No Spotify or Slack Here — iHeartMedia's Shares Fall as Much as 7% on Its First Day on NASDAQ

Emerging from bankruptcy, iHeartMedia returned to Wall Street yesterday morning.

Unfortunately, the nation’s largest radio broadcaster wasn’t exactly welcomed with open arms.

Now trading under “IHRT” on NASDAQ, investors swiftly punished the stock shortly after embattled top executives Bob Pittman and Rich Bressler rang the Opening Bell.

Choosing a direct listing, the broadcaster’s top executives had aimed for a Spotify-like success.  The company didn’t find it.

Previously traded under “IHTM,” iHeartMedia’s stock soon fell 7.4% from its opening price of $17.

Spinning the company’s recent emergence from bankruptcy in May, Pittman explained iHeartMedia had previously spent too much money on interest payments.

We’ve had a very good operating business, but our capital structure was not in good shape.

Shares fell as low as $15.75.  Prior to the market’s close, however, the company rebounded, closing at $16.50 per share, down 3%.

Underscoring investors’ skepticism of iHeartMedia stock, Justin Patterson, analyst of investment bank Raymond James, asked,

I think the question to be asking there is really the same question we ask of say, a Netflix versus traditional media itself: How exactly does the incumbent player, the one who is at a more mature stage, has traditionally operated through linear delivery channels, or in this case terrestrial radio, how does that pivot in an increasingly digital world?

Revealing why Wall Street readily supported Spotify and Slack, but remained on the fence about iHeartMedia, Evercore ISI’s Kevin Rippey explained,

You have obviously a lot of investor excitement over [Spotify and Slack] given the growth profile and … potential disruption.  iHeart and the broader portfolio of terrestrial radio stations that it controls are a very well understood business and have been around for a long time.”

Prior to its direct listing on NASDAQ, the broadcaster also revealed disheartening numbers.  Last year, iHeartMedia generated $3.6 billion in revenue – flat compared to the previous year.  The company also posted a net loss of $38 million on a pro-forma basis.

 


Featured image by Petteri Sulonen (CC by 2.0).

Netflix’s "Dear White People" Drops Off Final Trailer Before Season 3 Premiere

The trailer for season three Netflix’s Dear White People has arrived and in it, we can see that there will be some serious changes at Winchester University. Off the top, it’s evident that the series lead, Samantha White, takes a break from her Dear White People radio broadcast where her friend, Joelle, takes over.

Netflix's "Dear White People" Drops Off Final Trailer Before Season 3 Premiere
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“My hair is very different,” Logan Browning (who stars as Samantha) previously said her character in season three. “Sam is now focusing on other things. She’s focusing on her documentary. She’s left the radio station. She just doesn’t want to be this mouthpiece, this persona, so she’s really trying to figure out who she is outside this world and she’s having a difficult time because she has been made up the radio station and made up being the on-campus voice.”

Elsewhere in the ficial trailer, an obvious growth in certain character’s lives are taking place such as Lionel Higgins who explores more into his sexuality. The season will also invite some new stars to the roster, with guest features by LaVerne Cox, Blair Underwood, Nicole Brown, Flavor Flav, and creator Justin Simien.

Peep the trailer below and catch season three on Netflix August 2nd. 

Netflix Quietly Settles Its Fyre Festival Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

Court documents filed yesterday reveal that Netflix has reached a settlement to end a lingering copyright dispute.

The lawsuit alleged that the Fyre Festival documentary used video footage without permission.

Clarissa Cardenas — who filmed the footage — sued Netflix and producer Jerry Media in February.  Cardenas alleged the documentary .

A settlement appears to have been reached last month and yesterday, Cardenas voluntarily withdrew the lawsuit.

Court papers on the withdrawal did not offer any details of the agreement.  Neither attorneys for Netflix nor Cardenas returned requests for comment.

The lawsuit was also settled quietly out of court, despite being filed by a noted copyright troll.

Apparently, Cardenas’ lawsuit did not specify which pieces in the Netflix documentary were hers.  The complaint alleges that “Cardenas took a video of the Fyre Festival” and that the “defendants ran the video in the film.”  The filing included a blurry still of the video, which appeared to have been shot on a smartphone.

