The “House Of Cards” Season Five Trailer Is Out And Oh Boy, I'm Already Stressed

1. Rejoice, Netflix and chillers, our favorite politically-charged thriller House of Cards officially has a Season 5 trailer.

2. The preview for what promises to be an intense season opens with shots of our favorite political “villains,” Frank and Claire, as the incumbent President Underwood whispers in his signature, sinister drawl “The American people don’t know what’s best for them. I do. I know exactly what they need.”

3. The rest of the trailer, and the most suspenseful one minute and 37 seconds of my day thus far, is packed with everything we’ve come to expect and love from HoC: political scandal, dramatic campaigning, violence, protests, sex, and aggression.

6. All of which brings us to the preview’s end where Frank stands with Vice Presidential nominee, Claire, in the Oval Office as he delivers the most bone-chilling final lines of any trailer in the history of television, “One nation, Underwood.

7. And then I stared at my computer screen with goosebumps and my jaw dropped for a while as I considered all of the darkly chaotic excitement and stress we are about to get from Season 5.

Yup, democracy is shook, politics is canceled, hunt or be hunted, see you on May 30.

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Hollywood Has Avoided A Writers Strike

Strikers picket during the 2007–08 writers strike at NBC studios in Burbank, California. David Mcnew / Getty Images

The Writers Guild of America reached a tentative deal in negotiations with Hollywood studios early Tuesday morning, averting a writers strike just hours after their contract had expired.

The main issues at stake during the negotiations between the Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, more simply referred to as “the studios,” were writers’ demands for higher pay, tied to immense industry profits — $51 billion last year, the Guild said.

But perhaps most importantly, the WGA wanted greater contributions from the AMPTP to the union’s health insurance fund, which was in danger of being insolvent. According to an email sent Tuesday morning to WGA members, the new contract includes contribution increases to their health insurance fund “to ensure its solvency for years to come.”

The Guild also wanted writers to be paid for their time rather than per episode, and the new contract includes a definition, which has never before existed, of 2.4 weeks of work for each episodic fee. “Any work beyond that span will now require additional payment for hundreds of writer-producers,” the email read. Short television seasons have become the norm, rather than the exception, but even with short seasons of 8, 10, or 13 episodes, writers typically work the same, or similar, lengths of time as they would on a full network season of 22 episodes.

Another demand from the WGA was more money for writers’ shows appearing on streaming services, because residuals for reruns, which writers have relied on for supplemental income, have faded as a revenue source. According to the email, the new contract includes a 15% increase in pay TV residuals, a roughly $15 million increase in residuals for subscription-based video-on-demand services (meaning Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu’s paid subscription tier, etc.), and residuals for comedy-variety writers in pay TV for the first time ever.

Also for the first time ever, the new contract includes job protection of parental leave.

“We were able to achieve a deal that will net this Guild’s members $130 million more, over the life of the contract, than the pattern we were expected to accept,” the email noted.

Among other demands, the WGA also wanted pay disparities for script fees to be leveled so that the minimums are the same, regardless of whether a show is on a broadcast network, basic cable, premium cable, or a streaming service. The email did not include specifics about that demand, but details about the new contract will be revealed Thursday, May 4, at the WGA headquarters in Los Angeles.

The writers walkout was supposed to begin Tuesday at 12:01 a.m Pacific Time when the current contract expired, but after that deadline passed, it was clear that the Guild and the studios were closing in on a deal. A statement from the WGA at 1:36 a.m. PT read: “The Writers Guilds of America, West and East and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have concluded negotiations and have reached a tentative agreement on terms for a new three-year collective bargaining agreement.”

Negotiations initially began March 13. The WGA’s negotiating committee sent a letter to members in March that said “the economic position of writers has declined sharply.” The letter noted that the average salary of a TV writer-producer had fallen 23% in the past two years.

The last WGA strike, which began in November 2007 and lasted 100 days, put thousands of people out of work.

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Who Decides What Gets Played On The Radio? More And More, It's Listeners

In March, when Drake released More Life, the record-shattering streaming juggernaut he self-billed as a “playlist,” it raised questions about how conventions in popular music were changing — and which ones had outlived their use. Fans puzzled over how the term “playlist” could be stretched to fit a previously unreleased body of work; and devotees of hip-hop, grime, dancehall, and Afropop parsed the project’s various invocations of genre. In the time since the playlist’s debut, there’s another quandary, somewhat less-explored publicly, that’s managed to confound listeners, radio DJs, and even Drake’s own label: Which of More Life’s new songs should count as its official single?

