Oprah No Match For Orange County Housewives On ‘Watch What Happens Live’

Oprah did well by Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live when she made her first visit to the show Thursday night – but she’s no Orange County housewife. An average of 969,000 viewers watched Oprah visit Andy Cohen’s program as part of her march across the talk-show landscape, plugging… Read More »

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Oprah Winfrey Talks OWN Network, Failure, And Symptoms Of Her Nervous Breakdown

UPDATE FRIDAY 2 AM: Oprah is all about carefully controlling her image at all times. But not this week when she made the media rounds to promote her return to the big screen in Read More »

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President Obama Names Oprah Winfrey, Ben Bradlee Among Medal Of Freedom Honorees

By | Thursday August 8, 2013 @ 12:38pm PDT

Sixteen individuals were named recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom today, including media mogul Oprah Winfrey, veteran Washington Post journalist Ben Bradlee, former President Bill Clinton, and country singer Loretta Lynn. The … Read More »

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OWN’s ‘Welcome To Sweetie Pie’s’ & ‘Oprah: Where Are They Now?’ Return With Highs

By | Tuesday July 30, 2013 @ 1:46pm PDT

Not only is OWN now turning a profit but the Oprah Winfrey Network saw some returning shows hit series highs this weekend. Season 3 of docu-series Welcome To Sweetie Pie’s debuted on July 27 to … Read More »

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Oprah Winfrey Returning To ‘Letterman’ On August 1

By | Thursday July 25, 2013 @ 9:16am PDT

It will be only the second time Oprah Winfrey has visited David Letterman‘s late-night talk show, following the long-in-the-works and much-publicized appearance in December 2005 after years of public bickering (and wooing) by Letterman. Winfrey is making her … Read More »

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TCA: OWN Orders Deion Sanders Reality Soap; Oprah To Chat With ‘The Butler’ Notables, Lohan Chat Date

By | Thursday July 25, 2013 @ 9:00am PDT

Oprah Winfrey Network has ordered a new docu-series about “the crazy and chaotic family life” of former NFL star Deion Sanders. The network also announced this morning the next crop of celebs sitting down with Oprah for her Next Chapter franchise. The reality docu-series about Sanders – described by OWN as “football legend, baseball great, broadcaster, Hall of Famer, international superstar, businessman, educator and father” – is called It’s Prime Time and will premiere in early ’14.

Oprah’s Next Chapter chatters in August include the cast of The Butler – a.k.a. Lee Daniel’s The Butler – will undergo the Next Chapter treatment on August 11. Oprah herself is in the movie about Cecil Gaines, who served as head butler at the White House under eight presidents. She will sit down with fellow cast members Forest Whitaker, who plays Gaines in the film, and with David Oyelowo, as well as director Lee Daniels. The movie is set to open on August 16. One week after her sit-down with The Butler notables, OWN will unveil Oprah’s much-ballyhooed TV tete-a-tete with Lindsay Lohan, who is looking for yet another career re-boot after the Lifetime Liz Taylor flick thing didn’t work out so well. Other upcoming Next Chapters will pair O with  Gloria Estefan and Tina Turner.

Today’s announcement: Read More »

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Oprah Winfrey Lands Lindsay Lohan Interview And Reality Series

BREAKING … OWN just announced that will air an exclusive Oprah Winfrey interview with Lindsay Lohan that will tape and air in August, and that it has also sealed a deal for an eight-part documentary series starring … Read More »

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Oscars: ‘Fruitvale Station’ Kicks Off Strongest Group Of African-American Contenders In Years

Pete Hammond

Last month the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences took great strides in order to bring more diversity to its membership. Now will that effort affect the actual Oscar race itself? Certainly this year distributors, particularly The Weinstein Company and Fox Searchlight, are going to be giving the Academy every opportunity to put some diversity into that race, especially in terms of a major African- American presence. Beginning with this Friday’s platformed Weinstein release of the widely acclaimed Sundance and Cannes award winner, Fruitvale Station there is a highly promising lineup of films that seriously depict the Black experience to be released in the second half of 2013. And I am not talking about Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas.

