HERB ELLIS DIES AT 97: Veteran character actor and co-creator of Dragnet, Herb Ellis, has died at age 97. He died on December 26that home, his daughter Karen Siegel told The Hollywood Reporter. He is best known for his roles in Stanley Kubrick's The Killing (1956) and Billy Wilder's The Fortune Cookie (1966) and the NBC-ABC crime drama Peter Gunn. He helped Jack Webb create Dragnet, which began on the radio in June 1949. When it landed on NBC two years later, he played Officer Frank Smith opposite Webb on a handful of episodes.He was predeceased by his wife of 73 years, Sylvia. Survivors include his daughter and four grandchildren.
WARNER BROS. SCOOPS UP RIGHTS TO WIN RATPAC DUNE LIBRARY: Warner Bros. exercised its right to match a winning bid for RatPac Dune Library. The archive contains 15-25% of 76 major films the studio co-financed with RatPac, per Deadline’s report. Vine Alternative Investments bought a controlling interest in the library last year, but Warner Bros. reserved the right to match them in what is thought to be a $290 million-$300 million deal. The library features films including Gravity, Wonder Woman, Batman V Superman, The LEGO Movie, Creed, Annabelle, Godzilla, American Sniper, Mad Max: Fury Road, It and Dunkirk. RatPac was founded by Brett Ratner and James Packer.
QUANTICO’S YASMINE AL MASSRI TO STAR IN, PRODUCE JULIET: Quantico and Miral actress Yasmine Al Massri has signed on to star in and produce the drama feature Juliet. She will play the titular character, and astrophysicist struggling with grief over her husband’s death. The indie film will be told in a series of encounters on the anniversary of his death.
CBS ACKNOWLEDGES IMPASSE WITH NIELSEN: CBS Corp. says it is at a "contractual impasse" with the media-measurement service Nielsen. In a statement, the network said: "The entire media industry is aware of the need for complete and accurate measurement across platforms. While Nielsen has made some strides in this area, progress has not been what we and many clients would like, and local TV measurement is particularly challenged. Despite this backdrop, Nielsen continues to use their market power to bundle disparate services and raise prices for services that don’t sufficiently address ongoing changes in the industry. As a result, we are currently at a contractual impasse, although we continue to be open to negotiating a fair deal that makes strategic and financial sense for CBS. If we cannot come to an agreement with Nielsen, we will continue to employ the many viable alternatives available to us, including Comscore."