Emmanuel Coquia, music director for the radio station Power 106 in Los Angeles, thought he had the answer to that question the Monday after More Life was released. Like radio programmers across the country, he’d received a note from Republic Records, which distributes Drake’s label Cash Money Records, informing him that their priority for airplay was “Free Smoke,” the surly, rumbling warning shot that opens the playlist.

Most Top 40 hits are still the result of collaborations between record labels and radio stations.

During the frenzy of that first weekend, Coquia told BuzzFeed News that he and his colleagues had spun almost every song on More Life, one of their most highly anticipated releases of the year. But with the note from Republic, they were being asked to back off everything but “Free Smoke,” which the label — and, presumably Drake himself — was putting forth to shape public perception of the project and promote further sales and streams.

For the majority of his two decades working in radio, Coquia would have complied. Most Top 40 hits are still the result of similar collaborations between record labels and radio stations, in which they work together to elevate one song from a given project — a single — over any number that are available. But that Monday in March, Republic’s was neither the only nor the loudest voice Coquia was hearing from when it came to More Life. On streaming services like Spotify, on the name-that-song app Shazam, and on social media, he could see that another song, “Passionfruit” — a lilting, tropical ballad that floats over the collection like a cocktail umbrella — was outperforming “Free Smoke” with fans. He decided to keep the former in rotation, despite the label’s guidance.

“If there’s something that we see or hear that has that buzz, we run with it,” Coquia said.

Last week, Power 106 played “Passionfruit” 130 times — more than any other song on its playlist. Since More Life was released, the station’s played the song more than 400 times, while the label-sanctioned “Free Smoke,” at fewer than 60 plays, has been effectively jilted. According to Nielsen BDS, which tracks songs that are played on the radio, other popular stations had similar instincts. Over 25 stations around the country were playing “Passionfruit” more than 100 times per week as of mid-April, with almost none granting “Free Smoke” comparable exposure.

As a flood of information from streaming services and social media has helped demystify what music fans really want, radio stations like Coquia’s are increasingly prioritizing this data in an intensifying battle for the affections of their listeners. The trend is loosening record labels’ historic grip on a powerful and jealously guarded pipeline to mainstream audiences — arguably the last remaining stronghold of the music industry’s pre-Napster golden era — and shifting the power to define popular music further toward consumers.

After the initial populist surge behind “Passionfruit,” Coquia said he heard again from his contacts at Republic. This time they told him that the campaign for “Free Smoke” was being wound down, only two weeks after it began, to clear the way for new single priorities “Passionfruit” and “Portland,” featuring Quavo and Travis Scott (Republic Records declined BuzzFeed News’ request for comment).

“It’s almost like there’s no such thing as a priority on an album anymore,” Coquia concluded. “It’s just ‘What song is making the most noise?’”

The democratization of singles poses a unique challenge for artists and labels, as evidenced earlier this year after the release of Future’s self-titled album. Like many big-name stars in a post-Beyoncé world, Future dropped it with little warning, forgoing a traditional release of one or more lead singles. But the artist and his label, Epic Records, made an effort to signal their preference for a single after the fact. Their pick — a prickly, trap rap lullaby called “Draco” — was serviced to radio stations as the album’s priority track, given favorable placement on Apple Music and Spotify, and featured in an official music video.

But it was another track from Future, “Mask Off,” that captured the zeitgeist. Powered by viral videos that riffed on its memorable flute sample, “Mask Off” emerged as the people’s favorite almost immediately, dwarfing “Draco” in social media mentions, plays on streaming services, and — more or less concurrently — airplay on radio stations. As organic buzz around the song effectively overruled Epic’s carefully laid rollout plan, radio sources said the label abruptly changed its tune.

“‘Draco’ just fell apart and they went with ‘Mask Off,’” said Myron Fears, programming director of Hot 103 Jamz in Kansas City, Missouri, describing his conversations with Epic about promoting a single from Future. “You’re seeing a lot more of this than ever before. If something’s not working that [the labels] set out as their priority, they’re moving off of it a lot quicker.” Epic Records did not respond to a request for comment.

