In Its 18-Year History, Fox News Had Never Managed to Do This — Until Now

An electronic news ticker above a sign at the Fox News Channel television studios in the parent News Corporation building, 05 October 2006, in New York. (STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
(STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

For the first time in its 18-year history, Fox News Channel was the most-watched network in basic cable primetime for an entire quarter, according to Nielson ratings released Tuesday.

The cable-news network managed to top all of its competitors, including ESPN which usually sees a boost in ratings as the football season begins.

Fox News averaged 1,952,000 total viewers in primetime compared to ESPN’s 1,707,000 viewers. USA averaged 1,552,000 viewers and TNT averaged 1,418,000 viewers.

The ratings mark a double-digit increase in viewers from the same time last year and come as the 2016 political season heats up.

Earlier this year, Fox News shattered all records when more than 24 million viewers tuned into the first Republican presidential debate in Cleveland. The debate ignited a feud between candidate Donald Trump and the network that has been on-and-off for weeks.

Fox News turns 19 on October 7.

Jimmy Kimmel Beats Stephen Colbert in Ratings for First Time


ABC late-night show tops “Late Show” in key demo

“Jimmy Kimmel Live” bested “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” in the ratings for the first time on Thursday night, in addition to almost tying “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”

Kimmel scored a 0.9 rating/5 share in the advertiser coveted adults 18-49 demographic, while Colbert got a 0.7/5. Fallon’s show got a 1.0/5.

Kimmel enjoyed a strong lead in thanks the return of Shondaland shows on ABC, in addition to welcoming Shonda Rhimes herself as a guest.
Kimmel also hosted Dave Salmoni and Jill Scott, as well wrapping up his week of Mean Tweets with celebrities like George Clooney and Halle Berry reading the worst things internet trolls could throw at them.

The NFL match up between the Washington Redskins and the New York Giants lead in to Colbert, who had guests on like Maria Shriver,  Jim Gaffigan, and Archbishop Thomas Wenski.
Fallon hosted Joseph Gordon-Levitt singing a barbershop quartet version of Rihanna‘s “Bitch Better Have My Money,” and interviewed Chris Hardwick.

Jack Larson, Jimmy Olsen on First Superman TV Show, Dies at 87

Jack Larson (left) as Jimmy Olsen with George Reeves as Clark Kent in "Adventures of Superman."
 Courtesy Everett Collection

Typecast after the series ended in the late 1950s, the actor turned to writing plays and librettos and produced several James Bridges films.

Jack Larson, forever typecast as the overeager cub reporter Jimmy Olsen on the 1950s television series Adventures of Superman, has died. He was 87.

Larson, who later produced several films written and/or directed by his longtime companion, the late Oscar nominee James Bridges, died Sunday at his home in Brentwood, The New York Times reported. Further details of his death were not immediately available.

In 1951, Larson signed up to play the hapless Olsen for $250 an episode on Adventures of Superman, the first TV show to feature the Man of Steel from the comics. At the time, he wanted to go to New York to tackle Broadway and didn’t think the series — then one of the few to be filmed, not done live — would amount to anything.

"The casting man and my agent talked to me very seriously about doing this," he recalled in a 2003 interview with the Archive of American Television. "They said, 'Look, you’re a very mixed-up kid, do this. It’s 26 shows, it’s a season’s work, and you’ll have enough money to go to New York. It’s probably like doing a Saturday morning serial. No one will ever see it. Take the money and run.' "

After wrapping work on Superman in about five months, he did get to New York, did live television and appeared in Kid Monk Baroni (1952), notable for giving Leonard Nimoy his first major role.

Meanwhile, Superman had premiered in syndication and had become an instant sensation. Larson suddenly was getting recognized on the subway as Jimmy, the wide-eyed, bowtie-wearing kid who kept running into trouble at The Daily Planet — only to be bailed out by Superman (George Reeves).

Once, Larson said, the police had to rescue him from a restaurant after kids recognized him from the show. "My life had turned upside down," he recalled, "and this was not a good experience."

Larson refused to do publicity for the series, hoping it would just go away. It didn’t.

"I wouldn’t do a magazine interview, I wouldn’t do anything, because I thought everything I do as Jimmy Olsen publicity is just a further nail in my coffin as an actor," he said.

