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SAG September Election: Prez Candidate Ken Howard’s Campaign Video

By | Monday August 31, 2009 @ 9:54pm PDT

Ken Howard, Unite For Strength’s SAG candidate for president, made this video.
UPDATES SAG Prez Candidate Anne-Marie Johnson’s Campaign Video
For more info, visit and

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WGA Election: WGAw Candidate Schwartz Weighs in On Wells vs Verrone/Bowman

By | Monday August 31, 2009 @ 8:27pm PDT

(Steven Schwartz is running for the WGAw’s Board of Directors and has been endorsed by WGA presidential candidate John Wells. Tonight, he posted this on the Writer Action board, and it is currently making the email rounds):

I’m now willing to give details I wouldn’t when I first posted about these issues, in the Wells vs Gelbart thread and in of that same thread.

My reasons for not giving details earlier had to do with maintaining Guild unity and respecting personal confidences. Both of those reasons seem now to have been removed.

First, none of my information in any of these posts came from John Wells. I was not in any way protecting Wells. I was attempting to protect the Guild itself and John Bowman and David Young.

The first time I heard of Wells’ involvement was in October 07. I was told by John Bowman. We were in our caucus room at the AMPTP during those October negotiations. We had many, many breaks in that period. We were discussing efforts to keep the DGA out of things. We were using everyone we could to keep the DGA out. Bowman specifically mentioned Wells. I don’t recall if Bowman said he called Wells or if Gil Cates (DGA chief negotiator) had called Wells and Wells then called Bowman. In any case, what Bowman said was that Cates didn’t know or trust Verrone, Young, or Bowman and since, Cates had a good realationship with Wells, that

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WGA Election: WGAw Prez Candidate John Wells Writes Rebuttal To Verrone/Bowman

By | Monday August 31, 2009 @ 5:55pm PDT

UPDATES WGA: Verrone/Bowman Dispute John Wells’ Campaign Claims

(DHD has been asked to post WGA West presidential candidate John Wells’ rebuttal to the recent election message sent out by WGAw president Patric Verrone and 2007/2008 negotiating committee chair John Bowman:)

My fellow members,

WGAW-LogoWhen I was asked by the Nominating Committee to stand for election for President of the WGAw, I agreed to run because I truly believed that I could, by virtue of my relationships and past service to the Guild, accomplish more for writers than my opponent in this election, Elias Davis.

I was asked to run by the committee at the last minute because once the Writers United candidate, Elias Davis, had been identified, the committee couldn’t find anyone with any experience in recent Guild office or knowledge of recent Guild politics to run. Why? No need to look farther than the election booklet you received in the last few days. Anyone daring to express any criticism of Writers United and its past or present policies is attacked and vilified.

Though surely more unites us as writers than divides us as political opponents, I had hoped that this campaign would focus on points of difference on actual issues, like the necessity of quickly repairing our relationship with the DGA or the allocation of the Guild’s diminishing resources.

Unfortunately, Elias Davis and his Writers United running mates have decided instead to turn

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WGA Election: Message From Verrone & Bowman Disputing Wells’ Campaign Claims

By | Monday August 31, 2009 @ 5:43pm PDT

UPDATED: John Wells Writes Rebuttal To Verrone/Bowman

(DHD has been asked to post this election message from Patrick Verrone, the WGA West president, and John Bowman, chair of the 2007/2008 negotiating committee, disputing WGAw presidential candidate John Wells’ campaign claims and supporting the opposing candidacy of Elias Davis:

To our fellow Guild members:

WGAW-LogoBy now you should have your WGAW ballots. We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to vote in this election and we want to clarify a claim that has been made by some of the candidates.

John Wells has stated that he worked with Writers Guild leadership to achieve our last deal. We can state unequivocally that neither one of us had any idea he was working with the Directors Guild. We would have liked to have known that. Had we known – had John called either one of us and told us he was working with the DGA and did we have any suggestions? – we would have jumped at the opportunity. We would have achieved, we are certain, a better deal than we did, had John chosen to work with us, instead of keeping us in the dark. As it worked out, after John publicly supported the DGA deal, without also publicly stating his own involvement, our hands as negotiators were tied. We’d been on strike for three months and people wanted to

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AWARDSGATE! What Hath Sherak Wrought? New System For Best Picture Voting Won’t Express Will Of Oscar Voters

