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Amazing When BTS Broke a U.S. K-pop Chart Record – Without Any Songs In English

The septet’s second full-length, Wings, debuts at No. 26 on the Oct. 29 Billboard 200, with 16,000 units earned in the week ending Oct. 13, according to Nielsen Music, marking the ­strongest-ever week for a K-pop album. Previously, 2NE1’s Crush held the top chart rank for a K-pop act (No. 61 with 2014’s Crush), and EXO logged the best sales frame (6,000 in first-week sales for 2015’s Exodus).

2NE1 and EXO come from ­established Korean labels: 2NE1 is a labelmate of PSY on YG Entertainment, and EXO is on SM Entertainment, Korea’s ­largest label. BTS is on the smaller BigHit Entertainment — so what has let the upstart group and label succeed where so many others fell short?

Primarily, a keen focus on America and a different take on the typically surface-level material in K-pop. In 2015, BTS embarked on two U.S. tours, ­selling out both despite having released just one full-length album. SubKulture Entertainment acted as promoter for BTS’ first trek, and CEO Derek Lee tells Billboard, “All four shows sold out in less than one day, with some of the venues ­selling out in less than an hour. I don’t think any of us anticipated such a stampede.”

BTS also headlined both stops of this summer’s KCON ­festival, which attracted more than 110,000 fans during its three days at Los Angeles’ Staples Center and two days at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

But most of all, the messaging seems to connect with American fans. “The group blends ­individual artistry, which is what the U.S. ­audience expects in their music, and the K-pop system, which focuses more on the group sound and teamwork,” says Grace Jeong, editor-in-chief of Soompi, an 18-year-old K-pop news and media site. “BTS has something to say, and has a great ­marketing strategy that doesn’t alienate non-Korean-speaking fans.”

Indeed, the Major Lazer-esque lead single “Blood Sweat & Tears” details a life-derailing ­relationship over a dance ­breakdown. Elsewhere on the album, the group sings about mental health, takes digs at the Korean-pop “idol” scene and delivers a female-empowerment anthem — unusual subject matter in culturally conservative South Korea, where most acts stick to safe topics like partying and breakups.

Still, to truly break into the ­mainstream, BTS may need to look to its galloping rival. “BTS still needs that one viral song that ­everyone knows, even without knowing their name,” adds Jeong. “Like ‘Gangnam Style.’”

Info George Clooney hopes Trump presidency won’t spawn terrible things

George Clooney didn’t vote for Donald Trump and doesn’t think he’s the right choice to run the United States. But he hopes the President-elect succeeds in office.

“We have to hope that he can do a decent job, because when the president of the United States fails, really terrible things happen,” Clooney said Monday at London reception for Syria rescue-workers documentary “The White Helmets.”

Clooney, who supported Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the presidential contest, said the United States has generally been lucky in its presidents.

“When we needed a first president, we had George Washington,” he said. “We had Jefferson, Adams.

“When we had the Civil War, we had Lincoln,” he added, rattling off other office-holders — Roosevelt, Kennedy — before suggesting that the U.S. “got a little unlucky” with the George W. Bush presidency in the years after 9/11.

“I think we’re going to be a little unlucky now,” Clooney said. “I can only hope for the best.”

The actor defended fellow star Meryl Streep after she took aim at the president-elect in a speech at Sunday night’s Golden Globe Awards.

In reply, Trump tweeted that Streep was “overrated” and a “flunky” of Clinton.

Clooney said that “I support her right forever” to speak out.

Clooney’s production company is working on a feature-film version of the story of the Syrian Civil Defense “White Helmets,” search-and-rescue teams who have gained international recognition for rescuing people from bombed-out buildings in the Syrian city of Aleppo.

He and his lawyer wife, Amal Clooney, have given their support to the Netflix-backed documentary, which is on the 10-strong Academy Awards shortlist for best documentary short.

Clooney said that as a celebrity, “I can’t change policy … but I can make things louder.

“The White Helmets are the heroes. So if I can help them out at all, and people can know about it, in any way possible, that’s a good use of celebrity, I think.”

Now Tom Hiddleston apologizes for inelegantly expressed Golden Globes acceptance speech

Tom Hiddleston didn’t mean to make his Golden Globes speech all about himself — he swears.

On Sunday night, the “Night Manager” star won best performance by an actor in a TV miniseries or movie and spent his acceptance speech talking about fans he met while on a trip with the United Nations Children’s Fund to South Sudan.

“One night we were having a bite to eat at the canteen, where we were staying, and a group of young men and women tottered over to the table, and we were all having what they call a ‘dirty beer’ in humanitarian language,” Hiddleston said on stage, while dedicating the award to “those out there who are doing their best.”

