While the big Cannes Film Festival awards will be unveiled this weekend, Salvo took the Grand Prix Nespresso, the top prize at Cannes Critics Week. Salvo was directed by Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza. Salvo also took the France 4 Visionary Awards. The Discovery prize for short film went to Come And Play by Daria Belova. Pleasure by Ninja Thyberg won the Canal+ short film award, while the Society of Authors, Directors and Composers Award for best screenplay went to Le Demantlement by Sebastien Pilote. The opening film was Suzanne, which premiered out of competition, and Sundance pic Ain’t Them Bodies Saints also had a special out of competition screening in the slate.
Kurt Sutter, the colorful creator/executive producer of FX’s Sons Of Anarchy, has signed with WME. He was with ICM Partners. Last year, Sutter inked his first overall deal: a three-year pact with FX Prods and 20th Century Fox TV, whose division Fox21 co-produces SOA with FX Prods. In addition to running SOA, which is heading into its sixth season, Sutter has been developing new projects for FX, including a comedy that may star his wife/SOA star Katey Sagal and an action/horror drama with John Shiban. Last year, the Shield alum executive produced Kurt Sutter’s Outlaw Empires for Discovery Channel. He continues to be repped by attorney Michael Gendler.
Matt Rogers will be the host of USA Network‘s new competition reality series Summer Camp, which will pit 16 die-hard campers in over-the-top competitions inspired by classic camp games. The final competitors eventually face off in an Olympic-style finale to determine the winner. The eight-episode one-hour series will premiere July 11. Allison Grodner and Rich Meehan are producing the Sony Pictures TV series via their Fly on the Wall Entertainment. Rogers was the former host of GSN’s Beat The Chefs, Discovery Channel’s Really Big Things, CBS’ There Goes the Neighborhood and Lifetime’s Coming Home. He is repped by APA and Untitled Entertainment.
San Francisco, Calif. – Discovery Communications and Revision3 announced today the launch of TestTube, a digital video network designed to ignite online audiences who are incurably curious about the world around them. TestTube debuts with a robust slate of 15 short-form series and many more in development, and hosted by some of the Internet’s top personalities. TestTube is available at TestTube.com, and through Revision3’s mobile site and apps, YouTube, Xbox and additional distribution partners.
The Voice judge and Oklahoma native said last night that he wanted to put together a relief concert in support of victims of the massive Oklahoma tornado that hit earlier this week, killing dozens. Now NBC is working fast to make it happen. If it comes together, I understand the Blake Shelton-led concert would be held early next week — the network is putting together a few more elements, including where the event will be held. Details about the performances are sketchy, but it’s anticipated that several of Shelton’s Voice co-judges would be involved. Shelton performed a song with wife Miranda Lambert during last night’s live episode of The Voice as Red Cross donation information played on the screen.
Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘The English Teacher’, ‘Frances Ha’, ‘Augustine’, ‘Pieta’, ‘Black Rock’, 33 Postcards’
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
After co-writing last summer’s animated box office hit Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, Noah Baumbach returns to the Specialty realm with Frances Ha, which debuts this weekend theatrically. Baumbach co-wrote with Greta Gerwig, who also stars in the film. Also opening is veteran TV director Craig Zisk’s The English Teacher, starring Julianne Moore. French period drama Augustine joins Friday’s newcomers, starring Chiara Mastroianni, while Sundance Midnight thriller Black Rock also joins the fray along with Venice Golden Lion winner Pieta and Guy Pearce starter, 33 Postcards.
The feature, directed by Craig Zisk had its World Premiere at the recent Tribeca Film Festival, though distributor Cinedigm caught a private sneak of the film last fall in New York. “We fell in love with the playful wit of the screenplay, the polished direction by Craig Zisk and the terrific performances by the stellar cast, including Julianne Moore, Greg Kinnear, Nathan Lane, Michael Angarano and Lilly Collins”, noted Cinedigm’s co-president entertainment Susan Margolins. “We chose this weekend to follow closely on the heels of the film’s premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.” The comedy-drama stars Moore as a high school English teacher who lives in a small town living a simple existence. A former pupil (Angarano) returns after failing to succeed as a playwright in New York, and she convinces him to produce his play at the school. But his overbearing father has other plans.
