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The 411 Behind NYT’s New Media Desk…

By | Wednesday September 10, 2008 @ 4:54am PDT

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UPDATE: David Carr sends along this email to me: ”My job has not changed. I do Culture/Oscars for Sam Sifton and a Monday media column for Bruce Headlam, two of the best editors in a building that has its share. I love working for both and will sit where ever they tell me to, although I don’t think it matters much.”

It’s Business. It’s Culture. It’s Business. It’s Culture… Finally, The New York Times is solving its Chinatown-like infotainment dilemma and setting up a dedicated Media desk physically and symbolically located between the other two sections on the paper’s 3rd floor. “This culture clash between Business and Culture for years has annoyed the top of the masthead,” an insider told me, referring to Bill Keller, Jill Abramson and John Geddes. ”They think reporters have been working at cross purposes because there’s nothing clearly defined where a certain kind of media story belongs. Look at our writers strike coverage: half went into Business, half went into Culture.” The Media editors and reporters announced Tuesday draw equally from the Business and Culture sections, including movies and television, yet there are some important names missing. (See below). The official memo described the beat thusly: “Convergence is the biggest story in media and entertainment today. Hollywood studios are investing millions in online television, people are reading newspapers on their iPhones and bloggers and YouTube are turning even presidential election campaigns into homegrown affairs. By the end of the decade, we might all be watching Lost on our shoephones. Accordingly, we are … Read More »

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Thank You, Vanity Fair…

By | Friday June 13, 2008 @ 12:07pm PDT

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Vanity Fair magazine has created a Blogopticon which charts the tone and content of what it considers ”the most influential or amusing blogs” vying for the attention of the world’s billion-plus Web surfers. The sites are categorized along four attributes: “news” vs “opinion”, “earnest” vs “scurrilous”, and everything inbetween. I am very proud to say that VF included my Deadline Hollywood Daily and gave it high marks indeed: at the very top of “news” and in the “earnest” category.

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Am I Worthy? 2008′s ‘Time 100′ Finalists

By | Friday April 4, 2008 @ 11:38am PDT

time_100_cover.jpgSATURDAY AM UPDATE: It’s getting to be quite a horse race as the “Time 100″ finalists move up in the rankings race minute by minute. This hour, I’m still behind that wannabe, the Dalai Lama. Vote by moving the meter towards 100 and then clicking on “SUBMIT”. Keep refreshing and keep voting..

FRIDAY AM: I’m honored and a little verklempt today to see that I’m included among “The 2008 Time 100 Finalists” whose names just went up on the magazine’s website. So apparently the way this works is that you have to vote for me. OK, my campaign begins right now. Let’s see if I can make it from the 207 finalists into the actual “Time 100″. Understand, I’ve got pretty stiff competition: popes, kings, princes, heads of state, CEOs, rappers, superstar actors, politicians, Internet billionaires, as well as Judd Apatow and Rupert Murdoch and Patric Verrone. But do any of them give you the daily lowdown on the real business of Hollywood (or call Jeff Zucker a putz and Bob Shaye a prick)? Nah!

Here’s what Time has to say about me:
PRO: Her well-sourced “Deadline Hollywood Daily” blog became the unofficial switchboard of the writer’s strike: even the negotiators were reading it. And she may be the first industry blogger to get a shout-out on Letterman.
CON: Her blatantly pro-writer stance raised the perennial question about blogs: is “Deadline” journalism or advocacy?

And that’s before Time has seen my next posts about SAG vs The Moguls. Remember, I’m counting … Read More »

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BusinessWeek Urges Jeff Bewkes To Move New Line Into Warner Bros

By | Thursday February 7, 2008 @ 4:21pm PST

The very respected veteran LA bureau manager of BusinessWeek, Ron Grover, agrees with me about New Line in the current issuebusinessweek_logo.gif“It’s time to bring New Line Cinema into the fold… It’s more than just one bad flick. New Line Cinema, the studio that gave the U.S. Nightmare on Elm Street and basked in its independence for much of its 40 years, needs a change. Co-founders Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne, both in their late 60s, still run the place. Their contracts are up at the end of the year and the buzz in Hollywood is they will be gone soon. Hollywood online columnist extraordinaire Nikki Finke wrote, “It’s virtually certain that the studio pair will be shown the door.” … it is time for New Line to join the rest of the company. The cost savings alone should justify the move. After all, this is Hollywood. finThe savings from shuttering New Line’s marketing, distribution, and other operations, would be more than pocket change… Warner Brothers folks are said to be pushing for just this change… But one of the sorry things that Jeff Bewkes inherits is a corporate culture at Time Warner that all too often creates silos in which opposing camps don’t work well together. Warner Brothers distributes some of New Lines’ films overseas but it should do more. Folding in New Line would save money and probably improve cash flow and the films. It’s not the Wall … Read More »

