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Entertainment

How Movies Receive Their Ratings

Many Americans use the MPAA’s formalized rating system as a guide for which films to see. The Onion provides a step-by-step view into how these ratings are chosen:

‘Winnie-The-Pooh’ Turns 90

Winnie-The-Pooh, the A.A. Milne series featuring a stuffed bear and his toy animal friends, debuted 90 years ago this week. Here are some milestones from the franchise’s nearly century-long run:

50 Years Of ‘Star Trek’

Star Trek, the science-fiction show about the crew of the starship Enterprise, premiered 50 years ago today on NBC, spawning a cult following and decades of spin-offs. Here are some milestones from the franchise’s 50-year history

How Big-Budget Movies Flop

Despite the recent box-office failures of Exodus, Ben-Hur, and Gods Of Egypt, studios continue to fund big-budget movies they hope will achieve blockbuster success. The Onion provides a step-by-step breakdown of how one of these movies becomes a flop:

Your Horoscopes — Week Of August 30, 2016

ARIES: Sometimes in life, you just need to stop whatever it is you’re doing and take a step back. Actually, maybe it’s two steps back. Yeah, that’s good. Keep going. The stars will let you know when you’re far enough.

‘Rugrats’ Turns 25

This August marks the 25th anniversary of the premiere of Rugrats, the beloved Nickelodeon cartoon about intrepid baby Tommy Pickles and his group of toddler friends. Here are some milestones from the show’s nine-season run

Your Horoscopes — Week Of August 9, 2016

ARIES: Your life’s story will soon play out in front of movie theater audiences across the country, though it’ll only last about 30 seconds and advertise free soft drink refills in the main lobby.

Director Has Clear Vision Of How Studio Will Destroy Movie

LOS ANGELES—Saying he can already picture exactly what the finished cut will look like on the big screen, Hollywood film director Paul Stanton told reporters Wednesday he has a clear vision of how studio executives will totally destroy his upcoming movie.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of June 14, 2016

ARIES: Once the laughter dies down, the party favors are put away, and the monkeys led back inside their cages, you’ll finally be given a chance to explain your side of the story.

Lost Jack London Manuscript, ‘The Doggy,’ Found

RYE, NY—Workers inventorying the estate of a recently deceased Westchester County art dealer earlier this month reportedly stumbled upon a draft of a previously unknown Jack London novel titled The Doggy, and the work is already being hailed by many within the literary world as a masterpiece.

Guide To The Characters Of ‘The Force Awakens’

The highly anticipated seventh episode in the ‘Star Wars’ series, ‘The Force Awakens,’ which will be released December 18, will feature several returning characters as well as a host of new ones. Here is a guide to the characters of ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens.’

Robert De Niro Stunned To Learn Of Man Who Can Quote ‘Goodfellas’

‘Bring Him To Me,’ Actor Demands

NEW YORK—Immediately halting production on his latest project after hearing of the incredible talent, legendary actor Robert De Niro was reportedly stunned to learn Wednesday that Bayonne, NJ resident Eric Sullivan, 33, can quote the critically acclaimed 1990 Martin Scorsese film Goodfellas at length.

Timeline Of The James Bond Series

This week marks the release of the 24th film in the James Bond franchise, Spectre, featuring Daniel Craig in his fourth appearance as the British secret agent. Here are some notable moments from the film series’s 53-year history
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Entertainment

Shake-Up Among Cast Of Hit Show ABC World News Tonight

NEW YORK—In a bold move to stay ahead of the competition in the ratings war, producers of the hit program ABC World News Tonight announced Monday that star Peter Jennings "will not survive next season."

<I>World News Tonight</I> producers expect next season's death of Peter Jennings (above) will be a ratings bonanza.

The secrets of exactly when and how the Jennings character will die are being kept closely guarded by the producers. Speculation from television-industry insiders, however, has ranged from Jennings' getting hit by a mortar shell while covering a February '98 civil war in Turkey to his perishing in a tragic newsroom fire.

ABC is already aggressively promoting Jennings' last episode, airing spots promising "The ABC World News Tonight you must not miss."

Addressing a group of Capital Cities/ABC shareholders Tuesday, World News Tonight executive producer Roone Arledge explained the move.

"Yes, our ratings have been strong of late: Last year's Flight 800 episode did huge numbers, as did the sweeps-week Oklahoma City bombing plotline," Arledge said. "But in this business, you constantly need the big hit, the big 'zazz' that will keep people glued to the screen. This should give us that hit."

With the precise date of Jennings' final episode a mystery, many observers predict a season-long ratings blockbuster for World News Tonight, with viewers tuning in nightly out of fear of missing his death. According to Washington Post TV critic Russell Lembeck, if announced in advance, the death episode could be the show's most-watched ever, eclipsing even the season-ending April 1981 "Who Shot Reagan?" cliffhanger.

"As you probably recall, the American public had to wait until the September 4, 1981, season opener to find out if Reagan got assassinated," Lembeck said. "That summer of '81, the only thing people talked about was whether they thought the president would live or die. It was a brilliant move on ABC's part."

Jennings during last year's presidential-election subplot.

Jennings, a World News Tonight fixture since the late '70s, is widely credited for the show's enduring popularity. He brought ABC viewers news of the Challenger explosion in 1986, was in Berlin for the 1989 toppling of the Berlin Wall and, in 1996, added intrigue to the show by poisoning David Brinkley.

ABC News fans were excited by Monday's announcement. "I'll be sure not to miss the Jennings finale—this could be even bigger than the wedding episode," said Bill Hodges of Covington, KY, referring to the 1989 on-air wedding between Jennings and Barbara Walters. "The only problem is, now we may never find out if he's really Cokie's father."

Despite the huge ratings sure to be generated by the death of the Jennings character, it could backfire in the long run, with detractors citing NBC's decision to "kill off" NBC Nightly News star Tom Brokaw in 1993. Massive viewer protest caused them to bring back Brokaw, in the form of a robot duplicate, but only after the show's ratings suffered a substantial drop from which it has yet to recover.

Arledge said: "We've been trying for years to match the huge ratings we got with the Gulf War—which also won an Emmy for set design—but viewers didn't respond to our midseason Unabomber capture the way we'd hoped. We knew that we needed a big gun, a blockbuster plotline to jolt people."

"We toyed with the idea of bringing back Brinkley," Arledge continued, "but the 'It was all a dream' thing has been done to death. In the end, we decided, 'Let's start phasing out the old guard and bring in some new blood."

According to Arledge, once Jennings dies, the show's lead anchor role will go to 26-year-old model/journalist Rock Palmer. "Get ready, ladies," Arledge said.

Arledge said that the younger, more attractive Palmer should provide a strong lead-in for 20/20's Deborah Roberts, Barbara Walters and Lynn Sherr, hyped in recent promotional spots as "The Bitches of ABC."

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