I’ll post starting tomorrow but in the meantime express yourselves intelligently here. Given that the writers may have just enough pre-Oscars leverage over the next three weeks to quickly hammer out something less excremental, that is if the moguls can stop punishing them for striking in the first place, what should that be realistically using the DGA deal as a framework? As always comments are monitored.
JANUARY 21ST PROGRESS REPORT: I’m feeling better. But I won’t return to reporting until January 25th. Most of you don’t know that I’m an insulin-dependent diabetic, which greatly complicates my health. I debated whether or not to put it in my first advisory, but I felt entitled to my privacy. Now I wish I’d disclosed it because of all the false and even crazy rumors. But diabetes gets its revenge on workaholics like me. I need a few more days of rest, so I’ll come back slowly. Please be patient. Tomorrow I’ll start occasional posting until January 25th. And I’m depending as always on your tips, comments and photos especially after my absence.
JANUARY 14th: I’m exhausted. I’m not feeling well. I’m overwhelmed. I need a week away from the emails and the comments and the phone calls and the rumors. Most of all, I just need to rest since I’ve been going, going, going, since the strike started. I look forward to coming back on January 22nd and finding it settled (?). In the meantime, stay out of crosswalks while I’m gone. And I promise to return refreshed.
So now Michael Ovitz is bringing his “I see into the future” carnival act to the digital crowd who, unbelievable as it sounds, is still impressed with his one-time moniker as “The Most Powerful Man in Hollywood.” You have to wonder if these prospective partners (see invitation below) know that most of Ovitz’s past partners from Hollywood, Broadway, Wall Street, Madison Avenue and sports (to name just a few areas) despise him now. Or that billionaire Ron Burkle is suing Ovitz for refusing to live up to his financial obligations in various Internet ventures. I guess there’s a sucker born every minute where Mike is concerned:
I would like to invite you to a VIP event that is being hosted by Michael Ovitz at his office in Santa Monica. Here’s the deal: I’m helping to create a new network in LA, alongside Dealmaker Media, one of Silicon Valley’s most connected networks. We are focused on linking L.A.’s key industry dealmakers with the venture community and the most promising technology startups in Southern California.
You probably know that L.A. is now 2nd in the nation in technology investment to Silicon Valley. But unlike Silicon Valley, we simply don’t have the community and cohesion that has churned out some of the most prolific technology companies in the world.
We’ve got all the elements of becoming a regional powerhouse: capital, talent, innovation, and commitment: the only thing we’re missing is a strong insider network …
(And isn’t this how all awards should be announced — fast! But there’ll be no analysis here because, as always, the Globes are meaningless when it comes to the Oscars.)
ATONEMENT (Focus Features), BEST MOTION PICTURE DRAMA
DANIEL DAY-LEWIS, There Will Be Blood (Paramount Vantage/Miramax), BEST DRAMATIC ACTOR
JULIE CHRISTIE, Away From Her (Lionsgate), BEST DRAMATIC ACTRESS
SWEENEY TODD (DreamWorks/Warner Bros), BEST MOTION PICTURE, MUSICAL OR COMEDY
JOHNNY DEPP, Sweeney Todd (DreamWorks/Warner Bros), BEST ACTOR, COMEDY OR MUSICAL
MARION COTILLARD, La Vie En Rose (New Line/Picturehouse), BEST ACTRESS, COMEDY OR MUSICAL
JULIAN SCHNABEL, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Miramax), BEST DIRECTOR
THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY (Miramax), (France/USA), FOREIGN LANGUAGE PICTURE
JOEL and ETHAN COEN, No Country For Old Men (Paramount Vantage/Miramax), SCREENPLAY
JAVIER BARDEM, No Country For Old Men (Paramount Vantage/Miramax), SUPPORTING ACTOR
CATE BLANCHETT, I’m Not There (The Weinstein Co), SUPPORTING ACTRESS
RATATOUILLE (Disney/Pixar), BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
DARIO MARIANELLI, Atonement (Focus Features), ORIGINAL SCORE
