“We shouldn’t trust anyone in Iran but we do have to see if we can resolve this issue diplomatically,” President Obama told Power Rangers billionaire and staunch Israel supporter Haim Saban today. Obama and Saban were speaking at the Saban Forum’s 10th annual conference in DC. Today’s conversation with the President is the first time the media mogul has actually conducted at an interview at his own event. “Ultimately, my goal as President of the United States, something I’ve said privately and publicly, is to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon,” Obama also told Saban. “Our commitment to Israel’s security is sacrosanct.”
Related: Haim Saban Praises Obama’s Middle East Policy At Fundraiser
Interviewing Obama onstage on a variety of Middle East related topics at Washington DC’s Willard Hotel, the big Democratic Party donor joked about the “very obedient President I have here today.” Obama cracked back that ‘it’s the Saban Forum, you’re in charge.” “I wish,” replied Saban with both noting to laughter that the media billionaire’s wife Cheryl who really was running things.
Related: Obama Teases Katzenberg During DreamWorks Animation Speech Touting Hollywood Biz
The exchange between the two comes just under two weeks after Saban praised the President’s Middle East policy at a fundraiser at his Beverly Hills home. during a trip out to California. “If Iran is at the negotiating table today, make no mistake about it, it is only because of … Read More »
The UK is already busting at the seams trying to accommodate all of the TV and film productions flocking there. With adjustments to film tax incentives that were announced today, it’s just upped the ante as a desirable place to work. British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne delivered the Autumn Statement to Parliament this afternoon, outlining new economic policies that will go into effect from April 1, 2014. In an incentive that lowers the barrier to entry, the government plans to reduce from 25% to 10% the minimum UK expenditure required in order to access the coveted film tax relief. From April, the relief will be worth 25% on the first £20M of qualifying production spend, and 20% thereafter. (The rebates are available on the lower of either 80% of total core expenditure or the actual UK core expenditure and there is no cap on the amount that can be claimed.) That last measure will benefit producers of bigger budget films who’ll get an extra £1M on the first £20M. The government said it will seek to clear an increase to 25% for all qualifying expenditure on larger budget films in 2015. That should keep Hollywood tentpoles keen on Britain, especially given the concern over California’s Film/TV Tax Credit program which currently excludes features with budgets over $75M.
Related: Pinewood Earnings Grow Amid UK Studio Capacity Crunch; Whither Expansion?
Dropping the spend requirement to 10% is going to help the independent sector, too. John Graydon, partner at accounting firm Saffery Champness which specializes in film and TV tax incentives, tells me, “If a producer just wants to do post in the UK, trying to get to that 25% spend was incredibly difficult. So in some cases, they went elsewhere.” Now, those seeking to do just post or VFX in Britain will have a better shot at making the numbers work. There are also changes to come to the cultural test which determines eligibility for tax relief. The test will be modernized to allow for European as well as British elements. It will become a 35 point barometer with a pass mark of 18 and will include an increase in the points available for principal photography/special effects/VFX and projects in the English language.
Related: Hollywood Pics Pack UK Soundstages As Space Crunch Starts To Squeeze
Overall, the moves are positioned to drive inward investment. In the first three quarters of 2013, it’s already up 28%. That’s partly due to a lucrative TV tax credit that offers a rebate on high-end dramas costing £1M or more to produce per hour. But with soundstages filled to the rafters, many TV productions are already being relegated to converted warehouse space. It’s also because several big budget Hollywood films are camped out at Pinewood and Warner Bros’ Leavesden Studios. But if Pinewood doesn’t get approval for its expansion plans next year, more big ticket pics could be turned away. As I recently reported, Marvel’s Ant Man was forced out of the UK due to space constraints. Graydon doesn’t see the new incentives as necessarily exacerbating the capacity issue since those enticed by the changes won’t always be the kinds of productions that would require soundstages. He does allow, however, “Stage space is an issue. We absolutely want to see that resolved as quickly as possible.” Read More »
On the heels of a strong ratings finish of its fall run last night, NBC‘s hit freshman drama The Blacklist has been given an early second season renewal with a 22-episode order. The Sony TV-produced series starring James Spader is the No. 1 drama and the No. 2 scripted series on the Big 4 networks in the 18-49 demo, averaging a 4.9 rating/13 share (most current). It is the No. 1 new show in 18-49 and total viewers and NBC’s most watched new drama in 19 years, since Earth 2 in 1994. In addition to a strong Live showing, The Blacklist is a monster DVR gainer. Its November 4 episode delivered the largest total-viewer increase from Live+Same Day to Live+7 ever, growing by 6.589 million (from 10.337 million to 16.926 million). The Blacklist, which commanded the highest ad price for a new series this fall, now holds the top three L+SD to L+7 rises among total viewers in U.S. TV history. “The success of ‘The Blacklist’ demonstrates that inspired storytelling is alive and well in broadcast television,” NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt said. “With gratitude to both our partners at Sony Pictures Television and our NBC development executives who took a great script and shepherded it into a great series, I hope that Red Reddington never runs out of names to bring down on his list!”
The Blacklist, produced by Davis Entertainment in association with Sony Pictures TV, … Read More »
Elizabeth Olsen starrer Thérèse Raquin has a new name and an official trailer courtesy of Roadside Attractions. Now titled In Secret, the period drama stars Olsen as Thérèse, the young sexually repressed heroine of Émile Zola’s 1867 novel who finds herself trapped in a loveless marriage to her cousin Camille (Harry Potter‘s Tom Felton). When Camille’s artist pal Laurent (Oscar Isaac) comes to visit, adulterous sparks fly hurtling Thérèse down a path of obsession, love, and madness. Roadside has set a post-Valentine’s Day release for February 21, 2014:
BREAKING: The facility announced today by CIT Group will be used to refinance an existing arrangement and provide working capital to pay for the production, acquisition and distribution of future Weinstein Co- and Dimension Films-labeled films. TWC COO David Glasser also said in the release detailing the deal that the infusion will give the company “the ability to form additional partnerships to distribute our films domestically and internationally”. This deal or one like it was tipped just after the Toronto Film Festival — where Weinstein picked up a slew of big-ticket product including The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby: Him And Her, Can A Song Save Your Life? and The Railway Man. TWC was reportedly negotiating with several banks to replace two separate facilities: one worth about $90M tied to its Netflix streaming deal and one for $125M linked to receivables on its films.
BBC America has picked up the second season of British fantasy-adventure series Atlantis. The BBC, which originally commissioned the show inspired by Greek mythology, has already renewed it for a second season. For BBC America, which came aboard as co-producer on Atlantis in July, the pickup comes on the heels of the show’s November 23 premiere, which delivered the network’s highest-rated series premiere ever for Supernatural Saturday with 838,000 total viewers. Atlantis is an Urban Myth Films production for BBC Cymru Wales. The series follows the adventures of Jason (Jack Donnelly), Hercules (Mark Addy) and Pythagoras (Robert Emms) who battle against some of the most famous names of Greek legend, often in unexpected guises.
Three Added To Cast Of Susanne Bier’s ‘A Second Chance’
Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Maria Bonnevie and Ulrich Thomsen have joined the cast of Susanne Bier’s A Second Chance. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau stars in the film, which focuses on how far decent human beings are willing to go when tragedy blurs the line between the just and unjust. Shooting is underway in Denmark. Lie Kaas stars in the current No. 1 film at the Danish box office, The Keeper Of Lost Causes. He’s next up in Child 44. Thomsen, from Cinemax’s Banshee, has previously worked with Bier in Brothers and A Better World. Swedish-Norwegian actress Maria Bonnevie’s recently starred in Belle Du Seigneur with Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Marianne Faithful. TrustNordisk kicked off international sales on the Danish-language A Second Chance during the AFM. Read More »
Fox is out with a new trailer for the Ben Stiller-directed The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, and who wouldn’t have wanted to be a fly on the wall when the studio reached out to Warner Bros for permission to use its signature iconic Life Magazine? I’m told it came down to a couple of phone calls directly from the amiable Fox film chief Jim Gianopulos, as the magazine division was under the same roof when rights cleared. It sounds like Warner Bros was much more accommodating to its fellow major studio than it was to The Weinstein Company when the latter tried to release The Butler and was halted in its tracks because Warner Bros protected its stake in an equally defunct property, the black-and-white, silent short film from 1916. Now even though Fox sued Warner Bros and won a big settlement over a rights dispute on Watchmen, they still managed to come together here to give Stiller a nostalgic context for the redo of the daydreaming wannabe hero. Here’s the newest Mitty trailer:
I think The Butler brawl had a lot to do with the Warner Bros lawyers being sore about having to pay Weinstein that 5% first-dollar gross on two more installments of The Hobbit, after giving him the same extravagant payday on all three The Lord Of The Rings installments. But maybe I’m daydreaming and the studio really needed to protect its 1916 gem. Harvey was never going to give away those gross points, and it turned out that Warner Bros lawyers did him a favor. Read More »
E! has picked up second seasons for reality series Total Divas and Eric & Jessie: Game On along with interactive weekly talk show Hello Ross. Total Divas follows the private and often complicated lives of some of WWE’s most popular Divas, including The Bella Twins: Nikki and Brie and their romantic relationships with WWE superstars John Cena and Daniel Bryan. Season two will bring The Bellas’ 30th birthday in addition to Brie’s journey to the altar with Bryan. It will continue with new episodes on Sundays at 10 PM through December 15. Eric & Jessie: Game On centers on the steamy relationship of newly married country/pop singer Jessie James and Denver Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker as they juggle their high-profile careers, family and friends. Its season one finale aired November 3. And Hello Ross will wrap its first season on Friday November 29. Some of the guests from Season 1 of the Ross Matthews-hosted show include Gwyneth Paltrow, Kris Jenner, Leah Remini, Lance Bass, Gloria Estefan and Kelly Osbourne. Each of the series will return for Season 2 in early 2014.
Lifetime is going two for two with its freshman scripted series. As expected, the cable network has given a second season pickup to drama Witches Of East End, starring Julia Ormond, Mädchen Amick, Jenna Dewan Tatum and Rachel Boston as a family of witches living in the secluded seaside town of East Haven. The series has received a 13-episode order for a 2014 premiere. “With its great story telling and amazing cast, Witches Of East End is leading a full-blown witch renaissance,” said Rob Sharenow, EVP and General Manager of Lifetime. Witches Of East End joins Lifetime’s freshman Devious Maids, which also has been renewed for a second season. One of Lifetime’s youngest skewing scripted series ever, with a median age of 46, Witches Of East End, from Fox 21, is averaging 3.0 million total viewers, 1.7 million Adults 25-54 and Adults 18-49 viewers, and 1.3 million Women 18-49 and Women 25-54 viewers on a Live+7 basis through five weeks. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Actor/host/television personality Mario Lopez is expanding his relationship with NUVOtv with a development deal at the Latin driven network. NUVOtv has ordered a second season of his interview show One-On-One and has greenlit new series Salsa In The City (working title). Lopez also will develop three new series projects for the network. Salsa In The City, set to premiere Q2, is a competition show that combines dating and dance within the salsa dance scene. Mario Lopez, 3 Arts’ Mark Schulman and Gordo Entertainment’s Gil Lopez executive produce in association with JAAM Productions for NUVOtv. The trio also exec produce One-On-One.
ABC News’ Amy Robach, whose cancer diagnosis after an on-air mammogram made news, says her double mastectomy has revealed a second, previously undetected malignant tumor. “My prognosis is good, I got very lucky finding the cancer through our ABC sponsored mammogram and I got lucky choosing an aggressive approach, bilateral mastectomy, because while in surgery last week my surgeon found a second, undetected malignant tumor,” Robach said today in a memo to Good Morning America staff. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Former Private Practice executive producer Barbie Kligman has joined ABC‘s adaptation of upcoming Australian crime mystery drama Secrets & Lies, from ABC Studios, Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment and Australian-based Hoodlum. Kligman will serve as writer/executive producer/showrunner on the project, which has a 10-episode commitment and already is exploring casting choices. The original six-episode series stars Martin Henderson as a family man who finds the body of a young boy and quickly becomes the prime murder suspect. He has no choice but to try to find the real killer as his marriage, his kids, his reputation, and his sanity are all at stake. Kligman, repped by WME and Bruce Gellman, will exec produce alongside Kaplan and Hoodlum’s Tracey Robertson and Nathan Mayfield. Kligman comes from the Shonda Rhimes school of showrunning. She spent three years on Rhimes’ Private Practice, rising to executive producer/co-head writer in the final season. Before that she was a co-executive producer on The Vampire Diaries.
Hulu has ordered 10 episodes of docu-series Behind The Mask, a behind-the-scenes look into the world of sports mascots. Season 2 will introduce three new characters at the high school, college and professional levels. There are four episodes left in Season 1 with the season finale set for December 17. Behind The Mask will be directed by Josh Greenbaum (The Short Game) and executive produced by Occupant Entertainment partners Felipe Marino and Joe Neurauter along with Occupant exec Kate Sharp. It is slated to premiere on Hulu and Hulu Plus in 2014.
Kids Pics Open Big In Slovenia And Croatia
Two children’s films have had impressive openings this week in Slovenia and Croatia. Miha Hocevar’s sequel Going Our Way 2 had the best local opening ever in Slovenia when it debuted last weekend. The film about a group of scouts at summer camp grossed $187,872 on 24 screens, beating the record set by Hocevar’s original Going Our Way in 2010. According to Cineuropa, it had topped $236,000, including previews, as of Thursday. The original film ended its run with $1.08M in 2011. In Croatia, Silvije Petranovic’s The Little Shoemaker scored the second-best local opening ever, behind this year’s EFA-nominated The Priest’s Children, and stood at $138,500 as of yesterday. It’s about a shoemaker’s apprentice who sets off on an adventure. The live-action film follows the animated original from 1997 that was based on The Brave Adventures Of Lapitch, a 1913 novel by Ivana Brlic-Mazuranic.
SND Books Sales For ‘Yves Saint Laurent’ At AFM
After screening the first footage of hot biopic Yves Saint Laurent at the AFM, sales company SND pacted on further territories including Taiwan (Catchplay), Latin America (Swen) and Belgium (Eone Benelux). Negotiations are underway in Japan, Korea and Italy. The film by Jalil Lespert had previously sold to The Weinstein Co for the U.S. and to eOne for the UK, Canada and Australia, among other deals. Pierre Niney plays the titular designer and SND is releasing in France on January 8th. Check out the subtitled trailer here. Read More »
It’s déjà vu again for The Killing, which refuses to live up to its name. The mystery drama, which was cancelled by AMC last year only to be resurrected with a third-season order, is staging another comeback after being cancelled by the network again in September. This time, the series was picked up by Netflix, which was its exclusive digital partner for the first three seasons and still carries them worldwide. Now The Killing will become a Netflix original for a six-episode final installment. The series’ second resurrection is a testament to series producer Fox TV Studios’ tenacious efforts to keep it alive. The Killing‘s stars, Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman, are under long-term deals and set to return. Creator/executive producer Veena Sud is assembling a writing team, which is expected to begin work shortly. She will be joined by The Killing veterans, exec producers Dawn Prestwich and Nicole Yorkin, who had been on the show since the first season, and two other writers. “It’s a true testament to Veena Sud, and the stellar cast led so compellingly by Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman, that fans remained so passionate about the show,” FtvS president David Madden said.
The Killing‘s third season opened with an OK 1.8 million viewers and drew largely positive reaction from critics and fans. But it ended with 1.5 million for the season finale, up only slightly from the 1.4 million viewers of the second-season ender. Season 3 overall was essentially flat with Season 2 — ratings that had triggered the series’ first cancellation. However, the serialized drama’s strength always has been the digital/binge viewing play. “The rich, serialized storytelling in The Killing thrives on Netflix, and we believe that it is only fitting to give Sarah Linden and Stephen Holder a proper send-off,” said Cindy Holland, VP Original Content for Netflix. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Nickelodeon’s series about six heroic rescue puppies and their boy Ryder debuted in August and today earned a 26-episode Season 2 pickup. Airing at noon weekdays, Paw Patrol is TV’s top-rated preschooler series in Live+Seven Day. The next season of the show — which focuses on citizenship, social skills and problem-solving — will introduce new characters, vehicles and gadgets. The series from Spin Master Entertainment is rolling out on Nickelodeon’s international channels this month.
Related: Nick Orders Kids Game Show From Ryan Seacrest Prods
Here’s a news item some Facebook users won’t like: The social networking giant has frozen an unspecified number of accounts until those users to change their passwords and answer a few security questions. The lockout affects folks who used the same login info for Facebook and Adobe, and those users will see a prompt next time they try to sign in on Facebook. The Mark Zuckerberg-led company is mining data password leaked after hackers broke into Adobe and jacked encrypted credit card records from nearly 3 million customers as well as login data for many Adobe accounts. If you see this prompt next time you want to update your profile selfie or comment on a cat video, you’re one of the unlucky many: