OSCARS: ‘Philomena’ Puts Judi Dench Right Back In The Thick Of The Race

Pete Hammond

Dame Judi Dench is poised to have a very happy new year. She is certainly no stranger to awards, but there could be more in her immediate future. She’s had 6 Oscar nominations  and one win as 1998 Supporting 1318861512_Judi_Dench_Oscars_1998_WideActress for an eight minute role in Shakespeare In Love. There are also 11 Golden Globe nominations and two wins. And then the British superstar can also boast of an astounding 25 BAFTA nominations and 10 wins split between her film and television work — the most recent coming for her final appearance as M opposite James dench6fb-toned-webBond in 2012′s Skyfall. So what does she need another one for?

The fact is she’s back in awards contention in a big way again this season in Philomena, another signature role  as Philomena Lee, a true life story of a woman who had to give up her young child for adoption in the Irish orphanage where she worked — only to search for him 50 years later and discover some startling truths along the way. She’s already racked up SAG, Globe and Critics Choice Movie Award nominations for the crowd-pleasing film (which also has a Best Drama Picture bid at the Globes too) and seems a sure thing for another go at the Oscars when nominations are announced January 16th. This would be her fifth nod (in addition to Mrs. Brown, Iris, Mrs. Henderson Presents, Notes On A Scandal) as actress in a leading role , quite a feat for a performer at any age but particularly one who just turned 79 years old earlier this month. A win would make her the second oldest ever (after Driving Miss Daisy’s Jessica Tandy) to nab the Best Actress Oscar.

Related: The Real ‘Philomena’ Answers NY Post Critic Who Condemns Her Film Read More »

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2013 Basic Cable Ratings: USA Tops Again In Primetime But Down 8%; Nick At Nite, AMC Up Double Digits As Fox News & ABC Family Fall; TBS Leads Demo

By | Tuesday December 31, 2013 @ 4:50pm PST

usa-network-logoHere are the top cable networks of 2013 in total viewers and adults 18-49, based on Nielsen Media Research data:

Network: Total Viewers (in millions), % change from 2012

1. USA: 2.680, -8%
2. Disney: 2.438, -2%
3. ESPN: 2.210, -6%
4. History: 2.114, -2%
5. TNT: 2.070, -5%
6. TBS: 2.014, -3%
7. Fox News: 1.785, -13%
8. A&E: 1.781, +9%
9. FX: 1.466, +4%
10. AMC: 1.382, +18%
11. Discovery: 1.361, +5%
12. Home&Garden: 1.274, +7%
13. Lifetime: 1.270, +7%
14. Adult Swim: 1.230, +3%
15. ABC Family: 1.222, -11%
16. Syfy: 1.192, -8%
17. Food Network: 1.122, -7%
18. Nick at Nite: 1.091, +25%
19. TLC: 1.059, -2%
20. Bravo: 0.999, +6%
Read More »

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With Netflix In The Lead, Media Stocks Handily Beat Overall Market In 2013

By | Tuesday December 31, 2013 @ 2:44pm PST

Stock Arrow Up 1Shares in the streaming video company appreciated 297.6% during the latest 12 months, well ahead of everyone in the companies we track — including media  industry giants, where CBS (+67.5%) led the pack. But you shouldn’t hear many complaints. The Dow Jones U.S. Media Index rose 12.3% in Q4, and 47% for the entire year, as investors became increasingly comfortable about the prospects for information and entertainment companies in a period of strengthening ad sales, low interest rates, and prodigious stock repurchases and dividend payments. The sector was well ahead of the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500, which was up 9.9% in Q4 and 29.6% for the year. Big Media companies will look back at the year fondly. After CBS, the top performers were Viacom (+65.6%), Sony (+54.4%), Disney (53.4%), Time Warner (+45.8%), Discovery (+42.4%), Comcast (+39.1%), and Fox (+37.9%).  But lots of other companies did much better. Industry winners after Netflix include Best Buy (+236.5%), Pandora (+189.8%), Sinclair Broadcasting (+183.1%), DreamWorks Animation (+114.2%), and Live Nation (+112.2%). The year’s underperformers include RealD (-23.8%), Barnes & Noble (-0.9%), Apple (+5.4%), and TiVo (+6.6%). Read More »

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Year-End: Legal Battles Of 2013 And Beyond – Aereo, ‘Hobbit’ Sequels, ‘Walking Dead’ Vs. Frank Darabont, Prospect Park & ‘Godzilla’

One in a series of Deadline stories that look back on 2013 and ahead to 2014.

