TBS Pilot ‘Men At Work’ Rounds Out Cast

By | Friday September 30, 2011 @ 11:20pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: James Lesure (Mr. Sunshine), Michael Cassidy (Privileged) and Adam Busch (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) have been cast opposite Danny Masterson in the TBS half-hour pilot Men At Work, a multi-camera sitcom created by Breckin Meyer. The project, from … Read More »

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UPDATE: NHL Network Is Pulled From AT&T U-verse Lineup In Carriage Dispute

By | Friday September 30, 2011 @ 8:13pm PDT

UPDATE, 9 PM PT: At midnight ET, The NHL Network went dark on U-verse after AT&TNHL Network and the network couldn’t reach a new carriage agreement.

PREVIOUS, 8 PM: AT&T informed its customers that the NHL Network could be removed … Read More »

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Michael Ovitz And IMG World And Teddy Forstmann’s Brain Cancer: The Real Story, And Also What Ovitz Told Me About It

EXCLUSIVE: First, let me knock down this untrue rumor: I know for certain there is no IMG World board meeting on a conference call or otherwise today to discuss ousting board member Michael Ovitz in response to allegations he’s maneuvering inside the board and with Forstmann, Little & Co investors to run and/or own the global management and production giant. Also, let me say definitively that Mike Dolan is and will remain for some time IMG’s President/COO because he was handpicked by chairman/owner Teddy Forstmann to run the company. The 71-year-old Forstmann is battling brain cancer in a very public and courageous struggle. Forstmann specifically told his board members that, no matter what happened to him, Dolan was to be given a minimum of 2 to 3 years to continue running IMG’s global sports, fashion, entertainment, and media business if not longer. IMG’s board is purely an advisory board since this is a private company (and not like a board of directors of a public corporation) and therefore does not have the power to remove any board member much less Ovitz.

What the real story is, according to my months of reporting, is that IMG management has lawyers working on how to remove Ovitz from the board and prevent him from interfering with Dolan’s running of the company or with Forstmann, Little & Co investors. “This prick was fucking around with management. Is he being put in his place? Yes,” an insider tells me. The allegations against Ovitz include that he is “harassing” management by demanding IMG financial records; pressuring Dolan and senior IMG executives to report to him by trying to set up a so-called executive committee within the board to oversee IMG activities because of Forstmann’s illness and treatment; and approaching Forstmann, Little & Co partners and investors telling them he was interested in buying IMG with the backing of Greg O’Hara, the managing director of One Equity Partners LLC.

(One Equity Partners is a private equity firm that often functions as the leveraged buyout arm of JP Morgan Chase & Co which is a primary investor. O’Hara is becoming quite a controversial character because of the Hollywood company he keeps: besides Ovitz, he is also trying to raise money for embattled Ryan Kavanaugh to buy out his Relativity Media’s investor Elliott Associates. But so far that has been all talk and no action. Same now with Ovitz, who according to my reporting was not anywhere close to securing the money to buy out IMG.)

Recently, according to my sources, Dolan decided, “Ovitz goes or I go.”

“So really the fight is between Mike Ovitz and Mike Dolan, the handpicked guy by Teddy to run the company,” an insider tells me. “Ovitz is interfering with running the company while Teddy is sick. It’s like what Alexander Haig did when Reagan was shot: ‘I’m in charge here.’ That’s the bullshit he’s trying to pull. So now lawyers are advising Mike Dolan.”

Ovitz has strenuously denied to me that he wants to run and/or buy IMG or has attempted to do so. (See Ovitz’s comments below.) “Of course he’s denying it. He’s a scumbag,” a board member tells me. “But the problem for him is that he cast a net so wide looking for backing and money. He’s out of the closet. He’s not even subtle about it. He wants to own the company, and he doesn’t believe in current management. But this is a very healthy company. Throw the motherfucker Ovitz out. Teddy doesn’t need to deal with this shit.”

The allegations against Ovitz might be harder to believe if he didn’t have a history of trying to destabilize companies to further his own ambitions. And Ovitz also has a history of using people’s illnesses to his advantage in business situations. (At the same time, to be fair, Ovitz also has a history of helping people to recover from illness. He is a complex guy…)

Back in early May, I was first tipped by an insider that “Ovitz is trying to become CEO of IMG while Teddy Forstmann has brain cancer”. As a long-time Ovitz watcher, I was naturally intrigued. Especially because Ovitz (despite his protestations to the contrary) has been trying to find his way back into the business spotlight ever Read More »

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Holiday Movie Release Date Moves: A Recap

It’s been a busy week for Hollywood studios settling on release dates. Here’s what’s happened:

Unauthorized, Sundance Now, Oct. 7**
Puss In Boots, DreamWorks Animation, Oct. 28 (Nov. 4)
Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol
, Paramount, Dec. 16 sneak previews (Dec. 21*)
The Adventures of Tintin, Paramount, Dec. 21 (Dec. 23)
War Horse, DreamWorks/Touchstone/Disney, Dec. 25Read More »

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Bruce Miller Joins Syfy Series ‘Alphas’ As New Showrunner

By | Friday September 30, 2011 @ 4:10pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Syfy’s drama Alphas is heading into Season 2 with a new showrunner. Bruce Miller has joined the series starring David Strathairn as executive producer/showrunner. He replaces Ira Steven Behr, who is departing after running the series in its first … Read More »

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‘Chuck’, ‘Grimm’ Premieres Pushed By Week

By | Friday September 30, 2011 @ 3:20pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

The final season of NBC’s Chuck and the first of the network’s new drama Grimm will start a week later than originally announced. NBC said today that the two series will now launch on Oct. 28 as part of a … Read More »

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TV Land Picks Up ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’

By | Friday September 30, 2011 @ 3:08pm PDT

TV Land has acquired broadcast rights to The Dick Van Dyke Show. The sitcom will premiere on Oct. 3, exactly 50 years after it debuted on CBS. TV Land is marking its anniversary by running episodes in a three-hour block … Read More »

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Business Insider: Low Bids Could Doom Hulu Auction

By | Friday September 30, 2011 @ 3:01pm PDT

The much-hyped Hulu auction may end up a bust because “the bids are not coming in as high as (the company’s backers) hoped,” Business Insider reports. Hulu was looking for more than $2B, but the site has … Read More »

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Universal TV Sells First Projects To Outside Networks: Comedy To ABC & Drama To CBS

By | Friday September 30, 2011 @ 2:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

A month after Bela Bajaria was given the reins of NBC’s production arm with the mandate to re-establish it as a full-fledged, stand-alone studio, Universal Television has sold two projects to non-NBC networks, comedy End Of The World to ABC and untitled FBI drama to CBS. In addition to Bajaria’s hire, the company’s rapid transformation over the past month also includes the assembling of a top executive team under her with the appointment of heads of comedy, drama and casting, as well as a name change from Universal Media Studios to Universal Television and a new logo (above, animated version below). This marks a return to UMS’ old days, before it was consolidated into NBC 3 years ago, when it developed and produced series for other networks, including Sons And Daughters and Complete Savages for ABC. Here are details on the first 2 non-NBC projects to come out of Universal TV: Read More »

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Verizon Appeals FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules

Verizon’s fight to overturn the FCC’s net neutrality rules is on. The phone giant today asked the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. to step in and consider whether regulators have the right to set rules for the Internet. Verizon Deputy General … Read More »

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Hedge Fund Places Big Bet On Netflix

By | Friday September 30, 2011 @ 1:44pm PDT

Hedge fund manager John Thaler seems to think Netflix has been beaten up enough. He recently increased his stake to about 4M shares, or 7.6% of Netflix’s total, according to an SEC filing today from his JAT Capital Management. … Read More »

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Hot Scribe Dante Harper Takes On Isaac Asimov’s ‘Foundation’ For Sony And Roland Emmerich

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures has hired Dante Harper to adapt Foundation, the groundbreaking Isaac Asimov science fiction trilogy which Roland Emmerich is developing to direct. Emmerich has been attached since the studio acquired the property in early 2009 when he and … Read More »

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Toronto: Sony Pictures Landing ‘Hysteria’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: I’m told that Sony Pictures Classics is near a deal to distribute Hysteria, the Tanya Wexler-directed romantic comedy based on the surprising truth of how Mortimer Granville came up with the world’s first electro-mechanical vibrator as an advance in … Read More »

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ABC Buys Multi-Camera Comedy Starring Jim Breuer

By | Friday September 30, 2011 @ 1:09pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Jim BreuerABC has bought a multi-camera comedy starring Saturday Night Live alum Jim Breuer. Former According To Jim executive producers Judd Pillot and John Peaslee will write and run the project, which originated at ABC Studios. It is a multi-generational … Read More »

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‘One Life To Live’ Head Writer, Key Cast Members On Board For Online Launch

By | Friday September 30, 2011 @ 12:50pm PDT

Prospect Park has been busy securing talent in front of and behind the camera for its relaunch of One Life To Live, which it acquired with All My Children after the soaps were given the boot by ABC Daytime. It also has given its online network a … Read More »

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Danny Masterson Cast As The Lead Of TBS’ Comedy Pilot ‘Men At Work’

By | Friday September 30, 2011 @ 12:19pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Danny Masterson has landed the lead in TBS’ pilot Men At Work, a multi-camera sitcom created by Breckin Meyer. The project, from Sony Pictures TV and Jamie Tarses’ studio-based Fanfare, is an ensemble multi-camera comedy that centers on … Read More »

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Starz Signs Overall Deal With ‘Spartacus’ Showrunner Steven S. DeKnight

By | Friday September 30, 2011 @ 12:09pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Starz has signed a rare overall deal with Spartacus co-creator, executive producer and showrunner Steven S. DeKnight. Under the exclusive two-year pact, DeKnight will continue to serve in his current role on Starz’s flagship series which will premiere its second season … Read More »

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CBS Films In Deal For Martin McDonagh’s ‘Seven Psychopaths’ With Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell And Chris Walken

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: CBS Films is negotiating to co-finance Seven Psychopaths, the next film by In Bruges writer/director Martin McDonagh. CBS Films will distribute the film in the United States. The film reunites McDonagh with his In Bruges star Colin Farrell, who … Read More »

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Electric Entertainment COO Kearie Peak To Depart

By | Friday September 30, 2011 @ 11:24am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Kearie Peak, COO of Dean Devlin’s Electric Entertainment, will be departing the company where she has been for eight years. Peak was one of four key executives at Electric along with chairman and CEO Devlin, Marc Roskin and Rachel … Read More »

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