Mr. Beck’s TheBlaze, an Internet TV network, will be home to “Pursuit of the Truth,” a show that essentially is a competition among filmmakers vying for financing to create a documentary. The grand prize includes worldwide distribution for their creation.
During the 10-week competition, contestants could be asked to create sizzle reels, execute key interviews for their proposed projects or pitch scenes to a panel of judges.
“Our goal is to create a powerful annual platform to help filmmakers tell important and engaging stories,” said Peter Billingsley, a Wild West principal. Mr. Billingsley is a producer and actor best known for his 1983 role as BB-gun-loving Ralphie in “A Christmas Story.”
TheBlaze offers a full slate of online programming from a conservative, usually patriotic perspective, that also is available to DishNetwork subscribers.
“Pursuit of the Truth” producers are seeking contestants’ entries through Jan. 31 at www.pursuitofthetruth.com.
PBS executives unworried by delay for ‘Downton’
PBS will bow the third season of “Downton Abbey” into the teeth of a social-media maelstrom where spoilers are rampant and the show’s rabid fans regularly trade critiques via Twitter. But PBS executives say they are not concerned about the possible deleterious effect of airing two months after the show has premiered in the United Kingdom.
“The ‘Downton’ audience is very loyal,” Beth Hoppe, PBS‘ vice president of programming, told The Hollywood Reporter. “They’re coming back no matter what, and they’re unlikely to be jumping on the Internet and trying to watch it illegally,” like viewers of younger-skewing PBS fare including “Sherlock” and “Call the Midwife,” which also are U.K.-based co-productions.
“Downton” wrapped its third season in November on Britain’s ITV1 with more than 10 million viewers an episode, factoring in delayed and on-demand viewing. The hotly anticipated seven-episode third season bows Jan. 6 on PBS and will feature Shirley MacLaine sparring with Maggie Smith’s dowager Countess of Grantham.
“Downton” has brought PBS awards (three Emmys out of 16 nominations) and viewers. (Season two doubled PBS‘ average viewership, and the finale was watched by 5.4 million viewers, the public broadcaster’s biggest single telecast audience in nearly three years.) And despite the potential spoiler effects of a globally connected media universe that has only gained steam since the second season of “Downton” aired a year ago, PBS executives are expecting another strong performance for their top-rated drama.
“The audiences for ‘Downton’ have been terrific,” said John Wilson, senior vice president and PBS‘ chief programming executive. “So you can’t say that [airing months earlier in the United Kingdom] has knocked the legs out from underneath 'Downton Abbey.' On the other hand, we can’t know how much more terrific it might have been had it aired closer to the U.K. premiere.”
Mr. Wilson said PBS is assessing the possibility of airing the fourth season of ‘Downton’ closer to its U.K. premiere. Of course, there are issues with that as well, including the lag time it takes for episodes to be recut without commercial breaks for PBS and the risks of airing the series in the noisy fall season, when broadcast and many cable networks are premiering a glut of new and returning shows.
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