Check Out Our New Look

Obama & Seth Meyers Trump Hollywood At Annual White House Correspondents Dinner

By | Saturday April 30, 2011 @ 9:32pm PDT

UPDATE: Tonight Saturday Night Live head writer and Weekend Update anchor Seth Meyers entertained at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner – that annual media-politics-showbiz schmoozefest in Washington DC. I’ve been to the White House Correspondents Dinner, and, if history is any judge, then comedians asked to perform there seem to do best when they joke with gentle jibes rather than go for the jugular. Meyers met that criteria and more: he kept his targets bipartisan during the prestigious gig. This was Meyers’ first time hosting and he had to compete with President Obama who utilizes some very good joke writers. (Clients of WME? Because of the Rahm/Ari Emanuel connection?) Meyers started out flat because most of his news-based jokes seemed too cerebral for the crowd whose intellects were obviously overestimated. But then Seth began to score, and score, and score, by tweaking his bosses at Comcast/NBCUniversal and skewering Hollywood and thumping Donald Trump.

So did President Obama, who landed some very pointed shots at both The Donald and Matt Damon after taking it on the chin from them in recent weeks. Obama noted that ”Matt Damon said the other day that he was disappointed in my performance. Well, Matt, I just saw The Adjustment Bureau…” Obama then proceeded to make fun of The Donald and his birth certificate rants ”focusing on the issues that matter: Like did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac? All kidding aside, we all obviously know about your credentials and experience.” Obama noted how, in the recent Celebrity Apprentice episode’s cooking contest, Trump decided the men’s team suffered a “lack of leadership. So you fired Gary Busey. And these are the kinds of decisions that would keep me up at night. Well handled, sir. Well handled.” The Donald who was sitting in the audience at The Washington Post table managed a weak smile. So much for the accuracy of Trump’s pre-dinner prediction that Obama wouldn’t dare take him on tonight.

6:30 PM: Among the Hollywood celebs spotted were Gleek’s Chris Colfer, Jane Lynch, and Matthew Morrison, Sean Penn, Mira Sorvino, Paula Abdul, Elizabeth Banks, Amy Poehler, Jeremy Piven, Anna Paquin, Ce Lo Green, David and Patricia Arquette, Mila Kunis, Scarlett Johansson, Jon Hamm, Andy Samberg, Alyssa Milano, Joan Rivers, Morgan Fairchild, Brooke Burke, Rosario Dawson, America Ferrerra, Chace Crawford, and Steve Buscemi. The program began Read More »

Comments 145

Bryan Cranston Added To ‘Rock Of Ages’

By | Saturday April 30, 2011 @ 9:20pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston will play the mayor in Rock of Ages, the Adam Shankman-directed adaptation of the Broadway musical. He’s the husband of an Anita Bryant-like advocate who wants to ban rock and roll. That role’s played by Catherine Zeta-Jones and both were created specifically for the movie. He joins a cast that includes Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Mary J. Blige, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Diego Boneta and Julianne Hough.

Comments (8)

23 Million Americans Watch Royal Wedding, Beating U.S. Audience For Charles And Di’s; UK Viewership Can’t Match 1981 Nuptials

By | Saturday April 30, 2011 @ 7:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE SATURDAY 7 PM: Almost 23 million viewers in the U.S. watched the coverage of the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton from 6AM to 7:15AM ET on Friday across 11 networks. That outpaces the estimated 17 million who tuned in for Prince Charles and Diana’s wedding in 1981, which was carried by the Big 3 broadcast networks in the era before the proliferation of cable. According to Nielsen, the combined viewership for yesterday’s nuptials was 22.77 million on ABC, CBS, NBC, Telemundo, Univision, BBC America, CNN, E!, FOX News, MSNBC and TLC. In households, the William-Kate wedding drew 18.6 million vs. 14.2 million for Charles-Diana. As for Charles’ wedding to Camila Parker Bowles in 2005, it was watched by 3.65 million viewers.

SATURDAY AM – Deadline’s London Editor Tim Adler reports: Nearly 27 million British TV viewers watched the Royal Wedding live, according to the three main broadcasters of Friday’s event. That is still fewer than the 28.4 million who watched the 1981 wedding of Charles and Diana on BBC and ITV. The BBC peaked at 20 million viewers when Prince William and Kate Middleton exchanged vows; ITV peaked at 6 million; and Sky News at 661,000. Those watching on other channels –-  Channel 4 and Five –- made up only 1% of the Brit TV audience. The figures still put yesterday’s Royal Wedding among the top 10 of programs ever watched in the UK, although the 1966 World Cup final and Princess Diana’s 1997 funeral drew bigger audiences. Read More »

Comments 82

SAG National Board Forms Task Force For January 2012 Merger With AFTRA: Read “Mission Statement”

By | Saturday April 30, 2011 @ 6:22pm PDT

Here’s the latest news from SAG. For the latest Hollywood Guilds news, see my post from earlier this week:

Los Angeles, (April 30, 2011) – The Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors today unanimously approved the creation of a Merger Task Force to work with their AFTRA counterparts in developing a formal plan to unite SAG and AFTRA members in one union.

The Board’s resolution instructed the newly-formed Merger Task Force “to meet with representatives of AFTRA as soon as practicable, but no later than June 2011, to initiate the development of a plan to create a successor union formed from the best elements of both SAG and AFTRA.” The full text of the resolution appears below.

Led by Screen Actors Guild National President Ken Howard, the Merger Task Force members were selected from among those who served on the Guild’s SAG-AFTRA Relations Task Force.

The National Board’s creation of the Merger Task Force elicited enthusiastic support from the Guild’s top officers.

SAG National President Ken Howard said, “The message from SAG and AFTRA members across the country has been clear – they want this done as soon as possible. If our boards approve the merger plan in January, our members will make the final decision through a referendum vote less than a year from now. I’m proud that we’ve taken a major step today, and I’m extremely grateful for the unanimous support of the SAG National Board. I also want to thank

Read More »

Comments (13)

Quentin Tarantino Saddles Up For Spaghetti Western ‘Django Unchained’

Mike Fleming

Back when I saw him in late February at Harvey Weinstein’s Oscar night party for The King’s Speech, Quentin Tarantino told me that his script for a Western was just pouring out of him easily, that he’d finished a draft and expected to turn in a final version within two months. As a web leak of the cover page of his new script Django Unchained attests, Tarantino finished that script two days ago, right on schedule. Here’s what I’ve heard: While Tarantino has spoken about doing a variation of the Western genre he called a “Southern,” I’m told he has actually written a spaghetti Western, that stylized and violent brand of films popularized by Sergio Leone and a few other directors in the 1960s. Tarantino will put his stamp on one of his favorite genres same as he did when he took on the war mission movie with Inglourious Basterds.

The project is moving very quickly. Tarantino is reuniting with Pulp Fiction producer Stacey Sher. Sher will produce with Pilar Savone. Weinstein, who distributed Pulp Fiction, will spearhead domestic distribution on Django Unchained through TWC. Universal International has the inside track to co-finance and handle foreign distribution because of the relationship built on 2009′s Inglourious Basterds, which grossed $200 million overseas and $324 million overall. Despite the early look that Universal International will get, Tarantino’s script is also being pursued … Read More »

Comments 59

RATINGS RATE RACE: CBS Wins Night Dominated By Royal Wedding Specials

Nellie Andreeva

Will this further shake CBS’ commitment to scripted programming on Fridays? Last night, a Royal Wedding special at 8 PM (1.7/6, 8.6 million) delivered a rare decisive No. 1 finish in the hour for the network among 18-49 and outranked the network’s scripted entries in the slot this season – Medium, The Defenders and especially Chaos. CBS’ CSI: NY (1.7/5, 9.2 million) was flat, as was Blue Bloods (1.6/5, 9.8 million).

ABC’s Shark Tank (1.2/4) was down 14%. It was followed by a Royal Wedding 20/20, which drew a 1.5/5. NBC’s Friday Night Lights (0.6/2) finished dead last in the 8 PM hour, plummeting 33% from last week. Dateline (1.2/4) was down a tenth.

Fox’s Fringe (1.3/4) was up a tenth from last week, Kitchen Nightmares (1.3/5) was down from two weeks ago. CW’s Smallville was down 20% vs. last week in 18-49 (0.8/3) but up 14% in 18-34 (0.9/3), Supernatural was flat in 18-49 (0.9/3) but up 29% in 18-34 (0.9/3).

Comments (3)

MPAA Chief Chris Dodd’s First Big DC Event

By | Saturday April 30, 2011 @ 2:00am PDT

WASHINGTON DC: New MPAA chief Chris Dodd will deliver his first speech about Hollywood issues to a non-industry audience next week. He did tell me, though, that he’s preparing to enlist the government’s help in fighting piracy overseas. [Nikki UPDATES: Fat chance, since Dodd is a longtime Democrat, and the Republicans have already taken over the House of Representatives and are now targeting the Senate, too. The GOP and showbiz are barely on speaking terms. But of all the out-of-work Congressional blowhards which the MPAA could have hired, I don't understand why it chose an ethically challenged one in the person of Chris Dodd, whose efficacy and integrity is now at such a low point that every sitting Congressional member would and should be justified in shunning him.]

That said, the MPAA threw a kind of coming-out party for its new topper Friday night. Saturday Night Live’s Seth Meyers provided the only star power at the cocktail reception in the MPAA’s Washington headquarters, and he didn’t even perform since he’ll do standup in front of 2,600 VIPs Saturday night at the annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. It was Dodd’s pal, SNL creator Lorne Michaels, who persuaded Meyers to mix and mingle with the MPAA before the weekend’s main event. Dodd also didn’t address the group. Instead, the retired U.S, who juggled hors d’oeuvres from Top Chef All Stars runner-up Mike Isabella while listening to a pianist play lounge-bar renditions of The Lady Is A Tramp and Beauty And The Beast. Still, … Read More »

Comments 24

NFL Lockout Resumes After Appeal; Fan Fatigue Evident In Lower NFL Draft Ratings

By | Friday April 29, 2011 @ 5:38pm PDT

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday granted the NFL’s request for a temporary stay on an injunction that lifted an owner-imposed lockout on players. That means the lockout is back on, just a couple of days after a Minneapolis judge’s decision had lifted it. Now the appeals court will review briefs by players and the league and could rule on a full stay sometime next week. Whatever happens, it’s clear the labor strife handcuffing the league and its players is having an impact on fans. On Thursday, ESPN’s coverage of the always-popular NFL Draft drew 6 million total viewers, 1.3 million fewer than 2010′s edition, Bloomberg said. The rating for the telecast that covered the draft’s first round was a 4.4, a 17% dip. Even players are confused: During last night’s broadcast on Sirius XM’s NFL Network, the Minnesota Vikings newly drafted quarterback, Florida State’s Christian Ponder, said he was heading to camp Friday. He probably showed up just in time to see the padlocks click shut on the Vikings’ facilities.

Comments (6)

Cartoon Network’s VP Rob Swartz Exits

By | Friday April 29, 2011 @ 4:09pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Cartoon Network’s VP original series Rob Swartz is leaving the cable network after a three-year stint to return to his alternative series roots, this time as a producer. His last day is today. At CN, Swarz led the development and current teams and oversaw development and current programming for all of CN’s original animated, live-action and alternative series, including Adventure Time, Regular Show, Mad, Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, Generator Rex, Young Justice, Hole in the Wall, Dude What Would Happen, and Destroy Build Destroy. He joined CN from Syfy, where as VP alternative programming he  developed and launched Destination Truth and was responsible for overseeing the successful Ghost Hunters franchise. Here is an internal memo from CN chief content officer Rob Sorcher announcing Swartz’s departure: Read More »

Comments (18)

Release Dates: ‘Man On A Ledge,’ ‘Final Destination 5′

Summit Entertainment’s Man on a Ledge, which stars Sam Worthington and Elizabeth Banks and is directed by Asger Leth, has been slated for wide release Jan. 13, 2012. Worthington plays an ex-cop and wanted fugitive who threatens to jump off a New York high-rise, and Banks is the hostage negotiator who tries to talk him down.

Warner Bros has shifted its 3D sequel Final Destination 5 to Aug. 12, 2011, up from its original Aug. 26 date.

Comments (3)

CNBC’s Erin Burnett Moving To CNN

By | Friday April 29, 2011 @ 3:47pm PDT

CNN announced Friday that it has hired CNBC’s Erin Burnett to anchor a weekday general news program and be the network’s chief business correspondent. At CNBC, she anchored weekday staples Squawk on the Street and Street Signs and was a contributor to NBC’s Meet the Press and Today. She will begin at CNN in June, and her show will start in the summer.

Comments (19)

NBC’s ‘Love Bites’ To Premiere In June

By | Friday April 29, 2011 @ 3:31pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Eight months after its original premiere date, NBC’s hourlong anthology comedy Love Bites will debut in its original Thursday 10 PM time slot. Love Bites‘ premiere is set for June 2. Once a high-flying prospect, Love Bites was prominently featured at NBC’s updront presentation last May when it was assigned the Thursday 10 PM slot for fall. But in the summer, the series was pushed to midseason after a series of setbacks, including the pregnancy of star Becki Newton, the decision by creator/executive producer Cindy Chupack to step down from day-to-day showrunner duties and the exit of the other original star, Jordana Spiro, because of her commitment to TBS’ My Boys. The order for the show was subsequently cut from 13 to 9. With The Paul Reiser Show recently launching for what became a two-week run and Love Bites getting slated, comedy Friends With Benefits now remains the only freshman NBC comedy that has not been scheduled yet. Meanwhile, Newton has a pilot in second position, CBS’ untitled Filgos comedy, which could be picked up to series before Love Bites premieres. And Love Bites co-star Greg Grunberg toplines A&E’s pilot Big Mike, but his deal for the NBC series was only for one season.

Comments (17)

‘X-Men: First Class’ Writing Credit Dispute Resolved

Mike Fleming

A Writers Guild arbitration upheld the WGA decision that Ashley Miller & Zack Stentz and Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn deserve screenplay credit on X-Men: First Class, with Sheldon Turner (who wrote an origin film about Magneto) and Bryan Singer (who wrote an outline for the film at the beginning) getting story credit. There were more writers on the films than mutants in it and a skirmish unfolded for script credit. The Vaughn-directed Fox film opens June 3.

Comments 34

Fox Pulls Hurricane-Themed Episodes Of 3 Sunday Animated Comedies

By | Friday April 29, 2011 @ 2:34pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

The three Seth MacFarlane Fox animated comedies, Family Guy, American Dad and The Cleveland Show, had been planning a crossover event for this Sunday, with a hurricane storyline weaving through all three shows. In light of the recent storms in the South, Fox recently quietly pulled promotion for the crossover and today, following a series of tornadoes that has claimed the lives of more than 300 people, it decided to pull the episodes altogether. They will be saved for next season, with reruns airing in their place this Sunday.

Comments 25

Dylan McDermott To Star In Ryan Murphy’s FX Pilot ‘American Horror Story’

By | Friday April 29, 2011 @ 1:41pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: After an extensive search and lengthy negotiations, Dylan McDermott has been cast as the male lead in FX’s drama pilot American Horror Story, from Glee co-creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. Additionally, FX is also making a deal with McDermott to develop, write and potentially star in another series project for the cable network. In American Horror Story, the Practice alum will star opposite Connie Britton and Jessica Lange. The premise of the project is being kept under wraps, but a breakdown for the pilot listed two main characters: Ben Harmon (McDermott), a handsome and masculine but sensitive therapist who loves his family but has hurt his wife, and Vivien Harmon (Britton), his gorgeous wife who is a force to be reckoned with. Lange plays their nosy neighbor, a role that has been beefed up after her casting. The pilot also co-stars Denis O’Hare. The script was written by Murphy and Falchuk, with Murphy set to direct. Production on the pilot, from 20th Century Fox TV, will start after Murphy and Falchuk wrap production on Glee. Murphy and Falchuk are executive producing American Horror Story with Dante Di Loreto. FX was already high on the pilot, with president John Landgraf saying that he was targeting it for a fall series launch. Read More »

Comments (14)

Arnold’s Payday: $10 Million Plus 25% First Dollar Gross For Schwarzenegger’s Next Film

By | Friday April 29, 2011 @ 1:12pm PDT

EXCLUSIVE: I’ve just learned that CAA is negotiating a deal for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s next movie that will pay him “top-dollar” money — even though no one knows if the 63-year-old is still a star who can open a movie. Filmmaker Al Ruddy — yes, the 81-year-old Godfather and Million Dollar Baby producer — bought a 1975 novel by the late N. Richard Nash who’d adapted it into the Cry Macho screenplay that CAA liked for Arnold. Now the agency and actor (turned California Governor turned actor again) are charging a king’s ransom for his services. I’m told the deal being closed right now with Bill Block’s financier QED International is to pay Schwarzenegger $10 million upfront and 25% first dollar gross on the back end. In his heyday, Schwarzenegger was a $25M/25% first dollar gross mega-player — and one deal even threw in his own giant jet. But only the rarest of the rare get those paydays these days, and the marketplace is still looking to see if Arnold can attract back his fanbase, which was already fading when he jumped into the 2003 California special recall election. Director Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer) also is making this pic his next project, which insiders are describing to me as “The Ransom Of Red Chief meets Ruthless People with the heartbreak of Paper Moon.

The story revolves around a horse breeder (Schwarzenegger) who won the Kentucky Derby but whose wife and child get killed. He sinks into an alcoholic depression and winds up working for a hedge fund jerk who offers him a choice of getting fired or bringing back the rich guy’s son living with the ex-wife in Mexico. Unexpected plot twists ensue, including an Arnold-and-kid road trip back home. Problem is, the last time Schwarzenegger paired with a young co-star not his offspring, it was The Last Action Hero, and that 1993 movie tanked big-time. (I don’t count Kindergarten Cop.) “But Arnold is so smart about himself, his persona, and what he should play,” an insider tells me. And that’s usually true… Read More »

Comments 56

New Airdates, Advisers For ‘The Voice’

By | Friday April 29, 2011 @ 11:52am PDT

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. (April 29, 2011) -– NBC revealed that it will add more star-power to its new vocal competition series “The Voice” with singers Reba, Monica, Sia (Furler) and music producer Adam Blackstone joining the series as new advisers who will lend their experience and talents to musician coaches Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton for the next “Battles” competition phase.

“The Voice” next airs Tuesday, May 3 (9-11 p.m. ET) and then will be broadcast from 10-11 p.m. (ET) each Tuesday night on May 10, May 17 and May 24 following new episodes of “The Biggest Loser” (Tuesdays, 8-10 p.m. ET).

Aguilera will team up with singer/songwriter Sia, Levine with Maroon 5 Music Director Blackstone, Green with singer Monica and Shelton with veteran singer Reba — eventually cutting their teams in half by pitting two of their own artists against each other in a series of dueling duets.

Each of the musician coaches chose their advisers to help them at the next “Battles” stage that lasts across four episodes. Reba, Monica, Sia and Blackstone were picked because they are in the trusted inner circle of the respective musician coach that they are helping. They are being brought in by the musician coaches to bring out the best in each of their artists, help to select songs that suit specific vocal styles and provide advice for performance. These adviser rosters will expand when the competition moves on to the live performance stage.

Comments (16)

TV CASTINGS: Ed Asner To USA’s ‘Royal Pains,’ Meagan Good To ‘Californication’

By | Friday April 29, 2011 @ 11:30am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Last season, USA Network’s flagship series Royal Pains introduced Hank Lawson (Mark Feuerstein) and Evan R. Lawson’s (Paulo Costanzo) dad Eddie Lawson, played by Henry Winkler. Now the upcoming third season will go down another generation, with veteran Ed Asner tapped for a two-episode arc as Ted Roth, Hank and Evan’s grandfather and Eddie’s dad. Asner, repped by Greene & Associates and manager Perry Zimel, recently starred on CMT’s first sitcom Working Class. He is now touring the country with his one-man show FDR and will next be seen in the HBO movie Too Big to Fail.

Meagan Good has joined Showtime’s dark comedy Californication for a major recurring role. Good, who will appear in nine of the 12 episodes of Californication‘s upcoming fifth season, will play Kali, an extremely hot up-and-coming hip-hop artist. Good, who recently did an arc on BET’s The Game, has three movies coming out in the next month: Jumping the Broom, Video Girl, which she also produced, and 35 and Ticking. She is with Gersh and Untitled.

Comments (12)

UPDATE: Hold Off On The Retirement Party! Steven Soderbergh Takes On New Pic Inspired by Channing Tatum’s Stripper Days

By | Friday April 29, 2011 @ 10:40am PDT
Mike Fleming

UPDATE: If Steven Soderbergh really is determined to retire from filmmaking, he’s not doing a very good job of it. He’s been so prolific lately that he’s like the Natalie Portman of directors. Now, he has just committed to direct Channing Tatum in Magic Mike, a story of friendship set in the world of male strippers. Tatum plays the title character, who schools a young dancer in how to hustle on and off the stage. It’s a wild summer of dancing, partying and women. The inspiration for the film is Channing’s own experiences as a stripper when he was 19. Nick Wechsler is producing with Gregory Jacobs, Tatum and Reid Carolin. Carolin is writing the script.

“When Channing talked to me about this, I thought it was one of the best ideas I’d ever heard for a movie,” Soderbergh said in a statement. “I said I wanted in immediately. It’s sexy, funny and shocking. We’re using Saturday Night Fever as our model, so hopefully we’re on the right track.” Read More »

Comments 57
More Deadline | Hollywood »