Scott Kalvert, who went from helming music videos to the features The Basketball Diaries and Deuces Wild, has died. He was 49. The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office said it is investigating his death as a suicide but provided no other details. Kalvert had a knack for working with unknown acts who would go on to become huge stars. He started in the music video business, hitting paydirt with his first project: “Parents Just Don’t Understand,” a 1988 pop hit by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince that launched the career of Will Smith. It was named Best Rap Video at the MTV Video Music Awards. The NYC native went on to direct videos for such acts as Snoop Doggy Dogg, Cyndi Lauper and, notably, “Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, which featured a muscle-bound unknown named Mark Wahlberg. He also helmed the 1988 concert video Guns N’ Roses: Live At The Ritz, which aired on MTV. In 1995, Kalvert directed The Basketball Diaries, an adaptation of “People Who Died” singer Jim Carroll’s 1978 memoir. The film starred a teenage Leonardo DiCaprio as Carroll along with Wahlberg in one of his first film roles and featured three actors who go on to be regulars on The Sopranos: Lorraine Bracco, Michael Imperoli and Vincent Pastore. Kalvert’s only other feature directing credit was the 2002 actioner Deuces Wild, starring Stephen Dorff and Brad Renfro.
Veteran TV producer Betsy Schechter has launched Storyville Entertainment, a full-service New York-based production company that will create content for TV, film, branded and multimedia outlets. Schechter, whose credits include producing A&E’s Paranormal State and the syndie dating show Shipmates, will serve as president of the new shingle, which already is in production on a music-based documentary series for MTV International and in development on nonscripted and scripted projects for A&E, TNT, H2, MTV International, Animal Planet and National Geographic. It also is collaborating on a scripted series with Paranormal Activity producer Jason Blum. Caroline Christopher, formerly director of development for National Geographic Television and among those who helped launch Peacock Productions, has been hired as VP Development and Production. She will oversee Storyville’s development team, creating nonfiction series, specials and branded content. “Storyville serves as a hub for creativity regardless of the genre and platform, everything from non-fiction to scripted to digital to reality,” said Schechter. “What matters most and what will define our projects is that at the core are solid characters and great storytelling with a distinct point of view.”
A pair of flicks that were shut out at the Oscars on Sunday lead the field for the erstwhile music network’s film nods. American Hustle and The Wolf Of Wall Street snagged eight noms apiece for the 23rd MTV Movie Awards. Close behind are The Hunger Games: Catching Fire with seven and We’re The Millers with six, including a coveted Best Shirtless Performance nom for Jennifer Aniston. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Dallas Buyers Club, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, This Is The End and Best Picture champ 12 Years A Slave are next with four apiece. Conan O’Brien will serve as host of this year’s festivities, which air live on April 13 at the Nokia Theatre in L.A. The show — which last year switched from its longtime post-Memorial Day date to April — again relishes is such signature categories as Best Kiss, Best Scared-As-S**T Performance and #WTFMoment, The telecast is exec produced by Jesse Ignjatovic. Here are the nominees:
The parent company of American Idol producer 19 Entertainment is partnering with the London-based company behind ITV2′s Celebrity Juice and MTV’s British Jersey Shore offshoot Geordie Shore with an eye on international programming. CORE Media Group and Big Minded have entered into a joint venture to discover, create and develop worldwide formats. Core will invest in the English company’s UK development operation and shop the formats to the U.S. and Europe. “We are impressed with Big Minded’s energy and creativity and their focused approach to the business of generating smart ideas that have real international appeal,” said Clare Thompson, CORE Media Group’s Creative Director, International.
Comedian/late-night talk show host Conan O’Brien, who has hosted the Primetime Emmy Awards, is now taking on emcee duties for the 2014 MTV Movie Awards. O’Brien will make his MTV hosting debut at the April 13 ceremony at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles, which will air live at 9 PM. “After eight years of intense negations, I am honored to announce I am hosting MTV’s second most prestigious awards show,” O’Brien deadpanned. The MTV Movie Awards is staying in April where they moved last year after a long history of airing after Memorial Day. The show, which drew 3.8 million viewers, was hosted by Rebel Wilson, whose ABC comedy series is executive produced by O’Brien. The 2014 MTV Movie Awards is exec produced by Jesse Ignjatovic.
