John Oliver took the NBC package deal to promote the launch of his new HBO late night show, Last Week Tonight this coming Sunday. Oliver stopped by Tonight show last night, where he made fun of Jimmy Fallon’s interview style and talked about friends’ reaction to his final The Daily Show appearance:
Earlier this week, Oliver so deftly explained to Today show’s Matt Lauer why his satirical show would not bother to cover a report that had just been featured on Today that Lauer barely noticed he’d been dinged:
Take that, Netflix. Beginning on May 21 the multi-year agreement will enable Amazon Prime subscribers to stream series including The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire, and later — about three years after episodes initially air — Girls, The Newsroom and Veep. In addition, by year end Amazon will offer HBO GO on its new Fire TV platform. (It’s already available to HBO subscribers on other devices including Google’s Chromecast.) The shows will still be available on HBO’s platforms, but the companies say that this is the first time the premium pay TV channel’s shows have been licensed to an online-only streaming service. “As owners of our original programming, we have always sought to capitalize on that investment,” HBO EVP of Business and Legal Affairs Glenn Whitehead says.
Amazon shares are up 1.4% pre market, and Netflix is down 2.7%, following the announcement. That suggests investors didn’t fully accept Netflix CEO Reed Hastings’ claim on Monday that the streaming video providers can peacefully coexist. “It’s a very much not a zero-sum game and we are building this ecosystem together that’s about Internet video and the more players there are in Internet video, the bigger that ecosystem gets,” he said. “The big theme is Internet video is taking share away from linear video. So we are all participating in that transformation.” He has more mixed feelings about HBO: In January he joked that HBO chief Richard Plepler’s Netflix password was probably: “Netflix bitch.”
Stifel analyst Benjamin Mogil says HBO probably made its deal with Amazon, instead of Netflix, because there’s less overlap among their subscribers. Still, it’s “clearly a negative for Netflix, given the high profile nature of the HBO content” and could “somewhat limit” the streaming company’s just-announced plan to raise its prices for new customers. He notes, though, that HBO and Amazon released few details about the deal terms and that it doesn’t include all HBO shows.
Here’s today’s announcement from HBO and Amazon: Read More »
EXCLUSIVE:National Geographic Channel wants to stay in business with Rob Lowe. After starring as President John F. Kennedy in last year’s Killing Kennedy and narrating The ’80s: The Decade That Made Us last spring, NGC has signed Lowe to narrate the sequel. The ’90s: The Last Great Decade? will premiere over three nights in July on NGC in the U.S., followed globally in 171 countries and on Spanish-language network Nat Geo Mundo “I’m excited to be back working with the team at National Geographic Channel, who continue to show their commitment to creating great, entertaining and thought-provoking television programming,” said Lowe. “No one has really examined the ’90s like this before, and I think viewers will be fascinated by the dramatic changes we’ve seen in even the small amount of time that’s passed since Y2K.” The ’90s revisits the pre 9/11 decade through 120 original interviews with eyewitnesses, politicians and celebrities. It recalls the high and lows of the 90s, including former President Bill Clinton being swept into office, the LA Riots, and MTV’s The Real World and Jerry Springer changing the television programming landscape. Read More »
Cannes Film Festival Competition title Jimmy’s Hall is expected to be the last narrative feature from veteran helmer Ken Loach. This year will mark British director’s 12th time in Competition. He won the Palme d’Or in 2006 for The Wind That Shakes The Barley, and has taken the Jury Prize three times, for The Angel’s Share (2012), Raining Stones (1993) and Hidden Agenda (1990). This time around, Loach settles on a 1930s period film based on the true story of a man who built a dance hall on a rural crossroads in Ireland where young people could gather to learn, argue, dream, and above all, dance and have fun. But problems arise when the meeting place runs afoul of the church. Barry Ward, Simone Kirby, Jim Norton and Sherlock‘s Andrew Scott star. Loach’s longtime collaborator Paul Laverty wrote the script. Entertainment One is releasing in the UK on May 30. There is currently no U.S. distributor; Wild Bunch has international sales.
