Fox's Top Executive Kevin Reilly to Depart

by Lacey Rose

A successor has not yet been named. In the interim period, Reilly's senior executives will report to Peter Rice, chairman and CEO of Fox Networks Group.

The network's broadcast chairman Kevin Reilly, who has been at Fox since 2007, will depart at the end of June. The news comes at a particularly challenged time for the network, which rounded out the season flat in the key 18-49 demographic despite having the Super Bowl -- and again losing the demo crown that the net had handily won for nearly a decade. Outside of genre play Sleepy Hollow, Fox failed to add any new bona-fide hits this past year, relying instead on critically beloved niche comedies (The Mindy Project, Brooklyn Nine-Nine), shrinking dramas (Glee, The Following) and an aging reality franchise (American Idol).

A successor has not yet been named. In the interim period, Reilly's senior executives will report to Peter Rice, chairman and CEO of Fox Networks Group. 
The move comes as Reilly was looking to reimagine an antiquated pilot season model that he believed was putting broadcast at a disadvantage. His campaign to do away with pilot season began with a speech of sorts at the Television Critics Association press tour in January. “The broadcast development system was built in different era and is highly inefficient. It is nothing short of a miracle talent can still produce anything of quality in that environment,” he said at the time. He has spent the months since focused on straight-to-series development, shorter seasons and a 52-week schedule.

"21st Century Fox is a great company that has provided me with choice seats at the head table of pop culture over two very rewarding stints both at FBC and FX, and I am grateful to have benefited from the leadership of Peter Rice, Chase Carey and Rupert Murdoch,” Reilly said in a statement Thursday. “Peter and I have been discussing this transition for a while, and now with a robust new slate of programming for next season and strength in the FBC ranks, it felt like the timing was as right as it could be. I couldn't be more thankful to my team -- a group of creative, tireless and fun people whose fellowship I will miss.”
"Kevin’s undeniable creative gift and passion for talent have left an indelible mark on our company, and we’re extremely grateful to him for his leadership, beginning with The Shieldand Nip/Tuck at FX and continuing through GleeNew Girl, The Following, Sleepy Hollowand Brooklyn Nine-Nine at Fox," Rice said in a statement. "Kevin and I have been discussing his desire for a new challenge for some time, so while everyone at the network will miss his enthusiasm for adventurous television, we all respect his decision and agreed that after the upfront presentation was the right time. I’m personally extremely grateful to Kevin for his partnership during the past five years and look forward to working with him again in the future.”
Rumors of management changes at Fox swirled heavily during the upfronts, when a handful of Reilly's comedies didn't appear on the schedule as many expected. Multiple sources suggested it was boss Rice who nixed Reilly's crop, with Rice noting that he had little interest in adding more niche offerings to the mix. Others suggest that Reilly, a favorite among TV reporters for his candor, had grown removed from the creative process, rarely sitting in on pitches and often weighing in late in the development cycle.
Until recently, Reilly's seven-year tenure at Fox had been marked by critical and commercial success, with a portfolio that included one-time juggernauts including 24,House, Bones, Glee and Idol. For nearly his entire run, the latter was key in ensuring that the network would round out the season at No. 1 in the all-important 18-49 demo. (Idoldropped double-digits this season.)
In a case of history repeating itself, Reilly leaves Fox with roughly two-and-a-half years left on his contract, just as he did when he was let go at NBC in 2007. (Reilly was replaced byBen Silverman.) Before NBC, Reilly was a key player at FX, and many suggest he would be a good fit at a cable or digital player, given his taste, experience and interest with regard to where the industry is heading.
Reilly's memo to staff follows: 
To my friends and colleagues:
I have decided to resign as Chairman of Entertainment at FBC, effective at the end of June.
While difficult decisions have to be made every day, none have weighed more heavily on me than this. The inspired Fox leadership, coupled with your commitment to excellence at FBC, has provided one of the most rewarding chapters in my life.
I love TV. Always have. Since my mother told me to stop sitting so close and watching so much.
I couldn’t feel more fortunate to be afforded the opportunity to preside over a dynamic business, collaborate with the most creative people on the planet and drive culture. And also to be positioned at the nexus of change. It's a fascinating moment in time as the digital evolution brings about radical shifts in consumer behavior. And through it all, the art form of TV has never been stronger or the marketplace more robust.
As invigorating as all that is to be a part of, we all know the daily feeding of the network beast and early morning ritual of waking to an overnight report card does breed a certain type of mania. My first boss, Brandon Tartikoff, described presiding over a broadcast network as “the worst best job in the world.”  I remember coming up in the business and seeing how the grind turned some executives into grizzled cynics. And I vowed to never become that guy. I have always believed it’s incumbent upon network brass to bring a wide-eyed optimism to the chairs they rent. Talent deserves that. And frankly, the jobs are just no fun otherwise. Staying fresh and looking forward is part of why I feel the timing is right for me to turn the page now.
As you, my colleagues, know all too well, I am rarely satisfied. But I hope you all also know that I am very proud of what we have accomplished together and of the exceptional entertainment we have helped bring to fruition. We put shows and songs at the top of the charts, we took home trophies, we got out ahead of defining and building and measuring the multiplatform universe and we rewrote rules about how to develop, program and market TV. And I think some of the best is yet to come next season. It’s been a satisfying blast.
Thanks for all,
P.S. – Don't go back to pilot season!

