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UPDATE: TV News Swarms Over Verdict As Conrad Murray Convicted In Death Of Michael Jackson

By | Monday November 7, 2011 @ 1:17pm PST

UPDATE 1:17 PM: The TV news community swarmed over the guilty verdict against Dr. Conrad Murray, convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson in June 2009. CBS/2, NBC/4, KTLA/5, ABC/7, KCAL/9, Fox/11, CNN, HLN, MSNBC, Fox News and truTV all covered the verdict live from the Los Angeles Criminal Court in Downtown L.A. Murray had no visible reaction to the news, while cameras showed celebration among the sign-wielding crowd gathered outside the court. In the wake of the verdict, those hoping for conviction were interviewed all over the local news dial, while on cable news pundits and legal experts held court with opinion and reaction. The exceptions were Fox News, which quickly went back to its scheduled news rotation, and KCOP/13 locally, which opted to stick with its Bewitched rerun. Murray was handcuffed in court; his sentencing date is November 29.

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Forecast: Box Office Sales Will Slow While Home Video Keeps Dropping Through 2015

By | Wednesday September 28, 2011 @ 10:03am PDT

Mixed news for Hollywood today in investment firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson’s widely followed annual prognostications for industry spending. Total domestic revenues for the businesses that VSS lumps under entertainment will grow an average of 2.9% a year to reach $97.2B in 2015, according to the newly released VSS Communications Industry Forecast 2011-15. That’s up from the 1% annual average increase from 2005 to 2010. But box office sales will slow: Ticket buyers will spend $11.3B in 2015 as sales improve 1.3% a year vs the five years ending in 2010, when the industry saw annual growth of 3.8%. Meanwhile home video will continue to decline to $17.7B — the 2.7% annual drop at least will be slower than the 4.6% yearly decline from 2005 to 2010. The biggest lift within the category comes from spending on TV programming. It will rise 5.4% a year to $42.1B in 2015. Recorded music will keep sinking to $6.1B in 2015, an average of -2.2% a year vs. -11.1% over the last five years. But VSS says that digital sales will finally lead to an uptick in 2014. Read More »

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Growth, Acquisitions Fuel Media Optimism

By | Tuesday January 25, 2011 @ 10:53am PST

In the formally-titled Media Growth Survey conducted by firms Jordan, Edmiston Group and Econsultancy, 82% of industry executives said organic growth would be their respective company’s major growth driver within the next two years. Other growth drivers included: launching new products or services (76%); expansion of market share (70%); expansion into new territories (41%); entering new vertical markets (36%); and making an acquisition (35%). Among companies with more than $250 million in annual revenue, 81% percent of those executives expected to make an acquisition in the next 12 to 24 months. The first annual survey was conducted online in the fourth quarter of 2010.

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Possibly The Most Idiotic TMZ Headline Ever

By | Wednesday October 6, 2010 @ 2:50pm PDT

“Studio Payout Won’t Stop ‘Transformers 3′ Lawsuit”
As if anything could…

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Wash Out Their Mouths With Soap!

By | Thursday June 17, 2010 @ 10:22am PDT
Mike Fleming

twilight-new-moonDeadline recently delved into the potential career calamity of quotes from Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox. Now, it seems restraint has gone out the window. Each day brings a dopey new pull-quote that makes you wonder: what the hell are these people thinking? While Kristen Stewart’s reps negotiated a two-picture salary for the Twilight finale that I hear will pay her in the neighborhood north of $12.5 million each, she gave a now infamous interview and likened paparazzi intrusion to rape. Co-star Rob Pattinson was just quoted doubting he won’t live past 30–he got a similar payday, giving him more incentive toward living to ripe old age than most people have. The websites this week are fixated on Cameron Diaz’s Playboy interview timed with Knight and Day. All the attention is on her unladylike graphic description of her sexual appetite and craving caveman-quality bedroom encounters. I’ve done plenty of celebrity magazine interviews and when actors rant, you’re grateful. Maybe there’s an increased desperation to get attention for films, but these stars seem to forget their words haunt them long after the movie is forgotten. Stewart apologized, and I sympathize with her struggle with intrusive fame few actors her age experience. But, c’mon already.Knight_and_Day(movie_wallpaper_pictures_photo_pics_poster)(260110092135)knight-and-day_innocenti_bugie_tom_cruise_cameron_diaz_1

