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Your Daily Edition January 28, 2020

Daily Edition

Netflix to Lay Off Employees as It Shifts Marketing Strategy (Exclusive)

Netflix is overhauling its marketing strategy and laying off some employees in the process.

Netflix is overhauling its marketing strategy and laying off some employees in the process.

Sources say the streaming giant, which has emphasized marketing individual shows and movies in recent years, will work to better sell the service as a whole. Though specifics about the strategy are being worked out, an ad campaign built around a big premiere film like Sandra Bullock’s Bird Box or an Emmy-winning series like The Crown might be coupled with a general pitch for Netflix as the home for thousands of premium movies and awards-caliber shows.

Hollywood stars and creators, who have flocked to Netflix in recent years, may be concerned that by amplifying its brand advertising, Netflix might promote the work of its A-list talent less. Creatives have lamented getting lost in Netflix's glut of content, though few in business with the streamer talk about it publicly. 

But sources within Netflix dispute that the platform's desire to market the service as a whole necessarily means less project-specific marketing — rather that there will simply be more of a focus on making sure those titles reflect and clearly tie into the larger company brand. Netflix declined to comment.

As part of the shift, a Netflix source says 15 people are expected to be laid off from the company's marketing department this week, though others say that number could be even higher. The layoffs represent a small portion of Netflix's overall employee count, which as of October was around 6,900 people.

Insiders say the changes are coming from the company's new chief marketing officer, Jackie Lee-Joe, who was hired from BBC Studios in July following former chief marketing officer Kelly Bennett's retirement. Lee-Joe is said to have felt that Netflix over-hired in the marketing department and is looking to structure the team in a more effective way. According to the company's latest 10-K filing with the SEC, Netflix spent more than $1.8 billion on advertising in 2018.

The news comes on the heels of Netflix's recent quarterly earnings report, in which it revealed that though its global subscriber base grew 20 percent to 167 million members, its growth in the U.S. has slowed. During the fourth quarter of 2019, the platform added just 550,000 paid subscribers in the U.S. and Canada, regions where it has the most market saturation.

Employee churn isn't uncommon at Netflix, which is known for an unconventional review process that can lead to frequent performance-related cuts. However, this new round of reductions arrives as the streamer faces increased competition from rival companies such as Disney, WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal entering the streaming video business.

For years, the high-flying company has spent money with abandon, paying much higher up-front fees than its Hollywood peers and increasing its content budget to $15 billion as its international programming output ballooned, but Netflix recently has been looking to rein in how much cash it is burning.

Natalie Jarvey contributed to this report.

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Apple’s Services Business Grows to $12.7B in Quarterly Revenue

Apple's services business grew to $12.7 billion in revenue during the final three months of 2019, the tech giant reported Tuesday.

Apple's services business grew to $12.7 billion in revenue during the final three months of 2019, the tech giant reported Tuesday. 

The operating division, which houses subscriptions including Apple Music, Apple TV+ and Arcade, was up 17 percent year-over-year, helping to drive a 9 percent overall boost in quarterly revenue to $91.8 billion. It was an all-time record, Apple said, during a period in which questions have mounted about the long-term growth prospects of the company's iPhone business. 

"We are thrilled to report Apple’s highest quarterly revenue ever, fueled by strong demand for our iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro models, and all-time records for Services and Wearables," CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. "During the holiday quarter our active installed base of devices grew in each of our geographic segments and has now reached over 1.5 billion. We see this as a powerful testament to the satisfaction, engagement and loyalty of our customers — and a great driver of our growth across the board."

The Cupertino, California-based company said earnings per share were $4.99. Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting Apple to report net income of $4.54 per share and quarterly revenue of $88.41 billion. Apple had said it would bring in revenue of between $85.5 billion and $89.5 billion during the period.

IPhone sales remain Apple's biggest revenue driver. The company had nearly $56 billion in iPhone revenue during the fiscal first quarter, up from nearly $52 billion during the same period last year. 

Apple has been working to bolster its business beyond the device sales that have fueled its revenue for years. Services, in particular, have become a focus for the company, which on Nov. 1 launched the long-awaited streaming video service Apple TV+. The company has not said how many people have subscribed to the $5-per-month service, which is also being given away for free to people who buy qualifying Apple devices.

