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OSCARS: Indies Stake A Claim On Animated-Feature Category

By | Friday November 30, 2012 @ 10:56pm PST
Pete Hammond

A new trend has begun to take hold in a category that’s been mostly major-studio territory since its creation a decade ago. The animated-feature lineup is seeing more independent distributors finding their way into the Oscar race and enjoying real success in winning those coveted nominations.

In fact, since the animated-feature category was created in 2001, the list of winners — from DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek through last year’s victor Paramount’s Rango — has been dominated by the major studios, particularly Disney/Pixar, which won four of the past five animated-feature Oscars and six overall. Last year’s Cars 2 was the first time a Pixar entry failed to make the cut, even with five nominations in the category. Even the two independent productions that have won, Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away (2002) and Aardman’s Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005), were distributed by major studios, Disney and DreamWorks Animation, respectively. But it’s clear that indie distributors are making headway in the animation race and potentially causing big trouble for the majors and their expensive tentpole toons. Read More »

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Seth MacFarlane A Guest Of ‘The Simpsons’

By | Friday November 30, 2012 @ 7:51pm PST

Seth MacFarlane can add another credit to his resume. He’s set to guest star in the season premiere of The Simpsons that will air on Fox in fall 2013. MacFarlane will voice the character of a married man who pursues Marge Simpson after the two meet online. MacFarlane’s animated Fox series Family Guy featured Dan Castellaneta, the voice of Homer Simpson, in a recent episode. MacFarlane will host the Oscars on February 24th.

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BBC Scandal: NYT CEO Delays Facing Staff Till “Early In The New Year”

By | Friday November 30, 2012 @ 6:45pm PST

Mark ThompsonNew York Times Co. CEO Mark Thompson, who was interviewed a week ago in London in connection with the BBC scandal involving sex abuse claims against former TV host Jimmy Savile, notified the paper’s staff in a memo today that conclusion of the investigation has been delayed. As a result Thompson, a former BBC director general who had planned to face Times staff questions December 17th and 18th, said those meetings won’t take place until “early in the new year”. Thompson was questioned last week about his role in squelching a news program about the claims against Savile. Content of that interview has not been made public but is expected to be disclosed by the time the inquiry wraps.

Related: BBC Directors Face Parliament Over Ongoing Crisis

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Michael Boatman Replaces Duane Martin In Nick At Nite Comedy Pilot ‘Instant Mom’

By | Friday November 30, 2012 @ 5:49pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that Michael Boatman is set to co-star opposite Tia Mowry in the Nick at Nite family comedy pilot Instant Mom. Boatman replaces Duane Martin who was originally cast in the role. The recasting decision was made after today’s table read. Written by Warren Bell and Jessica Butler loosely based on their real life, Instant Mom centers on a 25-year-old party girl (Mowry) who trades in cosmos for carpools when she marries successful doctor Charlie (Boatman), an older man with kids. Bell, Butler and Aaron Kaplan of Kapital Entertainment executive produce. Spin City alum Boatman, repped by  Innovative and managed by Sanders/Armstrong/Caserta, recently recurred on CBS’ The Good Wife and FX’s Anger Management. 

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Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman, Episode 12

By | Friday November 30, 2012 @ 5:10pm PST

Listen to Episode 12 of our audio podcast “Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman. This week, Deadline Executive Editor Lieberman and host David Bloom discuss why this quarter is looking very good for a number of companies: big exhibition companies are seeing their projections raised on what looks like very strong box office, while NBC‘s improving situation on several fronts may provide a big windfall for parent Comcast and finally, Lionsgate is roaring in just about all parts of its business.

Deadline Big Media Episode 12 (MP3 format)
Deadline Big Media Episode 12 (M4A format)
Read More »

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Ashanti, Torrey DeVitto & Elle McLemore Join ‘Army Wives’ As New Series Regulars

By | Friday November 30, 2012 @ 5:00pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

With original cast member Kim Delaney set to depart Lifetime’s Army Wives as it heads into its seventh season and Sally Pressman scaling back from a series regular to recurring, the veteran drama is adding three actresses as series regulars – Ashanti, Torrey DeVitto  (Pretty Little Liars, The Vampire Diaries) and Elle McLemore.

In her first series regular role, singer-actress Ashanti will play Latasha Durant, an optimistic mother of three, a sexy, fun woman who knows how to keep a husband – and how to keep him in line. DeVitto will play Maggie Hall, a sexy and smart Ex-Army Airborne, now a truck driver married to a Staff Sergeant with a teen daughter decided to get out of the Army to devote herself to being a wife and mother. McLemone will play Holly Gordon, a sweet, wide-eyed, bespectacled farm girl newly married to a soldier who is lonely and homesick. Filming on Season 7 will begin in mid-December in Charleston, South Carolina. APA-repped Torrey stars in Lifetime’s upcoming holiday movie The Real St. Nick.

