EXCLUSIVE: Eric Gold has been manager to the popular TV daytime talk show star Ellen DeGeneres since after her ABC sitcom was cancelled in 1998 and she was out of work. I’ve learned today they parted ways after the first of the year but kept the news quiet. But it leaked out through rival reps to me. There are two sides to every story like this, but I’m told Ellen tried to cap Gold – and he said no, so they no longer work together. (‘Capping’ is an agreement to put a maximum dollar or percentage number on a rep’s earnings from a client.) Over the last decade DeGeneres has earned a reported half a billion dollars from her hugely successful 10-year-old TelePictures syndicated daytime talk show Ellen, endorsements (JC Penney reportedly paid her $20M for the two-year campaign), and other activities. “After her sitcom ended and Ellen was out of work, Eric is credited with helping put together her comeback,” one source explains. “When she tried to cap him about four months ago, he wouldn’t accept what she wanted to do so they parted. America’s sweetheart ain’t such a sweetheart.” Others claim Gold “did nothing for her, didn’t deliver guests, didn’t make the show better, wasn’t on set, and didn’t create any showbiz opportunities outside the show for her.” Ellen remains with ICM Partners agent Eddie Yablans and Morris Yorn Barnes & Levine attorney Kevin Yorn. Gold still manages Jim Carrey with Jimmy Miller (though Gold/Miller are no longer in business together).) He has also produced Scary Movie, She’s Out Of My League, My Wife And Kids, and In Living Color. He is currently producing a Broadway musical based on the music and life of the late Tupac Shukar’s music, Holla if You Hear Me, written by August Wilson protégé Todd Kreidler.
Studio executive-turned-producer Jeff Kleeman has been tapped to run A Very Good Production, Ellen DeGeneres’ Warner Bros. TV Group-based production company. Kleeman succeeds Lauren Corrao who left in June after two years on the job. Kleeman will shepherd development …
Warner Bros’ daytime syndication hopeful Bethenny, starring reality star Bethenny Frankel, got off to an encouraging start for its six-week test run on Fox stations in six markets. In its first airing yesterday, the talk show averaged a 1.5/5 in the overnight metered households, up 36% from its lead-in in the six markets and improving its time periods by 88% vs. last year. In women 25-54, Bethenny was up 67% from its lead-in and 200% vs. last year. So far it has been the highest-rated daytime talker tested on the Fox stations. Not surprisingly, Bethenny performed best in New York, Frankel’s home market, where it scored a 1.9/7 on WNYW, finishing third in the 11 AM hour behind ABC’s The View and CBS’ The Price Is Right. The only market where Bethenny fell from its lead-in was Philadelphia, where it averaged a 1.8/7 in homes, down from Wendy‘s 2.5/9.
The pro-family advocacy group One Million Moms has apparently halted its ill-advised attempt to pressure JC Penney to drop comedienne and talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres as its spokeswoman. The group’s director, Monica Cole, told the website …
EXCLUSIVE: The Ellen DeGeneres-produced comedy starring her wife Portia de Rossi, which sparked a bidding war in September, is going to pilot. But in a twist, the order is at ABC and not at NBC, where the pitch was originally sold with a put pilot commitment. I hear that, in a quick turnaround, ABC has snatched the multi-camera comedy titled The Smart One after NBC passed. The project, written by Samantha Who? co-creator/executive producer Don Todd, is about dueling sisters. Arrested Development and Ally McBeal alumna de Rossi plays one of them, a brilliant and successful woman who has to go to work for her less brainy but more popular sister — a former beauty queen, weather girl … and now big-city mayor. DeGeneres and Todd are executive producing with Lauren Corrao. The project hails from Warner Bros TV and DeGeneres’ studio-based production company A Very Good Production. It marks the first pilot order for A Very Good Production, in its first development season under a multi-year deal with WBTV, where it’s run by former Comedy Central president of original programming Corrao.
After it didn’t make the cut for a traditional fall 2012 launch, Warner Bros.’ Bethenny Frankel talk show is going for a non-traditional rollout. Fox TV Stations have picked up the show, Bethenny, for a six-week trial run in the summer on some Fox owned-and-operated stations including flagships WYNY New York and KTTV Los Angeles. It will likely follow the third season of Frankel’s Bravo reality series, which premieres in February. “Bethenny is a lightning rod, and from a marketing standpoint, we love the idea of her hit reality series dovetailing into this test,” said Fox TV Stations SVP Programming Frank Cicha. It’s been a very crowded marketplace for new syndicated talk shows, with a whopping 4 newbies — Twentieth’s The Ricki Lake Show, CBS’ Jeff Probst, ABC’s Katie and NBCU’s Steve Harvey – cleared for a September launch. The competition for station slots, made more fierce by the renewal of Warner Bros’ rookie Anderson, squeezed Bethenny out of contention for next fall, though Warner Bros and Fox continued discussions about an alternative way to get the show on the air.
Derek Zoolander and Hansel have nothing on Ellen DeGeneres and Jimmy Kimmel, who settled once and for all who is the sweethearty-est during last night’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! DeGeneres was a guest promoting her new book. Warning: It gets ugly nice.
