against the people, are enormously harmful." The government news service said Jang had been "leading a corruptive life, abusing his power."

 "The criminal activities Jang Sung Taek and his followers have carried out is beyond imagination," it said. The purge suggests that Kim believes he has sufficiently consolidated his rule to take the gamble of dumping one of the most potent figures in the North Korean leadership. Jang is Kim's uncle by marriage: His wife, Kim Kyong Hui, is the younger sister and the only full sibling of Kim Jong Un's father, Kim Jong Il, who died in December 2011. For more than decade, Jang had been seen as a relative liberal in the hard-line communist government and a possible alternative leader. He visited Seoul in 2002 and impressed South Koreans with his economic savvy. Kim Jong Il purged him in 2004 but later brought him back as an advisor to groom Kim Jong Un, then still in his 20s, to assume the leadership.

 "Regents seldom end well. If they are smart, they know when to retire and they get a nice castle and a beautiful concubine, but they are seldom smart enough to do so," said Andrei Lankov, a Seoul-based North Korea scholar. Jang's influence was also waning because of the poor health of his wife, who is believed to be an alcoholic and suffering from acute liver disease. "Because Kim Jong Un has blood lines with Kim Kyong Hui, Jang's wife, it is unlikely that he will try to get rid of her as well," said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul. But, he said, "the chances of Jang's return to politics are extremely low. The reasons of his dismissal are corruption and anti-state activities, not to forget 'challenging the top leader.'" His downfall lay in the rivalry between two security agencies: the Ministry of People's Security, which was controlled by Jang, and a ministry that reported to the Organization and Guidance Department of the Workers' Party, directly controlled by Kim Jong Un, suggested New Focus International, a website devoted to North Korea news and analysis.

 Jang was "pursuing economic reform and opening" and "attempted personal diplomacy with the outside world," the report said. Jang often circumvented the Foreign Ministry, and he organized a Nov. 7 meeting with retired Japanese wrestler and politician Antonio Inoki. That was his last public appearance. The most immediate beneficiary of Jang's removal appears to be 63-year-old Choe Ryong Hae, a vice marshal, who was the leadership's envoy to meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping last spring.

 The purge, however, could augur instability in the leadership, as Jang was a popular figure who embodied many people's hopes for economic reform. "He was easy to get along with and took good care of those around him, so some people will be very unhappy or even annoyed at his removal," Choi Jin Yong, a defector and former provincial official, told the online news service Daily NK. "North Korea is a society of fear. So a lot of Jang Sung Taek's people will probably suffer in this round of purges."

 On Saturday, North Korean state TV showed a version of a documentary on Kim Jong Un's military trips; Jang had been removed from all its scenes. Jang had appeared in a version that aired Oct. 28. Special correspondent Choi reported from Seoul and Times staff writer Demick from Beijing. Copyright © 2013, Los Angeles Times