Programmers like Fears say that waiting for a record label’s blessing before putting a song in rotation was a courtesy of the pre-streaming era that they can no longer afford. Radio is still extraordinarily popular in America, used by 93% of adults and 92% of 18- to 34-year-olds each week, according to the most recent Nielsen study. But momentum toward on-demand streaming in music is putting stations on the defensive. Total on-demand audio streams in the US jumped by 76% in 2016, according to Nielsen. And the Recording Industry Association of America, which counts the average number of people who pay to subscribe to music streaming services each year, said that last year subscriptions more than doubled.

“In this day and age, if something gets into the atmosphere on streaming services, or YouTube, or Vevo, or wherever … even if I don’t play it, you can’t stop the movement,” said Terri Thomas, operations manager and programming director for three radio stations in Houston, including 97.9 The Boxx. “The audience likes what it likes, and they’re going to get it no matter what.”

If the rise of streaming services changed how artists are valued by gatekeepers at record labels and radio stations — allowing outsiders to reach heights once reserved for a chosen few — the same is proving to be true for individual songs, which can sink or swim without respect to official narratives or boundaries, including those set by their own creators.

“We [in the industry] all have to be less rigid,” said Jimmy Steal, of Power 106 in LA. “If someone likes anything that you’re doing, even if you’re not prioritizing it, that’s a blessing.”

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We Don't Need A Second Season Of “13 Reasons Why”

1. If you’re like me, you watched 13 Reasons Why in almost one sitting and looked something like this by the end:

2. And when it ended in a way that left a number of things unanswered, your brain was like this:

3. Like, did Alex survive? What’s Tyler planning? Will Bryce have to pay for all the harm he caused? And can Clay move on and be happy?

5. As much as I loved these characters and want some answers, I think it would ultimately be better to let the show remain as a great 13-episode project. And here’s why:

6. 1. The source material

Penguin Teen

13 Reasons Why was written as a book with no sequels—why not let it stay that way? It’s about Hannah’s story, which comes full circle. While there are other loose ends, I think it’s more meaningful that we don’t necessarily know how everything turned out. Life is messy and sometimes you don’t have everything tied up neatly.

7. 2. The content

There has certainly been a mixed response to 13 Reasons Why—some are inspired by the show’s anti-bullying message while others claim it’s triggering and potentially dangerous. While we obviously don’t know what Season 2 would be about, the two likely topics would either be Alex’s own attempt to take his life or Tyler’s plans to harm others as revenge for being bullied. Both paths seem like they would go to an even darker place than Season 1.

8. 3. The star

13 Reasons Why has a phenomenal young ensemble cast, but there’s no denying that Katherine Langford’s portrayal of Hannah anchored the whole show. While I’m sure Hannah would be present in flashbacks somehow, I personally would miss having Langford as the main character.

9. If there is a Season 2 (and it sounds like there will be), you can bet I’ll give it a chance and see where the writers take things. But I personally think this story was strong enough to exist on its own, without any follow up.

  1. So, what do you think? Do you want a Season 2 of “13 Reasons Why”?

    1. 100%, I need to see more from these characters!

    2. Yes, but only if the storyline makes sense.

    3. No, Season 1 is perfect and it should stay that way.

    4. I didn’t even like Season 1, TBH…

We Don’t Need A Second Season Of “13 Reasons Why”


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    Netflix Is Updating Its Trigger Warnings For “13 Reasons Why”

    1. In the month since its release, Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why has been highly debated, both praised and criticized for its portrayal of high schoolers grappling with suicide and rape.

    The series tells the story of high schooler Hannah Baker who kills herself after being bullied, harassed, and sexually assaulted. She also witnesses a classmate get sexually assaulted by her same perpetrator.

    2. The series is rated TV-MA for mature audiences, and the episodes that explicitly depict rape and suicide — Episodes 9 (“Tape 7, Side A”) and 13 (“Tape 5, Side A”) — include warnings before they begin streaming.

    4. A lot of viewers have expressed a desire for the series to have more trigger warnings.

    5. And BuzzFeed News has exclusively learned that Netflix is updating the warnings that already exist, as well as including an additional warning about the whole series before the first episode.

    6. “While many of our members find the show to be a valuable driver for starting important conversation with their families, we have also heard concern from those who feel the series should carry additional advisories,” Netflix said in a statement.

    7. “We will add an additional viewer warning card before the first episode as an extra precaution for those about to start the series and have also strengthened the messaging and resource language in the existing cards for episodes that contain graphic subject matter.”

    8. A spokesperson for Netflix said these changes will go into effect as early as this week.

    9. Here’s Netflix’s full statement:

    There has been a tremendous amount of discussion about our series 13 Reasons Why. While many of our members find the show to be a valuable driver for starting important conversation with their families, we have also heard concern from those who feel the series should carry additional advisories. Currently the episodes that carry graphic content are identified as such and the series overall carries a TV-MA rating. Moving forward, we will add an additional viewer warning card before the first episode as an extra precaution for those about to start the series and have also strengthened the messaging and resource language in the existing cards for episodes that contain graphic subject matter, including the URL — a global resource center that provides information about professional organizations that support help around the serious matters addressed in the show.

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    Why We Need More Characters Like Lionel On “Dear White People”

    You can count on one hand the number of scripted television shows that currently feature gay black male characters who are series regulars. There’s Empire (Jussie Smollett’s Jamal Lyon), Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Andre Braugher’s Captain Holt), Hap and Leonard (Michael Kenneth Williams’s Leonard Pine), Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Tituss Burgess’s Titus Andromedon), and Arrow (Echo Kellum’s Curtis Holt).

    Thankfully that paltry figure has just been upped by one thanks to Justin Simien’s Dear White People, which dropped 10 wonderful episodes on Netflix this weekend. The show, like the film that inspired it, prominently features a gay college student named Lionel (DeRon Horton takes over for Tyler James Williams) who is coming to terms with his sexuality.

    He’s a painfully shy and unmistakably awkward journalist with an intense yet confusing crush on his roommate Troy (Brandon P. Bell). When asked if he’s gay, Lionel replies with deflections like, “I don’t subscribe to those kinds of labels.” But after narrowly avoiding a deeply misguided — albeit personally enlightening — threesome, Lionel embraces his label and tells Troy, “I’m gay. I don’t know why that’s so hard for me to say. I’ve always known.”

    It’s a beautifully understated moment — but it’s significant that the mere act of coming out doesn’t fix Lionel’s social life in the all-too-perfect way often portrayed in pop culture. He’s not suddenly besieged by boys or inundated by a group of girls who want to be his best friend simply because he proclaimed his sexual orientation. In fact, the only thing coming out changes is how Lionel feels about himself and that’s because Lionel, like many of the characters on Dear White People, are slightly altered projections of Simien’s personal experiences.

    “I’m tellin’ on myself with every one of these characters,” he told BuzzFeed News with a hearty laugh. “All of the dirty secrets of myself and my fellow writers are all mixed into this show. I’m not telling what’s who’s, but a lot of personal embarrassment is woven into every character and I promise to keep doing that.”

    For example, in Episode 2 (which Simien wrote), when Lionel flashes back to his high school Halloween dance and the cool kids are making fun of him and calling him gay for dressing like Star Trek: The Next Generation character Geordi La Forge, that’s because La Forge was an important black character during Simien’s formative years.

    “Lionel is queer but he doesn’t really fit any of the gay, black, male projections out there and that was my struggle too,” Simien said. “I didn’t see myself anywhere in the culture. I had Geordi La Forge, I guess. That was me because I was sort of a dork; RuPaul was out there but I wasn’t that kind of a gay. And that really has such an effect on people. So many guys I grew up with were so defeated about their sexuality, were so stuck because of it. They would maybe party at the clubs and stuff, but deep inside they didn’t feel they were worthy of any place in society and that is all about the fact they didn’t see themselves anywhere.”

    And that’s why Lionel is a particular source of pride for the creator. “It means a fucking lot to put a gay black male character out there in the world that doesn’t look like the other ones because there’s a lot of us. We come in many different flavors — because, you know, human beings — but black human beings on TV don’t always.”