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Specialty Preview: ‘Addicted To Fame,’ ‘Back To 1942,’ ‘Hecho En México,’ ‘Ex-Girlfriends’, ‘Universal Soldier: Day Of Reckoning’

Brian Brooks is Managing Editor of MovieLine.

New arrivals to the specialty market don’t include any marquee Oscar contenders compared to recent weeks. What we have is a hodgepodge of cross-genre fare. Abramorama’s Addicted To Fame takes a behind-the-scenes look at a film set with a troubled star. Magnet Releasing’s Universal Soldier: Day Of Reckoning is a follow-up to the previous Jean-Claude Van Damme pic which took a circuitous route to the big screen. China Lion’s Back To 1942 may find appeal beyond its core Chinese American audience with the participation of Adrien Brody and Tim Robbins, while Pantelion Films/Lionsgate’s Hecho En México rolls out in Los Angeles with Mexican culture in the spotlight. And Ex-Girlfriends aims to capitalize on micro-budget DIY marketing.

Addicted To Fame
Writer-director: David Giancola
Subjects: Anna Nicole Smith, David Giancola, John James
Distributor: Abramorama

When David Giancola directed Illegal Aliens (2007) starring Anna Nicole Smith, he assigned cameramen to shoot behind-the-scenes footage. “He possibly anticipated [Smith's] unfortunate deterioration…” noted Addicted To Fame executive producer Richard Abramowitz. “It kept getting worse because her circumstances kept getting worse.”

Abramowitz, who teaches a film class in addition to his producing and distribution responsibilities, said he’d like to show Addicted To Fame to his class because “they don’t teach you this,” he said. “How do you deal with this on set with a star who is functionally illiterate and has personal, emotional problems?” Abramowitz said the filmmaking team is mindful that the movie could come across as opportunistic, and they are trying to release the title “respectfully while not disguising what it is.” Read More »

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Juan Carlos Fresnadillo Exits Summit’s ‘Highlander’ Remake

By | Friday November 30, 2012 @ 4:21pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: When it comes to directors on the movie Highlander, there can be only one. But it won’t be Juan Carlos Fresnadillo. The 28 Weeks Later helmer has exited Summit’s reboot of the film, which still has Ryan Reynolds poised to play the title character. I’m told that his exit is amicable, and that after a year of working on the project, he and Summit could not get past the fact they had differing views of the film, and finally agreed to disagree. Fresnadillo left a remake of The Crow to join Highlander. It’s unclear at the moment whether that is an option, but come Monday, he will be looking for another movie, and Summit will be looking for another Highlander helmer.

Summit Entertainment remains bullish on Highlander, which has a script by Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, with the latest draft by Noah Oppenheim. It’s produced by Neal H. Mortiz and Peter Davis along with Enrique López Lavigne and Belen Atienza, with RCR Media Group’s principles Rui Costa Reis and Eliad Josephson exec producing. Justin Lin, once attached to direct, is also executive producer.

They are following the story of the 1986 original, in which Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert), an immortal Scottish swordsman who has spent centuries dueling to survive against others like him, must confront the last of his kind. That nemesis is a murderously brutal … Read More »

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‘Innocence Of Muslims’ Release Form Is Fake Says Specialist As Judge Cancels Upcoming Hearing

By | Friday November 30, 2012 @ 3:56pm PST

The release form suddenly provided this week by Innocence Of Muslims filmmaker Mark Basseley Youssef is a “forgery”, lawyers for actress Cindy Lee Garcia said today — and they’ve got an expert who agrees with them. Of course, it might not matter because Judge Michael Fitzgerald today canceled a scheduled December 3rd hearing on whether Garcia’s copyright claims to the film would give her the authority to request that YouTube take down the movie’s 14-minute trailer. The judge, who denied a previous injunction attempt by Garcia, said the actress hasn’t “established a likelihood of success based on the merits” of her case. “If Ms. Garcia is financially able, her legal team intends to file a motion for an immediate appeal before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals,” Garcia’s attorney Cris Armenta said this afternoon, calling the film a “heinous piece of hate speech.” Read More »

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Deadline’s YouTube Channel Rankings

By | Friday November 30, 2012 @ 3:28pm PST

Life was relatively quiet in the universe of Google-funded YouTube channels during the week that began on Thanksgiving and ended on November 28. The Onion — helped by a hilarious send-up of the TED Talks — led a group of just eight channels that gained views over the previous week. Not surprisingly, Hungry was among the winners, rising 33 spots to No. 48, with a collection of videos dedicated to preparing Thanksgiving dinners and leftovers. But total views for the channels we cover fell more than 39% to 78.3M. The top 10 channels accounted for 52.5% of all views. DanceOn joined that group rising one slot to No. 10; Fuse fell three to No. 12. But Redbull views plummeted by 11.7M to 6.1M, enabling The Warner Sound to reclaim its long-held perch at the top of the charts. Read More »

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‘Amelia Rules!’ Gets Backer In Push For TV & Movie Adaptations

By | Friday November 30, 2012 @ 2:44pm PST

EXCLUSIVE: Vivek Tiwary, whose credits include producing Broadway musicals The Addams Family, American Idiot, The Producers and Young Frankenstein, has come aboard as exclusive producer to adapt Jimmy Gownley’s graphic novel series for TV and film. The one-time music industry exec plans to secure the involvement of musicians in acting roles as well as musical composition and will begin shopping the project to studios and networks in the coming months. Published by Simon & Schuster, Amelia Rules! is an eight-volume series for that follows tween Amelia McBride as she navigates through a new town, a new school and the everyday trials of adolescence, with help along the way from her ex-rock star aunt and a group of odd-ball cohorts. The final installment of the series, published this year, was a New York Times bestseller. “Jimmy and Amelia Rules! have been rightfully compared to Charles M. Schulz and Peanuts — and I believe Amelia and her crew will go on to be as beloved and influential as Charlie Brown and his gang, albeit in a more contemporary way”, Tiwary said. Read More »

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Jeff Zucker’s First Memo To CNN Staff

By | Friday November 30, 2012 @ 2:18pm PST

Incoming president of CNN Worldwide Jeff Zucker has sent a memo to the staff, saying he sees “endless potential” for the network. Here’s the full memo, via a CNN staffer, first posted on Politico.

Related: Jeff Zucker: CNN Must “Remain Editorially Independent”

With Thursday’s announcement behind us, I wanted to communicate directly with you to say how excited I am to be part of CNN’s future. I have long been a consumer and admirer of CNN’s journalism. And I see endless potential for CNN across all of its platforms. As Phil Kent and I said yesterday, we are committed to maintaining CNN’s core mission. In fact, in my mind, CNN’s values are more distinct and more important than ever in today’s media landscape.

At the same time, we will have to continue to evolve. I don’t have all the answers. No one does. But I hope that we can challenge each other to think even more broadly about what CNN is and can be, and to enhance this truly special and powerful brand. The opportunities are limitless.

It is a great honor to join you on this journey. I look forward to getting to know the organization and the great people who work here.

Officially, I will begin work in late January, but I’ll start diving in soon. I’ll be travelling to meet with many of you in the weeks ahead.

Read More »

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Actor Chris Cooper Leaves Paradigm After Decade

By | Friday November 30, 2012 @ 2:15pm PST

EXCLUSIVE: Chris Cooper has left Paradigm, Deadline has learned. The actor is said to be in talks with CAA, according to a source but will remain agentless for the time being. This comes after a decade at Paradigm for the Oscar winner, who will continue to be repped by his managers at Untitled Entertainment. (Cooper’s manager Michael Lazo was his agent at Paradigm before leaving for Untitled in 2010; Jack Kingsrud had been handling Cooper since then.) Cooper is currently shooting August: Osage County with Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts and Ewan McGregor.

Related: Al Pacino Returns To CAA

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Dawn Prestwich & Nicole Yorkin To Return To ‘The Killing’ As Executive Producers

By | Friday November 30, 2012 @ 2:00pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

AMC, Fox TV Studios and The Killing developer/executive producer Veena Sud are putting the team back together in anticipation of a formal green light for a third season of the mystery series to air on AMC and Netflix. Dawn Prestwich and Nicole Yorkin, who served as co-executive producers in the first and second season, are expected to return as executive producers, and have started working with Sud on stories for Season 3.

Related: AMC And Netflix Near Deal To Resurrect ‘The Killing’ Read More »

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Lifetime To Do Chris Porco Movie With Matt Barr, Eric McCormack & Lolita Davidovich

By | Friday November 30, 2012 @ 1:28pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Lifetime is turning another infamous real-life crime story into a TV movie with Romeo Killer: The Chris Porco Story. Matt Barr, Eric McCormack and Lolita Davidovich star in the project, inspired by the true story of Christopher Porco, who was convicted of killing his father and attempting to murder his mother. Written by Edithe Swensen and to be directed by Norma Bailey, Romeo Killer centers on beloved, handsome college student Chris Porco (Barr), who was every girl’s dream in the small town of Delmar, NY. Porco was accused of brutally murdering his father and disfiguring his mother, Joan (Davidovich), in a savage ax attack, a claim made all the more shocking when a local police detective (McCormack) believed the mother identified Chris as her attacker. Also cast in the movie is Emily Bett Rickards (Arrow), who plays Lauren Phillps, a young love interest of the accused killer who had maintained his innocence. The film is executive produced by Steve Solomos, Harvey Kahn, Michael Jaffe of Michael Jaffe Films and Ilene Kahn Power of Kahn-Powers Pictures. Read More »

