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`Hairspray’ Duo Marc Shaiman And Scott Wittman Sign With CAA

Veteran songsmiths Marc Shaimanhairspray1 and Scott Wittman have hooked up with Creative Artists Agency, which will will be looking for projects in theater, film and television. CAA will work with Kraft-Engel, Shaiman’s rep in film and TV, on projects in those domains.

Kraft-Engel Management continue to be an integral part of the Marc Shaiman team and will also manage him in his theatre business.

Duo won Tony, Grammy and Olivier prizes for their score to the 2002 Broadway and London blockbuster tuner Hairspray, which went on to become a Top Ten-grossing movie musical. The pro- and private team also scored the NBC backstage Broadway melodrama Smash, for which they received Emmy, Grammy and Golden Globe noms. They were Tony-nominated for their underrated score for the stage adaptation of  Catch Me If You Can, and Olivier nominated for Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, currently running on the West End.

On his own, Shaiman has Oscar nods for work on South Park: Bigger, Longer And Uncut; Patch Adams; Sleepless In Seattle and other work. He won an Emmy as co-writer of Billy Crystal‘s Oscar hosting and received the 2007 Henry Mancini Award.  Wittman’s credits include multiple collaborations with Bette Midler, Dame Edna and others. He was the creative force behind Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me. Shaiman and Wittman’s  attorney is Mark Sendroff of Sendroff & Baruch.

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Billy Crystal’s FX Pilot ‘The Comedians’ Picked Up To Series

By | Wednesday March 19, 2014 @ 12:05pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE 12:30 PM: FX just confirmed the series pickup of The Comedians, which has received a 13-episode order and will begin production later this year for a 2015 launch.

crystalRelated: 2014 FX Pilots

PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE: Billy Crystal is returning to primetime. There is no official word, but I have learned that FX has picked up half-hour pilot The Comedians, toplined by the actor-comedian, to series. The Comedians, based on the 2004 Swedish series Ulveson And Herngren, stars Crystal as a superstar veteran comedian who is reluctantly paired with a younger, edgier comic (Josh Gad) for a late-night comedy sketch show. The project hails fxlogo1__130919165223-200x110__131105211930from an all-star creative team. Curb Your Enthusiasm and Borat‘s Larry Charles directed the pilot from a script he co-wrote with Crystal, Burn Notice creator Matt Nix, and Ben Wexler. The four executive produce with Mikkel Bondesen and Henrik Bastin of Fabrik Entertainment for Fox TV Studios. Carl Molinder and John Nordling of Stockholm-based Efti AB, which is behind the original series, also executive produce, while Fabrik’s Kristen Campo co-exec produces. Rounding out the cast are series regulars Stephanie Weir, Matt Oberg and Megan Ferguson. Read More »

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Jay Leno’s Final ‘Tonight Show’: Obama Appoints Him Ambassador To Antarctica While Billy Crystal, Oprah Winfrey, Garth Brooks And More Serenade Host: Video

By | Thursday February 6, 2014 @ 8:00pm PST

LisaColumn__131015210634-275x198“I don’t like goodbyes – NBC does – but I don’t care for them,” an emotional Jay Leno said, kicking off a star-studded final broadcast show as host of The Tonight Show. “Tonight is our last show for real. I don’t need to be fired three times — I get the hint,” Leno joked to a friends-and-family studio audience as he ended his 22-year run Thursday night. It’s his second very-last-time-as-host — having been pushed aside in 2009 by NBC to make way for Conan O’Brien, who lasted seven months.

“I’ve got to tell you, the outpouring from people has really been touching. Anthony Weiner sent me a photo of his penis looking really sad.”

