Labor Day Wkd Prediction: ‘Halloween’ #1

By | Thursday August 30, 2007 @ 11:12pm PDT

halloween_posterbig.jpgHalloween is arriving awfully early this year, but moviegoers have flocked to this franchise ever since 1978 when Michael Myers first began causing havoc. (I doubt they’ll care that this weekend is the wrong holiday.) My box office gurus … Read More »

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Pellicano To Dominick Dunne: Don’t Do It

By | Thursday August 30, 2007 @ 2:14pm PDT

dunnepellicanno.JPGThen Hollywood producer Dominick Dunne claims Anthony Pellicano talked him out of arranging a hit on the life of the man who murdered his daughter Dominique. So the Vanity Fair special correspondent tells Kim Masters about those well-chronicled dark years … Read More »

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Katrina Crisis Revisited: Morass & Media

By | Wednesday August 29, 2007 @ 4:27pm PDT

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On the second anniversary of the Hurricane Katrina tragedy, film director Spike Lee and CNN special correspondent Soledad O’Brien present “Children Of The Storm” tonight on the all-news channel. The duo gave cameras to 11 New Orleans area students back in January to … Read More »

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How Delusional Is This ‘Kid Nation’ Guy?

By | Wednesday August 29, 2007 @ 11:11am PDT

kidnation1.jpg“I look at that contract and I think I agree to most of that stuff on the back of my ticket to Disneyland.” …Kid Nation exec producer Tom Forman to TV Week about the draconian 22-page participation … Read More »

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DHD Update: Light Labor Day Posting

By | Wednesday August 29, 2007 @ 10:39am PDT

I’m going to take advantage of the long holiday weekend to file all the loose papers in my office, clean up my email accounts, and sort through all the tips you’ve given me (keep them coming!) in order to start next week refreshed and reorganized. So postings will be lighter than … Read More »

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Pad-O-Moguls, Hollywood Halfway House

By | Tuesday August 28, 2007 @ 2:11pm PDT

oce02_b3.jpgSo you’re a mogul, and you and the wife have split. She stays in the big Brentwood or Beverly Hills home with the kids. You could bunk at the Malibu manse but that’s an awfully long commute from Broad … Read More »

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Leno vs NBC: Last Night’s Latest Round…

By | Tuesday August 28, 2007 @ 9:04am PDT

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Even though NBC keeps claiming that relations between the network and Leno are just fine, thank you, Jay keeps demonstrating his deep resentment. Everyone knows the host who’s No. 1 in late night ratings has to leave in 2009 to make way for Conan – the result of … Read More »

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Les, Lift The $5 Million Gag Order & Let ‘Kid Nation’ Children And Parents Tell All

By | Monday August 27, 2007 @ 11:58am PDT

So I’m challenging Les Moonves again. On Friday, I urged Mr. Smart But Smarmy to cancel Kid Nation and talk straight to his board about the show, and for the CBS directors in turn to hold his feet to the fire over that irresponsible abomination. (See my … Read More »

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No Journalist Phone Calls For Pellicano

By | Monday August 27, 2007 @ 11:11am PDT

A federal judge today has effectively blocked that subpoena for NYC journalist John Connolly’s Verizon phone records which Anthony Pellicano’s defense was demanding. The request went back all the way to 2002 when FBI agents raided the Hollywood P.I.’s offices. See my previous: Pellicano Demands Reporter’s Phone Calls

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This Explains Everything About Viacom…

By | Monday August 27, 2007 @ 10:41am PDT

monavie.JPGSo old coot Sumner Redstone’s secret elixir for long life is four ounces a day of a little-known superjuice called MonaVie. “It’s a miracle drug,” he told Fortune. “I feel great.” The dark purple antioxidant rich concoction has at its main … Read More »

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Latest NY Times Crackpot Theory On Film

By | Monday August 27, 2007 @ 8:47am PDT

This one, in Sunday’s paper by Jeannette Catsoulis, about sequels: “Fans who tolerate the repetitiveness and ideological bankruptcy of the Rush Hour franchise, for example, may be testaments to the power of hope and a need for familiarity at a time when the Iraq war continues unabated, pensions and polar … Read More »

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OFFICIAL! Summer 2007 Smashes Record

By | Sunday August 26, 2007 @ 8:28am PDT

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Because of (or in spite of) all those blockbusters and threequels, Summer 2007 today crossed the $4 billion mark, setting a new record for total domestic gross receipts. Media By Numbers which has been keeping a running tally on summer-to-date statistics just told … Read More »

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Summer Box Office Sizzles To New Record, But This Weekend Cools: ‘Superbad’ #1; ‘The Nanny Diaries’ Bombs For Weinsteins

By | Saturday August 25, 2007 @ 8:34am PDT

superbad100.JPGSUNDAY AM: Today, Summer 2007 box office smashed the record for domestic gross receipts and zoomed past $3.95 billion set in 2004 to $4.003 billion. (See my story here.) Otherwise, this was one of those few times … Read More »

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He’s Milked That Wm Morris Email Enough

By | Saturday August 25, 2007 @ 7:48am PDT

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I always knew the Los Angeles Times Calendar section never had an original thought. Today it profiles that debauched/drunken agency assistant Shai Sternberger whose email bidding goodbye to William Morris I posted here last weekend. At least the newspaper credited me. Here’s … Read More »

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Roger Ebert: Thumbs Down To Disney PR

By | Saturday August 25, 2007 @ 7:28am PDT

rogerebert1.jpgOur most famous film reviewer is refuting a Disney press release claiming he has exercised his right to withhold use of his trademarked ”thumbs up/thumbs down” until a new contract is signed for At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper Read More »

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Ex-Limato Assistants Land At Paradigm

By | Saturday August 25, 2007 @ 7:14am PDT

I hear that two let-go ICM agents and Ed Limato assistants, Richard Konigsberg and Jim Osborne, are going to Paradigm. I’ve reported previously how owner Sam Gores is determined to grow the merger-frenzied tenpercentery and give it a higher profile.