Santa Barbara Mass Shooting: Son of 'Hunger Games' Second Unit Director Is Suspected Gunman

by Erik Hayden
UPDATED: Six people were left dead after a gunman opened fire after 9 pm on Friday night in the college town located near the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old who is believed to be the suspect in an Isla Vista mass shooting on Friday night, is the son of Hunger Games second unit director Peter RodgerThe Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
Six people were left dead after a gunman opened fire after 9 pm on Friday night in the college town located near the University of Santa Barbara, California. Another seven others were wounded and the gunman was also found dead of a gunshot wound with a semi-automatic handgun found in the suspect's vehicle, the Santa Barbara Sheriff's office stated. 
The Sheriff's office has not officially named the suspect. The attorney for Peter Rodger,Alan Shifman, told The Associated Pressthat the Rodger family believed that the suspected gunman was the director's son.
A video featuring Elliot Rodger discussing his alleged intentions has surfaced online (and has since been taken down) and authorities have reportedly said that they have linked the video to the incident. 
On Friday, shots were fired in multiple areas of Isla Vista in what has been described as a drive-by shooting.
Black BMW shown at the scene of a drive by shooting (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
"At approximately 9:33 p.m., six minutes after the initial call was received, the suspect engaged a group of responding deputies with gunfire. The deputies returned fire and the suspect fled in his vehicle," the Sheriff's department statement read. "Seconds later the suspect was again spotted by another deputy and another exchange of gunfire occurred. The suspect fled down Del Playa Drive and eventually crashed into a parked vehicle. The deputies approached the vehicle and determined the suspect was dead from an apparent gunshot wound."
The department has linked the shooting, described as "a pre-meditated mass murder," to a nearly 7 minute video titled "Elliot Rodger's Retribution" that was uploaded to YouTube on May 23. In the video (since taken down), a man believed to be Elliot Rodger describes a scenario in which he will take "revenge" by exacting violence on the "streets of Isla Vista." 
The video clip "appears to be connected at this time," according to Santa Barbara Sheriff Bill Brown, asquoted by The Los Angeles Times
"This is my last video, it all has to come to this," the man said in the clip, which appears to be filmed in the front seat of the man's vehicle. "Tomorrow is the day of retribution, the day in which I will have my revenge against humanity." 
Elliot Rodger is the son of Peter Rodger, a special unit director on The Hunger Games. For the Lionsgate film, the director had helped create "the propaganda film for the fictional 'Capitol' in the story," according to the filmmaker's website. Rodger had also directed Oh My God, a 2009 documentary that explored theological questions.
The director's manager has not yet responded to a request for comment from THR.
A screenshot of a video titled "Elliot Rodger's Retribution" that was uploaded to YouTube on May 23 (since taken down). 
In the video clip posted on May 23, Elliot Rodger lists a number of his perceived injustices related to his college experience. "I'll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you, you'll finally see that I'm, in truth, the superior one, the true alpha male," he said in the clip. "After I've annihilated every single girl in the sorority house, I'll take to the streets of Isla Vista and slay every single person I see there."
The Isla Vista area in Santa Barbara is home to numerous students attending University of Santa Barbara, California as well as Santa Barbara City College. 
More to come. 
Below, the window of the black BMW sedan at the scene of the shooting. 

The Associated Press

'Bachelorette' Contestant Eric Hill Dies'


Eric Hill, a Bachelorette contestant in the upcoming season featuring Andi Dorfman, has died after a paragliding accident Sunday, his sister Karen Tracy confirmed on her Facebook.
"Eric shared his final journey with us this morning as all his immediate family were able to be at his side when he passed away," she wrote Wednesday. "Thank you to all of your love and support and prayers and fasting. It was amazing to be with so many of his friends and family yesterday in the hospital who came to express their love for Eric." 
Hill, 30, was in a medically induced coma and in critical condition after part of his parachute collapsed when he was paragliding in Utah Sunday, April 20.
"We are deeply saddened to hear about the tragic passing of our friend, Eric Hill. Eric inspired us every day with his passion, his courage and his adventurous spirit, and for that we are very thankful," Bachelorette producers said in a statement. "On behalf of our cast, crew and producers, we send our love, our thoughts and our prayers to Eric’s family during this difficult time.”

According to Reality Steve, Hill was no longer part of the hit ABC show at the time of the accident -- he had reportedly already been eliminated. Though UsWeekly reports that Hill was actually chosen for the coveted first one-on-one date with Dorfman.
"He gave us such a gift of a life fully lived and fully shared, and allowed us all to be a part of his last adventure here on earth. It is hard to think of life without his bright spark, but we know he is on to new adventures," Tracy added. "We look forward to carrying on his legacy here and greeting him joyfully again someday. I love you so much, little brother!"

'Shield' Actor Michael Jace Charged with Murder

Prosecutors have charged The Shield actor Michael Jace with murder after his wife was shot and killed Monday in the couple's Los Angeles home. 
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced Thursday that Jace, 51, is charged with one count of murder with a gun allegation. He is scheduled to appear in court Thursday for the first time and prosecutors will ask that his bail be set at $2 million.
Jace -- who portrayed a police officer for six years on the crime drama The Shield -- called 911 on Monday evening. The body of his wife April was found inside the couple's residence and the couple's two young sons were also in the home. 
If convicted of murder, Jace could face 50 years to life in prison.

Robert Redford in Talks to Play Oral Roberts in Film 'Come Sunday'

by Tatiana Siegel

Jeffrey Wright is also in talks to star in the Jonathan Demme-helmed movie about the world of evangelical ministers.

Jonathan Demme is set to tackle the world of evangelical ministers with the film Come Sunday and is enlisting Robert Redford to play the late Oral Roberts.
The film, which will be financed and produced by Endgame Entertainment (Looper), chronicles the true story of Carlton Pearson, a renowned evangelical minister in Tulsa, Okla., who stirs up controversy with his revelation that there is no hell. He loses everything and must rebuild his church and his family and find his own personal faith. Jeffrey Wright (Quantum of Solace) is in talks to take on the starring role of Pearson.
Roberts, an early pioneer of TV evangelism who reached millions of followers worldwide over more than six decades, served as Pearson's mentor. Redford, whose recent credits include the superhero pic Captain America: The Winter Soldier and J.C.Chandor's All Is Lost, is in discussions to tackle the supporting role of the controversial minister.
The project, formerly titled Heretics, was originally set up at Endgame in 2010 as a directing vehicle forMarc Forster, who will be involved as an executive producer. After seeing little action for years, Come Sunday was resurrected thanks to Demme's interest.
Marcus Hinchey (All Good Things) wrote the screenplay, which is based on a This American Lifebroadcast that originally aired in 2005.
The project is being eyed for a spring 2015 start, leaving Demme room to squeeze in another film first.
Endgame's James D. Stern is producing Come Sunday alongside This American Life's Ira Glass andAlissa Shipp. Color Force's Brad Simpson, who was involved in the project when Forster was developing it, is executive producing.
Julie Goldstein and Lucas Smith are overseeing the project for Endgame.
Redford is currently filming Ken KwapisA Walk in the Woods opposite Emma Thompson.
He is repped by WME and attorney Barry Tyerman.
Demme is handled by WME, LBI Entertainment and attorney Michael Adler.
Wright, who recently appeared in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Only Lovers Left Alive, is represented by CAA.
Hinchey is repped by WME and Hansen Jacobson.
Stephen Galloway contributed to this report.

