I’m told that financier and producer Media Rights Capital has canceled two of the four shows it put on The CW after being given the rare opportunity to program a network’s Sunday nights. Both Valentine and Easy Money had been put on hiatus with skeleton crews while more scripts were written. Now both series are on permanent hiatus, which is a nicer way of saying they’ve been cancelled. MRC still has authority to program Sunday nights on The CW for the entire 2008-2009 season so it’ll be choosing two replacement shows right away.
I’ve confirmed that Josh Friedman, who wrote the “Movie Projector” column covering the weekly box office, has been laid off. An insider told me the Los Angeles Times is now looking for a low-cost freelancer to do it.
During the next few weeks you’ll read and hear Jon Favreau’s name repeated by the Washington press corps. It’s because Barack Obama’s favorite speechwriter has the same name as Jon Favreau, the Hollywood director, writer, and actor. Today, a Time.com posting of possible personnel in an Obama administration spotlighted Jon Favreau “the Hollywood actor and screenwriter and director”. I kid you not. (It was quickly amended.) For the record, the “other” Favreau is a 26-year-old jeans-clad staffer who worked in Obama’s senate office and who is no relation to the Iron Man and Swingers guy. But he’s writing Obama’s most memorable campaign speeches and will likely become the speechwriting director if Obama wins the presidency.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
DHD started up 32 months ago in March 2006 and it’s been gratifying to see people are reading it and responding to it. Your tips have never been better, and your comments have never been livelier. (Keep ‘em coming!) I remain in awe.
I’ve just been told that Viacom’s MTV Networks is planning “a lot” of layoffs. And get this: it’s making the announcement on Tuesday hoping that the news will be overshadowed by Election Day. Dontcha just love Big Media’s sensitivity?
The Summit Entertainment vampire romance doesn’t open for another three weeks, but fans are already scooping up advance tickets for the film. In a recent survey, Twilight was voted by Fandango.com moviegoers as the most anticipated film of the season. According to a current survey of more than 5,000 moviegoers interested in buying Twilight tickets say they:
92% will see Twilight on opening weekend
85% will see the film more than once
56% will go to the movie with a group
97% have read Stephenie Meyer’s novel
86% want to visit the film’s locations
95% are female
42% are age 25 or older
58% are younger than age 25
As DHD readers know, I’ve been closely following the Al Franken vs Norm Coleman hotly contested U.S. Senate race in Minnesota because, while showbiz talents who are also Democrats routinely raise money and campaign for political candidates, they rarely run for public office themselves. For a while, Franken, the Saturday Night Live alum and ex-Air America radio broadcaster, had a solid lead over the incumbent Republican since October 6th. But this week that’s tightened to the point that Coleman is back up 1 to 3 points in the polls. (Which is statistically but not psychologically insignificant.) Coleman made the gains with a slew of uber-negative ads against Al. But now that’s been matched by some third-party corruption allegations against Coleman. The Republican also has slapped the Franken campaign with a defamation suit; apparently, the Republican resorts to the courts almost every time he’s a candidate. Now the latest news is that former President Bill Clinton was campaigning in the Twin Cities arm and arm with Franken. They hit the stage at the Minneapolis Convention Center together last night, with Clinton telling the crowd that a Franken triumph over Coleman is crucial to electing a U.S. Senate with 60 Democrats so that an Obama administration could overcome Republican filibustering.
Endeavor’s Ari Emanuel may soon have a sibling in a higher place. Today’s political news is filled with speculation that Ari’s brother Rahm Emanuel, the U.S. representative who helped engineer the Democratic takeover of Congress, is Barack Obama’s first choice for White House chief of staff in the event of a win. Ari isn’t talking about it. (Watch video of all the Emanuel Bros on Charlie Rose here.)
Isn’t this a nice surprise? Veteran film producer Philippe Rousselet and entertainment executive Fabrice Gianfermi announced today the formation of Vendome Pictures — described in the press release as a development, production and financing entity focused on producing internationally driven and commercially viable feature films designed for the global filmed entertainment marketplace. The company plans to produce a minimum of 12 films with budgets ranging from $10 to $40 million over the next 5 years. This will be accomplished through a $115 million revolving credit facility funded via a consortium of banks led by CIT and RBS Greenwich Capital; a mezzanine facility funded by Newbridge Film Capital; and a group of private equity investors. Vendome’s CEO/prez Rousselet arranged the facility with long-time partner Gianfermi, Vendome’s Co-CEO. Summit International will oversee the sale of Vendome’s films to all territories excluding the United Kingdom, where Vendome’s films will be distributed by StudioCanal’s Optimum Releasing, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Canal+ Group. In the United States, Vendome will primarily distribute its films via Summit Entertainment, with the possibility of working with other U.S. distributors. Rick Hess, the head of CAA’s Film Finance Group, served as a close advisor in setting up Vendome.
UPDATED: MovieTickets.com online sales for October 27-31 as of 12 PM ET today:
Quantum of Solace (MGM/Sony) 39%
High School Musical 3: Senior Year (Disney) 30%
Twilight (Summit Entertainment) 8%
Saw V (Lionsgate) 4%
The rest are 2% or less
The host is actor and Democratic activist Ben Affleck.
