In what is the most gruesome attack against an U.S. journalist in Egypt so far, CBS News is reporting that its chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan suffered “a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating” on Friday, the day Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak stepped down. She was covering the festivities in Tahrir Square for a 60 Minutes story when she and her team and their security were surrounded by a mob of more than 200 people. Logan was eventually separated from her crew and was brutally assaulted before a group of women and soldiers came to her rescue. Logan, who has a 2-year-old son, was quickly flown back to the U.S. and is recovering in a hospital.
The news shows how volatile the security situation in Egypt continues to be. The U.S. networks dispatched some of its top news anchors to Cairo when the protests first started, but after several prominent TV journalists, including Anderson Cooper, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour and Fox News correspondent Greg Palkot, were attacked by angry mobs, most of anchors left Egypt.
LAObserved.com just posted a memo from Sallie Hofmeister, the LA Times‘ incredibly mediocre Assistant Managing Editor for Arts & Entertainment. More interested in celebrity coverage than substantive beat reporting, Hofmeister exhorts her showbiz blog staff to try to have “an original thought” from time to time which ”readers can use to sound smart in a meeting or cocktail party”. Isn’t it swell to be so trivialized, Hollywood? By the way, several current LA Times entertainment beat staffers have approached Deadline about jobs recently. They don’t want to work anymore for Silly Sallie.
People magazine will bestow just bestowed the coveted title of ”Sexiest Man Alive” on Ryan Reynolds for this year marking its 25th anniversary. Which is a marketing wet dream not just for Reynolds’ talent agency CAA and PR firm 42West but also for Warner Bros. The studio has just released this new trailer (below) for Green Lantern, the Martin Campbell-directed film that introduces Ryan Reynolds as the DC Comics superhero. Talk about synergy: to date every new promo for the movie has been the exclusive domain of a magazine (People, Entertainment Weekly) owned by Time Warner which also owns the movie studio Warner Bros. But only moviegoers will decide whether Reynolds’ obvious physique and charisma will be enough to measure up in the DC pantheon to Chris Nolan’s The Dark Knight or the Nolan-produced Superman film that’ll be directed by Zack Snyder. The 3D Green Lantern will be released on June 17, 2011:
Andy Coulson, UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s communications director, was interviewed Friday by Metropolitan Police over the growing British tabloid phone-hacking scandal. Three years ago, Coulson stepped down as editor of the weekly Sunday tabloid News of the World, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, after one of the paper’s reporters was convicted of illegally accessing voicemail messages left for staff members of the royal household, including some from Prince William and Prince Harry. Coulson has always denied any knowledge of allegations his reporters listened in to private conversations of royals, politicians, and stars. However, journalists who used to work for him say he knew full well what they were doing. Having this ex-Murdoch executive who’s bound so closely to Cameron’s inner circle interviewed by police will be embarrassing for the new British Prime Minister whose spinmeister has now become the story. Earlier this week former Columbia Studios boss and now House Of Lords parliamentary member David Puttnam drew attention to the close links between Cameron and Murdoch, pointing out that Rupert slipped in the back door of 10 Downing Street while BBC Director General Mark Thompson like most visitors used the front door. The British Left argues there’s a cabal between the Conservatives and Murdoch, whose News Corp’s bid to buy 100% of pay TV operator BSkyB is payback for supporting Cameron in the general election. Others point out that ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair was just as keen to … Read More »
UPDATE:It’s finally official: The Hollywood Reporter announced today that Elizabeth Guider is stepping down as Editor after three years at the helm of the newsroom. Guider had been told she was out almost as soon as THR parent e5 Global Media CEO Richard Beckman took over in January, then was left twisting in the wind after Janice Min took over as editorial director in May. The Hollywood Reporter announcement cited the fiction that it was Guider’s decision to step down because of “personal family issues” and her “desire to finish a book”. She will freelance for the paper. ”It has been an honor and a pleasure to lead The Hollywood Reporter‘s newsroom during such interesting, if challenging, times,” Guider said.