EXCLUSIVE: Edward Snowden Gives Wide-Ranging Interview to Brian Williams


"NBC Nightly News" anchor and managing editor Brian Williams traveled to Moscow this week for an exclusive, wide-ranging interview with Edward Snowden. The former NSA contractor's first-ever American television interview will air in an hour-long NBC News primetime special on Wednesday, May 28 at 10 p.m. Eastern/9 p.m. Central.
Williams' in-person conversation with Snowden was conducted over the course of several hours and was shrouded in secrecy due to Snowden's life in exile since leaking classified documents about U.S. surveillance programs a year ago. Williams also jointly interviewed Snowden and journalist Glenn Greenwald, who has reported stories based on the documents in media outlets around the world, about how they came to work together and the global debate sparked by their revelations.
Snowden, now 30, is a former systems administrator for the CIA who later went to work for the private intelligence contractor Dell inside a National Security Agency outpost in Japan. In early 2013, he went to work for Booz Allen Hamilton inside the NSA center in Hawaii.
While working for the contractors, Snowden downloaded secret documents related to U.S. intelligence activities and partnerships with foreign allies, including some that revealed the extent of data collection from U.S. telephone records and Internet activity.
On May 20, 2013, Snowden went to Hong Kong to meet with Greenwald and with filmmaker Laura Poitras. The first articles about his documents appeared in the Guardian and The Washington Post in early June, as did a taped interview with Snowden.
The U.S. government charged Snowden with espionage and revoked his passport. Snowden flew to Moscow on June 23, but was unable to continue en route to Latin America because he no longer had a passport.
After living in the airport transit area for more than a month, and applying for asylum in more than 21 countries, he was granted temporary asylum in Russia where he has been living ever since.
U.S. officials have asserted that Snowden may have taken as many as 1.7 million documents. Among the revelations from documents in the Snowden trove are the NSA’s bulk collection of phone and internet metadata from U.S. users, spying on the personal communications of foreign leaders, including U.S. allies, and the NSA’s ability to tap undersea fiber optic cables and siphon off data.
President Obama responded by appointing a review panel that criticized the NSA's domestic data collection, and in March he recommended ending bulk domestic metadata collection. This week, the House passed a bill to end the NSA’s bulk domestic metadata collection.


From the White House to the Wildhorse Saloon, Jeff has been playing guitar and performing all his life. 

He’s been a Nashville writer for fourteen years and thrives on the concentrated creative scene in Music City.

Not half bad for a guy from the small Minnesota town of Orono! 

Today, Jeff makes his home in Nashville and is an active music producer, songwriter, session guitarist, touring artist and educator and tours as a dynamic solo artist.

Jeff was the former bandleader and guitarist for 15 years with Hall of Fame artist Glen Campbell and later Kenny Chesney, Jeff Dayton leads a band of top pros from Music City, USA.

Jeff and the JDB have played at the White House, the Grand Ole Opry and appeared on network TV shows like The Voice, Hawaii Five-O, NBC’s Today Show and Late Night with Conan O’Brien.

He also found time to land his music degree, regional hit records and the honor of backing artists like Vince Gill, Buck Owens, Bo Diddley, Dizzy Gillespie, Willie Nelson, Gene Autry, Toby Keith and many more. Jeff's songs have been recorded by George Strait, Grammy winning zydeco artist Chubby Carrier. Once relocating to Nashville, Jeff was soon touring with megastar Kenny Chesney, Lee Greenwood and others.