Warner Bros Germany Picks Up ‘Madame Bovary’ Warner Bros Germany has acquired all German-speaking rights to Sophie Barthes’ Madame Bovary from A Company Filmed Entertainment. Based on the classic Gustave Flaubert novel, the film stars Mia Wasikowska, Rhys Ifans and Ezra Miller. Barthes co-wrote the screenplay with Rose Barrenche. Currently in postproduction, Madame Bovary tells the tragic story of Emma (Wasikowska), a young beauty who impulsively marries a small-town doctor in order to leave her father’s pig farm behind. But after being introduced to the glamorous world of high society, she soon becomes bored with her stodgy mate and seeks excitement and status outside the bonds of marriage. Joe Neurauter and Felipe Marino of Occupant Entertainment are producing in association with Aden Films’ Barthes and Aleph Motion Pictures’ Jaime Mateus-Tique. UK-based Prescience is financing with Tim Smith and Paul Brett as exec producers. Co-producers include A Company’s Alexander van Duelmen and Kai Kuenneman, Scope Pictures’ Genevieve Lemal and Left Field Ventures’ John Engel. Radiant Films International is handling foreign sales. A Company has distribution in select territories including Eastern Europe, Russia and Vietnam. Read More »
UPDATED with details of Colbert’s appearance: Viewers curious to know what Actual Stephen Colbert is like, and what might his upcoming CBS late-night show be, got a good look tonight when the Comedy Central star made his first visit to David Letterman‘s Late Show since being named as his replacement. After telling Dave he’d been offered a gig with Dave’s old NBC show but turned it down because it was an unpaid internship – “It’s an expensive city,” Colbert explained. “The next job I’m taking here, that pays? Cause I’ve already signed” — they exchanged pleasantries about their families and Dave asked Colbert if he vacations well.
“No, I do not,” Colbert responded. “I don’t know why you do comedy, but it’s not because everything’s all right up here, for me,” he said, tapping on his own head. “It’s not a normal thing to do with your life. … It’s more dangerous than bungee jumping, deciding to do this for a living. I don’t have the constitution for hardcore alcoholism, so I have to tell jokes all the time or I go a little insane. I had last week off and it didn’t go well.”
Years after he turned down the internship, Colbert tried to get a job writing on Dave’s show, but he landed a job elsewhere before Letterman’s camp came calling. Colbert actually brought along the Top 10 list he’d created back then to apply for the gig: Top 10 Cocktails For Santa. Colbert read them on air — all 10 of them. The Rusty Blitzen, the Scrooge Driver — each less funny than the last, and each joke had to be explained. “I don’t think you would have hired me at this point,” Colbert acknowledged at around No. 6. And yet, he kept reading. “I like the fact that you explained all of them — all of the jokes have been explained,” Dave said. “We gave up on that back in ’97.”
Meanwhile, conservative media figures continue to tag along on this story — with FNC’s Bill O’Reilly closing out Monday’s The O’Reilly Factor telecast with commentary on his own earlier commentary about CBS having named Colbert to replace Dave. O’Reilly said he was amused the “liberal press” is upset that he’s “being mean to Colbert.” (Before O’Reilly knew Colbert would be named Letterman’s successor, he’d called Colbert a left-wing “deceiver” who does “damage because he gives cover to powerful people who are selling Americans a big lie that this country is bad” — this in response to a Colbert Report bit poking fun at O’Reilly for saying President Obama‘s focus on “equality” was an “opium-laced dream.”)
The NFL regular-season schedule comes out tomorrow, but we already know something big about the postseason. The league said today that ESPN will air a wild card game during the first weekend of the playoffs in early January. The milestone game will mark the first postseason NFL game on pay TV — and should draw astronomical ratings for the cable universe. Last season’s wild card weekend was a goldmine for NBC, CBS and especially Fox, whose 49ers-Packers contest was the most-watched wild card game on any network since the Reagan administration with 47.1 million viewers. Even that weekend’s lowest-rated game — in which the Colts erased a four-touchdown deficit to stun the Chiefs — drew 27.6 million. But that’s more than the largest cable TV audience ever: the 2011 Auburn-Oregon college football title game, which pulled in 27.3 million viewers for ESPN. The sports network, which carries Monday Night Football games, signed an eight-year contract extension with the NFL in 2011 to keep the lucrative franchise through the 2021 season. That pact — which also covers international TV rights to NFL games including the Super Bowl — included an option for the league to give a postseason game to ESPN. The network’s MNF team of Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden will call the Wild Card game, which also will be available via WatchESPN.
Safety issues are starting to take center stage across the entertainment industry in the wake of Sarah Jones‘ death on the set of Midnight Rider. Tonight in Burbank at a meeting of the Local 399, fliers were handed out for an IATSE-backed May 4 seminar entitled “Safety Rights of Workers & Your Rights Under OSHA Class,” which a description says will educate union attendees on set safety protocol, their rights as workers, and “what to do when you feel you are being placed in a hazardous situation.” The seminar will be open to all members of the entertainment industry, not just IATSE members, and will be jointly hosted by the Local 80, which reps first aid employees, motion picture grips, craft services, warehouse workers, and the Local 728, which represents represents studio electrical lighting technicians.
The estimated 50 attendees at tonight’s Local 399 meeting began the session with a moment of silence for fallen camera assistant Jones, who died in a train collision on February 20 in Georgia, and also for LAPD officer Chris Cortijo, a 26-year veteran of the force well known in the L.A. production community, who was killed by an alleged DUI driver April 5 in Sun Valley.
Handouts for the May 4 safety meeting were made available to attending members of Local 399, which represents camera car drivers, casting directors, crane operators, location managers, coordinators and scouts, production drivers, script coordinators, stunt and/or blind drivers, transportation coordinators, and others. It will be held from 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM on Sunday, May 4 at the IATSE Local 80 in Burbank: Read More »
UPDATE, 8:14 PM: No joke — the strike is over. After a day-and-a-half labor action on the part of the Motion Picture Editors Guild, IATSE Local 700, the postproduction crew of Last Comic Standing now have a union contract, I’ve learned. With that over, everybody is heading back to work tomorrow on the soon-to-debut NBC reboot. The roughly 15 editors, assistant editors and other briefly striking post employees have won the health and retirement benefits plus vacation and holiday pay they sought when they walked out on Monday. A day of picketing today outside the Glendale postproduction facility of the NBC Studios show also saw significant wage increases for the assistant editors. Last Comic Standing is set to premiere on May 22.
PREVIOUS, APRIL 21, AM: Just more than a month before its reboot is set to debut, NBC‘s Last Comic Standing today has been knocked down by a labor action. About 15 editors and assistant editors walked off the job today in a no-joke strike organized by the Motion Picture Editors Guild, IATSE Local 700, I’ve learned. Hired by NBC Studios on a non-union basis, the editors are seeking a union contract that includes industry-standard health insurance and pension benefits. Read More »
Before Soviet hockey stars were allowed to show their skills in the NHL, many played at home for the Red Army — and were nearly unbeatable. Sony Pictures Classics has grabbed North American, Asian and Eastern European rights to Gabe Polsky’s new documentary Red Army, about one of the most dominant teams in sports history. (Watch the trailer below.) It focuses on the story of defenseman Slava Fetisov, who starred for the Red Army during the Cold War years before becoming one of the first group of players to leave the USSR to join the National Hockey League — where he starred en route to the Hockey Hall of Fame. The pic looks at his struggle to be allowed to play in North America and his transformation from national hero to political enemy in the late 1980s. “We can’t wait to present this film to audiences everywhere,” SPC Co-Presidents Michael Barker and Tom Bernard said in announcing the acquisition. “This is Russian history as seen from the perspective of professional ice hockey.” Red Army was executive produced by Jerry Weintraub, Werner Herzog and Liam Satre-Meloy. It will play in the Special Screening section at Cannes next month. Here’s a look:
Sometime next year Stephen Colbert will be on the other end of a Late Show interview, but for now he’s just a guest. Before he takes over the show, the soon-to-be-former-Colbert Report host chatted with retiree-in-waiting David Letterman tonight at CBS’ Ed Sullivan Theatre. (Watch a clip here.) While we wait to hear what each has to say about all this, here are a few snapshots — including the obligatory selfie — from the visit. Check Deadline later tonight to read Lisa de Moraes’ recap of the meeting of the Late Show hosts.
