Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Hateful Eight’ Gawker Suit Tossed But Not Dead

By | Tuesday April 22, 2014 @ 6:10pm PDT

DJP LEGAL BADGEJust days after a triumphant live staged reading of his The Hateful Eight script, Quentin Tarantino today took a hit in his copyright infringement lawsuit against Gawker over the site’s promotion and dissemination of the leaked material. Film Independent Presents The World Premiere Of A Staged Reading By Quentin Tarantino: "The Hateful Eight"“The Court GRANTS Defendant’s Motion on the grounds that Plaintiff has failed to adequately plead facts establishing direct infringement by a third party or facts that would demonstrate Defendant either caused, induced, or materially contributed to the alleged direct infringement of those third party infringers,” said Judge John Walter today in an order (read it here) on Gawker’s motion to dismiss. Essentially, by not being able to display a particular case of infringement facilitated by Gawker’s actions, the judge decided the director has nothing solid to move forward with.

Related: Tarantino’s Staged ‘Hateful Eight’ Reading Reveals Pic Not Dead

“Plaintiff merely speculates that some direct infringement must have taken place,” says Walter. “For example, Plaintiff’s Complaint fails to allege the identity of a single third-party infringer, the date, the time, or the details of a single instance of third-party infringement, or, more importantly, how Defendant allegedly caused, induced, or materially contributed to the infringement by those third parties.” Read More »

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Food Network Adds Valerie Bertinelli Project To Daytime Lineup

By | Tuesday April 22, 2014 @ 11:45am PDT

food1Food Network and Cooking Channel today unveiled 35 new series that will roll out during the next several months. Among the new additions on Food Networks’ slate, announced during Scripps Networks Interactive‘s upfront in New York, is The Valerie Bertinelli Project (wt) set for a September premiere. It features the Hot In Cleveland star and bestselling cookbook author and her husband preparing dinners for family and celebrity friends in their Los Angeles home. Bunim/Murray is producing. Also on the slate is an expansion of the Chopped franchise set for a July premiere. The five-episode Chopped Teens Tournament features 16 talented teenage chefs who must create the perfect appetizer, entree and dessert as they navigate through each round. The winner from each episode heads into the finale with a chance to win a $25,000 grand prize and culinary school scholarship. Notional is producing for Food Network. New Food Network and Cooking Channel series include: Read More »

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Box Office Final: ‘Heaven’ Is Real Deal Behind ‘Captain America’ Which Shoots Past $200M; ‘Rio 2′ Perches At No. 3; ‘Transcendence’ Short Circuited

OPENING: Heaven Is For Real (SONY) stellar at $22.5M (3-day) and $29.5M (5-day) for No. 2; Transcendence (WB) despondent at No. 4 with $10.8M; A Haunted House 2 (OPRD) $8.8M; Bears (DIS) hibernating with $4.7M.

Box Office Weekend Results5TH UPDATE, 2:45 PM: The final numbers are in for the box office Top 20, and Sony/TriStar has a lot to celebrate this weekend as peeps flocked to Heaven Is For Real this Easter holiday with a final tally of $22.5M (three-day) and $29.5M (five-day). Disney/Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier has a very good chance of being No. 1 for four weekends in a row as there is nothing in the hamper next weekend to stop it. captain-america-wallpaper-batman-vs-superman-avengers-2-captain-america-2-spider-man-2-is-this-the-golden-age-of-superhero-moviesNot since Lionsgate unleashed The Hunger Games in 2012 has that happened, and before that, the last time was in 2008 when Warner Bros introduced The Dark Knight. Rio 2 is No. 3 in its second weekend out, dropping 44%, and racking up $75M in two weeks. Transcendence, the Johnny Depp-starring sci-fi film, short-circuited this weekend and should have been retitled Despondence as it came in under $11M for Warner Bros. and Alcon. Uh, no peeps cared for that one. transcendence-trailer-johnny-deppSurprising coming from Oscar-winning cinematographer Wally Pfister who made his directing debut and delivered such a bomb. The trailer was confusing and hard to follow. Seemed like it was just a bunch of shots of Depp in different states of duress instead of selling futuristic sizzle. The one sheet was a headshot of Depp with digits on his head. And the production stills made him look like American Hustle‘s Bradley Cooper in perm rods. It’s like Lawnmower 2 for the YK2 generation. Yes, in fact, there is actually a Y2K joke in there … so 2000.

