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SAG-AFTRA Unveils Merger Documents

By | Tuesday January 31, 2012 @ 9:59pm PST

DEADLINE’s Exclusive SAG-AFTRA Post-Merger Details

January 31, 2012 – 8:08pm
Dear SAG and AFTRA Members:

As you know, merger referendum ballots are scheduled to be mailed on or about February 27 – but members of both unions now have access to the complete merger documents online. Full printed merger documents will also be mailed to each voter with the referendum ballot, which will be due for return on March 30. This will give each member ample time to make a thoughtful and well-informed decision.  Please click the below links to view the SAG-AFTRA Merger Agreement, SAG-AFTRA Constitution and the Pension & Health / Health & Retirement Feasibility Review.




As a reminder, watch for the launch of the new joint website to provide members all the information they’ll want to consider before casting their votes. The website will include complete merger details, FAQs, and a comprehensive calendar of events to alert members nationwide to informational meetings and other opportunities for learning about the plan. Watch your email later this week for details of the website launch.

After more than a year of intensive work, we are extremely proud to bring you this historic opportunity. We also want to acknowledge the ceaseless dedication of the AFTRA and SAG members and staff who came together as the Group for

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Paramount Locking Down Katy Perry 3D Film

By | Tuesday January 31, 2012 @ 9:42pm PST
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Paramount will make a deal for an untitled 3D feature focusing on pop sensation Katy Perry. I’m told the film has already been shot by director Nanette Burstein. Imagine Entertainment and AEG filmed Perry as she performed late last year with 3D cameras. The film includes concert footage but is a real story and the story of her growing up and becoming a global sensation. Several studios have been into it, but Paramount seems a natural given its success with Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. The plan is to release the film in June or July.

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Hot Trailer: HBO’s ‘Game Change’

By | Tuesday January 31, 2012 @ 9:14pm PST

HBO has released a full-length trailer for director Jay Roach’s Game Change with Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin, Ed Harris as John McCain and Woody Harrelson as McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt. Screenplay by Danny Strong, based on the book by John Heilman and Mark Halperin. It debuts March 10th.

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Les Moonves Willing To Pay $30M For Golden Globes TV Rights: Trial – Day 5

Freelance journalist Dominic Patten is covering the trial for Deadline.

The most interesting testimony today in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s lawsuit against Dick Clark Productions over rights to the Golden Globes broadcast didn’t take place in court. Instead transcripts from CBS chief Les Moonves’ deposition in the case illustrated how lucrative those rights could be if his network would be allowed to bid. And that’s the crux of HFPA’s suit against DCP. “Holy shit, we heard NBC’s only paying $17 million,” Moonves told lawyers for the HFPA in his deposition. “We offered $25M, probably willing to go to $30M. God they god (sic) a bad deal.” But Moonves never got to make a concrete offer, the deposition showed.

Judge A. Howard Matz this morning agreed to a recommendation from lawyers this morning that Moonves’ videotaped deposition will suffice instead of having him testify in person. Deadline has learned that portions of Moonves’ recorded deposition will be played in court later in the trial — possibly this week.

Former HFPA President Lorenzo Soria couldn’t remember much except that he and others were very pleased with DCP’s successful bid to return the Golden Globes to major network TV. “There was an overall sense of excitement on our side,” Soria told the court about the 1993 potential deal with NBC. “Going on national TV was seen as positive development.” Soria subsequently testified that it was his understanding in 2001 that DCP’s … Read More »

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ESPN President Says He Won’t Use Digital Platforms To Undermine Pay TV

By | Tuesday January 31, 2012 @ 7:26pm PST

Freelancer Cari Lynn is contributing to Deadline’s coverage.

ESPN execs must grow tired of defending the value of pay TV’s most expensive basic channel. But President John Skipper did so again today at a conference sponsored by All Things D. The estimated $4.69 monthly fee that cable and satellite companies pay for each customer who receives ESPN is justified because “we’re bringing great value and getting paid for that value.” And he says it makes sense to charge people for a bundle of channels that includes ESPN instead of paying for just the ones that they watch. ”If people pay a la carte they will end up paying as much or more” than they do now. Skipper says that ESPN is prepared for the growth of digital platforms. Since 2005 it decided that when it bought broadcast rights for games ”we would acquire all rights for content on any devices.” But the sports channel doesn’t want to use digital platforms to take viewers away from cable and satellite. Distributors “pay us money for that. We’re not going to undermine (that) by giving it away to anyone else.” Still, the digital rights could give ESPN an edge over potentially muscular new competitors such as NBCUniversal’s NBC Sports Network. Over the next year ESPN will face “more competition than ever and new competition,” Skipper says. “Our advantage is we’re in all these platforms” with mobile alerts and opportunities to play fantasy games. He adds that the company sees … Read More »

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Chase Carey: Hollywood’s Anti-Piracy Message Was “Twisted”

By | Tuesday January 31, 2012 @ 7:01pm PST

Freelancer Cari Lynn is contributing to Deadline’s coverage.