“GUARANTEED”, Into the Wild (Paramount Vantage), SONG
MAD MEN (AMC), DRAMATIC TV SERIES
JON HAMM, Mad Men (AMC), BEST ACTOR TV DRAMA
GLENN CLOSE, Damages (FX), BEST ACTRESS TV DRAMA
EXTRAS (HBO), TV SERIES, MUSICAL OR COMEDY
DAVID DUCHOVNY, Californication (Showtime), BEST ACTOR, TV MUSICAL OR COMEDY
TINA FEY, 30 Rock (NBC), BEST ACTRESS, TV MUSICAL OR COMEDY
LONGFORD (HBO), BEST MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
QUEEN LATIFAH, Life Support (HBO), BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MINISERIES OR A MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
JIM BROADBENT, Longford (HBO), BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MINISERIES OR A MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Fox Atomic today announced the transition of all marketing operations to 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight “in an effort to reduce redundancies between the companies”. Peter Rice, president of Fox Atomic and Fox Searchlight, announced the restructuring to Fox Atomic employees today. We “realized that with the best commercial marketing in the industry being done at 20th and the best specialty marketing being handled by Fox Searchlight, it didn’t make sense to have a separate marketing operation for Fox Atomic. We are transitioning some people, when possible, to other areas of the company, including 20th, Fox Searchlight, Fox Network Group and Fox Interactive Marketing.”
The AMPTP just made this announcement. Talks begin tomorrow and I’m told this news reflects significant “progress.” Indeed, DGA President Michael Apted told members in a letter today “We would not enter negotiations with the AMPTP unless we were within shouting distance of an agreement on our two most important issues: jurisdiction for our members to work in new media and appropriate compensation for the reuse of our work on the Internet and other new media platforms.” But Apted also noted: “There are still hurdles to jump.”
As a top insider in the negotiations just emailed me, “The process is fully functioning, and both sides are engaged with a keen eye on what’s good for everyone (other guild members, community, etc).”It’s common knowledge that the Directors Guild, whose contract expires in June, doesn’t start formal negotiations until most of the big issues are ironed out ahead of time in months of early pre-sessions. And that’s what happened over the past two weeks, including a secret meeting between News Corp No. 2 Peter Chernin and Walt Disney President Bob Iger about Internet issues with reps for the Directors Guild, including negotiations committee chair Gil Cates and executive director Jay Roth. (See my previous, EXCLUSIVE: DGA Met With Moguls Today.) Even hardliners among the moguls like Warner Bros boss Barry Meyer are widely known to be “very eager” to get a DGA …
This is what NBC is just telling me. How confusing… I now have the whole backstory and will posting soon.
Weeks after my exclusive reporting about Paramount’s behind-the-scenes executive suite shake-up (Paramount Now All Shook Up and Paramount To Promote John Lesher & Rob Moore), the studio has finally issued a formal news release:
PARAMOUNT REALIGNS TOP MANAGEMENT
For Immediate Release – January 11, 2008 – Paramount Pictures today announced several promotions and changes in responsibilities among its top executives.
Rob Moore, who had been president of worldwide marketing, distribution and home entertainment, has been named vice chairman of Paramount Pictures, underscoring the success he has had in managing the business, marketing and distribution activities of Paramount over the last two years.
John Lesher, who had been president of Paramount Vantage, has been promoted to president of Paramount Film Group, where he will have oversight responsibilities for creative affairs for Paramount Films, MTV Films, Nickelodeon Movies and Vantage. He will also share responsibilities for theatrical business affairs with Mr. Moore for the above entities.
Messrs. Moore and Lesher will continue to report directly to Paramount Pictures Corporation Chairman and CEO Brad Grey.