Also exiting is Andrew Wallenstein, who has headed the trade-turned-celebrity sheet’s digital operations for the past 2 years. His departure was somewhat of a surprise. But, in the end, Min wanted to do her own thing. ”After eight years with THR, the time is right to move on,” Wallenstein said in a statement. “I leave with the satisfaction that comes with my extensive reporting on the media business, from technology to television, as well as leading our website to editorial excellence and category-leading traffic numbers.”
(I will be posting a comprehensive look at THR and all its changes later this week.)
I’ve known Richard Johnson for seemingly forever. Yet I never thought he’d leave NYC or even the New York Post despite many lucrative job offers over the years. And several scandals under his watch… But the paper announced today he’s exiting the editorship after nearly 25 years and “moving to Hollywood to work on new digital ventures for News Corp, the parent company of The Post“. (Presumably, this is something News Corp’s Digital Media CEO Jon Miller is incubating.) Surprising, since newsosaur Richard is as old media as they come. “I love Page Six and The Post, but I’ve always wanted to give Los Angeles a try,” he said. Here’s my first piece of advice: learn the difference between Hollywood and LA because they’re not interchangeable. Taking over as the new Page Six editor is Emily Smith.
Wall Street Journal Editor Robert Thomson is making Los Angeles bureau changes. Most interesting to Hollywood is naming a new Bureau Chief and a new Entertainment News Editor. Edited memo follows:
“The tone of life in Hollywood is about to take a turn for the sophisticated with the appointment of Rob Guth, our esteemed tech reporter and Bill Gates chronicler from San Francisco, as LA bureau chief. Elsewhere on the LA credits, Ethan Smith is taking on a new, enhanced role as Entertainment News Editor in the bureau. A member of the bureau since 2003, Ethan has broken a string of stories on major mergers and moguls. In his new role, he will be the prime reporter and shepherd of our Hollywood entertainment coverage. Before joining the Journal, Ethan worked as a freelance writer and in staff jobs at New York magazine, the Industry Standard, and Entertainment Weekly.
I hear that Steve McPherson, who resigned as ABC Entertainment Group president this week, has asked pit bull litigator Marty Singer to specifically target The Hollywood Reporter. If you haven’t noticed, the front page of THR is increasingly resembling TMZ as a Hollywood scandal sheet now that former US magazine editor Janice Min has taken over. Today, Singer issued this statement; “Steve McPherson is not going to sit back idly regarding the false & defamatory stories fueled by unknown and anonymous sources that are now appearing in the media since his resignation from ABC. He has retained Martin Singer and Lavely & Singer to deal with these defamatory stories.”
The Wall Street Journal today raises interesting issues in revealing that documentary filmmaker Ric Burns has been quietly getting paid by Goldman Sachs to make a film about the brokerage house — with Goldman Sachs reportedly maintaining editorial control. This might well have seemed like a harmless industrial film and a way for a journalist to make some freelance income when the project began in 2007, long before the financial meltdown. Given a recent fraud investigation, the scrutiny on Goldman Sachs’ derivatives operations and the hypersensitivity to Wall Street in general, it’s a tough situation to be for a journalist to be in. Even though the film was never meant for public consumption. Burns, who with brother Ken is created the PBS series The Civil War and many other important works, was recently outspoken when Crude documentary director Joe Berlinger was ordered to turn over outtake footage to Chevron, telling The New York Times that it “contributes to a general culture of contempt for investigative journalism,” and if upheld, would amount to a “killer blow to the trust a filmmaker cultivated, deeply, over a very long period of time.” Though they never get paid enough for the hours they put in, documentary directors need to be cautious about alliances that put them in that very position.
UPDATE: Bizarrely, LA Times entertainment chief Sallie Hofmeister didn’t bother to even mention that Julie Makinen, formerly Julie Bowles, worked at The Hollywood Reporter briefly. Very briefly. Previous: Earlier this week, I pointed out that both the new Movie Editor and TV Editor for The New York Times have zero experience with Hollywood. (New Movie And TV Editors For NY Times) Now the Los Angeles Times has announced its new Movie Editor replacing the incredibly mediocre Tim Swanson: her name is Julie Makinen, and she’s never covered showbiz or overseen its reporting. But the memo says she makes great ice cream. How can we take these newsosaurs seriously?
