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Benedict Cumberbatch Writes Touching Letter to Family of ‘Sherlock’ Fan

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Break out the tissues — Benedict Cumberbatch wrote a letter to the grieving family of 14-year-old “Sherlock” fan Eve Shepherd after hearing about her death. In the letter, Cumberbatch apologized for missing her funeral because he was “filming the show she loved.” “It was absolutely unbelievable,” her father, Mark Shepherd, told People. “We know that… Read more »

How ‘The Duff’ Used Social Media, YouTube Stars to Rally Teen Girls

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“The Duff,” a low-budget high school comedy from CBS Films and Lionsgate, shows that Twitter, YouTube and other social-media platforms can be deployed to get 21st century teenagers interested in something as comparatively old fashioned as a movie. The film opened to $10.8 million, a respectable number for a production that cost $8.5 million to… Read more »

‘Midnight Rider’ First A.D. to Get Separate Trial

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Hillary Schwartz, the first assistant director on “Midnight Rider,” will get a separate trial from three other defendants who also face charges of criminal trespass and involuntary manslaughter stemming from the Feb. 20, 2014, accident on the movie’s set near Jesup, Ga., according to the Associated Press. Director Randall Miller, producer Jody Savin and executive… Read more »

Fox News Channel’s ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ Surges in Ratings

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“The O’Reilly Factor” has long been the most popular program in cable news, and the controversy surrounding host Bill O’Reilly’s war-reporting experiences has only helped elevate the show’s ratings. Wednesday night’s “Factor” delivered easily the program’s largest audience of 2015 in the key news demo of adults 25-54 (705,000) — up 24% week-to-week, up 62%… Read more »

‘House of Cards’ Sees Unusual Social-Media Spike Ahead of Season 3

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Netflix original series “House of Cards” continues to strengthen its foundation with a surge of social-media fans ahead of the premiere of the show’s third season, which bows Friday. “House of Cards” has acquired double the number of social-media fans ahead of its third season than it had ahead of its second season — quite… Read more »

Riley Keough Cast in Starz’s ‘The Girlfriend Experience’ From Steven Soderbergh

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Riley Keough has been cast in Starz’s original anthology series “The Girlfriend Experience,” the cabler announced Thursday. Keough, the granddaughter of Elvis Presley, will star as Christine Reade, a University of Chicago law student and an intern at a prestigious law firm who is intrigued when a friend introduces her to the world of transactional relationships… Read more »

‘Empire’s’ Growth Spurt Fueled by Young Women, Urban Markets

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In music biz terms, Fox’s “Empire” is zooming up the charts with a bullet. On Wednesday the family soap centered on a hip-hop musical mogul continued its unprecedented growth streak by gaining audience for a seventh straight week, hitting 13.9 million. No series in the history of Nielsen’s People Meters (going back to 1991) had… Read more »

Sony Pictures Fires Digital Chief Bob Osher (EXCLUSIVE)

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Sony Pictures Digital president Bob Osher, who oversaw Sony Animation and Imageworks for the past seven years, has been fired, according to knowledgeable sources. Thursday’s firing comes amid an ongoing shakeup at the studio. On Tuesday, Tom Rothman was named chairman of its motion picture group in a surprise move that followed the Feb. 5 ouster… Read more »

Viola Davis-Jennifer Lopez Drama ‘Lila and Eve’ Bought by Samuel Goldwyn

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Samuel Goldwyn Films has acquired North American rights to Charles Stone III’s “Lila and Eve,” starring Viola Davis and Jennifer Lopez. The film premiered last month at the Sundance Film Festival. Davis and Lopez both first appeared onscreen together in 1998’s “Out of Sight.” Goldwyn plans a 2015 release. Davis portrays Lila, a grief-stricken mother… Read more »

Fox News Channel Developing Weekend Program for Greg Gutfeld

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Fox News Channel will develop a one-hour weekend program for Greg Gutfeld, who will leave his duties at wee-hours show “Red Eye” to tackle the new assignment. A pilot in development will highlight Gutfeld’s “whimsical nature and political satire,” the 21st Century Fox-owned network said in statement Thursday. The show will also “focus on his strong… Read more »