Related: Leno’s ‘Tonight Show’ Exits Gets 14.6M Viewers, Highest In 15-Years

Oprah singingIn sharp contrast to the “last” time Leno celebrated his very last night as host of Tonight Show in 2009 — when, ever the team player, he had O’Brien as his final night’s guest — tonight’s show was packed with celebrities including President Obama. Longtime pal Garth Brooks performed his hit “The Dance.” And a cast of A-listers including Oprah Winfrey, Jack Black and Carol Burnett performed with Billy Crystal and The Shut Your Von Trapp Family Singers, the Rogers & Hammerstein tune from The Sound Of Music, “So Long, Farewell” with lyrics changed to suit the occasion. (Watch a clip below.) The show ended with Leno in tears as he thanked the audience, calling the Tonight Show crew his family and wishing his successor Jimmy Fallon well. (Video at the end of the post.)

But first, Leno mulled exactly how long 22 years is.

- “Here’s how long ago it is. When I started hosting, marijuana was illegal and you could smoke cigarettes anywhere you wanted.”

- “Twenty two years ago, guys actually had to go to newsstands for porn, can you imagine?”

- “So much has happened. You know the saddest part – OJ never found the real killers.”

Related: Jay Leno’s ‘Tonight Show’ Exit: Carefully Orchestrated Do-Over

Read More »

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FX’s ‘The Comedians’ Adds Cast

By | Friday January 24, 2014 @ 12:00pm PST

Oberg, MattMegan Ferguson headshotMatt Oberg, Stephnie Weir and Megan Ferguson have joined the cast of FX‘s The Comedians, the hot cable comedy project with Billy Crystal attached to star, co-write and produce. Oberg (30 Rock) plays Mitch, the head writer of the sketch show who’s eager even weirwhen he’s being bulldozed by Billy. Weir (Big Day, MADtv) will play Kristen, the anxiety-ridden producer of Billy and Josh’s sketch show, who frequently finds herself caught in the middle of their arguments. Ferguson (Mad Men, Almost Human) takes on the role of Esme, a no-nonsense PA who is mostly over it all, including Billy. Oberg is repped by CAA, Vincent Nastri at Bleeker Street Entertainment, and attorney Mitch Smelkinson; Weir by UTA, Meghan Schumacher Management,and attorney David Fox; Ferguson by CAA and Principato-Young.

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HBO Snags Billy Crystal’s ‘700 Sundays’

By | Wednesday December 4, 2013 @ 12:20pm PST

Billy Crystal‘s Broadway hit 700billycrystal700 Sundays will be taped before a live audience January 3 and 4 at the Imperial Theatre In New York and will debut on HBO later in 2014. An autobiographical journey, 700 Sundays is an original two-act play in which Crystal plays numerous characters who have influenced who he is today, dealing with his youth, growing up in the jazz world of Manhattan, his teenage years and, finally, adulthood. 700 Sundays broke the house record for highest weekly gross at the Broadhurst Theatre in its opening week, and continued to top its own record in subsequent weeks. It won the 2005 Tony Award for Special Theatrical Event, as well as 2005 Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle awards. 700 Sundays will be Crystal’s sixth HBO solo special, following On Location, A Comics Line, Don’t Get Me Started, The Lost Minutes and Midnight Train To Moscow. 700 Sundays will be executive produced by Billy Crystal, Janice Crystal, Larry Magid and David Steinberg; directed by Des McAnuff.

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Billy Crystal-Starring Comedy From Matt Nix & Larry Charles Lands At FX With Pilot Order

By | Wednesday May 22, 2013 @ 11:30am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

The hot cable comedy project, which has Billy Crystal attached to star, co-write and executive produce, Burn Notice creator Matt Nix co-writing/executive producing and Curb Your Enthusiasm and Borat‘s Larry Charles directing/co-writing and executive producing, has been picked up by FX with a pilot order. Titled The Comedians, the single-camera comedy, which was taken out earlier this month, is produced by Fox TV Studios, marking the first FX pilot to not come out of the in-house FX Prods.