The three-year legal saga between David Bergstein and Aramid Entertainment’s David Molner took a further turn today as the producer and film financier sued Aramid and others for extortion. The three-claim complaint (read it here) alleges that after Bergstein refused to pay his former friend Parmjit Singh Parmar the $5 million the broke health care entrepreneur was demanding, Parmar switched loyalties to Molner. “Parmar proceeded to publicly provide Molner with the illegally recorded telephone conversations and other confidential information that Parmar had obtained through his position as Bergstein’s trusted confidant. By and through Parmar’s insidious conduct, Molner came into position of information detrimental to Bergstein to which Molner would never have had access, nor been entitled,” claims the dense 25-page complaint filed today in LA Superior Court.
2013 Produced By Conference: Nancy Daniels, Mark Gordon On Mentor List; Jon Favreau, Roberto Orci Among Speakers
LOS ANGELES (May 14, 2013) – The Producers Guild of America (PGA) announced today the list of top industry producers and executives who will serve as mentors during the intimate Mentoring Roundtable meetings that will be held throughout the 5th annual Produced By Conference (PBC), June 8-9, at 20th Century Fox Studios in Los Angeles. Confirmed mentors include:
UPDATED (Refresh For Latest…)
9:00 PM: 20th Television Private Reception
Upstairs at the Kimberly Hotel, 145 East 50th Street
9:30 PM: UTA Upfronts Party
Marquee, 289 10th Avenue
5:30 PM: Fox Upfront Post-Party
Wollman Rink, Central Park & 59th Street
7:45 PM: Fox Private Dinner Hosted by Kevin Reilly & Joe Earley
Stone Rose Lounge, 4th Floor of Time Warner Center, 10 Columbus Circle
9:00 PM: NBC After-Party
Del Posto Ristorante, 85 10th Avenue
11:00 PM: WME Late Night Party
No. 8, 357 West 16th Street
The Chicago way is coming to Jeff Zucker’s CNN in 2014. The cable news network has picked up Chicagoland, executive produced by Robert Redford with his Sundance Productions partner Laura Michalchyshyn and filmmakers Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin of BCTV. The eight-part unscripted series examines the challenges the Windy City faces as it tries to rebuild from the consequences of the recent economic crisis. Praising “tough, visionary” Windy City mayor (and brother of Redford’s WME agency chief Ari Emanuel) Rahm Emanuel, Redford said today in a statement that “Chicago has always had a rhythm all its own. It’s a city that wears its heart on its sleeve and I am honored to be a part of telling this story.” The series is set to debut on CNN early next year. “We’re very pleased to bring this unique long-form series to the network”, said Amy Entelis, CNN Worldwide’s SVP Talent and Content Development. “Chicagoland is a creative exploration of stories relevant to every city and every American”. Sundance Productions’ debut documentary All The President’s Men Revisited premiered on Discovery last month.
This is one of two projects Mike Fleming Jr told you about last month that paired the scribe with The Weinstein Company. The other has James Ponsoldt writing and directing Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, the upcoming novel by Matthew Quick, whose Silver Linings Playbook was an Oscar-season hit for Weinstein. Here’s today’s release confirming Pippin:
New York, NY – May 7, 2013 – The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today that James Ponsoldt has officially signed on to write the big screen adaptation of the beloved musical PIPPIN. Polsoldt’s most recent credits include directing 2013 Sundance Film Festival hit THE SPECTACULAR NOW and writing and directing Aaron Paul-starrer SMASHED. TWC has owned the film rights for nearly ten years to the production, which Dylan Sellers and Julie Oh will oversee for the company. PIPPIN originally opened on Broadway in 1972 and was directed by Bob Fosse with music by Steven Schwartz and book by Roger O. Hirson. It was nominated for 11 Tony Awards in 1973, including Best Musical.
The numbers are OK, but investors may be cranky: This is the third time in a row that Discovery Communications‘ earnings have fallen short of the Street’s projections. The company reported Q1 net income of $231M, +3.6% vs the period last year, on revenues of $1.16B, +6.5%. The top line is a little ahead of the $1.15B that analysts anticipated. But earnings at 64 cents a share are a penny shy of the consensus forecast. Revenues for the U.S. networks were up just 1% to $686M. The segment suffered in comparison to last year when it benefited from a slug of cash from streaming services. Distribution revenues were down 9% year-over-year. Yet many may be surprised to see ad sales up 8%; some analysts expected to see a number closer to 10%. All told, the adjusted cash flow for the U.S. networks fell 5% to $377M. International was a different story with revenues up 17% to $444M, and adjusted cash flow +8% to $184M. Discovery projects that it will end this year with as much as $5.7B in revenue and as much as $1.3B in net income available to shareholders.