It’s one of newsosaur journalism’s most coveted gigs, and always influential in terms of Hollywood coverage. Now the Grey Lady is expected to announce by next week that Gerry Marzorati will exit his post as editor of The New York Times Magazine before the end of the summer. Already, names of his replacement are circulating, most prominently former Timesman James Bennet, who has been editor-in-chief of The Atlantic since 2006.
Insiders suspect Marzorati will be drafted to help spearhead the NYT‘s content pay wall. First word of his impending exit came from the New York Observer today. The move was hardly voluntary, sources tell me. Insiders say morale had sagged at the magazine under Marzorati, that the articles had lost their edge, and that little attempt was made to bring in younger readers. If that seems a harsh assessment, then remember that working for the NYT also means routinely removing all the knives from your back.
I’m told his exit also is a direct result of Marzorati having alienated important staff members. One of them was Stefano Tonchi, who departed his post as “T” editor in March to run W magazine. T brought in millions of dollars in advertising under Tonchi’s stewardship, and I hear his exit took Times overlords by surprise. Following him to W recently was Lynn Hirschberg, T‘s and the NYT‘s magazine’s controversial editor-at-large who directed and wrote most of the magazine’s Hollywood coverage. Hirschberg had been brought in by Marzorati’s predecessor Adam Moss.
Hollywood stars dominated the Tony Awards, and walked away with many of the prizes, so it’s small wonder that the infiltration of movie stars into next Broadway season continues. New York papers report today that Hugh Jackman read the title role in Stories About McAlary, Norah Ephron’s new play about Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaperman Mike McAlary. This brings up hopes that Jackman would headline a Broadway run. (I worked with Mike at the start of my newspaper career at New York Newsday. The crime reporter was as close to Wolverine as we had at that tabloid. Jackman doesn’t much resemble Mike, but did well in the role of a gruff cop very well alongside Daniel Craig in A Steady Rain.) Hugh would certainly give the production an event-quality feel and strong advance sale. Mike Nichols directed Jackman, Sarah Paulson and Richard Kind in the reading. Jackman, currently starring in Real Steel, hasn’t committed to the play and he has several other stage projects percolating including Houdini, with Danny Elfman composing…
Star Trek and Heroes star Zachary Quinto is part of the cast of a revival of Tony Kushner’s masterwork, Angels in America, the Signature Theatre Company production that opens October 28.Quinto will play Louis Ironson, and stars with Robin Bartlett, Christian Borle, Bill Heck, Zoe Kazan, Billy Porter, Robin Weigert and Frank Wood. The latter plays the Roy Cohn role. Michael Greif directs.
Among the other event caliber openings is a revival of How to … Read More »
In the most recent development at The Hollywood Reporter since e5 Global Media bought it last December and began an overhaul, former Us Magazine editor Janice Min has been appointed editorial director. THR editor Elizabeth Guider will report to Min. Nikki Finke is away for several days, but since she weighs in on trade matters for Deadline, here’s the reaction she gave to an inquiry from The Huffington Post: “I am saddened to see Hollywood lose yet another source for business news, since this hire clearly shows that won’t be the focus of THR any longer–just as I’ve been predicting it wouldn’t.”
The Writer’s Guild East has come out on behalf of documentary director Joe Berlinger, who last week was ordered by a Federal Judge to give Chevron more than 600 hours of footage he compiled for the documentary Crude: The Real Price of Oil. Berlinger and his attorneys have prevailed upon Judge Kaplan to stay the order until they can appeal the ruling. The issue has become a First Amendment flashpoint. Here is the WGAE statement:
“In defense of free speech and the First Amendment, the Writers Guild of America, East joins with the Independent Documentary Association (IDA) in support of documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger and in objection to Federal Judge Lewis A. Kaplan’s recent ruling that Berlinger must turn over to the Chevron Corporation 600 hours of footage shot during the production of his documentary ‘Crude: The Real Price of Oil.’
To accede to such a demand is tantamount to a reporter being told to turn over all of his or her notes and to violate confidentiality agreements with sources. As with the members of the IDA, our WGAE members working in the documentary field ‘hold ourselves to the highest of journalistic standards in the writing, producing, and editing of our films.’ Those standards include the protection of our outtakes, script drafts, research and sources.”
