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Tuning In to TV: ‘Bachelor’ discrimination suit tossed out by federal judge

- - Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A federal judge Monday dismissed a case filed by two black men who claimed ABC's "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" discriminated against casting participants of color.

U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger's ruling states that casting decisions by the network and the series' producers are protected by the First Amendment and the case should not continue, The Associated Press reported.

Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson sued the network in April, claiming their bids to appear on "The Bachelor" were never given serious consideration. They asserted that the show and its spinoff "The Bachelorette" discriminated against nonwhite participants.

Judge Trauger's ruling calls the plaintiffs' efforts "laudable" but says the lawsuit is aimed at regulating the show's content, which is forbidden under the First Amendment.

"Ultimately, whatever messages 'The Bachelor' and 'The Bachelorette' communicate or are intended to communicate — whether explicitly, implicitly, intentionally or otherwise — the First Amendment protects the right of the producers of these shows to craft and control those messages, based on whatever considerations the producers wish to take into account," Judge Trauger wrote.

ABC praised the ruling, saying, "We felt from the onset this case was completely without merit and we are pleased the Court has found in our favor."

An email sent to attorney Byron Perkins, who represented Mr. Claybrooks and Mr. Johnson, was not immediately returned.

At the time of the suit filing, all of the men given star billing in the first 16 seasons of "The Bachelor" were white. Through seven seasons of "The Bachelorette," two Hispanic contestants were selected winners and the rest were white.

CBS chief Leslie Moonves gets new 5-year contract

Leslie Moonves has a new five-year contract with broadcaster CBS that extends his term as chief executive officer through June 2017.

The deal announced Monday replaces a contract that was to expire in February 2015.

CBS said 63-year-old Mr. Moonves' salary will remain the same and he still will be eligible for an annual bonus and stock grants.

In 2011, his pay package rose 20 percent to $68.4 million, a sum that ranks him among the nation's highest-paid corporate executives.

At the end of his contract, Mr. Moonves can choose to be an executive adviser to CBS for another four years. He also has the option to establish a production company using the CBS brand during that time.

Sumner Redstone, the executive chairman and controlling shareholder of CBS Corp., hailed the deal as "terrific news for CBS and all of its constituencies."

CBS' stock is up about 25 percent so far this year as the result of an advertising rebound, higher fees from pay TV distributors and deals to place its older shows on online services such as Netflix.

'Bachelorette' wedding to be aired on ABC

Former "Bachelorette" Ashley Hebert will have quite a wedding video.

Miss Hebert and fiance J.P. Rosenbaum have signed a deal with ABC to record their marriage ceremony, The Associated Press reported.

"The Bachelorette: Ashley and J.P.'s Wedding" will air in December. It will include everything from Miss Hebert's dress fitting and wedding planning to the bachelor and bachelorette parties.

Miss Hebert competed for Brad Womack's affections on the 15th season of "The Bachelor." She was then chosen to be the next "Bachelorette." The dating reality show aired last year.

Miss Hebert, 28, is a dentist in Philadelphia. Mr. Rosenbaum, 35, works in construction in New York.

Taping is under way for the next season of "The Bachelor," with 24 women competing for the affection of Dallas businessman Sean Lowe. The new season will premiere in January.

Fey, Poehler to co-host Golden Globes show

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are teaming up for the Golden Globes.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Dick Clark Productions and NBC announced Monday that the pair of "30 Rock" and "Parks and Recreation" stars have agreed to host the 70th annual Golden Globes ceremony. They follow British comedian Ricky Gervais' three-year reign as the show's acerbic emcee.

"The unparalleled comedic timing of Tina and Amy will surely have viewers wanting to tune in to see them in action," said Aida Takla-O'Reilly, president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which honors film and TV at the Beverly Hills Hilton ceremony in California. "The HFPA is thrilled to have the magnetic duo be a part of the show's 70th anniversary!"

The pair previously starred together in the films "Mean Girls" and "Baby Mama" and on "Saturday Night Live." They co-hosted the NBC sketch comedy series' "Weekend Update" segment from 2004 to 2006.

"Having both Tina Fey and Amy Poehler on board to host this year's festivities is a major coup," said Paul Telegdy, president of alternative and late night programming at NBC. "Tina and Amy have a proven chemistry and comedic timing from their many years together on 'SNL' to their successful co-starring roles in 'Baby Mama.'"

Miss Poehler's "Parks and Recreation" is currently in its fifth season on NBC, while Miss Fey's "30 Rock" is airing its seventh and final season on the network.

This year's Golden Globes ceremony was watched by 16.8 million TV viewers, finishing within 1 percent of the 17 million viewers who tuned in to the 2011 broadcast, according to the Nielsen Co.

The Globes usually are handed out about a week before the Academy Award nominations are announced, but that won't be the case next year. The motion-picture academy has moved up the Oscar nominations announcement to Jan. 10 — three days before the Globes are set to air Jan. 13. The earlier date announcing the nominations for the 85th annual Academy Awards, which will be hosted Feb. 24 by "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane, could steal attention away from the Golden Globes.