FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAIL.COM MEDIA CORP ACQUIRES DEADLINEHOLLYWOODDAILY.COM
Signs Agreement With Award-Winning Entertainment Business Journalist Nikki Finke;
MMC To Distribute Nikki Finke’s Content Exclusively Across Its Digital Media Platform
June 23, 2009 (LOS ANGELES) — Mail.com Media Corporation (MMC), the digital media company that owns and operates the Mail.com portal and email service as well as a growing portfolio of lifestyle brands, including HollywoodLife.com, MovieLine.com and OnCars.com, announced today its acquisition of the Internet’s highly respected and widely read website for original content about the infotainment industry DeadlineHollywoodDaily.com. MMC also begins a long-term partnership with former Newsweek and Los Angeles Times and New York Magazine writer/reporter Nikki Finke, the founder and writer of DeadlineHollywoodDaily.com and one of the foremost entertainment business journalists in the world.
Deadline Hollywood Daily is Nikki Finke’s uniquely candid, informed and authoritative source for breaking news in the entertainment industry. She started DeadlineHollywoodDaily.com with the purpose of creating a 24/7 Internet version of her must-read “Deadline Hollywood” column in LA Weekly, to provide up-to-the-minute coverage of insider news and fast-breaking scoops about the entertainment industry before anybody else in town, often as the story is still unfolding, and often to the very people she’s writing about. Instead of the “show”, Nikki Finke is more interested in the “business” – in the story behind the story, in the truth beyond the press release, in the details that the people in power don’t want journalists to know and which only she can uncover and deliver with speed, accuracy, and regularity.
In a recent 2009 article on Hollywood … Read More »
Keep refreshing for updates on this breaking news story…
4:20PM: As my sources predicted (below), Adam Goodman (photo right) will replace John Lesher (photo above) as the new President of the Paramount Film Group reporting to studio boss Brad Grey. In October 2008, Goodman moved from head of production at DreamWorks SKG to Paramount Pictures as President of Production overseeing a creative staff managing current DreamWorks projects and creative relationships as well as new development for Paramount. I guess you could say that one of DreamWorks SKG’s legacies was leaving behind an executive to run its former parent company. During and after the 2006 acquisition of DreamWorks SKG by Paramount, he helped steer Transformers, I Love You Man, Hotel for Dogs, Norbit, Blades of Glory, Disturbia, Tropic Thunder and Eagle Eye.
“Adam has proven himself to be a terrific executive with a track record of having shepherded some incredibly successful films,” Brad Grey said later in a studio news release finally issued at 5:15PM as Paramount scrambled for hours after my story posted. “We have worked closely with Adam over the last few years and look forward to expanding his duties.” Officially now, Paramount is calling this shapeup a “streamlining”.
4:20PM: I just heard that Brad Grey asked Brad Weston (photo left) to also transition to a production deal on the lot. “Paramount wants him to be an active producer for them. They feel he has great talent … Read More »
His contract isn’t up until November but Bob Cook, president of the syndication and distribution arm for News Corp’s broadcast and cable operations, is leaving to form his own company in the next few months once his successor is in place. Word is that may be Greg Meidel, the veteran TV exec who currently runs News Corp’s My Network TV and could also get oversight of Twentieth TV which he ran in the mid-1990s when TV syndications was still alive and well. Cook told the Los Angeles Times his MBN (the initials of his three sons) has already signed a contract with the Fox-owned TV stations to work on developing their digital platforms.
As I previously predicted, the Weinstein Company has announced that they have removed All Good Things, scheduled for release on July 24th, from the release schedule. It was supposed to be TWC’s first pic out since February.
More On Weinstein Co Meltdown
Weinstein Co Money Woes
The Weinstein Company To Restructure
Technophiles who think that the Internet is going to topple Hollywood studios, TV networks, and cable companies have their heads up their asses. That’s what the analysts at Bernstein Research say — in more polite language, of course — inside the 80-page transcript out today from their confab this past Monday called “Web Video… Friend or Foe And To Whom?” The answer, it seems, is that Big Media can put the brakes on progress long enough to figure out how they’ll get paid.
For example, Hollywood won’t give its best stuff to web video on demand services such as Apple or Amazon. Cable VOD pays the studios more. So they’ll also protect the premium network business because “getting a check every month from HBO or Starz or Showtime is a nice way to adjust your risk in every movie,” Bernstein’s programming analyst Michael Nathanson says. Cable operators will slow the migration to Web video by ditching the flat monthly Internet fee and charging people for how much they use. “Consumers would lose the economic incentive to undermine the old models,” Bernstein’s cable and telecom analyst Craig Moffett says.