Fox, whose past quotes factored into her being replaced in Transformers 3, has been relatively quiet in the run-up to the release of Jonah Hex. But her past outrageous comments … Read More »

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North America Will Be Slowest Growing Entertainment Market Over Next 5 Years

By | Tuesday June 8, 2010 @ 5:08am PDT

movie-moneySo says the latest PricewaterhouseCoopers Global Entertainment and Media Outlook report, due to be published next week. Total entertainment and media spending fell by 6.8% to $461 billion in North America in 2009, the second year of downturn. The US and Canada should claw back some of that lost ground this year with 1.2% growth. Europe, Middle East and Africa outstripped North America last year, spending $476 billion on entertainment and media. And Europe is set to continue pulling ahead of North America. PwC expects 4.6% compound annual growth from Europe between now and 2014, compared to 3.9% in Canada and the US.

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Janice Min Takes Hollywood Reporter Reins

By | Wednesday May 26, 2010 @ 10:33am PDT
Mike Fleming

JaniceMin-784125In 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.”

THR’s “Mad Dog” Bitchslaps Both Trades

Hollywood Reporter Hires New Publisher

Hollywood Reporter Publisher Eric Mika Officially Out: THR Turned Down By LA Times’ Lynne Segall; What’s Next?

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UPDATE: Ron Burkle & Harvey Weinstein Insist Still “Working Towards” Miramax Deal — Despite Disney Telling Media It’s Dead

By | Friday May 21, 2010 @ 5:48pm PDT
Mike Fleming

UPDATE 5:45 PM: Ron Burkle and Harvey Weinstein just issued this joint statement in response to Disney insiders telling the media (including Deadline) that the Miramax deal with them is “dead”:

“The Weinstein Brothers, The Weinstein Company and Ron Burkle are all working towards a deal to purchase and operate Miramax. The parties continue to work diligently towards an agreement.”

3:15 PM: Harvey-needs-a-shaveA report in the Los Angeles Times just pronounced the deal dead for Ron Burkle to buy Miramax from Disney and have Harvey and Bob Weinstein run it. The paper cites multiple sources who said the deal fell apart in the final stages over money. However, it is premature to throw dirt on the coffin.  A Weinstein insider just told me the deal is not dead. And I have other sources who described talks are tense right now, but not over. They say this has been a study in leverage, with Disney wanting to squeeze every last dollar out of Burkle for the library. The studio believed it had the upper hand because Harvey badly wanted to announce its completion during the Cannes Film Festival, specifically during Weinstein’s beachfront bash last Saturday. The sources tell me that Disney has now seized on the strategy of holding the Miramax name hostage, which was a sentimental draw for the Weinstein bros in the first place.

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Two Different Reads On CBS Fall Lineup…

By | Thursday May 20, 2010 @ 6:49am PDT
Mike Fleming

This morning I read in The New York Times that ”CBS shook up the upfront week on Wednesday with the most startling moves of any network for the coming season.” But then I read the Wall Street Journal, whose parent company News Corp also owns CBS’ rival Fox, and its headline ”Playing It Safe” for a story that said “CBS is doubling down on what has worked for the network in recent years — and four decades ago, too.” I’m loving this newspaper rivalry.

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Docu On Jimmy Breslin & NYC Newspapers

By | Tuesday May 18, 2010 @ 2:00pm PDT
Mike Fleming

breslinUPDATE: 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.”

*May 31 - 00:05*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 »

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TV Upfront Presentations & Party Schedule

By | Sunday May 16, 2010 @ 2:27pm PDT

Sunday, May 16
8 PM-11 PM: 20th Century FOX Television & Entertainment Weekly
Cooper Square Hotel, 25 Cooper Square

9 PM: UTA Upfronts Party
Stone Rose Lounge @Time Warner Center, 10 Columbus Circle

Monday, May 17
11 AM: NBC presentation, New York Hilton Hotel, 1335 Avenue of the Americas
Lunch to follow; 9 PM Jeff Gaspin-hosted private party

4 PM: Fox presentation, The New Beacon Theatre, 2124 Broadway
5:30 PM: FBS Post-show party: Wollman Rink @Central Park, 59th St & 6th Ave

Tuesday, May 18
4 PM: ABC presentation, Avery Fisher Hall @Lincoln Center, 132 West 65th Street
No party

