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Time Warner Cable Misses Q2 Earnings Expectations With Added SportsNet LA Costs And Declining Video Subs

By | Thursday July 31, 2014 @ 4:55am PDT

Time Warner Cable Misses Q2 Earnings Expectations With Added SportsNet LA Costs And Declining Video SubsOn the bright side: Time Warner Cable saw strong growth in broadband subs. But Q2 won’t go down as a quarter to remember for the No. 2 cable company, in the process of being acquired by Comcast. It reported net income of $499M, +3.7% vs last year, on revenues of $5.73B, +3.2%. The revenue number came close to the Street’s target of $5.74B. But diluted earnings at $1.89 a share fell short of expectations for $1.91.

Some of the weakness was due to the double whammy of increased programming costs — including for SportsNet LA, launched this year — while the number of residential video subs declined by 152,000 since March to 11.0M.  Video revenues fell 4.8% to $2.55B while programming costs increased 3.9% to $1.3B. The declines were somewhat offset by price increases.

The broadband business carried the company. It added 67,000 subscriptions for a total of 11.4M while revenues increased 12.8% to $1.6B. TWC also added 79,000 phone customers, ending the quarter with 4.9M,although revenues slipped 5.2% to $490M. Looked at another way, the number of single and double play customers declined while the number of triple play subs increased for a total of 14.5M customer relationships, down 34,000.

CEO Rob Marcus says TWC “delivered the best second quarter subscriber volumes in years” as it “made terrific progress on our strategic and operating initiatives.” The company is “working hard to complete our merger with Comcast.”

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Discovery Beats Q2 Earnings Expectations With Strong Overseas Sales

By | Thursday July 31, 2014 @ 4:13am PDT

Discovery Beats Q2 Earnings Expectations With Strong Overseas SalesCEO David Zaslav’s globalization efforts paid off in Q2 as Discovery Communication’s overseas operations helped to cover for weaknesses in the U.S. businesses. The company reported net income of $379M, +26.3% vs the period last year, on revenues of $1.61B, +9.8%. The top line was a hair above the $1.60B in the Street’s consensus estimate. Earnings at $1.09 a share were well above forecasts for 95 cents.

Many analysts expected more from the U.S. Networks where revenues fell 2% to $777M, with cash flow down 1% to $466M. Ad sales — which have shown anemic growth across the board in Q2 reports out so far — were up 5%. But distribution revenues fell 8% in comparison with last year when the company benefited from SVOD licensing deals. If you take them out of the equation, then distribution would have been up 6% and total revenues +4%, Discovery says.

But the International Networks picked up the slack with revenues +23% to $802M and cash flow +19% to $297M. Ad sales increased 23% and distribution revenues were +19%. If you factor out the acquisition of Eurosport, then ad revenues would have been up 17%.

The company told investors to expect full year revenues of as much as $6.525B with net income potentially hitting $1.275B. “Going forward, investing in compelling programming remains a priority as we integrate our recent acquisitions and build new avenues of growth so we can deliver additional long term value to our shareholders,” Zaslav says.

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Update: Salman Khan’s ‘Kick’ Punches Its Way To #1 At 2014 Bollywood Box Office

By | Thursday July 31, 2014 @ 4:12am PDT

Update: Salman Khan’s ‘Kick’ Punches Its Way To #1 At 2014 Bollywood Box Officekick movie posterUPDATE, THURSDAY AM: Salman Khan’s Kick may not have broken any all-time Bollywood records when it was released last Friday, but that hasn’t stopped it from racing to the top of the yearly charts. With 148.66 crore (about $25M) through Wednesday, the movie is now the top film of 2014 at home and is expected to continue to grow with no other big openers in the marketplace until August 8. Kick bested Khan’s own Jai Ho which was released in January and ultimately made 116 crore. Kick also becomes one of the fastest movies ever to pass the 100 crore mark, having done it in five days, as Bollywhood Hungama points out. That’s on a par with Khan’s Ek Tha Tiger, his highest grossing film ever, and just below last year’s Dhoom 3, Krrish 3 and Chennai Express. The latter film also came out during this same Eid holiday period that’s going on now. It’s one of the most lucrative at the Indian box office. Kick is still playing in North America and the UK and we should have updated figures for those runs this weekend.

PREVIOUS, TUESDAY AM: At 48 and with more than 80 films under his belt, Bollywood superstar Salman Khan is one of Indian cinema’s biggest draws. He shares A-List status with a group that includes Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Akshay Kumar, Ranbir Kapoor and Hrithik Roshan. Working in an industry whose box office is up to 90% driven by local movies, they have a rabid fanbase. And that spreads throughout the diaspora, making it a global event each time one of their films is released. Khan just returned to the Eid al Fitr holiday season with Kick, an action romance thriller released by UTV on Friday. Last week, I wrote about expectations for the highly-anticipated film’s debut, and with many figures now in, here’s the post-mortem on the latest from the legend.

Image (2) india-flag__130707193408-200x112.jpg for post 536351The film went out in India, North America, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and other markets on Friday, performing well but falling short of all-time records. At home in India, Kick grossed an estimated 83.83 crore ($13.95M) on more than 4,000 screens for the biggest weekend debut of the year. It bested Khan’s earlier 2014 release Jai Ho, which did 60.68 crore in its first weekend in January. Kick is now the No. 6 all-time opener in India. The film marks something of a comeback for Khan, who in 2013 stepped out of the highly-profitable Eid corridor for the first time in years, leaving the date to rival Shah Rukh Khan’s Chennai Express which broke several records upon release.

Outside its domestic market, Kick has an estimated take of about $3M through Sunday. While that’s a healthy perf, the $1.07M North American gross on 177 screens was well shy of Dhoom 3‘s $3.3M last year which remains the biggest Bollywood opener ever in North America (and the highest-grossing local film of all time). Read More »

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‘Amazing Spider-Man 2′, ’22 Jump Street’ Help Sony Swing To Surprise Q1 Profit

‘Amazing Spider-Man 2′, ’22 Jump Street’ Help Sony Swing To Surprise Q1 ProfitWith films like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and 22 Jump Street leading a recovery in its entertaiment division, Sony posted a surprise profit in revealing its first-quarter results this morning in Tokyo. For the whole of the company, net income rose to $260M or 26.8B yen versus 3.1B yen in the comparable 2013 quarter. Operating income hit 69.8B yen ($679M) up 96.7% from last year. As it struggles with a decrease in appetite for traditional consumer electronics, the company has ramped up its games business. Overall sales for the quarter were up 5.8% with the games segment making a large contribution via the PlayStation 4 which was launched in November 2013. The results today beat analyst expectations, but Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai maintained a previous full-year forecast for a net loss of 50B yen and an operating profit of 140B yen.

Sales and revenue in the games division jumped 95.7% to $2.5B and went from negative operating income to +$41.8M. In home entertainment which makes televisions and audio and video devices, sales increased 3.8% to $2.8B. The hike came from significant sales of LCD televisions, mainly in Europe and Asia Pacific — and were likely impacted by the World Cup. But there was also a decrease in the sale of Blu-ray disc players. The movie division, however posted a profit of about $76M, up 109.3% from last year. Sales and operating revenue were $1.9B. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has grossed about $706M worldwide, $504M of that from … Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: China Forum Held On Sino-U.S. Cooperation; Simon Cowell Named Mipcom Personality Of The Year; ITV Drama Lineup; More

Global Showbiz Briefs: China Forum Held On Sino-U.S. Cooperation; Simon Cowell Named Mipcom Personality Of The Year; ITV Drama Lineup; MoreAs I reported on Monday, the China Film Association has formed the International Communication Committee of the China Film Association. At an event held Tuesday in Beijing, the ICCCFA was unveiled to address critical issues facing the Chinese film industry. DMG Entertainment, whose president Wu Bing was named as VP of ICCCFA, helped organize the event. The ICCCFA’s focus will be to educate and engage the global film community, particularly Hollywood, to enhance the development of the Chinese film industry by establishing best practices for partnering with China’s established and proven film companies to access the market. One of the major questions addressed was whether the Chinese film industry should China-And-Hollywood__130605112955-150x150__130925193515__131105220131support Hollywood studios making Chinese films or Chinese studios making Hollywood films. DMG’s Dan Mintz said the industry is “collectively agreeing on the latter as the correct agenda.” Along with the heads of many of China’s most influential state-backed film organizations, DMG escorted former Skydance COO Paul Schwake and screenwriter Evan Daugherty to the forum. Talking about the long-term goal of global film and cultural balance, Schwake said: “Though Hollywood isn’t a perfect system, it is an industry that has benefited from 100-plus years of trial and error and adaptive evolution. It’s important for the governing entities in China to support their own industry leaders so that those entities can catch up to the U.S. studios and perhaps even surpass them some day.” Said Daugherty: “Yes, it takes a great story to make a great film, but to complete that journey takes a system that excels at development, finance, production, marketing, and distribution. Otherwise that great story just lays on a shelf.” Via the ICCCFA, the Chinese government has put an emphasis on building China’s cultural industries. Kang Jianmin, Secretary-General of the China Film Association, noted: “The mission of the Chinese film industry should not only focus on content, even though content is king. It should also nurture a solid foundation of new technology, creativity and talent – in other words, focusing on industry development at-large. This macro-strategy, if successfully implemented, will most rapidly create a world-class film industry.” Read More »

