Discovery Chief David Zaslav Scores $52.4M In 2011, A 23% Raise

It’s a sweet deal, especially when you consider that Discovery shares lost 2.8% of their value in 2011 and three of the company’s four other top execs made less than they did in 2010. Zaslav’s compensation, reported in an SEC filing, consisted of nearly $3M in salary, $20.3M in stock awards, $23.9M … Read More »

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David Costabile Joins USA’s ‘Suits’, Mahershala Ali Added To ‘House Of Cards’

By | Friday March 30, 2012 @ 4:30pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Dave Costabile SuitsDavid Costabile has landed a big new recurring role on the upcoming season of USA Network’s breakout series Suits. He will play Jessica (Gina Torres) and Harvey’s (Gabriel Macht) former managing partner Daniel Hardman, a brilliant lawyer who, … Read More »

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Warner Bros Unveils ‘Man Of Steel’ Logo

By | Friday March 30, 2012 @ 4:08pm PDT

The logo for Man Of Steel was released this week on the film’s Facebook page, and it confirms that director Zack Snyder and writers Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer are creating a moody, atmospheric and edgy … Read More »

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David Slade To Direct NBC Drama ‘Hannibal’

By | Friday March 30, 2012 @ 3:45pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Feature director David Slade (Eclipse) is set to direct the pilot for Hannibal, NBC’s 13-episode series from Gaumont International Television, written and executive produced by Bryan Fuller and executive produced by Martha DeLaurentiis. The project is described as a … Read More »

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Viacom Mogul Sumner Redstone Lands Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame

By | Friday March 30, 2012 @ 3:33pm PDT

Freelance journalist Dominic Patten is a Deadline contributor.

At the risk of sounding ghoulish, here’s the first thing many people will want to know: The 88-year-old owner of Viacom and CBS seemed relatively alert and steady in his appearance today … Read More »

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AOL Chief Tim Armstrong Inks 4-Year Contract With Perks To Boost Stock Price

By | Friday March 30, 2012 @ 3:29pm PDT

The agreement guarantees him an annual base salary of $1M, and a target annual incentive bonus of $2M. In contrast to his previous deal, from 2009 when AOL was still part of Time Warner, the new terms provide fewer benefits ”including … Read More »

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UPDATE: Keith Olbermann Vows To Sue Current For “Improper” Termination

By | Friday March 30, 2012 @ 2:14pm PDT

UPDATE, 2:45 PM: Olbermann’s fighting back: “Keith’s termination is baseless,” his lawyer Patricia Glaser says. “We will sue them for their improper conduct. They made a bad decision. They can expect a bad result.” And here’s Olbermann’s statement, an apology to viewers for joining Current which he says was a “sincere and well-intentioned gesture on my part, but in retrospect a foolish one”:

I’d like to apologize to my viewers and my staff for the failure of Current TV.

Editorially, Countdown had never been better. But for more than a year I have been imploring Al Gore and Joel Hyatt to resolve our issues internally, while I’ve been not publicizing my complaints, and keeping the show alive for the sake of its loyal viewers and even more loyal staff.  Nevertheless, Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt, instead of abiding by their promises and obligations and investing in a quality news program, finally thought it was more economical to try to get out of my contract.

Read More »

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Solid Start For MTV’s ‘Punk’d’ And ‘The Pauly D Project’

By | Friday March 30, 2012 @ 2:13pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

punk'd MTV Justin BieberMTV’s Punk’d and Jersey Shore offshoot The Pauly D Project got off to a solid start last night, though they could’ve probably done better with the title recognition and star power involved. Punk’d drew a 2.7 … Read More »

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SAG-AFTRA MERGER APPROVED! 81.9% Of SAG Ballots Returned Voted Yes; 86.1% Of AFTRA; Single Union Effective Immediately

By | Friday March 30, 2012 @ 1:13pm PDT

SAG AFTRA Approved BREAKING… 3RD UPDATE: The Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists  are now one union effective immediately. The announcement was greeted with huge cheers, applause, hugs, and the mass singing of “We Shall Overcome” inside the headquarters. SAG President Ken Howard and AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon, both strong advocates of the merger, announced the referendum results today in Los Angeles saying, “SAG-AFTRA is born.”  Howard continued, “This is the day that we have decisively chosen a path of unity and strength. This is the culmination of years of work. People have worked for this goal for decades. We stand on your shoulders. The members wanted merger, they wanted it as soon as possible and, member, you can be assured that you were heard. You have sent a message to our employers. You have said loud and clear this is not a fractured group but a united group. We are committed to helping to shape the future of the industries. In a single day our future has become brighter.”

After the announcement Howard told Deadline that “relief” was his persnal reaction to the refrendum result. “This merger was so necessary to the future of actors and I wanted it be resoundingly approved,” he said. “That they approved it with such a massive mandate is a huge answer for us going forward.” The single union now represents more than 150,000 actors, announcers, broadcasters journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other media professionals. Their work can be seen and heard in theaters, on television and radio, sound recordings, the Internet, games, mobile devices and home video.