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First Official ‘Indiana Jones 4′ Film Poster

By | Tuesday December 11, 2007 @ 8:58pm PST

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See slide show here

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Jeff Zucker, Your 15 Minutes Are Now…

By | Friday November 9, 2007 @ 7:23pm PST

I detect a groundswell for Jeff Zucker as The Tonight Show‘s guest host. Or is it just that no one else wants to cross picket lines and sit in for strike sympathizer Leno?  So forget whom you want to host, tell DHD whom you think would host and why.

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This Explains Everything About Viacom…

By | Monday August 27, 2007 @ 10:41am PDT

monavie.JPGSo old coot Sumner Redstone’s secret elixir for long life is four ounces a day of a little-known superjuice called MonaVie. “It’s a miracle drug,” he told Fortune. “I feel great.” The dark purple antioxidant rich concoction has at its main ingredient the Brazilian açai berry long touted among health nuts for its anti-aging ingredients. A bottle costs $40 and is not available in stores; it’s marketed only like Avon or Tupperware. Fortune says Redstone first heard of the juice from Viacom exec Bill Roedy on a trip to Germany in January then learned that his butler’s sister-in-law was a devotee too. (No, I’m not making this up. It’s in the magazine.) “Since I’ve been on MonaVie I haven’t taken a sleeping pill,” he says. He even considered investing in Utah-based MonaVie after its CEO, nutritional products salesman Dallin Larsen, came to visit him at his Beverly Park mansion. At a recent party, Redstone gave bottles to Bill Clinton and celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck. “Just about every friend I have is on it,” Redstone says – a group he says includes Viacom and CBS board members as well as Michael Milken. Ay-yi-yi.

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Bonus Time Won’t Be Happy Time At CAA

By | Wednesday August 22, 2007 @ 6:37pm PDT

Wow, CAA just keeps cutting back and cutting back. While partners Bryan Lourd, Richard Lovett and Kevin Huvane are paying themselves $15 million a year, caalogo.jpgtheir tenpercentery is buzzing that the bonuses for the agents who work for them will be cut by another 10% this year. Actually, the total trim is 20% over two years because the agency slashed bonuses by 10% back in 2006. And all because the CAA partners spent too much money on their pet projects. Here are some of the figures I’m hearing: Moving to that Century City monument to ego, which was Bryan Lourd’s idea, cost CAA around $30M to $35M. Buying a sports agency business, which was Richard Lovett’s idea, racked up another $30M to $40M. Setting up in China, which also was Lovett’s idea, meant an additional $5M to $10M. And let’s not forget that CAA can’t negotiate better than zero upfront money for a star like Jim Carrey. So now the children have to suffer because the adults can’t balance their check book. Or is it the other way around?

Meanwhile, there are more rumors about Bart Walker leaving CAA, this time to partner with indie prince John Sloss. I can’t imagine anyone even cares since Walker clients like Sofia Coppola and Julie Taymor aren’t on must-hire lists. Yet a CAA partner swore to me 11 days ago that Walker was not exiting the tenpercentery when the rumor swept Hollywood that Bart had been fired. Then again, CAA has this habit of placing its discarded agents around the Industry and making … Read More »

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What Harvey Really Thinks Of ‘Entourage’

By | Thursday July 19, 2007 @ 6:55pm PDT

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Just when you think these Hollywood moguls have a sense of humor about their media portrayals, you find out they don’t. There’s been some Internet buzz that Harvey Weinstein is amused by his doppelganger portrayal on HBO’s Entourage. (Watch a video clip here.) I can tell you that’s bullshit. As everyone knows, actor Maury Chaykin has been playing “Harvey Weingard” in a way to imply that the real Harv is a terrifying tyrant. Well, I just heard from a source close to Weinstein that, at the recent Camp Allen mogulfest in Sun Valley, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes asked the real Harv to do a walk-on for the show. Weinstein replied, ”Fuck you.” Noted the longtime pal, “And it was a serious fuck you.”

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Ex-Chief Producing Series Pilot For HBO

By | Thursday June 21, 2007 @ 12:57pm PDT

fuchsmichael.jpgOne gossip column today buzzsaws Michael Fuchs about when he was honored June 11th at HBO’s NYC headquarters whose state of the art theater will now be known as the Michael J. Fuchs Theater. It tries to imply that Fuchs, who was famously fired by Time Warner almost 11 1/2 years ago and is recognized now for his singular contribution to the success of HBO, is on the outs again. Not so. Fuchs is producing a TV series whose pilot script is being written now for HBO. It’s a dark one-hour comedy about corporations from the top down. Who better to know about this than Fuchs, right? At the party for him, everyone was laughing at Fuchs’ jokes about Time Warner chieftain Jerry Levin, who fired Fuchs and then got fired himself. Especially Levin’s ex-wife, who was there. Besides, Fuchs is well-known on the rubber chicken charity circuit as a funny toastmaster. “It’s a shame that Page Six got it all backwards. It was one of the most emotional and fun nights of my career. It was a great reunion between old HBO and new HBO which is necessary at this stage,” Fuchs told me today. “I appreciate what HBO did. And I’m excited to be a supplier for them now.”

Previous: So Nice To See Fuchs Where He Belongs…

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Primetime Pilot Panic: Upfront Events

This will be updated throughout the day. These are restricted invitation-only. 

Sunday, May 13th
9:00pm: United Talent/American Eagle Outfitters Upfront Party @ Marquee 

Monday, May 14th
9:00am:  Museum of Television & Radio annual upfronts breakfast @ The MT&R
3:00pm:  NBC Upfront Presentation @ Radio City Music Hall – Sales
              Reception to follow @ The Summer Garden at Rockefeller Plaza
7:00pm:  William Morris Agency Upfront Party @ The Four Seasons Restaurant
8:30pm-11:30pm: ICM private function @ Level V
9:00pm:  NBC Party @ Buddakan

Tuesday, May 15th
4:00pm:  ABC Upfront Presentation & Reception @ Lincoln Center
7:00pm:  Telemundo Upfront Presentation @ Radio City Music Hall
9:00pm:  Entertainment Weekly Party @ The Box
9:00pm:  New York Television Festival Party @ Strata
9:00pm:  Endeavor private dinner @ Peter Luger Steakhouse 
10:00pm: 3 Arts Party @ The Grand

Wednesday, May 16th
11:00am:  Univision Upfront Presentation @ Time Warner Center
4:00pm:    CBS Upfront Presentation @ Carnegie Hall
                Reception to follow @ Tavern on the Green
7:00pm:    People en Espanol 50 Most Beautiful Party @ Splashlight Studios
9:00pm:    Maxim Hot 100 Party @ The Gansevoort

Thursday, May 17th
11:00am:  CW Upfront Presentation & Reception @ Madison Square Garden
4:00pm:    FBC Upfront Presentation @ City Center
                Reception to follow @ Walman Rink in Central Park

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Is Marty/Leo Manager Rick Yorn In Play?

By | Thursday May 10, 2007 @ 5:55pm PDT

yorn.JPGOn Wall Street they talk about a company being “in play” when a battle for ownership is about to wage. That’s the buzz in Hollywood tonight regarding Rick Yorn, the manager/producer who represents major AAA-list talent like Leonardo DiCaprio, Marty Scorsese, Cameron Diaz and Benicio Del Toro. I’m figuring the reason is that Yorn’s deal with The Firm is up in June, sources say. This week, the talk was that Yorn is “definitely” leaving Jeff Kwatinetz’s company where he has been a principal since an internal restructuring in 2005 when Kwatinetz and Yorn renewed and extended their partnerships. Then, tonight, Yorn had to deny the rumor sweeping Hollywood that he was headed to Endeavor talent agency, where Scorsese is repped. (Leo doesn’t have an agent and for years has just parked himself with Yorn and attorney Steve Warren of Hansen Jacobson Teller Hoberman Newman Warren & Richman.) Another tie to the agency is that Rick also throws a private Oscar party with Endeavor’s Patrick Whitesell. kwat1.JPGI know that Yorn has been telling everyone, including tenpercenteries who have been trying to sweet-talk him on board, that he doesn’t want to become an agent. I repeat, does NOT want to become an agent. This, after working for management companies Addis/Wechsler, and then Michael Ovitz’s Artists Management Group, and then The Firm’s Kwatinetz, who’s trying to knock down the buzz by  telling Hollywood tonight that Yorn is “solid” with his … Read More »