UPDATE: Former PR guy Dan Klores has spent the last decade making documentaries on New York-centric subjects. So, natch, he’ll next focus his camera on Gotham’s Jimmy Breslin. Klores will begin work in September on Breslin: The Great One, which will simultaneously chronicle the rise of Breslin and the heyday of newspapers. It will also explore their struggle to stay relevant in the digital age and why no one has replaced Breslin as NYC’s dominant columnist. “He created the idea of a columnist who followed the news and personalized it, and his career expanded as newspapers did,” Klores said. “Now, he’s a man without a newspaper column, at a time when the role of newspapers has radically disintegrated in our culture.”
Klores’ previous NY-centric docus include Winning Time: Reggie Miller Vs. The Knicks,Crazy Love and The Boys of 2nd Street Park. He planned to stop and focus on plays and features. (His Little Doc is set for a June 17 premiere at the off-Broadway Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. And he is signed to direct the rom-com movie Dance to the Music for Greenestreet.) But Klores changed his mind after attending a Breslin tribute thrown by newspaper vets Pete Hamill and Sam Roberts. Klores is aiming for a 2012 Sundance Film Festival premiere.
Amazing as it may seem, younger generations don’t know Breslin. Brash and controversial, the quintessential born and bred New Yorker became a columnist at the New York Herald … Read More »
Magnolia Pictures has bought world rights to Smash His Camera, the documentary about infamous New York City paparazzo Ron Galella. He is the pioneering yet controversial celebrity photographer who is best remembered for the restraining order that Jackie O obtained against his prying camera after he photographed her in private moments. He also lost 5 teeth at the hands of another antagonistic subject, Marlon Brando. The film is directed by Leon Gast, the Academy Award-winning helmer of When We Were Kings.Smash His Camera premiered at Sundance, and HBO recently acquired U.S. broadcast rights.
It does seem that NBC always keeps fumbling. So I’m not sure which is funnier this morning: that NBC didn’t have any security keeping journalists away from its tech rehearsal at a NYC Hilton hotel. Or that The Hollywood Reporter just revealed bits and pieces of NBC’s upfront presentation – from the 2010-2011 schedule (Deadline TV’s analysis here) to Alec Baldwin’s taped comic intro (as his 30 Rock character Jack Donaghy praising advertisers as “the bright shining sun in our money universe”), to Entertainment President Angela Bromstad’s strategy speech, to Entertainment Chairman Jeff Gaspin acknowledging that the network has made some mistakes this season but is moving on with a stronger new slate, to even the pre-prepared jokes.
Both reporter James Hibberd and NBC have confirmed that he obtained this info by sneaking into the network’s upfront presentation rehearsal. No executives were there, but it didn’t matter: the run-through script was unveiled. Wrote Hibberd about what he heard: “Gaspin also jokes that having this year’s NBC upfront at a Hilton hotel instead of a posh theater allows him to gain some Hilton Honors rewards points. The downside to having an upfront at the Hilton is it makes it easier for a reporter to crash your upfront’s tech rehearsal.” The result is that a pissed-off NBC has banned THR from covering … Read More »
Remember the good old media days when a Newsweek magazine cover could make or break a movie? Now its 51-year parent company, the Washington Post Co, has hired Allen & Co to find a buyer for the money-losing mag. Newsweek has been unprofitable since 2007. “Despite heroic efforts on the part of Newsweek’s management and staff, we expect it to still lose money in 2010,” Washington Post Chairman Donald Graham said in the statement. “In the current climate, it might be a better fit elsewhere.” As a one-time Newsweek correspondent myself (based in Washington DC and then Los Angeles), this is a sad day indeed. On the other hand, the mag isn’t even hiring journalists anymore: shameful that its website has sunk so low as to recently bring aboard that asshole Gabriel Snyder who couldn’t even keep his job chasing vagina shots at the despicable Gawker gossip site.
First, Todd McCarthy lands and now Derek Elley, Variety’s former senior international critic who’s joining Film Business Asia. Elley, who was with Variety for 20 years, was fired in March along with McCarthy.