His contract kept him from doing much of anything else, and Larson would appear on Superman for six seasons (a seventh was shelved because of the sudden death of Reeves in June 1959; Larson believed it was suicide).

He was forever typecast as Olsen and rarely worked as an actor again.

Jack Edward Larson was believed to be born in Los Angeles on Feb. 8, 1928 (though he often said his birth year was 1933). An only child, he was raised a bit east of L.A. in Montebello.

At age 14, he became a California state bowling champion in his age group and considered a career as a pro. He appeared in an MGM short film as a “kid kegler” with champion bowlers Ned Day and Hank Marino in a Santa Monica bowling alley owned by Harold Lloyd.

After Larson was sent to Pasadena Junior College, his instructors discovered that he had a gift for writing and motivated him to put together plays and star in them as well.

When Larson wrote and then appeared in a musical comedy about college kids on an Easter Week vacation, he was spotted by a Warner Bros. talent scout and given a screen test.

"It sounds like an amazing thing to happen," he recalled in an interview for the school’s archives, "but Hollywood discovered me at PJC’s Sexson Auditorium. For a young stage actor like myself, movies really meant something, so you can imagine the excitement I felt."

The audition led a contract and a role as Lieutenant "Shorty" Kirk in Raoul Walsh’s Fighter Squadron (1948), a film that also marked the big-screen debut of Rock Hudson.

After Superman was finished — he said his favorite episode was the Maltese Falcon-inspired "Semi-Private Eye" from 1954 — there was talk about doing a 13-episode show called Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen. "But it was not agreeable with me to go on and do that," he said in the TV Archive interview.

Larson took to writing plays, including The Candied House, a mystery that was based on Hansel and Gretel and opened the L.A. County Museum of Art’s Leo S. Bing Theatre in 1966, and Cherry, Larry, Sandy, Doris, Jean, Paul, a comedy about being gay that Bridges once helmed in London.

Larson also wrote librettos for various operas like Virgil Thomson’s prestigious Lord Byron, which premiered at New York’s Lincoln Center in 1972.

Larson couldn’t resist the call of the old days and appeared in 1991 in the syndicated series Superboy. He played "Old Jimmy Olsen" (an older version of Justin Whalin) in a 1996 episode of ABC’s Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, then was seen as a bartender in Bryan Singer’s 2006 film Superman Returns.

He also appeared in a 2010 episode of NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Larson and Bridges met when they were supporting players in the cast of Johnny Trouble (1957), starring Ethel Barrymore in her final film. They later formed a production company, and Larson produced such Bridges films as The Baby Maker (1970), Mike’s Murder (1984), Perfect (1985) and Bright Lights, Big City (1988).

Bridges died of cancer in June 1993 at age 57.

Larson, who also was close with actor Montgomery Clift until his death in 1966, shared a historical Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home on a Brentwood hillside with Bridges for years.

"It was obvious to anyone that since we lived together we were partners," Larson told the Los Angeles Times in 2011. "We always went places together. We never pretended. I always did what I felt like doing. I never did publicity when I was very popular as Jimmy. The question [about being gay] never came up."

Best-selling novelist Jackie Collins dies of breast cancer at 77

 photo by Ray Tharaldson all rights reserved 2015
Associated Press
The novels of Jackie Collins dramatized the lives of the most elite people and places, but they were read by everyone, everywhere — from airports to beaches to, sometimes, under the covers with a flashlight to hide from disapproving parents and partners.

Collins, whose books like "Hollywood Wives" were as brazenly sexual as they were proudly pulpy, sold hundreds of millions of novels in dozens of countries, and it led to a level of wealth, celebrity and glamour that in many ways surpassed her own characters, and arguably matched that of her older sister, "Dynasty" actress Joan Collins.

Collins died at age 77 of breast cancer in Los Angeles, her publicist Melody Korenbrot said.

Collins' tales of sex, glamour, power and more sex were a forerunner to the culture of "Desperate Housewives" and "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." Her books provided at first more than some wanted to hear, but she became the kind of author from whom readers could never get enough, providing forbidden fodder for housewives and for teenagers raiding their parents' bookshelves.

Collins told The Associated Press in a 2011 interview that she "never felt bashful writing about sex."

