Obamacare has been a blockbuster success in the entertainment industry, and the Actors Fund has played a vital role in helping thousands of low-income actors, writers and other industry professionals obtain low-cost health insurance. Earning enough to qualify for union health benefits always has been one of the most difficult challenges facing industry workers, but since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, obtaining health benefits has become a whole lot easier.
Related: New Rule Lets Actors Combine SAG & AFTRA Earnings To Qualify For Health Care
“In the performing arts unions, you only have about 20% of the members who are eligible for union benefits at any given time,” said Jim Brown, the Actors Fund’s national director of health services. “People move in and out of insurance coverage, and when they move out of that, we’re there to help them move into another insurance plan.”
Related: Split Decision: New SAG-AFTRA Pact Calls for Sharing of Pension And Health Contributions
Since open enrollment for Obamacare began October 1, the Actors Fund’s Covered California helpline has contacts by more than 15,000 industry professionals seeking assistance in signing up for government-subsidized health care. The Actors Fund has been working with Covered California to provide outreach and education to arts and entertainment professionals in Los Angeles, Alameda, San Francisco, Sacramento and San Diego counties. Since last summer, the fund has held more than 200 workshops attended my nearly 3,000 industry workers. Read More »
Ron Howard will direct a feature documentary on The Beatles. The focus will be the period from 1960-1966 when the mop-topped quartet took Europe and then the United States by storm with a flurry of 166 concerts in 15 countries and 90 cities. By the time they finished the last concert in San Francisco’s Candlestick Park in 1966, they were as big a band as Elvis Presley was a solo artist. The film has been authorized by the band’s holding company, Apple Corps Ltd, and will have the full cooperation and support of surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, as well as John Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono Lennon, and George Harrison’s widow Olivia Harrison. The docu will be a co-production between Apple, White Horse Pictures’ Nigel Sinclair and Scott Pascucci, and Imagine Entertainment, whose principals Brian Grazer and Howard will produce with Sinclair and Pascucci. Imagine’s Michael Rosenberg and White Horse’s Guy East will be exec producers. They expect to have it ready sometimes next year, and don’t be surprised if there is a sequel, covering the band’s politicization and eventual break-up.
The film begins with the band honing its chops in Liverpool’s Cavern Club, to its first road trip shows in Hamburg, Germany, and other European countries in 1963, right before they came to America for an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. That appearance, on February 9, 1964 sparked a generation of future musicians like Eagles leaders Don … Read More »
Game Show Network has greenlit traveling game show The Line from High Noon Entertainment. Jeff Davis (Whose Line Is It Anyway?) and Candace Bailey (Attack Of The Show) will host the series which first heads to Nashville to shoot five episodes beginning Saturday.
The Line invites hundreds of people to line up each day for a chance to win cash and prizes by answering a series of trivia questions. The goal is to get to the “Trivia Vault” at the front of the line, where each contestant can attempt to win a jackpot by answering eight true/false questions, but many will have an opportunity to play and win while waiting in the line itself. Those who make it to the front of the line will see the jackpot grow with each contestant who fails to answer his or her eight questions.
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TV critics want to heap a lot of responsibility on Shonda Rhimes. Rhimes already has her fill, thank you very much, what with overseeing ABC’s entire Thursday lineup in the fall, including Grey’s Anatomy at 8 PM, followed by Scandal at 9 PM, and new How To Get Away With Murder at 10 PM. At TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014 this morning, she resisted their efforts to get Money Quotes for their TV Diversity Navel-Lint Gazing pieces.
Scandal’s debut in the spring of 2012 marked the first time in 30 years American TV featured a primetime series with a black female star. Now, just three years later “We have two shows,” marveled one TV critic, who asked Rhimes to speak to the “lesson” to TV in this, also asking for her thoughts on “the impact of having two shows on network TV that star black women.”
“Do I think there are any lessons? No, I don’t. The shows speak for themselves,” Shonda responded curtly.
In re the impact of having two shows starring black women on American primetime TV, Rhimes brushed it off with, “It remains to be seen. It hasn’t happened yet.” Read More »
As usual, ABC will unspool the bulk of its fall lineup during the formal premiere week. The dates include premiere slots for Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D (Tuesday, September 23) and Scandal (Thursday, September 25). New drama series Forever is getting a two-night launch, with a sneak preview on Monday, September 22, followed by the regular time period premiere the next night at 10 PM. Also, new romantic comedies Selfie and Manhattan Love Story are being held back a week before taking on the daunting task of opening Tuesday night at 8 PM:
Monday, September 15
8-10 PM - “Dancing With the Stars”
Monday, September, 22
10-11 PM - “Forever” (Special Sneak Preview)
Tuesday, September 23
9-10 PM - “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
10-11 PM – “Forever” (Regular Time Period Premiere) Read More »
In a further push into China’s entertainment sphere, e-commerce giant Alibaba has pacted with Lionsgate to launch Lionsgate Entertainment World, a subscription streaming service for the mainland. The service will be available exclusively through Alibaba’s set-top boxes and will give users access to high-profile Lionsgate titles including Divergent (which has not had a theatrical release in China), pics from the Twilight and Hunger Games franchises, and TV series The Royals, Nashville and Mad Men. The deal gives Lionsgate bigger exposure in the fast-growing Chinese market where many consumers watch content online — which has traditionally flown lower under the radar of the Middle Kingdom’s famous censors. Alibaba filed for a U.S. IPO earlier this year and recently took a majority stake in ChinaVision Media Group, now Alibaba Pictures Group, as part of its bid to expand. The Wall Street Journal reports that the company has also recently approached Chinese film studios about creating or acquiring content for its online service, and that it is eyeing further investment in local studios. Launch of Lionsgate Entertainment World is expected next month. David U. Lee, founder and president of Leeding Media, helped orchestrate the agreement. Read More »
In the months leading to this year’s Primetime Emmy nominations, a lot of attention was focused on HBO’s decision to enter the eight-episode True Detective as a drama series, Showtime switching Shameless from drama to comedy series after three seasons, and Netflix entering Orange Is the New Black as a comedy after calling it a drama for the Golden Globes.
The moves worked fine for all three. True Detective and Orange Is The New Black each netted 12 noms – a very strong showing for freshman series — to tie veteran Downton Abbey and Seth MacFarlane’s documentary Cosmos as the fourth-most-nominated primetime series. Both landed noms in all major categories they were eligible for, including best drama (True Detective) and comedy series (Orange), best lead actor/actress, best writing, directing and casting.
Meanwhile, after a single Emmy nom for each of its first three seasons competing as a drama series — all for recurring guest actress Joan Cusack — Shameless more than doubled its Emmy tally with three noms this year. That includes a break into the lead actor category for star William H. Macy, joined by Cusack, nominated for a fourth consecutive time, and a mention for stunt coordination. Read More »
In a sign of the rapidly maturing online-video business, Fullscreen’s expanding talent-management unit has reached outside its own YouTube multi-channel network to sign JennXPenn, whose popular comedy and music-video Top 10 shorts run on a competing MCN, DreamWorks Animation‘s AwesomenessTV. She will be repped by Fullscreen’s Andrew Graham and Rana Zand, two of the eight managers under former CAA executive Larry Shapiro, now Fullscreen’s SVP and head of talent.
JennX, whose real name is Jenn McAllister, is nearly 18 and finishing up both her high school studies (online, of course) and a national concert tour with musician Tyler Ward. Reached in Nashville on the tour’s final stop, the Los Angeles-based McAllister said her decision to hire a management team was spurred by her increasingly frenetic array of career opportunities and time demands. Along with banking a series of video shorts ahead of the tour, in the past several weeks she joined Ward on 16 tour stops and took part in two massive social-media fan festivals in New York and Toronto organized by Digitour Media, whose investors include Ryan Seacrest and Advance Publications. McAllister said she hopes to explore more acting and hosting opportunities in coming months with help from her new management team. “It’s been difficult to balance everything I’ve been working on,” McAllister said. “I was talking to a lot of management (agencies). But I heard a lot of good things about Fullscreen. I have a lot of friends … Read More »
The Bottle Yard Studios in Bristol, England will be the home of Disney’s ABC Studios’ Galavant when it shoots later this summer. Pre-production started this week in the west of England and filming begins in August. Galavant is one of the major U.S. series to decamp to Britain this year to take advantage of the lucrative TV tax credit. The musical comedy fairytale from Dan Fogelman stars Joshua Sasse, Timothy Omundson, Vinnie Jones, Mallory Jansen, Karen David and Luke Youngblood. Also currently filming at Bottle Yard are BBC Two’s Wolf Hall, BBC One’s Poldark, Sky 1 comedy Trollied, and Channel 4’s Deal Or No Deal.