Leaving no question about Divine Intervention: Heaven Is For Real - Connor CorumNoah jumped up two notches yesterday over opener Bears and God’s Not Dead to round out the Top 10 … and … Draft Day (which dropped 42% this weekend) scored better in its sophomore frame and juked Divergent this weekend to get the No. 6 spot. A Haunted House 2 from Open Road creaked its way to No. 5 and $8.8M in its debut while Oculus dropped 57% in its second weekend. Opening next weekend: the Cameron Diaz-Kate Upton-Leslie Mann comedy The Other Woman (Fox), Brick Mansions (REL) which stars the late Paul Walker, and the horror film The Quiet Ones (LGF). Expanding from five theaters to 25 runs in LA and NY will be the John Turturo’s comedy Fading Gigolo (Millennium). Here are the final weekend box office numbers: Read More »

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Quentin Tarantino’s Staged ‘Hateful Eight’ Reading Reveals Pic Not Dead Yet

hateful 8 Quentin Tarantino as director“We’ve been rehearsing this for the last three days and we’re not bad,” Quentin Tarantino told a packed crowd tonight at the live staged reading of his The Hateful Eight script. With alumni from his past pics such as Samuel L Jackson, Tim Roth, Kurt Russell, James Parks, Amber Tamblyn Michael Madsen, Denis Menochet, James Remar and Walton Goggins plus Bruce Dern by his side onstage at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel in downtown LA, the director’s 3.5-hour performance of the five-chapter Western set in post-Civil War Wyoming revealed that Tarantino has a career in theater if he ever decided to chuck the whole moviemaking thing.

Related: Samuel L. Jackson Part Of Saturday’s ‘Hateful Eight’ Reading

Despite the controversy and legal action surrounding the leaked script, which Gawker put online in January, tonight’s Film Independent Presents the World Premiere of a Staged Reading by Quentin Tarantino: The Hateful Eight, as it was formally titled, also revealed that the big-screen version might not be as shelved as the director first told my colleague Mike Fleming Jr. on January 21. “I’m working on a second draft and I will do a third draft, but we’re reading from the first draft,” Tarantino, wearing a black Stetson and red ribbed cowboy shirt, said to the 1,200 patrons in the almost SRO theater before the performance started. (The well-heeled crowd included longtime Tarantino producers Harvey and Bob Weinstein.) “The Chapter 5 here will not be the Chapter 5 later, so this will be the only time it is seen ever.”

Hateful 8 Samuel L. Jackson as the majorRegardless of how Hateful Eight lives on, the crowd loved the show they saw tonight — especially the hands-on onstage narration and direction from Tarantino. “Guys, you are starting to drift away from the dialogue on the page,” the Oscar winner told the actors at one point around halfway through. “No more co-writing,” he added to a big laugh from the audience. “He’s directing,” said Jackson at another part when Tarantino ran across the stage to whisper something into his ear. That also got a big roar from the crowd. A couple of other times, the director asked the actors to start a particular scene over again. Near the end of the performance, Tarantino playfully told Goggins to just read the script and not worry about the imaginary guns in his hands. Also during the later part of the show, both Goggins and Madsen broke from the script and joked with Tarantino about a narration line where Madsen’s character was described as looking like “he’s cumming in his pants.” Madsen told the director that “it’s never happened before.” Tarantino shot back that he’d show him one day what it was like.

Besides several standing ovations, only a 20-minute intermission broke up the show. Tickets for tonight’s event went for $150-$200 a pop, with all proceeds going to Film Independent’s programming efforts at LACMA. Security was a top concern, with the crowd having to give up their cell phones and other electronics before entering the downtown theater. Read More »

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UPDATE: James Franco’s Former Biz Management’s Countersuit “Will Be Shut Down Quickly”, Says Plaintiffs’ Attorney

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 8:20pm PDT

DJP LEGAL BADGE"Of Mice And Men" Broadway Opening Night - After PartyUPDATED, 8:20 PM: Just hours after James Franco’s former management company sued the actor’s ex-rep and his ex-financial adviser for fraud and a litany of other claims, Tanner Mainstain Blatt Glynn & Johnson LLP has fired back with a counterclaim. “JLM, the management company, was rife with internal mismanagement, surreptitious behavior, duplicitousness and questionable ethical acts,” the Hollywood financial management company said in its 7-page filing today in LA Superior Court. “By its Complaint, the management company and its owners seek to make TMBGJ responsible for their own myriad Tannerinternal shortcomings.” The counterclaim alleges that in desperation to keep The Planet Of The Apes actor as a client, JLM partner and co-founder Randy James looked the other way at his former partner Miles Levy’s supposed skimming of a third of Franco’s commissions from 2006 to late 2013 as well as other indiscretions.