    Over the course of 10 episodes, Lionel navigates a side of collegiate gay life not often portrayed in pop culture: There’s the aforementioned threesome and crush on Troy, his roommate. But viewers also seem him grapple with how to define himself within the gay community — a quick scan of a Grindr-like app reveals to Lionel a myriad of confounding subcategories, and his editor at the school paper doesn’t make the choice any clearer. “Personally I’m a Mexican-Italian gay verse top otter pup,” he tells Lionel, who replies, “Individually, I know what those words mean…” Lionel’s struggle to relate to other gay men around him is incredibly fresh terrain that Simien hopes to delve much more deeply into should Netflix order additional seasons.

    But Simien didn’t feel an urgency to create Lionel solely for himself — he also did it for the millions of gay black boys out there whose lives could be changed or bettered by growing up with the ability to watch and relate to a character like this. “To me one of the most lasting impacts a show like Empire can have — it’s soapy, it’s entertaining, it’s all of that, but it’s also beaming a black gay male character into the homes of many black families that otherwise would never have to confront that kind of characters,” he said. “It’s really important. I tell Jussie, ‘You’re saving people’s lives,’ and it’s not an overstatement to say that. I’ve lost friends to various things because they were out there in these streets and didn’t feel worthy because they were black and gay and living in the South. And that’s not right.”

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    These Boys Who Protested President Trump At His Rally Have Become A Huge Meme

    1. On Saturday, Donald Trump held a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to mark his 100th day in office as President of the United States.

    Alex Wong / Getty Images

    3. Though the overwhelming majority of people at the rally were there to see the president, I snapped a photo of five young boys from the Harrisburg area who were riding their bikes around the complex where it took place. They were there to protest Trump.

    I saw the boys riding their bikes around the area where the event was taking place, showing off a cardboard sign with the words “Fuck Trump” written on it.

    10. One thing’s for sure: These boys, who came down to the rally to exercise their First Amendment right to protest, are now gaining a small following online.

    12. And people love that they’ve taken matters into their own hands.

    These kids really bout that action #717BikeLife

    — Discount Chris Pratt (@thelollcano)

    13. May you continue to be bold, #717BikeLife kids.

    Michael Blackmon for BuzzFeed News

    Note: BuzzFeed News did not document the kids’ personal information since they were minors and no parents were around to give consent for an interview.

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    The Pressure Of Potentially Being TV's Only Black Female Late Night Host

    1. This is Franchesca Ramsey, who you might know from MTV Decoded or The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore.

    Leon Bennett / Getty Images

    2. It was also recently announced that the comedian will host and executive produce a pilot for her own Comedy Central late night show.

    4. Bee is one of the only female late night hosts on TV right now, and Ramsey told BuzzFeed News she’s excited, but a little stressed about the prospect of being the only black woman in that world.

    5. “For me, my work has always been about being my true self,” she said.

    6. “That is an important and empowering thing for a lot of people who look like me and who are just excited to see someone be who they are in a world that doesn’t say locs are traditional and professional, or that black women can be awkward and weird and not fit into these stereotypical boxes.”

    7. “It’s definitely exciting but it does feel like a lot of pressure,” Ramsey continued. “I’m just thankful to be in the position at all.”

    Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

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    Ryan Seacrest Is Officially Replacing Michael Strahan As Kelly Ripa's Co-Host

    1. After more than a year without an official co-host, Kelly Ripa told Live With Kelly viewers that none other than Ryan Seacrest will be joining her permanently as co-host of her NBC morning show.

    John Sciulli / Getty Images

    2. Michael Strahan served as Ripa’s right-hand man for four years on the show before he blindsided her last year with news of his departure to anchor Good Morning America full-time.

    Mark Davis / Getty Images

    Strahan’s exit caused a bit of a divide between the two, and Ripa took a week off of work at the time to cope with the news — even Regis Philbin, an original co-host of Live weighed in on the drama, saying, “They should’ve told her in the beginning.”

    3. The new hosting gig is just another notch on Seacrest’s already glowing resumé. As most people know, he served as host of the once popular TV show American Idol and from that point has grown his empire, becoming a big-name producer.

    Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

    In addition to this gig, Seacrest will continue to host Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, and per CNN, he will have a studio built inside near his new NBC home so that he can continue working on his syndicated radio shows with iHeartMedia.

    4. Make no mistake, Seacrest is certainly one of the hardest working and gainfully employed people in entertainment.

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