Australia’s Foxtel has unveiled the cast of miniseries Deadline Gallipoli. Joining Sam Worthington in the drama that just started shooting, are Hugh Dancy, Rachel Griffiths, Bryan Brown, Ewan Leslie, Jessica De Gouw, Anna Torv, John Bell, James Fraser, Charles Dance, and newcomer Joel Jackson. Worthington is co-producing the chronicle of the Aussie and English journalists who covered the World War I battle and were instrumental in the decision to end the campaign against Turkish forces. Charles Bean, Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett, Phillip Schuler and Keith Murdoch (Rupert’s dad) were the first truly embedded war correspondents whose defiance ignited a change in the campaign’s course and whose commitment to the stories of the men turned the war from a strategic failure into a … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: After engineering a Fox News contributor deal for actress Stacey Dash, Georgia-based attorney Patrick Millsaps is launching full-fledged talent management company HBS Management with offices in Century City, Atlanta, and Nashville.
Millsaps spent 2012 as Chief of Staff on Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign before helping Clueless actress Dash parlay her politically charged social media presence into a Fox News contract in May. He’s joining forces with California-based Adam Trahan and Karl Braun to launch HBS, with Trahan anchoring the Century City outpost and Braun heading music clients out of Nashville.
“Our goal is to build an individual brand for each one of our clients that is valuable to them across media platforms – not only film and television,” said Millsaps. HBS is also planting firmly in the Southeast region where Millsaps helped bring Georgia’s first tax incentive law to former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue.
“Patrick Millsaps understood early the benefits for Georgia aggressively pursuing the entertainment industry as an economic development project,” said Perdue in a statement. “The combination of his business, political and legal skills were helpful in making tax credits a reality in Georgia.” Read More »
One week after declaring war on Amazon, Stephen Colbert announced on his show last night that his campaign had resulted in the ordering of 6,400 copies of Edan Lepucki’s new novel California from the independent bookstore Powell’s Books. While maybe an impressive number in the book publishing world, where 15,00o books sold can land you on the New York Times bestseller list, it sounded on TV like a small-ish result for a campaign involving Colbert’s rabid follow-him-anywhere fans.
Related: Stephen Colbert Declares War On Amazon (Video)
To that point, Colbert told his followers, “You know what would really show Amazon that we will not lick their monopoly boot? If we put California on the New York Times bestseller list!” (watch the video below). But Colbert also broadened the game, telling viewers they could continue to order from Powell’s via ColbertNation.com — or, if they’d rather, through other indie bookstores, naming as examples Parnassus Books in Nashville, Politics and Pros in Washington, D.C., and Rainy Day Books in Kansas City.
Colbert began his campaign to give his publisher, Hachette a leg-up in its contract battle with Amazon; last week he urged viewers to stop ordering from Amazon and to purchase Hachette-published California, from first-time novelist Lepucki, from Powell’s. Read More »
Another awards show is joining the primetime fray. Fox has teamed with Cumulus and dick clark prods. for American Country Countdown Awards, based on the long-running country radio countdown show. The two-hour live concert event will be broadcast from Nashville on December 15. It will feature awards, including a new honor, NASH Icon, as well as performances. American Country Countdown With Kix Brooks celebrates its 41st year as America’s longest-running country music countdown show on radio. The radio show airs on more than 280 radio stations in 155 markets, covering 90% of the country. As the value of live entertainment has risen with the proliferation of time-shifted viewing, the networks have been aggressively bulking up their slates of awards franchises, with four new ones debuting this year, iHeartRadio Music Awards, also done in partnership with a radio giant, Clear Channel, and American Comedy Awards on NBC, the Hollywood Film Awards on CBS (also produced by Dick Clark Prods.) and American Country Countdown Awards on Fox.