His new CD “Twang On” is due June 1st, with eight brand new songs and a special tribute to Glen Campbell including Gentle On My Mind and The Highwayman. Dayton spent 15 years on guitar with Campbell and toured the world with him. The CD will also feature a special version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow to honor his Hawaiian connection.

Their music is an uptempo blend of classic and new pop, country and audience favorites, including blues, classic R&B, bluegrass and rock; always interactive, always fun and totally pro in every way.

Today Show (NBC)
Nashville (ABC)
Hawaii Five-O (CBS)
Late Night with Conan O’Brien (NBC)
Glen Campbell Live (PBS)

Kenny Chesney (Road Case, When The Sun Goes Down)
Toby Keith (Honkytonk U)
Glen Campbell (Wichita Lineman, Galveston, etc)
Grinning Like I’m Winning (Jeff Dayton)
Flutterby, Butterfly (Jeff Dayton)

Platinum Record Award (George Strait)
CMA and ACM Album of the Year (George Strait)
Country Band of the Decade (Phoenix)
Marlboro Country Roundup (winner)
Wrangler Country Showdown (2x winner)
Hall of Fame (Verde Valley, AZ)

Glen Campbell
Kenny Chesney
Lee Greenwood
Toby Keith
Willie Nelson
Bo Diddley
Tammy Cochran
Sarah Darling
Gene Autry
Dizzy Gillespie
Mac Davis
Vince Gill
Buck Owens
Mark Wills
Steve Wariner
BC Jean
Heidi Rojas
Kevin Kronin (REO)
Nicolette Larson
Pam Tillis
Gary US Bonds
Mickey Dolenz
Jimmy Dean
JM Montgomery
Clint Black
Bryan White
Mickey Gilley
Johnny Lee
David Pack (Ambrosia)

We Fest (Detroit Lakes)
KISS Chili Cookoff (Miami)
CMA Music Festival (Nashville)
Chilliwack and Merritt  festivals (British Columbia)
State Fairs (Iowa, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Florida etc.)
Tall Stacks Festival (Cincinnati)

May 21 • Country Music Hall of Fame • 6 pm
    Words & Music Finale • Ford Theater
May 24 • Opry Backstage Grille • 8 pm
May 28• Omni Hotel • 4:30 pm Barlines
May 29 • private event

June 2 • Minneapolis • IPR seminar 

June 4 • Chanhassen • School II Bistro 
    CD RELEASE PARTY at the Bistro
    Prizes and special fun. Stay tuned for more.
    Party starts at 6:30, music at 7:30

June 5 •  Plymouth • Lucky’s 13 Pub
June 6 •  Excelsior • Dunn Bros. • 7: 30 pm
June 7 •  Long Lake • Red Rooster • 8 pm
June 11 • Chanhassen • School II Bistro 
June 12 • Plymouth • Lucky’s 13 Pub
June 13 • Plymouth • Lucky’s 13  FULL BAND
June 18 • Chanhassen • School II Bistro 
June 19 • Plymouth • Lucky’s 13 Pub
June 20 • Navarre • Narrows • FULL BAND
June 21 • private event
June 22 • private event
June 26 • Plymouth • Lucky’s 13 Pub

July 11 • Franklin • private event
July 17-19 • NAMM Show • times tba

July 23 • Wayzata • Summer Series * 6 pm
    at the historic Great Northern Depot
    on beautiful Lake Minnetonka
July 24 • private event
July 25 • Chanhassen • School II Bistro • BAND
July 26 • Plymouth • Lucky’s 13 Pub 7:30 pm

Aug 22-23 • Storm Lake • King’s Pointe •
    with Jeff Carver

Aug 28 • Wayzata • private event
Aug 30 • Navarre • Narrows Saloon FULL BAND
Sept 5 • Plymouth • Lucky’s 13 Pub FULL BAND
Sept 6 • Wayzata  • JJ Hill Days  FULL  BAND

Sept 13 • Franklin • private event

Jeff’s music available on iTunes  at
New Jeff Dayton Band website

*Content & media from Jeff Dayton's website was used in this article.