NEW DJP LEGAL BADGEIt was a year that saw the Weinsteins and Warner Bros clash over the title of The Butler and then get into the ring again for The Hobbitsequels. 2013 also witnessed the first fired Walking Dead showrunner wanting to take a bite out ofAMC for his piece of the cable blockbuster, a  Ray Donovan EP nailed by the feds in a big-time gambling scheme right out of the Showtime Hollywood fixer series and a monster of a legal drama in the YearEnd2013_badge__131227212819making as Legendary Pictures tried to swat some seasoned producers off its Godzilla reboot. In the end, with those cases and more, the Hollywood legal landscape of 2013 proved to be a stringent reminder of why they call it show business and not show friends.

With money and rights at the basis of most of the disputes, the complaints and motions were as numerous as locusts and as prevalent as rats, with many of them spilling over into 2014 and perhaps beyond. Just ask Barry Diller and Les Moonves as streaming service Aereo and CBS and other broadcasters suit up for a potential Supreme Court winner-takes-all showdown next year. Or Prospect Park as it fights ABC in a $125 million suit over licensed soaps All My Children and One Life To Live while having to contend with a complaint from co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz seeking a declaratory judgment from the court over non-compete clauses in his contract with the company. Sure, sometimes weapons are lowered like when Paramount and asset management firm Content Partners reached Paramount100__130517234217-200x151__130607180615__131212203235an undisclosed settlement on December 12 in their $45 million film financing slate dust-up after three years going at it in the courts. With a pivotal hearing looming, that was realpolitik in action as the sudden deal allowed the studio to sidestep dragging JPMorgan Chase, which corporate parent Viacom has significant banking dealings with, into the protracted case despite the blessing of the presiding judge. However, with the grinding duration of a lot of the legal disputes in this town, such resolution is rare, even when the end seems in sight.

superman-comic-30-2__121011182348-2-2__130321233701__130405012002-1__130419004954__131213030639Look for instance at Warner Bros and the seemingly never-ending Superman heirs’ rights battle. After a string of seemingly conclusive legal wins this year, WB and subsidiary DC Comics now could face more Krypton courtroom drama in 2014. On December 10, the co-creators heirs’ attorneys Marc Toberoff and Keith G. Adams petitioned the 9th Circuit for either a rehearing by the panel that found in the studio’s favor on November 21 or by the full court itself. If that effort fails, they could take the matter to the SCOTUS. Even with all the billings that O’Melveny & Myers get to make to WB after years of litigation, the sharp-elbowed Daniel Petrocelli and Matthew Kline must want to be able to declare a super-lawyer victory and move on – after all, they also have the Trouble With The Curve copyright suit to handle for the studio and a February 24 hearing on a summary judgment motion in that case by plaintiffs Ryan A. Brooks and Gold Glove Productions to fend off.  Read More »

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R.I.P. Newsman Mike O’Connor

By | Tuesday December 31, 2013 @ 1:01pm PST

oconnorMike O’Connor, a longtime CBS newsman and advocate for the safety of journalists in Mexico, died Sunday in Mexico City. He was 67. His wife Tracy Wilkerson, Mexico Bureau Chief for the Los Angeles Times, says O’Connor suffered a fatal … Read More »

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Oscar Mischief? Video Circulates With Leonardo DiCaprio Touting ‘Wolf’ Jordan Belfort’s Motivational Speaking Prowess