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Les Moonves, A Mogul With No Conscience

By | Friday August 24, 2007 @ 12:10pm PDT

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UPDATE:  Les, Lift The $5 Million Gag Order & Let ‘Kid Nation’ Children And Parents Tell All

EXCLUSIVE (refresh for latest): I’ve learned that egoist Les Moonves is talking out of both sides cbscorporation_logo.gifof his mouth concerning the erupting controversy over his CBS fall reality show Kid Nation. On the one hand, I’m told his CBS board of directors has been assured that the company is conducting “an internal investigation” into Kid Nation. moonves1.jpg“Everybody is being interviewed. All the footage will be watched. We will give the board a full report on what happened. This is of great concern,” I understand directors were told. But, publicly, CBS is denying all allegations it violated any laws or put any children in jeopardy during the production. So how can Moonves stand behind CBS’ denials when its own internal probe has barely begun? Or is there really no internal probe going on? Meanwhile, he hopes to ride the publicity from the scandal all the way to great ratings in September. For this and so many other reasons, Moonves needs to cancel the broadcast of Kid Nation.

I’m shocked by what I’ve just heard from CBS. A top company source said the CBS general counsel alerted the board about the allegations surrounding Kid Nation only because of a tough New York Times article coming out on August 18th. moonves10.JPGOf course, the New Mexico newspapers had been covering the controversy for weeks before that. And TV Week besides. An Albuquerque Journal article dated July 18th accused CBS of working kids up to 24 hours a day on the set and paying them only $5,000 for the experience and calling it legal. But the CBS board was kept in the dark about the problems then because presumably the company and directors only cared what the NYT said. Now that the Times went out with articles, “a couple of board members have asked Les questions, and he’s responded,” the CBS source told me just now. “What Les said to the board is that he’s confident there was nothing inappropriate done and the children were treated very well.”

While some board members were led to expect a serious internal investigation by CBS, I can only characterize what Moonves has done to look into this matter as perfunctory at best. “He’s spoken to the executive in charge of the show. kidnation2.JPGHe’s spoken to the people involved with the show. He’s seen the show,” a CBS source described to me Moonves’ only actions so far. ”And if anything further comes up” he’ll involve himself.

Especially with children hurt (one girl was burned while cooking, four kids drank bleach from an unlocked container, and god knows what else), such a superficial look by the smart but smarmy Moonves into the circumstances surrounding the Kid Nation production is irresponsible at best and callous at its worst. After all, the marketing for the reality show as far back as May boasted how there’s “no adult supervision”. At the time, a Washington Post TV writer made the unfortunate joke, “Heck where I grew up in Colorado they call that ‘summer camp’.” Which is exactly what CBS wanted to fool everyone into thinking about the series — from New Mexico’s film office to the Screen Actors Guild. But to advertisers and TV writers, CBS was preening: Kid Nation showed how edgy the once stodgy network had become. (That was certainly the case when CBS hyped the controversy over its “Race Wars” version Survivor.)

Look, everyone in Hollywood knows that too many kids’ parents can’t be trusted to do what’s best when the bright lights of showbiz are involved. moonves12.jpgSo CBS had a duty to take extra precautions to protect those kids, not just worry over corporate liability issues. Which leads me to ask: if CBS and therefore Moonves were as proud of Kid Nation as they’d have us believe, then why were such pains taken to shoot in such secrecy, and do it in a state that doesn’t protect children on showbiz sets, and in such a way that guild rules didn’t apply?

I’d like to put the controversy squarely on Moonves’ impeccably tailored shoulders even though he’d like to hide behind CBS’ lawyers. Now that the CBS board of directors does know, I implore them to demand from him a full investigation conducted beyond Moonves’ manipulation and to grill the CBS boss why he went ahead with this despicable show in the first place. It’s important to remember that CBS, split off from Viacom, still has a relatively new board. I’m told that six freshmen directors have come on just since January, and many of them were asked to serve by parent company Viacom boss Sumner Redstone, not Moonves. In fact, some of those directors are strangers to Moonves (…yet Les likes to describe the close and wonderful relationship he has with all the CBS directors…) CBS board members must know that shareholders are counting on them to do the right thing here. See my previous Moonves stories in LA Weekly, Screwing The TV Viewers (2006) and Les Should Be No More (2004) Read More »

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David Geffen NOT Selling Warner Estate

By | Friday August 24, 2007 @ 11:19am PDT

geffenestate.jpgI can tell you that David Geffen is denying a throwaway line inside a Wall Street Journal article today about big ticket homes for sale claiming that he “has quietly shopped his historic 9.4-acre Los Angeles estate for $100 … Read More »

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Could NYO’s Peter Kaplan Save Portfolio?

By | Friday August 24, 2007 @ 11:15am PDT

portfolio.JPGNote to Si Newhouse: My vote to fix your dreadful Portfolio magazine is Peter Kaplan, current editor of the New York Observer. A lot of people forget that he was editorial director of the absolutely best Read More »

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