Add the News Corp COO to the list of Big Media execs who believe that they were simply misunderstood in the debate that led Congress to put aside the Hollywood supported anti-piracy bills. “Clearly this got turned upside down, the whole issue,” he said at a conference sponsored by All Things D. Despite the claims of opponents, including those in the tech industry, the proposals empowering the government to block overseas Web pirates “isn’t about censorship…If they did it in the U.S., they’d be shut down. So they moved it offshore. You should still be able to shut them down.” He seemed to take a subtle dig at the MPAA for not making the industry’s case more effectively as opponents turned the issue into a populist crusade. ”If you look at what went on, you’d say that was not a process to replicate,” Carey says. The creative community didn’t ”anticipate the viral aspect and message getting twisted.” Read More »

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Weinstein Company Sued By Author, Publishers Of ‘The Reader’

By | Tuesday January 31, 2012 @ 7:00pm PST

The author and publishers of the novel on which The Reader is based have sued The Weinstein Company in a dispute over profit participation on the Academy Award-nominated movie. Plaintiffs Diogenes Verlag, Selb Limited and author Bernard Schlink contend that they are contractually entitled to 2.5%-5% of gross receipts, but claim they have received only one profit participation statement from TWC that says no monies are due.

Plaintiffs allege the compensation report contains misstatements of facts regarding production and distribution of The Reader. Allegations include under-reporting of U.S. theatrical and foreign receipts, U.S. home video receipts and television distribution. The suit also alleges overstatement of production costs of which $10 million were subsidized by the German government, overstatement of distribution fees as well as overstatement of costs of advertising, marketing, publicity, promotion and of the negative cost of the film. Additionally the suit claims that the overstatements include amounts for costs the The Weinstein Company did not incur including interest and overstatement of gross participations paid. Read More »

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Ridley Scott In Talks For Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Counselor’

By | Tuesday January 31, 2012 @ 5:55pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Ridley Scott is in talks to direct the Cormac McCarthy-scripted drama The Counselor. Scott has several films he’s considering, but there is a strong possibility this could be his next film and his followup to Prometheus, the 3D space film which Fox releases this summer. I guess this is what happens when one of the premiere living authors like the Pulitzer Prize-winning McCarthy takes a break from his novel writing to turn out his first spec screenplay. McCarthy, whose novels have been turned into the films No Country For Old Men, The Road and All the Pretty Horses, did just that in late December, and sold the script to The Road producing team of Nick Wechsler and Steve and Paula Mae Schwartz.

Scott had been mulling several options, including an historical epic about Gertrude Bell that The Constant Gardener scribe Jeffrey Caine is currently rewriting, and Child 44 at Summit Entertainment. But Scott has been talking directly to McCarthy and it’s looking likely that he and his Scott Free Entertainment banner will come aboard the film and join Wechsler and the Schwartz’s as producers. Those producers control all rights, and haven’t committed the film to any studio, but I can see their phone sheets filling up by tomorrow morning.

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Justin Timberlake Lands ‘Trouble With The Curve’

By | Tuesday January 31, 2012 @ 4:16pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Justin Timberlake has landed a starring role in Trouble With The Curve, the Robert Lorenz-directed Warner Bros film that will star Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams. Eastwood plays a veteran scout who goes on a scouting trip with his daughter (Adams). The goal is to scout a new phenom. Timberlake will play a rival scout who is sweet on the elder scout’s daughter. Warner Bros just dated the film for September 28. Timberlake is about to star in Inside Llewyn Davis, which is directed by the Coens. Timberlake is repped by WME and managed by Jennifer Killoran and Rick Yorn.

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UPDATE: ABC Picks Up 4 Drama Pilots From Marc Cherry, Melissa Rosenberg, Michael Green & Paul Scheuring

By | Tuesday January 31, 2012 @ 4:15pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATED: ABC has handed 4 more hourlong pilot orders to Marc Cherry’s soap Devious Maids, Michael Green’s magical cop drama Gotham, Paul Scheuring’s Zero Hour and Melissa Rosenberg’s Penoza. Those are likely ABC’s last drama pilot orders this season.

Devious Maids is loosely based on the Mexican telenovela The Disorderly Maids Of The Neighborhood and centers on four Latina women who are maids in Beverly Hills. The original Televisa format revolves around five housekeepers who work in a quiet residential condominium where nothing ever happens until a tenant mysteriously disappears, a suitcase full of money appears, along with a dead body, and the maids find themselves in the middle of it all. Paradigm-repped Desperate Housewives creator Cherry wrote the script and is exec producing the pilot with his Cherry/Wind Prods. partner Sabrina Wind, Televisa’s Michal Garcia and John Mass, Larry Shuman & David Lonner. ABC Studios is the studio.

Michael Green’s Gotham, from 20th Century Fox TV, centers on a female cop who, after pursuing a seemingly unsolvable case, discovers a magical world that exists within New York City. Kings creator and The River showrunner Green, repped by WME, is executive producing with his manager, 3 Arts’ Erwin Stoff. This is the second pilot with magical elements ordered by ABC this season following the success of fairytale drama series Once Upon A Time. Earlier this month, the network picked up a Beauty Read More »

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Cameron Mackintosh Annoints Samantha Barks As Eponine In ‘Les Miserables’

By | Tuesday January 31, 2012 @ 3:56pm PST
Mike Fleming

The coveted role of Eponine in the Tom Hooper-directed film adaptation of the musical Les Miserables has gone to Samantha Barks. While she’s a newcomer to the screen, Barks starred as Eponine in the London production of Les Miserables in 2010 and reprised the role in the 25th anniversary concert held at the O2 Arena last year. In fact, the stage musical and the movie’s producer, Cameron Mackintosh, announced today from the stage that Barks had the role after she completed a Manchester performance of Oliver, playing the role of Nancy. Barks joins Russell Crowe (Javert), Hugh Jackman (Valjean), Anne Hathaway (Fantine), Eddie Redmayne (Marius), Amanda Seyfried (Cosette) and Aaron Tveit (Enjoiras) in the musical that Universal Pictures and Working Title will release December 7. William Nicholson, Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg wrote the script, and Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Debra Hayward are producing with Mackintosh. Barks is repped by UK-based United Agents and Luber Roklin.

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Rupert Murdoch Hires New Chief Of Staff

By | Tuesday January 31, 2012 @ 3:54pm PST

News Corp chairman/CEO Rupert Murdoch has hired New York City public schools communications director Natalie Ravitz to be his new chief of staff. Ravitz joined the NYC Department of Education in June 2010 under then-chancellor Joel Klein, who is now an EVP at News Corp. Before joining NYC’s education department, Ravitz was deputy chief of staff for U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer of California. News of Ravitz’s hiring comes a day after News Corp promoted Julie Henderson to SVP corporate affairs and chief communications officer. Henderson’s predecessor Teri Everett is leaving the company February 10th.

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Disney Makes Deal To Acquire Controlling Interest In India’s UTV

By | Tuesday January 31, 2012 @ 3:51pm PST

Disney already owned a large stake in UTV, and already is the leading TV producer in India. This deal, the terms of which weren’t disclosed, will make it the biggest film studio in the country as well.

Burbank, Calif. and Mumbai, India (January 31/February 1, 2012) – The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) announced today it will acquire, through a subsidiary, a controlling interest in UTV, one of India’s premier media and entertainment companies. The acquisition will be completed through a successful delisting offer and will enable Disney to integrate UTV’s current operations. In addition, UTV CEO Ronnie Screwvala has been named Managing Director, The Walt Disney Company India reporting to Andy Bird, Chairman, Walt Disney International.

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Piper Perabo Cast Opposite Thomas Jane, Billy Bob Thornton In ‘Red Machine’

By | Tuesday January 31, 2012 @ 3:40pm PST

EXCLUSIVE: Piper Perabo will star opposite Billy Bob Thorton, James Marsden and Thomas Jane in director David Hackl’s thriller Red Machine. She will play a deaf photographer who is engaged to Beckett (Jane), whom she met during the Iraq War. The story revolves around two estranged brothers (Jane, Marsden) and their girlfriends (Perabo and an actress yet to be cast) who go camping in the Alaskan wilderness. An erratic grizzly relentlessly stalks the two couples, who are forced to rely on their own senses and skills to survive. Rick Cleveland and J.R. Reher wrote Red Machine, which Tai Duncan, Dominic Ianno, Stuart Pollack, Hadeel Reda, Paul Schiff, and David Valleau will produce. Shooting begins this month in Vancouver. TMT Entertainment Group and UTA rep Perabo.

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Amazon Down In After-Hours Trading Following Downbeat 1Q Profit Forecast

By | Tuesday January 31, 2012 @ 2:49pm PST

Shares are -8.7% after the e-retailer presented a mixed report about its 4Q results, and projected a decline in its 1Q operating profit. Amazon generated net income of $177M in the last three months of 2011, down 57.5% from the same period in 2010, on revenues of $17.4B, up 34.6%. The revenue figure fell short of the $18.2B that analysts projected. Earnings, at 38 cents a share, handily beat the 19 cents forecast. The profit drop is partly due to Amazon’s expenditures to build new fulfillment centers, and sales of its Kindle e-readers and tablets – priced below cost in order to gin up sales of books and other media. The company says that Kindle sales were up 177% over the holiday season. But investors were surprised to see that profits are still under pressure. Amazon forecast that operating income in 1Q will come in anywhere from a $200M loss to a $100M profit — which means it will be down as much as 162% or as little as 69% from the period in 2011.

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Fox News’ Winning Streak Hits 10 Years

By | Tuesday January 31, 2012 @ 2:45pm PST

Fox News made it 10 years in a row as the top-rated cable news network, a streak that began after Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes’ operation first overtook CNN in total viewership in January 2002. Said Ailes: “We are extremely proud of the phenomenal achievement created by the hard work and talent of the FOX News Channel employees and recognize how difficult it is for a cable network to sustain this level of dominance for a decade. America has clearly embraced fair and balanced news.” For January, FNC averaged 1,942,000 viewers in primetime, compared with CNN’s 841,000 and MSNBC’s 801,000, according to Nielsen. The network claimed nine of the top 10 programs in cable news in the key adults 25-54 demographic, and ranked fifth overall in the cable universe behind ESPN, USA, History and TBS.

Meanwhile, MSNBC beat CNN in total day, while CNN scored with a pair of GOP presidential debates, the latest of which, on January 26, drew 5.36 million viewers.

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‘Mob Wives’ Producer Left/Right Adds Execs To Boost Production & Development

By | Tuesday January 31, 2012 @ 2:04pm PST

EXCLUSIVE: Left/Right, the production company behind nonfiction series Mob Wives and Showtime’s This American Life among other fare, has hired two execs and promoted aonther. Nina Diaz, an executive producer on Mob Wives, has come aboard as SVP Current Production, while keeping her duties on the VH1 series. Her credits include showrunning The Real Housewives Of New Jersey and creating My Super Sweet 16 and Cribs. Also joining Left/Right is Angie Day as VP Development and Current Production. Meanwhile, Anneka Jones has been promoted to SVP Development and will continue to manage the company’s development team as well as staffing and recruiting efforts.

Mob Wives drew 2.4 million viewers to its Season 2 premiere and has spawned a spinoff, Mob Wives: Chicago, set to run in the spring. The series is produced by Left/Right, Just Jenn Prods, the Weinstein Co, and Electus.

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Viacom CEO Blames “Misinformation” For Shelving Of Anti-Piracy Bills

By | Tuesday January 31, 2012 @ 1:51pm PST

Freelancer Cari Lynn is contributing to Deadline’s coverage.

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman acknowledges that it will take time before Congress revisits the anti-piracy bills that Hollywood supported: the Senate’s Protect IP Act (PIPA) and the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). But the one-time lawyer says that studios and their representatives at the MPAA didn’t lose the recent lobby push on the merits of their case. There was “a lot of misinformation” from Silicon Valley, he said today at a conference sponsored by All Things D. Opponents including the tech industry said that the bills giving the government the power to block overseas sites that traffic in pirated content could be misused to stifle innovation and free speech. “It became almost religious dogma,” Dauman says. He still considers the proposals to be ”very reasonable”, adding that piracy “makes the standards more difficult in greenlighting a film.” Read More »

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Joanne Woodward Presses On With Paul Newman’s Final Film Project ‘Lucky Them’

By | Tuesday January 31, 2012 @ 1:20pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Joanne Woodward has become executive producer on Lucky Them, a film that was begun by her late husband, movie immortal Paul Newman, before he passed away in 2008. Woodward has Marisa Tomei, Thomas Haden Church and Allison Janney attached to star. Scripted by Huck Botko and Emily Wachtel and to be directed by Botko (he co-wrote The Last Exorcism and co-directed The Virginity Hit), the film is about a fortysomething rock journalist who gets an assignment to find her ex-boyfriend. It’s a late bloomers coming-of-age quirky romantic comedy, and a semi-autobiographical tale about the writer’s life in NYC, dating musicians and finding herself when most of her friends have settled down. Read More »

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