Wolf of Wall Street - Leonardo DiCaprioIt’s that time of year — when awards-season schadenfreude begins to swirl, and rivals begin whispering in our ears about the flaws in everybody else’s offerings. Against that backdrop, a video for a lecture bureau by Leonardo DiCaprio posted last summer has conveniently begun re-circulating on the web just days after the Oscar polls opened (watch it below). It’s a short testimonial extolling the motivational speaking skills of The Wolf Of Wall Street subject Jordan Belfort, whom DiCaprio plays in the movie in all the unapologetic decadence that caused his downfall. DiCaprio qualifies his praise for his screen alter ego by mentioning Belfort’s lawbreaking past, but backing even a reformed bad guy could be a slippery slope during Oscar season; there has been heavy scrutiny over whether Belfort has profited from his book and movie (he claims the money has gone to repay victims), and just days ago the daughter of one of Belfort’s stock-hawking cronies spoke out about the lasting damage created by their collective misdeeds. Critics and audiences already are debating whether Martin Scorsese‘s Oscar contender makes Belfort’s reckless behavior seem too seductive.

Related: Leonardo DiCaprio On Creating Fact-Based Black Comedy Without Glorifying Crooks
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Year End: Will Consumer Anger Over Sports TV Costs Boil Over In 2014?

One in a series of Deadline stories that look back on 2013 and ahead to 2014.

Detroit Tigers v Los Angeles DodgersSome of 2014′s most important sporting events won’t take place on a grassy field or an indoor court. They’ll play out in board rooms as TV execs continue their struggle to balance the diverging interests of those who love sports, and others who don’t — but still have to subsidize the programming as part of the pay TV bundle. YearEnd2013_badgeSports accounts for about 33% of cable and satellite company programming costs, Barclays Equity Research’s Kannan Venkat estimates. That percentage will grow: Sports prices are rising about 10% a year while other channels rise about 7%. DirecTV CEO Mike White says consumer frustration could soon begin to boil. “There’s a point where you have to stand up for the 99% who are angry about their bills.” 

Will 2014 be the year when distributors make a serious effort to slow their rising sports costs? It’s possible, especially in dealings with regional sports channels — particularly time-warner-cable-logo__130821213653-275x126in Los Angeles. Time Warner Cable is about to introduce a service for Dodgers games, SportsNetLA, following its launch last year of SportsNet and Deportes which show Lakers games. The cable company is said to want other distributors to pay $5 per subscriber per month for the Dodgers, roughly the same price MSG charges for its regional service that offers the New York Knicks and Rangers. But so far other distributors have not stepped up to the plate. DirecTV could help everyone hold out; the No. 1 satellite company has led the charge against high-priced regional sports networks. It declined to carry the Pac-12 Network which is home to two schools (UCLA and USC) in the key LA market, the University of Texas’ Longhorn Network, and Comcast-owned sports services in Portland, Philadelphia and Houston. (The Houston network filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September.)

Related: TWC Sued For Passing Lakers-Dodgers Costs On To Customers

Read More »

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Laurie Metcalf To Star In CBS Comedy Pilot ‘The McCarthys’

By | Tuesday December 31, 2013 @ 9:19am PST
Nellie Andreeva

lauriemetcalfEXCLUSIVE: Comedy veteran Laurie Metcalf is set to star opposite Jack McGee and Joey McIntyre in CBS’ new pilot for half-hour The McCarthys, from Sony TV and Will Gluck’s Olive Bridge Entertainment. The project is being retooled as Read More »

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Mike Nichols’ ‘Betrayal’ Revival With Daniel Craig And Rachel Weisz Sets Broadway Weekly Gross Record

By | Tuesday December 31, 2013 @ 7:59am PST
Mike Fleming

betrThe star system might be waning in Hollywood, but not when those stars take to the Broadway stage. The Mike Nichols-directed revival of the Harold Pinter play Betrayal, which stars Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Rafe Read More »

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Harvey Weinstein, Idris Elba, Naomie Harris Honored At Capri Film Festival

By | Tuesday December 31, 2013 @ 7:00am PST

mandelaHarvey Weinstein got a surprise at the 18th Capri-Hollywood Film Festival in Capri, Italy. Weinstein was presented with an unexpected award during a ceremony that followed the Monday premiere of Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom which he exec produced. Dubbed “Mr. … Read More »