“They were a group of Médecins Sans Frontières doctors and nurses. And they wanted to say hello because during the shelling the previous month, they had binge-watched ‘The Night Manager.’

“The idea that we could provide some relief and entertainment for people who work with UNICEF and Medicins Sans Frontieres and the World Food Programme, who are fixing the world in the places where it is broken, made me immensely proud.”

The self-serving speech didn’t go over well by those who accused Hiddleston of using the stage to brag about his audience.

“Thank you to Tom Hiddleston and all actors who dare to perform in projects that are shown in some of the most dangerous parts of (the) world,” wrote “Scandal” star Josh Malina.

But Hiddleston blamed the entire speech on nerves.

“I just wanted to say…I completely agree that my speech at the Golden Globes last night was inelegantly expressed. In truth, I was very nervous, and my words just came out wrong,” he wrote on Facebook on Monday.

“Sincerely, my only intention was to salute the incredible bravery and courage of the men and women who work so tirelessly for UNICEF UK, Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), and World Food Programme, and the children of South Sudan, who continue to find hope and joy in the most difficult conditions. I apologise that my nerves got the better of me.”

News AMC Entertainment shares climb 8% after IPO

AMC Entertainment shares climbed as high as 8% on the day the nation’s second largest theater chain sold its shares on the New York Stock Exchange.  AMC sold 18.42 million class A shares for $18 each, raising about $332 million for the Leawood, Kan.-based company in its first public stock offering in nine years.  The company went private in 2004 when it was acquired by a private equity group and later merged with Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corp.  Investors responded favorably to the IPO on Wednesday. The company’s shares, trading under the symbol AMC, rose as high as $19.73 in late morning trading.

“We were really thrilled to be able to do this after eight-plus years of being a private company, and to see our stock trading above what the price was last night,” AMC Entertainment Chief Executive Gerry Lopez said in an interview. “I don’t know if it’s a home run, but it’s a double above the middle.”

ON LOCATION: Where the cameras roll

AMC also invited members of its customer loyalty program to participate in the IPO. “It just makes sense that your most loyal guests get an opportunity to own a piece of the company,” Lopez added.

Lopez said the proceeds will primarily be used to pay down the company’s debt — as of Sept. 30, AMC’s debt totaled $2.19 billion — and to invest in theater upgrades, including rolling out more upscale venues with in-theater dining options.

The company has made several previous attempts to hold an IPO. AMC originally filed for a $750-million IPO in December 2006 as private equity firms looked to recoup some of their heavy investments in the theater operator.

But AMC withdrew that offering in May 2007 after investors balked at the $17-a-share asking price. AMC then unveiled plans for a scaled-back stock offering in September 2007, but withdrew that plan a year later amid market volatility.

And in April 2012, the theater chain shelved plans for an IPO before Wanda, China’s largest entertainment group, agreed to buy AMC for $2.6 billion. The deal created the world’s biggest theater owner. Wanda retains an 80% ownership in the company.

Citigroup Inc. and and Bank of America Corp. managed the offering, which is expected to close Dec. 23

New Forum of the New Game

Seasoned concert-goers who walk into the resurrected Forum in Inglewood after it opens Wednesday with the first of six Eagles concerts may be struck as much by what’s missing as by what’s been added to the 46-year-old former sports palace.

The overhead electronic scoreboard and basketball backboards that were integral to the Forum during its 31-year reign as Southern California’s premiere sports arena? Gone.

Hard-plastic sports-arena seats? Gone — replaced by movie theater-style high-back upholstered seats.

RELATED: Los Angeles Times readers remember the Forum

The blue exterior color added in 1988 when Great Western Bank secured naming rights? Gone, replaced by gleaming coats of the original shade now known as “Forum red.”

All the missing elements add up to what the revamped Forum is: a new kind of arena, one thoroughly reconfigured with music and live entertainment as the top priorities, rather than subservient to resident sports teams.

It’s the outcome of a $100-million investment by Madison Square Garden Co. as the New York firm’s first West Coast venture. In some respects, it’s a $100-million gamble as MSG rolls the dice in hopes that it can create a viable business at the arena level without a sports team to anchor the calendar, as has been the rule at arenas across the country.

“We don’t know how things are going to go,” said MSG Executive Chairman James L. Dolan, who has overseen the recent $1-billion overhaul of Madison Square Garden itself and major rehab efforts on other historic New York venues, including Radio City Music Hall and the Beacon Theatre. “But I’m very hopeful. We’ve tried to think of everything we could that would make it [work], and if it does — if we are right — I think it does change the game.”

The return of the Forum may well represent a game-changer both in the healthy concert business, if aging arenas in other cities can be profitably retooled for live entertainment, as well as for the city of Inglewood and its environs, which have struggled as fortunes faded at the Forum and neighboring Hollywood Park.

