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Time Warner In Frame To Buy UK’s Five

By | Thursday June 17, 2010 @ 8:13am PDT

FiveThe US media group is understood to be one of those mulling a bid for the UK’s smallest terrestrial broadcaster. Endemol, ITV and BSkyB are also kicking the tyres. Would-be buyers have until June 21 to submit bids. Warner Bros declined to comment.

The attraction from Warner Bros’ point of view is that Five would provide a platform for its movies and TV programmes. And, unlike ITV, there wouldn’t be any regulatory problems with Time Warner buying Five. RTL, the European media group which owns Five, already has an output deal with Warner Bros in Germany.

Analysts predict Five could be worth anything between £200-250 million ($300-375 million). This is despite it losing £37 million last year, causing owner RTL to write down its $712 million investment to $137 million.

Dutch Big Brother producer Endemol has instructed media lawyers Wiggin to prepare its Five bid. Like Time Warner, Endemol is looking for a content platform – especially since Channel 4 has cancelled reality show Big Brother and its programmes are not doing so well in the US.

“Anything you can do to get product in front of more eyeballs makes sense,” one senior industry figure tells me.

The sale apparently includes RTL’s UK production/distribution arms Talkback (The X Factor) and Fremantle, which Endemol could then bundle together with its Tiger Aspect (Mr Bean) and docu-maker Darlow Smithson production businesses. Endemol’s famously tough CEO Ynon Kreiz – he used to be an Israeli army soldier – oversaw … Read More »

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Home Shopping Network Signs With WME

By | Friday May 14, 2010 @ 11:29am PDT
Mike Fleming

HSNYou might not know that CAA partner Bryan Lourd sat on the board of Barry Diller’s parent company when it owned the Home Shopping Network. (HSN has since been spun off.) So it’s interesting that CAA’s arch rival WME has signed HSN following a long courtship. HSN will be repped by the team that works on Hasbro for its toy-tie in movie deals and HUB, the joint venture with Discovery that puts a new channel on the air this fall. Why does HSN need a Hollywood agency? The goal is to create multi-media expansion opportunities for the brand.

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CAA EXPANDING SPORTS BIZ: Acquiring Big Agent Henry Thomas’ NBA Practice

By | Saturday July 18, 2009 @ 3:21pm PDT

That’s the word from sports media outlets. Henry Thomas is a big deal: he’s #12 on HoopsHype’s agent rankings. He’ll be added to CAA Sports’ basketball division headed by Leon Rose. Thomas is is reportedly taking all his clients with him, bringing the three biggest stars of the NBA’s 2010 free agent class under one roof: Raptors forward Chris Bosh (Thomas), Heat guard Dwayne Wade (Thomas) and Cavaliers forward LeBron James (Rose). Thomas also reps Devin Harris and Udonis Haslem. The rumor that Thomas was joining CAA was first reported by industry Web site HoopsHype, and then added to by Sports Business Daily. Today, HoopsHype confirmed the purchase. CAA Sports already has three other mature divisions: football headed by Tom Condon and Ben Dogra, baseball led by Casey Close, and hockey topped by Pat Brisson and J.P. Barry.

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More Details Emerging About Futures Of MPTF Acute & Long-Term Care Patients

By | Saturday January 24, 2009 @ 9:30am PST

IATSE’s International Cinematographers Guild Local 600 just sent out this email and accompanying “Setting The Record Straight” fact sheet to members about the Motion Picture & Television Fund and Foundation’s unexpected announcement about the closure of the acute care hospital and long-term care nursing home. There are additional details here. (Though, like most everything IATSE, Poster puts the best spin possible on the bad situation.) I have more MPTF stories in coming days…

From: ICG Local 600
Date: January 23, 2009
Subject: Motion Picture Hospital and Longterm Care Facility Update

January 23, 2008

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

A number of members have asked the Local questions about the recently announced closing of the Motion Picture Television Fund Hospital (the “hospital”) and the Long Term Care (skilled nursing) facility, which is commonly referred to as a “nursing home.”

First, let me explain that the Motion Picture Television Fund (MPTF or “the Fund”) is a completely separate entity governed by a completely separate board than that of the Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plans. The Fund is a charity completely dependent upon donations.

Second, the Hospital and Long Term Care (LTC) facility are not to be confused with the Motion Picture Home. The independent and assisted living residents of the retirement community on The Wasserman Campus are not in jeopardy. In fact, plans are underway to do some renovations to upgrade the Country House, the Ray & Fran Stark Villas, the Frances Goldwyn Lodge and hopefully to expand the facilities in the future. The Saban Center is fully functioning.