In a biting segment on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, Jon Stewart demonstrates how Don King could be the answer to CNN’s ratings problems. Seems King was a guest on CNN and, when time came to switch gears and begin a report on men getting facial-hair transplants, King refused to go quietly into the night. He continued to talk over the report, winding up his commentary with the chant, “CNN today! CNN today!”
“I never said this before, but I was unable to change the channel from CNN,” Stewart confessed. “These news people are doing their best to do an incredibly stupid segment on beard transplants, but now, because of Don King, he’s making it real, and interesting! Give me more of the King!”
“CNN you have found your voice and it’s Don King’s voice talking over all your other voices,” Stewart advised, and illustrated. Watch here:
The companies got into trouble after they ran ads for FilmDistrict‘s 2013 thriller Olympus Has Fallen that include the distinctive Emergency Alert System warning sounds, the FCC says today as it proposed what it calls the largest ever penalties for its misuse (watch the ad below). Viacom will be hit hardest with a $1.12M fine for airing the ad 108 times over five days on Spike, VH1, MTV, Comedy Central, MTV2, Centric, and BET. NBCUniversal will have to cough up $530,000 for running the ad 38 times over six days on Syfy, USA, and five regional sports networks. And ESPN follows with $280,000 for running the ad 13 times over four days on ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNEWS. “The FCC has long prohibited the transmission of actual or simulated EAS Attention Signals or tones in circumstances other than a real alert or an authorized test of the EAS system,” the FCC says. The cable companies said that the rules don’t apply to them because they don’t participate in the EAS program, the FCC notice notes.
Comedy Central has promoted Brooke Posch to SVP, Original Programming and Development. Posch, formerly VP, will continue to oversee development and production on all East Coast-based Comedy Central original pilots and series, including Amy Poehler’s Broad City, which was just renewed for a second season, and Inside Amy Schumer. She is currently developing projects with Hannibal Buress, Chris Gethard and Lorne Michaels’ digital platform, Above Average. “Brooke is so personable and has such finely-tuned creative instincts she could do anything she wants in this business,” said Comedy Central’s president of original programming Kent Alterman. “I’m just grateful she’s letting me be her boss.” Prior to Comedy Central, Posch served as VP, Comedy and Animation at MTV and as Director of Development/Executive Producer at Crossroads Television.
Former 51 Minds exec Ben Samek moves to Endemol North America as COO and Endemol USA exec Rob Smith has taken on an expanded role as EVP, Creative Affairs. Samek is charged with overseeing business development and strategy, as well as operations for the company, including the recently launched premium multi-channel network, Endemol Beyond USA. Smith will oversee all creative for unscripted television, including development and current programming. Both will report to Cris Abrego and Charlie Corwin, Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs, Endemol North America. Their positions take effect immediately.
Feds Indict California Politician Who They Say Took Bribes To Alter The State’s Film & TV Tax Credit Program
California State Sen. Ron Calderon is facing federal charges in a wide-ranging corruption case that includes allegedly accepting bribes from FBI agents posing as movie executives. Authorities today filed a 24-count criminal indictment against the veteran politician that also includes allegations of money laundering and tax fraud. Among the charges is that Calderon, D-Montebello, whose office was raided by the FBI in the summer, took tens of thousands of dollars from undercover agents to make changes to the state’s $100 million Film and TV tax credit program. Authorities say he agreed in early 2012 to help an agent posing as the owner of a downtown LA film studio to lower from $1 million to $750,000 the budget required as a minimum under the program to qualify for credits. While that never ended up part of the latest tax credit legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on September 30, 2012, Calderon allegedly assured the undercover agents he would work to get the minimum reduced in the 2013 legislative session. No such change has occurred. The senator also is said to have taken $60,000 in bribes starting in February 2012 from the fake studio owner. And Calderon’s daughter supposedly was paid $27,000 to work for the fake studio, though she never put in a day.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Grammy Award®-winning singer and actress Pink will make a special appearance on the Oscars, show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today. The Oscars, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, will air on Sunday, March 2, live on ABC.
“We are very excited to welcome Pink to the Oscar® stage for the very first time,” said Zadan and Meron. “She is regarded as one of the greatest voices in pop music and one of the best performers of her generation, and we are thrilled to have her join us for a highly anticipated moment on the broadcast.”
Fox Grooms 20-Year-Old Comedian Pete Davidson As Primetime Breakout With ‘Sober Companion’ Role: Video
Fox‘s Night of Comedy showcase at the Improv last fall featured then-19-year-old comedian Pete Davidson. The network brass loved him and quickly signed him to a talent holding deal. After a small guest-starring role on Fox’s freshman comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which marked his first TV acting gig, Davidson got his first network test for Fox’s comedy pilot Sober Companion and landed the role on the spot, with Fox casting executives bullish on his breakout potential.
A native of Staten Island, NY, Davidson started his career in comedy at a young age, using it as a therapeutic outlet after losing his father, a New York City firefighter, on 9/11. Making his rounds in the New York comedy scene, he was spotted by Nick Cannon who took him under his wing. Davidson was a semi-regular on the revival of Nick Cannon Presents: Wild ‘N Out improv comedy series on MTV2 last year, leading to a gig on the MTV2 comedy/reality show Guy Code. Davidson, who dropped out of college, made his film acting debut in Cannon’s direct-to-video School Dance.
Just hours after a new multi-sponsored bill to expand California’s current $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit program was introduced today in Sacramento both the state’s Production Alliance and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti have come out in strong support. Garcetti, who formed the city’s Entertainment Industry and Production office last year and vowed to “storm” the state capitol to improve the state’s incentives, praised “Assemblymembers Gatto and Bocanegra for taking the lead on enhancing this important program.” The Alliance, which includes the MPAA, SAG-AFTRA and the Teamsters, said that it “welcomed the introduction of AB 1839.” While the new bill seeks to let blockbusters and network TV shows now be eligible for the lottery rewarded program, no actual figure has been given yet – though as Deadline’s scoop on the bill this morning said, sources tell me the politicians and the industry are aiming for $400 million. Whether they get it is another matter. In the meantime, check out Mayor Garcetti and the Alliance’s statements below:
Mayor Garcetti’s Statement on Film Incentive Legislation
This legislation represents a prudent investment in the future of California’s middle class, and its widespread geographic and bipartisan support reflects its importance to our statewide economy. It comes at a critical moment, when other states and foreign countries are luring away thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in revenues
UPDATE, 10:15 AM: The bill has officially been introduced as AB 1839 (read it here), and the final count is 59 co-sponsors alongside Gatto and Bocanegra.
PREVIOUS, 8:23 AM: There’s no dollar figure attached yet, but a bill set to be introduced today in the California Assembly aims to overhaul the state’s current $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit program. Joint-authored by Assemblymen Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) and Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima), with more than 50 co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle, the new legislation would give blockbusters with budgets of more that $75 million and 1-hour network TV shows and pilots a piece of the pie in the annual lottery in an effort to keep more productions in the state. In the current program, those categories are not eligible for incentives — a source of contention among the studios and networks and often cited as a large reason has fled from Hollywood. The widely anticipated Gatto-Bocanega effort also would propose a 5-year footing to run from 2016-2021 as opposed to its current 2-year extensions settings. Additionally, in a move that won’t please LA Mayor Eric Garcetti but is meant to keep Norther California legislators happy, there’s a 5% credit for production filmed outside L.A. Although left blank for now, sources tell me that the dollar figure being touted by supporting politicians and the industry is $400 million as the legislation now heads to committee. While that would be a big increase from the current program, which was established in 2009, and closer to New York state’s nation-best $420 million-plus incentive, the proposed figure is likely to be whittled down as real politicking takes over.