Statement by the AMPTP:
The AMPTP met this afternoon with federal mediator Juan Carlos Gonzalez. During the meeting AMPTP presented details of the AMPTP’s Final Offer to SAG, along with background information on the major labor agreements that AMPTP has reached this year with WGA, DGA and AFTRA, which served as the basis for our Final Offer to SAG. The federal mediator indicated that he will advise the parties as to the next step in the process.
Fandango.com Ticket Sales (as of 10:00 AM PT today)
Twilight (Summit Entertainment) 43%
High School Musical 3: Senior Year (Disney) 19%
Saw V (Lionsgate) 8%
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (DreamWorks Animation) 8%
Quantum of Solace (MGM/Sony) 3%
I’m planning another piece on NBC for Sunday. But for now it’s fascinating to watch the network squirm.. Will BBC Worldwide America’s Paul Telegdy become EVP over just unscripted entertainment? Is Telegdy pushing to now or eventually be given a bigger job? Will NBC’s current reality czar Craig Plestis get shown the door despite Ben Silverman’s assurance? Will Jeff Zucker reup Silverman or could Ben decide to quit instead? What will happen to Katherine Pope, Teri Weinberg, Jeff Gaspin and Bonnie Hammer? One source today said it best: “NBC is a real mess.”
According to a survey from MovieTickets.com conducted between August 8th and October 5th of nearly 4,000 movie fans who had just purchased tickets at the website, these are their picks for the “most anticipated” films over the next year:
The MovieTickets.com Top 10 Most Anticipated Films
1. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Warner Bros)
2. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Fox)
3. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (Paramount)
4. Public Enemies (Universal)
5. Angels & Demons (Sony)
6. Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian (Fox)
7. The Informant (Warner Bros)
8. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (Fox)
9. The Day the Earth Stood Still (Fox)
10. The Taking of Pelham 123 (Sony)
EXCLUSIVE: This is a really fast-moving story. For months now, I’ve been asking my sources when is NBC going to give more power to real programmers since salesman Ben Silverman isn’t one. So this morning Paul Telegdy suddenly and unexpectedly resigned from BBC Worldwide America. Now I’m told NBC is in negotiations with him about overseeing unscripted entertainment and possibly scripted as well. And my sources inform that it would be Telegdy’s decision whether to fire or keep NBC’s current reality czar Craig Plestis who only has months left on his contract. Now get this: the negotiations call for Telegdy to be given a bigger job (like NBC Entertainment President which is still a vacant title) in a year or to get paid off. This could solve NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker’s primary problem right now: how not to look like he made a mistake hiring Ben Silverman and still get the programming that the network needs to start succeeding. So Zucker could re-up Silverman and at the same time hire programmers in subordinate roles.
I’m told Craig Plestis had been behind closed doors most of the day speaking to his attorney. And finally Plestis went to Ben Silverman and asked if he were being replaced by Telegdy, as insiders speculated to me today when Paul quit the BBC. Silverman told him no. A week ago, I reported that Plestis was panicking about the rumor he was being shitcanned as NBC Entertainment’s EVP of Alternative Programming, Development and Specials. (The problem was that, beyond America’s Got …
James Schamus is really pissed at that Hollywood Reporter story carried by Reuters yesterday on the eve of the San Francisco premiere dissing the marketing strategy to supposedly not focus on the political significance of Focus Features’ Milk. Here’s the complaint Schamus sent to the trade:
To the Editor:
Slow news day, eh? As the CEO of Focus Features, I read with interest your October 28 front page article “Politics? Focus won’t ‘Milk’ it,” about our marketing of director Gus Van Sant’s film about Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to major public office in America. The author’s thesis is simple: because the film was not, like Brokeback Mountain, screened at festivals, Focus is somehow hiding the film and is thus avoiding openly presenting its political content. That’s a pretty serious charge, especially made by a reporter who did not call us to get his facts, so to speak, straight.
First of all, to the charge of “hiding” the film (for which, given its post-production schedule, we have only had finished prints at hand for a couple of weeks – a fact conveniently missed by your reporter), I can only say that I happen to be writing this while on my way to the airport for a flight to San Francisco, where we shall world-premiere the film tonight at the Castro Theatre, across the street from the storefront where Harvey began his political career. We determined early on that the only appropriate
Say you’re a tenpercentery with a hot agent who’s also a hot head. And say he walks off the job in a huff from time to time. Well, if you’re the Gersh Agency, you let John Buzzetti blow off steam and then welcome him back again and again. It’s because the New York-based partner and theatrical lit agent reps a bunch of quality musical theater and playwrighting talent. (Gersh’s theater department expanded in 2006 when it annexed the Joyce Ketay Agency.) So I’m told that last week he blew up because he thought one of his colleagues was giving him attitude and then walked off the the job. Not even Bob and David Gersh knew when or if he was returning to work. But Buzzetti was back in the office today. And this isn’t the first time he’s gone AWOL. Gersh agents recall that a month ago Buzzetti pitched a fit and walked out when the air conditioning system wasn’t working. ”He throws up his hands and says, ‘I’m done,’ over a ridiculous thing,” one insider tells me about Buzzetti. “He’s a hot head. But we’re not worried because he’s got many years left on his contract.” Question is: how long will Gersh stay cool with such behavior?