7;45 PM: WME private dinner for clients at Peter Luger Steakhouse

8 PM: Gersh cocktail reception, Juliette Supperclub

8 PM-11 PM: Instyle Magazine & ICM, 34 Greene Street @Soho

Wednesday, May 19
10 AM: TBS/TNT Presentation, Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 West 34th Street
12 PM-2:15 PM: TBS/TNT Press Lunch, Del Posto, 85 Tenth Avenue

4 PM: CBS Presentation, Carnegie Hall, 881 Seventh Ave @56th & 57th)
Reception immediately following at the Tent @Lincoln Center

9 PM: Adult Swim Upfront party, Gotham Hall, 1356 Broadway @36th St

Thursday, May 20
11 AM: CW presentation, Theater @Madison Square Garden, 31st St & 8th Ave
7 PM: CW Party, Abe & Arthurs, 409 West 14th Street

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CANNES: UK Critics Review ‘Wall Street 2′

By | Saturday May 15, 2010 @ 4:10am PDT

Wall Street Money Never SleepsUK reviews on Oliver Stone’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps have come in after its Cannes debut. “Utterly gripping. It’s been 23 years but it was worth the wait,” says London tabloid the Daily Mirror. ”A return to form for all involved.” Baz Bamigoye in the rival Daily Mail says the movie is packed full of great lines. But it’s this punchy insider dialogue that’s a problem for the Daily Telegraph: “Without a close daily study of the financial pages, it’s hard to keep up.” The Independent calls the movie riveting, bombastic and downright maudlin by turns, while the Guardian says, “Money looks as if it’s dozing a little here: my advice is ‘sell’.”

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Jeff Zucker Launches Charm Offensive…

By | Tuesday May 11, 2010 @ 11:17am PDT

zucker punchedWithin the next hour, Jeff Zucker will be sitting down with Los Angeles-based showbiz journalists for one of his annual off-the-record sessions. But the NBCU chief plans on demonstrating he’s a new and supposedly improved Zucker. A nicer Zucker. And not the thin-skinned humorless bully of a boss which the journalism and showbiz communities have come to know and dislike and ridicule. Indeed, Jeff has been making a point of showing off his new persona to Hollywood within the past month. “He’s being so nice to everyone, so friendly, a more lovable guy,” one top TV agent describing Zucker at Ron Meyer’s Easter party tells me. “It’s because he knows he’s out.”

Yes, that’s the concensus — people think Zucker’s charm offensive is really a defensive maneuver. Privately, Zucker insists that he’ll hang onto his job after Comcast takes over NBCU. (He’s even making bets that he’ll still be NBCU’s media mogul two months after.) One major Industry player explained the transformation to me this way: “Jeff is one of those bullies who loves to beat up anyone he can. But in the past weeks, he’s a sissy. He’s changed out of fear. He’s saying yes to everything, and no to nothing. It feels strange the way he needs to become so helpful. Everything was always such a fucking fight. He’s like an old dog that cowers away from you. He’s a different person.” And it’s all very deliberate. When NBC’s scripted programmer … Read More »

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Profile Of ‘Avatar’ Co-Financier Ingenious: The Fallout After UK’s Tax Man Cometh

By | Tuesday May 11, 2010 @ 2:17am PDT

Patrick McKennaOne of the key questions coming into the Cannes Film Festival is the state of film financiers in the global marketplace. Here’s a profile of one that’s been in the news of late because of Avatar and an ongoing UK tax investigation:

It’s a space-age white reception area, with primary coloured Op Art couches and banks of modish computers. This is the entryway to Ingenious Media, considered the most pukka of all British film financiers. Office space like this, right in the heart of London’s Soho media district, doesn’t come cheap. Then again, Ingenious’ chief executive and owner Patrick McKenna can afford it. According to the Sunday Times, McKenna has a personal fortune of £520 million – up by £200 million over the past year. This soft spoken former accountant’s Ingenious really got going in the late 1990s once the government’s tax break for film investment bedded down. avatar2 narrowThe British film industry, which for years had struggled for cash, found itself awash in green stuff. Ingenious and its film partners alone invested £5 billion over the past 10 years. And just as Ingenious’ reputation was rising, so McKenna’s social stock was soaring, too. This son of a builder and a nurse has dined with the Queen, maintains a vacation home in St Tropez, is chairman of The Young Vic Theatre (there were gasps when he personally donated £1 million during a fundraiser), and was recently shortlisted to be chairman of the influential Arts Council London.