In The Comedians, Crystal plays a superstar veteran comedian who is reluctantly paired with a younger, edgier comedian for a late-night comedy sketch show. It is based on the 2004 Swedish series Ulveson And Herngren, starring comedians Felix Herngren and Johan Ulveson as they put together a sketch program. Charles is set to direct the pilot, which is said to be in the documentary style he perfected on another cable comedy starring a veteran stand-up comedian, HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. Charles, Nix and Crystal are co-writing with comedy writer-producer Ben Wexler, who previously worked with Nix on Nix’s Fox dramedy The Good Guys. The four executive produce with Nix’s manager, producer Mikkel Bondesen and Henrik Bastin, both of Fabrik Entertainment (formerly Fuse), which, like Nix, is under a deal at FtvS. Carl Molinder and John Nordling of Stockholm-based Efti AB, which is behind the original series, also executive produce. Fabrik’s Kristen Campo co-exec produces. Read More »

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Mike Lobell Adds Cast To ‘Eisner,’ Plots Projects With Billy Crystal, Richard Gere

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Mike Lobell, the veteran producer whose 14-years of persistence helped make the remake Gambit happen, is getting close on three other projects with strong elements. He has re-teamed with former partner, writer-director Andrew Bergman, on A Film By Alan Stuart Eisner, an ensemble comedy which so far has Project X‘s Oliver Cooper, Shirley MacLaine and Robin Williams attached, with Rob Reiner making a cameo. Lobell reports that the film has added Sienna Miller, Isla Fisher and Audra MacDonald. Eisner is a comedy dealing with a young man making a documentary to learn what happened to his family during WWII. He is out looking for financing.

Gambit, by the way, ended up with Michael Hoffman directing a script by Joel and Ethan Coen. Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz and Alan Rickman star and CBS Films is releasing.

At the same time, Lobell is getting traction on This Man This Woman, the adult love story written by Frederic Raphael. The project has gotten a boost with the attachment of Richard Gere, who long ago sparked to a film which focuses on the trials and tribulations of a marriage. This was the picture that once nearly went into production with Meg Ryan and Sean Penn. Lobell and Gere will now look for a director and their female lead. Read More »

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Cannes: Billy Crystal, Frank Oz Suit Up For Leisure Community Comedy ‘Winter’s Discontent’

EXCLUSIVE: Winter’s Discontent is the 2008 Black List script by Paul Fruchbom which Sony acquired for Atlas Entertainment a few years back. The well-liked project, which taps into the current zeitgeist of adult comedies, is moving forward with Billy Crystal attached to star as a widower who moves into a reputed, active mature community in an attempt to reinvigorate his sex life. Frank Oz, director of such pics as In & Out and Death At A Funeral, has come aboard to helm. Sony Pictures will distribute domestically and has taken rights in select foreign territories. Atlas is producing and Sierra Pictures is financing. Sierra/Affinity starts foreign sales in Cannes. Charles Roven and Alex Gartner are producing. Exec producers are Nick Meyer, Marc Schaberg, Kelly McCormick and Jake Kurily. Crystal recently starred in Parental Guidance and is next up in Monsters University from Pixar. He’s repped by CAA and managed by David Steinberg and Larry Brezner. Oz is repped by CAA. Read More »

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Billy Crystal To Topline Comedy Series From Matt Nix, Larry Charles & Fox TV Studios

By | Friday May 3, 2013 @ 4:03pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: A hot comedy project is expected to hit the cable marketplace next week. I hear the untitled comedy has Billy Crystal attached to star, co-write and executive produce, Burn Notice creator Matt Nix co-writing/executive producing and Curb Your Enthusiasm and Borat‘s Larry Charles directing/co-writing and executive producing. Fox TV Studios, where Nix is under an overall deal, is producing. Details about the premise are sketchy but I hear the project is based on an European format and is described as an edgy comedy. Charles and Crystal are co-writing with comedy writer-producer Ben Wexler, who previously worked with Nix on Nix’s Fox dramedy The Good Guys. The four executive produce with Nix’s manager, producer Mikkel Bondesen and Henrik Bastin, both of Fabrik Entertainment (formerly Fuse), which also is under a deal at FtvS. Fabrik’s Kristen Campo co-exec produces. Bondesen and Fabrik have experience adapting European formats for the U.S., most notably with the AMC drama The Killing, which is coming back for Season 3 next month. USA’s Burn Notice will kick off its seventh season also in June. Read More »