When the case was filed in February, many people took note of the lawyer.  Richard Liebowitz is a New York attorney who has been called a “copyright troll” by at least one federal judge. He was hit with a new round of sanctions last week.

The failed Fyre Festival was a planned “” in the Bahamas by Billy McFarland.

McFarland was convicted of fraud over his promotion of the Fyre Festival, which bordered on the pathological and resulted in stranded attendees, zero performers, and a lack of necessities on the Bahamian island of Great Exuma.

McFarland received a sentence of six years in prison, though he’s now writing a book about his Fyre Festival experience while behind bars.

Both Netflix and Hulu released documentaries detailing the failed festival in January.

Netflix’s documentary, called Fyre, immediately drew criticism for being produced by Jerry Media.  Jerry Media was a partner agency who helped promote the failed festival through , which might explain the gentle treatment afforded the agency through the doc.

 

Michael Jackson Sexual Abuse Documentary Leaving Neverland Receives Five Emmy Nominations

Both Leaving Neverland and Surviving R. Kelly received Emmy nominations.

Leaving Neverland, the 2019 HBO documentary that tells the story of two individuals who claim that Michael Jackson sexually abused them as children, has received five Emmy nominations: Outstanding Directing, Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Overall Picture, all in the Documentary/Nonfiction program section.

The 2019 Emmy Awards will take place on September 22nd and will air on Fox from 8-11 PM EST (5-8 PM PST).

Additionally, Surviving R. Kelly, a multipart Lifetime documentary that explores allegations of sexual abuse that R. Kelly is said to have committed, received one Emmy nomination, for Outstanding Informational Series or Special.  Surviving R. Kelly was a commercial success and a major influencer of public opinion.

Kelly was charged with sexual abuse crimes at the state level earlier this year, and last week, Kelly was arrested for federal sex-crimes charges.

The lawyers for Michael Jackson’s estate vehemently denied the accusations made in Leaving Neverland, and an additional documentary, Michael Jackson: Chase the Truth, will be released on August 13th; the work will aim to disprove the allegations made in Leaving Neverland.

Chase the Truth is being distributed by Amazon and will debut on a multitude of on-demand video services.

Moreover, R. Kelly and his lawyers have also denied the charges, and it’s worth mentioning that in 2008, a jury found Kelly not guilty on 14 of 14 similar counts.  Kelly is currently being jailed — he was labeled a threat to the community and was refused bond — and will reappear in court on September 4th.

Beyonce’s Netflix special, Homecoming, was also nominated for six Emmys. Also, Sara Bareilles received a nomination for her songwriting contributions to CBS’s Tony Awards. Despite being nominated in the past, both women are trying to secure their first Emmy award.

Jamie Foxx Perfects Dave Chappelle Impression On "Comedians In Cars"

Dave Chappelle and Jamie Foxx are two the funniest men on the planet. They’ve each had historic careers and they’re still striving with Chappelle recently contributing to a couple Netflix specials last year. With the upcoming season Comedians In Cars Getting Cfee getting ready to hit the streaming service soon, Jerry Seinfeld and his team producers have been sharing quick teasers to let us know what we can expect from the next iteration the show. The new season is set to include appearances from Eddie Murphy, Seth Rogen, Ricky Gervais, and more and today, a clip featuring Jamie Foxx and his spot-on impression Dave Chappelle hit the internet.

Jamie Foxx Perfects Dave Chappelle Impression On "Comedians In Cars"
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Many us still spend our nights watching Chappelle Show reruns — that’s how influential the comedian is and was. While Chappelle isn’t expected to be a central component the next season Comedians In Cars, we will at least hear him crack a few jokes Jamie Foxx. Sitting with Seinfeld at a diner, Jamie Foxx started talking about Dave Chappelle when he pulled out a pretty solid impression from out nowhere. 

In an exclusive clip Entertainment Weekly, Foxx pitches his voice an octave higher to try out his Chappelle impression, nailing it right on the head. He explains that the key to actually perfecting the voice came from the addition some strong vocabulary, noting that “he always uses a very intelligent word to go with his hood talk].”

Watch the video below to see what he’s talking about. Comedians In Cars Getting Cfee premieres on July 19.