McKenna also has a reputation for being tough. And these are tough times for him and his company. In October 2006, Ingenious set up its own specialist media stockbroking arm which then had the plug pulled on it less than 2 years later. Now Ingenious Media Active Capital, Ingenious’ stock market-listed investment fund, is returning the bulk of its £60 million funds to backers after some bad investments. But that’s not all: Are the wheels wobbly on the film finance side, too?

The British press splashed the disturbing news that Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs has written to Ingenious’ investors demanding hundreds of thousands of pounds back. Read More »

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Oasis Rock Star Planning Beatles Biopic

By | Friday May 7, 2010 @ 7:02am PDT

BeatlesUPDATE: There’s a great scoop in this morning’s London Daily Mail that Liam Gallagher, former front-man of Oasis, has optioned a book about the break-up of The Beatles. The Longest Cocktail Party charts the rise and fall of Apple Records. Its author, Richard DiLello, was a former employee. Gallagher is developing the Beatles movie with Revolution Films, Brit director Michael Winterbottom’s production company and his regular producer Andrew Eaton (The Killer Inside Me). Oasis, to my ears, have always sounded like the Fab Four anyway. There’s no screenplay yet nor director attached. I wonder who’s going to play John, Paul, George and Ringo. And it’s not going to be much of a film unless Revolution can persuade the Michael Jackson estate/Sony to license those Beatles songs. That sounds like a long and winding road.

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Saban Brands Born With $500M Capital

By | Wednesday May 5, 2010 @ 3:43pm PDT

haim-sabanLOS ANGELES, CA. (May 6, 2010) – Saban Capital Group, Inc. announced today the formation of Saban Brands LLC to acquire, manage and license entertainment properties and consumer brands across media and consumer platforms globally. Saban Capital Group will dedicate over $500 million in capital toward the acquisition of a diverse portfolio of intellectual properties and Brands in various categories, ranging from entertainment to fashion, lifestyle, celebrity and consumer brands.

Saban Capital Group has tapped industry veteran Elie Dekel as President of Saban Brands. Saban Brands will be headquartered in Los Angeles.

“The formation of Saban Brands enables us to utilize our extensive experience to create and grow compelling global properties that reach into every aspect of consumers’ lives through strategic and far-reaching licensing partnerships. As media and consumer options become increasingly fragmented and proliferated, our underlying thesis is that properties that resonate with consumers today will only become more meaningful over time,” said Haim Saban, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Saban Capital Group. “We are committing significant investment capital to Saban Brands and have great confidence in Elie and his executive team as they build a leading global intellectual property company.”

Adam Chesnoff, President and Chief Operating Officer of Saban Capital added, “The launch of Saban Brands, with its strategic and operational expertise, becomes an essential component to our aggressive acquisition strategy.”

“Saban Brands represents a new approach to brand management and licensing. Leveraging our unique capabilities, significant resources and transmedia orientation,

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Newsweek Magazine For Sale

By | Wednesday May 5, 2010 @ 9:07am PDT

Remember the good old media days when a Newsweek magazine cover could make or break a movie? Newsweek_LogoLoNow 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.

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Another Fired Variety Film Critic Lands

By | Tuesday May 4, 2010 @ 12:39pm PDT

variety-xed-out.JPGFirst, 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.

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Polanski: “I Can Remain Silent No Longer!”

By | Sunday May 2, 2010 @ 4:41pm PDT

Film director Roman Polanski today broke his silence first the time about his Swiss arrest and pending extradition back to Los Angeles. He released this statement to the news media through his Paris friend and author Bernard-Henri Lévy, director of the French magazine La Règle du Jeu:

polanski2Throughout my seven months since September 26, 2009, the date of my arrest at Zurich Airport, where I had landed with a view to receiving a lifetime award for my work from the representative of the Swiss Minister of Culture, I have refrained from making any public statements and have requested my lawyers to confine their comments to a bare minimum.

I wanted the legal authorities of Switzerland and the United States, as well as my lawyers, to do their work without any polemics on my part. I have decided to break my silence in order to address myself directly to you without any intermediaries and in my own words.

I have had my share of dramas and joys, as we all have, and I am not going to try to ask you to pity my lot in life. I ask only to be treated fairly like anyone else.

It is true: 33 years ago I pleaded guilty, and I served time at the prison for common law crimes at Chino, not in a VIP prison. That period was to have covered the totality of my sentence. By the time I left prison, the judge had changed his mind and

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