Just days after a triumphant live staged reading of his The Hateful Eight script, Quentin Tarantino today took a hit in his copyright infringement lawsuit against Gawker over the site’s promotion and dissemination of the leaked material. “The Court GRANTS Defendant’s Motion on the grounds that Plaintiff has failed to adequately plead facts establishing direct infringement by a third party or facts that would demonstrate Defendant either caused, induced, or materially contributed to the alleged direct infringement of those third party infringers,” said Judge John Walter today in an order (read it here) on Gawker’s motion to dismiss. Essentially, by not being able to display a particular case of infringement facilitated by Gawker’s actions, the judge decided the director has nothing solid to move forward with.
“Plaintiff merely speculates that some direct infringement must have taken place,” says Walter. “For example, Plaintiff’s Complaint fails to allege the identity of a single third-party infringer, the date, the time, or the details of a single instance of third-party infringement, or, more importantly, how Defendant allegedly caused, induced, or materially contributed to the infringement by those third parties.” Read More »
Lots going on in this first trailer for NBC‘s new pirate drama. Crossbones stars a white-goateed John Malkovich as Blackbeard — Genius. Madman. Legend., we’re told — who reigns over a rogues gallery of outlaws and miscreant sailors in 1715. He comes up against Tom Lowe (Richard Coyle), an assassin masquerading as a physician who is sent to the Bahamian island of New Providence, the first functioning democracy in the Americas, and tasked with taking out the ruthless and much-feared Blackbeard. Swashbuckling, torture, explosions and pillowing ensue. The cast also includes Claire Foy, David Hoflin, Yasmine Al Massri and Tracy Ifeachor. Have a look, ye landlubbers:
EXCLUSIVE: Gemfilms and Hole in One Productions have tapped Need for Speed writer George Gatins to script faith-based tale Golfing for God, adapted from the book Golfing for God: A Novel of Heaven and Earth by Roland Merullo. Story tracks ex-golfing pro Hank Fins-Winston, who travels back to Earth from Heaven accompanying God, in the form of a 35-year-old woman, to help Her boost her golf game and is called upon to resolve his own unfinished business. Meg Montagnino-Jarrett, Peter Sobiloff, Andy Zolot and Kerry Orent are producing for Gemfilms/Hole in One Productions. Gatins is coming off the automotive racing pic Need for Speed starring Aaron Paul and exec produced 2010′s She’s Out Of My League. He’s repped by UTA and attorney Fred Toczek. Murello is repped by Lynne Pleshette. The deal was negotiated by Peter Nichols of Lichter, Grossman, Nichols, Adler & Feldman on behalf of the producers.
EXCLUSIVE: Appropriate considering today is the 50th anniversary of the creation of the It’s A Small World attraction that has been such a staple of the Disney theme parks, the movie studio has hired Jon Turteltaub to direct a feature based on the venerable family film ride with the catchy tune. Jared Stern pitched Small World and will write the script. He, Turteltaub and The Lego Movie‘s Dan Lin will be the producers. This one will take awhile to come together but it is envisioned as a potential franchise for the studio. Turteltaub is coming off the CBS Films hit comedy Last Vegas, a movie that has grossed $134 million worldwide. For Disney, Turteltaub directed the first two installments of National Treasure and is working on a third with producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Stern is repped by WME, managers Marc Provissiero and Helena Heyman and attorney Karl Austen, while Turteltaub is repped by WME, managed by David Lonner at Oasis and lawyered by Steve Warren.