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R.I.P. Joseph Ruskin

By | Monday December 30, 2013 @ 6:47pm PST

ruskin3Joseph Ruskin, veteran television, film and stage actor and longtime SAG board member, died Saturday of natural causes at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, according to a statement from SAG-AFTRA. He was 89. Ruskin’s television credits number more than 120 including appearances on The Twilight Zone, Star Trek, Mission Impossible, Murder She Wrote, L.A. Law and most recently Bones. His film work includes roles in The Magnificent Seven, Prizzi’s Honor, Indecent Proposal and Smokin’ Aces. Ruskin began his career in theatre, performing over the years at the Mark Taper Forum, UCLA’s Freud Playhouse and Theater 40. His final performance came this year as a member of the Antaeus Theatre Company.
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A&E’s ‘Duck Dynasty’ Headache Continues Despite Phil Robertson’s Return; FNC Snags New Year’s Eve Interview With His Kin

By | Monday December 30, 2013 @ 3:12pm PST

LisaColumn__131015210634-275x198A&E’s Duck Dynasty headache might not be over: Fox News Channel officially announced it will ring in 2014 with Willie and Korie Robertson during its  All-American New Year special, which starts at 9 PM Eastern on Tuesday. Appearing live via satellite from Steamboat Springs, CO, for their first television appearance following A&E‘s reinstatement of Phil Robertson on the hit reality series, his son and daughter-in-law will discuss the situation with FNC’s Bill Hemmer and Elisabeth Hasselbeck. The couple also will reflect on 2013 and discuss the year ahead, FNC promised. (Hasselbeck, you’ll recall, visited the Robertson’s home and Duck Call center in Louisiana, with Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade, when she made her debut on Fox & Friends).

Related:
A&E Lifts Phil Robertson’s Suspension
Reaction To Phil Robertson’s ‘Duck Dynasty’ Return

FNC on-air talent were among those blasting A&E over its decision to put Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson on hiatus indefinitely, owing to comments he made about homosexuality in a GQ interview. Sean Hannity gave out A&E exec phone numbers on his radio show; FNC contributor Sarah Palin took to social media to voice her support for Phil Robertson, saying that his suspension is an attack on free speech. “Free speech is an endangered species,” she wrote on Facebook. Read More »

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Year-End: Top International Box Office Draws Of 2013 – Robert Downey Jr And Dwayne Johnson Battle For Supremecy

International Box Office Stars 2013

YearEnd2013_badge__131227212819Which superstar outdrew their peers to top the international box office in 2013? The answer might surprise you. Here are the Top 10 Hollywood heavyweights of this year’s global live-action hits whose star power played a significant role in international returns (Sandra Bullock just missed making the cut). Click on a photo to launch the slideshow countdown: Read More »

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‘Wolf Of Wall Street’s Leonardo DiCaprio On Creating Fact-Based Black Comedy Without Glorifying Crooks

By | Monday December 30, 2013 @ 2:50pm PST
Mike Fleming

Leonardo DiCaprioWhen I emerged from watching The Wolf Of Wall Street, I came away thinking the movie had done for stock brokers what Marathon Man did for dentists. The Martin Scorsese-directed film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as hedonistic drug-addicted stockbroker conman Jordan Belfort, who with dimwitted cohorts plunders his way to such decadence and immorality it’s a wonder he survived long enough to be arrested and sent to prison. The three hours of darkly comic debauchery has in some quarters been met with a “how dare you” reaction, a polarizing response that could be an issue during awards season for the $100 million film financed by indie Red Granite and released domestically by Paramount Pictures. The 71-year old Scorsese has provoked that kind of reaction several times in his career with films ranging from The Last Temptation Of Christ to Goodfellas and Casino, the latter two of which, like Wolf, left behind bitter victims of the mayhem perpetrated by the film’s main characters. The shrapnel is new to DiCaprio, who both starred in and produced the film through his increasingly prolific Appian Way shingle. Here, DiCaprio discusses that fallout and the challenge of trying to uncompromisingly depict bad guys without judging them.