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Hollywood Environmentalists vs Karl Rove

By | Sunday April 22, 2007 @ 10:06pm PDT

rovecrowe11.jpgUPDATED: A photo has emerged of singer Sheryl Crow and An Inconvenient Truth producer Laurie David arguing with Karl Rove about global warming. Politico.com also adds its version of what happened Saturday night when the two environmental activists confronted the presidential adviser at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, known as D.C.’s Oscars. It’s the incident everyone is buzzing about from Wilshire to Washington. Because, in a sense, it’s wish fulfilment. Who wouldn’t like to lecture Rove even for just a few minutes on an issue they care deeply about? Judging from the photo, Crow clearly looks stricken, and David tight-lipped, at what Rove is saying back to them.
DHD Previous: When Sheryl Crow Confronted Karl Rove

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‘Spider-Man 3′ Tracking “Thru The Roof”! Black Spidey Looks Bigger Than 1 And 2

By | Thursday April 12, 2007 @ 2:03pm PDT

spiderman3_refredposter.jpgEXCLUSIVE (refresh for latest): It’s very early, still. But I’m told the first round of tracking for Spider-Man 3 is better than the first pulse that was registered for either Spidey 1 or 2 pics in this all-important Sony franchise. Remember: the first two had a combined worldwide theatrical gross of $1.6 billion: $821.7 million for Spider-Man 1 and $783.7 mil for Spider-Man 2. “The early awareness and indicators are through the roof,” one box office guru told me. Said another expert: “With so many other movies struggling for attention this year, SM3 came on [tracking] with over 90% awareness and over 20% first choice a month out.” The big upside for Spider-Man 3, I’m told, is that moviergoers are responding like crazy to director Sam Raimi’s dark and disturbing “Black Spidey” very cool iconography that characterizes the third installment along with its tag line “The Greatest Battle Lies Within.” With great trailers, aggressive Internet and TV promotion, and a storyline which the other two films seemed to building towards, Spider-Man 3 should amass a $100+ million opening weekend in the United States beginning May 4th because, based on tracking, “the number is massive,” I’m told. tobey_maguire6.jpg(SM1 had a $114 mil opening weekend and SM2 $88 mil.) The new pic’s release will be a global event. Spider-Man 3 will debut first in China before it officially opens in North America. Since comic book caper kicks off the 2007 summer movie season, this is clearly going to be a banner year at the box office — probably the biggest in cinematic history – given all the sequels, prequels and tentpole pics being released. (See my LA Weekly column Orgy Of Sequels Climaxing In 2007.) There’s one downside: Wall Street film financing experts tell me that, based on SM3‘s budget, it may well be the most expensive film ever made. Sony privately is admitting to a budget of $250 mil, but analysts tell me it’s more like $300+ mil. (The previous $$$ record-holder is Warner’s remake of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory which cost about $272 mil, analysts say.) And that’s even without the promotion and advertising costs which are said to be another $75+ mil. Read More »

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‘Die Hard 4′ Trailer Is Fox Record-Breaker

By | Wednesday April 11, 2007 @ 6:00am PDT

bruce_willis21.jpgGet ready with all those Minoxidil jokes before this pic opens June 27th. But I’m told the exclusive-to-Yahoo full trailer for Live Free Or Die Hard has tested higher than the trailers for any action movie in Fox history. And that’s saying a lot: I still remember the stunned-into-silence impact on audiences that the studio’s Independence Day trailer had back in 1996 when U.S. landmarks like the Empire State Building and the White House were shown blowing up. And that was pre-9/11. But, seriously, this DH4 trailer is better than that? This isn’t Bruce married to Demi anymore (yeah, the last Die Hard installment was that long ago, back in 1995), it’s Bruce post-Pulp Fiction who nowadays makes movies not many people go to see anymore. But he’s also kept himself in kick-ass shape with no obviously discernible plastic surgery to mess up his face like Sly Stallone or Michael Douglas. The question is whether there’s nostalgia for John McClane still battling terrorists — see how ahead of his time he was? – not to mention the inevitable John McClane vs Jack Bauer internet arguments. Supposedly, it has all the testosterone of the originals, only in slicker and more CG-wiz packaging bruce_willis11.jpgsince it’s directed by Len Wiseman (Underworld I and II) and not that dinosaur (and Pellicano Scandal perjurer) John McTiernan or even Renny Harlin, who’s been MIA from major movies. But I think it’s the humor quotient that will ultimately decide its … Read More »

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‘Grindhouse’: Too Much Weinstein Hype?

By | Thursday April 5, 2007 @ 3:06pm PDT

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grindhouse_bigfinalposter.jpgMy box office gurus are predicting a $20 million opening this weekend (more now with the new midnight sneaks added) for Grindhouse, the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez double-feature in a single feature which The Weinstein Co. has a lot riding on in terms of reputation. Not to mention money: I hear the real budget for Grindhouse is at $67.5 mil though Harvey and Bob are spinning it as low $50s. Little wonder that the Weinsteins seem planning to play fast and loose with the box office so the weekend numbers in the 2,624 theaters where the Planet Terror and Death Proof combo, complete with its block of fake movie trailers, is playing will seem bigger. Dimension was spooked by the only so-so tracking that Grindhouse has been receiving. So, a bunch of midnight screenings before Friday’s official release date have been added in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington DC. I also hear there are some 11 pm screenings today which technically shouldn’t be included in the movie’s final weekend take but probably will. (This is a favorite Hollywood trick.) The Weinsteins also put on a massive junket, providing no less than fifteen actors and the two directors. As one participant said, all that was missing were the psychos and zombies. Let’s face it, the Weinsteins’ prowess for media exploitation has been working overtime … Read More »

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Test Screening Details On ‘The Simpsons’

By | Friday March 30, 2007 @ 10:27am PDT

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Here’s more from that hush-hush Portland, Oregon, test screening of the hush-hush The Simpsons movie which is still a work-in-progress with only partial animation and in need of tweaks like Hans Zimmer’s score. Naturally, the attendees were forced to sign a multi-page nondisclosure agreement. Given all the secrecy, what does Fox think they have buried there: gold? Why, yes, box office gold! Who’s not gonna see this pic. And what summer blockbuster would be without a big sickening summer promotion. Right now, 7-11 and Fox are working on a deal to transform 11 of 4,700 stores across the U.S. to resemble the front of the Kwik-E-Marts selling some of Homer Simpson’s favorite snacks. Inside every 7-11 will be a bonanza of Simpsons characters hawking the food. And all 7-11 customers will be able to buy products inspired by the show, including KrustyO’s cereal, Buzz Cola, and iced Squishees (the cup will say Squishee, but the contents will be Slurpee). But back to the test screening. My immense thanks to Shawn Levy of The Oregonian, whose source adds nice detail to the already posted brief write-up by a contributor to Ain’t It Cool News:

“A reliable informant sends the following: ‘I, too, attended the first public test screening last Tuesday night at the Lloyd. Matt Groening sat four seats away from us, James L. Brooks and a plethora of writers sat behind us in two rows. It was good but very rough. Lots of animatics, both pencil drawings, and CG match moves and storyboards. Pretty enjoyable all around though and a pretty amazing screening experience, perhaps one of the best of my life thus far. It’s in the top five at least. Here are a few more details:

  • simpsonsmovie_bigteaserposter1.jpgThe film was about 90 minutes + some more.
  • It was very rough in places with CG animatics and match move models of characters and then pencil sketches. Some were just story boards.
  • The plot of the film is like a big episode, but kept pretty straightforward and linear. Not a ton of wacky digressions, but the focus is on the family first and foremost.
  • The first 45-50 minutes are pretty tightly written and cut, with a lot of well structured ‘A’ jokes followed up very quickly by the smaller ‘B’ joke.
  • At this point, the film is pretty well mapped out and plotted, but still very very malleable.
  • I would say the most work needs to be done near the last third of the film. It just feels a bit fast in how it wraps up, otherwise, it’s a solid piece of entertainment.
  • There were more than a few points where I had to remind myself that I was watching a movie, not just an episode and they even make a few jokes about this too.
  • The film is in Scope/2.35:1 and makes a joke about this in the first 3-4 minutes.’”
  • Ain’t It Cool News contributor Biker-Boy wrote earlier about the test screening:

  • The film in its current form is massively unfinished; with, I would guess, around 30% of the film in the final hi-def, super sharp animation. The rest was divided between hand drawn storyboards, and low res, choppy colour animation.
  • The voice soundtrack was complete, but the musical score wasn’t.
  • simpsons2.jpgAll this probably means that, even if unchanged, the final print will maintain its pacing, excitement and charm a little better than the version we saw, as 2 or 3 hand-drawn storyboards don’t quite manage to convey all of the things which makes The Simpsons so special.
  • We did get a pretty good idea of what to expect though, and where the film makers are going with this big screen version. So what did I, a Simpsons appreciator of long standing, think of the movie? It’s excellent. Is it mind blowingly awesome? No, not quite. Almost, but not quite. At least not in it’s current form.
  • Read More »

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    Judd Apatow Is Latest Hollywood Hottie

    By | Wednesday March 14, 2007 @ 2:57pm PDT

    juddapatow.jpgJeez, everyone is gushing over Knocked Up. This is just insane. And I’m talking about people whose taste and acumen I respect. As opposed to most of the morons out there. They’re saying how it’s funnier and filthier than The 40 Year Old Virgin which Judd Apatow also wrote and directed and produced, but also has that same level of emotional honesty. So it’s clear that the 39-year-old Judd is the Hollywood hottie of the moment. He and Ben Stiller are the hardest-working men in film comedy. Apatow’s Knocked Up could be huge this summer (and I haven’t heard such great buzz on a non-sequel R-rated comedy since Wedding Crashers). knockedup_earlyposterbig1.jpgUniversal sure needs the hit since the studio had a terrible 2006, ending the year dead last in market share among the majors. Apatow’s Super Bad (producing only) for Sony is supposed to be the sleeper of the second half of the summer and almost as good as Knocked Up and Virgin. And there’s good word on his send-up Walk Hard (producing, writing), though it’s not in the league of those other films. CAA has been desperate to sign Judd away from United Talent, leaning all over his manager Jimmy Miller (who helped deliver Jim Carrey). I can’t wait to see what antics CAA will resort to now. Meanwhile, look for Katherine Heigl in Knocked Up to emerge as the next Jennifer Aniston, but better because the Grey’s Anatomy co-star is far more … Read More »

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    Reclusive Sue Reappears In Hollywood

    By | Wednesday November 1, 2006 @ 9:52am PST

    I’m bored with that rat bastard Sumner Redstone and his geezer ramblings. So see the new Vanity Fair article if you must. But I love this quote in it by Sue Mengers: ”The consensus in the community is that what he did to Tom Cruise, and to Freston, was outrageous, you know, just to prove he’s still alive.” That’s my gal Mengers, whose recent reappearance all over Hollywood is a breath of fresh air. She used to be reclusive, or always at the side of David Geffen, but no more. Now she’s on her own and appearing everywhere. (Like CAA agent Bob “Bookie” Bookman’s recent reception for Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson.) Plus, everyone’s talking about her, and to her. That’s because, instead of the legendary dinner parties she used to host that were like The Dating Game for Hollywood stars, she’s holding intimate luncheons in her Beverly Hills home for Hollywood power players. (And sometimes tête-à-têtes with CAA partners who regularly pick her brain.) If you don’t know her name, long before there was an Ari Gold (or an Ari Emanuel), there was this one-time ICM and William Morris superagent who repped Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal and Gene Hackman and Ali MacGraw and Candy Bergen and Tuesday Weld and Peter Bogdanovich and Cybil Shepherd and so many more in their heyday. Not long ago, my phone rang and Mengers herself was on the line inviting me … Read More »

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