Her, Gravity and The Great Gatsby were the big winners on the film side at tonight’s ADG Awards at the Beverly Hilton. “I didn’t know if we were making a fantasy or a period film in the future,” Her production designer K.K. Barrett in accepting the award. “Spike Jonze told me, ‘Who are we to question what anybody else feels is real.’” Looking around the room, I believe in all your realities.”
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Said production designer Andy Nicholson from the podium: “Gravity was an incredibly long and tough journey for my crew. None of this would’ve been possible without the artistic vision of Alfonso Cuaron.”
Martin Scorsese scored points in the room as he accepted the guild’s prestigious Cinematic Imagery Award, presented by his Wolf Of Wall Street stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill. “How does one even separate cinema from PD? You can’t,” he said. “We have images in our mind, pictures in our head, but yours are the ones I look to to get those images on the screen. You’ve never let me down. This [award] is for you.”
HBO cleaned up on the TV side, with Game Of Thrones, Behind The Candelabra and Veep all picking up trophies during the 18th annual Art Directors Guild Excellence in Production Design Awards. The show was hosted by Owen Benjamin, a comic and regular on the TBS comedy Sullivan & Son.
Here is the complete list of winners. Read on for the recap of our live blog.
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HBO has unveiled a teaser for Silicon Valley, the Mike Judge-helmed half-hour dark comedy set in the Bay Area hotbed where future tech icons like Steve Jobs et al. got their start. T.J. Miller, Thomas Middleditch, Zach Woods, Kumail Nanjiani, Martin Starr, Josh Brener, … Read More »
In this week’s podcast, Deadline’s executive editor David Lieberman and host David Bloom look at CBS’ new Thursday night football deal with the NFL; Twitter’s complexity issue with newbies, and Disney’s red-hot quarter fueled by Thor and new franchise Frozen. They’ll also take a gander at those newly available HBO financial details and how they stack up against Netflix, even as Time Inc. braces for layoffs after its imminent spinoff; and question whether Microsoft’s new boss will be much different from the old boss, particularly with the company’s first boss as his new technology adviser.
Deadline Big Media podcast 71 (.MP3 version)
Deadline Big Media podcast 71 (.M4A version)
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The company didn’t make a direct connection to Netflix — but the comparisons, especially in profitability (see chart below), become irresistible now that Time Warner reports results for HBO, previously lumped with Turner networks. This morning’s numbers scratch the surface; other filings should tell us much more. The company intends to take advantage of HBO’s financial firepower: HBO will increase spending and hours for original series in 2014, CEO Jeff Bewkes told analysts. Much of the spending will boost Cinemax, which he calls “an under-appreciated asset” with more viewers than Starz and about about the same as Showtime. HBO, the channel, accounts for about two-third of the operation’s 45M domestic and 85M overseas subs. Execs also noted that subs are growing at a healthy pace, with domestic up by 2M in 2013. International revenues account for 25% of the unit’s total — a number that’s expected to grow. Bewkes says that Netflix, Amazon and Hulu have had “no discernible effect” on HBO so far.
Here’s how HBO and Netflix compare on the top and bottom lines: Read More »
UK pay-TV giant BSkyB announced better-than-expected half-year operating profits this morning in London — and a major deal to expand its existing relationship with HBO. The pair has been cozy since 2010 when the Sky Atlantic channel became the “home of HBO” series. That exclusive first-run output deal will now be extended through 2020, giving Sky customers continued access to the entire HBO catalog including such shows as Game Of Thrones and Girls, as well as new series like True Detective and Looking. The extension of the pact could be worth up to £275M over five years. The partners have also committed to co-develop and produce what BSkyB CEO Jeremy Darroch calls, “epic drama of a truly spectacular scale.” The partners say they will make original drama series for broadcast on their respective networks and are looking at projects with the potential to run for multiple seasons. The high-end TV tax credit now flourishing in the UK has already brought American shows to shoot locally and this deal will likely see the Sky/HBO co-pros taking advantage of the incentives. The two companies will jointly finance the projects.
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The moves come as the 21st Century Fox-controlled BSkyB has been fending off aggressive rival BT which has been muscling in on sports rights usually held by Sky. Movies and entertainment programming are the other key draws for Sky subscribers and today’s deal will see that offer bolstered. Sky has been on a drive to invest £600M a year in original British content and has committed to more than 100 hours of original drama this year. Sky Atlantic has already partnered with Canal Plus on The Tunnel, with BBC America on Fleming, and with Showtime on John Logan’s Penny Dreadful. Sky Living co-produces NBC series Dracula while Sky Arts has the Jon Hamm/Daniel Radcliffe series A Young Doctor’s Notebook. Click over for full details of the new HBO pact: Read More »
Showtime and HBO have made opposite programming decisions for Super Bowl Sunday. Showtime, which originally planned to air repeats on February 2, has now decided to air originals of its series Shameless, House Of Lies and Episodes against the big game. I hear the call was made after Showtime brass were encouraged by the shows’ performances last Sunday when, against the strongest primetime NFC Championship Game in 19 years, they managed to post a 17% year-to-year audience growth for the night. With over 70% of Showtime subscribers watching series on a time-shifted basis, the network decided not to interrupt its weekly delivery of originals. Read More »
HBO is making decisions on the three new comedy series that premiered last year. The pay cable network has opted not to order a second season of Family Tree. Also not going to second season is Hello Ladies, which will wrap the story of Stuart Pritchard (Stephen Merchant) and his group of friends with a special — similar to the way HBO ended Ricky Gervais’ Life’s Too Short. There is no final decision on medical comedy Getting On but it is expected to get a second-season renewal pending the sorting out of budget issues.
Unlike HBO’s dramas, which in many cases are big crowd-pleasers like True Blood and Game Of Thrones, its comedies, by design, have been very specific. None of the three freshman 2013 series – all with strong British pedigrees — have been as noisy as Girls for example, but they have been relatively well received (especially Getting On), and their viewership deliveries have been OK for the price point. Christopher Guest’s Family Tree, starring Chris O’Dowd, was originally designed for an arc. I hear being a co-producing with the BBC made a second installment even more complicated, contributing to HBO’s decision not to go forward. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: HBO has made decisions on half-hour comedy pilots People In New Jersey and untitled Diallo Riddle/Bashir Salahuddin. The pay cable network has decided not to go forward with People In New Jersey, written by Bruce Eric Kaplan, directed … Read More »
Actress-filmmaker Lina Esco has been cast as a regular in Ryan Murphy‘s HBO pilot Open, a provocative exploration of human sexuality and relationships. It centers on five central characters played by Michelle Monaghan, Scott Speedman, Wes Bentley, Anna Torv and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Esco will play Gina, a smoking hot and extremely ambitious employee at Jonathan’s sports management agency (and the object of his sexting and extra-curricular exploits) who will stop at nothing to get the job promotion AND her man. Esco, repped by Luber Roklin, co-starred opposite Miley Cyrus in LOL and wrote and directed her first film, the provocative Free The Nipple. Read More »
2ND UPDATE 2:16 PM: The NPD Group today issued a “data clarification” about its Monday press release that said its study found that streaming services are gaining while premium cable channels are losing subscribers. A day after Showtime refuted those findings, NPD Group said it should not have called our declines for HBO and Showtime.”Upon further examination of the results,” the group said in the release, “there is data supporting the conclusion that individual subscribers are either subscribing to more channels, or adding channels over time.” Here’s the full statement: “A recent press announcement from The NPD Group that was released on Monday, January 20, 2014 (‘Cord Shaving? SVOD Subscribers Increase, as Premium TV Subscribers Decline, According to The NPD Group’) should not have called out declines in subscribers for specific premium TV channels, HBO and Showtime. The data used for the press release pertains to aggregate results for all premium TV channels and does indicate that the overall number of subscribers has declined, based on a representative sample of the U.S. population. However, upon further examination of the results, there is data supporting the conclusion that individual subscribers are either subscribing to more channels, or adding channels over time. In that case, faithful premium channel subscribers are becoming more so – which would be consistent with the subscription increases being reported by individual channels.”