EXCLUSIVE: Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is expanding her relationship with the Warner Bros TV Group, signing an exclusive multiyear production deal that spans several different divisions of the company. DeGeneres will build up her production company, A Very Good Production, which will be run by former Comedy Central president of original programming and development Lauren Corrao. Under the deal, DeGeneres and her company will develop and produce scripted network shows for Warner Bros TV, cable fare and reality series for Warner Horizon, and syndicated programming for Telepictures Prods., which produces Ellen’s popular daytime talk show. An interesting detail – I hear the pact has pilot commitments from Fox built into it that stem from DeGeneres’ one-season stint on the network’s American Idol and her good relationship with Fox entertainment chairman Peter Rice. I hear that Fox wanted to be in business with DeGeneres and stepped up with the commitments when the network brass heard about her ramping up her production company. Additionally, Warner Bros has a first-look deal with DeGeneres on social media and other digital projects. DeGeneres is a Twitter juggernaut with 5.4 million followers. ”I’m so happy to be expanding my relationship with Warner Bros,” DeGeneres said. “It’s kind of becoming a family affair. My brother works on the lot and fingers crossed, my mother’s up for the role of Charlie Sheen’s love interest on ‘Two and a Half Men.’ So this is really working out.”
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s Emmy coverage.
EXCLUSIVE: Is American Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe unhappy with who’s going to be the show’s next two judges? It sure sounds that way. I caught up with him at the 8th annual BAFTA/LA Tea Party in Century City today and asked him to confirm that Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez will replace Simon Cowell and Ellen DeGeneres. “I must say, I really do love Elton John. He’s a huge favorite of mine,” Lythgoe replied to me. The producer added that Elton’s packed schedule is “always the problem”. Then Lythgoe revealed what strategy Idol is using on Elton to convince him to clear it and come on the show. “It depends on whether [he] wants to give back.” As Deadline Hollywood has been continually reporting, everybody connected to Idol has made no secret of the fact that Elton John has always been their first choice to replace Cowell. But no deal is in the offing not just because of the musician’s touring commitments but also because of his astronomical asking price. Which is why the musician’s UK publicist Gary Farrow told Deadline London Editor Tim Adler in late July that “There’s more chance of me fucking you than Elton being on U.S. Idol.” But it’s clear Lythgoe is still trying.
Lythgoe, who left Idol and then recently returned, also blamed Simon Cowell for Ellen DeGeneres not returning as an Idol judge next season. “I’m sorry she’s gone, to be honest with you,” he told me, “because I think there’s a place for Ellen DeGeneres on American Idol. And that is being the voice of the people. She wasn’t given a fair opportunity to serve that function.
Demonstrating that there are no hard feelings, exiting American Idol judge Ellen DeGeneres is returning to Fox for an appearance on tonight’s season finale of the network’s reality series So You Think You Can Dance, which hails from Idol creator/executive producer Simon Fuller, returning Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe as …
JENNIFER LOPEZ IS NEW ‘IDOL’ JUDGE! Closed Deal This Week; Replaces Ellen Who Wanted Out of Contract: “It’s Not Been Fun”
EXCLUSIVE UPDATE 6:30 PM: We’ve just learned the backstory of how Ellen DeGeneres bowed out of American Idol and who will be the new judge taking her place. It’s Jennifer Lopez, whose singing and acting career has been on the skids after her recent movie failed at the box office in the spring and she was dropped by her record company Sony Music Epic Records this past winter. We hear her manager Benny Medina (whom she once fired) orchestrated the meeting with the American Idol producers a month ago, and negotiations have been ongoing ever since. We’ve learned a deal was closed earlier this week under the utmost secrecy. Today’s news came shortly after Nigel Lythgoe returned to Idol as an executive producer. He has vowed to shake up the show’s team of judges in the wake of the departure of Simon Cowell, publicly stating that he always thought a panel of three and not 4 made the most sense.
Still to be decided is who will replace Simon Cowell. Everyone associated with the show wants Elton John, but we hear he’s asking for too much money and has too many touring commitments he can’t get out of. (Denials That Justin Or Elton Judging ‘Idol’) 2ND UPDATE: Tonight, unconfirmed reports say Idol has offered Cowell’s judge seat to Steven Tyler. 3RD UPDATE: And another unconfirmed report claimed judge Kara DioGuardi has been fired to bring the panel count down to just 3, not 4.
As for Ellen Degeneres, we’re told she wanted off the show two months ago and complained that Idol producers “couldn’t control Cowell”, one insider tells us. Least of all Cecile Frot-Coutaz, the CEO of FremantleMedia North America. “Cecile is doing X Factor with Simon, so she’s in his back pocket.” DeGeneres and her reps went in to to see Fox Broadcasting’s Entertainment Chairman Peter Rice and Alternative TV President Mike Darnell and asked to be let out of the year left on her contract. “She’s not comfortable. She’s not happy. It’s not been fun,” Fox was told. But Rice and Darnell responded that, with Cowell leaving, “We can’t let you out now because it would be bad for our franchise. Give us a chance to figure out who we could get.” In the end, all the show’s producers – Fox, Fremantle, and 19 Entertainment – worked it out. “Peter Rice was awesome,” an insider tells us. “Ellen is thrilled and relieved.” We’ve learned that serious conversations took place between Idol and Jessica Simpson to replace Ellen. But once Jennifer Lopez was locked in this week, the DeGeneres announcement went out.
Warner Bros and producer Jerry Weintraub have tried long and hard to mount a remake of the 1977 George Burns comedy Oh, God! I’m told Weintraub just pitched the studio a new …