No surprise about who topped the list of 2012′s highest paid CEOs at the media companies whose compensation practices I track most closely. (See here for an explanation). CBS’ Les Moonves returns to the head of the pack with $62.2M, even though his package was 11.1% smaller than it was in 2011. That was an anomaly: The top 20 collectively made $542.7M, up from $416.6M in 2011, according to company proxy statements filed at the SEC. It took $25.9M to crack the Top 10 — last year Time Warner Cable’s Glenn Britt made it with $16.4M. The most notable change in this year’s list vs 2011 is the jump by Liberty Media’s Greg Maffei to No. 2 from No. 28 as his company adjusted stock options just in case the feds change the corporate deduction this year for performance-based compensation.
Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer also joins the top 10 following her move there from Google. Her appearance also highlights a quirk in this year’s list which has more CEOs than companies: Yahoo had three CEOs last year (Mayer is still there) and there were two apiece at Sirius XM (James Meyer replaced Mel Karmazin) and Cinemark (Tim Warner is now in charge). Also, remember that this list just includes corporate CEOs, not division chiefs or board chairs. I’ll be back soon with a list of the highest-paid media execs. The numbers on the right are the amount in millions of dollars for the total compensation as reported by each company.
Here’s our list of 2012′s highest-paid media CEOs:
EXCLUSIVE: Big Media companies don’t tell you when something’s rotten with the corporate culture. But this list should help you begin your search. This is Deadline’s third annual tally of out-of-whack CEO compensation. It’s an account of chiefs who not only make vastly more than you and me, but also collect far more than their closest colleagues at their own companies. Corporate governance experts become concerned when a CEO consistently makes at least three times more than the median for the four other highest-paid execs that the SEC requires companies to list in the annual proxy statement. That’s the standard I use, and it indicates that 14 out of 31 media companies that I tracked and that have already filed 2012 data failed the test — in many cases miserably.
Out of whack CEO pay can send a poisonous message to employees, including others in the C-suite. Internal pay parity “is critical to ensuring fairness and encouraging a collaborative team effort,” News Corp says in its proxy. Huge disparities also can tip you off to troublesome boardroom beliefs. It might indicate that directors lack faith in the business or leadership team — and fear that things will unravel if the top dog leaves. It may be a symptom of corporate groupthink where people give the chief credit for everything that goes well, and seek scapegoats for everything that doesn’t. Or it might mean that directors are beholden to the CEO — or share a cynical and grandiose sense of entitlement — and see nothing wrong with helping him (it’s almost always “him”) stuff his pockets with shareholders’ money, even where there’s little danger that he might leave if paid less. Whatever the case, researchers find that all too often the damage from such obeisance to the CEO eventually hurts a company’s performance and stock price. (For example, here, here, here, and here.)
This list looks at the biggest and best known infotainment providers. I include Web-based companies such as AOL and Yahoo that produce and sell their own content, and added Facebook which depends on ad sales. But I left out ones including Apple and Verizon that generate most of their revenues from hardware or personal communications services. (I’ve also left out Google, where the top execs benefit from stock performance and only collect a symbolic $1 in compensation.) For context, I’ve also noted how many people the company employs, and how that’s changed since the last fiscal year, to see whether these fabulously rich CEOs were job creators. The data isn’t nearly as revealing as it ought to be. For example, the SEC doesn’t require companies to specify how many jobs are based in the U.S., or even how many are full time. I’ve also included the CEO’s 2012 compensation rank among other media chiefs in our list, as well as among all media executives listed in their company proxies, and the average compensation over the last three years. (To avoid having them counted twice, I combined the compensation that Sumner Redstone collects as chairman of CBS and Viacom, and that Charles Dolan collects at Cablevision and AMC Networks.)