The Wolf Of Wall StreetDEADLINE: Appian Way was just building steam when you got involved in producing Jordan Belfort’s memoir Wolf Of Wall Street. Why did Belfort’s story fit into the profile of movies you wanted to make as producer, while sparking you as an actor as well?
DICAPRIO: Coming into it as an actor, I set my entire production company up in order to find material that not only was interesting and out of the box from an actor’s perspective, but that could be developed that way from the original source material. A lot of times, I’d gone through the process of getting a great book or finding a great story, and then too many people get their hands on it and it turns into something entirely different. It is very difficult to reverse that process. When I first picked this up, I found it a cautionary tale written by Jordan. His life is much different now, but he’s looking back and reflecting on a very hedonistic time period where he gave into every possible temptation. Greed was the main motivating factor, and he was unapologetic. He realized he’d completely lost his way, but there was an honesty to it that you rarely find. You rarely find someone willing to vilify themselves so completely and not trying to create false enemies to blame so they don’t have to look inward. Everything Jordan wrote in this book was so raw. The crash of 2008 was a huge motivator for me as well to want to really see what’s going on in our culture that creates people like this. Greed is a timeless virtue. I’ve been talking about greed a lot in interviews, and you can’t pinpoint it to any specific time period, or any civilization or even just human beings. It’s a fundamental characteristic of survival. As we are progressing into the future, things are moving faster and we are way more destructive than we’ve ever been. We have not evolved at all. Read More »

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Luke Grimes Exits HBO’s ‘True Blood’; Role Will Be Recast

By | Monday December 30, 2013 @ 2:49pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

james-true-bloodBrooding vampire James will be back on True Blood next season, but the actor who plays him, Luke Grimes, won’t. The role will be recast. Ever since production on  Fifty Shades Of Grey was pushed by a month … Read More »

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Christmas Box Office Update: Last Weekend Of 2013 Up 8.1% On More Movies In Marketplace, ‘Hobbit,’ ‘Frozen,’ Together Take 34% Out Of Weekend, ‘Anchorman 2,’ ‘Hustle,’ ‘Wolf’ Follow

CHRISTMAS DAY OPENERS: The Wolf Of Wall Street (Paramount, wide) sliding down to No. 5 in 3-day, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty (Fox, wide), 47 Ronin (Universal, wide) bomb, Grudge Match (Warner Bros, wide), Justin Bieber’s Believe (Open Road, moderate), The Invisible Woman (Sony Pictures Classics, ltd), Lone Survivor (Universal, 2 runs), August: Osage County (The Weinstein Co, ltd on Friday) $35,000 per screen wknd.

BoxOffice_logo__131122164403-275x206UPDATE: MONDAY, 2:42 PM: Year-to-date industry box office numbers are in, showing a slight increase of less than one percentage point from last year, or about $90M difference. Specifically, 2013 grosses rose .8% to $10.763B for the year ending 12/29/13 vs. $10.674B for the year ending 12/30/12 (as previously reported it would be less than 1%). When you just look at the Top Ten films in the marketplace over the last weekend of 2012 vs 2013, there was an overall increase this year of 8.1% in grosses, according to Rentrak. In analyzing these numbers, one must take into account that this year there were simply more movies in the marketplace. We must also look at attendance and ticket prices increases or decreases. But those specific attendance figures and average tickets prices, which will round out the big picture, won’t be released by the National Association of Theater Owners for another few weeks. In the meantime, here are the 3-day and 5-day Christmas holiday box office weekend numbers from Rentrak. These are the best estimates available, given that the studios only reported their estimates and the actuals won’t arrive until Thursday.

1). The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug (WB), $29,040,000 (3-day), $48,870,000 (5-day), 3,928 locations, $189,494,000, Wk 3.

2. Frozen (DIS), $28,596,319 (3-day), $44,059,244 (5-day), 3,335 locations, $248,117,795, Wk 6.

3). Anchorman 2 (PAR), $19,662,000 (3-day), $35,126,000 (5-day), 3,507 locations, $83,180,000, Wk 2.

4). American Hustle (SONY), $18,701,000 (3-day), $32,451,000 (5-day), 2,507 locations, $59,185,000, Wk 3.