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TECH Bits: ‘Mario Kart 8′ Sales Rev Up As Nintendo Struggles; Rob Glaser Redux

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 8:02pm PDT

TECH Bits: ‘Mario Kart 8′ Sales Rev Up As Nintendo Struggles; Rob Glaser ReduxNot even the arrival of fast-selling sequel Mario Kart 8 could rev up sales of the Wii U game console, as one-time video game king Nintendo continued to struggle in its first quarter. Operating losses of 9.47 billion yen ($92.2M) were twice as bad as expected in consensus analyst estimates, while sales dropped more than 8 percent to 74.7 billion yen ($72.7M) despite sales of more than 2.8 million units of Mario Kart in the quarter.

There were modest signs of hope, as Wii U sales spiked more than three times from the same quarter a year ago, hitting 510,000 units. That still leaves the Wii U far behind Sony’s next-generation game console, the PS4, which has racked up 8.7 million units sold since its debut in November 2013, a year after the Wii U. Nintendo has sold fewer than 6.7 million units in 19 months.

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UPDATE: Production On ‘The Big Bang Theory’ Pushed Again, No Table Read Thursday

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 7:35pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE: Production On ‘The Big Bang Theory’ Pushed Again, No Table Read ThursdayUPDATE 7:30 PM: I’ve learned that Warner Bros TV has made the call — there will be no table read for The Big Bang Theory tomorrow. Production on Season 8 of the hit CBS comedy originally was scheduled to start today, but with the five original castmembers still without contracts as negotiations between their teams and WBTV continue, the studio cancelled the table read, pushing it by a day. Now I hear production has been postponed one more day as talks continue. In its statement confirming the production delay this morning, WBTV did not set a return date, so its still stands.

CBS blue logoPREVIOUS 9 AM: There is no agreement yet in the contract negotiations between the original cast of The Big Bang Theory and Warner Bros TV, leading to the studio’s decision to push the production start date for Season 8, originally slated for today. “Due to ongoing contract negotiations, production on The Big Bang Theory — which was originally scheduled to begin today — has been postponed,” WBTV said in a statement. I hear the postponement is for one day, and the situation would be evaluated day by day as the two sides continue to negotiate and are close to deals, something that could happen as early as today.

While Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar worked during the 2010 salary renegotiations that also dragged on over the summer, they were under deals back then. The situation is different this time as the quintet’s contracts all expired at the end of last season. The only Big Bang cast members who have deals and would’ve showed up today are Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik, who renegotiated their contracts last fall. Read More »

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Toonsmiths Get An Earful on Guild’s Pending ‘Wage Suppression’ Suit Against Disney, DreamWorks And Other Studios

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 7:27pm PDT

Toonsmiths Get An Earful on Guild’s Pending ‘Wage Suppression’ Suit Against Disney, DreamWorks And Other StudiosThe Animation Guild is gathering information for a possible “wage suppression” lawsuit against Hollywood’s major animation studios, members were informed on Tuesday night. The guild believes that toon studios, including Disney and DreamWorks, might have entered into an illegal pact not to recruit one another’s employees, thus suppressing their wages. Guild members were informed of the fact-finding mission during Tuesday night’s packed general membership meeting.

“It’s come to light that Disney, DreamWorks, and other studios may have participated in a … wage suppression cartel, and our members have been interested in the guild taking action on behalf of those who may have been damaged by having their compensation suppressed unlawfully,” guild organizer Steve Kaplan wrote on the IATSE Local 839’s website.

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Twitter Reactions to Robert Halmi Sr.’s Death

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 7:22pm PDT

Twitter Reactions to Robert Halmi Sr.’s DeathThe death of Robert Halmi Sr., the vastly respected producer of ambitious and Emmy-winning TV projects who led a very full life over 90 years, stirred plenty of comment and reaction on social media and beyond. Below is a sampling of reactions from some of the industry’s notables, including producer Gale Anne Hurd‘s (The Walking Dead) simple homage of two hashtags. Read More »

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‘Breaking Bad’s Anna Gunn Sets ‘Sex With Strangers’ On Fire; A Pianist’s Tale Of Survival After The Kindertransport

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 6:37pm PDT

‘Breaking Bad’s Anna Gunn Sets ‘Sex With Strangers’ On Fire; A Pianist’s Tale Of Survival After The KindertransportAnna Gunn, an Emmy winner as Skyler White on Breaking Bad and Geffen Playhouse regular, has taken to the boards as her latest show, Gracepoint, heads to its October premiere on Fox. In Laura Eason’s Sex With Strangers, running at the increasingly essential Second Stage, she plays Olivia, a writer who has retreated to a secluded B&B in Michigan to finish her second novel. It’s a dark and snow-stormy night when Ethan comes stomping in from the cold.

Olivia is on the cusp of 40, wispy and comfortably wrapped in an afghan. Ethan is played by Billy Magnussen, for whom the cusp of 40 is still a considerable way off and who — as anyone knows who saw him as Sigourney Weaver’s gifted boy toy in Vanya And Sonia And Masha And Spike (he was Spike) — has a body to render women weak and set men’s teeth on edge. Read More »

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R.I.P. Robert Drew, Pioneer Of American Cinema Verite

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 5:29pm PDT

R.I.P. Robert Drew, Pioneer Of American Cinema VeriteThe documentary filmmaker who was called the “father of American cinema verite” died today at his home in Sharon, Conn. Robert Drew was 90. He was a Life magazine correspondent and editor when he formed Drew Associates in 1960 and hired a team of filmmakers that included then-unknowns D.A. Pennebaker, Albert Maysles and Ricky Leacock. Their first project was Primary, which followed handsome young senator John F. Kennedy as he campaigned in Wisconsin for the 1960 Democratic presidential nomination.

PrimaryStarting with Primary, Drew’s films pioneered a new journalistically minded code of documentary creation, including not directing subjects or using set-up shots or an on-camera narrator. The candid footage was edited into a dramatic narrative that gave the feeling of what it was like to be there as events occurred. His technique became known as cinema verite or direct cinema, though he liked to call it reality filmmaking.

Drew and his team re-engineered a motion picture camera and sound recorder so they could move freely and in sync with a subject, allowing them the mobility to capture real life as it unfolded before the lens. Primary and the 1963 docu Crisis: Behind A Presidential Commitment, which chronicled the president’s effort to integrate the University of Alabama, are part of the Library of Congress’ National Registry of historic films. Read More »

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Legendary Sets Scribe For ‘Operation Shakespeare’

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 5:12pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Legendary Sets Scribe For ‘Operation Shakespeare’EXCLUSIVE: Legendary Pictures is in talks with Michael Werwie to script Operation Shakespeare, an adaptation of the John Shiffman book. Title was the code name for an international sting, led by an elite Homeland Security team, to snare foreign arms dealers from acquiring and selling U.S. military technology. The book was published this month by Simon & Schuster. Werwie is scripting Lost Girls for Warner Bros.

Related: Comic-Con: Legendary Unveils Glimpse Of New King Kong Pic ‘Skull Island’

Image (2) legendary_pictures_logo__130110013445-275x158__131231055309__140328193245__140603232452.jpg for post 739813Legendary showed at Comic-Con it can mount monster movies with the best of them, but this project follows an equally hot-button premise thriller Blackhat, the Michael Mann-directed pic that stars Chris Hemsworth, as an example the company is growing into topical subject matter. The sting focused on microchips, gyroscopes, radar-cloaking and night-vision technology that were developed and manufactured in the United States at extraordinary cost. The tiny weapons capable of guiding missiles, seeing through walls and triggering explosives were falling into the hands of enemies. John Shiffman, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, followed a trail that began with an Iranian arms broker and some U.S. defense contractors who put profit over national security, and the case spanned from Philly to London, Dubai, Beverly Hills and Tbilisi. Complicating matters is the Iranian’s government plot to assassinate him after he’s caught. The screenwriter’s repped by UTA.

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R.I.P. Robert Halmi Sr.

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 4:59pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

R.I.P. Robert Halmi Sr.Emmy-winning TV movie and miniseries producer Robert Halmi Sr. has died. At 90, he was still doing what he had loved doing for the past three and a half decades — producing television — until his sudden passing this afternoon in his New York home from a brain aneurysm.

A freedom fighter in his native Hungary, where he had been jailed and sentenced to death twice — once by Nazi invaders, then by the communist regime — Halmi was able to emigrate to the U.S. in 1951, arriving with a Leica camera and $5 in his pocket. He started off as a “diaper photographer,” taking pictures of babies for a diaper service, before becoming one of America’s leading magazine photographers. He then switched to television, becoming one of the most prolific longform producers in the genre’s heyday during the 1980s and 1990s. His more than 200 movies and miniseries included such hits as Gulliver’s Travels, Merlin, The Odyssey and Tin Man. Together, they have earned 136 Emmy Awards (and 480 nominations), as well as Golden Globes, Peabodys, Christophers and Humanitas Prizes.

“I cannot retire, I would go nuts,” Halmi told me five years ago, when he was still jetting around the world to the sets of his movies, with that still camera still around his neck. Recently, he was working on the latest big-scope project, Syfy’s 13-part series Olympus, which started filming three weeks ago for a 2015 premiere.

A Christmas CarolHalmi … Read More »

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Universal Buys Drew Daywalt Kid Book ‘The Day The Crayons Quit’

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 4:52pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Universal Buys Drew Daywalt Kid Book ‘The Day The Crayons Quit’Universal Pictures has preemptively acquired film rights to The Day The Crayons Quit, the bestselling children’s picture book by Drew Daywalt with illustrations by Oliver Jeffers. Matt Lopez has been set to script and Madhouse Entertainment will produce.

The book tells the story of a box of crayons whose inhabitants decide to go on strike after growing sick and tired of how they’re being used. Among the lead characters: a white crayon with an existential crisis because he doesn’t show up on white paper, a black crayon who longs to color a rainbow or a beach ball, and a pink crayon who is fed up with coloring nothing but princess dresses. The book has been on the New York Times Bestseller list for 55 weeks running and won numerous awards. Jeff Kirschenbaum and Jon Mone will oversee for the studio, and Madhouse’s Adam Kolbrenner and Robyn Meisinger are producing with Ryan Cunningham the exec producer. Lopez scripted The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Race To Witch Mountain and Bedtime Stories and he’s working for Universal on the upcoming Clifford The Big Red Dog. Daywalt is repped by Paradigm, Madhouse, and attorney Jamie Coghill, Lopez by WME and attorney Melissa Rogal and Madhouse is repped by David Fox. The book deal was brokered by Paradigm on behalf of Dwyer & O’Grady, Writers House and the Bell Lomax Moreton Agency.

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Sony WW Creative Advertising Prexy Tommy Gargotta Leaving

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 4:41pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Sony WW Creative Advertising Prexy Tommy Gargotta LeavingEXCLUSIVE: The internal moves at Sony continue. Deadline hears that Tommy Gargotta is leaving the studio. The president of Worldwide Creative Advertising, he will be replaced. I’m told this is not related to the recent exit of Jeff Blake, whom the studio is in the process of replacing. More details as they emerge.

It might be unrelated to Blake, but from what I hear, Gargotta  is an institution in the Jimmy Stewart building second only to (until last week) Blake and publicity president Andre Caraco. He has long been considered a top creative advertising mind in the business, by studios, networks, vendors. He’s a guy who’d come up with a campaign, and then recut and rescore it over and over, as he did with 007. That process was expensive but the results spoke for themselves, in places like the Key Art Awards, where Gargotta’s work shone.

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Universal Unwraps Alex Kurtzman As New ‘Mummy’ Man

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 3:52pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Universal Unwraps Alex Kurtzman As New ‘Mummy’ ManTwo weeks after Deadline revealed that Universal Pictures was putting its classic movie monster franchises in the hands of Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan, the studio is setting Kurtzman to direct the resuscitation of The Mummy franchise. The studio tapped that duo to come up with a creative game plan and maybe take on some of these monster classics, and clearly The Mummy was the first one to go in production, so this is not a startling development.

mummm kurtzmUniversal has been trying to reopen the sarcophagus on this one for a while. The original trilogy, hatched by helmer Steve Sommers and starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, grossed north of $1.2 billion, but locking down the reboot has been all kinds of frustrating. The studio had Len Wiseman locked to do it, but then he bailed and it was Mama helmer Andy Muschietti, but those talks didn’t work out either.

Related: Fleming Rants On Why Studios Can’t Launch Franchises Anymore, Leaving Us With Retreads Like ‘The Mummy’

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EMMYS: A Year After Its Finale Bryan Cranston Still Hopes ‘Breaking Bad’ Has Awards Mojo On Its Side

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 3:44pm PDT
Pete Hammond

EMMYS:  A Year After Its Finale Bryan Cranston Still Hopes ‘Breaking Bad’ Has Awards Mojo On Its SideBreaking Bad may have finished its run a year ago but, as far as Emmys are concerned, it has all the heat now – and then some. It recently won Best Drama Series from the Critics Choice Television Awards, Program Of The Year  from the Television Critics Association and even finally the Golden Globe last January for the show and star Bryan Cranston after essentially being ignored by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for the length of its 6-year  run. The show has really come into its own and continues to be talked about and debated, and has taken a kind of victory tour at all the Guild shows as well since finally winning its first Best Drama Series Emmy in 2013. And it is nominated again, for the last time, for those final eight episodes that ran last summer just as Emmy voting for the previous season was in full force. Some think voters gave breaking-bad-beats-mad-men-and-homeland-to-win-best-drama-seriesit the Emmy then as much for the new shows, that were unspooling as they had ballots in hand, as much they did for the eligible 8 shows from  the first half of the sixth and final season. It begs the question whether the Academy is ready to go there one more time even though BB long ago finished its first-run episodes on AMC. But despite three lead actor Emmys in 2008, 2009 and 2010 for Cranston as well as a pair for … Read More »

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Warren Kole, Erik Stocklin Join CBS Drama ‘Stalker’

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 3:31pm PDT

Warren Kole, Erik Stocklin Join CBS Drama ‘Stalker’Warren Kole and Erik Stocklin have landed recurring roles in CBS drama Stalker. The Kevin Williamson series stars Dylan McDermott and Maggie Q as detectives from the Threat Assessment Unit who investigate cases of stalking. Kole, repped by The Kohner Agency, Silver Lining Entertainment and attorney Stuart Rosenthal, will play Detective Trent Wilkes, a lead detective in the Robbery Homicide Division of the LAPD who gets into a turf war with Jack (McDermott). Stocklin has been added as a recurring after appearing in the pilot. He will reprise his role of Perry, an introverted college sophomore. Kole appeared in the NBC pilot Salvation and recently recurred on USA’s White Collar and Fox’s The Following. Stocklin, repped by Domain and manager JC Robbins, appeared on ABC’s Mistresses.

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‘Maude’ About Norman, PEN USA Laurels Lear With Lifetime Achievement Award

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 3:06pm PDT

‘Maude’ About Norman, PEN USA Laurels Lear With Lifetime Achievement AwardEXCLUSIVE: Incomparable writer, producer, First Amendment apostle and funny guy Norman Lear will receive this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award from PEN Center USA, which works on global issues of freedom of speech and censorship. The non-profit human-rights group also said it is giving its First Amendment Award to journalist Glenn Greenwald and documentary director Laura Poitras for their work disseminating documents relating to NSA surveillance. Journalist and filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas will receive the Freedom to Write Award for his work on immigration issues.

Pen Center LOGOLear, who turned 92 on Sunday, made his name creating groundbreaking TV sitcoms in the 1970s, including All In The Family, Maude, Good Times, One Day At A Time, Sanford And Son and The Jeffersons. The shows couched controversy in humor, dealing with thorny societal issues including racism, bigotry, feminism, divorce, abortion and class. Lear, also the producer of films including Fried Green Tomatoes, was as politically active off-screen as on: He founded the advocacy group People for the American Way in 1981, led a consortium to purchase an original copy of the Constitution and toured it around the country, and remains at the forefront of Hollywood’s most active and influential political progressives.

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