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Jimmy Fallon Does ‘Who’s On First’ Routine With Billy Crystal & Jerry Seinfeld: Video

By | Friday December 21, 2012 @ 7:15am PST
Nellie Andreeva

On his show last night, Jimmy Fallon re-created a comedy classic with a new take on Abbott and Costello’s Who’s On First? routine where we finally get to meet the team’s first baseman Who, second baseman What, and third baseman I Don’t Know. (you can watch the original skit below the new one.) Joining Fallon onstage are Billy Crystal and Jerry Seinfeld (as well as Fallon announcer Steve Higgins as Costello and Fallon head writer A.D. Miles as What.)


Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Parental Guidance’

By | Friday September 7, 2012 @ 2:35pm PDT

Christmas with Bette Midler and Billy Crystal. 20th Century Fox and Walden Media have released the first trailer for Parental Guidance, which has Midler and Crystal looking after a trio of grandchildren. Directed by Andy Fickman from a story by Crystal and screenplay by Lisa Addario and Joe Syracuse, it also stars Marisa Tomei. Opening December 25.

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Hot Teaser Trailer: ‘Monsters University’

By | Wednesday June 20, 2012 @ 5:39am PDT

Pixar‘s Monsters University, a prequel to 2001 hit Monsters Inc, meets up with Mike and Sulley back in their college days. Billy Crystal and John Goodman lead a voice cast that includes Steve Buscemi, Ken Jeong, Kelsey Grammer, Rob Riggle, Sean Hayes and JB Smoove. The movie comes out a year from tomorrow. Here’s a new teaser:

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Fox Moves Billy Crystal’s ‘Parental Guidance’ To Christmas Day

By | Tuesday April 10, 2012 @ 5:21pm PDT

The theatrical release schedule for this year continues to shuffle, with Fox moving Billy Crystal’s Parental Guidance from Thanksgiving weekend to Christmas day.  The move gives the Andy Fickman-directed family comedy into a more favorable slot for an all-audiences film. Crystal, who had the original story idea for the film and co-produced it, stars with Bette Midler as grandparents who get a handful when they agree to babysit their three grandchildren.

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Neil Patrick Harris To Host Tony Awards Again

By | Tuesday April 3, 2012 @ 8:07am PDT
Mike Fleming

Tony Awards Host Neil Patrick HarrisNot sure how many Broadway fans will get the hockey reference, but Neil Patrick Harris has made it a hat trick and agreed to host the upcoming Tony Awards for the third time in four years. NPH is good at it, and it is nice that Broadway has stability on the hosting front. I’m already wondering what will happen late this year when AMPAS starts looking around again for an Oscar host. Billy Crystal certainly stopped the bleeding by stepping in after Eddie Murphy dropped out along with producer Brett Ratner, but Crystal’s usual schtick felt dated to me. Read More »

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UPDATE: Billy Crystal-Hosted Oscars Watched By 39.3 Million, Up From Last Year

By | Monday February 27, 2012 @ 11:45am PST
Nellie Andreeva

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UPDATE 11:30 AM: The 84th Annual Academy Awards drew 39.3 million viewers in Live+Same Day. That is up 4% from last year’s viewership and the second-most-watched Oscar ceremony in the past five years, behind the 2010 show where The Hurt Locker defeated blockbuster Avatar. Among adults 18-49, last night’s Oscar telecast (11.7 rating) was even with last year, an impressive feat given that that this year’s host Billy Crystal is almost 64, while last year’s show was hosted by twenty- and thirtysomethings James Franco and Anne Hathaway. Here is historical data for the Academy Awards’ audiences over the past decade, along with the Best Picture winner that year.

2012 39.3 million The Artist
2011 37.9 million The King’s Speech
2010 41.3 million The Hurt Locker
2009 36.3 million Slumdog Millionaire
2008 32.0 million No Country For Old Men
2007 40. 2 million The Departed Read More »

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Oscar Countdown: Sherak On Kodak Theatre’s New Name, Show Ratings And Star Power

By | Wednesday February 22, 2012 @ 12:57am PST
Pete Hammond

Word is CIM,  the landlord for the Hollywood and Highland complex where the Oscars are held has asked the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences NOT to announce on air that the awards are coming from the Kodak Theatre. Instead the Academy opening announcement will say it is being broadcast live from Hollywood and Highland Center in Hollywood, California.  “That is what the landlord has asked us to do and we are gonna do it,”  said Academy President Tom Sherak during a pre-taping  of KABC’s local public affairs show, Eyewitness Newsmakers (airing this Sunday). CIM has been trying to find a replacement for Kodak which won the right last week to back out of their multi-million dollar naming agreement for the theatre in which the Oscars and other events such as Cirque Du Soleil’s  Iris  take place.

When I spoke to Sherak over the weekend to discuss progress for this year’s show he re-emphasized the Academy has nothing to do with who will take over the name of the theatre except for veto rights . He told me they would never hold back approval as long as it’s not some completely inappropiate name that would clash with the Academy’s image. In other words don’t expect to hear , “Live from the Hooters Theatre , welcome to the Academy Awards”.   Sherak also reiterated his previous statement that as of now the Academy is  only currently negotiating with CIM  regarding where the Oscars will be held … Read More »

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Jimmy Kimmel Sets 7th Post-Oscars Show

By | Monday February 6, 2012 @ 5:25pm PST

Oscars host Billy Crystal, Meryl Streep, George Clooney, Tom Hanks and many others will join Jimmy Kimmel Live: After The Academy Awards live on ABC from the El Capitan Theatre on Sunday February 26th. Helen Mirren, Charlize Theron, Don Cheadle and Cold Play will also be on hand for the shenanigans that begin following the Oscarcast and local news.

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OSCARS: Trailer Premieres

By | Thursday January 5, 2012 @ 5:13pm PST

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has produced its trailer for the 84th Academy Awards with Funny Or Die. Featuring host Billy Crystal and Robin Williams, Josh Duhamel, Megan Fox, William Fichtner and Vinnie Jones, the trailer debuts in more than 2,000 theaters tomorrow.

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He’s Baaack! Rude Ricky Gervais Returns For Threepeat To Host Golden Globes

Ricky Gervais is returning to host the Golden Globes for a threepeat on January 15th. True, the Oscars brought back Billy Crystal. But today’s news is more of a surprise because Gervais eviscerated most of the movie and TV stars on the premises during last year’s festivities. He even zinged the Hollywood Foreign Press Association itself and its then-president Philip Berk, saying in his introduction that Gervais had to “help [the HFPA president] off the toilet and pop his teeth back in.” Berk was clearly unamused, making it clear Gervais wasn’t winning a Globe. But now Gervais has the last laugh with this encore. The only question now is whether the HFPA reserved the right to vet Ricky’s monologue and script. Not that he’d necessarily pay any attention to that. So here’s the backstory as Deadline has previously reported it:

The fact is that suitable hosts for major awards shows aren’t found easily. So the HFPA decided to hold onto two-time Golden Globes host Gervais. NBC originally signed the British comedian to a two-year deal and always wanted him back. And Gervais in August announced that the network had invited him to return. But the HFPA was the holdout and “it’s their event. It’s their party,” as Ricky himself recently noted. The sides have been talking, albeit informally, and Gervais recently dined with reps for both NBC and HFPA in Paris. Nellie Andreeva reported there … Read More »

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