UPDATED 3:14 PM Tuesday: Not so fast, Showtime says. The premium channel issued a release today saying the “NPD Group ‘study’ does not accurately reflect actual subscriber counts.” Showtime says that not only has it added 1M subs in six of the past seven years, but premium rivals HBO, Cinemax and Starz also have increased subs during that period. Here’s the full statement: “Contrary to erroneous reports published this week, Showtime and every other premium network have increased both subscribers and penetrations over the last two years. A study released by the NPD Group claimed the opposite, comparing gains made by video services like Netflix to the performance of premium cable. The study does not accurately reflect actual subscriber counts. According to SNL Kagan, from March 2012 through September 2013 – the timeframe the NPD Group allegedly measured — Showtime penetration grew from 21.1 percent to 22.8 percent; HBO penetration rose from 28.2 percent to 29.2 percent; Cinemax penetration climbed from 11.2 percent to 13.6 percent and Starz penetration jumped from 19.9 percent to 22 percent. While it is true that video services like Netflix have gained, so too have premium cable channels.” Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Top UK DJ Calvin Harris has teamed with Will Smith and Jay-Z for Higher, a half-hour comedy series project that has been set up at HBO for development. Written by Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh and … Read More »
There are plenty of people working on more than one movie at the Sundance Film Festival this year, but only one musical act pulled double duty Sunday. On a packed party night in Park City, Damon Albarn played a 5-song set at the Sundance Channel HQ in the evening in front of Maggie Gyllenhaal and more. He then hustled down the block to the YouTube On Main Street storefront for a slightly longer show in front of 150 guests at 11 PM. At the two invite-only SRO events, the Blur and Gorillaz frontman performed ballads from both his bands and his upcoming solo album. In both gigs, a string quartet and a keyboardist backed up Albarn, who played acoustic guitar.
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For those who were wondering what HBO‘s recent announcement of a new weekly show with The Daily Show‘s John Oliver would mean for incumbent Real Time With Bill Maher — HBO just extended the veteran talk show for … Read More »
Four months after Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom ended its second season on HBO, the cable news drama is officially a go for a third season, which will be its last. It is set to premiere … Read More »
Now that HBO‘s set an April 6 premiere date for the return of Game of Thrones, here’s a trailer to whet appetites for the Emmy-winning series’ fourth season. Creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss direct the first S4 episode:
EXCLUSIVE: It took Larry Kramer 30 years to see his Tony-winning play The Normal Heart make it to the screen. The path may be far shorter for a Normal Heart follow-up. I’ve learned that HBO has commissioned a script by Kramer for a potential sequel to the HBO Films’ The Normal Heart, which is set to premiere in May. I hear The Normal Heart director Ryan Murphy, who spearheaded the effort to make the play into a movie, would be back at the helm, with the film’s stars Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts and Jim Parsons expected to return, along with the entire producing team: exec producers Murphy, Kramer, Jason Blum, Dede Gardner and Dante Di Loreto.
The original movie (and the play) focused on the onset of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City from 1981-84, ending before there was an HIV test. The sequel would chronicle the events from 1987 through the 1990s, with Ruffalo, whose Ned Weeks (modeled after Kramer) witnessed the disease first-hand in The Normal Heart, becoming an activist trying to help people who have been affected — also similar to Kramer’s real-life trajectory. Roberts plays Emma Brookner, the polio-stricken physician who treated several of the earliest victims of the disease; Parsons portrays gay activist Tommy Boatwright, a role he also played in the play’s 2011 Broadway revival. Read More »
“I don’t get the purpose of all the nudity – particularly by you,” some guy said to Lena Dunham at the start of the Q&A for her HBO comedy series Girls. It went downhill from there. The Random Guy Who Covers TV said he gets the point of all the nudity on HBO’s Game of Thrones, explaining it’s an attempt to “be salacious and titillate people.”
But Dunham’s nudity baffles him. “It’s a realistic expression of what it’s like to be alive,” she said. “I totally get it if you’re not into me. That’s your problem.”
TCA: HBO’s ‘Girls’ Renewed For Fourth Season
Exec producer Judd Apatow jumped in with a question addressed to Random Guy: “Do you have a girlfriend? Does she like you?” he sneered, as though it was a given nobody could. Apatow suggested the guy tell his girlfriend exactly how he’d asked the question at the Girls Q&A and “let me know how it goes tonight.” Apatow apparently lives in that alternate universe in which everyone loves Girls.
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Another critic asked Dunham if she likes the characters she’s written on the show. We assumed he was talking about the characters Dunham has created for Jemima Kirke, Allison Williams, and Zosia Mamet. “Yeah, I love them. I love writing them,” she responded. Apatow, having apparently shot his wad with Random Nudity Question Guy, did not have any snappy comeback to add.
TCA: HBO Sets Season 4 Premiere Date For ‘Game Of Thrones’
TCA: HBO’s ‘Boardwalk Empire’ To End Run After Season 5
TCA: ‘Lost’s Damon Lindelof Rips Network TV, Says Quality Is Higher On Cable
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