Immediately, the AMPTP which represents Big Media’s studios and networks stated about the merged union: “The AMPTP looks forward to a cooperative relationship with the new performers’ organization as we endeavor to address the challenges of operating in an industry undergoing transformation.” The Directors Guild as well as the Writers Guild West and East also sent congratulations.

One nagging issue which no one at today’s podium wanted to address with substance was the future (and possible merger) of the SAG and AFTRA pension and health plans. Said SAG Executive Director David White who also has been on the Board Of Trustees of the SAG P&HP: “I think today we are celebrating but we are going to begin the process. But we don’t have much more to add at this point.” And Ken Howard said, “I think they will get a lot stronger over time. We were able to clear up a lot of misconceptions. Let me give you an example, vested pensions are protected by federal law. So they will not be diluted.”

The referendum results were:

SAG:
105,368 number of ballots mailed.
81.9 percent yes votes
53 percent returned

AFTRA:
65,744 number of ballots mailed.
86.18 percent of yes votes
51.7 percent returned

Big cheers erupted when Ken Howard said, ”Let me introduce my esteemed SAG-AFTRA Co-President Roberta Reardon, who said, “What an incredible culmination of two years of hard work. We stand as one. This new union will give us the collective voice and presence to protect our present contracts. Finally we are able to speak with one unified voice. In life there’s rarely reward without risk. There is power in a union.”

Asked by Deadline what they had to say to the anti-merger forces, Reardon replied: “I encourage them to stay involved. It’s a big tent.” To which Howard said, ”Ditto”.

AFTRA National Executive Director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth said: ”This is a historic day not just for our members but the American labor movement… Today’s vote is a bold statement that union solidarity is alive and well and will not be denied.”

The first convention of the new ‘SAG-AFTRA’ union is scheduled to be held in Los Angeles around September 2013. Click here to see the merger agreement document. The results, tallied by Integrity Voting Systems, were also streamed live online Friday afternoon. A result of 60% or more from the valid returned ballots cast in each union’s vote was required for the merger to be approved. More than 131,000 ballots were sent out on February 27th to members of both unions. The deadline for ballots to be returned to be counted was 10 AM PST today. Union members were encouraged to approve the merger by their respective national boards who claimed that “one union will increase our bargaining leverage”. But anti-merger forces led by Martin Sheen, Ed Harris, Anne-Marie Johnson, and other high profile critics cited concerns about other issues, SAG AFTRA Unionincluding the lack of a formal study to determine how SAG’s and AFTRA’s health and pension plans would be handled after the merger. The anti-merger group went to court to stop the vote. But on March 28, Judge James Otero dismissed their effort. However, Otero did allow the anti-merger force’s claims that the SAG board breached fiduciary duties in the proposed merger and of breach of contract to continue in the courts. But today’s referendum culminates a merger effort that has been rejected in the past by SAG members several times.

Here is the SAG-AFTRA announcement:

LOS ANGELES (March 30, 2012) — The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and Screen Actors Guild are pleased to announce that members of both organizations have overwhelmingly voted to approve a merger, creating a new entity, SAG-AFTRA. SAG members voted 82 percent in favor of the merger. AFTRA members favored the merger with 86 percent, exceeding the 60 percent threshold needed for both unions’ membership for passage.

Read More »

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JJ Abrams/Mark Schwahn’s CW Pilot ‘Shelter’ Finds Its Lead

By | Friday March 30, 2012 @ 1:12pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: After an extensive search, the last pilot lead this season has been cast. Zachary Abel (Make It Or Brake It) has landed the lead role in the CW’s Mark Schwahn/J.J. Abrams drama pilot Shelter. Also cast in the Warner … Read More »

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Warner Bros Licenses Samuel Goldwyn Titles For Home Video Push

By | Friday March 30, 2012 @ 1:00pm PDT

UPDATE: Warner Bros has added one more Goldwyn-produced title, John Ford’s 1937 drama The Hurricane starring Dorothy Lamour, Jon Hall, and Raymond Massey. That brings the deal total to 74 films.

PREVIOUS, 1 PM:

Warner Bros Samuel GoldwynBurbank, Calif. (March 30, 2012) – Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group (WBHEG) and The Samuel Goldwyn, Jr. Family Trust have entered into an agreement whereby Warner will license the North American distribution rights to some 70 titles from the Samuel Goldwyn Films library. The deal was announced today by Jeff Baker, Warner Executive Vice President and General Manager, Theatrical Catalog, and Samuel Goldwyn, Jr., founder of The Samuel Goldwyn Company, and the son of pioneer motion picture mogul Samuel Goldwyn.

The agreement represents nearly every film produced by the legendary producer, Samuel Goldwyn, including some that have never before been available to the home entertainment market. Titles could be released on Blu-ray Disc™, DVD, electronic sell-through and VOD as early as the 4th quarter of this year. Specific announcements to follow.

Read More »

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Pay TV Bundles Are OK (Even If They Hurt Consumers), Court Rules

By | Friday March 30, 2012 @ 12:51pm PDT

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Pasadena would have turned pay TV upside down today if it had sided with consumers in a suit that took on virtually every major company in the business including NBCUniversal, Viacom, Disney, Fox, Time Warner, Comcast, and DirecTV. The plaintiffs alleged that the companies exploit subscribers by only selling programming in packages — forcing people to pay for services they don’t want in order to receive must-have channels including broadcast networks, USA, and ESPN. But the court rejected the argument, upholding a lower court decision, saying the key issue is whether pay TV companies thwart antitrust laws. Although the consumers argued that bundling reduces their choices, and increases prices, “these allegations show only that plaintiffs have been harmed as a result of the practices at issue, not that those practices are anticompetitive,” the justices said. Read More »

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Charity Wakefield To Play Marilyn In NBC’s ‘Munsters’ Reboot ‘Mockingbird Lane’

By | Friday March 30, 2012 @ 12:40pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Charity Wakefield MunstersPat Priest MunstersEXCLUSIVE: British actress Charity Wakefield is set to co-star opposite Eddie Izzard in NBC’s Munsters reboot Mockingbird Lane. The pilot, written by Bryan Fuller and to … Read More »

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MTV2 Launches ‘Hollywood Squares’ Offshoot ‘Hip Hop Squares’

By | Friday March 30, 2012 @ 11:34am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Hip Hop Squares MTVMTV’s sibling MTV2 network has greenlighted a reboot of veteran game show Hollywood Squares. Titled Hip Hop Squares, the new show will premiere May 22 and star Nick Cannon; Jackass‘ Bam Margera; Kat Graham; DJ Read More »

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Josh Hartnett Taking Agency Meetings…What Happened To That Guy?

By | Friday March 30, 2012 @ 10:28am PDT
Mike Fleming

Josh Hartnett 30 Days Of NightJosh Hartnett has left CAA, and he has been making the rounds of agencies looking for new representation. Even though they might be unexcited by his recent movies like Bunraku and Girl Walks Read More »

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‘A Single Shot’ Gets Underway With Sam Rockwell Running For His Life

By | Friday March 30, 2012 @ 10:27am PDT
Mike Fleming

Sam Rockwell A Single ShotUnified Pictures, Bron Studios, Unanimous Entertainment and Media House Capital have just started production on A Single Shot, the David M. Rosenthal-directed thriller that stars Sam Rockwell, William H. Macy, Jeffrey Wright, Joe Anderson, Jason Isaacs, Kelly Reilly, Ophelia Lovibond, and Melissa Leo.

A Single Shot MovieAn adaptation of the Matthew F. Jones novel, A Single Shot is the story of a dark and deadly game of cat and mouse, prompted by the tragic death of a young girl. Rockwell plays a wild-game poacher who makes a fatal mistake that leaves him with a suitcase full of blood money and hardened killers on his trail. As the hunter becomes the hunted, John Moon is forced to defend his family and fight for his life. Jones wrote the script. Unanimous Entertainment’s Chris Coen is producing alongside Unified Pictures’ Keith Kjarval and Bron Studios’ Aaron L. Gilbert.

“It’s so rare to find a script that legitimately works in both the sense of genre and of art,” Rosenthal said. “When I first read A Single Shot, its cinematic potential blew me away. The movie literally unfurled in my mind like a long flip book and I’ve been riding a wave of excitement ever since. Add to that a cast of actors whose work I absolutely revere, and you can understand why my heart is pounding to do this film justice.” Read More »

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‘Devil Inside’ Star Simon Quarterman And AJ Cook Lead ‘WER’

By | Friday March 30, 2012 @ 10:26am PDT
Mike Fleming

Simon Quarterman WERThe horror film WER just got Simon Quarterman set as the male lead. He’ll play Gavin Flemyng and stars opposite AJ Cook, the Criminal Minds star who’s also starring in the film. Quarterman reunites with The Devil InsideRead More »

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Ratings Rat Race: ‘Touch’ Slides In Week 2, ‘Rules Of Engagement’ Inches Up In Return

By | Friday March 30, 2012 @ 10:19am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Rules Of Engagement TV RatingsCBS’ regular Thursday lineup returned last night after two weeks of NCAA basketball, bringing with it veteran Rules Of Engagement. The Big Bang Theory (4.5/15 in adults 18-49, 13.6 million total viewers) was down 13% from its last original three weeks ago but still ranked as the top program of the night in 18-49. Rules Of Engagement (2.8/8) was up a tenth from its last original in December and down two tenths from the last Rob that aired behind a new Big Bang. Person Of Interest (3.3/9) and The Mentalist (2.7/8) were both down a tenth from their last originals three weeks ago.

Fox’s American Idol (4.2/13, 15.3 million viewers) was up 5% in 18-49 and 2% in total viewers from last week’s fast nationals. Touch (2.8/7) was down 13% from its official series premiere last week. Fox won the night in 18-49, CBS in total viewers. Read More »

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Novelist Kristin Hannah’s ‘Home Front’ Sparks Chris Columbus, While ‘The Things We Do For Love’ Moves Abigail Breslin

By | Friday March 30, 2012 @ 10:03am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Novelist Kristin Hannah has made screen deals for two of her novels. 1492 Films has acquired Home Front, with Chris Columbus attached to direct, and produce with his 1492 cohorts Michael Barnathan and Mark Radcliffe. The book, a bestseller … Read More »

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