- - Thursday, October 11, 2012

Netflix will offer closed captions on all TV and movie content by September 2014 as part of a settlement with a deaf Massachusetts viewer who sued the company.

The on-demand Internet streaming service agreed to the settlement Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Springfield, Mass., according to The Associated Press.

Closed captions currently are available on 90 percent of Netflix’s content, as measured by hours watched.

“Netflix has always been the leader in this, but it’s a tall order to offer high-quality captioning on such a broad range of devices,” spokesman Jonathan Friedland said.

In the meantime, the company will display a list of available close-captioned content.

Captions can be displayed on a majority of the more than 1,000 devices, from computers to video game consoles, on which Netflix is available. But many devices and operating systems, such as Google’s Android, did not exist when the company gained traction in the early 2000s.

Massachusetts resident Lee Nettles, along with national and regional associations for the deaf and hearing impaired, sued Netflix in 2010 under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination based on disability.

Other online streaming providers, including Hulu and Amazon, also have been trying to increase their captioned programming.

ABC’s Robin Roberts homeafter marrow transplant

ABC’s Robin Roberts has come home from the hospital three weeks after undergoing a bone-marrow transplant.

After thanking her doctors and nurses and singing “Amen,” the “Good Morning America” host began the next stage of recovery from MDS, a blood and bone marrow disease. Her sister was the donor for her bone marrow, according to The Associated Press.

While leaving the hospital after a month is a big first step, Ms. Roberts’ doctor explained it still will take time for the patient to gather strength and build up her immune system.

“Good Morning America,” now the top-rated network morning show, aired a story about Wednesday’s homecoming. The show has brought in guest hosts, including Ann Romney, Stephen Colbert and the cast of “Modern Family,” to fill in for Ms. Roberts.

‘30 Rock’s‘ John Lutzhas book in the works

John Lutz must be a masochist.

The “30 Rock” actor has some big plans after the series ends: writing a book. On “30 Rock,” Mr. Lutz plays a guy named Lutz, a staff writer for the show-within-a-show who is constantly subjected to insults and scorn. That’ll provide solid training for his work on the book.

Called “The Lutz Experiment,” it will team him with Jami Zaki, a Stanford psychologist who will subject him to a series of psychological experiments, which they hope will create more self-awareness and popularize the field, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Mr. Lutz majored in psychology at Valparaiso University.

“I try to do things that scare me,” Mr. Lutz told The New York Times. “Even the idea of writing a book scared me. My wife had to be like, ‘I think you should do this — it would be really good for you.’ But I’ve never done that before, and it’s terrifying.”

A Second City alum, Mr. Lutz wrote for “Saturday Night Live” before acting on “30 Rock.” “30 Rock” ends its seven-year run this season.

‘Idol’ winner Phillips partof show honoring Dalai Lama

“American Idol” season 11 winner Phillip Phillips joined a diverse cross section of musicians honoring Tibet’s Dalai Lama at the One World concert held in New York on Tuesday night.

The all-star lineup, which included Mr. Phillips’ personal idol Dave Matthews, was held at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The event also featured Cyndi Lauper, David Crosby and Roberta Flack and was broadcast live on AXS TV.

Mr. Phillips performed his hit “Home” and was met by screaming fans.

“I just want to say it’s an honor to be here for such a great cause bringing us all here together,” he said of the event honoring Tibet’s spiritual leader.

Portions of the proceeds from the show will go toward a scholarship in Bassel Shahade’s name. Shahade was a Syracuse University graduate student killed in Syria in May while filming a documentary about the conflict there.

Mr. Phillips also joined many artists for a performance of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” The concert coincided with Lennon’s birthday.

‘Toddlers & Tiaras’ starcast in ‘Little Rascals’

Universal Studios Home Entertainment is bringing back “The Little Rascals,” the adventures of misfit kids who first took the world by storm in the 1920s and ‘30s with black-and-white shorts produced by Hal Roach.

Doris Roberts, Greg Germann and Lex Medlin are among the adult stars who have been cast in the still-untitled straight-to-home feature that starts shooting this week.

And while the roles of scheming rascal Spanky, the dreamer Alfalfa and the enigmatic Buckwheat have yet to be cast or are going to unknowns, the part of Darla, the cute little girl who is the object of Alfalfa’s affection has gone to Eden Wood, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Eden was the star of “Toddlers & Tiaras,” TLC’s show about beauty pageant queens. She then went on to star in her own spinoff, “Eden’s World,” which ran on Logo and followed her as she tried to make it big in show business in New York.

Alex Zamm, who directed “Inspector Gadget 2” and “Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2,” is directing the movie.



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