The lawyers for James and fellow plaintiff and former JLM director Ken Jacobson isn’t buying the spirit or the letter of the counterclaim. “This is no defense to the complaint’s allegations that Tanner Mainstain name partner Steve Blatt knowingly facilitated, concealed and profited from Mr. Levy’s theft from the corporation,” plaintiffs’ primary attorney Devin McRae said in a statement after the counterclaim was filed today. “The law doesn’t allow fraudsters to point to the victim and say, ‘It’s your fault I duped you’. This pleading will be shut down quickly.” TMBGJ is represented by attorney Randall Dean of LA film Chapman Glucksman Dean Roeb & Barger.

PREVIOUSLY, 1:06 PM: Last fall my colleague Mike Fleming Jr reported that James Franco and Miles Levy, his manager of almost two decades, had parted ways. Today, according to a multi-claim complaint (read it here) filed in LA Superior Court, we might have a sense of what really happened. “Box office star James Franco’s recently fired talent and financial managers, Defendants Miles Levy and Steve Blatt, conspired to, and did by fraudulent means, embezzle significant sums in commissions due James Levy Management for nearly a decade,” says the filing for a jury trial. It adds dramatically: “The thieves have been caught and the day of reckoning has arrived.”

2012 Palm Springs International ShortFest - Agents, Managers and Actors PanelLevy is said to have been skimming a third of the 15% Franco has been paying in commissions to the Burbank-based management company since 2006. Alleging breach of contract, fraud and unjust enrichment among other claims, James Levy Management co-founder Randy James and former company director Ken Jacobson have gone after Levy plus big-time Hollywood financial management firm Tanner Mainstain Blatt Glynn & Johnson LLP and partner Blatt for unspecified compensatory, exemplary and punitive damages. They also want an independent accounting, a court declaration of their rights, and an order “removing Levy from office.” The plaintiffs say they discovered this case of sticky fingers on March 20, 2014 and that is why they have brought this legal action now. Obviously, the 50-year friendship and 28-year business partnership between James and Levy has hit a bit of a rocky period to put it mildly. Read More »

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Samuel L. Jackson Part Of Saturday’s ‘Hateful Eight’ Reading

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 10:59am PDT

samuel-l-jackson-quentin-tarantino-sliceOrganizers have treated Film Independent’s staged reading of Quentin Tarantino’s latest script The Hateful Eight like a national security matter, restricting things like cell phones and computers and staying mum on casting ahead of Saturday night’s event. But I have confirmed that Tarantino staple Samuel L Jackson will play a part at reading set for the Theatre at the Ace Hotel in downtown LA. What role he might read remains unknown, but it begs the question what other Tarantino regulars might also participate in the event. (Any guesses, Deadline readers?) Tarantino is casting and directing the show, whose $200 tickets are the hottest in town. That’s no doubt because of the heat surrounding the Western screenplay, which was leaked prematurely and ended up on Gawker — much to the consternation of Tarantino, who then told Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr that because of the breaches he wasn’t going to turn the script into a movie. He later sued Gawker for posting it and a January 27, 2015 trial date has been set; the two sides are currently in court-ordered mediation. Film Independent first fueled the Jackson speculation with a tweet just now:

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Eion Bailey To Recur On ‘Ray Donovan’

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 10:30am PDT

Eion Bailey (Fight Club, Almost Famous)eionbailey has booked a recurring role on Showtime‘s Ray Donovan. Bailey, repped by Paradigm and Industry Entertainment, will play a charismatic motivational speaker/self-help guru who needs Ray’s help. Ray Donovan stars Liev Schreiber as LA’s best professional fixer, the man called in to make the city’s celebrities, superstar athletes, and business moguls’ most complicated and combustible situations go away. Bailey most recently recurred on ABC’s Once Upon A Time. His other TV credits include Band Of Brothers miniseries, Dirty Little Secrets, Covert Affairs, Law & Order: SVU and ER. The 12-episode second season of the Mark Gordon-produced Ray Donovan is set to premiere Sunday, July 13.

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A&E Greenlights Reality Series ‘D.O.A.’ From Dick Wolf

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 11:45am PDT

A&E logo1A&E Network has given the green light to unscripted series D.O.A. (working title) from Law & Order executive producer Dick Wolf and Left/Right Productions. The series follows an elite team of detectives who will re-examine controversial murder cases in which unresolved questions linger long after the verdict. Production begins this spring on eight hour-long episodes. The team includes Chicago homicide detective Michelle Wood, Miami PD detective Joe Schillaci, and retired NYPD detective and supervisor and Kevin “Spider” Gannon. The three will begin their investigation at a reconstructed crime scene and work the case interviewing first-person players and forensic specialists. The question is whether they agree with the original verdict or if the wrong person is behind bars. This marks the latest reality play for Wolf, who has also cracked the reality space with TNT hit Cold Justice, which wrapped its second season last month. The network in February ordered six more episodes to air this summer. Wolf’s Law & Order: SVU, the longest-running drama series currently on TV, is now in its 15th season.

Related: Could It Be Curtains For The ‘Law & Order’ Franchise This Season With End For ‘SVU’?

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Voting Glitch Fixed For Brazilian ‘Rising Star’; ‘Boom!’ Big In Israel; ‘Host In The Box’ To Spain; More

By | Thursday, 17 April 2014 06:00 UK

Brazil’s ‘Rising Star’ Glitch Fixed; ‘Boom!’ Blowing Up In Israel
The second airing of the local adaptation of Rising Star in Brazil went off without a hitch on Sunday after a glitch during the premiere last week meant boom!that some viewers were unable to enter their votes. Keshet International reports today that Superstar, as it’s known locally, had a 30% average audience share in its sophomore outing at 11pm Sunday on Rede Globo. The interactive app that allows viewers to vote whether an act moves ahead has been downloaded 1.4M times with 2.5M votes cast during Episode 2. Closer to home, Keshet’s super-hot Mip-TV format Boom! grew in its second airing on Israel’s Channel 2 last week with a 41.5% share; ratings were up across major demos as well. Boom! sold to the U.S. (Fox), France (TF1), Spain (Atresmedia), Hungary (TV2) and Belgium (VTM) during last week’s market in Cannes.

Cuarto Bringing Endemol’s ‘Host In The Box’ To Spain
Host in the BoxEndemol’s Host In The Box format has sold to Spain’s Cuatro, with Endemol producing locally. The factual entertainment format, created by Endemol Germany, previously sold to Hungary, where it aired for eight episodes on Super TV2; it originally launched on ProSieben in Germany. In each instalment, a different host is locked inside a wooden box and shipped off to an undisclosed location in the home country.

Amazon Sets Read More »

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Cannes: Official Selection Buzz Sharpens (& Sprawls) Ahead Of Thursday’s Reveal

22x30_Cannes2014On Thursday, Thierry Frémaux will unveil the lineup for the 67th running of the Cannes Film Festival. Speculation, comme d’habitude, has been rife for at least the past month as to which titles may make the trip to the Croisette. While one exec with movies in contention says, “It’s going to the wire this year,” some contenders are coming into sharper focus. Although nothing is confirmed until Frémaux says so, among the titles I hear consistently cited as near faits-accomplis are DreamWorks Animation‘s How To Train Your Dragon 2; the Dardenne brothers’ Two Days, One Night with Marion Cotillard; Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher; Mike Leigh‘s Mr Turner; Tommy Lee JonesThe Homesman; and David Cronenberg‘s Maps To The Stars. There are many, many more required to fill the Competition, Out-of-Competition, Un Certain Regard, Special Screenings and other sections. Here’s a primer for what’s looking likely, and what isn’t, to make the cut in an official category on Thursday:

Related: Cannes: 67th Fest Poster Celebrates Marcello Mastroianni In Fellini’s ‘8 1/2’

We know that Nicole Kidman-starrer Grace Of Monaco is the opening-night film. French distributor grace of monacoGaumont is planning a classic Cannes soirée which will follow the official screening and dinner on May 14. In other certainties, French debut feature Party Girl is opening the Un Certain Regard sidebar; a less showy title than 2013’s Bling Ring, but one that fits with UCR jury president Pablo Trapero’s take on the section this year. Jane Campion, the only woman ever to win a Palme d’Or (for The Piano in 1993), is president of the Competition jury whose other members will be revealed shortly.