Caleb McLaughlin Says "Stranger Things" Season Four Isn’t A Sure Thing

Season three  Stranger Things arrived a couple weeks ago and broke Netflix’s streaming record in the process, by no surprise at all. Many fans have surely finished watching the season in full, which means talk when season four will be arriving is at an all-time high. Caleb McLaughlin, who plays Lucas in the series, recently spoke with Entertainment Weekly and explained how the future the show is solely up to the creators, Matt and Ross Duffer. 

“It’s all up to the Duffers and the writers if they want to keep going,” Caleb explained to the publication. “Maybe they want to stop now. Maybe they don’t want to give anyone another season. Maybe they just want to leave you guys hanging like that. I talk to people about this all the time, we can literally leave you guys hanging on the Upside Down.”

Caleb McLaughlin Says "Stranger Things" Season Four Isn't A Sure Thing
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Caleb further discussed the future his character and how Lucas will have to be there for his girlfreind Max since her brother Billy died at the end the season. “Definitely, I mean he probably has to be there for her,” he added. “He seems very clueless in Season 3 about just being a boyfriend in general, so he needs to take it up a notch and be more mature in those moments.”

As for the possible season four, Caleb admits that Lucas may get in trouble for not knowing how to be there for Max considering how young they are, but overall it “would be pretty interesting to see.”

"Stranger Things" Newcomer Cary Elwes Says Character Is Not Based On Trump

Season three Netflix’s Stranger Things has finally arrived which means many you are well aware the newest character Larry Kline, who’s the selfish mayor the fictional town Hawkins, Indiana. Cary Elwes stars as the character and has already done some responding to fans since people called out his fictional campaign for its resemblance to Donald Trump’s.

“I think that somehow got picked up by a reporter and people ran with it, but that has no bearing on our current president whatsoever,” Cary told The Huffington Post about the assumed correlation. “I mean, I don’t know where anyone saw orange makeup? But I certainly didn’t see any. No, he just happened to be a politician who is very self-centered, and is very driven by material things, but it’s not a comment on the president at all.”

"Stranger Things" Newcomer Cary Elwes Says Character Is Not Based On Trump
Charley Gallay/Getty s 

Cary detailed to the publication further just how the role was pitched to him from the show’s creators, The Duffer Brothers.

“They] told me that they wanted me to play this character and allowed me to pick and choose between a number politicians on my own, which I ran by them, and make it a combination people as I chose fit,” he explained.

“They basically wanted to make a comment on how politics play in the story. Because you have a character like Hopper, played wonderfully by David Harbour, who is a man who deeply cares about the community. And in stark contrast, you have a mayor who basically couldn’t care less.”

Netflix Snags DC Comics "Sandman" Drama Series

Netflix has recently snagged DC Comics’ Sandman as part its upcoming series to be produced and released on the streaming platform. According to the Hollywood Reporter, sources inform that Netflix has signed a massive financial deal with Warner Bros to get the graphic novel adapted into a live-action series. Accordingly, the drama was picked up and will consist a total 11 episodes. Thus far, the upcoming TV series is considered to be the most expensive DC has ever done. Allain Heinberg (Grey’s Anatomy, Wonder Woman) is set to both write the show and serve as showrunner on the straight-to-series drama. New Line previously attempted to convert the Gaiman-monthly comic into a film but failed.

Netflix Snags DC Comics "Sandman" Drama Series

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A VP at Netflix shared the following: “We’re thrilled to partner with the brilliant team that is Neil Gaiman, David S. Goyer, and Allan Heinberg to finally bring Neil’s iconic comic book series, The Sandman, to life onscreen. From its rich characters and storylines to its intricately built-out worlds, we’re excited to create an epic original series that dives deep into this multi-layered universe beloved by fans around the world.” The Sandman series will take after Gaiman’s horror fantasy and mythology tale about Morpheus, the Lord Dreams, and the Endless, a powerful group siblings which include Death, Despair, Destruction, Desire, Delirium, and Dream.

Aziz Ansari Announces Netflix Return With Stand-Up Special Directed By Spike Jonze

Lo and behold, Aziz Ansari has bounced back from the uncertainty that arose from the allegations made against him in January 2018. Without so much as a drumroll, Ansari broke the news: his imminent return to Netflix on July 9, by way a stand-up special, directed by the one and only Spike Jonze.

