Kevin McCarthy‘s name might be familiar in Hollywood — his home state is California — and thanks to House of Cards, the job he just left is known to many more Americans than it once was. But the new No. 2 in the U.S. House of Representatives is definitely not a man of Hollywood. He’s not the strong-jawed actor who appeared in about 100 movies, including Death of A Salesman and Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. That Kevin McCarthy died in 2010 at 96. No, this Kevin McCarthy is a Bakersfield Republican, whose conservative Central Valley district is big on oil, agriculture and defense. His 23rd District includes the far northern Los Angeles County suburb of Lancaster with its nearby aerospace facilities.
McCarthy was elected as House Majority Leader today after Speaker of the House John Boehner called a hurried leadership election to replace Eric Cantor of Virginia, whose primary loss to a Tea Party candidate June 10 stunned Washington insiders. Steve Scalise, a Louisiana third-termer, was elected over two more moderate candidates to succeed McCarthy as Chief Majority Whip.
Despite his increasing power and nearby geographic base, McCarthy is unlikely to be a Hollywood savior in the mode of Henry Waxman, the retiring Congressman whose liberal coastal Los Angeles district has been the fundraising piggy bank for national Democrats for decades (indeed, Barack Obama is returning to the area for yet another fundraiser in July). In fact, the person who takes that job — Democratic state Sen. Ted Lieu and Republican former prosecutor Elan Carr survived the 17-candidate primary to face off in November — will be challenged to make a mark as a rookie Congressman, no matter which party the winner comes from. Read More »
In this week’s podcast, Deadline’s executive editor David Lieberman and host David Bloom untangle the latest twists in the giant Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger proposal, as a Senate committee grills Comcast’s “Jedi Master” of a chief lobbyist and Charter prepares a challenge at the TWC annual meeting. The Davids also talk about the very different tone of two just-signed retransmission deals, at least compared to last year’s Time Warner Cable-CBS brawl; how IMAX reduced its stake in China while increasing its influence; and this week’s National Association of Broadcasters conference, where FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler urged broadcasters to think like “tech disruptors” and NAB chief Gordon Smith called for a federal plan for broadcasting.
Deadline Big Media podcast 80 (.MP3 version)
Deadline Big Media podcast 80 (.M4A version)
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The effort to craft the first major revision of the Communications Act in 18 years could be interesting but probably will end up to be a politically factious mess. House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., said today that he plans hearings and studies for “a multi-year effort to examine our nation’s communications laws and update them for the Internet era.” Upton was joined in a Google Hangout announcement by Communications Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., who says that they “plan to look at the Communications Act and all of the changes that have been made piecemeal over the last 89 years and ask the simple question: ‘Is this working for today’s communications marketplace?’” For example, he says that cable operators complained to him that they have to pay franchise fees but Netflix doesn’t. The GOP leaders didn’t include Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., who’s also on the Communications subcommittee — and says he helped to write “every major telecommunications statute for the past three decades.” He urged his colleagues to proceed “with great care and attention to detail” and “in a bipartisan manner.” Read More »
The creative community has a new voice in Washington. Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) and Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC) have launched the Congressional Creative Rights Caucus, which aims to educate Congress and the public “about the importance of preserving and protecting the rights of the creative community in the U.S.” Chu represents the 27th District in Los Angeles County, which accounts for nearly 140,000 jobs in the motion picture industry. Predicated on the relationship between American film, music, and software industry and the country’s economic health, the CRC seeks to promote and protect the “copyrights, human rights, First Amendment rights, and property rights” of artists and creators. In a statement today, the DGA voiced support for the new venture: ““We welcome the creation of the Creative Rights Caucus, as a significant recognition of the importance of the creative community to American innovation, culture and the economy. The works created by DGA members – the films, television shows and commercials seen by billions around the world – are the result of their unique creative vision, hard work, and dedication to storytelling”.
A Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Tuesday debated whether Congress could force the Supreme Court to allow cameras to broadcast arguments live — or whether it even should. The sticking point, of course, is that whole separation of powers thing. As it is, Supreme Court arguments are released as transcripts and audio recordings after the justices hear cases; live TV or audio is not allowed. The topic is garnering renewed interest this election cycle thanks to the Court preparing to hear arguments about the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care law, which is sure to be a major talking point in the upcoming presidential elections. The Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts heard testimony from witnesses including former Sen. Arlen Specter, who said that like for the House of Representatives beginning in 1979 and the Senate in 1986, C-SPAN “stands ready, willing and anxious to televise Supreme Court proceedings.”
In a hearing held today by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet Subcommittee on the negative impacts of movie content thieves, MPAA vice president Michael O’Leary made the battle against movie pirates sound downright patriotic. “The key foundation of American industry, the expectation that hard work and innovation is rewarded, is imperiled when thieves, whether online or on the street, are allowed to steal America’s creative products and enrich themselves along the way,” he said. “Rampant theft of American intellectual property puts the livelihoods of the workers who invest time, energy and fortune to create the filmed entertainment enjoyed by millions at risk; to these men and women and their families, digital theft means declining incomes, lost jobs and reduced health and retirement benefits. We believe that rogue sites legislation, combined with the Administration’s work with intermediaries and enforcement by the IPR Center, will go a long way towards shutting down the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted works and close a gap in the intellectual property law.”
Ahead of a House Judiciary Committee meeting Wednesday that will look at how to combat online IP theft, members of both the House and Senate talked today about the continuing harm the practice causes the U.S. economy. The reaffirmation was welcome news to Hollywood’s unions and guilds, who have long urged Washington to make tougher laws. Read More »