By | Monday August 31, 2009 @ 5:21pm PDT

Osc2Several media outlets are reporting that the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is changing its Best Picture voting rules now that 10 films will be nominated for the top award. This fall, an announcement will go out to the membership about how, on the final ballot, Oscar voters will be asked to rank all 10 nominees in order of preference, then the same complicated preferential system used to tally Best Picture nominees will be used to determine one winner. As a result, a film could be the first choice of the largest number of voters, but still not win Best Picture. Instead, it could be pushed out by another movie that got fewer No. 1 votes but more No. 2′s and No. 3′s. This is to ensure that a Best Picture can’t win with less than one-fifth of the vote. But it’s fucked. It also favors the major Hollywood studios, around whom the change allowing 10 Best Picture nominees was meant to help — and, in turn, the sinking Oscar broadcast ratings. Oscar SherakAMPAS executive director Bruce Davis revealed the news today to other media outlets but not DHD. (Since I don’t agree with this 10 Best Picture change, and I can’t like the usual Academy bullshit, and I won’t underestimate what an overpaid horse’s ass Davis truly is, I was shut out. But I’ll keep expressing my independent opinion all … Read More »

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SHOCKER! Disney Buying Marvel For $4B!

By | Monday August 31, 2009 @ 7:43am PDT

marvel disney universal

15TH UPDATE: Behind-The-Scenes Of Disney-Marvel Deal 

14TH UPDATE: Universal vs Disney Over Marvel Characters

13TH UPDATE: Why Disney Must Wait For Marvel Synergy

12TH UPDATE: VIDEO: Stan Lee On Disney-Marvel Deal

11TH UPDATE: Here’s the list of characters included on Universal Islands Of Adventures’ Marvel Island — Spider-Man (also attraction), Dr. Doom (also attraction), Hulk (also attraction), Storm (also attraction), Captain America, Cyclops, Green Goblin, Rogue, Storm, Wolverine, “and lots more if you include stores and dining,” a Uni exec tells me.

10TH UPDATE: I get the impression that Universal lawyers right now are scrutinizing their theme park licensing and merchandising contracts with Marvel. Universal has just updated its earlier statement to me to say this, “Marvel Super Hero Island at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and the Marvel characters are an important part of the Universal Orlando experience. They will remain so. Our agreement with Marvel stands for as long as we follow the terms of our existing contract and for as long as we want there to be a Marvel Super Hero Island.” So privately Universal execs tell me they’ve got the Marvel characters “until the end of time if we want them” and use phrases like “in perpetuity”. But here’s the … Read More »

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Is Sixth Season Of ‘Entourage’ Its Best?

By | Sunday August 30, 2009 @ 11:47pm PDT


UPDATE: Hey, few have hated Entourage more than I have in recent seasons. Judging from your comments, you still think the show stinks up HBO.

Maybe I’m just more easily amused these days after what feels like a summer devoid of entertainment (especially at the box office), but HBO’s Entourage seems less predictable and more realistic about Hollywood this season. Tonight’s episode with Jeremy Piven, Aaron Sorkin, and Gary Cole was unexpected and (dare I say it) hilarious. In a recent episode, George Segal did a superb Bernie Brillstein imitation (complete with ugly yellow sweater). And last week’s show had a sotto voce line about buying guns at John Milius’ garage sale that made me laugh out loud.
Your thoughts?

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Daytime & Creative Arts Emmy Winners

By | Sunday August 30, 2009 @ 10:58pm PDT

Here’s the list of tonight’s Daytime Emmy Winners from the telecast on CW (But I don’t wanna live in a world where that embarrassing crapfest The View wins “Outstanding” anything:

Drama Series: The Bold and the Beautiful (CBS)
Drama Series Writing Team: General Hospital (ABC)
Talk Show Host: The View (ABC)
Drama Series Directing Team: One Life to Live (ABC)
Game/Audience Participation Show: Cash Cab (Discovery Channel)
Morning Program: Good Morning America (ABC)
Talk Show/Entertainment: Rachael Ray (Syndicated)
Talk Show/Informative: The Tyra Banks Show (Syndicated)
Lead Actress/Drama Series: Susan Haskell, One Life to Live (ABC)
Lead Actor/Drama Series: Christian LeBlanc, Y&R (CBS)
Supporting Actor/Drama Series: Vincent Irizarry, AMC (ABC)/Jeff Branson, GL (CBS)
Supporting Actress/Drama Series: Tamara Braun, Days of Our Lives (NBC)
Younger Actress/Drama Series: Julie Berman, General Hospital (ABC)
Younger Actor/Drama Series: Darin Brooks, Days of Our Lives (NBC)
Game Show Host: Meredith Vieira, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (Syndicated)
Performer in a Children’s Series: Kevin Clash, Sesame Street (PBS)

The Creative Arts Emmy winners are here: Read More »

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SAG Election: Live Teleconference Sept. 2

By | Sunday August 30, 2009 @ 8:17pm PDT

SAG 2As SAG membership is sadly aware, there has yet to be a debate between the two main candidates running for president. (I’ll explain why in another post later tonight.) Because of that, every opportunity for the Guild’s members to question their candidates is important. There will be a live teleconference with Membership First’s Anne-Marie Johnson especially aimed at New York SAG members on September 2nd between 8:45PM-9:45PM Eastern time. The teleconference calls are free — including cell phone calls. The call-in number is (218) 862-1000. Participant Access code is 961283#. For more information, see the website UPDATE: Unite For Strength’s Ken Howard Ken Howard and Amy Aquino flew in for a meet-the-candidates event in New York on August 24th.

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More Agency Firings & Hirings & Leavings

By | Sunday August 30, 2009 @ 6:55pm PDT

United TalentThe next few weeks will see still more layoffs at WME Entertainment. (I’ve been told between 15 and 18.) But UTA already has snapped up longtime Endeavor talent agent Kevin Volchok who was let go from WME late Friday afternoon. Volchok met with UTA bigwigs on Saturday morning and by the end of the day had a deal to join the agency. wme-new-logo-final smallerThe tenpercenter had worked for Adam Venit at CAA and then moved to Endeavor with Venit in 1996. He was promoted to agent in 1998 and built a list which includes Tracy Morgan, Adam Brody, Ron Livingston, Rob Corddry, Lauren German, Oscar Isaac, Eugene Levy, Anthony Mackie, Dominic Purcell, Amy Smart and Mark Valley. Most, if not all, are expected to follow Volchok to UTA, which continues to be the biggest beneficiary of the William Morris/Endeavor merger. (Or should I say the Endeavor takeover of Morris?)

I also hear that New York agent Bonnie Bernstein is out at WME. “A big deal,” a source tells me. “She had a lot of good clients.)

paradigm2ND UPDATE: Writer/director Bryan Bertino has been one of Paradigm’s biggest clients in its small motion picture lit department, but now he’s left. (He also fired his manager Michael Connolly.) Sources now tell me it was “because he couldn’t get his movie Green Eyes together that is in turnaround at Paramount even … Read More »

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Jeff Robinov Re-Upped At Warner Bros

By | Sunday August 30, 2009 @ 2:25pm PDT

warnerbroslogo-200EXCLUSIVE: Actually, there’s still a little contract language to be worked out so the deal is not formally closed yet. But I can report that, after three months of negotiations, and a meeting two weeks ago with Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes, Jeff Robinov has what he wants — for now. He’s been re-upped as president of the Warner Bros Pictures Group, a position he took over back in January 2008. Robinov’s contract was coming due this December. My info is that he and Time Warner had been in negotiations since June, when the company said a new deal would be offered to Robinov. But it took some time to actually put the contract on the table until recently. Then, I’m told, Robinov flew to New York the week of August 17th to meet personally with Bewkes, and that one-on-one went “great”. The result is a new contract. (That very audible sigh of relief you hear is from Joel Silver, who wouldn’t be in business at WB without Robinov’s loyalty.) jeffrobinovofficialAnd let me say this: Jeff deserves this show of confidence. Snark how you will about Warner Bros (and I certainly have!), the movie studio once again is having a banner year, maybe even bigger than last year’s Hollywood record-setting year. The studio, with help from New Line now in the fold, is succeeding not just with huge testosterone tentpoles but also comedies … Read More »

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SAG September Election: Prez Candidate Anne-Marie Johnson’s Campaign Video

By | Sunday August 30, 2009 @ 12:19pm PDT

Anne-Marie Johnson, Membership First’s SAG candidate for president, made this video. (DHD has asked Unite For Strength for its statement on behalf of candidate Ken Howard.) For more info, visit and

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SAG: Candidate Mobin Khan’s Open Letter

By | Sunday August 30, 2009 @ 10:43am PDT

Mobin Khan is is running for the Hollywood Board of SAG as an independent:

I am a non-partisan candidate. SAGThe last 12 months has seen turmoil within SAG’s National Board. Hollywood and other branches are going through a tug-of-war which has created conflicts and uncertainty for the acting profession. Many of us have lost enormous amounts of income and may not qualify for next year’s Pension and Health Insurance.

Our country is going through a financial crisis. Although history tells us that whenever there is recession the entertainment industry booms, we see just the opposite of that expectation. We got a lousy deal for Theatrical/TV Contracts, and we are stuck with it until June 2011. Producers are not the only ones to be blamed for this. Our own union leaders are equally responsible. Partisan fighting has weaken our voices. It is important that we have strong representatives willing to fight for us, like myself.

Both Day-Players and Background Artists are suppressed. Background Artists are performers not walking props. Additionally Hollywood numbers of SAG Background required on the set along with pay rates should be the same as in New York. Another problem must be addressed is reinstallation of silent bits.

The Commercial contract would have been better had they negotiated harder. Future Product Integration within Movies/TV Shows will eliminate all commercial jobs. This means actors will perform commercial-spot scenes without additional pay or residuals, one pay for two jobs.

Runaway productions are losses which our union leaders

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SAG: Candidate Pete Antico’s Open Letter

By | Sunday August 30, 2009 @ 10:22am PDT

Pete Antico is running for the National Board of SAG as an independent:

I am running for the board to attempt to change the internal structure of SAGthe Screen Actors Guild to run it like a productive business to create more effective policy’s going forward that would better enable us to even the playing field with the producers (AMPTP).

The Guild board must be unified or it will be the death of SAG as we know it and all of what our brothers and sisters fought for in the past will be history and our union will be broken apart with no future security. The Guild’s board was publicly divided, conquered, and buried in the last contract negotiation by the producers (AMPTP).

I am committed that doesn’t happen again. That is a tough task with the egos currently on our board. In my opinion the reason this abortion of a contract passed is one third of our board members don’t work in our business. Another third don’t have a clue about running a corporation (when you include the first third who don’t work in our business the figure climbs to two thirds) and fight like children in a schoolyard publicly so the entire world, especially their enemies (AMPTP) can see their positions. That transparency made SAG sitting ducks for the opposition.

SAG needs to operate like a stealth submarine, silent and deadly, never showing its hand, under the radar. Your opponent should never know what you

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BLOODY BOX OFFICE! ‘Final Destination 3D’ & ‘Basterds’ Easily Massacre ‘Halloween II’

By | Friday August 28, 2009 @ 11:18pm PDT


SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM: Here are the weekend numbers (Sunday estimates):

1. The Final Destination 3-D (NL/WB) NEW, Fri $10.9M, Sat $10.2M, Wkd $28.3M
2. Basterds (Weinstein/Uni) WK 2, Fri $5.8M, Sat $8.1M, Wkd $19.5M, Cume $73.2M
3. Halloween II (Weinstein) NEW, Fri $7M, Sat $5.6M, Wkd $17M
4. District 9 (Sony) WK 3, Fri $3M, Sat $3.9M, Wkd $10.7M, Cume $90.8M
5. G.I. Joe (Paramount) WK 5, Fri $2.2M, Sat $3.5M, Wkd $8M, Cume $132.4M
6. Julie & Julia (Sony) WK 4, Fri $2.1M, Sat $3.2M, Wkd $7.4M, Cume $70.9M
7. Time Trav Wife (WB) WK 3, Fri $2.1M, Sat $2.8M, Wkd $6.7M, Cume $48.1M
8. Shorts (WB) WK 2, Fri $1.2M, Sat $2.1M, Wkd $4.8M, Cume $13.5M 
9. Taking Woodstock (Focus) NEW, Fri $1.1M, Sat $1.4M, Wkd $3.7M
10. G-Force (Disney) WK 6, Fri $710K, Sat $, Wkd $2.8M, Cume $111.8M      

As the summer winds down, studio execs needing a vacation are getting punchier (and their quotes to me snarkier). But even Hollywood is embarrassed by the fact that this weekend’s Top 4 competing films featuring horror, death, gore, mayhem, war, Nazis, aliens, and sci-fi all did so well at the box office. “What a sad statement on movie-going humanity,” a top studio exec emailed me. “And let’s look at the ratings for the top 4 movies at the box office tonight: ‘R’, ‘R’, ‘R’, and ‘R’. Yikes.” While Final Destination 3-D and Halloween II were playing in almost the same number of theaters (3,121 vs 3,025), 3-D made the big difference in gross receipts at 1,678 outfitted dates. … Read More »

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North Carolina Ups Film Incentive To 25%

By | Friday August 28, 2009 @ 10:44am PDT

UPDATES: Now North Carolina Expanding Its Studios

In these tough economic times when many states can’t figure out how to sustain their film incentives, North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue yesterday signed a 25% increase into law. The higher incentive will be effective January 1st. Chris Cooney, co-owner and COO of EUE/Screen Gems Studios issued a statement that his phone is ringing off the hook at the Wilmington, N.C., turnkey facility featuring 10 stages on 50 acres, including the third largest sound stage in North America and 2nd largest special effects water tank for disaster shoots. “The Hollywood studios and producers from around the world have been talking to us, waiting for this 25% incentive that will allow them to shoot with us.” Now EUE/Screen Gems is exploring expansion into Charlotte. Meanwhile, California’s new Film and Television Incentive Program gives a 20% tax credit to feature films with $1 million - $75 million production budgets, movies of the week or miniseries with $500,000+ production budgets), and new TV series licensed for original distribution on basic cable with $1+ million minimum budgets. The 25% tax credit goes only to TV series formerly filming all of its prior seasons outside of California, and indieprod films with $1 million – $10 million production budgets. But only $100 million annually has been allocated to the program beginning fiscal year 2009/2010 through fiscal year 2013/2014.

Read More »

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DHD ADVISORY: New Look, New Alerts

By | Friday August 28, 2009 @ 10:43am PDT

Next week, DHD will have a new look. Now don’t bitchslap me before the fact. I promise it’ll be familiar but freshened, the same but slicker, because that’s what you wanted. Meanwhile, DHD email alerts are up and running as of today… finally. If you didn’t just receive one, then you’re not signed up. So go ahead and input your email immediately. With luck, today should be my last full day of administrative tasks so posting can return to normal Monday. I’ll have more announcements in coming days.

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IT’S OFFICIAL! A&E Will Acquire Lifetime

By | Thursday August 27, 2009 @ 10:46am PDT

UPDATES: New Disney-Hearst-NBCU Partnership for AETN Including Lifetime? 

NEW YORK & BURBANK, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Disney-ABC Television Group, Hearst Corporation and NBC Universal today announced an agreement for A&E Television Networks to acquire Lifetime Entertainment Services. The parent company will retain the name A&E Television Networks, LLC (AETN), and its subsidiary will retain the name Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC. The closing of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to occur in 2009. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Abbe Raven, president and chief executive officer of AETN, will serve as head of the combined company following the closing. Raven has been recognized with numerous industry awards for building some of the most prominent brands in media including A&E Network, History and The Biography Channel, and for spinning them off into successful global franchises. Andrea Wong, president and CEO of Lifetime Entertainment Services, will continue to head the Lifetime Networks and will report to Raven following the closing. Robert DeBitetto, president and general manager, A&E Network and The Biography Channel, and Nancy Dubuc, president and general manager, History and History International, will both continue to report to Raven and run their respective networks.

The new agreement will, upon closing, consolidate three of the nation’s top cable networks under single management while preserving the distinct brand identities of each network. In addition, the combined company will be a global media content company reaching

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Two Movie Directors Make Agency Moves

By | Thursday August 27, 2009 @ 10:21am PDT

There’s a feeding frenzy among Hollywood agencies for director David Fincher, who left CAA some weeks back. As everyone knows, Fincher is extremely hard to please. Good luck with that.

And agent-turned-manager David Lonner steered Brad Silberling to UTA from WME. The writer/director coming off the disastrous Land Of The Lost will be repped by a team headed by David Kramer and Lonner’s longtime Endeavor/Morris pal Steve Rabineau who left for UTA during the merger.

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