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Broken News: Local TV Station Reports Staged ‘Chicago Fire’ Plane Crash As Real

By | Friday November 30, 2012 @ 1:17pm PST

Looks like someone didn’t get the memo. WGN Chicago urgently reported this morning on a plane crash “in the middle of the road” on the south side of the city. What the TV station didn’t realize was that it was a scene being filmed for NBC‘s freshman drama Chicago Fire. “One wing was knocked off; I don’t know if this just happened,” anchor Robin Baumgarten said at around 8 AM local time as the station’s Skycam tried to show the scene at the intersection of 29th and Martin Luther King Drive. “It looks like a giant hole in the street,” said fellow anchor Larry Potash. What the anchors could not see (as this photo from the Chicago Tribune displays), was that the area was covered in signage indicating filming was in progress. “All the usual protocol for this type of filming was followed,” said a spokesman for Universal TV, which co-produces the series with Wolf Films.

The station showed the scene for several minutes before Potash got word on air that what they were seeing was part of a TV production. “They might want to tell the news folks,” said an visibly annoyed Baumgarten. “Are you kidding me?  29th and King Drive, it’s OK. It’s all for a TV show, even though you see that plane in the road,” she added. The Chicago Fire Department admitted later that info about the filming was not widely distributed, says the Chicago Read More »

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Monty Python Stars Sued Over ‘Spamalot’

By | Friday November 30, 2012 @ 1:03pm PST

Monty Python And The Holy Grail producer Mark Forstater is suing the British comedy troupe over profits he says he’s owed from the spin-off Broadway musical Spamalot. Three members of the troupe, Michael Palin, Eric Idle and Terry Jones were in a London court today for opening arguments in the case Reuters reports. Forstater says that under a 1974 agreement with the Pythons he is entitled to one-seventh of profits derived from Holy Grail and any merchandise or spin-offs. Forstater’s lawyer Tom Weisselberg says his client had been receiving his seventh of the profits until 2005, when the Pythons had unilaterally reduced his share to one-fourteenth. Forstater says he believes he’s owed about $400,000. Palin, Idle and Jones are expected to testify in the case next week. The trial is expected to last four to five days.

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‘The Nazi And The Psychiatrist’ Rights Acquired By Mythology Entertainment

By | Friday November 30, 2012 @ 12:30pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Mythology Entertainment partners Bradley Fischer, James Vanderbilt and Laeta Kalogridis have secured rights to turn the non-fiction book The Nazi And The Psychiatrist into a feature film and a play. The book, written by Jack El-Hai and slated for publication by PublicAffairs Books, explores the complex relationship between American psychiatrist Dr. Douglas M. Kelley and Nazi war criminal and Hitler’s right-hand man Hermann Goering. The book is the first to access Kelley’s personal and professional papers from the Nuremberg Trial years, which the shrink’s family had hidden away for years. Mythology’s Fischer, Vanderbilt and Kalogridis will produce both the film and stage versions.

Surrounded by the postwar ruins of the Third Reich, 22 top Nazi prisoners awaited trial at the 1945-46 International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany. Kelley, who studied the essence of evil and the anatomy of the Nazi personality, was among the few people allowed regular contact with the prisoners. There, he developed a complex and close relationship with Goering, a clever and manipulative prisoner who was the highest-ranking Nazi in Allied hands. As the psychiatrist tested and interviewed Goering and the other prisoners, he reached conclusions that shook his assumptions and sowed the seeds of his own downfall. Read More »

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Warner Bros And Todd Phillips Hire Peter O’Brien To Adapt ‘Trust Your Eyes’

By | Friday November 30, 2012 @ 12:07pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Peter O’Brien has just been hired by Warner Bros to adapt Trust Your Eyes, the Linwood Barclay novel that Todd Phillips is attached to direct. Phillips and his Green Hat Films banner are producing with Dan Lin.

The book is a Rear Window-style paranoid thriller. A map-obsessed schizophrenic savant witnesses a murder in New York through a computer map program, and then convinces his brother to investigate. These impulses never end well, and the siblings find themselves smack in the center of a deadly political conspiracy. It is the first thriller for The Hangover helmer. Jon Silk co-producing and Barclay and Scott Budnick and Mark O’Connor exec producing. Read More »

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