Having said this, let

Read More »

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RALLY THURS: MPTF Caregivers Fight To Keep Hospital And Nursing Home Open

By | Wednesday January 21, 2009 @ 4:26am PST


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HUH? Grazergate Now Turns Into Litigate

By | Thursday August 21, 2008 @ 8:45pm PDT

Well, this is bizarre. Fired Los Angeles Times editorial pages editor Andrés Martinez today sued his ex-girlfriend Kelly Mullens of the entertainment PR firm 42West over Grazergate from March 2007. (My thanks to LAObserved‘s Kevin Roderick for alerting me…) mullens3.jpgTonight, Mullens’ lawyer told me that Martinez, who now works for a Washington DC think tank, had been threatening this LA Superior Court lawsuit for some time, all the way back to April when Mullens obtained a temporary restraining order against Martinez earlier this year. (See below for why she felt the need for it…)

Martinez in the lawsuit says he and Mullens dated from September 2005 until they broke up in July 2007 after Grazergate, then reconciled, then broke up again in December 2007. But his complaint focuses on Mullens’ insistence on publicizing mega-producer Brian Grazer’s short-lived stint as the guest editor of the Sunday Currents section. Martinez alleges that he asked Mullens not to get involved, and she agreed, because of the seeming impropriety of his selecting one of her clients at the same time they were having a romantic relationship. But Martinez is claiming she went back on her promise to him. A bad situation for him turned even worse when Martinez lost his job at the LA Times. Now folks at Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment, which fired 42West because of the embarrassmen to the producer, will probably be deposed. An unhappy insider said this to me about the lawsuit, “Martinez should get a therapist, not a lawyer.”

Even though Martinez has the very prestigious firm Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp on board, I still feel the … Read More »

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What A Waste Of A Tree…

By | Thursday July 3, 2008 @ 12:45pm PDT

UPDATE: I warned you that talent agency tally was going to be a waste of time, and it was. Especially regarding actors, directors, or writers who recently left their talent agencies. Because the old tenpercentery that booked the job, and therefore gets the money, should get the credit. Not the new agency with no financial stake. Duh…

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A Meaningless L.A. Times Film Survey…

UPDATE: I warned you the article was going to be a waste of time, and it was. Especially regarding actors, directors, or writers who recently left their talent agencies. Because the old tenpercentery that booked the job, and therefore gets the money, should get the credit. Not the new agency which doesn’t have a financial stake. Duh…

Hollywood agencies have been wondering why the Los Angeles Times is suddenly surrounding itself in secrecy for a story about their biz. So I’ll tell you what’s going on. The newspaper’s Calendar writer John Horn is all hush-hush because he’s surveying the 25 major summer releases and toting up which tenpercenteries represent the most top actors, directors and writers. Exactly what this is supposed to reveal new about the agencies I can’t fathom, especially since everyone already knows that CAA has far and away the dominant market share of ”A” and “B” list talent, with probably Endeavor and UTA doing well considering their boutique status, and giants William Morris and ICM somewhere lower on the list. But it’s also just one season. What a meaningless waste of a tree set to publish Thursday. But why all the secrecy? Because the agencies make reporters’ lives miserable whenever we try to do these kinds of metrics. For instance, after the TV upfronts in May, I tried to do a schematic showing which agency had the most pilot pickups. Oh, the tenpercentery shrieking! Worse, no agency could agree on across-the-board figures, either. (But Endeavor was #1.)

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Los Angeles Press Club Awards…

By | Monday June 23, 2008 @ 9:23am PDT


Last year the Los Angeles Times‘ Patrick Goldstein graciously handed off the Los Angeles Press Club’s Entertainment Journalist Of The Year title for print, broadcast or online to me, and now I fittingly hand it off to the L.A. Times‘ John Horn after Saturday’s 2008 awards night. My sincerest congratulations. (I received Honorable Mention this year in that category and, to my surprise, an Honorable Mention in Print Entertainment Hard News behind the Los Angeles Times‘ coverage of the writers strike. I did wind up winning First Place for the Online Entertainment News/Feature/Commentary category.) At the 50th Annual Southern California Journalism Awards, here were the first-place wins for entertainment coverage:

ENTERTAINMENT – Print, Broadcast or Online
1st Place: John Horn, Los Angeles Times

PRINT: DAILY/WEEKLY NEWSPAPERS (Over 100,000 Circulation)
1st Place: Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times
Judges’ comments: Rutten’s reviews offered style, wit and insights into both substance and form, drawing readers to books they otherwise might not have considered.
1st Place: Staff, Los Angeles Times, “Hollywood Writers’ Strike”
Judges’ comments: This comprehensive package revealed behind-the-scenes mechanics of the strike, plus its effects on everyone from television-show workers to dog walkers. Well-sourced and tightly written.
1st Place: Judith Lewis, LA Weekly, “The Way He Lives Now”
Judges’ comments: Well written and interesting to the end, this story presented a perfectly hewn subject matter and angle.

PRINT: DAILY/WEEKLY NEWSPAPERS (Under 100,000 Circulation)
1st Place: Luke Y. Thompson, OC Weekly, “Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em”
Judges’ comments: An easy, fun read. Thompson brings a knowledge of the genre … Read More »

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Reason #257 Why L.A. Times Sucks…

By | Saturday June 14, 2008 @ 6:15pm PDT

Chalk up yet another instance of the Los Angeles Times losing its journalistic integrity and credibility. The latest example comes today when the newspaper changed a Letter To The Editor in order to edit out direct criticism of Calendar staff writer Rachel Abramowitz. Long considered yet another weak link in the LAT‘s already lightweight movie coverage, Abramowitz on June 4th inserted an inappropriately flippant remark about ex-Hollywood P.I. Anthony Pellicano in an article on an unrelated subject. And it pissed off four targets of the now convicted criminal — Anita Busch, Bernie Weinraub, Jude Green and Pamela Miller — and they decided to complain.

The original letter they sent to the newspaper ended with: Yet, Ms. Abramowitz lightly tosses off  “Where is Anthony Pellicano when you need him?” Maybe Ms. Abramowitz would change her tune if she was on the receiving end of a late night death threat phone call. By publishing this, the L.A. Times has sent a message to its readers that what Pellicano did was not only okay, but preferable to fighting legally through the court system.

But what the newspaper printed for the finish was: By publishing the line “Where is Anthony Pelicano when you need him?” the L.A. Times has sent a message that what Pellicano did was not only OK but preferable to fighting through the court system.

The point is that the editors could have decided not to run the letter at all. So, tragically, here’s yet another section of the Los Angeles TimesRead More »

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Ex-ABC Susan Lyne Exits Martha Stewart

By | Wednesday June 11, 2008 @ 11:05am PDT

News reports say Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia announced today that Susan Lyne has resigned as CEO of the media and licensing company, whose stock has slumped in recent years. Lyne is best known for developing ABC Entertainment’s current big hits like Desperate Housewives, Lost and Grey’s Anatomy despite the objections of Bob Iger (who ultimately axed her and Lloyd Braun). She had been Martha Stewart’s CEO since 2004.

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New AP National Showbiz Photo Editor

By | Monday March 24, 2008 @ 11:10am PDT

Guinevere Smith has been appointed National Entertainment Photo Editor for The Associated Press. Smith had been with Getty Images since 1999, most recently as North American manager for field editing. Based in Los Angeles, Smith will direct, develop and enhance AP’s entertainment photo coverage in the United States. She succeeds Dan Becker, who was named AP director of entertainment content in January. (See my previous: AP Planning Massive Celebrity Coverage)

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Getty Images Sold To Private Equity Firm

By | Monday February 25, 2008 @ 5:24pm PST

photographers.jpgBecause of our sick obsession with images of celebrities, it’s one of the fastest growing categories in the visual content business. Getty Images, the world’s leading creator and distributor of visual content and other digital media including so many glitzy Hollywood photos, announced today that it has agreed to be acquired by private equity firm Hellman & Friedman LLC for $2.4 billion. Getty Images stockholders will receive $34 in getty-images-logo.gifcash for each outstanding share of common stock they own, or a premium of 55% over the closing price on January 18. The Board of Directors of Getty Images has approved. Completion of the transaction is subject to shareholder approval. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2008. Interestingly, almost a year ago to the day, Getty Images purchased WireImage, one of the leading creators of entertainment and event imagery, for approximately $200 million in cash.

Getty Images Growing Showbiz Photo Biz

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Winner Is The Writers By A Landslide!

By | Monday December 3, 2007 @ 11:07am PST


Well, this is certainly surprising. Instead of Rupert Murdoch, Google, and even Perez Hilton, the 2007 Media Person of the Year is (drumroll, please): Writers on Strike. announced this morning that the striking scribes received the most votes — 56% — of all the 10 candidates in its week-long online 6th annual poll. (Rupe only received 13%.) Said site editor/founder Patrick Philips, “One suspects that some of the striking writers, with lots of spare time on their hands, may have done some voting for themselves.” Background here.

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To LA Times, Michelin Ratings More Important News Than WGA Strikers

By | Saturday November 10, 2007 @ 4:36pm PST

Where do Los Angeles Times editors live? Why no Page One news article or photo of Friday’s 4,000-person WGA strike rally, the biggest in the guild’s history? 
lat-page-one.jpgAs you’re all aware, over the past few days there’s been a lot of criticism of the LA Times strike coverage. (And The New York Times’, which ignored the protest which is somewhat understandable since it’s based in a different city. And Variety‘s and The Hollywood Reporter‘s, but they’ve never been objective anyway.) After all, massing on Avenue Of the Stars is the equivalent of 4,000 protesters on Madison Avenue. But that may be the problem: it had to occur in NYC for the LA Times to cover it.
Ordinarily, an event like this strike – something that affects all socio-economic levels of what in many ways is still a Company town – drives newspaper sales, and sends circulation skyrocketing. Even people who don’t ordinarily read the paper will go out and buy it for an overview as well as for specific reporting and analysis about how this affects their lives and could cripple the local economy. (By comparison, DHD isn’t aimed at a general audience. DHD is focused on the entertainment industry for the entertainment industry. I report and write as if I’m speaking only to insiders.)

Still, the front page of this morning’s LA Times raises a larger issue: Namely, the continuing myopia on the part of LAT editors about the city their readers live in. The WGA march on Fox was reduced … Read More »

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Updates: LA Times & Hollywood Reporter

By | Wednesday May 16, 2007 @ 10:59am PDT

So who’s taking the Los Angeles Times buyout? has posted the up-to-date list. Interestingly, I’ve heard from sources that it’s “Let’s Make a Deal” time at the paper for reporters and editors: all offers will be considered by management seeking to  eliminate 100-150 jobs at the paper even if the terms don’t exactly match those presented. (The “Employee Voluntary Separation Program” consists of two weeks pay and benefits for every year the employee has worked for the Times. Some sections of the paper were ineligible.) logo_latimes.gifOf interest to Hollywood: controversial Senior Calendar Editor Lennie LaGuire is taking the buyout. Editors of daily, Sunday and Weekend Calendar reported to her. But she also oversaw the embarrassing Envelope awards-season special section coverage this past year, which remains a huge blemish on the Times’ journalistic integrity. Opinions inside the Los Angeles Times are wildly divided about LaGuire. On the one hand, she’s praised for being aggressive about news coverage. On the other hand, her minions felt her approach was scattershot and translated into a new set of operating principles every other week that sent them in a myriad different directions and left them confused about her priorities. Soon after she joined Calendar as Entertainment Editor in 2002, I received many complaints about how clueless she was about the Industry. logo_hollywood-reporter.gifBut LaGuire schooled herself to the point where she now ably feigns knowledge of the … Read More »

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Imitation Is Sincerest Form Of Flattery

By | Monday April 23, 2007 @ 9:58am PDT

So now other media are starting to catch up with my reporting here, here, and here, as well as in my LA Weekly column, about the incredible costs of the 2007 summer movies. Always nice to be first. But it’s wrong for others to single out Spider-Man 3 when every studio’s doing it. Besides, the price-tag of Pirates Of The Caribbean 3 may be even higher. I’ll keep trying to separate fact from fiction for you.

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Geffen-Zell-LA Times: Very Hush-Hush

By | Saturday April 7, 2007 @ 3:44pm PDT

I’m assured there’s nothing new to report on the David Geffen-Sam Zell-Los Angeles Times story. But I predict that, if  ever there are any developments on that front, they will proceed very, very quietly from here on out.

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Zell/Trib Exclusive: Geffen Not Out Of This

By | Monday April 2, 2007 @ 1:48pm PDT

geffen10.jpgThere’s a lot to say about Tribune Co.’s sale to Sam Zell. But, first, I want to report that Hollywood mogul David Geffen is by no means out of this. I touched base today with sources who tell me that Geffen is still going to try for the Los Angeles Times and return it to local control and status as a must-read. I hear that Geffen and Zell are friends. They came to know each other in Malibu, where both billionaires have their de rigeur beach houses. Geffen is heaping praise on Zell in conversations with his insiders: How Sam is a straight-shooter and an honest guy. How Sam wants to win more than any other person Geffen has met in his life. How Sam isn’t going to interfere in the newspapers. But, most importantly, I’m told that Geffen has been talking to Zell about running the Los Angeles Times as some kind of joint venture with him. The problem with an outright purchase of the paper is the same thing that stopped Geffen and Tribune Co. before: the awful tax consequences. And now that Tribune will become a Sub Chapter S Corporation, even more problems exist to hinder an outright sale of the LA Times. (Then again, stranger things have happened.) But a joint venture would circumvent all that, I’m told. logo_latimes.gifGeffen could buy 50% of … Read More »

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