PHOTOS: Concerts at the Forum

Absent any resident sports teams, the Forum has been redesigned to maximize the concert-going experience. Concrete walls and partitions have been dressed up with black fabric to absorb sonic reverberations that can wreak havoc with music.

As for the luxury corporate sky boxes that help newly built arenas pay the bills, but which push upper-deck seating for fans even farther from the stage on concert nights—the top row of the Forum is 80 feet above the arena floor, compared to 110 feet at Staples Center–they never existed at the Forum, and none have been added.

Musicians will find that in place of the athletic locker rooms they’ve often had to use as makeshift dressing rooms, the Forum has reinvented those backstage spaces as elegantly appointed artist rest and relaxation spaces. For today’s elaborate stage shows, crews will now have the ability to hang 350,000 pounds of equipment from the ceiling, to which 230 tons of steel support have been added.

Now the gussied-up Forum is positioned to compete with the venue that once stole its fire. Not that Staples Center will be rolling over.

“It’s another large venue coming into an already crowded market,” said Staples Senior Vice President and General Manager Lee Zeidman. “I don’t know how many shows they’ll have to have to make a profit, but at the end of the day, I think we still have the best artist and fan ameninties. Coupled with two hotels next door, 19 restaurants in the L.A. Live complex and three more ready to open up and our location downtown, I think Staples Center is going to continue to be the region’s preferred chioce for arena and concert entertainment.”

PHOTO: New life for the Forum in Inglewood

The Forum was designed by architect Charles Luckman (he also designed the original Madison Square Garden arena) and built by Lakers’ owner Jack Kent Cooke. After opening in 1967, it reigned as the region’s premiere sports arena for more than 30 years, until billionaire developer Philip Anschutz’s Anschutz Entertainment Group opened Staples Center 10 miles away.

During the 2000s, the Forum saw only sporadic activity while it was owned by the Faithful Central Bible Church, which sold it to MSG last year for $23.5 million.

Today, however, the Forum could take a serious bite out of its competitor’s concert business because many of Staples calendar dates are consumed by its resident NBA and NHL sports franchises: the Lakers, the Clippers and the Kings. Those teams keep Staples busy more than 120 nights a year, although Staples officials downplay any limitations sports activity presents for concert bookings.

“We put on 53 concerts last year,” Zeidman saidbesting the arena’s previous high of 38. “We’re going into our 14th year, and We’ve never had a problem routing in an artist who wanted to play Staples Center.”

When NBC Entertainment chief talks Leno NFL and Peter Pan

NBC doesn’t want to say goodbye to “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno just yet.

“I’m very much hoping we will enter into a new relationship with him after ‘The Tonight Show,’ ” said NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt at the semiannual Television Critics Assn. press tour in Pasadena on Sunday.

Leno, who ends his run as “Tonight Show” host on Feb. 6 (with Billy Crystal as his final guest), has kept mum on his future plans, including whether he will seek another TV hosting gig. Greenblatt said he’d like to have Leno host specials for NBC down the road.

Jimmy Fallon, host of NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” will debut as host of “The Tonight Show” on Feb. 17, in the midst of its coverage of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The network hopes that the bigger audiences for the Games will mean increased sampling for Fallon.

Greenblatt also said the network has an appetite for more football. The National Football League is soliciting offers for a potential Thursday night package of games. Greenblatt declined to comment on whether NBC, which is home to Sunday night football, had made an offer but said “we’d love to have more NFL games,” and “Thursday night games might be really interesting to us.”

One reason Thursday football would appeal to NBC is that its comedies on that night have been struggling. The network has programmed sitcoms on Thursday for decades but given its recent challenges, Greenblatt didn’t rule out going in a different direction next season. Expensive and heavily promoted new comedies starring Michael J. Fox and Sean Hayes have failed to click with viewers, much to the frustration of the network.

“We’re really unhappy that we can’t find an audience for them,” said Greenblatt, adding that this spring the network will “have to get in the scheduling room and make some hard decisions.”

An easy decision for NBC to make was to greenlight another live musical after the surprising success of “The Sound of Music Live” last month. Greenblatt said NBC would take another crack with “Peter Pan” in December. Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who made “The Sound of Music Live” are also on board for “Peter Pan.”

NBC also said it had signed “Parks and Recreation” star Amy Poehler to a production deal and is developing a sitcom she will produce starring Natasha Lyonne (“Orange is the New Black”) as a woman who works in a senior care facility.

Networks are typically obsessed with shows about younger people, but NBC executives said this comedy will give it a chance to broaden its casting and appeal to older viewers as well.

“I’d like to see them represented,” Greenblatt said.

Other new shows in development include “State of Affairs” starring former “Grey’s Anatomy” star Katherine Heigl as a CIA liaison for the White House. The network also has a limited series in the works inspired by Frank L. Baum’s books called “Emerald City.”