On a post-earnings call with investors on Tuesday afternoon, Cook said only that the service was "off to a rousing start" and would "continue to focus on telling stories that matter." CFO Luca Maestri added that TV+, which launched two months into the quarter, did not have a material impact on services growth. A report by third-party analytics firm Ampere Analysis estimates that TV+ has amassed more than 33 million subscribers in its first three months of availability.

Apple is targeting 600 million total subscriptions across its services by the end of 2020 after it expects to hit its previous target, 500 million subscriptions, by the end of March.

Apple shares closed the day up nearly 3 percent to $317.69. Shares were up more than 2 percent during after-hours trading. 

CBS, Fox Lead Network Ratings Race at 2019-20’s Midpoint

CBS and Fox are leading the broadcast networks in ratings halfway the 2019-20 season — and there's a pretty good chance they'll end up in first come May as well.

CBS and Fox are leading the broadcast networks in ratings halfway the 2019-20 season — and there's a pretty good chance they'll end up in first come May as well.

Through 18 weeks — the midpoint of the traditional September-to-May season — CBS is in its familiar position of being the most-watched broadcaster, a title it has held for 11 straight years. Fox is the leader in the key ad-sales demographic of adults 18-49, and its cushion will only grow with the network's broadcast of the Super Bowl on Sunday. Last year, CBS' broadcast of the game lifted the network's season average two-tenths of a point over the previous week.

Among individual shows, NBC's This Is Us and Fox's The Masked Singer are tied at the top of the 18-49 rankings, not including pro football, and NCIS is the most-watched series that isn't a primetime NFL franchise. 

The network rankings are below. They're the "most current" average, a combination of seven-day ratings for the first 16 weeks of the season and same-day numbers for the most recent two weeks.

Network 18-49 rating (rank) Viewers in millions (rank)
ABC 1.1 (4th) 5.2 (4th)
CBS 1.2 (3rd) 7.82 (1st)
Fox 1.9 (1st) 6.98 (3rd)
NBC 1.6 (2nd) 7.39 (2nd)
The CW 0.3 (7th) 1.1 (7th)
Telemundo 0.4 (t-6th) 1.12 (6th)
Univision 0.4 (t-6th) 1.37 (5th)

CBS assumed the total-viewer lead from NBC in the second week of January — not coincidentally, the week after NBC's primetime NFL commitments ended for the season. The Eye's own primetime NFL playoff broadcasts helped; two games in the early rounds averaged about 30.4 million viewers. But the network also has eight of the top 15 entertainment shows in total viewers this season.

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Fox is the only network to grow its total audience vs. the same time a year ago: It's up by about half a million viewers, thanks to bigger tune-in for Thursday Night Football year-over-year (it grew by about 760,000 viewers), a fall run for the unscripted hit The Masked Singer and improvements from 911 on Mondays and The Resident and Empire on Tuesdays, which have outdrawn last year's Lethal Weapon-The Gifted duo by double digits.

Although it remains No. 1 in viewers, CBS is down by the largest percentage in viewers vs. the same time in 2019, falling 11 percent from 8.83 million. NBC is down 8.5 percent from 8.08 million, and ABC has lost a scant 2 percent vs. this time last year. Univision (off less than 1 percent) and Telemundo (down 5 percent) are fairly steady, while The CW has lost a quarter of a million linear viewers year to year, a drop of 18.5 percent. 

Among adults 18-49, Fox is the only English-language network matching its year-ago performance; Univision and Telemundo are also steady. ABC has slipped 0.1 (8 percent), and CBS and NBC have each lost three-tenths of a point (20 percent and 16 percent, respectively). The CW has dropped a tenth of a point.

Seven-day ratings for individual shows are current through week 17, and after NBC and Fox's primetime NFL franchises, This Is Us and The Masked Singer are the leaders in the 18-49 demo — at least among shows to air more than once before Jan. 19. Fox's 911: Lone Star had a big premiere following the NFC Championship game, drawing a 3.8 rating in adults 18-49 and 14.56 million viewers. Subsequent episodes on Monday nights have posted decent same-day numbers, but far below the football-juiced ones of its debut.

NCIS outdraws Thursday Night Football after a week of delayed viewing, making up a deficit of almost 3.7 million viewers from the same-day ratings. The No. 2 entertainment show in viewers is FBI, which follows NCIS in CBS' Tuesday lineup.