Right now, the average American family spends about 35 cents per hour to watch TV. That would rise to “hundreds of dollars a month,” Moffett says, if families had to pay the prices that iTunes charges for each show. Meanwhile, the rush in media to put everything on the Web is subsiding. “A year and a half ago, everybody was talking about, what … Read More »
This is a surprise since he’d been at the trade for 9 1/2 years as a TV critic, columnist, blogger, feature writer and contract employee. His TV column and reviews and blog had disappeared a few months back at his own behest and he’d been recently writing special issue features. “My situation at THR had been deteriorating for some time,” Ray just told me. “Mostly it stemmed from a personality clash and a difference in perception of what constitutes professional behavior with a certain editor. But I will cop to this being about me as much as them. I no longer saw an upside to riding the Hindenburg.” Other sources tell me Richmond hated to leave but thought it was for the best. Some of the clashes were about Richmond’s attempts to make his THR product more entertaining than the usual reporting wrapped in dry trade-speak. But his was not a popular position, nor his embrace of the web. Especially when The Powers That Be keep the THR print edition going at all cost.
Now Julius Genachowski’s nomination it goes to the Senate floor for a full vote, probably as soon as next week.
I don’t know what’s more shameful here: The fact that USA Network issued a bogus press release announcing that Donald Trump had bought World Wrestling Entertainment’s popular “Monday Night RAW” franchise? Or that publicly traded World Wrestling Entertainment participated in a scam that sent its share price down nearly 7% at one point on Tuesday? The USA Network (which is part of NBC Universal and in turn publicly traded GE) issued its apology today, acknowledging that “there is no actual ‘sale’.” The phony release was supposed to promote “an ongoing story arc” on the wrestling show. But the release sure looked real, including both companies’ logos as well as real contacts and phone numbers at WWE and USA Networks for reporters and investors to call. The release also included a quote from WWE Chairman Vince McMahon saying that Trump made an undisclosed offer that “I couldn’t refuse”. And Trump was quoted as promising to reward the RAW’s fans by airing the next show this Monday “live and commercial free”. News organizations took it at face value; TV Guide posted a story based on the press release shortly after it was issued. And FoxBusiness.com posted the release itself. Doesn’t the SEC consider it a crime for public companies to mislead investors?
UPDATE: I already reported this months ago, and then gave more details weeks ago. So today’s ABC announcement is ridiculously anticlimactic. But, of course, the shakeup would finally be announced while I was out of the office. Now, here’s more: I’m also told by sources that Carolyn Cassiy, AJ Marcantonio, Heather Roth, Brian Harvey, Liz Dickler and Jodie Platt were all let go. Safe are Patrick Maguire, Kelly Lugenbeihl, and Amy Hartwick. Dana Gotlieb is joining ABC Media Studios’ comedy department. Zack Olin is going to the ABC network comedy department. As expected the shakeup was brutal. As I expected, Steve McPherson distanced himself. And Barry Jossen was out of town. One source tells me people were summoned to Jossen’s office where a Human Resources exec observed while Jossen fired them over the phone.
Completing a process begun in January, ABC Entertainment Group President Stephen McPherson today announced the Group’s final organizational structure. Effective immediately, Business Affairs, Business Development, Casting, Program Planning, Scheduling and Distribution will be managed as integrated areas, while ABC Entertainment and ABC Studios retain separate creative teams, with each combining development and current programming roles.
In making the announcement, Mr. McPherson said: “The new organization will strengthen our position as a top quality content engine and promote a healthier business model to sustain it. The structural changes we have put in place ensure a cohesive vision from a creative, production and business standpoint, and will make us a stronger, more efficient team more seamlessly focused on common goals.”
… Read More »
There had been a Fame teaser out there. And last week the true Fame trailer debuted with The Proposal sneaked on 80+ screens. But this weekend will be the wide release.
Irving Azoff has long been derided in Hollywood as the “Poison Dwarf” because of his size and demeanor. But Ticketmaster sure likes its CEO in the middle of the worst recession since the 1930s. Even as his company laid off 5% of its employees last year, cash just pours into Azoff’s pockets. So says the preliminary proxy made public for his company’s proposed take-over of Live Nation. (Photo above by Asa Mathat)
First, Azoff’s management company Front Line – which handles more than 200 acts including the Eagles and Christina Aguilera, and which Ticketmaster bought last October — paid him his guaranteed annual $2 million in salary and $2 million bonus last year. Then “in light of Front Line’s exceptional performance in 2008,” Ticketmaster Chairman Barry Diller persuaded the board to give Azoff an additional $1 million. Azoff-owned ATC Aviation got another $229,542 from Ticketmaster for the two months last year when he used an ATC plane. But the most jaw-dropping numbers show up when you see what happens if Azoff dies, becomes disabled, resigns for “good reason,” or gets terminated without cause. Then he gets to vest stock with a market value of $77.9 million plus $13.1 million to make up for his tax payments. (Disney’s Bob Iger also has one of these Golden Coffins, whereby CEOs get paid even after they die. And it stinks like a rotting corpse.)