As you can see, the clip depicts the comedian in a variety intimate vignettes that set up the final taping the stand-up special. Netflix’s recruitment Ansari marks the first time since the allegations first came to light – that he’s participated in a creative project any kind, be it television, film, or the good old stand-up grind (for the most part).

If you’ll recall, the woman’s allegations against Anzari were uncovered by Babe.net, in fering a platform to speak candidly about her alleged experience with Ansari. It took a month for Aziz to respond to her claims, but when he did, it came at the cost his own mortification. “There were times I felt really upset and humiliated and embarrassed, and ultimately I just felt terrible this person felt this way,” he admitted during a comedy gig in February 2018. Needless to say, without the woman’s consent, I highly doubt Ansari will speak the incident during his comedy special. Will you be tuning in on July 9th?

Aziz Ansari Announces Netflix Return With Stand-Up Special Directed By Spike Jonze

Rick Diamond/Getty s

Mary J. Blige Inks First-Look TV Deal With Lionsgate

Mary J. Blige‘s acting career has been hot as late. She was perfect in Netflix’s Umbrella Academy, stunning in Mudbound, and she been making appearances all over in series such as Black-ish, Scream: The TV Series, Empire, and more. Now, Billboard is reporting that the super popular singer/songwriter/producer/actress has signed a first look deal with Lionsgate studio.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be working with Lionsgate,” stated Blige the union. “They are incredible collaborators and have been natural partners from when we first started talking. I can’t wait to bring all our projects to life.”

Lionsgate Television Group chairman Kevin Beggs also commented, stating, “Mary is a very talented artist, fearless visionary and an incredible human being. We’re delighted to be working with someone with such a powerful and impactful creative voice. Every art she touches blossoms, and we’re humbled she’s chosen us as her home. We look forward to all the exciting new content Mary and her Blue Butterfly banner will bring to our television slate and Lionsgate 360 orbit.” The first look TV deal with Lionsgate will develop and produce series through Blige’s recently launched Blue Butterfly Productions. The deal also gives Blige the power to create content for the studio’s collection platforms.

Mary J. Blige's Blue Butterfly Inks a First-Look Production Deal With Lionsgate

Critically acclaimed singer and songwriter Mary J. Blige has signed a first-look agreement with Lionsgate.

Blige recently founded the production company, Blue Butterfly Productions, which reportedly received interest from several different companies.

The 48-year-old ultimately opted to partner with Lionsgate, which is now first in line to develop her television shows. The financial details of the contract were not released publicly.

Mary J. Blige rose to international stardom shortly after releasing her debut album, What’s the 411?, in 1992. To date, she has sold more than 80 million records and has received a plethora of Grammys, American Music Awards, and Billboard Music Awards.

Despite her considerable success in the world of music, Mary J. Blige has also recorded some substantial achievements in the film and television industries, and to be sure, after 30 years of making hit tracks, she has found a lucrative second career in acting.

She starred in 2017’s Mudbound and appeared in MTV’s Scream, and she currently stars in The Umbrella Academy, which debuted in February 2019 and has been renewed for a second season by Netflix.

The show(s) being crafted by Blue Butterfly Productions haven’t been revealed.  Lionsgate also owns Starz, a subscription-based television network.

It’ll be interesting to see how the agreement progresses and, moreover, what the coming months and years bring for Mary J. Blige, who has the potential to be involved in some very big — and very successful — entertainment projects.

Lastly, it should be emphasized that Blige hasn’t turned her back on the music world. On the contrary, she is currently set to embark on a 22-stop tour with Nas. The Royalty Tour will kick off on July 11th, and Blige’s next album is expected to drop soon.

Meanwhile, the music world continues to feed a steady stream of talent into the film and TV worlds.  That includes T.I., who just signed on with Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment about the water crisis in Flint, MI.