"As a writer, you can never think about who is going to read your books. Is it going to be my mom? 
My children? A lot of people say to me, 'Oh, I read your books under a cover with a flashlight when I was really young and I learned everything I know about sex from you.' 

"She was born Jacqueline Jill Collins in London in 1937, the daughter of a theatrical agent and a dance teacher.

Her first novel, "The World is Full of Married Men," was a story of sex and show business set in "Swinging London" in the mid-1960s. It came out in 1968 and became a scandalous best-seller, banned in Australia and condemned by romance writer Barbara Cartland.

"Barbara Cartland said to me, 'Oh, Miss Collins, your books are filthy and disgusting and you are responsible for all the perverts in England,' " Collins told Porter Magazine in 2014. "I pause for a few moments and said, 'Thank you.' 

"Collins followed in the 1970s with books like "The World is Full of Divorced Women" and "Lovers & Gamblers."

By the 1980s, she had moved to Los Angeles and turned out the 1983 novel she is still best known for, "Hollywood Wives," which has sold more than 15 million copies. It came at the same time that her sister hit the height of her own fame on "Dynasty."

"Dynasty" producer Aaron Spelling would also produce the 1985 hit TV miniseries of "Hollywood Wives," which featured Candice Bergen, Angie Dickinson and Suzanne Somers, among others.

It led to follow-ups like "Hollywood Husbands" (1986), "Hollywood Kids" (1984) and "Hollywood Wives: The New Generation" (2001).

The books made Jackie Collins a celebrity in her own right, and she loved the part, looking, living and behaving more like an actress than an author. In many ways, her own persona was her greatest character.

Collins embraced Twitter in her later years, and she loved the engagement with her over 150,000 followers.

"I love tweeting. I have so much fun with my fans," she told the AP in 2011. "I've asked them for reviews. I answer people's questions. Sometimes I'll do a little survey and say, 'Who is hot this week?' 

"Many were using Twitter to mourn her Saturday night, including Oprah Winfrey, who Tweeted "RIP Jackie Collins. I always loved our interviews."

Larry King Tweeted that Collins was a "true talent, a beautiful being and a dear friend."

Collins' books didn't stick strictly to Hollywood. She penned a series of mafia novels documenting the lives of the Santangelo family, focusing on its patriarch Gino and his daughter Lucky. She wrote nine novels based on the family that included her last, "The Santangelos," published this year.

Collins told People magazine, which first reported her death Saturday, in her final interview Sept. 14 that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer over six years ago, but she had chosen to keep the news among family, confiding mainly in her three daughters, 54-year-old Tracy, 48-year-old Tiffany and 46-year-old Rory.

A family statement called Collins "a true inspiration, a trailblazer for women in fiction and a creative force. She will live on through her characters but we already miss her beyond words."

Collins was married twice, the second time to art gallery and nightclub owner Oscar Lerman in 1965. Lerman died in 1992. She was then engaged to Los Angeles businessman Frank Calcagnini, who died in 1998.

Asked by the AP in 2011 if she was dating anyone, Collins said "I have a man for every occasion."

"When I was a kid growing up, I used to read my father's Playboy and I'd see these guys and they had fantastic apartments and cars," she said. "I have all of that now. Why would I want to hook myself up with one man when I've had two fantastic men in my life? One was my husband for over 20 years, and one was my fiance for six years."

Emmys 2015: Complete Winners List

Let the awards season begin! The 67th Emmy Awards got off to a huge start at Los Angeles' Nokia Theater LA Live on Sunday, Sept. 20, with Andy Samberg opening the show as host. Olive Kitteridge and Veep had an early lead in wins for the evening, but Game of Thrones came in toward the end of the night to take home a few solid wins.