A few things to keep in mind: The SEC reporting rules only cover the top-paid executives of publicly traded U.S. companies. That means we’ll miss a lot of highly paid people who work at subsidiaries of a big company; Universal Studios’ Ron Meyer may be a big deal in Hollywood, but he didn’t make the top echelon at his corporate parent Comcast. Also, the pay data given to the SEC can spike in a year when an executive cashes in stock or collects deferred compensation. Averages also can be skewed when people on the list come and go in the middle of the year. So consider this to be a starting point to judge whether a CEO was paid fairly — not a final verdict.
I’ll be back soon with additional information including a similar list showing CEOs whose pay was more in line with his or her colleagues. Here’s how the out-of-whack CEOs stack up for 2012:
1. Live Nation: Michael Rapino. The concert and ticketing giant had a so-so year generating higher revenues but even higher costs — and a net loss. Last year’s big tours included Madonna, Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Roger Waters, and Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band. Company shares appreciated 8.1% in 2012, lagging the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 which was +12.7%. But the big excitement took place at year-end with the surprising departure of Chairman Irving Azoff, taking performers he represents including Eagles, Van Halen, and Christina Aguilera. That left Rapino clearly in charge — but under the watchful eye of Liberty Media, which owns nearly 27% of the stock. With a flood of option awards, the CEO’s compensation rose 138.4% to $28.5M (The package: $2.2M salary, $243,281 bonus, $2.6M stock awards, $19M option awards, $4.4M non-equity compensation, $46,408 other compensation.) That was a whopping 17.0 times more than the median for the four other highest paid execs — up from last year’s 5.5 times — and 46% of the pie. Even these numbers underplay the disparity in executive pay: The group of other execs includes Azoff who made $27.4M. The company had 7,100 full time employees at year end, up 500. (Pay rank among media CEOs: 9. Among all media execs: 11. Average annual pay over last three years: $18.7M.)
ABC and ABC Family discovered today that they must face the courts over whether they stole the idea for a 2011 Christmas movie from two veteran producers. A LA Superior Court judge today rejected an effort by the two companies and other defendants to legally eviscerate the complaint Beth Grossbard and Barri Rosenblum filed in January claiming their I Hate Christmas idea was lifted for the ABC Family movie 12 Dates Of Christmas. Judge Ruth Ann Kwan ruled against most of the demurrer (read it here) the defense introduced in late February. Kwan ordered that the claims of breach of confidence and accounting could stand from the initial complaint, but she did instruct Grossbard and Rosenblum’s lawyers to amend their breach of contract suit in regard to the claim of constructive trust. Once that is done, the process of discovery will begin in the case — which means it is still a ways off from reaching a jury as the plaintiffs’ have requested.
As I reported in January, the two seasoned producers say that they and I Hate Christmas writer Denise Gruska met with then-ABC Family Director of Development Beth Miller and ABC Family VP Original Programming Donna Ebbs on December 13, 2005, at the company’s Burbank offices in a pitch meeting for their TV movie. Though everyone supposedly made nice, their idea eventually wasn’t picked up. However, when they saw 12 Dates Of Christmas in December 2011 on ABC Family, the duo felt there had been a “brazen theft,” as their complaint states, of many elements of their movie. Besides the plot and other similarities, what also fueled the producers’ outrage was that 12 Dates Of Christmas was executive produced by Miller, who had left ABC since the 2005 meeting. Disney was a defendant in the original complaint but has since been dismissed from the case with prejudice.
Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Kiss Of The Damned’, ‘What Maisie Knew’, ‘The Iceman’, ‘Generation Um…’, ‘Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf’s', ‘Dead Man’s Burden’, ‘Something In The Air’, ‘The Happy House’
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Following last week’s hefty rollout of new Specialty films, the coming weekend is also awash in a large number of diverse titles that will hit the limited release slate, including titles with stars, soon-to-be stars and big screen novices. Xan Cassavetes will open her drama/thriller Kiss Of The Damned via Magnolia this weekend with a cadre of French vampires. Julianne Moore, Steve Coogan and Alexander Skarsgard star in Millennium Entertainment’s What Maisie Knew. The distributor is doubling up this weekend, also bowing The Iceman with Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, Chris Evans, Ray Liotta and David Schwimmer, while Keanu Reeves stars in Phase 4′s Generation Um… Cinedigm will open indie Western Dead Man’s Burden from newcomer Jared Moshé, starring Barlow Jacobs, Clare Bowen and David Call, while First Run Features’ The Happy House will also be looking for its niche among the weekend’s new titles. IFC Films will bow veteran French filmmaker Olivier Assayas’ latest, Something In The Air, while doc Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf’s joins the weekend’s packed lineup.
Xan Cassavetes initially had the idea for Kiss Of The Damned after touring a house some years ago. The home eventually became the venue for the thriller/drama which revolves around a vampire, Djuna, who resists the advances of Paolo, but soon gives into their passion. “I went through the house and the nature of its setting felt so transitory — it’s a weekend house and it’s the setting for a transitory vampire,” said Cassavetes. “I looked at the house a year and a half before writing the screenplay.” After working on other projects, Cassavetes recalled the house and wrote the screenplay for Kiss Of The Damned in only three weeks. She and her team were able to put together the financing elements from previous films. “I wanted French actors because the movie has the flavor of a beautiful European flavor,” said Cassavetes. “I also wanted relatively unknown actors because I thought it was more powerful to buy into that.”
EXCLUSIVE: Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Prods has signed a two-year, first-look deal with AMC to develop and produce scripted cable projects for the network. The pact, Scott Free’s first such first-look agreement with a cable network, stems from the production company’s collaboration with AMC on The Terror, a drama series project based on the 2007 best-selling novel by Dan Simmons, which was taken in for development by AMC in February. The Terror is joined by two other Scott Free drama projects developed under the first-look deal. One is an untitled futuristic, dystopian, sci-fi saga from executive producer and writer Jason Cahill (Fringe) and producer and Emmy-winning prosthetic makeup artist and The Walking Dead co-executive producer Greg Nicotero, who also has a deal at AMC. The other, Raiders, from executive producer and writer Evan Wright (Generation Kill), was among the finalists at this year’s AMC pilot script showcase held this month. It is a WWII drama about a rogue U.S. Navy commander who leads an unconventional warfare unit into the heart of Africa on a mission that will bend the arc of history. This marks AMC’s second first-look deal with a production company. The first one, announced in February, also is with producers who have strong feature pedigrees, Stacey Sher and Michael Shamberg and their Double Feature Films.
CBS was the most nominated network at the 40th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards announced this morning with 50 nominations, almost half of them for soap The Young And The Restless, which was the most nominated program with 23. All surviving soaps on the broadcast networks received a best drama series nomination, plus One Life To Live for its final episodes on ABC. (The Daytime Emmy Awards cover the previous calendar year. OLTL and All My Children‘s reboots by Prospect Park will be eligible next year.) Among talk shows, stalwart The Ellen DeGeneres Show again leads the way with 10 noms and will square off for best talk show with Live!, The View and The Talk. Katie Couric’s freshman syndicated talk show was the only newcomer in the top talk show categories, nominated for best talk show/informative alongside The Doctors and Dr. Oz. However, fellow rookie talk show host Steve Harvey snagged a nomination for his game show host duties on Family Feud.
The National Academy Of TV Arts & Sciences kept with tradition in the morning show category, nominating the three broadcast network morning programs including the embattled Today. Speaking of embattled, Kevin Clash, subject of multiple sexual abuse lawsuits, landed his last nomination as Elmo puppeteer. This year’s Daytime Entertainment Emmy Award for lifetime achievement will be presented to game show veterans Monty Hall and Bob Stewart. The 40th Daytime Emmys will he held June 16 at the Beverly Hilton and air on HLN. Here is a full list of the nominees and tallies by network and by program:
Four days after Sony slotted the Cameron Diaz-Jason Segel comedy Sex Tape for July 2, 2014, Warner Bros has lit the fuse on a potentially explosive faceoff with Melissa McCarthy. The Identity Thief star’s latest road-trip raunchfest Tammy will hit theaters that same Independence Day weekend, setting up an intriguing showdown. McCarthy stars in the New Line pic as a woman who loses her job and discovers her husband is cheating, then hits the highway for a bout of self-discovery along with her grandmother, a cussin’, diabetic boozehound. Mark Duplass last month landed a key role in the flick, which was written by McCarthy and hubby Ben Falcone; the latter stepped in as director for TV veteran Beth McCarthy-Miller, who was to make her feature helming debut. Tammy also stars Kathy Bates, Susan Sarandon, Allison Janney and Dan Aykroyd.