5). The Wolf Of Wall Street (PAR), $18,360,000 (3-day), $34,151,000 (5-day), 2,537 locations, $34,152,000, Wk 1.

6). Saving Mr. Banks (DISNEY) $13,453,533 (3-day), $23,261,566 (5-day), 2,110 locations, $37,276,150, Wk 3.

7). The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty (Fox), $12,765,508 (3-day), $25,360,468 (5-day), 2,909 locations, $25,360,468, Wk 1

8). The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (LGF) $10,061,479 (3-day), $15,629,461 (5-day), 2,315 locations, $390,985,322, Wk 6

9). 47 Ronin (Uni) $9,910,310 (3-day), $20,612,531 (5-day) 2,689 locations, $20,612,530, Wk 1.

10). Walking With Dinosaurs (Fox) $7,276,172 (3-day), $11,151,353 (5-day) 3,243 locations, $20,944,478, Wk 2

11). Grudge Match (WB) $7,015,000 (3-day), $13.4M (5-day), 2,838 locations, $13,140,000, Wk 1

12). Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas (LGF) $6,887,194 (3-day), $12.4M (5-day), 1,788 locations, $43,206,270, Wk 3.
Read More »

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Year-End: Biggest TV Controversies Of 2013

By | Monday December 30, 2013 @ 2:27pm PST

TV Controversies 2013

TYear End 2013he year 2013 was so jam-packed with TV controversies that, after Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson this month left A&E looking more or less like the spot marked with chalk where the accident had occurred, exhausted Reporters Who Cover Television slumped over in a surfeited sort of coma.

Here’s a look at some of the bigger dust-ups: Read More »

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Did Visit To Vatican Cost ‘GMA’ A News Demo Win For Week Of December 16?

By | Monday December 30, 2013 @ 2:22pm PST

Today Todayshow07__120726201155-200x129finished first among 25- to 54-year-olds for the week – its first demo win in nearly six months. The NBC morning infotainment show edged out ABC’s Good Morning America by 18,000 viewers in the age bracket, while … Read More »

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Year-End Late-Night TV: ‘Tonight’s Move To NY May Give NBC More Clout With Talent, But Digital May Make Booking War Obsolete

Letterman1Late Night with Jimmy FallonKimmel3__131227211757

YearEnd2013_badge__131227212819__131230220451The year 2013 will go down as a big one for late-night TV, and not because Saturday Night Live was shamed into hiring a black woman for its cast – though that was pretty big. Decades from now, in Theory and Practice of Post-11 PM Programming classes at USC and NYU, aspiring network execs will study 2013 as the year NBC decided to move The Tonight Show back to New York. After months of speculation, a slew of news stories, a handful of NBC denials, a ton of late-night jokes, and one Jay Leno-Jimmy Fallon duet, NBC announced in April it had set a date for Leno’s latest departure from Tonight, and officially named Fallon his latest replacement, adding that The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon will be based in New York City, where the long-running franchise originated.

Tonight’s return to New York drastically changes the late-night landscape. With Tonight at 30 Rock, Lorne Michaels for the first time will have charge of the network’s flagship late-night show as well as Saturday Night Live and Late Night – which SNL alum Seth Meyers will host — and can orchestrate an “event” for a guest across all three programs. nbc4NBC can also throw in a Today appearance; it’s also housed at 30 Rock. Lorne Michaels Packaging already has been in effect across the other two NBC late-night programs, say industry navel gazers who note how many SNL guests this season also appeared on Fallon’s Late Night. “It’s pretty much been 100% over the last year and a half,” insisted one. “Now he’ll have more power because [Fallon] will be in a better time slot. You’re talking about somebody who has a big series of stages” to offer, the pundit said.

NBC Broadcast chairman Ted Harbert says the network is working to streamline guest booking across its various celebrity-centric New York-based shows which, starting in the fall, will include a Meredith Vieira daytime talk show. “Every single person selling something comes to New York – it’s part of the swing,” he said. “I don’t think you’ll find anybody who only does late-night in Los Angeles and that’s their promotional tour.”

Related: Jimmy Fallon Talks ‘Tonight Show’ Timeline
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