Jon Hamm was honored with Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, finally taking home an Emmy after being nominated since Mad Men's inception in 2007.
See the complete list of winners below:

Outstanding Drama Series
Better Call Saul
Downton Abbey
Game of ThronesHomeland
House of Cards
Mad Men
Orange Is the New Black

Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Kyle Chandler, Bloodline
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
Jon Hamm, Mad MenBob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Taraji P. Henson in Empire
Taraji P. Henson in Empire Credit: Chuck Hodes/FOX

Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Claire Danes, Homeland
Viola Davis, How to Get Away With MurderTaraji P. Henson, Empire
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Robin Wright, House of Cards

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series
Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Peter Dinklage, Game of ThronesAlan Cumming, The Good Wife
Michael Kelly, House of Cards

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black

The cast of Modern Family
The cast of Modern Family Credit: ABC/Bob D'Amico

Outstanding Comedy Series
Louie Modern FamilyParks and RecreationSilicon ValleyTransparentUnbreakable Kimmy SchmidtVeep

Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Anthony Anderson, Black-ishLouis C.K., LouieDon Cheadle, House of LiesWill Forte, Last Man on EarthMatt LeBlanc, EpisodesWilliam H. Macy, ShamelessJeffrey Tambor, Transparent

Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross in Black-ish
Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross Credit:ABC/Michael Ansell

Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Edie Falco, Nurse JackieLisa Kudrow, The ComebackJulia Louis-Dreyfus, VeepAmy Poehler, Parks and RecreationAmy Schumer, Inside Amy SchumerLily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Adam Driver, Girls
Keegan-Michael Key, Key & Peele
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tony Hale, Veep

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang TheoryNiecy Nash, Getting OnJulie Bowen, Modern FamilyAllison Janney, MomKate McKinnon, Saturday Night LiveGaby Hoffmann, TransparentJane Krakowski, Unbreakable Kimmy SchmidtAnna Chlumsky, Veep

Kate McKinnon as Hillary Rodham Clinton on Saturday Night Live
Credit: Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Outstanding Reality Competition Program
The Amazing RaceDancing With the StarsProject RunwaySo You Think You Can DanceTop ChefThe Voice

Outstanding Variety Talk Series
The Colbert ReportThe Daily Show With Jon StewartJimmy Kimmel LiveLast Week TonightLate Show With David LettermanThe Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon

Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality Competition Program
Tom Bergeron, Dancing With the Stars
Jane Lynch, Hollywood Game NightHeidi Klum and Tim Gunn, Project Runway
Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance
Anthony Bourdain, The Taste

Cat Deeley announced the winning contestant on So You Think You Can Dance
So You Think You Can Dance Credit: FOX via Getty Images
Outstanding Variety Sketch Series
Drunk History
Inside Amy SchumerKey & PeelePortlandia Saturday Night Live

Outstanding Television Movie
Agatha Christie's Poirot: Curtain, Poirot's Last Case
BessieGrace Of Monaco
Hello Ladies: The Movie
Killing Jesus

Outstanding Limited Series
American Crime
American Horror Story: Freak Show
Olive KitteridgeThe Honorable Woman
Wolf Hall

Jessica Lange in American Horror Story: Freak Show
American Horror Story: Freak Show Credit: Michele K. Short/FX

Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
Adrien Brody, Houdini
Ricky Gervais, Derek
Timothy Hutton, American Crime
Richard Jenkins, Olive KitteridgeDavid Oyelowo, Nightingale
Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall

Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Honorable Woman
Felicity Huffman, American Crime
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Queen Latifah, Bessie
Frances McDormand, Olive KitteridgeEmma Thompson, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Live From Lincoln Center)

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Alan Alda, The Blacklist
Michael J. Fox, The Good Wife
F. Murray Abraham, Homeland
Reg E. Cathey, House of CardsBeau Bridges, Masters of Sex
Pablo Schreiber, Orange Is the New Black

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Margo Martindale, The AmericansDiana Rigg, Game of Thrones
Rachel Brosnahan, House of Cards
Cicely Tyson, How to Get Away With Murder
Allison Janney, Masters of Sex
Khandi Alexander, Scandal

Khandi Alexander in Scandal
Khandi Alexander Credit: Mitchell Haaseth/ABC via Getty Images

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
Mel Brooks, The Comedians
Paul Giamatti, Inside Amy Schumer
Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live
Louis C.K., Saturday Night Live
Bradley Whitford, TransparentJon Hamm, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
Christine Baranski, The Big Bang Theory
Gaby Hoffmann, Girls
Pamela Adlon, Louie
Elizabeth Banks, Modern Family
Joan Cusack, ShamelessTina Fey, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
Richard Cabral, American Crime
Denis O'Hare, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Finn Wittrock, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Michael Kenneth Williams, Bessie
Bill Murray, Olive KitteridgeDamian Lewis, Wolf Hall