"Orange Is The New Black" Final Season Trailer Unveiled By Netflix

After seven seasons, the Netflix original series Orange Is The New Black is finally coming to a close. The movie and television show platform has unveiled the trailer to the upcoming final season and we can surely expect quite the emotional roller coaster. Indeed, the two-minute trailer fully reflected that the show would be closing with a bang. Thus far, from the trailer, we find our series lead Piper as she attempts to adjust to the life outside bars. On the other hand, Taystee is dealing with a life sentence as her friendship with Candy hangs by the thread. Gloria and the rest the kitchen staff must face the harsh realities tied to the Polycon’s company newest prit stream. You can check out the trailer below for more teasers. The final season is due to arrive on Netflix soon, on July 26th. 

To note, Netflix announced it would cancelling OITNB last year. “After seven seasons, it’s time to be released from prison. I will miss all the badass ladies Litchfield and the incredible crew we’ve worked with. My heart is orange but fade to black,” were the words shared by the series creator Jenji Kohan, who based the show on her real-life experiences. 

George Clooney To Direct Netflix Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction Movie

Netflix just tapped George Clooney for a science fiction movie he is set to star and fully direct. The Netflix-special will be a Post-apocalyptic movie will be an adaptation Lily Brooks-Dalton’s Good Morning, Midnight which follows the journey a lonely scientist named Augustine who is stationed in the Arctic and desperately attempting to connect another human being after the apocalypse. The story will parallel that Sullivan, an astronaut on a spacecraft returning to Earth from Jupiter, who experiences similar struggles as she tries to return home. At some point, their stories will intertwine. Clooney is excited to direct the sci-fi thriller.

George Clooney To Direct Netflix Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction Movie

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“Grant and I couldn’t be more excited to be involved with this incredible project. Mark is a writer we’ve long admired and his script is haunting. We’re thrilled to be working with our friends at Netflix as well,” shared Clooney. Netflix will be the lucky recipient the highly-anticipated film which continues to emphasize the platform’s influence in the industry as late. Clearly, Netflix is becoming a big player in the game with prior movie productions and collaborations with A-list actors like Ben Affleck, Sandra Bullock, Will Smith, and Keanu Reeves. We now look forward to this George Clooney-directed project. 

"Jessica Jones" Star Krysten Ritter Talks Chances Of Reprising Role

The final Netflix/Marvel show has taken its final bow. Jessica Jones is the last Marvel show on Netflix to air, after all five series were canceled. Iron Fist was the first to get the ax, then Luke Cage, Daredevil, and The Punisher followed. Krysten Ritter did an immaculate job bringing the stubborn and moody Jones to life, fering a complex take on the superpowered detective. Now that the third and final season has aired, one lingering question remains. Will Hulu or another streaming service save any the Netflix/Marvel shows? If so, can we expect to see Ritter as Jones again? She doesn’t think so.

“Do I think I’ll play her again? I don’t think so,” Ritter told TVLine. “I feel like I’ve played her, you know? I feel really good about it. I feel good about closing the door.” Ritter has expressed her love for Jessica Jones, but also her need to switch things up. Showrunner Melissa Rosenberg echoed Ritter’s views, stating, “I feel like this is a really complete, closed chapter. I mean, never say never. But I feel ready to tell all new stories.” With Disney launching their own streaming service later this year, it’s unlikely that Netflix’s Marvel shows will be continued. 

Netflix Drops Off Action-Packed "Point Black" Trailer With Anthony Mackie

Summer is finally here in full and while that should mean more time spent outside, in the park, at a lake or whatever outdoor excursion you prefer, Netflix is making the idea staying in and watching a movie seem very appealing. Anticipated content is hitting the platform every other day and the latest example what’s to come is the action film Point Blank.  

The ficial trailer arrived today that shows the risk Anthony Mackie’s character has to go through to get his family and unborn child back safe and sound.

Netflix Drops Off Action-Packed "Point Black" Trailer With Anthony Mackie
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty s

“When his pregnant wife is kidnapped and held as collateral, Paul, an ER nurse, must team with the badly injured career criminal and murder suspect under his charge in order to save the lives his wife and unborn child. Pitted against rival gangs and a deadly ring corrupt cops, the unlikely duo find a way to survive together in the fight their lives,” the synopsis reads.

The movie premieres on Netflix on July 12th. Peep the ficial trailer below and let us know if you’re adding it to your list must-watch content.