how-to-train-your-dragonAmong the high-profile Hollywood titles expected is DreamWorks Animation’s How To Train Your Dragon sequel, which I hear is getting a special screening. The studio isn’t commenting, but DWA and Cannes have a long history – going back to when Frémaux took over the selection in 2001 and caused a stir by putting Shrek in the Competition. We’ve heard that Frémaux has put a full-court press on Paul Thomas Anderson to get Inherent Vice (Warner Bros) to the festival. But with a release date at the end of 2014, this could be a long shot, and some I’ve spoken with believe it won’t be ready for next month. Some wonder if Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys jersey boyscould make the trip. Eastwood has been to Cannes several times before and is esteemed by Frémaux who gave him the inaugural Lumière Prize in 2009 at the October festival he oversees in Lyon with Bertrand Tavernier. Although I’m told Jersey Boys isn’t a typical Cannes film, I wouldn’t fully rule it out — it’s also got a timely June release. Read More »

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UPDATE: MGM & Bond Producer Slam Universal In Latest ‘Section 6′ Lawsuit Action

By | Monday April 14, 2014 @ 4:14pm PDT

DJP LEGAL BADGEUPDATED, 4:10 PM: The Section 6 lawsuit that sees two studios pitted against each other is starting to move faster than the opening sequence of a James Bond movie. Just three days after Universal responded to the multi-claim complaint from MGM and Bond producer Danjaq, the plaintiff today fired back with a response to the response. “Defendants thus admit that they not only have no plans to stop their infringing conduct, but that they are forging ahead—right now,” says today’s 4-page filing in federal court (read it here). “Even worse, as Universal knows from public reports, plaintiffs are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in the next James Bond motion picture,Universal-Pictures-logo-2013__140130232555__140321183123-275x141__140404181950 slated for theatrical release in October 2015 and home video release in early 2016,” the filing adds. On April 3, MGM and Danjaq hit Universal with a complaint for unspecified damages and an injunction against the announced Aaron Berg-written World War I spy drama. The plaintiffs charged that mgm__130913144151-200x137__131115203538Section 6 was a rip-off of the James Bond properties, which they own. On April 11, Universal claimed in a filed of its own that the film was not even greenlighted and was still in the very early stages of development and did not infringe on the Bond copyright at all when the script was in its final form. “In essence, Universal’s response is to claim: ‘Just trust us, we’re trying to fix it. But it will take time.,’” the filing says. “That is no basis for Universal to avoid the targeted discovery plaintiffs seek. Without that expedited discovery, any attempt by plaintiffs to obtain preliminary relief would be tantamount to shooting at a moving target. The Court cannot possibly ascertain the status quo under such circumstances, let alone fashion appropriate relief to address it.” Judge Dean D. Pregerson will have to weigh in on this soon, but it sounds like both studios can use an M to separate them in this you said/I said schoolyard brawl.

PREVIOUSLY, 10:39 AM: Looks like Universal have brought their own legal license to kill on board in the Section 6 lawsuit with MGM and James Bond producer Danjaq — in more ways than one. Just over a week after being hit by a multi-claim copyright infringement suit by the duo, the studio has responded and they’ve brought a top operative in Bert Fields to handle things for them. Read More »

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Deadline’s Best TV Stories Of The Week

By | Sunday April 13, 2014 @ 8:15pm PDT

A recap of Deadline’s top TV stories this week:

stephen_colbert-350x262 Stephen Colbert Named CBS’ New ‘Late Show’ Host
By The Deadline Team
A week after David Letterman announced his retirement, CBS has named his successor. Stephen Colbert has inked a five-year deal to take over Late Show, a move that is effective as soon as Letterman officially steps aside from the late-night show he has headlined since its launch on CBS in 1993.

Related:
NBC’s Jimmy Fallon And Seth Meyers Welcome Stephen Colbert To ‘Late Show’: Video
Moonves Takes A ‘Late Show With Stephen Colbert’ Victory Lap
Stephen Colbert Does Not Envy Whoever Replaces David Letterman (Video)

David Letterman On Stephen Colbert’s Hire

CBS’ Late-Night Drama Not Over Yet Despite Practically Perfect Stephen Colbert Hire
By Lisa De Moraes
CBS’ announcement today that Comedy Central rock star Stephen Colbert would replace David Letterman as host of its late-night show in 2015 caps a whirlwind week in which the network jumped from being just a little footnote in the coverage of The Battle Of The Two Jimmys to the undisputed star of the late-night drama. Read More »

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Could It Be Curtains For The ‘Law & Order’ Franchise This Season With End For ‘SVU’?

By | Friday April 11, 2014 @ 8:37am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

svuThat is one of the most intriguing questions heading into the upfronts this year. Of Dick Wolf‘s five Law & Order series, only one — first spinoff Law & Order: SVU – is still on the air. But its renewal is being complicated by financial issues. Now in its 15th season, Law & Order: SVU is the longest-running drama series currently on TV. As a high-end drama at that age, it is inherently expensive, leading to periodic budget reviews. Last year, SVU, nbclogoalong with Wolf’s then-freshman Chicago Fire, received early pickups. This year, Chicago Fire and freshman spinoff Chicago P.D. were among the shows to get early renewals by NBC last month, but SVU wasn’t. (All three are produced by NBC sibling Universal TV, where Wolf is based.) I hear the holdup has to do with a pay cut Wolf had been asked to take in order for SVU to come back, something he has been unwilling to do.

Related: On The Bubble: Where Endangered Broadcast Series Stand

Both sides have a point. Wolf’s camp could argue that SVU is having one of its strongest seasons in years, with star Mariska Hargitay getting notices for her nuanced performance. Averaging a 2.5 adults 18-49 rating (most current), SVU ranks as the No. 4 NBC scripted drama this season behind The Blacklist (4.3), Chicago Fire (2.9) and Grimm (2.6). Last night, the show matched its best 18-49 Live+Same Day rating (2.1) since the season premiere, up 21% from last week. SVU also is up double digits vs. last season, by 21% in 18-49 and by 17% in total viewers, and has an off-network deal with USA. Plus, I hear Wolf had taken a pay cut on the show once and is reluctant to do it again.

chicagopdfireOn the other hand, as solid as they are, SVU‘s numbers still are nowhere near the show’s heyday, prompting the network’s request for cost reduction. Ironically, NBC is in position to hold firm in part because of Wolf’s success with the Chicago Fire franchise. With young series like The Blacklist, Grimm, Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. (2.4 in 18-49) doing as well or better than SVU, the network is far less dependent on the veteran than it was just a couple of years ago. Read More »

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Disney’s Maker Studios Purchase Threatened By Ex-CEO’s Legal Action

By | Thursday April 10, 2014 @ 1:37pm PDT

DJP LEGAL BADGEDisney’s proposed $500 million plus purchase of Maker Studios may have a problem from the past. The former CEO of the multichannel YouTube network wants a California judge to issue a temporary restring order against the planned vote next week on the big ticket merger. “Permitting the April 15, 2014 vote on the Merger to proceed without requiring additional disclosures would makerstudios__140311194353-275x177irreparably harm Plaintiffs, as well as Maker shareholders, because it would deprive them of the opportunity to make an informed vote in the Merger,” says the redacted and previously sealed application, filed yesterday in LA Superior Court by co-founder Danny Zapplin and three other former Maker execs. The TRO application alleges that something has to be done before it “will be too late” because current Maker execs are “skimming tens of millions of dollars for themselves by kicking back to the other stock adverse to the common shareholder.” The application to Judge Elihu Berle became public today. Disney is not named as a defendant in the matter.
Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘American Idol’ & ‘Survivor’ Steady, ‘Criminal Minds’ & ‘Mixology’ Down, ‘SVU’ Rises

By | Thursday April 10, 2014 @ 9:15am PDT

AI April 9Last night on American Idol (2.0/6) the ’80s were truly back in force. The two-hour live performance show saw the Top 8 belt out tunes from Blondie, Journey, Joan Jett, and Cyndi Lauper among others, some advice from Season 7 winner David Cook, a new hairdo from judge Keith Urban, plus an impromptu Madonna tune from Harry Connick Jr. It also saw the long-running reality competition series remain pretty steady with last week in adults 18-49 with a 5% dip and even with its total viewership of 8.8 million on April 2.