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Regina King, American CrimeSarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Angela Bassett, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Mo'Nique, Bessie
Zoe Kazan, Olive Kitteridge

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series 
The Americans, "Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?"
Better Call Saul, "Five-O"
Game of Thrones, "Mother's Mercy"Mad Men, "Lost Horizon"
Mad Men, "Person to Person"

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
Episodes, "Episode 409"
The Last Man on Earth, "Alive in Tucson"
Louie, "Bobby's House"
Silicon Valley, "Two Days of the Condor"
Transparent, "Pilot"
Veep, "Election Night"

Directing For A Comedy Series
Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, The Last Man on Earth
Jill Soloway, TransparentArmando Iannucci, Veep
Louis C.K., Louie
Mike Judge, Silicon Valley

Outstanding Structured Reality Program
Antiques Roadshow
Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
Property Brothers
Shark TankUndercover Boss

Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program
Alaska: The Last Frontier
Deadliest CatchIntervention
Million Dollar Listing New York
Naked and Afraid

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett perform onstage in support of their award winning album Cheek To Cheek
Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Outstanding Variety Special
Bill Maher: Live from D.C.
The Kennedy Center Honors
Louis C.K.: Live at the Comedy Store
Mel Brooks Live at the Geffen
The Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary SpecialTony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek LIVE!

Plane Crash on Tom Cruise Film Set Leaves 2 Dead

A plane crash during the shoot of Tom Cruise’s movie “Mena” killed two and seriously injured a third person on Friday night in Medellin, Colombia.

Cruise, a trained pilot, was not on the plane. The two people killed were identified as American film pilot Alan David Purwin and Colombian Carlos Berl. Another American pilot, Jimmy Lee Garland, was severely injured and hospitalized in Medellin.

Purwin was founder and president of Los Angeles-based Helinet Technologies, which provides aerial surveillance technology to law enforcement and government agencies. He’s worked on such films as 

“Transformers,” “Pearl Harbor” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

Purwin was recently featured in Variety‘s Artisans video series in a segment about aerial photography. Purwin spoke of his efforts to “de-risk” as much as possible when working in dangerous conditions.

Local authorities believe that bad weather caused the twin-engine Aerostar to crash against the Alto de la Clarita mountain.

The Universal Pictures drama directed by Doug Liman has been shooting in Colombia since late August. Cruise plays Barry Seal, the American pilot who worked for Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar before he became a spy for the Drug Enforcement Agency. The film also stars Jesse Plemons, Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright and Caleb Landry Jones.

“An aircraft carrying crew members crashed while returning to Enrique Olaya Herrera Airport in Medellin following production wrap on the film ‘Mena’ resulting in two fatalities,” a Universal spokesperson said in a statement. “Further details are not available at this time. On behalf of the production, our hearts and prayers go out to the crew members and their families at this difficult time.”

“Mena” was the first international production to tap the film incentives offered by Medellin, which offers cash rebates of up to 15%.

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'Goonies' Director Plots 'Immersive Theater' Adaptation

 Warner Bros/Everett


Richard Donner says unorthodox version of 1985 adventure-comedy will find audience following actors through warehouse

Director Richard Donner is planning an unorthodox "immersive theater" adaptation of The Goonies, his beloved 1985 adventure-comedy. The Off-Broadway experience, as he explains in an interview with Yahoo! Movies, will be staged in a warehouse with no seats, allowing the audience to follow the cast along the story's epic adventure. The film features a crew of Oregon pre-teens journeying to unearth the treasures of pirate One-Eyed Willy. "You become part of it, and you travel through with actors," Donner told the publication. "It's very popular now... It will take another year or so, but it's going to be wonderful."

The movie, written by Chris Columbus from Steven Spielberg's original story, has earned a reputation as a sleeper classic. But it was a massive hit in its time, grossing $61 million and ranking as the ninth highest-grossing film of 1985. Strangely, though, Donner is not a part of the Goonies cult. "I wouldn't have gone to see The Goonies," he says. "That wasn't my kind of movie. Still not my kind of movie. But it was a great experience making it and living with it afterwards."

