“Fox and Warner are both pretty powerful companies today. … I don’t know how it changes much if they come together,” Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told analysts today when asked about Rupert Murdoch’s bid for the entertainment giant. The effort probably has “more to do with cable negotiations with sports.” CEO Reed Hastings added that he would offer “no speculation” about what Netflix might do if Fox and Time Warner agreed to merge. “The more we work directly with producers, the less we have to worry with aggregation and big content suppliers.”
Media Merger Mania: Fox’s Bid For Time Warner Is Just The Beginning
Time Warner Shares Soar On Reports Of $80B Offer By Rupert Murdoch
On other matters: Sarandos talked up Chelsea Handler’s upcoming late-night talk show, saying her focus on entertainment and pop culture will make it “a great representative of the kind of programming on Netflix.” A nightly show makes sense for a company known for binge viewing because viewers are “not watching late-night talk shows the way they used to. They’re watching days weeks and sometimes months later.” The show ”is not instantly perishable content. It’s more perishable, but the economics level that out for us.”
Related: Netflix Touts ‘Orange Is The New Black’ As Q2 Earnings Meet Expectations
Sarandos also says that Netflix will premiere the upcoming AMC series Better Call Saul outside of North America. He talked up the … Read More »
We are still a little more than a month away from the official start of awards season, but for IFC‘s smash-out-of-the-box indie hit, Boyhood, it already began in earnest on Sunday with back-to-back screenings and Q&As for members of the newly chosen 2000-strong Screen Actors Guild Nominating Committee, and later its official Academy screening at the newly re-opened Samuel Goldwyn Theatre at the Acad’s Beverly Hills headquarters. The SAG nom comm is just beginning its long schedule of these kinds of screenings, and Sunday afternoon’s was the first big one in LA, although I am told there were a couple of smaller films for the nom comm early in June just as the randomly-chosen group of actors was formed for this year’s race. They packed the Pacific Design Center’s screening room and after the Q&A with stars Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke and young Ellar Coltrane along with writer/director Richard Linklater, the SAG crowd gave them all a heartfelt standing ovation. I moderated and there was also much applause when I brought each of them on stage for the 40-minute conversation. The making of the film on 36 shooting days over the course of 12 years has been a well-publicized story this summer, and each of them offered detailed answers on various aspects of a film that is unique in motion picture history, particularly from the point of view … Read More »
UPDATED from TCA Awards: “First of all, I’d like to thank Variety and Gold Derby for letting me know that I should come tonight — I appreciate that very much. I got a dress, lickety split!” Julia Louis-Dreyfus said as she picked up her trophy for Best Individual Performance in Comedy.
The winners of the 2014 TCA Awards were leaked online this afternoon. But, in truth, the winners had learned some time ago they’d won — only winners show up at this non-televised trophy show. Nobody made Matthew McConaughey wise about this, however. Taking the stage to receive the trophy for Best Individual Performance in Drama, he tried to personally address his fellow nominees in his acceptance speech, calling them out by name and looking for them in the Beverly Hilton ballroom — the same room in which the Golden Globes are held each year. After running through the first couple names, creating awkwardness among critics, he singled out fellow nominee Bryan Cranston, saying, “You are here, sir!” Cranston, however, showed up not because he was nommed in the drama acting derby, but because Breaking Bad had won Program of the Year for a second year running.
“Everyone [tonight] is thanking HBO,” Cranston said after HBO programs took four of the night’s trophies. “So, thank you, HBO! Early on — you turned us down,” Cranston said on stage when the Breaking Bad win was announced. He thanked TV critics for praising the AMC drama when few were watching “this story … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Shubert Organization chairman and CEO Philip J. Smith confirmed the deal by Broadway’s biggest landlord to purchase New World Stages, an off-Broadway complex on West 50th Street just outside the Broadway theater district. ”I would say, ‘Yes, it it’s going to happen,’ ” Smith told Deadline.com when asked about a report in the New York Times speculating on the sale. “I can’t say when, but it will happen.” He declined to say how much Shubert would pay for New World.
Comprising five grotto houses ranging in size from 199 to 499 seats, New World is owned by Dutch entertainment mogul Joop van den Ende’s Stage Entertainment, currently lead producer of the musical Rocky, which is set to close in August at the Shubert-owned Winter Garden Theatre. Van den Ende’s involvement in New Workd goes back to a co-production arrangement his former company, Endemol, had with New York-based Dodger Theatricals. It was the Dodgers who took over the former discount-movie theaters after they went out of business in 2001. The Dodgers spent $23 million converting the space into a “theater mall” with a total of more than 1,900 seats, three bars and more restroom space than many Broadway theaters. Read More »
Actress/screenwriter Sarah Wayne Callies, who starred as Lori Grimes in AMC’s hit series The Walking Dead, has signed with More/Medavoy Management Company. Callies will next be seen in New Line/Warner Bros.’ Into The Storm when it releases into theaters on August 8. She also just wrapped The Other Side Of The Door for Fox International, which was shot on location in India by director Johannes Roberts. The other role that has been a highlight of Callies career (so far) was a series regular as Dr. Sarah Tancredi in Fox’s television series Prison Break which she did for five years.
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OK, maybe Conan O’Brien could use a little help on the hookup from time to time, given that Nike-worthy swoosh of red hair atop his 6’5″ frame, but really, does any member of the Franco clan, especially young Dave Franco, need to worry about whipping out the Tinder mobile app to connect with comely cyber-denizens interested in more-than-virtual meetings? They have a lot of fun filling out their fake profiles as “Chip Whitley” and “Jengis Roundstone,” but remember folks, don’t try this at home. It could be a Tinder trap. Check out the video here:
Last weekend Richard Linklater made a Specialty box office splash with the 2nd highest screen average of the year with Boyhood. This week, Focus will hope to grab some similarly outsized attention for Zach Braff‘s Wish I Was Here. His previous film, 2004′s Garden State, cumed more than $26.7 million at a time before crowd sourcing was an indie norm. Braff has since learned some new tricks, raising the seed money for his latest, which debuted at Sundance earlier this year. Fox Searchlight will open second-time feature filmmaker Mike Cahill‘s I Origins on both coasts, while Drafthouse will bow French filmmaker Michel Gondry‘s Mood Indigo in two locations in NYC and L.A. Bond/360 will open the weekend’s new doc, Alive Inside, in an initial exclusive New York run. The film won an audience prize at Sundance.
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BBC Worldwide has apologized for recent leaks of scripts and footage from the new series of Doctor Who. The commercial arm of the broadcaster said a damaging “mistake” resulted in the exposure of five scripts and the first six unfinished episodes from Series 8 on a publicly accessible FTP site. It thanked fans for their efforts at helping to contain the leaks and said it has put in place a plan using new technology and internal manpower to limit any illegal activity. “BBC Worldwide has taken this issue extremely seriously and disciplinary action has been implemented as a result of the incident,” it added, and offered “sincere apologies” to showrunner Steven Moffat, the cast and the production team. Doctor Who returns on August 23 with Peter Capaldi as the latest incarnation of the Time Lord.
Entertainment One has acquired Canadian factual programming producer Paperny Entertainment from partners David Paperny, Cal Shumiatcher and Audrey Mehler. With the acquisition, Canadian giant eOne says it intends to ramp up its activity in unscripted television production across North America. Vancouver-based Paperny also has operations in Toronto and New York. It has produced over 500 hours of programming since its inception in 1994. The company is expected to deliver a further 80 hours of original programming this year. Its recent and returning shows include Timber Kings (HGTV), Cold Water Cowboys (Discovery Channel Canada), Yukon … Read More »
Vince Gilligan wrote the pilot for CBS’s new cop drama Battle Creek so long ago – 12 years – that he can’t remember why he decided to call it Battle Creek. Star Josh Duhamel reminded Gilligan he’d told him that when he was a kid he was eating breakfast cereal and saw the name on the side of the box.
Gilligan let it stand, adding, “I’m fascinated by the name — it’s got ‘Battle’ and yet it’s cereal.”
Duhamel plays FBI agent Milton Chamberlain, who teams up in the series with Detective Russ Agnew (Dean Winters) to clean up the semi-mean streets of Battle Creek, Mich.
CBS is selling Battle Creek to viewers as the Next Big Series from the creator of Breaking Bad. Gilligan is selling it as the pilot he wrote 12 years ago and does not have time to bring to series at CBS because of his commitment on his AMC Breaking Bad spinoff, Better Call Saul. He said as much last week when he appeared at the tour to plug the spinoff. Today’s version went like this: “I’m sorry I’m not a bigger part of [Battle Creek] as I would like to be because of my duties on Better Call Saul,” adding, “I’m lucky to be up here on this stage” with the cast and exec producers, “who do a great job.”
Critics seemed disappointed too, which, in turn, seemed … Read More »
It’s almost the end of the road for biker drama Sons Of Anarchy but there’s still more to come. FX announced today that the last season of the Kurt Sutter-created series will start up its motor on September 9. The seventh season of the show will begin with a 10 PM 1-hour and 45-minute episode. It’s going to be very rockstar on SOA this coming season with Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson joining the cast in recurring roles. The Season 7 debut will be followed by a live post-show Anarchy Afterword. The post-show will also air after the very last SOA later in the season.
Hitting a series high in both categories, the SOA Season 6 premiere was watched by 5.87 million viewers on September 10 with 3.94 million among adults 18-49. The shocking 151-minute season finale on December 10 was watched by 5.2 million viewers with 3.54 million among Adults 18-49 – that was a finale high for SOA. SOA is the highest-rated series in FX’s history.
HBO Films has landed the rights to Robert Schenkkan’s play All The Way, which last month won the Tony for best play and best leading actor in Bryan Cranston. Emmy winner Cranston will reprise his role as President Lyndon Johnson, with Pulitzer Prize-winner Schenkkan writing the adaptation. The film will be produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television as well as Tale Told Prods. and Moon Shot Entertainment, with Spielberg, Darryl Frank & Justin Falvey, Schenkkan and Cranston executive producing and James Degus co-executive producing.
As Deadline reported last month, Spielberg recently optioned the play with the intention of adapting it for TV with Cranston as the star. Him teaming with HBO is not a surprise given their long history with the Emmy-winning epic miniseries Band Of Brothers and The Pacific, the latter of which Schenkkan worked on as a writer and co-producer. Read More »
Peter Shinkoda has been tapped for a major recurring role in Netflix’s Marvel drama series Daredevil set to premiere in 2015. The series was written by executive producer Drew Goddard, with Steven S. DeKnight as executive producer/showrunner. Daredevil is the first of four 13-episode superhero series set in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City. Shinkoda, repped by D2 Management and Characters Talent Agency, will play Hachiro. Shinkoda was a regular on TNT’s Falling Skies and recently guest-starred on Hawaii Five-O. His big screen credits include I Robot, Godzilla and Paycheck.
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Rupert Murdoch’s $80B offer for Time Warner makes two things clear: The much anticipated round of content company merger mania is here — and likely will include Time Warner even though it rejected the proposal from Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox. And virtually no deal idea is too big or outlandish. One major question at this point is whether a large digital company such as Google will seize the opportunity to buy a major content company. Giants such as Fox and Time Warner want to defend the pay TV status quo — the lucrative bundle that requires subscribers to buy channels they don’t watch. If they become more powerful, then it could slow efforts by Internet companies to claim a piece of the giant ad pie that goes to TV.
Content company stock prices today reflect their new popularity. In addition to Time Warner (+15.6% at mid-day) we see Discovery +6.6%, Viacom +4.3%, Lionsgate +3.7%, AMC Networks +3.4%, and Scripps Networks +3.4%. “The urgency to find a ‘dance partner” will increase across the sector,” Bernstein Research’s Todd Juenger says. “Nobody wants to be the company that gets left out of the consolidation wave, and companies would rather control their own destinies.” What’s more, every investment banker in the world now smells opportunities to collect millions in fees if they can propose and facilitate deals.
Time Warner has two things that make it especially attractive. Read More »
Emmy nominated Cara Buono (Mad Men) has been tapped for a heavily recurring role on CBS’ Person Of Interest. Her character is described as a femme fatale who’s uniquely qualified to navigate the new world order of Season 4 of the procedural drama, created by Jonathan Nolan and co-produced by J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot. Buono received an Emmy nod for her Season 4 turn as Dr. Faye Miller on AMC’s Mad Men. Other small screen credits include The Sopranos, Third Watch, and guest spots on Elementary, Castle and The Good Wife. Her film credits include indie The Discoverers, Matt Reeves’ vampire remake Let Me In, Hulk and Beer League. Person Of Interest Season 4 premieres on Tuesday, September 23 at 10 PM.
Bravo’s first scripted series, Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce, includes a storyline about a guy separated from his wife who’s dating a CW starlet, which makes for one of the pilot episode’s funnier lines. Series creator Marti Noxon got asked about the reference and admitted she’s created a fictitious CW series which this starlet stars. It’s called Blood Sisters; it’s about twin sisters — one’s a vampire slayer and one’s a vampire.
“When are you taking Blood Sisters to the CW” a critic joked-but-not-really of Noxon, who is well known for her work on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
In February Bravo announced it has acquired Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, based on the best-selling Girlfriends’ Guide books by Vicki Iovine. The series follows Abby (Lisa Edelstein), a self-help book author who hides the fact that she’s separated from her husband, as she starts to navigate her life as a single woman in her early 40s in Los Angeles. Noxon is executive producing with Dawn Olmstead, Iovine, Meryl Poster and Adam Brooks, who directed the pilot. The series co-stars Janeane Garofalo and Beau Garrett, with Paul Adelstein and Carrie Fisher featured in the pilot.
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UPDATED, Monday 1:57 PM: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, brought in, as we reported this AM a total take of $72.6M for the three-day weekend (which included $4.1M in Thursday late nights). This, after it took in $31.3M overseas so it has a worldwide total of $103M+ already and it has barely begun its international run.
The Matt Reeves-directed film had a wonderful Saturday and ended up with an A- CinemaScore so audiences loved it as much as the critics. Sunday moviegoing was off for all films, probably due to the World Cup Finals and the nice weather. Fox’s other film, How to Train Your Dragon 2 had a great hold from Saturday to Sunday but will be hit by Disney’s Planes: Fire and Rescue when it bows next weekend. Apes should have at least two solid weeks of play before audiences look to Disney/Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy to keep them entertained when it bows on August 1. Transformers: Age of Extinction — in its third weekend of release — crossed $200M on Saturday.
Sony opens Sex Tape next weekend in hopes of making it pop over its estimated $42M+ budget. I’ve seen it and yes, it starts out raunchy, but it is really funny and even, at times, hilarious. The guys will go to see a naked Cameron Diaz and the girls will go see tall drink of water Jason Segel, but it’s really for couples. Rob Lowe also co-stars in this film from the next generation Kasden — Jake — who directed the two in Bad Teacher.
The other movie opening next weekend is Universal’s horror film, The Purge: Anarchy. And, after seeing the one-sheet, I certainly hope they aren’t running those teaser one-sheets reminiscent of the Joker around the Cinemark Theater in Colorado where it will be in the marketplace during the two-year mark of the theater shooting. To me and others who suffered through that, it’s a hard image to look at … sort of like the geniuses who came up with The Strain one-sheets that people don’t want to see either. “Not for everyone.” Indeed. The Purge is bowing today and over the weekend in 14 overseas markets. The chart follows: Read More »
DreamWorks Animation Shares Touch 52-Week Low
The stock is down about 1% in early afternoon trading after taking a hit early this morning following B. Riley’s Eric Wold’s decision to abandon his “buy” recommendation. It touched $21.90, a 12-month low, after the analyst dropped his price target nearly 22% to $25. Wold acknowledged that his upgrade in March, when the stock value was 23% higher, “proved to be ill-timed and premature.” He calls the box office for How To Train Your Dragon 2 “disappointing” which “may turn DWA into a ‘show me’ stock and keep a ceiling on valuations until more consistent box office results develop.” The good news? Wold still likes DWA’s plans to diversify and expand its TV production. He also says that Dragon shouldn’t require a write-down.
Aereo’s Effort To Define Itself As A Cable Company Could Backfire At FCC: Analyst
Aereo may have bought some time with its attempt to redefine itself as a cable company, but it likely won’t succeed, Guggenheim Securities’ Paul Gallant says this morning. He figures that U.S. District Court Judge Amy Nathan — who’s overseeing broadcasters’ plea for an injunction to shutter the streaming service — will want to hear additional arguments after the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that Aereo could not take over-the-air signals without payment. Justices likened it to a cable company: Copyright law gives operators the right to a compulsory license, which enables them to carry broadcast signals if they pay a relatively low fee set by the Copyright Office. But if the FCC also deems Aereo to be a … Read More »
Wednesday, July 23 — Preview Night
6-10 PM, Ballroom 20
Warner Bros. TV Pilot Screening: Constantine, The Flash, iZombie, Teen Titans Go!
Thursday, July 24
10-11 AM, Ballroom 20
Fox’s 24: Kiefer Sutherland, EP Jon Cassar returns to Comic-Con to show off highlights from 24: Live Another Day.
10:30-11:30 AM, Indigo Ballroom, Hilton Bayfront
Legends Of TV Land: Betty White (The Golden Girls, Hot in Cleveland) and other TV celebs will answer questions about their work and making history on television. Sneak peek of animated episode of Hot in Cleveland, airing July 30th.
Related: ‘Star Wars – Episode VII’ Not Presenting at Comic-Con 2014
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Boyhood bowed spectacularly this weekend, piling audiences into five theaters for the initial run of Richard Linklater‘s tour de force that was 12 years in the making. As we mentioned earlier this morning, the IFC Films title is coming in with a $360 – 385K weekend estimate for a stratospheric $72K to 77K PTA, depending on how the dust settles Sunday. Friday and Saturday numbers were buoyed by Q&As in both New York and LA, but none are scheduled today. IFC Films was actually conservative reporting their numbers Sunday morning, with an initial $359K gross ($71,800 PTA) though others tracking the numbers had estimates land a bit higher. Whatever the number, the final tally points in one direction — this is a tremendous opening for the Berlin and Sundance festival title (and award winner at both) that had audiences swooning ahead of this weekend’s opening. Boyhood is easily the year’s second-best opener in terms of screen average behind Fox Searchlight’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, which opened in several locations back in March with a record-breaking $202,792 PTA. ”We are thrilled with the opening numbers for Boyhood this weekend,” IFC noted in reporting their numbers. “The opening numbers have surpassed our highest expectations for the weekend, as audiences flocked to theatrers for the critically acclaimed film.”
IFC Films financed the film by doling out small amounts each year over its 12-year process of creation. The AMC Networks division has a long-standing relationship with Linklater, having financed Waking Life and Tape. The Austin-based filmmaker and producer John Sloss had approached IFC Films president Jonathan Sehring about what was then dubbed the “12-year project” and, together with his boss Josh Sapan at AMC Networks, committed about $200,000 a year to the film’s editing and shooting. Said Sehring and Sapan: “Back in 2002, we thought Rick’s idea was an extraordinary notion and we believed him to be a great filmmaker. Putting our creative and commercial fates in the hands of people who are brilliant has proven to be a terrific strategy for the company and we couldn’t’ be happier to have supported Rick’s creative vision. The result is a film for the ages and we can’t wait to bring Boyhood to the rest of the country in the weeks to come.”
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