Idol again came up short against Survivor (2.4/8) in their common hour. Airing between 8-9 PM and the highest-rated show of the night, the veteran CBS competition series bopped up 4% from last week in the key demo. The Fox show drew a 1.9 among the 18-49s in the one-hour overlap. That’s the worst Idol has done against Survivor in adults 18-survivor april 949. The CBS show topped the Fox show for the first time ever in the common hour on March 12. The victory lap continued March 19 and saw Survivor beating Idol in total viewers in the 8 PM slot for the first time. On March 26, the one-hour Survivor bested the 2-hour Idol in total viewers overall. Read More »

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On The Bubble: Where Endangered Broadcast Series Stand

By | Wednesday April 9, 2014 @ 2:25pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

networklogosIt is very difficult for showrunners to wrap production on a season without knowing if their series would get another season. Unfortunately, that is the nature of the network business, and about two dozen shows go though that every year. Here is a look at each network’s comedy and drama series in peril and their odds for survival.

With all the drama carnage at ABC this season (Lucky 7, Betrayal, Killer Women, Mind Games, The Assets), the network is pretty lean on the hourlong side, and all shows currently on the air have a good shot at coming back. agents of shieldThat includes two freshman series, fall drama Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., despite slipping in the ratings, and midseason entry Resurrection. Of returning dramas, there is no doubt about renewals for Shonda Rhimes’ Grey’s Anatomy, especially with stars Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey signed on, and Scandal, as well as Castle and Once Upon A Time. While it was heavily on the bubble last season, country music drama Nashville appears in a stronger position this spring and looks likely to continue. And, despite its ratings erosion, Revenge remains a signature, upscale drama for ABC that the network also owns. Because of its heavy mythology with a revenge storyline that has been central to the show since the pilot, it is unlikely that ABC would abruptly end the series without giving it a final chapter to wrap things up.

Things are far murkier on the comedy side where there are three shoe-ins, anchors Modern Family and The Middle and freshman The Goldbergs. None of these hail from ABC’s sister studio, and building a steady comedy pipeline at ABC Studios has been important for the overall health of the company. There are three ABC Studios-produced comedy series on ABC at the moment, all on the bubble: freshmen Trophy Wife and Mixology and sophomore The Neighbors. The network will likely renew at least one comedy from its own studio. (Last year, it picked The Neighbors vs. 20th TV’s How To Live With Your Parents.) Of the three, Trophy Wife seems to have the biggest support and is the most promotable, with KATE SIMSES, ADAM CAMPBELLa star cast led by Malin Akerman and Bradley Whitford. But the name cast also makes Trophy Wife the most expensive, and its ratings are pretty soft. The Neighbors, which comes from prominent Disney writer Dan Fogelman, costs way less, and, while only doing so-so on Fridays, it could deliver something ABC Studios has not seen in a while: a third-year comedy. (Fogelman also has comedy pilot Galavant in the running at ABC.) Then there is Mixology, which has not done well behind Modern Family. It stands out with its unusual structure — set in a bar over the course of one night — it has quickly built a core fan base and has supporters at ABC. But relaunching a heavily serialized comedy in the fall four months after a brief midseason run would be a challenge and growing ratings for such a show with a continues storyline would be very difficult. ABC has a recent history of sticking with narrow, quirky relationship comedies like Happy Endings and Don’t Trust the B—- but all were eventually cancelled. 20th TV’s Last Man Standing starring Tim Allen is quietly wrapping its third season. It has done a decent job as a Friday 8 PM anchor and is ABC’s only multi-camera series. With several high-proile multi-camera pilots, the network could use Last Man Standing as a building block. (How about Allen paired with another comedy vet, Henry Winkler of The Winklers?). Read More »

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Amazon Studios Confirms Pilots ‘Cosmopolitans’ & ‘Hand Of God’

By | Wednesday April 9, 2014 @ 6:55am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

adam brodyronperlmanAmazon Studios traditionally doesn’t announce its pilots until they’re fully cast and starting production. That is why it this morning confirmed the first two pilots from its third pilot season — half-hour dramatic comedy The Cosmopolitans, from Whit Stillman, and one-hour drama Hand Of God, from executive producers Marc Forster, Ben Watkins, Ron Perlman, Brian Wilkins and Jeff King. Both were greenlighted in January. The Cosmopolitans, about young American expatriates in Paris searching for love and friendship, stars Adam Brody and Chloë Sevigny.  Hand Of God stars Ron Perlman as a hard-living powerful judge-turned vigilante and co-stars Dana Delany and Garret Dillahunt. Yet to be confirmed are three other Amazon pilots ordered this year, single-camera comedy Red Oaks, executive produced by Steven Soderbergh and executive produced and directed by David Gordon Green,  Shaun Cassidy’s drama Hysteria and Samuel Baum’s dramedy Cocked. Here are detailed descriptions and credits for The Cosmopolitans and Hand Of God: Read More »

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Disney Parks Refutes Lawsuit Claiming Discrimination Against Autistic Kids

By | Tuesday April 8, 2014 @ 1:22pm PDT

DJP LEGAL BADGEWalt Disney Parks and Resorts today denied allegations in a lawsuit filed by families of children with developmental disorders that the company has caused them suffering and violated the American With Disabilities Act. The 57-count complaint (read it here), filed last week, seeks damages, injunctive relief, and declaratory relief for disney parks & resorts logoviolations of the ADA and the Unruh Civil Rights Act. ”Disney Parks have an unwavering commitment to providing an inclusive and accessible environment for all our guests,” a Disney Parks and Resorts spokesperson said today. “We fully comply with all ADA requirements and believe that the legal claims are without merit.” The scathing legal action filed by 16 children and young adults with autism and other developmental disorders and their guardians and parents contends that Disney’s recently implemented Disability Access Service violates federal and state law and is completely unsuited to the needs of individuals with such special needs. Disney disagrees. “Our Disability Access Service is designed for guests who, due to certain disabilities, cannot tolerate extended wait times at attractions. In circumstances where the service might not meet guests needs, we work individually with guests to ensure we are able to accommodate them,” said the company in a statement.

The 176-page complaint also alleges that, at the same time Disney moved to the DAS system last October, the Parks and Resorts division created a secret ”Magic List” program that could actually help solve a lot of … Read More »

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The Death Of Sarah Jones: Safety Concerns Raised Over ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew’s Previous Film In Georgia

Anita Busch contributed to this report. First in a series.

Sarah Jones death Midnight RiderLocal, state, and federal investigations are underway to determine who from the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider is responsible for the February 20 train collision on location in rural Georgia that left 27-year-old camera assistant Sarah Jones dead and seven others injured. As the production community rallies around the tragedy and calls for stronger guidelines to ensure that similar accidents never happen again, a Deadline investigation that included interviews with people on the ground in and around Savannah has revealed several troubling factors preceding the afternoon when the crew of the movie, directed and produced by Randall Miller through his Unclaimed Freight Productions banner, placed a metal hospital bed on the live train tracks overlooking Southern Georgia’s Altamaha River. Was the “whatever it takes” spirit that’s fueled filmmaking for decades partly to blame for such an avoidable on-set tragedy?

Related: Safety On Set: Three Workers Speak Out

The city of Savannah, GA has been hungry to grow into a contender to rival competing industries in nearby Atlanta and Wilmington since generous incentives started boosting productions locally in 2009. After a busy 2012, however, film business slowed. Last year Paramount sequel SpongeBob SquarePants 2 was the lone feature to film in the city and became the center of a local firestorm when Jay Self, Savannah’s Film Commissioner of 18 years, was terminated after fighting with the studio over permit requests he said did not adequately protect the interests of local business owners and the City of Savannah.

Self publicly accused city officials of ordering him to approve permits for productions like SpongeBob SquarePants 2 in his termination hearing statement. He told me last month in Savannah that his bosses urged him to issue permits against his concerns when an L.A.-based director came to town to make a new movie in 2012. Self said his concerns went unheeded, and the same filmmaker in question prepared to bring his next feature production to Georgia. That filmmaker was Randall Miller.

Midnight Rider And The Accident Of February 20, 2014

Midnight Rider Doctortown trestleThe Allman biopic Midnight Rider was set to be Miller’s third feature in three years in the Savannah area. He and his L.A.-based Unclaimed Freight first brought production cash flowing into the city’s local economy in 2011 with the Jim Caveziel / Chiwetel Ejiofor-starrer Savannah. The following year he came back to film the NYC-set punk period piece CBGB. By the time he returned with Midnight Rider, Miller had developed a favored position within the local industry, despite his reputation for instilling a maverick sensibility on his sets and surrounding himself with a team of like-minded production crew.

Related:
Safety On Set: Camera Crew Outnumber Stunt Personnel In On-Set Deaths
Safety On Set: Helicopter Crashes Have Taken Most Lives On TV & Film Sets

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