Throughout the lengthy interview, the director talks about some of the film's most iconic moments (the 'Truffle Shuffle") and looks back at his frustrations and joys during the shoot, during which he led a crew of inexperienced child actors through their paces. 

"The annoying thing was the lack of discipline," he said. "And that was also what was great because it meant that they weren't professionals. What came out of them was instinct and that was beautiful. 

But because it was instinct they didn’t have the discipline of a professional actor, a trained actor who knew that on that line or that move they were going to scratch themselves or drink a Coke or eat a slice of pizza, so every time you would make cuts to match, they were all over the place. Never on the same marks. But the reason they weren't is because they were functioning on their instincts, and their instincts at that moment told them to go there and not there. I just had to figure my way around it, but it drove me nuts."

He also offers a vague update about the possibility of a long-rumored second film, saying it could "maybe" happen. "Again, everything takes a long time to get it right," he says. "If you do things fast and quick and easy, that's a disservice. But if there were going to be another movie it would take us a long time to get it right, because we have a lot of history that we're involved with and a lot of integrity that we have to keep to what once was, and lives a life of its own without destroying it. 

Maybe the powers that be are working on something."

Will Smith's 'Concussion' Drama: NFL Plots Embrace-the-Debate Strategy

Courtesy of Sony Pictures

The league says it would even entertain the prospect of working with Sony on raising awareness about football safety.

Facing an onslaught of potentially damaging PR, the National Football League has drafted its own game plan for dealing with the upcoming Sony film Concussion.

The league will host a series of discussions, conferences and scientific strategy meetings about player safety over the coming months in the run-up to Concussion’s release Christmas Day. In fact, the NFL says it welcomes the Will Smith-led film’s ability to spark dialogue on the subject, despite being portrayed as an organization that tried to conceal findings about the long-term effects of football-related head trauma.

“When something like this movie comes up and people want to talk about concussions or football or 
the future of the sport, that’s an opportunity for us to engage,” Jeff Miller, NFL senior vp health and safety policy, told The Hollywood Reporter. “We intend to do just that over the course of the movie and long after that.”

Among the events planned are a convening of concussion experts at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center that is being funded by a grant from the NFL Foundation (beginning Oct. 15) and the International Professional Sports Concussion Research Think Tank in London (Oct. 23-25).

The NFL isn’t shirking from the media glare in the wake of Monday's Concussion trailer debut, which prompted major news coverage from networks and national outlets. Miller says the NFL will speak to any press outlet that wants to know about the health and safety questions in football and what the league is doing to reduce concussions. Perhaps more intriguing, the NFL would even entertain the prospect of working with Sony on raising awareness.

“The studio hasn’t asked,” Miller added. “And if they were to and it gives us the opportunity to talk about the health and safety of our sport, we would do that. But there hasn’t been any communication to this point.”

Sony declined comment.

To date, no one from the NFL has been invited to see the film, which has been screened mostly for sports journalists, including writers and editors at Sports Illustrated, which made the film its cover story this week.

Meanwhile Sony is scrambling in the aftermath of a New York Times article — citing a series of hacked emails — that claims the studio softened the film’s take on the NFL. In response, the studio has put the film’s director Peter Landesman on the record for a number of news outlets including THR in an effort to reverse the perception that it caved to pressure. The NFL, too, is bristling at the suggestion that it applied any pressure to alter the film. THR could find no evidence in the trove of leaked emails from last year that the studio and the NFL had any contact regarding Concussion beyond a brief email exchange between Landesman and NFL communications chief Paul Hicks in which the director requested a meeting that never materialized (Hicks asked for and was denied a copy of the script).

“It’s probably something that we, the league, need to do a better job of in terms of talking about the things we do [to educate] as well as continuing to do the things we do to improve the [safety of the] game,” Miller added. “If this [movie] presents an opportunity to engage in that conversation, then that’s terrific for us."

And while Sony and the NFL are waging their own PR campaigns over the film’s treatment of the league, Dr. Christopher Giza, director of UCLA's Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Program, offered up an outside perspective on the Concussion debate.

“One concern I have is that the film might paint too dire a picture of a post-concussion prognosis,” Dr. Giza said. “People who have suffered concussions need — and should have — hope because there’s a lot that can be done, and we are learning more every day.”