This group of movies, which also includes the increasingly-controversial The Butler (8/16- Weinstein), 12 Years A Slave (10/18- Searchlight), Mandela: A Long Walk To Freedom (11/29 – Weinstein), Black Nativity (11/27 – Searchlight), Blue Caprice starring Isaiah Washington (IFC – 9/13), the recently -released documentary Twenty Feet From Stardom (Radius-TWC) and (far less likely) even the long-delayed Winnie Mandela  (Image Entertainment) starring Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard now being released in September,  provide a bountiful opportunity to let the Academy show off its new spirit of diversity, not that they have been completely dormant in that area in recent years. Of course 2012′s Beasts Of The Southern Wild made the most recent Best Picture cut and won its 9 year old star Quvenzhane Wallis a Best Actress nomination. And  Quentin Tarantino’s Oscar winning Original Screenplay for another 2012 Best Pic nominee, Django Unchained  had a unique take on slavery. Two years ago the box office success of The Help  propelled it towards a Best Picture nomination and acting nods for Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, the latter winning for Best Supporting Actress.  And just four years ago Precious won a couple of key Oscars for Supporting Actress Monique and screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher as well as Best Picture and Directing (for Lee Daniels) nominations. Read More »

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UPDATE: David Boies Charges Extortion As He Returns Fire In ‘The Butler’ Spat Between Warner Bros And The Weinstein Company

Mike Fleming

5TH EXCLUSIVE UPDATE: Weinstein Company attorney David Boies has responded to the legal letter sent by Warner Bros legal affairs over their dispute regarding use of the title The Butler on the Lee Daniels-directed film. The letter is directed to John W. Spiegel, the Warner Bros-hired lawyer who fired off the last letter July 4. Here is the latest, as Boies makes the move to secure a restraining order as the legal maneuvering continues. He says that Warner Bros is holding hostage the civil rights film to “extort unrelated concessions from TWC.” This is getting nastier and nastier:

Dear Mr. Spiegel:

Although you do not directly respond to my inquiry, I assume that you are the counsel who should be notified in the event it is necessary to seek a TRO.

I will not try to respond to your version of the facts in part because it is so inaccurate and incomplete that such an exercise would be extensive, and in part because your letter appears to be a press release masquerading as a lawyer’s letter. However, I briefly note your lack of response to three critical points.

First, if an anticompetitive “permanent” allocation of titles (and words used in titles) among competitors is a product of a horizontal agreement, that is an antitrust violation, not a defense.

Second, the purported order that TWC not use titles that it has already cleared pursuant to the MPAA’s own rules and procedures demonstrates that it is Warner Bros. and the MPAA that are at odds with established custom, practice, and procedure.

Third, none of this controversy would have occurred if Warner Bros. had not repudiated its representations and agreements not to object to “The Butler” in a transparent attempt to hold a major civil rights film hostage to extort unrelated concessions from TWC.

Sincerely Yours,

David Boies

4th EXCLUSIVE UPDATE: The July 4th holiday didn’t stop the battle between The Weinstein Company and Warner Brothers over the title to The Butler. Attorneys for Warner Brothers yesterday sent a letter to TWC counsel David Boies in response to director Lee Daniels’ personal appeal to WB to back down on its demand for a title change. In the letter, WB attorney John Spiegel stands firm, calling TWC’s “cries of unfairness and its threats to sue Warner ..unproductive and unwarranted”. Sources tell Deadline that Daniels received a personal response from CEO Kevin Tsujihara yesterday. Warner Bros had no comment on the matter. You can read the complete letter below:

July 4, 2013

David Boies, Esq.
Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP
333 Main Street
Armonk, NY 10504

Re:The Weinstein Company/The Butler

Dear Mr. Boies:

We represent Warner Bros. Pictures (WBP) and Warner Bros. Family Entertainment (collectively, “Warner”). I write in response to your July 3, 2013 letter on behalf of The Weinstein Company’s (TWC). TWC’s cries of unfairness and its threats to sue Warner are unproductive and unwarranted responses to a situation that TWC alone has created.

Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘Tiny Times’ Breaks Out In China; eOne Taps Aussie Unit Chief; ‘The March’ Coming To Television

Tiny Times Breaks Out In ChinaHomegrown ‘Tiny Times’ Wows With $30.8M Opening In China
Tiny Times
, a Shanghai-set coming-of-age drama revolving around four girlfriends, had a huge opening weekend in China, putting it on a par with last year’s breakout comedy Lost In Thailand. According to Film Biz Asia, the movie amassed $30.8M in three days. Including previews, it earned $42M in four days. The film is the directorial debut of novelist Guo Jingming and had a 45% market share for the weekend. Meanwhile, Man Of Steel and Jet Li- starrer Badges Of Fury incurred slight drops in their second weekends. Per the report, Man Of Steel had taken in $47.2M by the end of the weekend and Badges had $33.33M. Man Of Steel, however, is holding well, Film Biz Asia says.

eOne Appoints Co-Founder Of Its Aussie Unit To Head Distribution There
Entertainment One has promoted Sandie Don to head of distribution for its Australian operation, Hopscotch. Don will oversee theatrical distribution for Hopscotch/eOne including acquisitions, sales and marketing. She previously was marketing and acquisitions director. Along with partners Troy Lum and Frank Cox, Don formed Hopscotch Films in 2002; it was acquired by eOne in 2011.

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OWN Sets Summer Premiere Dates For Four Primetime Series

By | Wednesday June 19, 2013 @ 12:12pm PDT

Oprah’s Lifeclass, featuring Oprah and life coach Iyanla Vanzant, returns to OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network‘s primetime lineup with a special 90-minute episode at 9 PM Sunday, July 7. In the first episode, Winfrey and Vanzant continue … Read More »

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Lasse Hallstrom To Helm ‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’, With Helen Mirren Circling

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: DreamWorks is setting Lasse Hallstrom to direct The Hundred-Foot Journey, an adaptation of the Richard C. Morais novel about the rivalry between an Indian restaurant that is 100 feet away from a three-Michelin-star restaurant in France. … Read More »

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In A Subtle Shift, Discovery CEO Says OWN Will Be Profitable This Year

Up to now the company promised that its joint venture network with Oprah Winfrey would break even on a cash flow basis in the second half of 2013. But CEO David Zaslav slightly raised the stakes this morning, promising those attending Sanford C. Bernstein’s Strategic Decisions Conference that “we’ll be making money on OWN.” The channel — which stumbled out of the gate in 2011 — is “ahead of where we thought it would be” and “finding enormous success for us.” For example, on Saturday night, when it runs original programming without Winfrey, “we’re the No. 1 network for African American women.” The comment buttressed Zaslav’s broader argument that the pay TV business is in good shape, and Discovery is doing especially well in that environment. Zaslav is unfazed by the seemingly growing number of consumers who say that they’re fed up with rising pay TV rates, and want distributors to offer channels a la carte or on low-priced tiers. “This is a very sturdy system,” he says. “Viewers really enjoy the basic package…I don’t see that being challenged.” Read More »

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Weinstein Company Moves Lee Daniels-Directed ‘The Butler’ To August 16 Slot

By | Friday May 10, 2013 @ 7:58pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Looking to stir up a bit of early Oscar buzz, The Weinstein Company has slotted the Lee Daniels-directed The Butler to an August 16 release date. It had been skedded for October 18. That slot … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: Lee Daniels’ ‘The Butler’

A first look at The Butler and the staff that Lee Daniels assembled including Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey in her first film since 1998′s Beloved, and Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan which raised plenty of eyebrows and rankles last year. The film tells the story of Eugene Allen (Whitaker), who served … Read More »

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Mark Burnett, Roma Downey Talk ‘The Bible’ Controversy With Oprah

By | Saturday April 13, 2013 @ 4:57pm PDT

Oprah Winfrey hosts the Emmy-winning husband and wife team behind the History Channel hit The Bible Sunday night on her primetime show Oprah’s Next Chapter. One topic the pair will address is the controversy-sparking resemblance … Read More »

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Oprah Winfrey And Tyler Perry Dress The Part For OWN Promo: Video

By | Thursday April 4, 2013 @ 5:01pm PDT

For those that ever wondered what would happen if Tyler Perry‘s Madea came upon Oprah Winfrey‘s Color Purple character Sofia while driving down a country road — well, this is your lucky day. OWN unveiled this promo for Perry’s two new series during today’s upfront in NY. … Read More »

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OWN Picks Up Tyler Perry’s Sitcom ‘For Better Or Worse’, Orders Third Season

By | Wednesday February 20, 2013 @ 1:06pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network is quickly becoming the Oprah Winfrey & Tyler Perry Network. OWN has picked up Perry’s sitcom For Better Or Worse, ordering a third season of originals and acquiring the show’s existing … Read More »

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OWN Is “Moving In The Right Direction”, Discovery Chief Says

By | Thursday February 14, 2013 @ 6:45am PST

Ratings at the channel, a joint venture with Oprah Winfrey, are “ahead of where we thought we’d be,” Discovery CEO David Zaslav told analysts this morning. The audience was up in all 12 months of 2012, and was … Read More »

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