While he’s still alive, Azoff takes good care of his family: His daughter, Allison, got $225,000 in cash … Read More »
UPDATES Is ‘Brüno’ Comedy Or “Grotesque Satire Of Homosexuality”?
Queer As Folk star/gay activist Peter Paige wrote me to add to his video remarks:
“Of course the part where I said, ‘I haven’t seen Brüno, so I can’t be sure about this’, was left out. I merely suggested that, having seen the trailer for Brüno during The Hangover, I was concerned about how the comedy was being interpreted by straight men. I understand and appreciate the complexities and subtleties of comedy — and am by no means interested in (or qualified for) being part of the PC police. So there you have it, from the horse’s (soundbitten) ass.”
And now, to be fair, a positive review of Brüno from one of my frequent sources:
“Nikki, I loved your piece on Brüno. I’ve seen the film. In fact, I was at the first recruited screening in LA prior to them making cuts for the MPAA. First, it was not only one of the funniest films I’ve ever seen, but it was also the strongest recruited screening I’ve ever been to. The audience laughed nonstop from beginning to end. I can’t imagine this film scored less than 95 — top 2 boxes. I’ll admit there were a couple of times where I was watching the film and said to myself, “he’s going too far.” But I hope that he can leave all of this in. I just knew while watching
… Read More »
The restructuring continues at ContentNext Media. I hear that Research Director Lauren Rich Fine decided to exit in an effort to save the jobs of reporters at sites including flagship PaidContent.org which chronicles the media and entertainment industries’ digital content forays. Faced with a lousy ad market, her decision follows the departure early this month of CEO Nathan Richardson, who moved into e-commerce. Fine joined last October and had been one of Wall Street’s top publishing analysts in her nearly 20-year stint at Merrill Lynch. Big loss.
Assistants all over Hollywood work so hard for so little pay. (Which is why there’ve been so many California government crackdowns on what is tantamount to showbiz slave labor.) Ergo, it’s hard to imagine any company trying to get away with paying them less. But tipsters tell me that’s what WME is doing. The new agency is “recalculating” the pay for previous WMA assistants (about $13.50 an hour) to be more on a par with former Endeavor assistants (about $9.50 an hour). As one WMA assistant complained to me, “It’s depressing to think that my already abysmal pay might go down. That would honestly make the wages unliveable. And infinitely more disgusting knowing the millions of dollars certain agents are making.”
I just made the list of “100 Leaders You Can Learn From On Twitter” in the journalists and reporters category. Also, Moviemaker Magazine has now put online its “50 Best Websites For Moviemakers 2009″ which includes my Deadline Hollywood Daily. Finally, I’d like to congratulate all the journalists recognized by this year’s 51st Annual Southern California Journalism Awards presented by the Los Angeles Press Club. Winners in the showbiz categories included Alex Pham for the Los Angeles Times, Nancy Rommelmann for LA Weekly, Rob Long for KCRW, Tim Cavanaugh for Reason, Richard Siklos for Fortune, Ted Johnson for Variety, and Tom Tugend for the Jerusalem Post. (FYI: I decided not to enter any reporting contests in 2009, and withdrew those entries that LA Weekly tried to submit on my behalf, because I won a slew of entertainment journalism awards in 2007 and 2008. Why tempt fate?)
We all know that Hollywood envies others’ success. So if Michael Bay can have a Hate Club, maybe Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci should, too. That’s because, whenever I mention their names to bigtime screenwriters and producers who can’t get anything going now, a lot of teeth-gnashing and profanity-spewing ensues. Here’s why: Not only did the duo write and produce Star Trek, which has so far grossed over $350M worldwide (and they’ve signed on to write the sequel). Not only are they the scripters of both Transformers and the upcoming Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen. But they also received executive producer credits for The Proposal which comes out this weekend. So that’s three movies this summer alone, along with the TV series Fringe on Fox. Did I mention their publicist calls them 2009′s “Boys of Summer”?