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More Agency Client Comings And Goings

By | Thursday September 24, 2009 @ 6:44pm PDT

UTA signed Teri Hatcher who had been one of Paradigm’s biggest clients.

WME signed Broadway recording artist and Tony nominee Laura Bell Bundy from UTA.

WME lost Amanda Bynes to CAA.

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AGENCY CATFIGHT OVER ALICIA KEYS: WME And Her People Say She Hasn’t Gone To CAA; But CAA Tells Hollywood She Has

By | Thursday September 24, 2009 @ 5:01pm PDT

2ND UPDATE: Well, well, well… I don’t think I’ve ever seen this before. CAA believes tonight that it signed Alicia Keys away from her longtime agent, WME co-CEO Dave Wirtschafter. But WME and Alicia’s people say it ain’t so. I just got word that Keys’ manager Jeff Robinson, with Alicia sitting by his side, issued this statement: “No official decision has been made yet.”

Here’s what happened behind the scenes: Robinson has been “entertaining the notion”, in the words of one of my sources, of different representation for Keys. Meetings were taken, and CAA believed it had signed the superstar singer/musician as of today and began telling Hollywood. But Wirtschafter had been led to believe that no decision had yet been made by Keys or her manager who’d promised him one last meeting where he would be given the opportunity to save the client. So, now you can see why both agencies think they’ve got Alicia Keys on their client rosters.

No doubt this situation will sort itself out within a few days.

UPDATE: Oy, Dave Wirtschafter didn’t even know she’d left for CAA until he heard it from my website.

Previous: I’ve learned that CAA is telling Hollywood the agency has signed Alicia Keys. This means that WME co-CEO Dave Wirtschafter has lost one of the biggest clients he took with him from William Morris to the new WME Entertainment merged with Endeavor. And Alicia Keys is a monster client: her albums have sold 30 million copies, she’s a 12-time Grammy winner, she plays in the world’s biggest arenas, and she is finishing up … Read More »

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Yet Another Nugget About The New WME

By | Wednesday September 23, 2009 @ 9:15pm PDT

WME is delaying bonuses from October, when Endeavor gave them out, to December, when William Morris distributed theirs.

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Why Did Ken Ehrlich Ax Grammys’ Tisha Fein?

By | Wednesday September 23, 2009 @ 1:23pm PDT

Normally, I don’t do music. (As I often say, I have enough trouble dealing with the scoundrels in Hollywood that I can’t possible take on the crooks in the recording biz as well.) That said, I was leaked the following memo which may be of interest to many of you, especially after the recent death of Pierre Cossette. (I’ve edited out some IDs):

From: Tisha Fein
Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 2009 10:57 AM
Subject: Re: (no subject)

Here is the letter that went out. The responses have been amazing. Basically saying no one can imagine the Grammys without me:

Dear _________

I am writing to all of you to let you know that Ken Ehrlich informed me that after 30 years in my position as Talent & Coordinating Producer of The Grammy Awards, he wants to make a change and has personal issues working with me. He said it has nothing whatsoever to do with the “quality of my work”on the show. It is totally his decision, but told me he’s gone to Neil Portnow and Jack Sussman to enlist their support.

I have treasured working with all of you and have given my “heart and soul” to the artists appearing on the Grammys. I fought hard to keep a level playing field and give as many artists a chance as I was allowed…

Ken also told me the other reason he wanted me gone, is that he feels I take the artists side over Production. I do care deeply about how artists

Read More »

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SAG Election: Timetable For Results

By | Wednesday September 23, 2009 @ 1:09pm PDT

UPDATE: The Screen Actors Guild said it’s expecting to have results in the national officer and NY division election around 3 PM PDT Thursday, and a live announcement and statement would follow shortly thereafter. Results in the remaining division elections are expected around 5 PM. So hang in there, Hollywood. This will be over shortly.

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Universal Studios Singapore Launches ‘Madagascar’ & ‘Shrek’ Attractions From DreamWorks Animation

By | Wednesday September 23, 2009 @ 12:53pm PDT

SINGAPORE, 24 September 2009 – Asia’s largest integrated resort in Singapore, Resorts World Sentosa, has created not one, but TWO world’s firsts in collaboration with DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA) within its Universal Studios Singapore theme park.

Themed after DreamWorks Animation’s blockbuster movie Madagascar, Madagascar: A Crate Adventure will be a mega-attraction at Universal Studios Singapore when it opens in early 2010. Widely successful across audiences of all ages, the hit DreamWorks Animation film will be brought to life with a state-of-the-art indoor boat ride featuring animated figures, digital projection, evocative sound, and special effects that create a one-of-a-kind, funny and fun family ride.

Southeast Asia’s first and only Universal Studios theme park will also be home to the world’s first Far Far Away Castle, a landmark in the box-office hit Shrek series. King Harold’s 40-metre high castle will house attractions such as Shrek 4-D, Donkey Live and Magic Potion Spin.

Madagascar: A Crate Adventure and Far Far Away Castle are part of the world’s biggest single collection of DreamWorks Animation theme park attractions making its debut at Universal Studios Singapore. The collection of six attractions, complemented by more than 10 DreamWorks Animation themed dining and shopping outlets, also features rides suitable for the entire family, such as the fairy tale themed junior-coaster Enchanted Airways and King Julien’s Beach Party Go-Round.

Mr Tan Hee Teck, CEO of Resorts World Sentosa, which Universal Studios Singapore is part of, said: “Resorts World Sentosa has a sales network spanning 22 Asian cities. In each of

Read More »

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No More WME Layoffs. Now, Integration.

By | Wednesday September 23, 2009 @ 9:47am PDT

wme-new-logo-final smallerWME Entertainment agents and staff can start to breathe easier. I’m told that these last weeks upon weeks upon weeks of cuts and layoffs and contract non-renewals and attrition are now finished following the merger. (Yes, there were some recent layoffs in the hot music department. I hear three peoples’ contracts were up.) “The layoffs are done. Complete. After just 3 months. The next phase is integration. Let’s make sure we’re integrating our clients,” WME field marshal Ari Emanuel told a TV and motion picture staff meeting last week. What that means in practice is each heavy duty client will now have multiple agents to make sure that client is covered in every area: some from the old Morris and some from the new Endeavor. That also means multiple new people will be introduced into the clients’ lives, which is never easy but necessary to a team approach to agenting. Of course, given the heightened level of skirmishing between rival agencies in Hollywood right now, reps at WME competitors are spinning this to me as a bad thing. They say agents are terrified about who will be assigned to their client’s team. Because this will allow WME to continue to downsize but keep the clients. Heck, probably both interpretations are right. All I know is that I’m relieved to stop reporting layoffs at WME. One interesting factoid: WME right now is about the same size as the old William Morris.

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Zucker Orders NBCU: Get Ready For IPO

By | Wednesday September 23, 2009 @ 8:37am PDT

UPDATES As Rumors Swirl & GE Probes, Vivendi See IPO Possibility For 20% NBCU

nbcuni-logoI’ve learned that last week, during a visit to the West Coast, NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker told both Universal and NBC, “We have to be ready in case Vivendi exits for an IPO of that 20% stake.” This is why, as I reported last week, the brass have been asking for more and deeper financial information than years past prior to the Vivendi put coming due.

Meanwhile, the rumors keep coming fast and furious. The latest (#3, if you’re keeping count) is also one of the most persistent despite denials on all sides: that some deal negotiation is underway between Time Warner and GE over all or part of NBCU. Yes, that rumor has been around a long time, and sources insist that Time Warner and GE were in talks before the economic crash. But it’s recently surfaced again, triggered by the Vivendi put, and it’s believed by some top people in Hollywood. Time Warner folks say it’s just not true, especially since Jeff Bewkes maintains a very disciplined approach to acquisitions because of the goodwill writedowns that haunted Time Warner in the past. On the other hand, a good case could me made for a very synergistic combination of assets. -test

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THE IGER SANCTION, Cont’d: Does Rich Ross Fit Disney Studios’ Glass Slipper?

By | Wednesday September 23, 2009 @ 12:21am PDT

UPDATES EXCLUSIVE! Dick Cook Fired From Disney

Disney Logo2Disney CEO Bob Iger likes to keep corporate secrets. (Witness the Marvel-Disney deal. And the Dick Cook bloodletting.) So Hollywood is now desperately trying to sleuth out who’ll be in charge of Disney’s moviemaking. Pixar’s John Lasseter, DreamWorks’ Stacey Snider, Marvel’s Kevin Feige are all names in play. However, I can report that Iger is telling Hollywood that he’s already chosen Cook’s replacement yet won’t announce it for a few weeks. disney rich rossStill, last night, several of my sources heard that Disney Channels Worldwide president Rich Ross is being fitted with the glass slipper. They tell me Ross is likely to succeed Cook in some form, like a modified job without Cook’s lofty title of Walt Disney Studios chief.

First, I have no unofficial or official confirmation of this. But Bob Iger and Tom Skaggs love this guy who manages the global kids’ TV business — a total of 94 kid-driven, family-inclusive entertainment channels and feeds available in 163 countries and 32 languages. Also, Disney’s culture is so infamously cult-like and cut-throat that the Mouse House mostly promotes from within because its insiders distrust outsiders. And each other.

Those insiders who dislike Ross say he’s an “incredible political maneuverer and quite a back-stabber” who’s “into retribution”. (“There are likely … Read More »

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TOLDJA! Jay Leno Slips Into Last Place Against Real Competition, Not Just Repeats

By | Tuesday September 22, 2009 @ 10:31am PDT

Yeah, this was a GREAT idea, Jeff Zucker. Once again, just like last season, NBC ranked fourth in primetime Monday, dead last among all the broadcast networks, with a weak 2-hour Heroes premiere that fell 46% from last year’s opener. At 10 PM, The Jay Leno Show attracted only 5.7 million viewers, but most importantly fell to 1.8 (for 3rd position, since Fox doesn’t program at 10 PM). It had recorded a low of only 2.0 last week during its debut. Nor can NBC save face by boasting about Jay’s demographics since he skews older. As I noted at the time, it was ridiculous for NBC to be crowing about Leno’s “highest-rated” numbers last week when it was only up against repeats. Facing competition this week, the show folded like a house of cards. Which sums up Zucker’s running of the broadcast network, doesn’t it? I can’t imagine why any advertiser would choose Leno over CSI: Miami at 10 PM. The experiment failed. (I’ll have more later.)

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DH Advisory: Almost Back To Normal

By | Tuesday September 22, 2009 @ 9:36am PDT

Thanks for all your concern. I’m feeling much better. Let me catch up.
And keep those tips coming!

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UTA Signs Oscar Winner Anthony Hopkins

By | Monday September 21, 2009 @ 11:05am PDT

Back in May, CAA signed Anthony Hopkins back from Endeavor, which only had him since November 2008. But Tony has been at every major agency, and more than once. Then he left CAA this month. Then he signed with UTA. Confused? So am I. But he’s still an Academy Award winner. So I heard Hopkins got a standing ovation when he made a surprise visit to the UTA staff meeting this morning.  I’m told he will continue with his UK agent Duncan Heath and his lawyer Mitch Smelkinson.

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Marvel Reacts To Kirby Estate Rights Revoke

By | Monday September 21, 2009 @ 11:01am PDT

UPDATES Marc Toberoff Goes After Disney/Marvel & Other Studios For Jack Kirby Estate

Here’s the official statement: “Marvel received the termination notices and is reviewing the information and has no additional comment at this time.” In other words, they’re gobsmacked.