Coming off a strong fall in which its average prime time audience was up 10%, Greenblatt said NBC is unlikely to change the way it develops new shows. Responding to a question regarding Fox’s plans to abandon so-called pilot season — the three month ritual in which networks frantically order scripts, hire actors and shoot trial episodes — Greenblatt said he is happy with the current model.

“I think you learn a lot from the pilot process,” Greenblatt said.

You Need To Know What can HRC tell us about Hillary Clinton past and future

Welcome to 2014, which is practically 2016, which in presidential politics means just one thing, with three controversial names: Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Or, as her staff and many in the media refer to her: HRC.

“HRC” is the title of a new book by political reporters Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes chronicling Clinton’s term as secretary of State. The authors are clearly aiming to get out ahead (33 months ahead!) of the next presidential election, in which Clinton’s candidacy has been all-but-guaranteed by supporters, detractors, the media and just about everyone but Hillary herself.

Allen and Parnes know the value of telling the story of Clinton’s State Department stewardship during the period that included the Arab Spring uprisings, the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden, and the murder of American diplomats in Benghazi. This will be her record on foreign policy, and it will be wholly different from the one she ran on in 2008.

Hillary has spent decades as one of the most polarizing figures in the country, but Allen and Parnes’ take on her is neither monstrous nor hagiographic. Instead, their Hillary is warm and funny, flawed and strong. Sure, they include some bwa-ha-ha-ing Lady Macbeth moments, including her instruction to superdelegates to “make a decision that might be the contrary of what the voters have decided” and a whole chapter called “Hillary’s Hit List.”

But mostly, their Hillary is dogged, tough and loyal to a fault. They, like many of their sources, seem to have (temporarily at least) adjusted the lens; through it, Hillary now looks downright wholesome in her nose-to-the-grindstone competence.

Anyone hoping for a scandal-sniffing exposé or a policy deep dive will be disappointed, but for readers who want a primer on how Clinton handled the big events of her tenure, it will likely satisfy. It will also entertain, since Allen and Parnes have leavened the tale by making it — in the style of “Game Change” — a character-driven psychodrama, chockablock with sweaty descriptions of its players.

Bill Clinton’s “body man” Doug Band is a “tall, balding … former University of Florida frat boy [whose] fierce loyalty to the former president … competed with his instinct for accumulating wealth and status,” while Huma Abedin, his counterpart in Hillaryland, combines “black-haired brown-eyed South Asian beauty with political smarts and an uncommonly subtle grace.” Meanwhile, Obama staffer Jim Messina is “a strawberry blonde Montanan whose soft voice takes the edge off his often-profane vocabulary.”

It reads like the back cover of a steamy beach paperback: “What will happen, when fate and foreign policy throw them together in … Foggy Bottom?”

It’s no easy feat to wring page-turning narrative juice from four years of state craft, but Allen and Parnes have relied on 200 sources (most of them anonymous, which makes it tricky for a reader to know who’s grinding which ax in any given paragraph) to get them the gossipy goods. And they’re there, including a scene from Hillary’s Senate send-off party, at which she and Majority Leader Harry Reid — an Obama supporter who resisted calls to give Hillary a boost on her return to the Senate — weep fakely at each other.

And there’s great fun to be had when Hillary, eager to revive a good relationship with Gen. David Petraeus after tangling over Iraq in 2007, hitches a plane ride with the general out of Saudi Arabia in 2010: “As Hillary settled into Petraeus’s bed,” write Allen and Parnes with unapologetic glee, “he stretched out on the floor outside the door to the compartment. She had won him back.”

They also, refreshingly, present her as salty, bawdy and quite funny — as a woman who, amid dithering about the timing of the delicate, dangerous mission to kill Bin Laden, profanely dismisses the White House Correspondents’ dinner and whose favorite entry from the Texts From Hillary blog that worshipfully parodied her hard-driving competence was one that involved the young actor Ryan Gosling. (Daughter Chelsea cannot believe that her mother knows who Gosling is.)

“HRC” recounts the gentle mercy Clinton shows wunderkind Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau after a photograph of Favreau groping a cardboard cutout of Hillary is leaked just after she joins his boss’ administration. Before the “distraught Favreau” can even begin to gather his thoughts about “the most elegant way to say ‘I’m sorry I cupped your cardboard breast,'” Allen and Parnes report, Hillary has let him off the hook with a voice mail message that teases, “I haven’t seen the picture yet … but I hear my hair looks great.”

News For You Layoffs underway at Sony Pictures Entertainment

Layoffs are underway at Sony Pictures Entertainment, the Sony Corp.-owned film and television studio that vowed late last year to significantly reduce its overhead.

