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‘Rathergate’ Drives ‘Truth’ Film; Robert Redford To Play Dan Rather, Cate Blanchett To Play Producer Mary Mapes

By | Wednesday July 9, 2014 @ 11:51am PDT
Mike Fleming

‘Rathergate’ Drives ‘Truth’ Film; Robert Redford To Play Dan Rather, Cate Blanchett To Play Producer Mary MapesEXCLUSIVE: Robert Redford is attached to play CBS News icon Dan Rather and Cate Blanchett is attached to play his producer Mary Mapes in Truth, a film that will mark the directorial debut of James Vanderbilt, the A-list screenwriter behind the first two installments of The Amazing Spider-Man. The film will explore the scandal that erupted after Rather reported on 60 Minutes II that George W. Bush had gotten preferential treatment that put him in the National Guard to avoid the Vietnam War draft. The ensuing scandal during Bush’s reelection campaign left Mapes fired and Rather’s storied reputation in tatters.

Truth And DutyVanderbilt is adapting Mapes’ 2005 memoir Truth And Duty: The Press, The President, And The Privilege Of Power. Pic will be produced by Mythology Entertainment, the production partnership between Vanderbilt, Brad Fischer and Laeta Kalogridis. Fischer, William Sherak, Vanderbilt and Mikkel Bondesen are producing. They are eyeing a fall start, so this is all moving on a fast track. The project has not yet been set at a studio, but I expect it will not take long. Read More »

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Study: Bill Clinton Biggest Butt of Jay Leno Monologue Jokes During ‘Tonight Show’ Tenure

By | Wednesday February 5, 2014 @ 7:37am PST

jaylenoSince 1992, Jay Leno‘s top Tonight Show opening monologue target has been Bill Clinton, according to a study released by the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University. O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson topped his list of celebrity targets, but their tally is chump change compared to Clinton’s, according to the study that tracked nearly 44,000 Tonight Show jokes.

Clinton was the subject of one out of every 10 gags about public affairs and/or public figures in his monologues, and O.J. Simpson was his top celebrity target. The study tallied 43,892 jokes about public figures and public affairs from 1992, when Leno became host of Tonight Show, through January 24, 2014.

Clinton accounts for 4,607 of that joke total. For comparison sake, George W. Bush came in for 3,239 jabs, and Jay targeted Kim Kardashian a total of  just 57 times, according to the study. Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Clinton’s VPOTUS Al Gore, and Monica Lewinsky accounted for four of Leno’s top seven targets. Overall, the Top-20 list includes the past four presidents and vice-presidents, as well as the past six failed major party nominees for president. Democrats were the targets of 10,885 jokes, 15% more than the 9,465 jokes directed at Republicans. The study says that’s because Leno frequently targeted presidents and Democrats occupied the White House in 13 of his 22 years as Tonight Show host.

JAY LENO’s TOP 20 POLITICAL JOKE TARGETS: Read More »

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George W. Bush Set For ‘The Tonight Show’ Next Week

By | Tuesday November 12, 2013 @ 4:25pm PST

When NBC sent out its weekly Tonight Show listings yesterday, there was a curious lack of guests for November 19. Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite have the music gig, but there wasn’t a headliner. Now we know why. The network spilled to the AP today that President George W. Bush will make his fourth appearance on the Jay Leno-hosted show that night, taking about life after the White House. It’s a solid get for the show, as the former commander-in-chief has kept relatively quiet since leaving office in 2009, rarely giving extended interviews. He most recently sat with Leno in November 2010. Not a bad November sweep for The Tonight Show thus far, politically speaking: Tea Party champion Sen. Ted Cruz made his debut on the late-night circuit with Leno this past Friday.

Related: Obamacare Angles For Starring Role On Primetime TV

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HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ Returns Online With Edited George W. Bush Head

By | Monday June 25, 2012 @ 2:57pm PDT

You won’t see the head of former President George W. Bush in Game Of Thrones anymore. HBO has edited and altered the prop head of Bush that appeared on a spike in the series, the Washington Post first reported today. With less chin and a much smaller nose on the controversial head, HBO has restored the Season 1 episode to HBO Go and iTunes. HBO pulled the episode down digitally and also ceased shipments of the DVD box set featuring the episode after uproar broke out over the use of the former president’s head. It was DVD commentary by Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss that initially drew attention to the use of the head as a prop. “The last head on the left is George Bush,” the two say on the DVD. “George Bush’s head appears in a couple of beheading scenes. It’s not a choice, it’s not a political statement. We just had to use whatever heads we had lying around…” HBO later said they found the use of the Bush head “unacceptable, disrespectful and in very bad taste.” The premium network had no word on whether new box sets of the series, with the edited head, will be heading to retail outlets soon.

(Photo: Washington Post)

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‘Game Of Thrones’ Episode With George Bush’s Severed Head Pulled From Rotation

By | Friday June 15, 2012 @ 11:38am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

The now infamous Episode 10 from the first season of HBO’s hit fantasy series Game Of Thrones featuring the head of former president George W. Bush as a prop in a beheading scene, has been pulled from all digital platforms, including HBO Go and iTunes. Additionally, shipments of the DVD box set featuring the show creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’ commentary that drew attention to the use of the head as a prop, have been halted as HBO continues to mitigate the damage from the controversy.

Previous: HBO Apologizes For Severed George W. Bush Head On ‘Game Of Thrones’

The network has issued a new even stronger worded statement following their apology on Wednesday night. “We were deeply dismayed to see this and find it unacceptable, disrespectful and in very bad taste,” the network said. “We made this clear to the executive producers of the series who apologized immediately for this careless mistake. We condemn it in the strongest possible terms and have halted all future shipments of the DVDs, removed it from our digital platforms and will edit the scene for all future airings on any distribution domestic or international.”

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UPDATE: HBO Apologizes For Severed George W. Bush Head On ‘Game Of Thrones’

By | Wednesday June 13, 2012 @ 8:35pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE 8:30 PM: The controversy over the use of a prosthetic George W. Bush head as a prop in beheading scenes on the hit HBO fantasy series Game Of Thrones led to both HBO and the series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss issuing apologies tonight, following criticism by Republican leaders. It is unclear whether the image would be edited out of future GOT rebroadcasts on HBO and on-demand but that appears likely.

George Bush Game Of ThronesHBO: We were deeply dismayed to see this and find it unacceptable, disrespectful and in very bad taste. We made this clear to the executive producers of the series who apologized immediately for this inadvertent careless mistake.  We are sorry this happened and will have it removed from any future DVD production.

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss: We use a lot of prosthetic body parts on the show: heads, arms, etc. We can’t afford to have these all made from scratch, especially in scenes where we need a lot of them, so we rent them in bulk. After the scene was already shot, someone pointed out that one of the heads looked like George W. Bush.

In the DVD commentary, we mentioned this, though we should not have. We meant no disrespect to the former President and apologize if anything we said or did suggested otherwise.

PREVIOUS 5:30 PM: In a classic case of “What were they thinking?!,” scenes from the first season of … Read More »

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Ron Nyswaner To Script Curtis Sittenfeld Novel ‘American Wife’

By | Friday November 4, 2011 @ 9:13am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Ron Nyswaner has been set to adapt American Wife, the bestselling novel by Curtis Sittenfeld. The project is being funded by Red Crown Productions, whose Daniel Crown and Daniela Taplin Lundberg are producing with Marissa McMahon’s Kamala Films.

Nyswaner, best known for scripting Philadelphia and The Painted Veil, will adapt a novel that follows the First Lady as she reviews her life on a day in which a scandalous secret threatens her husband’s presidency, and their marriage. When the book was published in 2009, speculation was the characters were modeled after President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura: the husband grew up in a privileged background, was a hard-drinking sports team owner who became a Born Again Christian, moved from governor to the White House and backed an unpopular war. Taplin Lundberg said the book had the ingredients to be a modern day The Way We Were. Red Crown wrapped production on the Julianne Moore-Alexander Skarsgard-starrer What Maisie Knew and just wrapped the Christopher Neil-directed Goats, which stars David Duchovny and Vera Farmiga. Kamala recently acquired Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde. Nyswaner is repped by UTA.

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All Former U.S. Presidents To Get Together For TV Special Honoring George H.W. Bush

By | Thursday March 3, 2011 @ 1:45pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

All four living former U.S. presidents – George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush – will gather for All Together Now: A Celebration of Service, a gala that honors the importance of American service and volunteerism and will salute President George H. W. Bush for his leadership in public service.

The event, which will feature musicians and entertainers, will be held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., on March 21 and will be broadcast by NBC as an hourlong special on Monday, March 28. It will reunite the four living former Presidents for the first time since President Barack Obama took office. President Obama, who will be in South America at the time of the event, will participate through his narration of an introductory short film on the history and value of service in the country.

President Clinton, who teamed with George H.W. Bush to lead the U.S. response to the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean and to raise money to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, will serve as the gala’s honorary co-chair.

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George W. Bush Breaks Silence On His Upcoming Book ‘Decision Points’

By | Thursday October 21, 2010 @ 10:38am PDT
Mike Fleming

Just in time for the upcoming elections, former President George W. Bush breaks his silence on his upcoming book Decision Points. The official pub date is November 9 through Crown Publishers, with a first printing of 1.5 million copies. Here’s the video that has just gone up on the Random House website:

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