Brad Weston, who will report to Mr. Lesher, continues as Paramount Films’ president of production and expands his portfolio in his new capacity as deputy to Lesher to work with his team on MTV Films and Nickelodeon Movies, which are now under the Paramount Films umbrella. Scott
CONFIRMED! NBC Cancels Golden Globes Newscast Exclusivity; No WGA Picketing When Foreign Press Announce Winners
I’m told there may be even some A-list actors helping the Hollywood Foreign Press Association hold its 30-minute press conference now open to all media since the Writers Guild has agreed to back off its threat to picket since NBC won’t be involved. So what I reported yesterday has come to pass: NBC has decided not to air an exclusive newscast of the HFPA announcing the Golden Globe winners. Sources tell me that NBC Universal boss Jeff Zucker was receiving “push back” from the network’s news division over the blurring of the line between news and entertainment. “The news people were upset at being used to cover Zucker’s mistakes,” an insider explained to me. I just checked with the Writers Guild and received this exclusive statement: “We were pleased to give the HFPA assurances that we will not picket nor will we be opposed to a small number of talent helping to announce the winners. Because the HFPA has been honorable and respectful and honest with us, unlike many of the other parties involved in this situation.”
The HFPA just issued this statement of confirmation:
Golden Globe Awards Press Conference Set for Sunday to Be Produced by Hollywood Foreign Press Association With No Media Restrictions: HOLLYWOOD, CA (January 11, 2008) — After discussions with NBC, Hollywood Foreign Press Association President Jorge Camara today announced that the HFPA will have complete control of its 65th Annual Golden Globe Awards Announcement that is scheduled to take place Sunday, January 13 at 6:00 p.m. PST in the International Ballroom of The Beverly
I know how hard it is to conform to mainstream news organizations since I first made my career with them and now work in alternative journalism. So it doesn’t surprise me that Sharon Waxman has announced to friends and readers from her blog that she has left The New York Times “to pursue a different path”, probably on the Internet. Los Angeles-based Waxman covered Hollywood for The Washington Post before jumping to The New York Times. MORE
I don’t mean to imply that the WGA have been angels, either. I just have fewer examples of their petty, mean-spirited and spiteful actions. For instance, there has been no WGA picketing of the moguls’ homes. But I do think that someone from the leadership should have immediately removed one striker’s picket sign which had News Corp No. 2 Peter Chernin’s home address on it for all the world (and the crazies) to see outside Raleigh Studios on November 15th. See the photo of the sign at left. That was despicable.
ABC’s late night TV host Jimmy Kimmel guested on Jay Leno’s The Tonight Show:
JAY: ”Now we’re both back without writers. How’s it going for you? It is very hard. I miss my writers tremendously.”
JIMMY: “It makes booking guests very difficult because people don’t want to cross a picket line. Instead of movie stars, you get the cast from Celebrity Fat Club 5 on the show.”
JAY: “But there is an advantage. You don’t have to see a lot of stupid movies and pretend they’re good.”
JIMMY: “But you have to see stupid reality shows and pretend they’re good.”
What an incredible list of petty, mean-spirited and just spiteful behavior the Hollywood CEOs are compiling for themselves. Really, they’re never going to be able to explain away this stuff when the strike eventually ends and they’re held accountable by everyone else. I’ve been confirming episode after episode of the AMPTP’s giant multimedia members retaliating in every way possible against anyone in Hollywood helping the WGA’s side in this strike dragging on and on. I’ll keep updating as more instances come in to me (so keep refreshing for the latest):
–>The latest is that Disney/ABC has rescinded offers to pay for tickets for TV show executive producers going to the SAG awards — just two days after sending them emails saying ABC would provide four tickets per show. The exec producers are often hyphenates who also belong to the WGA.
–>Disney/ABC has decided not to pay for hair and make-up and even cars for its stars going to the SAG awards, something the studios and networks always do, since the actors have aligned themselves with the WGA and the SAG show received a Writers Guild waiver while it’s increasingly unlikely that the Oscars televised by ABC will. ”Their reasoning is that they don’t want to pay for SAG actors to get all dressed up only to bad-mouth the studio on the Red Carpet,” a source told me. Oh, like that couldn’t happen at the Academy Awards, too, although ABC wouldn’t air it.
–>Harvey Weinstein received a number of phone calls from the moguls warning him ”You shouldn’t do it,” and “We can get this done with the DGA,” when …
Hollywood’s Triple-A list actors have started becoming integrally involved in trying to solve the Writers Guild strike against the Hollywood CEOs. I’ve just been told that George Clooney today is volunteering to personally set up a so-called “mediation panel” including himself and with plans to ask Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and John Wells (the executive producer of ER and a controversial ex-WGA president) to be part of it, plus 3 or 4 bigwigs who are siding with the producers. The offer came in a phone call today with Harvey Weinstein who promptly volunteered to be part of the panel. Clooney suggested its purpose should be to oversee the talks and tell the WGA as each term is bargained ”you have to live with this and get over it,” and tell the AMPTP “you have to live with that and get over it”, Weinstein quoted George as saying. It’s also Clooney’s idea that everybody would be locked in the room together and not leave until the deal is done. FRIDAY UPDATE: A Clooney insider tells me: “It would be more accurate to say that George has and would offer to help, including putting a group of people in a room that know both the CEOs and the writers personally. And that of course he would do anything to get this over. He didn’t use any of the rhetoric that’s being attributed to him [by Weinstein]. His stance has always been to find common ground and not alienate each other.”
I’m trying to officially confirm… Just a rumor right now.
I got a good laugh when I read the WGA statement just now that “The Writers Guild of America, West will be announcing the 2008 Writers Guild Awards winners on February 9. There will be no Writers Guild of America, West show until the strike is over.” Look, I’ve been to the WGA Awards and it’s a BIG stretch to call that a show.
So now Harvey Weinstein will be in the same enviable position as United Artists executive VP of production Jeff Kleeman who I’m told has scripts “pouring” into his office after UA just competed its side deal. As Harvey told me just now, “I did it because it gives me a competitive edge.” I reported last Sunday that The Weinstein Co was negotiating a side deal with the striking Writers Guild similar to the one that UA made. Today Harvey Weinstein confirmed that he would formally announce an agreement as soon as tomorrow. (See my previous, Rumors Upon Rumors Of WGA Side Deals.)
Harvey right now is in Los Angeles doing a media blitz via back-to-back breakfasts with the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times and other reporters. Sure the Big Media CEOs are saying he needs to do a WGA side deal to shore up his financially struggling production company. But Harvey tells me, “We are currently a making a shitload of money. All our movies are making money off their videos and DVDs. My flights of fancy are turning out to be oil gushers.”
Still, it’s hilariously ironic about Weinstein, who’s made screenwriters’ lives miserable throughout his career with his iron-fisted management style, now befriending the striking scribes. Weinstein told me he’s working with the WGA to “try and be a good citizen” because every crack in the producers’ armor can be considered a victory for the WGA and a defeat for the Big media companies who refuse to meet with the WGA negotiators. “This …
TOM TERRIFIC: First Triple-A List Actor Links Fate Of Oscars To Studios Refusal To “Get Down To Honest Bargaining”
It’s hard to imagine any actor in Hollywood who makes the studio and network CEOs swoon more than Tom Hanks. So the fact that he has gone public and shamed them for breaking off bargaining talks with the Writers Guild is hitting them where it hurts: their public image. The two-time Oscar winner just gave an interview to Reuters in London saying that as a member of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences he wants to see the Oscar ceremony held as usual but warned the studios and networks will lose the Academy Awards ceremony just like they did the Golden Globes show unless AMPTP returns to the table and gets serious about negotiating.
Certainly anyone in sympathy with the striking writers has been waiting for a big Triple-A list star to step up and take a leadership position calling out the Hollywood CEOs for their intransigence. And if that’s the stick, then the carrot is the Academy Awards slated for February 24. “The show must go on, that is one of the tenets of everything,” Hanks told Reuters on the red carpet at the London premiere of Charlie Wilson’s War. “I am a member of the board of governors of the Academy, and we definitely want to put on a great show and honor the films that have come out in the course of the year.” Hanks said. ”I just hope that the big guys who make big decisions, up high in their corporate boardrooms and what not, get down …