The cuts, which began Monday and will continue this week, include employees at divisions throughout the studio, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.

The layoffs were felt at the studio’s Culver City headquarters and at international offices. Among the divisions said to be deeply affected by the staff reductions is Sony Pictures Interactive, the studio’s digital marketing arm.

“We are continuously evolving the business to make SPE more efficient and competitive,” Sony Pictures spokesman Charles Sipkins said in a statement.

At an investors conference in November, Sony Pictures executives outlined $250 million in budget cuts that were already underway. The studio also hired consultancy Bain & Co. last year to identify $100 million or more in additional cuts.

The layoffs that began Monday are part of this cost-cutting initiative, which was announced after Sony Pictures posted an operating loss of $181 million for the company’s fiscal second quarter that ended Sept. 30.

Last year, Sony Pictures released a handful of high-profile movies that underperformed at the box office, though the studio has put out recent critical and commercial successes “Captain Phillips” and “American Hustle.”

This round of layoffs isn’t the only recent one the studio has experienced. The Times reported in January that the studio had laid off an undisclosed number of people from its Sony Pictures Technologies group, including the unit’s president, Chris Cookson.

The layoffs were felt at the studio’s Culver City headquarters and at international offices. Among the divisions said to be deeply affected by the staff reductions is Sony Pictures Interactive, the studio’s digital marketing arm.

“We are continuously evolving the business to make SPE more efficient and competitive,” Sony Pictures spokesman Charles Sipkins said in a statement.

Wow George Strait takes entertainer trophy at 49th ACM Awards

The cowboy rides away a winner, as veteran Texas singer George Strait collected the top honor for entertainer of the year Sunday at the 49th Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas.

The fan-voted award comes as Strait is in the midst of his Cowboy Rides Away farewell tour, after announcing last year his decision to quit touring.

“Wow,” the 61-year-old musician said as he was greeted by a standing ovation in the MGM Grand Garden Arena. “You know, I’ve always said I had the best fans in the world, and I heard this was a fan-voted thing, so I rest my case.”

Normally short on words, Strait, who has charted more than 100 country hits over more than three decades, continued with one of the most relatively effusive public speeches he’s given, saying: “I tell you what, this is so amazing. It’s been such an amazing past 30 years. … Thank God for all the stuff he’s blessed me with, and thank you Academy of Country Music, thank you so much.”

Just before Strait capped the three-hour evening, which was far heavier on eye- and ear-popping production numbers than actual award presentations, relative newcomer Kacey Musgraves’ “Same Trailer, Different Park” triumphed in an album of the year field otherwise dominated by multimillion-selling male acts Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line and Tim McGraw.

Her album emerged as a critical favorite in 2013 for its brashly honest songs, most of which she wrote or co-wrote and which confidently defied the tired formulas relied on in many of mainstream country’s biggest hits.

Yet the 25-year-old Mineola, Texas, native was still taken aback when her album won.

“I really did not expect this,” Musgraves said. “I’m proud to be a woman representing country music,” a straightforward acknowledgment of the bro-heavy tenor of her genre in recent years.

In several key categories, “stick with a winner” was the theme that emerged, as Miranda Lambert and Jason Aldean repeated as the female and male vocalist honorees and Florida Georgia Line took the vocal duo trophy for the second year in a row.

“I cannot believe this,” said Lambert, who led the nominations along with Tim McGraw going into the night with seven nods apiece. Her hit “Mama’s Broken Heart,” had won for single of the year a bit earlier. “I really did not expect this.”

Likewise, 37-year-old Macon, Ga., native Aldean expressed surprise on collecting his trophy: “It was a shock last year to win it, even a bigger shock, I think, this year. But what a great year.”

The extent to which performance segments overshadowed awards was evident in the first hour of the CBS telecast, which was packed with nine numbers before a single award was announced.

Those live songs have increasingly become the heart of pop music awards telecasts,  a trend never more apparent than at the ACM Awards, which bills itself as “Country Music’s Party of the Year.””If you don’t like live music,” co-host Shelton quipped at the top of the show, “you need to go down the block and see Britney Spears.”

Garth Brooks, who is returning to touring later this month fter his long self-imposed retirement, was on hand to present the ACM’s Crystal Milestone Award to Merle Haggard, who was recognized with snippets of two of his signature songs, “The Fugitive” and “The Bottle Let Me Down,” sung by Strait and Lambert.

Entertainer of the year nominee Taylor Swift showed up an hour into the proceedings to reveal that Florida Georgia Line had collected the evening’s first trophy for vocal duo.

Shelton delivered the single record trophy to his wife, Lambert, for “Mama’s Broken Heart,” a song about a woman taking desperate measures to end an abusive relationship.

The song itself, however, missed out in another category in which it was nominated — song of the year — an award that went instead to “I Drive Your Truck,” a hit by Lee Brice that was written by Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington and Jimmy Yeary about a dead soldier’s legacy that’s wrapped up in his truck.

The ACM show also demonstrated that blurred lines aren’t the exclusive domain of pop music and Robin Thicke. Sunday’s show brought out celebrity chef Guy Fieri to introduce a film recap of the week’s country music activities in Las Vegas, before which he plugged a new restaurant he’s opening soon in Sin City. Colombian rock-pop star Shakira was teamed with Shelton for a genre-crossing performance segment, and she also popped up in a toothpaste commercial that aired during the show. Singer-songwriter Randy Houser turned up not to sing, but to not-so-subtly plug one of the show’s truck sponsors.

In addition to the Shelton-Shakira pairing, the ACM teamed Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks with trio Lady Antebellum in another collaboration designed to tickle country viewers with contributions from musicians outside the genre.

L.A Commission silence on Hollywood jobs make surprising

A new report on spurring job growth in Los Angeles covers the bases, but leaves Hollywood out of the picture.

The Los Angeles 2020 Commission report, titled “A Time for Action,” was commissioned last year by City Council President Herb Wesson and offers various prescriptions to reverse a net decline in jobs over the last two decades.

The recommendations include such ideas as promoting bioscience research, establishing a regional tourism authority and combining the ports of L.A. and Long Beach.

But film industry advocates said they were disappointed that there was no discussion of what should be done to reverse a long-term decline of employment in L.A.’s entertainment industry.

Hollywood’s labor unions have been saying for years that L.A. leaders don’t pay enough attention to protecting one of the area’s economic pillars, allowing other states and countries to lure away film and TV production with rich tax credits and rebates. Mayor Eric Garcetti, however, has appointed veteran entertainment industry attorney Ken Ziffren as a film czar to lobby for stronger state film tax credits to make California more competitive.

“It is a little surprising to me that it wasn’t at least a focal point of the report,” said Paul Audley, president of FilmL.A. Inc., which handles film permits and promotes the local film industry. “So much around the city is tied to the entertainment industry, and the job losses in this industry are pretty critical. It’s one of the quickest things that could turn the economy around.”

Locally, the entertainment industry remains among the largest private employers, with about 250,000 jobs and an output of $60.9 billion in 2012, or 11% of Los Angeles County’s overall economy, according to a recent report from the Otis College of Art and Design.

But L.A.’s entertainment economy has been losing market share. California lost 16,137 film and TV industry jobs (mainly in the L.A. region) between 2004 and 2012, an 11% decline, according to a recent report by the Milken Institute, as jobs fled to such states as New York, New Mexico and Louisiana.

ON LOCATION: Where the cameras roll

In an earlier report, released in January — one that painted a bleak picture of L.A.’s ills — the 2020 Commission briefly acknowledged the problem of entertainment jobs losses in one paragraph of a 43-page document that highlighted high poverty rates, chronic budget shortfalls and failing public schools.

The follow-up report released Tuesday, however, did not address the entertainment sector among any of the 13 policy recommendations the commission said would “put the city on a path to fiscal stability and renew job creation.”

“It’s very odd to raise a concern in the opening document and leave it un-addressed in the conclusion,” said Kevin Klowden, a managing economist at the Milken Institute.

The report’s focus on tourism, he added, would have provided a natural opportunity to discuss the importance of the film and TV industry to L.A.’s economy.

“I’m very surprised that the film industry was not at least touched on in reference to tourism because it is such a key component of tourism,” Klowden said.

But Austin Beutner, a former investment banker and L.A. deputy mayor and co-chair of the private commission, said there was a lack of consensus among its members on the best strategies to boost local entertainment jobs and that the topic had already been addressed by others.

“Clearly the loss of entertainment jobs has impacted the community. Clearly we need to do what we can to bring those [jobs] back,” Beutner said at a Times editorial board meeting. “I don’t think there’s any debate in the group about that. We just said … ‘Others are covering it and we don’t have consensus on whether that’s the highest and best use of tax dollars.'”

Beutner was former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s jobs czar. He was joined by several other high-profile business, civic and labor leaders on the commission, none from the entertainment industry. They included former California Gov. Gray Davis; former U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis, a candidate for county supervisor; and Commission Chair Mickey Kantor.

Kantor, a veteran Los Angeles lawyer and former U.S. Commerce secretary, said the commission had to limit the scope of its recommendations.

“We didn’t deal with transportation and traffic,” he said at the editorial board meeting. “We didn’t deal with education. We didn’t deal with homelessness. We didn’t deal with the environment. We’re 13 people without staff. So we dealt with … what we understood.”

Now Tablets and apps for children are on the rise

Nick Stepka knew what gift would make his daughter’s third birthday a hit, and it wasn’t a toy or doll.

He gave her a tablet — not a sleek new iPad or a hand-me-down Samsung, but one specifically designed and marketed for little ones. It even came with a purple protective casing and loaded with kids’ apps and games.

“Her eyes lit up when she opened it,” said Stepka, 34, a Shakopee, Minn., father of three. “Everything else got put to the side.”

That’s exactly what tablet makers and companies that create children’s entertainment were hoping for.

PHOTOS: Top 10 gadgets we want to see this year

Stepka’s household is part of a growing group of consumers for whom traditional children’s toys and games are not enough. In the United States, the percentage of kids ages 8 and under using mobile devices has almost doubled in the last two years, according to a report by San Francisco nonprofit Common Sense Media.

Children are also spending more time on these devices — 15 minutes a day on average last year, up from five minutes in 2011. Meanwhile, kids’ use of traditional screen-based entertainment, as in televisions, video games and computers, has declined, the group said.

That’s the reason Jim Mitchell started Fuhu Inc., an El Segundo company that makes tablets for consumers ages 3 to 14.

“We were tired of giving our kids the iPad when it first came out, and there really wasn’t anything else,” he said. “They wanted to play with all the games on the iPad, and it would come back all smudged, or if they dropped it, for heaven’s sakes, it would shatter.”

Fuhu makes Nabi tablets, which major retailers sell for between $100 and $300. The company posted $200 million in sales last year, and executives are betting that demand from children and parents will continue for high-powered devices that sport kid-friendly content and thick plastic bumpers to prevent damage.

FACES TO WATCH 2014: Digital media

Kids can customize the machines with stickers featuring film and TV characters, as well as accessories such as alphabet letters that attach to the tablet. They can use the tablets to watch TV shows and movies, play games and explore the Web, but only the features and sites that their parents approve.

Competition in the field of children’s tablets is growing.

Companies such as LeapFrog Enterprises Inc. in Emeryville, Calif.; Toys R Us Inc., based in Wayne, N.J.; and tech giant Samsung Electronics Co. have tried to market devices to youngsters. Even traditional toy makers such as El Segundo’s Mattel Inc. have entered the app industry.

Hollywood has taken notice too. Walt Disney Co., DreamWorks Animation and Viacom Inc.’s Nickelodeon are putting out tablet and mobile apps.

Education-focused cable channel BabyFirstTV, which is carried in 40 million U.S. homes, has unleashed 27 apps aimed at young children. Sharon Rechter, co-founder and executive vice president of BabyFirstTV, said she expects the reach of her app business to match her traditional TV business in the next two years.

“Parents are constantly looking for good educational content,” she said. “Kids’ apps and devices are definitely here to stay, and they’re going to grow. Kids can learn from using a tablet, and they have fun with it.”

Entertainment companies and tablet makers are teaming up. For instance, BabyFirst has co-developed a series called “Albert & Junior” specifically for use on Fuhu’s tablets.

Fuhu also has made deals with Disney and Nickelodeon for special-edition tablets. And the company is taking the technology and entertainment relationship further with its next device, the DreamTab, which it built with DreamWorks Animation.

The $269 DreamTab, which runs on Google Inc.’s Android operating system, will be released in some stores this month before a wider retail launch in June.

It’s no accident that the tablet will hit the market just weeks before the release of “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” the sequel to DreamWorks Animation’s 2010 hit. The tie-ins include animated interactive videos and games based on “Shrek,” “Kung Fu Panda” and “Madagascar.”

Educational features coach little ones on, for example, how to draw and animate their favorite characters, create books and edit video. Even the parental controls get the cartoon treatment. A short video of a DreamWorks character tells children when it’s time to take a break from the screen or shut down for the day.

VIRTUAL TOUR: Hollywood’s Walk of Fame

“As a parent, you’d much rather have a penguin tell the kid it’s time to go outside than make the parent take the tablet away,” said Jim Mainard, DreamWorks Animation’s head of digital strategy. “That’s a big win for parents.”

Sean McGowan, a toy and gaming analyst with Needham & Co., said he was impressed with Fuhu’s offerings. However, he said, parents are less inclined to run out and buy every new children’s tablet that hits the market the way grown-ups do with Apple Inc. and Android devices that are aimed at adults.

“You could run into a problem where everyone who wants them will have one and may be reluctant to upgrade,” McGowan said.

Stepka doesn’t plan to switch to the new DreamTab because he already owns six Nabi devices. Although his children certainly use them to have fun, he said, the most important thing to him is that they learn and stay safe while using the technology.

“We don’t want the tablets to raise our kids for us,” he said. “But I don’t want to deprive them of using the technology to educate themselves.”

This Entertainment industry pours $47 billion into L.A economist says

Robert Kleinhenz, chief economist with the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., recently spoke with The Times about a new report on the entertainment industry’s effect on the L.A. County economy.

What was the purpose of the study?

We know that the entertainment industry looms large on the world stage and that L.A. is the entertainment capital of the world. We said, ‘Okay, how big is this industry?’ This study was an effort to evaluate the size of the entertainment industry and to measure its impact on the L.A. economy in terms of jobs, income and taxes.

So what did you conclude?

What we found is that despite the loss of business to places around the world, the entertainment industry in L.A. County remains a focal point for the industry around the world, and is also a significant contributor to the local economy. It’s an industry that accounts for not just 162,000 wage and salary jobs, but another 85,000 jobs for freelancers and independent contractors. Taking into account the ripple effect the industry has on other jobs (caterers, florists and so on), the industry supported 586,000 jobs and had an annual output of $47 billion in 2011. That’s equivalent to 8.4% of the county’s annual economic output.

Where does entertainment rank in size compared to other big sectors such as healthcare and trade?

The entertainment industry is the fifth largest sector based on employment (behind health services, business administration services, hospitality and real estate). However, its impact on the local economy is much greater because the films, television programming, and music that are produced here in L.A. are viewed by people throughout the country and the entire world. They generate entertainment-related revenue streams from around the world that supports spending and jobs that otherwise would not exist locally.

What comprises the entertainment sector?

By far the largest category is motion picture and video-related industries. That is followed by the sound industry, radio, television and cable sectors, live entertainment, as well as agents, managers and independent artists.

So how has the entertainment sector fared over the last decade?

If you look at the industry compared to 2001, the number of jobs has increased. Total employment was 16.9% higher in 2011 than in 2001 as the media sector has expanded its offerings and produced more content for existing and new distribution channels, such as mobile and the Internet.

But, as you note in the study, the film and television sector lost more than 16,100 jobs since its peak in 2004. What accounts for that?

Among the reasons are new technology, the recession, which led to a decline in jobs in virtually every sector of the economy, piracy and runaway production.

How much of a challenge is the migration of work to other states and countries?

The local industry has seen a declining share of the business over the last several years at the same time we’ve seen gains elsewhere in the country. For example, in 2005, 82% of all new prime-time TV pilots were shot in L.A. County. By 2011, that had fallen to 51%. We still have quite a bit of downstream support and infrastructure here in L.A. that continues to make it an ideal place to shoot, but we’ve also seen prop houses, sound stages and other support services lured away to other states, so we have to be concerned about that development.

Has California’s film tax credit made much difference?

A separate study that the LAEDC did found that for every dollar in tax credit, the state and local government gets at least $1.06 back (in intial economic impact), so there does seem to be a net positive benefit to the state and local government.

The Legislative Analyst’s Office said your analysis exaggerated the benefits. What’s your response to that?

We used fairly conservative assumptions and the results of our study were very similar to those of another study by the Milken Institute, which also showed there was a net positive benefit. It keeps employment here in California.

Outlander scoop Caitriona Balfe teases to print shop scene

One of the most pivotal scenes from Season 3 of Outlander has been shot — and Caitriona Balfe has something to say about it!

While walking the red carpet of the Golden Globes on Sunday, Balfe (blissfully) took a question from EW about the much-anticipated print shop scene that has been shot in Scotland. While loathe to give too much away, Balfe shared how she felt when shooting the moment when Claire and Jamie (Sam Heughan) reunite after 20 years of separation.

“I think it was written very beautifully,” Balfe teased to EW. “Matt B. Roberts wrote it. It has every emotion in it. The excitement, the tentativeness, the nerves, everything. I think it’s really beautiful.”

The beloved scene is from Voyager, the third book in Diana Gabaldon’s book series from which season 3 is based. After rebuilding her life with newborn Brianna in the 20th century, Claire returns through the stones to find Jamie — whom she previously believed had died at the Battle of Culloden — and reunites with him in the print shop where he works.

When reminded of how important the scene is to fans, Balfe admitted, “we better get it right.”

On Sunday, Balfe was greeted by many of her fans before she walked the carpet of the Golden Globes. (She was nominated in the best actress in a drama series category, which was ultimately awarded to Claire Foy of The Crown.)

“I feel very special,” Balfe told EW of her fans. “They are incredible. They are so vocal and so excited. It’s amazing.”

Starz has yet to announce when season 3 of Outlander will debut.

Roberts and production designer Jon Gary Steele recently posted tweets that teased the episode, shot at the end of 2016.

The beloved scene is from Voyager, the third book in Diana Gabaldon’s book series from which season 3 is based. After rebuilding her life with newborn Brianna in the 20th century, Claire returns through the stones to find Jamie — whom she previously believed had died at the Battle of Culloden — and reunites with him in the print shop where he works.