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China To Limit ‘Cultural Pollution’ With Cap On Imported TV Shows?

By | Thursday July 31, 2014 @ 8:42am PDT

China To Limit ‘Cultural Pollution’ With Cap On Imported TV Shows?In 2012, China relaxed its feature film import quota, upping the total number of foreign movies eligible for a 25% revenue share slot to 34. In the meantime, online has been a pretty freewheeling space where American culture has been given a large window to be exploited in the country. In the past few months, however, there has been an increase in cracking down on online content. And today, Chinese media says a plan may be afoot to impose a quota system on the licensing of overseas programs by video websites. The idea being mulled over by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television would have implications for video giants like Sohu, Youku Tudou and Tencent who collectively stream about 400 American and British TV shows — with audiences rabid for the likes of Sherlock, The Vampire Diaries and others.

I’m cautioned that there has been talk for a long time about applying stricter censorship enforcement to online content, and China specialist Rob Cain tells me, “It would be no surprise to see it enacted.” He says the Communist party “wants to set the rules of morality and proper conduct in China — essentially to keep people behaving in ‘appropriate’ ways that support, or at least don’t threaten, the (party)’s rule or legitimacy — and foreign programs are generally perceived as a threat, often referred to as ‘cultural pollution.’”

But, a problem arises for the government because this kind of move can … Read More »

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So Who Comic-Conquered San Diego?

So Who Comic-Conquered San Diego?The fanboy Super Bowl is over. Who made the most of San Diego Comic-Con and who spit the bit? Here’s the view from Deadline staffers who endured endless movie and TV show presentations. We’ll start with features:

WARNER BROS: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Mad Max: Fury Road, Jupiter Ascending, The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies
Mad Max Comic ConThe best Comic-Con panels show fans things they’ve never seen before. From that standpoint, Warner Bros changed the game by making the Hall H experience seem larger. It turned the dark curtains covering 450 feet down the sides of the auditorium into a wraparound multimedia visual experience that left jaded geeks looking left and right in wonder at images that complemented the onstage presentation. Expect others to rip this off. For star power: Zack Snyder introduced his Batman v Superman stars Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, and Gal Gadot and offered glimpses of the film. Warner Bros also wowed with explosive footage from Mad Max: Fury Road, a film that looks like it could be the answer someday to this Trivial Pursuit question: What movie transformed Tom Hardy from a great actor into a big fucking movie star? Warner Bros also brought Middle Earth excitement to Hall H with a lengthy Hobbit: The Five Armies panel and footage that had LOTR fans aflutter.

Related: Q&A: Peter Jackson On His Middle Earth Exit And A Disguise That Let Him Haunt Comic-Con

MARVEL: Ant-Man, Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Guardians of the Galaxy 2
Avengers 2 at Comic-ConMarvel is always the must-see panel; not so much this year. Maybe it was DC Comics’ turn to shine, and maybe being a sequel factory imposes limits on the surprise front. They trotted out the superstar Avengers lineup — been there, done that! — with additions Josh Brolin, Aaron Johnson, and Elizabeth Olsen. No Black Widow Scarlett Johansson, who was busy bitch-slapping Hercules at the box office in the Luc Besson film Lucy. Footage was OK, but Kevin Feige set a high bar for himself in past Cons, and this year he couldn’t clear it. Ant-Man brought Corey Stoll and Evangeline Lilly (already knew they were in the movie), and plans for a Guardians Of The Galaxy sequel were greeted by a collective “Duh!’ Feige could have told us what movies will fill all those release dates he recently staked out. He didn’t. Better luck next year, Marvel Man.

Related: Marvel Sets ‘Guardians 2′ For 2017; ‘Avengers 2’ Footage Draws Standing O

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Comic-Con: Benedict Cumberbatch Mania Headlines DreamWorks Animation Panel

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 1:26pm PDT

Comic-Con: Benedict Cumberbatch Mania Headlines DreamWorks Animation PanelDreamWorks Animation might take it as a good sign that the mere sound of Benedict Cumberbatch‘s voice — and the vision of him in character as an animated wolf in Penguins Of Madagascar – elicited screams in Hall H this morning at Comic-Con. Cumberbatch, who’s making his first stop at the San Diego fan convention this year, also stars in Comic-Con fave Sherlock and Peter Jackson’s upcoming The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies. Not that distracting Sherlock chatter was welcome at the DWA panel: “Any questions about Sherlock, and Comic-Con is CANCELLED,” joked moderator Craig Ferguson.

Benedict Cumberbatch John MalkovichCumberbatch stars in Penguins as Classified, the leader of secret animal agent operation The North Wind who teams with Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, and Private to stop new villain Dr. Octavius Brine. John Malkovich stars as Brine and also made his maiden voyage to San Diego Comic-Con for the panel. “This your first Comic-Con? You’ll fit right in,” Ferguson quipped to Malkovich. Studio pushed the Madagascar spin-off hard, unveiling 20 minutes of footage from the November 26 release.

Related: Hot Trailer: ‘The Penguins Of Madagascar’

There is also speculation and hotfire rumors that Cumberbatch will be announced to star in Doctor Strange, Marvel’s franchise-launching film that will be directed by Scott Derrickson and penned by Jon Spaihts. Cumberbatch has been deflecting questions left and right — maybe more clarity is to come at the Marvel presentation Saturday?

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Comic-Con 2014: What You Can’t Afford To Miss

Comic-Con 2014: What You Can’t Afford To MissComic-Con 2014 officially opens today and tens of thousands are descending on San Diego to pick up their passes and prepare for four days of special screenings, studio and network panels, and previews. Having already hit the ground running, Deadline is here with Mike Fleming Jr leading our film coverage along with Jen, while Dominic and Anthony D’Alessandro handle the TV side. (Dominic will also be moderating FX’s Archer panel this year.)

Comic-Con 2014 Announces Full ScheduleOf course, veteran heavyweights like HBO’s Game Of Thrones and AMC’s The Walking Dead will be packing the mammoth Hall H on the TV side. HBO’s True Blood, a longtime fave in its final season, is set to make its Comic-Con bow Saturday in Ballroom 20, as is Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, which just wrapped its first season and has its panel this evening. Repping the big screen side, studios are putting their tentpole wares out there with presentations by Marvel and Warner Bros with The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies and Mad Max: Fury Road among others.

Below we spotlight a few special events on the schedule that you don’t want to miss. (For the full TV and film lineups, go here and here.) Read More »

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TCA: ‘Downton Abbey’ Returning January 4, PBS Chief Paula Kerger Says

By | Tuesday July 22, 2014 @ 12:08pm PDT

TCA: ‘Downton Abbey’ Returning January 4, PBS Chief Paula Kerger SaysDownton Abbey’s fifth season will debut on January 4, PBS chief Paula Kerger said this morning. She boasted the fourth season was up 16% year over year — among the reasons PBS will not consider an airdate that more closely coincides with the British play-pattern — and that the Masterpiece franchise within which Downton Abbey airs is up 24%. “We’re extremely proud of this growth and continue to focus on Sunday night drama,” she told TV critics at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014.

As for Sherlock, Kerger said PBS did not yet have word as to when it would be ready for air. “Because it’s coming from our partners in the UK, we have to wait to know when it will be finished,” Kerger said. “But, whenever it comes we’ll put it in a wonderful place and we know the next season is going to be terrific,” she added.

Likewise, Kerger said she had no airdate for the return of Mr. Selfridge, starring Jeremy Piven. That franchise’s renewal for a third season was announced by its British producer in February, saying only that it would air in 2015. Read More »

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Ophelia Lovibond To Recur On ‘Elementary’, Gabrielle Walsh On ‘Vampire Diaries’, Sydney Penny On ‘Pretty Little Liars’

By | Friday July 11, 2014 @ 12:45pm PDT

Ophelia Lovibond To Recur On ‘Elementary’, Gabrielle Walsh On ‘Vampire Diaries’, Sydney Penny On ‘Pretty Little Liars’British actress Ophelia Lovibond is set to make her U.S. television debut as a recurring on Season 3 of CBS’ drama Elementary. Lovibond will play Kitty Winter, Detective Sherlock Holmes’ (Jonny Lee Miller) new apprentice in New York, who immediately becomes rivals with her predecessor, Joan Watson (Lucy Liu). Kitty’s reasons for undertaking Holmes’ partnership are nebulous, and her new arrangement with Sherlock will have ongoing repercussions for his relationship with Joan. Lovibond most recently appeared on UK comedy series Mr. Sloane, and can next be seen in Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy to be released on August 1.
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EMMYS: Split Of Top Longform & Reality Categories Gives Underdogs A Boost

By | Thursday July 10, 2014 @ 3:23pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EMMYS: Split Of Top Longform & Reality Categories Gives Underdogs A BoostBack when the TV Academy voted to merge the best TV movie and miniseries categories in 2011, hardest hit were smaller networks in the arena like Lifetime and Hallmark Channel as HBO and British imports were expected to gobble up the nomination spots. Those networks are now benefiting the most from the recent decision to restore the two categories. For instance, Lifetime’s Georgia O’Keeffe received a best TV movie nomination the year before the category consolidation. In the three years of merged best movie and miniseries category, Lifetime did not crack the field. Today, it landed both a best TV movie nom for The Trip To Bountiful and its first ever best miniseries nom for Bonnie & Clyde, a collaboration with sister network History. (Bonnie & Clyde was one of four programs produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron to receive Emmy noms today, along with the Oscar ceremony, NBC’s The Sound of Music and another Lifetime movie, Anne Nicole). Also boosted by this year’s expansion of the longform acting categories from five to six nominees, Lifetime landed two lead actress in a TV movie or miniseries nominations for the first time in almost a decade for Return To Zero‘s Minnie Driver and Bountiful‘s Cicely Tyson, with longform fueling the network’s record 17 total Emmy noms.

FARGO -- Pictured: Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Malvo -- CR: FX/Matthias ClamerAlso getting a boost by the longform field expansion are National … Read More »

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EMMYS: British Continue To Invade Acting Categories

EMMYS: British Continue To Invade Acting CategoriesCor blimey, the British aren’t coming — they’re here to stay. Including Ricky Gervais’ surprise Emmy nomination as Lead Actor in a Comedy series for Derek this morning, there are 15 nods for Brits in the acting races this year. If we add voice-overs, Jeremy Irons and Daniel Craig would make it 17 performance nods. Last year, there were 14 total.

British actors have been plying their trade in U.S. series for ages, but this crop boasts a lot of British-based (or instigated) productions and co-productions rather than U.S. shows à la Homeland. The UK TV tax credit has encouraged British broadcasters to strive for increasingly ambitious productions.

dancing on the edgeAlong with Gervais, whose Derek was originally commissioned for Channel 4 before being picked up by Netflix, there’s a big group from perennial Downton Abbey, a co-pro of Carnival Films and Masterpiece; a first Emmy nod for Golden Globe nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor in BBC miniseries Dancing On The Edge, which Starz airs Stateside; Idris Elba in Luther, another BBC show that goes out on BBC America; and Helena Bonham Carter playing the British-American Elizabeth Taylor in BBC and BBC America co-pro Burton & Taylor. And, of course, Sherlock is back this year. Benedict Cumberbatch scored a Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie spot … Read More »

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EMMYS: Overall Nominations By Network

By | Thursday July 10, 2014 @ 7:08am PDT

EMMYS: Overall Nominations By NetworkOnce again, HBO led all networks in Emmy nominations this year, and it wasn’t even close. Here’s a look at HBO’s noms haul in the past decade, followed by a breakdown in who got what this year.

Emmy Nominations HBO Chart 2004 to 2014

 

NOMINATIONS BY NETWORK

HBO – 99
CBS – 47
NBC – 46
FX Networks – 45
ABC – 37
PBS – 34
Netflix – 31
FOX– 30
AMC – 26
Showtime – 24
Comedy Central – 21
FOX– 30
Lifetime – 17
National Geographic Channel – 15
Starz – 11
Discovery Channel – 10 Read More »

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EMMYS: Overall Nominations By Show

By | Thursday July 10, 2014 @ 7:07am PDT

EMMYS: Overall Nominations By ShowGame of Thrones led the Emmy nominations race, but not by much, ahead of Fargo, American Horror Story‘s latest, Breaking Bad and The Normal Heart. Below we have charts with all the shows, organized by most nominations and by name. We also have a show-by-show index of what each show was nominated for. Read More »

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Primetime Emmys: Full List Of Nominees

By | Thursday July 10, 2014 @ 5:53am PDT

Primetime Emmys: Full List Of NomineesThe 66th annual Primetime Emmy Awards nominations were announced this morning at the TV Academy in North Hollywood. Netflix fared well with Best Series nominations in both comedy and drama categories, with Orange Is The New Black in the former and House Of Cards in the latter. HBO fared well with noms for rookie Silicon Valley and Veep on the comedy side and Game Of Thrones and True Detective on the drama side. Both of that series’ stars, Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrleson, received nods in the actor category, as did Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm. The AMC show is back in the drama race with Breaking Bad and Downton Abbey rounding out the category. On the comedy side, the top category includes reigning champ Modern Family, CBS’ The Big Bang Theory and FX’s Louie.

Here’s the full list of noms:

Outstanding Comedy Series

The Big Bang Theory
CBS • Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc. in association with Warner Bros. Television

Louie
FX Networks • Pig Newton, Inc. and FX Productions

Modern Family
ABC • Picador Productions and Steven Levitan Productions in association with 20th Century Fox Television

Orange Is The New Black
Netflix • Lionsgate Television for Netflix

Silicon Valley
HBO • HBO Entertainment in association with Judgemental Films, Alec Berg, Altschuler Krinsky works, and 3 Arts Entertainment

Veep
HBO • HBO Entertainment in association with Dundee Productions

Outstanding Drama Series

Breaking Bad
AMC • Sony Pictures Television

Downton Abbey
PBS • A Carnival Films/Masterpiece Co-Production in association with NBC Universal

Game Of Thrones
HBO • HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; Television 360; Startling Television and Generator Productions

House Of Cards
Netflix • Donen/Fincher/Roth and Trigger Street Productions, Inc. in association with Media Rights Capital for Netflix

Mad Men
AMC • Lionsgate Television

True Detective
HBO • HBO Entertainment in association with Neon Black, Anonymous Content, Parliament of Owls and Passenger Read More »

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Hiroyuki Sanada Joins Sherlock Holmes Drama ‘A Slight Trick Of The Mind’

By | Wednesday July 9, 2014 @ 3:01pm PDT

Hiroyuki Sanada Joins Sherlock Holmes Drama ‘A Slight Trick Of The Mind’EXCLUSIVE: 47 Ronin and The Wolverine star Hiroyuki Sanada has been tapped to join Ian McKellen in A Slight Trick of the Mind, the drama about an aging Sherlock Holmes that Bill Condon is directing this summer in London. Sanada will play Umezaki, a Prickly Ash plant enthusiast who Holmes (McKellen) visits in Japan. He joins McKellen and Laura Linney as Holmes’ housekeeper, who with her young son is regaled with the tale of the unsolved mystery that ended Holmes’ career. Read More »

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Official: ‘Sherlock’ Returning For Special, Followed By Three New Episodes

Official: ‘Sherlock’ Returning For Special, Followed By Three New EpisodesThe game is on — again!, BBC One tweeted this afternoon. That was following clues it left Monday night alerting Sherlock fans that a surprise was in store for today. In the first missive, the channel — which had changed its handle to “Sherlock – #221back” for the occasion — posted a GIF of Andrew Scott as Moriarty from the last episode of Season 3, and the question, “Did you miss me?” An hour later, BBC One wrote, “It’s all gone dark… Something’s coming… Or someone. Details at 2.21pm tomorrow.” And now we’ve solved the mystery. The BBC has confirmed the sleuthing drama will return for a special, followed by a series of three new episodes. Shooting on the special will start in January 2015, with the series shooting later next year. “We’re ready to unleash the most shocking and surprising series of #Sherlock yet. The only thing is to expect is the unexpected…,” said BBC One today. A fourth season has unofficially been afoot for some time, but dates have never been specified — a lot of juggling is necessary given the big screen demands on stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Today’s confirmation follows reports on Sunday that the high-functioning sociopath and sidekick/best pal Dr John Watson would be back for a special in 2015. Freeman told The Telegraph a period of filming looked “pretty likely” in early 2015 and that he thought it “might be for next Christmas.” Either way, fans have had to wait long periods before to catch up with the characters, and their fervor has not abated. When Season 3 kicked off on BBC One and PBS in January this year after a two year hiatus, it was the series’ most-watched episode ever, on both sides of the Atlantic. Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Teresa Cheng Joins Lucasfilm Singapore; ‘Sherlock’s Stubbs In BBC Artist Hunt; Dusk! TV Dawns; More

By | Friday June 13, 2014 @ 12:43am PDT

lucasfilm_logoLucasfilm has appointed Teresa Cheng as General Manager for Lucasfilm Singapore. She joins the company from DreamWorks Animation where she was senior production executive for the joint venture between DWA and Oriental DreamWorks. Cheng has also held senior positions at Warner Bros, Rhytym & Hues and Digital Domain. Feature credits include Shrek Forever After, Madagascar, Batman & Robin and True Lies. In January, George Lucas unveiled Lucasfilm’s new digital production headquarters in the Southeast Asian city-state, replete with the Sandcrawler building that sits on a 22,500 square meter campus. Industrial Light & Magic Singapore is currently working on Transformers: Age of Extinction, Star Wars Episode VII and Agent 47. Colin Brown, who has served as Lucasfilm Singapore’s interim GM for the past seven months, will remain with the company through the summer to help transition Cheng into her new post. She will report to Lynwen Brennan, President and GM of ILM. Read More »

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BBC’s ‘Happy Valley’ Concludes Strong Run; Is It The Next ‘Broadchurch’? (Video)

Happy Valley  best left alone?Six-part BBC One crime drama Happy Valley hails from Sally Wainwright, the prolific UK TV writer and BAFTA-winning creator of Last Tango In Halifax. The series that has had Britain all abuzz over the past month and a half came to its climactic concludsion Tuesday night and drew 6.18M viewers for a 28% share. The finale, which should rise a fair bit when delayed viewings are included, was the second-highest rated of the run after the April 29 debut episode attracted 7.64M viewers. Over the series, it averaged about 6.9M and consistently won its slot. The contemporary show is being called the best drama of the year and Wainwright has said there is potential for a second season. There is no deal for the first season to air in the U.S. as yet, but it’s easily the kind that could turn up on BBC America or PBS. It could even be remade à la Broadchurch, the last new drama to have such an effect in Britain. It’s also been compared to Breaking Bad, and there’s already awards talk for next year. (See the trailer below.) Read More »

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EMMYS: Hammond On The Renaissance Of Made-For-TV-Movies

Pete Hammond

Awardsline logo_use this oneThe Television Academy, by splitting miniseries and movies for the 2014 contest, has made it easier this year for the made-for-TV movie to compete. Outside of the occasional HBO film, the genre is usually at a disadvantage at the Emmys. Forced to face off directly with the more lavish miniseries form, these two-hour one-offs have had a difficult time holding their own. (Acting, directing and writing categories are still combined for minis/movies).  Occasionally a movie comes along that is so irresistible to TV Academy voters that it can’t be ignored. That was the case last year with HBO’s Behind the Candelabra, which swept both Primetime and Creative Arts Emmy ceremonies. In 2011, another HBO telefilm, Game Change, had similar success against the longform monsters, but it has not always been easy to beat the odds.

Frontrunner Status
normal heart mark ruffaloWith those two wins, TV movies are enjoying a bit of a renaissance—at least at HBO, which once again has the 800-pound gorilla in the race with Ryan Murphy’s adaptation of Larry Kramer’s play, The Normal Heart. The time finally seems right for this drama set in the early days of the AIDS crisis. Written 30 years ago and long in development as a feature film and then TV movie, this provocative and moving study about the human and political consequences of the HIV/AIDS outbreak finally found its way in front of the cameras, thanks in large part to Murphy, who promised the 78-year-old Kramer this movie would happen. In the same year that another decades-in-development-hell drama about the early struggle against AIDS, Dallas Buyers Club, won three Academy Awards—including best and supporting actor statuettes—it seems like kismet-style timing for a Normal Heart Emmy run. The fact that the TV movie still remains relevant and timely enhances the chances of a big win, and its backstory of a long and troubled road to the screen will only help it with voters. Kramer’s well-documented journey with the material should make him a frontrunner in the writing category, and Murphy has a good shot in directing. A superb cast also should score major nominations, including Mark Ruffalo for miniseries/movie lead actor, Julia Roberts (as a polio-stricken doctor) in supporting actress, and a plethora of supporting actors, including Jim Parsons, Joe Mantello (both appeared in the 2011 Broadway revival of the play), Taylor Kitsch, Alfred Molina and Matt Bomer, who in particular really socks home the role of The New York Times writer who becomes an early victim of the virus. Read More »

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Broadcast TV Journalists Association Unveils Critics’ Choice Television Awards Nominees

One day after theCritics Choice TV Awards Logo(1) Television Critics Association unveiled nominees for this year’s TCA Awards, the Broadcast Television Journalists Association announced nominations for its Critics’ Choice Television Awards.

FX-logoFX leads the BTJA’s noms list, with 19 –  followed closely by HBO which garnered 18.  Topping the list of nominated series, with five noms each, are CBS’s The Big Bang Theory and The Good Wife,  FX’s Fargo, Showtime’s Masters Of Sex,  and HBO’s The Normal Heart.

Other top-nominated serieshbologo3 include FX’s The Americans, AMC’s Breaking Bad, Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black, and PBS’s Sherlock: His Last Vow — each snagging four noms.

cbs8Walton Goggins and Allison Janney were both twice nominated. Goggins is nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, for Justified, and Janney is nommed for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series,  for Mom. The two also will compete against each other in the Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series category for Sons Of Anarchy and Masters Of Sex, respectively.
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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, ‘Elementary’ & ‘Vampire Diaries’ Finales Fall, ‘Big Bang Theory’ Hits Finale Viewership High, ‘American Idol’ Up Again

ELLEN POMPEO, SANDRA OHChaucer said that “there is an end to everything, good things as well.” So the Middle Ages poet was right of the 2013-2014 television season and of Sandra Oh‘s stint on Grey’s Anatomy (2.5/8) after 10 seasons. There were explosions, both emotional and literally, and there was fallout as well as dancing as Dr. Cristina Yang left Seattle Grace Hospital. Ratingswise it was a bit of a flat line for ABC and the Shonda Rhimes-created show, with Grey’s staying even with last week’s show. While Grey’s overall season bopped up 5% among adults 18-49 from Season 9 to garner the series’ best demo result in three years, last night’s finale was down double digits from the previous finale on May 16, 2013. With a repeat as a lead-in, the end of Season 10 saw a 19% drop from the Season 9 ender to hit a season-finale low. But with that said, if precedent is any indication, Grey’s could see an adjustment upward in the final numbers later today. Lead-out Black Box (1.1/4) saw its fourth-week numbers dip 8% from its May 8 results; granted, it was postponed in the San Diego market for news coverage of the fires there but that’s also the third week in a row the newbie show has gone down.

Related: Paul Lee Defends ‘Grey’s Anatomy’s Move To 8 PM Next Season

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Cannes 2014: A Look At Hot Titles; Was It Over Before We Got Here And Paramount Made Record Deal?

Cannes2014_badgeIf there is a recurring theme among buyers and sellers we’ve spoken to in the early moments of the Cannes Film Festival, it is that none can remember the last time there was such a sellers’ market here on the Croisette. The trouble is, nobody seems to really have anything all that compelling to sell, and that is driving the sellers crazy.

amy adamsThe market opened in the grandest possible way, with a record-setting $20M deal as Paramount paid for North America and China rights to the Denis Villeneuve-directed science fiction film Story Of Your Life. Well, the weather has also been grand so far — the deals, not so much. In fact, the next one came as The Weinstein Company finally closed its long-expected deal for Grace Of Monaco, slashing its original $5M commitment almost in half for a film where director Olivier Dahan shot a version that didn’t reflect the original script, before unveiling it as the Cannes opening-night film to terrible reviews.

Related: Cannes: ‘Grace Of Monaco’ Opens Fest As Critics & Royals Take Aim

Since then, nobody has seemed in much of a hurry to gobble up much of anything. No one was saying Paramount spent drunkenly in setting the record with Story Of Your Life. The rationale: $20M for a movie with commercial potential budgeted around $50M, an actress who routinely garners Oscar nominations for her work in Amy Adams, and a director who is fast emerging, is something major Hollywood studios would pay any day. With a major U.S. wide release in place, Glen Basner’s FilmNation’s effort to finish sales around the world has been the equivalent of selling ice cream in the desert. Territories are paying generously, in a textbook example of how the deal-making here is supposed to work.

cannes opening nightIf only there were more of those films. A package could still fall into place that creates another feeding frenzy, but most sellers are resigned to kicking themselves for not having enough killer product and missing out on an opportunity. Buyers and sellers are moving warily, particularly those who are coming here with other projects that haven’t begun production, or are selling on the basis of a sizzle reel. Some of these movies might just as easily surface as Toronto business as walk away with a big Cannes deal. Then again, there are those that believe the lack of films that have come together with sought-after talent is not a momentary anomaly, but part of a larger trend. Read More »

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