A24‘s Obvious Child opened to solid numbers in a crowded weekend some other distributors likely would rather forget. The abortion comedy, based on a 2009 short by filmmaker Gillian Robespierre, bowed with $81K in three theaters in NYC and LA for a robust $27K per-theater average. A24, which has had a nice winning streak of recent openers including Under The Skin (which opened in April with a $35K PTA in four theaters), was pleased with Obvious Child‘s results when reporting numbers Sunday:
“Sundance hit Obvious Child opened with the highest per screen (average) in the country this weekend and is now poised to become one of the breakout hits of summer. The hilarious and crowd-pleasing romantic comedy, featuring a star-making performance by actress/comedian Jenny Slate, received overwhelmingly positive reviews (over 90% on Rotten Tomatoes) and incredible word-of-mouth, including continual love throughout social media. The ‘revolutionary’ film that MTV called “your next obsession” saw sell-out shows on both Friday and Saturday.” A24 will expand the film to top markets over the next three weeks and go nationwide June 27. Read More »
Chris Selak, who has served as Lionsgate’s EVP Television since joining in 2011, has signed a new multi-year agreement to continue at the company. During her tenure she has overseen growth in the division spearheading productions like ABC’s Nashville and Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black, both recently renewed for third seasons, as well NBC’s miniseries Rosemary’s Baby and with Debmar-Mercury Charlie Sheen’s 10-90 FX comedy Anger Management. “Working with Chris is a joy,” said Lionsgate TV Group chairman Kevin Beggs in announcing the new deal. “Her keen eye for talent and material, her executive prowess, and the breadth and depth of her industry relationships have played a pivotal role in growing our television business, and we are looking forward to continued success together.” Read More »
The stock is down 6.6% in initial trading after the independent studio released its results for the first three months of 2014. Year over year comparisons are complicated by a $141.M tax benefit Lionsgate received in the period in 2013. With that factored in, net income fell nearly 70% to $49.2M on revenues of $721.9M, -8%. The top line missed analysts’ prediction of $823.6M. Earnings at 35 cents a share also were short of forecasts for 40 cents. Investors’ feelings about the company could change tomorrow morning when execs likely will offer financial guidance for the next year or two.
Lionsgate Says It Will Ramp Up Brand Extensions Including New Game And Exhibition For ‘Hunger Games’
Lionsgate Predicts Big Profit Increase, But Stock Still Falls On Earnings Miss
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2ND UPDATE, 5:09 PM: The newly renewed ABC series will continue to film in its namesake city after all. Nashville will receive a combined $8 million incentive package from the state of Tennessee, Metro Nashville and other local groups for production of the musical drama’s third season. The package is lower than the Season 2 incentives — which totaled $13.25 million, including $12 million from the state — but 33% more than the $6 million the state had offered for the 2014-15 season.
Related: ABC’s ‘Nashville’ Renewed For Third Season
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Dave Grohl and company recorded their new album in a unique way, and it played out on camera. Foo Fighters, the post-Nirvana band that’s celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, will be the subject of an HBO series focused on the making of the group’s untitled eighth record, due out in the fall. Grohl, who helmed the music documentary Sound City, is directing the project, which follows his band around the eight cities in which the record was made. The Foos traveled to Chicago, Austin, Nashville, Los Angeles, Seattle, New Orleans, Washington, D.C. and New York and recorded one song in each town, working with local musicians at a storied studio to capture each city’s musical heritage and cultural fabric. “Dave’s heartfelt passion for this project is contagious, and his talent as a musician and filmmaker is undeniable,” says Michael Lombardo, President of Programming at HBO. “We are excited to go on this journey with him and Foo Fighters for this insider’s look at how regional music inspired them to create their own new music.” Grohl’s Roswell Films is producing the series, which will premiere this year, in conjunction with James A. Rota, John Ramsay and Therapy studios.
A Shonda Rhimes 8-11 PM Thursday lineup highlights ABC’s fall schedule, with Rhimes’ red-hot Scandal bracing for a 9 PM showdown with another sizzling drama that is moving to Thursday next season, NBC’s The Blacklist. Here is ABC’s fall schedule, which ABC president Paul Lee says “reflects a judicious mix of boldness and stability,” followed by analysis and new series descriptions:
ABC FALL 2014-2015 SCHEDULE
(New programs in UPPER CASE; all times ET)
8 PM Dancing with the Stars
10 PM Castle
8 PM SELFIE
8:30 PM MANHATTAN LOVE STORY
9 PM Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
10 PM FOREVER
8 PM The Middle
8:30 PM The Goldbergs
9:00 PM Modern Family
9:30 PM BLACK-ISH
10:00 PM Nashville
8 PM Grey’s Anatomy
9 PM Scandal
10 PM HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER/SECRETS & LIES
8 PM Last Man Standing
8:30 PM CRISTELA
9 PM Shark Tank
10 PM 20/20
8 PM Saturday Night Football
7 PM America’s Funniest Home Videos
8 PM Once Upon a Time
9 PM Resurrection/AMERICAN CRIME
10 PM Revenge Read More »