Also not included below: ABC's four-night Jeopardy: The Greatest of All Time event, which isn't considered an ongoing series for Nielsen purposes. The four nights averaged better than 16 million viewers, which would rank behind only Sunday Night Football for the season, and would be in the top 10 in adults 18-49.

Below are the top 10 shows at the halfway point of the season. All figures include seven days of delayed viewing; sports pre- and post-game shows are excluded.

Adults 18-49

1. Sunday Night Football (NBC), 5.9
2. Thursday Night Football (Fox), 4.5
3t. The Masked Singer (Fox), 3.0
3t. This Is Us (NBC), 3.0
5. The Bachelor (ABC), 2.5
6t. 911 (Fox), 2.4
6t. Grey's Anatomy (ABC), 2.4
8. Chicago PD (NBC), 2.0
9t. Modern Family (ABC), 1.9
9t. Chicago Fire (NBC), 1.9

Total Viewers

1. Sunday Night Football (NBC), 20.09 million
2. NCIS (CBS), 15.07 million
3. Thursday Night Football (Fox), 15.05 million
4. FBI (CBS), 12.29 million
5. This Is Us (NBC), 11.82 million
6. Blue Bloods (CBS), 11.8 million
7. Chicago Fire (NBC), 11.28 million
8. Young Sheldon (CBS), 11.13 million
9. Chicago Med (NBC), 10.94 million
10. Chicago Fire (NBC), 10.88 million

Source: Nielsen

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‘True Detective’ Reunion: FX Orders Matthew McConaughey Drama From Nic Pizzolatto

'True Detective' creator and showrunner Nic Pizzolatto is moving his overall deal from HBO to Disney's cable- and streaming-focused studio, Fox 21, and FX Productions, while 'True Detective' grad Matthew McConaughey has also signed a first-look TV pact with FX.

Nic Pizzolatto has a new home.

The True Detective creator and showrunner is moving his overall deal from HBO to Disney's cable- and streaming-focused studio, Fox 21, and FX Productions. Under the new pact, Pizzolatto will create and develop new projects for the studio's various platforms as well as outside platforms. The creator already has his first project lined up as part of the deal — and he's reuniting with a familiar face for it: True Detective grad Matthew McConaughey will star in Redeemer, a drama inspired by Patrick Coleman's novel The Churchgoer. The project has landed at FX with a sizable script-to-series commitment from the John Landgraf-led basic cable network. As part of the pact, McConaughey has also signed a first-look TV deal with FX. 

"We are thrilled to begin our creative partnership with Nic Pizzolatto and Matthew McConaughey on Redeemer, who are back together for the first time since the first season of HBO’s True Detective,” FX Entertainment president Eric Schrier said Tuesday in a statement. "We’re also incredibly excited about our overall deal with Nic and look forward to developing new projects with him and our partners Fox 21 Television Studios, and we’re equally excited to be developing projects with Matthew through his first-look deal with FXP."

Created by Pizzolatto, Redeemer stars McConaughey as a former minister turned dissolute security guard whose search for a missing woman in Texas leads him through a corruption and criminal conspiracy, as his past and present impact and entwine around a mystery of escalating violence and deceit. Pizzolatto and McConaughey will both executive produce the drama, which will be produced by Bert Salke's Fox 21 and Landgraf's FX Productions. As for the script-to-series order, put simply, it means that if Pizzolatto's script comes in well, FX will bypass the traditional pilot order and go straight to series on the project. Redeemer marks the first time Pizzolatto and McConaughey will work together since the first season of HBO anthology True Detective, which earned 12 Emmy nominations, including lead actor for McConaughey and writing for Pizzolatto, and notched five wins. 

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"From the moment we all saw True Detective, we’ve been dying to work with Nic,” said Fox 21 president Salke. "The fact that we get to do this together with our FXP cousins is a best-case scenario. I don’t think there are a lot of writers in town right now who are writing with Nic’s force and emotion. It’s why we’re beyond excited about Nic’s project with Matthew, which is a big priority for both companies."

As for Pizzolatto's decision to leave HBO, sources say the showrunner met with executives at the WarnerMedia-owned premium cable network to discuss a new deal and all parties involved agreed that it was time to part ways. He inked his first overall pact with HBO pegged to the debut of True Detective and renewed that deal twice. "I'm very excited at the opportunity to work with Matthew again, and really grateful and thrilled to have the chance to create new shows for Fox 21 and FX," said Pizzolatto. 

Still, his departure does not mean the end of True Detective. HBO owns the rights to the series and, sources say, could renew the anthology for a fourth season with a new showrunner who could bring a different point of view to the Emmy-winning franchise. Sources say HBO execs felt Pizzolatto was able to redeem the critically maligned sophomore run with the third season, which earned star Mahershala Ali an Emmy nomination. Sources note that Pizzolatto's HBO deal was in the range of $3 million a year. Financial terms of his new pact with the two Disney-backed studios were not immediately available.

"We’re very proud of the work Nic did for HBO, and we wish him the best in his new endeavor,” HBO said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.

With Pizzolatto's decision to test the open market, the writer-producer is said to have drawn interest from multiple streamers as well as traditional studios as the appetite for established showrunners continues to grow amid emergence of six new streaming platforms.

Pizzolatto broke out with the first season of True Detective, which came packaged with McConaughey and Woody Harrelson and director Cary Joji Fukunaga attached. Season two, which arrived in 2015 with Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams and Taylor Kitsch, didn't fare nearly as well and earned a single Emmy nomination (for sound mixing). While season one has an impressive 87 rating on Metacritic, the second sits at 61. Season three rebounded with nine Emmy nominations and currently has a 71 rating on Metacritic. 

Outside of True Detective, Pizzolatto's credits include the screenplay for Ghost Army, the feature The Magnificent Seven and two episodes of The Killing. He is repped by Goodman Schenkman, while McConaughey is with WME and Morris Yorn and Coleman is repped by WME and Levine Greenburg.

‘Broad City’ Alums, Mike Schur Land Dark Comedy at HBO Max

'The Good Place' creator Mike Schur has found his next series project. Schur will executive produce a comedy pilot for HBO Max from three veterans of Comedy Central's 'Broad City': Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs and Jen Statsky.

The Good Place creator Mike Schur has found his next series project.

He will executive produce a comedy pilot for HBO Max from three veterans of Comedy Central's Broad City: Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs and Jen Statsky.

The as-yet untitled project centers on the dark mentorship between two women from different generations — a Las Vegas diva and an entitled, outcast 25-year-old. The pilot order comes two days ahead of the series finale of NBC's The Good Place, which Schur created and for which he served as showrunner for four seasons.

The potential series comes from Universal Television, where Schur and Statsky both have overall deals (the two have worked together on The Good Place and Parks and Recreation). Schur's Fremulon, 3 Arts Entertainment and Aniello and Downs' Paulilu Productions are producing.

Aniello, Downs and Statsky wrote the pilot and will executive produce with Schur, David Miner of 3 Arts and Morgan Sackett. Aniello, who helmed numerous Broad City episodes and the pilot of Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens, will direct.

The HBO Max pilot is the third streaming project for Schur since he re-upped at Universal TV in a nine-figure deal. He also is exec producing (along with Sean Hayes) Q-Force, an animated spy comedy for Netflix, and Rutherford Falls, which he co-created with Ed Helms and Brooklyn Nine-Nine's Sierra Ornelas, for NBCUniversal's forthcoming streamer Peacock.

Schur continues to exec produce NBC's Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which is set to begin its eighth season on Feb. 6, and had Sunnyside at NBC earlier this season.

The pilot is one of a dozen in the works at HBO Max, the WarnerMedia streaming service set to launch in May. The platform has already greenlit more than 40 original scripted and unscripted series to go along with extensive library content from the Warner Bros. studio, HBO, TNT, TBS and Adult Swim, among others.

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Super Bowl LIV: Most Movie Ads Sitting Out the Big Game as Prices Soar

For the second year in a row, there will be fewer movie spots during the Super Bowl.

For the second year in a row, there will be fewer movie ads during the Super Bowl.

More and more, Hollywood studios are migrating to the pregame and postgame shows, where an ad can cost half as much. This year, a 30-second spot airing during Super Bowl LIV carries a steep price tag of $5.6 million, up from $5.2 million last year. Fox is carrying the NFL championship.

While the Super Bowl remains the most-watched live television event of the year in the U.S., ponying up that much money has become a major deterrent for Hollywood, particularly when dropping a teaser or a trailer at other times during Super Bowl weekend can achieve just as much exposure on social media.

Universal and Disney were the only major studios suiting up in 2019 for the actual game, and that appears to be the case again this time out. Paramount, home of this summer's Top Gun: Maverick, will have a major presence in the pregame — Disney and Universal are expected to use this block as well — while Warner Bros. and Sony are sitting it out completely.

After the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs take to the field, Universal is expected to air spots for its summer tentpoles Fast & Furious 9 (due out May 22) and Illumination's Minions: The Rise of Gru (July 3), according to insiders. Fun fact: Every Fast pic has been advertised on the Super Bowl.

The spot for Fast 9 will be preceded by the movie's trailer premiere on Friday at a concert in Miami, which is hosting Super Bowl LIV. Fast & Furious star Ludacris will perform alongside Cardi B, Ozuna — both of whom appear in the upcoming installment — Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth. While the trailer drop was officially announced, Universal declined to comment regarding its plans for Sunday.

Disney is likewise keeping mum regarding its specific plans, but will have a presence throughout the day, according to sources. Last year, it aired 30-second teasers for Avengers: Endgame and Toy Story 4 just before and after the game, while Captain Marvel was among the few movie ads during the main event.

The batch of Disney releases that could make an appearance sometime Sunday include the live-action Mulan (March 27) and Marvel's Black Widow (May 1) and two Pixar titles, Onward (March 6) and Soul (June 19).

Paramount will air spots during the pregame for A Quiet Place II (March 20) — two years ago, it did the same for the first A Quiet Place Sonic the Hedgehog (Feb. 14) and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run (May 22).

The studio isn't saying if it has any plans to promote Tom Cruise's Top Gun: Maverick (June 26) at any point during the day, but its Mission: Impossible franchise, likewise starring Cruise, has been a Super Bowl staple in past years.

Combined, the Hollywood studios used to drop as many as eight or 10 spots during the NFL championship, if not more. In 2018, that number fell to six and was even lower last year.

Netflix, Sony Team for ‘Matilda’ Movie Based on Stage Musical (Exclusive)

'Matilda the Musical,' based on Roald Dahl's beloved children's book, is once again getting the big-screen treatment, this time with Netflix joining the production.

Matilda the Musical, based on Roald Dahl's children's novel, is coming to the big screen — and small.

Sony Pictures and Netflix are partnering on a film adaptation that will get a full theatrical and home video run exclusively in the U.K. and then stream on Netflix platforms around the world, according to sources with knowledge of the deal.

Representatives from Sony and Netflix declined comment.

Sources say details of the release are still being worked out. It is unclear how the two companies are splitting the cost of the production and at what point in the U.K. theatrical run Matilda will be released on the streaming giant.

Sony sees upside in the exclusive U.K. release, according to a knowledgeable source. The 2017 film Paddington 2 grossed $59.5 million at the U.K. box office.

Previously, Netflix co-financed New Line's 2019 disappointment Shaft and began streaming it internationally two weeks after its U.S. theatrical release. The streamer also co-financed A24's Adam Sandler drama Uncut Gems, which will begin streaming in overseas territories on Friday (it is still playing in U.S. theaters).

As The Hollywood Reporter reported in October, Sony's TriStar division is devoting resources to stream­ing deals to start making movies belonging exclusively or almost exclusively to Netflix. Sony has been in a protracted but as-yet incomplete negotiation to make Masters of the Universe for Netflix. The streamer also has the series She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, plus an upcoming He-Man anime series.

Sony's Tri-Star unit made a film version of Matilda in 1996 that disappointed at the box office but became a favorite with many fans. The success of the musical obviously greatly increased the value of the IP.

For Netflix, the deal provides an opportunity to acquire streaming rights to a beloved, pre-branded property. The musical has been running in London since 2011 and has played around the world. Matilda the Musical ran on Broadway from 2013 until it closed on Jan. 1, 2017, after 1,555 performances and winning four Tony Awards.

Netflix said in 2018 that it would adapt Dahl's catalog of children's stories into a new slate of animated series, including Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG.

The film adaptation of Matilda the Musical will be helmed by Matthew Warchus, who was also the director of the stage musical that won several Laurence Olivier Awards in 2012. Warchus is artistic director of London's Old Vic Theatre and helmed the 1999 film Simpatico starring Nick Nolte and 2014's Pride starring Bill Nighy. Dennis Kelly, who won a Tony for best book for adapting the novel, will write the screenplay.

Matilda follows the story of a young bookworm prodigy mistreated by her ignorant parents. At a school run by an abusive headmistress, she finds a kindred spirit in her teacher, Miss Honey.

POW! Entertainment Asks Judge to Toss “Grossly Selfish” Lawsuit Filed by Stan Lee’s Daughter

POW! Entertainment, the company co-founded by the late Stan Lee in 2001, is asking a California federal judge to knock out a suit from Lee’s daughter that it describes as “a grossly selfish and inconsiderate waste” of the court’s time.

POW! Entertainment, the company co-founded by the late Stan Lee in 2001, is asking a California federal judge to knock out a suit from Lee’s daughter that it describes as “a grossly selfish and inconsiderate waste” of the court’s time.

J.C. Lee in September sued POW! in an effort to reclaim control of her father’s intellectual property and likeness rights. Prior to his death in 2017, the prolific comic book creator sued the company himself but later dropped that $1 billion claim.

Now, POW! is arguing that the issues underlying her claims have been “vociferously litigated and relitigated ad nauseam” and this latest round of litigation should end, too.

POW!’s attorney Chaz Rainey argues J.C. Lee's complaint is “so fatally flawed that it is difficult to decide where to begin.” First, he argues Lee’s daughter doesn’t have standing because she’s seeking to enforce the purported rights of the now-defunct Stan Lee Media (then known as Stan Lee Entertainment) under its 1998 employment agreement with her father. Second, he argues J.C. Lee’s claims are well beyond the statute of limitations. Third, he argues the 1998 contract “was the subject of no fewer than five federal lawsuits, all of which ultimately held the agreement to be unenforceable.”

While the agreement said it gave the company the rights to Lee’s intellectual property for his lifetime, Rainey explains, a federal judge ruled that it is a personal services agreement and therefore was limited to seven years under California law. Rainey also maintains that Lee terminated the agreement in 2001 before Stan Lee Media filed for bankruptcy.

Lee formed POW! in November 2001, and Rainey says Lee assigned his name and likeness rights to the company on no fewer than six occasions between its formation and his death and also gave the company his copyrights. Writes Rainey, “Attempting to bring such claims again, after being struck down numerous times by prior courts, including this very Court, is a gross waste of judicial time and resources.”

Read the full filing here.

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Kobe Bryant to Be Remembered at Oscars Ceremony

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is planning to acknowledge the death of late basketball legend Kobe Bryant at the 2020 Oscars ceremony on Feb. 9.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is planning to acknowledge the death of late basketball legend Kobe Bryant at the 2020 Oscars ceremony on Feb. 9, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.

Although Bryant's basketball accomplishments overshadowed his film efforts, he was an Oscar winner for his five-minute autobiographical short film Dear Basketball. The Los Angeles Laker great wrote, executive produced and lent his voice to the project, which won the best animated short Oscar at the 2018 ceremony.

Bryant's death along with eight others in a helicopter crash Sunday sent shock waves throughout Los Angeles, where he played for 20 years with the Lakers and won five NBA championships.

Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were aboard his private helicopter when it crashed in Calabasas, California, about 30 miles west of downtown Los Angeles. Hollywood continues to mourn his sudden death.

The Academy on Sunday paid tribute to Bryant in a touching Instagram post, writing, "They doubted a kid could make it in the NBA and he proved them wrong.They doubted he could win a championship and he proved them wrong. They doubted he could make movies and he won an Oscar. Like all great artists, Kobe Bryant proved the doubters wrong. Rest in peace."

Other organizations have also reacted to Bryant's death in different ways. The NBA postponed the first Lakers game following the accident, and the league did not state when that game against the Los Angeles Clippers would take place following the decision.

"The National Basketball Association game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the LA Clippers scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 28 at Staples Center has been postponed," the NBA tweeted Monday. "The decision was made out of respect for the Lakers organization, which is deeply grieving the tragic loss of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people in a helicopter crash on Sunday."

In its first statement about Bryant's death, issued later Monday, the Lakers said, "The Los Angeles Lakers would like to thank all of you for the tremendous outpouring of support and condolences. This is a very difficult time for all of us. We continue to support the Bryant family and will share more information as it is available."

More L.A. institutions have been paying tribute to Bryant since it was reported the former guard and his daughter died. Southern California radio stations honored the basketball legend with eight seconds of silence on Monday, in reference to one of Bryant's jersey numbers, No. 8. ESPN also re-aired Bryant's final NBA game on Monday night to "honor [his] life and legacy."

On Sunday, the night of the Grammys, fans gathered around Staples Center, where Bryant played for the Lakers, chanting, holding signs and leaving flowers in memoriam. When the awards ceremony began, host Alicia Keys called the venue "the house that Kobe Bryant built." Subsequent tributes were included in performances and appearances from stars such as Lizzo, Lil Nas X, Billy Ray Cyrus, Priyanka Chopra, Run-DMC and Aerosmith.

NBA on TNT has also planned a tribute for Tuesday during pregame coverage inside Staples Center with Inside the NBA's Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith joined by Dwyane Wade, Candace Parker and Steve Nash.

Elsewhere in L.A., at Vineyard and Pickford Streets, a mural was unveiled Monday in tribute to Bryant and his daughter, ABC 10 reported. The image reads "Kobe & Gigi Forever" and "Daddy's Girl."

Bryant played for the L.A. Lakers for two decades, becoming a five-time NBA champion and 18-time All-Star. At the conclusion of his career, he was the Lakers' leader in points scored, games played, three-pointers, steals and free throws, and was the first NBA player to spend 20 years with one franchise.

Along with Bryant and his daughter, seven others were killed in the helicopter crash, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, including Orange County Coast College coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and their 13-year-old daughter Alyssa; youth basketball coach Christina Mauser; mother and daughter Sarah and Payton Chester; and the pilot, Ara Zobayan. The crash is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Jack Burns, ‘The Muppet Movie’ and ‘Muppet Show’ Writer, Dies at 86

Jack Burns, one of the original writers for 'The Muppet Show' and a comedy partner to George Carlin, died Monday. He was 86.

Jack Burns, one of the original writers for The Muppet Show and a comedy partner to George Carlin, has died. The writer, actor and comedian was 86.

The funnyman was living in senior care for the past two years and celebrated his 31st year of sobriety in December, manager Peter Santana on Tuesday told The Hollywood Reporter. Burns died Monday of respiratory failure in Toluca Lake. 

"A foundational piece of the Carlin legacy has gone to the big comedy club in the sky. Jack was one of the sharpest motherfuckers I knew. He shaped my father’s mind in unique ways. RIP Jack Burns," Carlin's daughter, Kelly Carlin, wrote Tuesday on Twitter.

Kicking off his career as one half of a comedy duo with George Carlin, Burns performed with Carlin — who would go on to become the first host of Saturday Night Live and film 14 comedy specials with HBO — at The Playboy Club in Los Angeles and on The Tonight Show With Jack Paar. He met his next comedy partner, Avery Schreiber, at Chicago's Second City comedy troupe, and the pair went on to perform on Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall, The Merv Griffin Show, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and The Ed Sullivan Show, among other variety shows.

Burns gained further airtime when Andy Griffith hired him to fill in for the departing Don Knotts on The Andy Griffith Show as a new character, Deputy Sheriff Warren Ferguson. Unfortunately, his deputy was an unpopular character and he only lasted 11 episodes. Nevertheless, Burns ended up in roles on The Partridge Family, Happy Days and Getting Together after his stint on Andy Griffith. He additionally voiced Ralph on the groundbreaking primetime cartoon Wait 'Til Your Father Gets Home, which preceded today's popular animated shows for adults.

Perhaps Burns' most well-known accomplishment was becoming the head writer and producer on the first season of The Muppet Show, and he appeared in one episode alongside Schreiber. Burns wrote for the show for three years and on 28 episodes, later returning to the franchise to write 1979's The Muppet Movie with Jerry Juhl, 1985's Muppet Video: Country Music With the Muppets and 1985's Fozzie's Muppet Scrapbook.

Like his former comedy partner Carlin, Burns hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live in 1977. From 1980 to 1982, he became a writer and announcer on the ABC sketch comedy series Fridays, which he followed with the Showtime series Brothers. Burns later voice-acted on the animated series The Animaniacs and The Simpsons.

Burns was nominated for two Primetime Emmys, for outstanding comedy-variety or music series and outstanding writing, both for The Muppet Show in 1976, and likewise was nominated for a Hugo Award for best dramatic presentation with The Muppet Movie in 1980, but never won. 

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