EXCLUSIVE: The classic Peeps marshmallow candies could be making the leap from Easter baskets to the big screen via filmmaker Adam Rifkin (Detroit Rock City, Underdog), who has optioned film and TV rights to the sugary confections along with his producing partners Brent Tinter and Brian E. Rochlin. Bethlehem, PA-based candy company Just Born moves $2 billion of the baby chicks and bunny-shaped treats a year domestically and has started to branch out into Peeps-themed merchandising in recent years. The company sprung for a full-length animation feature pitch from Rifkin & Co. to adapt Peeps into a Lego Movie-esque family epic set the night before a Peeps diorama contest, when a wayward Peep gets misplaced and must adventure through the fantasy lands of different-themed dioramas before the contest’s judging begins.
Rifkin got the idea from watching his niece and nephew construct their own Peeps diorama for a school project. That led him to discover the elaborate annual contests hosted by the likes of the Washington Post, whose winning entry this year was a black and white diorama of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s iconic “I Have A Dream” speech – fashioned, of course, entirely out of the sugar-dusted marshmallows. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Relativity has closed a 7-figure deal for U.S. distribution rights to Hector And The Search For Happiness, the Peter Chelsom-directed comedy that stars Simon Pegg, Toni Collette, Rosamund Pike, Stllan Skarsgard, Jean Reno and Christopher Plummer. Relativity has dated the film for a September 26 platform opening, expanding wider on October 3. The script was written by Maria von Heland, Chelsom & Tinker Lindsay.
The film is based on the bestselling novel by François Lelord, and Pegg plays a disillusioned psychiatrist searching the globe to find the secret to happiness. The film is a co-production between Egoli Tossell Film, Erfttal Film and Screen Siren Pictures film, in association with Head Gear Films and Film House Germany. It was produced with the participation of Telefilm Canada, the German Federal Film Board (FFA), Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg and the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF). It was co-produced by Wild Bunch Germany and Construction Film. The producers are Judy Tossell, Klaus Dohle, Christine Haebler and Trish Dolman, with Phil Hunt, Compton Ross and Christian Angermayer. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE:Mitch Hurwitz is staying in the Netflix fold with a multi-year deal, a rare pact with a writer-producer for the streaming giant. Under the multi-tier agreement, the Arrested Development creator will create and produce new original series for the Internet TV network through his banner The Hurwitz Company. Additionally, he will develop projects with other creators as a non-writing executive producer and will consult for Netflix on comedy series. Hurwitz first worked with Netflix on a new season of his Emmy-winning comedy series Arrested Development, which was released last year. “We are lucky to be in business with Mitch Hurwitz, a true genius with one of the most distinctive voices in comedy today,” said Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. “Mitch’s inventive approach to Arrested Development — one of the top TV comedies of this generation — was ahead of its time, and we’re fortunate to have him on our team.”
After winning six Emmys for its three-year run on Fox from 2003-06 — including three for Hurwitz, for best series and two for writing — Arrested Development‘s fourth season on Netflix earned three more Emmy nominations for the show, bringing the total to 25. Hurwitz executive produced and co-directed Season 4, and it was that collaboration with Netflix, which Hurwitz describes as being “the best professional experience of my life, even topping some of my favorite unprofessional experiences,” that led to the new deal. “It is incredibly inspiring to get to produce for Netflix, a company that not only doesn’t resist change but is leaps and bounds ahead of everyone in forging it,” Hurwitz said. “The fact that I’m also getting one month of their streaming right to my TV or Xbox free … well, it really takes the sting out of buying that Xbox.”