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Emmy Ratings Rose 11% Over Worst Ever 2008 — Even Against Most Watched NFL Primetime Game In 11 Years

By | Monday September 21, 2009 @ 10:44am PDT

UPDATES 2009 Emmy Winners (With Cynical Commentary)

Overnights are in. And all I can say is that we are indeed a nation hopelessly divided. Some of us like football. And some of us like interminable awards shows. What a shocker that last night’s 3-hour 61st Annual Primetime Emmy telecast on CBS drew a 4.2 preliminary rating among adults 18-49, which was 11% higher than last year’s worst ever. Or that the show was seen by 13.3 million viewers, 8% more than 2008. This, despite the fact that NBC’s Cowboys/Giants game scored the the largest overnight household rating for a primetime NFL game in 11 years. That was a 65% bigger audience than the Emmys. More Americans like football on television than TV patting itself on the back. Can you really blame us, er, them?

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2009 Emmy Winners (With Cynical Commentary): It’s Deja Vu All Over Again As ‘Mad Men’ And ’30 Rock’ Repeat Victories

By | Sunday September 20, 2009 @ 5:11pm PDT

2009 emmy 1

SUNDAY PM: Best line tonight at the 61st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards was from Tina Fey who said “We want to thank our friends at NBC for keeping us on the air … even though we are so much more expensive than a talk show.” Neat bitchslap, Tina. emmy harris remoteConsidering this is the 3rd win for 30 Rock in the ”Comedy Series” category and the show won 5 Emmys overall Sunday night, she can probably ask Jeff Zucker to bear her next child (without the epidural). Speaking of pain and the broadcast itself, Neil Patrick Harris (aka Mr. “Put Down The Remote”) was less annoying than most hosts. But let me just say that The Family Guy clip of Stewie beating that poor dog senseless and drowning him in the toilet bowl (“Where’s my Emmy? Where’s my Emmy?) perfectly replicates what I’d like to do mentally to Don Mischer and all the other torturers who put on this crapfest tonight. A total of 10 TV and cable networks collected the 28 TV awards handed out Sunday night. In all, the broadcast networks claimed 13 Emmys and the cable networks or pay channels HBO, Showtime, FX, Comedy Central, AMC, A&E collected 11, and PBS received 3. Between the Creative Arts and Primetime Emmys ceremonies, the Emmy scorecard was HBO 21, NBC 16, ABC 11, Fox 10, CBS 9, PBS 9, and so on. emmyBut they carry an asterisk because of this year’s expansion … Read More »

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URGENT! Intellectual Property Lawyer Marc Toberoff Goes After Disney/Marvel Deal & Other Studios For Jack Kirby Estate

By | Sunday September 20, 2009 @ 2:51pm PDT

Kirby Thor 160

Kirby Cap America 100

Specifically, the estate of Jack Kirby, co-creator of Captain America, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, The Avengers, Iron Man, Hulk, The Silver Surfer and Thor, has sent notices terminating copyright to publishers Marvel and Disney, marvel disney smallas well as film studios that have made movies and TV shows based on characters he created or co-created, including Sony, Universal, 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures. That’s the news from the website, which covers all things comic book. Normally these kinds of lawsuits are run of the mill for Hollywood. But not when they’re litigated by Marc Toberoff, who is the bane of Big Media. He’s had so many victories they’re hard to count, especially in he comic book arena on behalf of Superman creator Jerry Seigel against DC Comics and Warner Bros. KirbyPhotoLike that case, Kirby’s estate is looking to regain his share of copyright in the characters and their use in comics and other media. “Such claims, if found valid, would begin from 2014 and, as always, it’s worth noting that Marvel/Disney will still own the trademarks of the characters in comics, and the studios in movies. The likelihood is that, if successful, the Kirby estate would enter into negotiation over terms to … Read More »

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Sunny No. 1 For Family Film ‘Meatballs’; Foul Weekend For Hollywood Stars’ Flops

By | Saturday September 19, 2009 @ 10:30pm PDT

cloudy poster1SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM: Mamma Mia! Talk about a spicy meatball: now that’s one fair weather 3-D toon! By comparison, all the big Hollywood stars of the moment flopped in their 2-D films despite allowances for middling releases. Although you wouldn’t know that by the spin every studio has given me this morning. Do they think I just fell off the turnip truck? So let’s get down to the numbers.

1. The beloved children’s book turned Sony Pictures Animation’s movie Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs scored an easy No. 1 by attracting not just kids but also tweens, teens, and twentysomethings as well as parents to North American screenings at a record 1,828 3-D sites (which did $18 million), including 127 Imax locations (which did $2.45 million). That’s why four-quadrant family films like this are such a favorite of Hollywood. All day and night, Sony kept upping its box office predictions as the money just kept rolling in. By Sunday, the studio was looking at a total $30.1M opening for the weekend – $8.1 million for Friday’s in 3,119 theaters, and $13M Saturday. The Saturday matinee family bump really kicked in (+65%)! Cloudy scored a CinemaScore of “A-”, and “A” for the under-24 set. Plus, the marketing campaign for it was sassy (not stupid like too many other family films). Overseas, where Meatball opened in just a few territories, it debuted #1 in all the markets, including the UK, Mexico, Chile and Ecuador…. Read More »

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PROTEST AT MPTF FUNDRAISER TONIGHT: …”Evening Before Emmys” Or …”Evening Before Evictions”?

By | Saturday September 19, 2009 @ 9:35pm PDT

mptf rally sept3

Tonight is the 3rd annual “Evening Before Emmys” fundraiser for the Motion Picture & Television Fund. But outside the event in Century City, the grassroots organization “Saving The Lives Of Our Own” held a candlelight vigil to protest the “Evening Before Eviction” — its moniker for the MPTF closures of the acute- and long-term care facilities. Tonight’s protest was expected to include members of SAG, Teamsters Local 399 (one of the leaders, Steve Dayan, is being interviewed photo), AFTRA, the WGA, DGA, IATSE and others. “Saving The Lives Of Our Own” is a grass-roots coalition of entertainment industry workers, long-term care residents, their families, and community members. In weeks leading up to the event, the protest group wrote to the partygoers and said:

We respectfully ask that you please reconsider your decision to participate in the MPTF’s September 19 ‘Evening Before Emmy’ event.

Unfortunately, the money raised at this event will NOT go towards saving this historic and vital long-term care facility, which these residents depend on now and future generations of Hollywood’s rank-and-file workers will depend on in the future. Though fundraising offers have been made, the Fund’s administrators have responded by saying that no amount of money would change their closure decision.

The MPTF’s sacred promise, ‘We Take Care of Our Own,’ its noble mission since its founding by Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford in 1928, has been broken.

The appeal was directed to “Evening … Read More »

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EXCLUSIVE! Dick Cook Fired From Disney; Hollywood Registering Shock At News; “Never Saw It Coming” vs “Had A Choice”

By | Friday September 18, 2009 @ 5:00pm PDT

Cook iger X

BREAKING NEWS! Refresh for updates…

Disney Logo25TH UPDATE: Here’s what I’m hearing now from deep inside Disney. That today’s date to announce his exit was chosen by Dick Cook. That Bob Iger was at Wal-Mart all day so there wasn’t an 11th-hour meeting with Cook. Disney insiders continue to insist Dick wasn’t fired. Instead, as one of the sources stresses, “He had a choice, He just didn’t see eye to eye with Bob on how to run the studio. Dick wanted to run the studio his way.” But it didn’t come as a surprise to toppers that Cook chose to step down rather than change the way he ran the studio. “In the last 5 years since Bob’s been CEO, the biggest resistance to change has came from the studio as an institution. They were the last ones who realized that things needed to change. Even when Bob cited the performance of the motion picture division to analysts last May as one reason for Disney’s poor results. (Specifically, Iger said “studio performance was disappointing, something they would be the first to admit.”) The insiders also confirm that Dick called the staff meeting, but claim he only said he’s stepping down and then read his resignation statement (see below). The insiders also maintain Cook didn’t tear up but, yes, he got emotional. And that Dick never characterized his relationship with Iger. “Dick is very likeable, and he and Bob have … Read More »

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