In yet another acquisition of a U.S. production company, the UK’s ITV has taken a controlling stake in DiGa Vision. The New York-based indie produces reality and scripted programming including MTV’s Teen Wolf. ITV is paying cash for 51% of the company with a put and call option to acquire the remainder in three to six years. In keeping with its typical acquisition strategy, ITV would pay an amount linked to the performance of DiGa over the period. ITV did not provide detailed financials. DiGa was launched in 2011 by former MTV executives Tony DiSanto and Liz Gateley. Along with Teen Wolf, the slate includes MTV’s Girl Get Your Mind Right and Ke$ha: Crazy Beautiful Life. Auction-based format Celebrity Home Raiders will air on Lifetime in March. Paul Buccieri, president and CEO, ITV Studios U.S. Group, said, “Tony and Liz have an excellent track record in creating original, engaging and compelling reality and scripted programming with an impressive content pipeline which feeds into numerous networks. They’re a true creative force and will be a great addition to the ITV Studios US Group of companies. In the last 18 months, ITV has acquired controlling stakes in Gurney Productions, High Noon Entertainment and Thinkfactory Media in the U.S. as well as UK producers The Garden and Big Talk.
One place where Simon Cowell won’t be landing this season following the cancellation of the U.S. version of his The X Factor: American Idol. “No, he’s not going to be on the show at all,” Idol executive producer Per Blankens said today during a press event on the show’s new LA set. “I’ve heard he’s going to the UK to do X Factor,” he added. (He is.) The possibility of Cowell’s return after Fox last week axed X Factor was as one of several topics addressed in a sit-down with new Idol EPs Blankens, Jesse Ignjatovic and Evan Prager. The trio was joined by Idol’s new director Louis J. Horvitz, set designer Baz Halpin, and returning EP and FremantleMedia president of entertainment programming Trish Kinane. Also there was Fox’s David Hill, the Senior EVP of 21st Century Fox and former chairman and CEO of Fox Sports who was put in charge of the show and the now cancelled X-Factor in early June.
Season 13 of Idol launched to a premiere low January 15 as the show has been trying to get its once mighty mojo back with a reconfigured judging panel and new showrunners. The show moves into its live shows next week, going head-to-head with NBC’s Sochi Olympics. That isn’t a big worry, Blankens told me. “The ratings are doing OK considering and there is really nothing you can do about the Olympics — we knew when we did the schedule that we’d be facing it. Added Kinane: “The ratings have stabilized and we’re very happy with where they are against the Olympics. We’re up over where we were in 2010,” she said.
“What we hope with the live shows next week and going forward is that we can reconnect with the fans and get them to come back home,” Blankens said. “A lot of people love Idol but I think they didn’t approve of the way some things went last year.” Among the format tweaks: for the live shows beginning Wednesday viewers will be able to vote at the beginning of the show as opposed to the end as in past seasons.
Stephen Colbert Auctions Bill O’Reilly Microwave, Outpacing O’Reilly’s Auction Of Obama Interview Notes (Video)
While Bill O’Reilly is giving the world the chance to own a piece of history, auctioning off his notes for his pre-Super Bowl interview with President Obama, Stephen Colbert has decided to sell off the microwave he says he stole from O’Reilly’s green room in 2007.
“Back in 2007, I appeared on The Factor and Bill came on The Report — Historians can debate who came out on top, but only one of us came away with the other’s microwave oven,” The Colbert Report star told viewers last night. “I had to, folks, because the carousel…technically makes it a Spin Zone and that’s against the O’Reilly Constitution. This is the most historically important journalistic microwave since 1977′s Defrost Nixon.
“I was going to take Bill’s cue and open the bidding at $10,000, but after a little research on eBay microwaves I found out most six-year-old microwaves got for about 40 bucks. However, this one was used by Bill himself, so we will start the bidding at 43 dollars. Which is a bargain when you consider the keypad on this thing contains more words than Bill’s entire interview notes,” Colbert said. (Watch video below)
A keynote session with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 helmer Marc Webb leads the final lineup for the 2014 SXSW Film Conference slate which also includes chats with filmmakers Jason Bateman (Bad Words), Mike Myers (Supermensch) moderated by Jon Favreau, Ralph Steadman (For No Good Reason), and actors Robert Duvall and Tilda Swinton. The SXSW Film Festival runs March 7-15: