Faith-Based ‘Noble’ Hoping To Catch Wave Of Recent Christian-Themed Hits: Trailer

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 5:36pm PDT

nobleEXCLUSIVE: Now might be the perfect time for more faith-based features to get in on the box office hunger that’s propelled Christian-themed fare like Fox’s Son Of God and Freestyle Releasing’s God’s Not Dead into the Top 10. True-tale biopic Noble is one such film aiming to join the fray as it makes festival rounds and screens for buyers this month in LA and NY before heading to Cannes. Deirdre O’Kane (Moon Boy) stars as Christina Noble, a humanitarian and author who channeled her deprived and destitute childhood growing up on the streets of Dublin, Ireland into a lifelong mission to help children in need in Vietnam and Mongolia. Noble founded the Christina Noble Childrens Foundation in 1989 and wrote two books about her life’s work. Stephen Bradley wrote and directed the film, based on Noble’s life, which also stars Downton Abbey‘s Brendan Coyle, Game of Thrones‘ Liam Cunningham, and Sarah Greene. Melanie Gore-Grimes produced the UK/Irish pic, which was filmed in Vietnam, Liverpool, and Cumbria. Michael J. Hunt exec produced for his Ansty Productions. Noble won the Panavision Grand Prize at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Dallas International Film Festival, and next stops by the Nashville Film Festival and Newport Beach Film Fest. Continental Media is repping sales. Check out the trailer exclusively on Deadline: Read More »

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Aereo Slammed One Last Time By Broadcasters Before SCOTUS Hearing

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 5:22pm PDT

DJP LEGAL BADGEWith just days to go before they meet their Aereo foes face-to-face at the Supreme Court, the broadcasters this week took one last swipe at what they claim is the “blatant and unapologetic copyright infringement” by the Barry Diller-backed streaming service. “Aereo is in the business of retransmitting performances of the copyrighted works of others to the public for a profit,” said Aereo-logo__130126232434-200x206__130401161322__130529202533__130710203958__130809171259__130826231936__130910172430__131010150034bluntly in a final reply brief filed by Disney, CBS, NBC, Fox and the other plaintiffs on April 14 with the SCOTUS (read it here). Aereo and the broadcasters are set to present their respective oral arguments in a 1-hour hearing before the High Court on April 22. In their March 26 response to the broadcasters’ February 24 filing, Aereo insisted that they are not engaged in public performance of copyrighted works. The company also said “this Court should not rewrite the Copyright Act in an effort to protect petitioners from lawful and logical advancements in technology or from the economic consequences of their transmitting works for free over the public airwaves.”

Related: The ABCs Of Aereo: What Is Aereo & Why Are Broadcasters Taking It To The Supreme Court?

With the previously recused Judge Samuel Alito now joining the case the court docket revealed today, the stakes have gotten higher for all concerned, as it is impossible for the SCOTUS to have a tie on … Read More »

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ABC News Backhands Print Partner Over Pulitzer Prize Credits

LisaColumn__131015210634-275x198Weekly Column: Few things in this world are more painful than the realization that an estrangement has occurred between two news organizations who had worked amiably together investigating doctors and lawyers squashing benefits claims of miners dying of black lung, at the behest of the coal industry. That is just what has happened after the Center for Public Integrity won a Pulitzer Prize this week for an investigation into this medical travesty, after other organizations had jointly awarded SHERWOOD-articleLargeCPI and ABC News for the report. ABC claims CPI threw its staffers under the bus to soak up all the Pulitzer glory; CPI claims ABC News doesn’t deserve to share the Pulitzer because it only parachuted in periodically on the lengthy investigation, produced “sporadic” reports for television — not print — and repeatedly had to be saved from making embarrassing factual errors on its broadcast segments about the investigation.

Related: Pulitzer Board Honors The Guardian And Washington Post For Snowden Coverage

Meanwhile, White House Correspondents Dinner organizers took on the air of folks being pushed towards dangerous machinery in which they would prefer not to become entangled. That group already has announced it is giving its Edgar A. Poe Award to CPI and ABC News for the black-lung report, specifically because the two organizations “showed how a true collaboration between media partners can break significant new ground on an already well-reported story.” Joel McHale, who’s been booked to provide comedy at that annual black-tie dinner/celebrity petting zoo, is going to have a hard time topping that one for laughs.

Read More »

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Sony Pictures TV Prevails In ‘Shark Tank’ Lawsuit

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 5:00pm PDT

MARK CUBAN, BARBARA CORCORAN, KEVIN O’LEARY, LORI GREINER, ROBERT HERJAVECA judge in Florida has ruled in favor of Sony Pictures Television in a $50 million lawsuit over the reality TV show Shark Tank. “Sony Pictures Television won a directed verdict and the entire case was settled afterwards,” said Sony TV spokeswoman Paula Askanas today. The suit against the producers of the entrepreneurial reality show was filed by Florida attorney Bobbie Cellar. He claimed that he’d hired two of the show’s “sharks,” Daymond John and Robert Herjavec, to appear at an event he called the “Shark Tour,” an expo for people trying to start their own businesses. The suit claimed that Sony Pictures Television coerced John and Hervavac to withdraw from Cellar’s event because SPT didn’t want anyone to think the show and his expo were in any way connected. Cellar was unavailable for comment.

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John Legend, ‘Step Up 5′s John Swetnam Prepping Found Footage Dance Pic ‘Breaking Through’

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 4:26pm PDT

John Swetnam dance movieJohn Legend dance movieEXCLUSIVE: R&B singer John Legend and Step Up: All In scribe John Swetnam are teaming on coming-of-age dance drama Breaking Through, which has locked independent financing and is gearing up for a summer shoot. It’ll be the first feature of its kind to combine two subgenres — dance movies and found footage — in a plot described as a “documentary-style dance drama for the YouTube generation.” Casting starts soon on the pic, which is looking to discover new dance talent a la the Step Up films. Read More »

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Annapurna Pictures Ventures Into TV With Series About Greta Garbo & Marlene Dietrich

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 3:55pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

garbodietrichMegan Ellison’s film production and finance company Annapurna Pictures (American Hustle) has set its first major TV project, a series focusing on the intersecting lives of Hollywood icons and rivals Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich. Written by Angela Robinson and Alex Kondracke (Hung), the project is set in the Golden Age of Hollywood and explores the relationships of the starlets with such notable figures as John Gilbert, Mercedes de Acosta, Tallulah Bankhead, Alla Nazimova, Barbara Stanwyck, Cary Grant, and John Wayne, among others. (You can watch the Hollywood Rivals TV documentary about Garbo and Dietrich’s relationship below.)  Annapurna Pictures will finance or produce, with Ellison serving as executive producer. Just like the movies she takes on, telling the Garbo-Dietrich story has been a passion project for Ellison, who is paying WME-repped Robinson and Kondracke to write it on spec. Annapurna’s Stephen Feder will be the executive overseeing day-to-day development and production. Robinson is wrapping up an overall deal at HBO, as part of which she serves as an executive producer on True Blood and is directing a key episode from the vampire drama’s final season.

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OSCARS: Paramount Courts Academy Voters For ‘Noah’ And It’s Only April!

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 3:51pm PDT
Pete Hammond

Are you kidding?

Did Paramount just officially start the 2014 Oscar campaign even as we are barely getting the Emmys off the ground and theRussell Crowe as Noah Tonys are two months away? Uh, yes. Looks like it. One top studio exec (not from Paramount) forwarded me an email he got yesterday from the Paramount Awards Office that pronounced free admission starting April 15th - two by two for Academy members and a guest- to screenings of Noah at theaters nationwide – but only Monday thru Thursday since most theater owners usually don’t like to give up seats on the weekends, especially to rich and famous movie types.

Related: Can ‘Noah’ And ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ Overcome Oscar’s Greatest Curse: A March Release Date?
Read More »

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‘American Psycho’ Director Mary Harron Signs With APA Ahead Of Salvador Dali Pic

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 3:22pm PDT

mary harron daliEXCLUSIVE: Punk rock journalist-turned-American Psycho director Mary Harron has signed with APA. Harron is attached to direct the Salvador Dali biopic Dali And I and is currently co-adapting the script from art dealer Stan Lauryssens’ book. Harron made her feature screenwriting and directorial debut with the award-winning 1996 Sundance and Cannes entry I Shot Andy Warhol, which nabbed her an Indie Spirit nomination. Her next film, the polarizing 2000 adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho, went on to achieve cult status and garnered Harron a Director of the Year nod from the London Film Critics’ Circle. She reteamed with American Psycho co-scribe Guinevere Turner for 2005′s pinup biopic The Notorious Bettie Page, which she also produced, and adapted Rachel Klein’s novel The Moth Diaries in 2011 for her most recent feature of the same name. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: Eli Roth’s ‘The Green Inferno’

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 2:43pm PDT

Open Road Films is set to release the Eli Roth-directed The Green Inferno on September 5 after acquiring it at last year’s Toronto Film Festival. It’s Roth’s first directing gig since 2007′s Hostel 2, and he co-wrote the horror thriller with Guillermo Amoedo and produced the pic, which follows a group of students who travel from New York City to the Amazon to save a tribe from extinction. Unfortunately, the tribe has other plans for them. Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy and Daryl Sabara star. Here’s the first trailer, which promises some Roth-esque craziness but reveals none of it:

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Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer Made $24.9M In 2013, -31.9%

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 2:31pm PDT

Marissa Mayer 2It would have been obscene if Yahoo had matched the $35M in stock awards it gave Marissa Mayer in 2012 to woo her over from Google. So her total compensation was down for 2013 the company’s latest proxy shows, even though all of the components aside from stock awards were up in a year when Yahoo shares appreciated 103%. Her package: $1M salary, $2,250 bonus (only because she’s a co-inventor on some pending patents), $8.3M in stock awards, $13.8M in option awards, $1.7M in non equity incentives, and $73,863 in other compensation. The “other” category includes $50,000 for security (not including the protection she receives at work and on business travel), and $18,248 to reimburse for attorney fees. Yahoo says that twice last year family members and guests joined Mayer on the company plane during a business trip. It didn’t include that in her compensation “because we leased the entire aircraft and were not charged based on the number of passengers.” The board said that Mayer “revitalized the Company’s employee base, continued to build her leadership team, increased the pace of product innovation and refreshes, spearheaded the acquisition of Tumblr, and attracted new customers and increased traffic.” Former COO Henrique de Castro, who was bounced in January, didn’t receive a bonus “because the Compensation Committee believed that he did not meet the performance standards necessary to receive an annual bonus for 2013,” the proxy says. Still, Mayer’s former pal was … Read More »

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Google Shares Slip After Q1 Earnings Fall Short Of Analyst Forecasts

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 1:07pm PDT

new-google-logo-o__130307101539-275x91__140303154259__140313225345__140314223805The stock is down about 5.6% in post market trading on the disappointing results, which include a 9% year over year drop in the average cost per click. The search giant reported net income of $3.45B, +3.2% vs the first three months of 2013, on revenues of $15.42B, +19.1%. If you factor out the impact from the sale of the Motorola Mobile business to Lenovo Group then earnings per share would have come in at $6.27, below the $6.33 that the Street anticipated. Revenues also were lower than the $15.51B analysts expected. Google says that revenues from its sites improved 21% to $10.47B while partner sites were +4% to $3.4B. But revenue costs, primarily for the data centers, jumped 25.8% to $2.73B while operating expenses were +31.2% to $5.34B. Per usual, CEO Larry Page had little to say in the company release: He noted that “We got lots of product improvements done, especially on mobile. I’m also excited with progress on our emerging businesses.”

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EMMYS: Major Deadline Looms And New Online Voting Process Rolls Out As The Race Takes Off

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 12:25pm PDT
Pete Hammond

Emmy season is revving up already even though the primetime awards show won’t be happening until the end of summer Emmyslogo_new(Monday August 25th on NBC). But if you want to vote, the first major deadline looms tomorrow April 17, the last day to join the Academy, renew your membership or apply for hyphenate ballots in order to cast a ballot in this year’s contest. There is always a surge  of interest in joining the Academy around this time of year. In fact, last season there was a substantial increase in membership, primarily in order to cast an Emmy ballot. It’s not uncommon to see applications coming in bulk from staffs of shows that want those nominations, but unless these hopefuls apply by Thursday they will have to wait until next year.

In addition to the deadline, the Television Academy (as it now calls itself – and full disclosure I am on the Board Of Governors representing Writers) just sent out a formal letter this week to the eligible membership (now well over 16,000 and climbing) regarding instructions for online voting, which is being instituted for the first time this season. Read More »

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NBCU’s Wilshire Studios Inks Overall Deals With Producers Stephanie Bloch Chambers & C. Russell Muth

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 12:25pm PDT

WilshireNBCUniversal Cable Entertainment’s Wilshire Studios is ramping up its unscripted development slate, inking new overall deals with Stephanie Bloch Chambers (Chrisley Knows Best, Married To Jonas) and C. Russell Muth (DEA, Bordertown Laredo). Chambers worked on Bravo’s Toned Up, It’s A Brad Brad World and three seasons of Bethenny Ever After. Muth produced shows for Discovery Channel and TruTV such as American Chopper, American Casino, Tiger Team, and America’s Toughest Bars. He also produced Coast Guard Alaska for the Weather Channel and Big Easy Justice for Spike. Wilshire Studios also is growing its internal development team, hiring reality vet Benny Reuven as VP Development and Programming. Reuven previously served as a development executive at OWN and produced shows including Chef Wanted for Food Network.

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TLC To Try Out New ‘OMG EMT!’ Series About Emergency Medical Responders

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 12:23pm PDT

TLC_logo__130912234353TLC, the network that brought us obsessive coverage of families with armies of children, obsessive coverage of little people, and obsessive coverage of people with obsessions,  now appears to be going off the deep end with programs about emergency medical responders. The network that recently ordered 35 MORE episodes of Sex Sent Me To The ER today announced a series that explores the fast-paced lives of emergency medical techs, called OMG EMT! The four-episode series try-out launches Saturday, May 3 at 10 PM ET. TLC’s announcement promises the new series will feature some of the “most memorable and unusual emergency calls…from the ridiculous to the downright crazy.” The premiere episode, for example, will feature an elderly woman with a prizefighter’s temperament and a dog with a taste for rescue team members, and the inevitable incredibly stupid college guys doing, yes, something incredibly stupid and involving a stairway. Future episodes involve a man with chest pains and a love triangle, a baby delivery on the spot, a man who rises from the dead, etc. OMG EMT! is produced by Fly on the Wall Entertainment for TLC.

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FX’s ‘Fargo’ Debuts With 2.65M Viewers

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 12:12pm PDT

Fargo Ratings FXThere was a lot of snow, a broken nose, some low temperatures and a few dead bodies on the debut of Fargo on FX last night. There were also a lot of eyeballs catching the action: The 10 PM premiere of the limited series based on the Coen brothers’ Oscar-winning 1996 pic was watched by 2.65 million total viewers and 1.02 million among adults 18-49. The 97-minute debut was down 12% from the 3.04 million who tuned in for the 91-minute premiere of The Bridge on July 10 last year in the same time slot. That cross-cultural police drama about a serial killer on the U.S./Mexico border garnered 1.16 million among adults 18-49. Over its three plays last night, Fargo pulled in 4.15 million total viewers with 1.79 million adults 18-49. “We are incredibly proud of the towering creative achievement by Noah Hawley and everyone involved with Fargo,” John Landgraf, CEO of FX Networks and FX Productions, said today in a statement.

Starring Billy Bob Thornton and Sherlock co-star Martin Freeman, Fargo was down 17% from the 3.22 million total viewers FX’s The Americans drew for its 98-minute Season 1 debut at 10 PM on January 30, 2013. The Cold War spy drama had 1.57 million viewers in the 18-49 demo for its launch.

Related: ‘Fargo’ Star Billy Bob Thornton Says TV Replacing Film For Interesting Drama

Read More »

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Fox News’ New Take On Female Panelist Daytime Talker Will Feature One Guy And Be Called ‘Outnumbered’

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 12:08pm PDT

foxnewschannel__121107055533__130821210939__130827191454Fox News Channel finally announced the replacement program with which it will fill the void left when Megyn Kelly moved to primetimeOutnumbered. It’s kind of like The View, in that it’s a panel of women taking on the day’s top news/pop culture headlines — only with an FNC spin in that it’s got one rotating slot for a guy, who’s, you know, outnumbered. The announcement comes the same day The View announced it had talked all of its current and former co-hosts — including the ones who left under a cloud — to return to the show May 15 to say so-long to Babs Walters, who is retiring as show on-air Den Mom, though she’s continuing as show exec producer.

Outnumbered debuts Monday, April 28 at 12 PM ET; Fox Report Weekend anchor Harris Faulkner and Fox Business Network’s Sandra Smith are among the panelists named today. Additional personalities to be featured include co-hosts of The Five, Kimberly Guilfoyle and Andrea Tantaros; along with FNC contributors Jedediah Bila, Katie Pavlich and Kirsten Powers. Each of the panelists maintain their respective roles on FNC and FBN. Read More »

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IRS Says CBS Can Convert Billboard Business Into Real Estate Investment Trust

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 12:04pm PDT

CBSOutdoorCBS shares are up 1.6% while CBS Outdoor Americas — the billboard company that the broadcaster spun off earlier this month — is up 6% following the ruling. It means that CBS can save a bundle on taxes later this year when it unloads the 81% interest it still has in the outdoor business.  “CBS Outdoor’s conversion into a REIT will unlock its true value, and the completion of our Outdoor initiatives will enhance our ability to return capital to our shareholders,” CEO Les Moonves says. “We’re very pleased with the way CBS Outdoor has launched as a public company, and with this favorable IRS ruling, we look forward to great success in the future.”

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Open Road Acquires U.S. On ‘Tupac’, John Singleton-Directed Pic On Hip-Hop Icon

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 11:43am PDT
Mike Fleming

tupacEXCLUSIVE: Open Road Films has acquired U.S. rights to Tupac, the long-awaited and highly anticipated feature on the life of Tupac Shakur directed by John Singleton. Scripted by Jeremy Haft & Ed Gonzalez and Singleton, the film traces Shakur’s life from growing up in East Harlem the son of activist Black Panther Party members, to reaching superstardom as a songwriter, hip-hop and movie star, to his vocal position as a leader in the East Coast/West Coast rap war, to his death. Shakur, leaving a Mike Tyson fight at the MGM Grand In Las Vegas, was murdered in a drive by shooting, dying at age 25 in 1996.

Related: All Eyez On John Singleton As Director Boards Tupac Shakur Biopic

The film is being produced and financed by Morgan Creek Productions and Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films. The deal was set by Open Road CEO Tom Ortenberg, Morgan Creek chairman and CEO James G. Robinson, Program Pictures’ L.T. Hutton and Emmtt/Furla/Oasis Films principals Randall Emmett and George Furla. It’s a reunion of sorts for Singleton and Shakur, as Singleton directed him as an actor in the 1993 film Poetic Justice.

Open Road has committed to a wide-screen release of at least 2000 theaters. This film has been long in the making, but if anything Tupac is bigger than ever, based on his popularity and how well his music sells. Producers are Robinson, David Robinson, … Read More »

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Matt Lopez Inks Overall Deal At Universal TV

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 11:34am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

MATT LOPEZ PHOTO 4.8.14EXCLUSIVE: Feature writer Matt Lopez is formalizing his foray into television with a two-year overall deal at Universal Television. The pact, Lopez’s first overall TV arrangement, stems from One Kick, a drama project he developed at NBC through Uni TV this season. “Matt writes with texture and layers and creates dynamic characters,” Uni TV EVP Bela Bajaria said. “We enjoyed our development experience with him and are looking forward to working with Matt at Universal TV.”

In features, Lopez, repped by WME and Lichter, Grossman, is a go-to screenwriter for family fare, including Bedtime Stories, Race To Witch Mountain, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and the upcoming Clifford The Big Red Dog. On the producing side, he has teamed with Peter Chernin on Huck, about new adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, at Paramount. On TV, Lopez has explored darker territory, writing ABC pilots Gothica and Jekyll & Hyde the last two years.

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