CNN said Thursday it had cut ties with Jeffrey Lord, one of its most polarizing and ubiquitous personalities, after he used a phrase largely associated with Nazis in World War II. The separation is the latest at the Time Warner-owned cable-news outlet, which has come under increased scrutiny since the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. On Twitter, Lord used the phrase "Sieg heil" in a retort to Angelo Carusone, who heads the liberal activist organization Media Matters for America.
Disney is ending its distribution agreement with Netflix for new movie releases, while it's also buying majority ownership of BAMTech -- the streaming-video company founded by Major League Baseball -- in a $1.58 billion deal.
The White House's new communications director Anthony Scaramucci had harsh words -- to say the least -- about some of the top figures in President Donald Trump's administration. In an unfiltered interview with the New Yorker on Thursday, Scaramucci took aim particularly at chief strategist Steve Bannon and White House chief of staff Reince Priebus. Speaking on whether or not he took the White House job for media attention, he jumped on Bannon. "I'm not Steve Bannon, I'm not trying to suck my own c-k," he said.
LOS ANGELES - "Dancing With the Stars" has an eye on Sean Spicer -- but the talks are so preliminary that it's too early to tell if the former White House press secretary will actually make his way to the dance floor. "Right now just talking," a person close to the ABC show tells Variety of the prospect of Spicer joining the series. The insider stresses that there have been no firm discussions with Spicer regarding "Dancing With the Stars," saying, "Nothing beyond talking about casting. We're still so early in the process."
Here's a switch: Your local cable company may soon be offering you a cable TV bundle from Sony -- which markets its PlayStation Vue service as a "cable alternative."
Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington was found dead on Thursday morning, police confirmed to Variety. He was 41. At about 9 a.m. on Thursday, police responded to a call of a dead body in a Palos Verdes Estates (a suburb south of Los Angeles) home, the location of Bennington's private residence, law enforcement said in a statement. He appeared to have died by suicide from hanging, TMZ reports. The case is under investigation by the L.A. County Coroner Office. Variety has reached out to his reps for more details.
"Walking Dead" stuntman John Bernecker reportedly died after missing a safety cushion while filming a stunt for the AMC series. Bernecker was shooting a stunt for the show's eighth season in which he was to fall off a balcony onto the cushion some 20 feet below, but missed and instead landed on the concrete, according to TMZ. Assistant director Matthew Goodwin told police that Bernecker missed "just by inches." AMC has not yet commented on Bernecker's death.
The head of sports marketing for PepsiCo cleared up a rumor that Britney Spears, who performed at the Super Bowl halftime show in 2001, might be returning to football's biggest stage in 2018.
Kid Rock is teasing that he will have a "major announcement in the near future," after calling a website devoted to a bid for Senate run the "real" deal. On Twitter, the singer said that a website -- kidrockforsenate.com -- is authentic. The site is already selling campaign T-shirts, yard signs, hats, and bumper stickers. "Are you scared?" reads one of its headlines, along with a number of other slogans from his lyrics. The speculation is that the singer, whose birth name is Robert Ritchie, would run for a seat in Michigan to unseat Debbie Stabenow, who is up for re-election in 2018.
Joe Scarborough, the MSNBC host and former Republican U.S. Congressman, has long served as a sort of morning bulwark against the progressive anchors who take up the network's primetime schedule. Now, he suggested he may play a more centrist role.