History Channel produced a special video which was screened at tonight’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, The 100th Anniversary — The White House Correspondents’ Association, which took a look back at how the press organization formed during Woodrow Wilson’s presidency and ultimately impacted Capitol Hill press coverage. Diane Sawyer narrates and President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton were interviewed, with the latter remarking about the WHCA, “I always tried to put myself in their position and they had a difficult job to do and needed a news story everyday. And if I didn’t give them one, they’d have one anyway and sometimes it would be one I didn’t like.” Take a look:
Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., was set to retire after his fifth term expired next year. But the oldest member of the US Senate — and its last World War II veteran — died today, potentially throwing the race to replace him into high gear if a special election is called. Newark Mayor Cory Booker wants to fill that suddenly vacant seat, and he’s coming to town for a June 10 fundraiser with young Hollywood at the London West Hollywood. Booker’s not the only Eastern Seaboard Democrat with Senate hopes heading west with hat in hand: Rep Ed Markey, D-Mass. – who’s tuned in to Hollywood via his role on the House telecommunications subcommittee — has his eye on the Bay State seat vacated by newly minted Secretary of State John Kerry, and he’s got a fundraiser set for Sunday at Haim and Cheryl Saban’s house. Democratic industry types might develop a blister from reaching for their wallets in the next several days: President Obama will be the star attraction at a fundraiser Friday at Peter Chernin’s place.
Mike Fleming Q&As Harvey Weinstein: On Oscars, Sundance, Obama, And Getting The Web To Pay Up For Borrowed Content
EXCLUSIVE: Last Monday, after a trade report had him skipping Park City for the D.C. inauguration, Harvey Weinstein met me in Sundance for what has become an annual sit down lunch. He and his COO David Glasser looked as tired as I felt—they brokered and I covered an all-night negotiation for Fruitvale, a film that went on to win all the big festival prizes. A fixture at Sundance since turning the festival into a lucrative marketplace with Steven Soderbergh’s crossover success sex, lies & videotape, Weinstein is as busy right now as a one-armed wallpaper hanger.
Beyond his D.C. stature, Weinstein owns the last two Best Picture Oscars with The King’s Speech and The Artist, and he’s got Silver Linings Playbook and Django Unchainedin this year’s wide-open race. He’s making a fortune on a film he didn’t release–The Hobbit–because he made five points of first dollar gross the price for allowing Peter Jackson shop The Lord of the Rings and subsequent Tolkien films elsewhere when Michael Eisner refused to let Weinstein make them at Miramax. The Hobbit is closing in on $1 billion in worldwide gross. If all that isn’t enough, Harvey recently learned that he and his fashion designer wife, Georgina Chapman, are now expecting their second child together (that will make five children for the mogul). In between all that chaos, Weinstein took an hour to discuss politics, Sundance and of course the Oscars. …
President Barack Obama and outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sat down together for an interview that will air Sunday on CBS’ 60 Minutes. It was their first joint interview and the president’s first sit-down with anyone other than First Lady Michelle Obama. The interview follows Clinton’s grilling in Congress earlier this week over the administration’s responsibility for security failures in Libya that resulted in the deaths of four Americans. The clip below from the 60 Minutes interview with Steve Kroft was broadcast during tonight’s CBS Evening News:
UPDATE, 6:38 PM: The Office of the Vice-President tonight released a photo of the two and a half hour meeting Thursday at the White House between representatives from the entertainment industry and the VP on gun violence.
PREVIOUSLY, 9:31 AM: Representatives from the entertainment industry will meet with Vice President Joe Biden today as he continues a series of meetings as part of his gun safety task force formed in the wake of the Newtown, CT school shooting. Motion Picture Association of America Chair/CEO Chris Dodd, Comcast EVP David L. Cohen, Directors Guild of America Executive Director Jay Roth, Independent Film & Television Alliance President/CEO Jean Prewitt, National Association of Broadcasters CEO Gordon Smith, National Association of Theatre Owners President John Fithian, along with representatives from Branded Entertainment and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association are scheduled to meet with Biden at 6 PM ET, according to a White House statement. Biden also is meeting with representatives of gun advocacy groups, including the National Rifle Association, as well as sportsmen and women and wildlife interest groups. Shortly after the Connecticut shooting, President Barack Obama appointed Biden to head a commission to come up with recommendations on gun policy by the end of January.
At least that’s what TiVo says today based on second-by-second viewership data it compiles from its DVR users. GOP candidate Mitt Romney’s jab at Big Bird — which took place at 9:27:44 PM ET — had the biggest audience across all platforms. (PBS Paula Kerger defended the network this morning.) But networks had different high points. For example, Fox News had a big moment at 9:38:22 when Romney, discussing the Obama Administration’s energy investment initiatives, said: “I have a friend who says that you don’t just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers.” The network’s evening news audience has an unusually large number of Republican households, TiVo says. Yet NBC, which attracts more Democrats to its evening newscast, spiked at 9:18:44 PM ET when President Obama said that “For 18 months leading up to the election [Romney's] been running on this tax plan, and now, five weeks before the election, he’s saying that his big bold idea is ‘Never Mind…’” And MSNBC, whose audience is even more heavily weighted toward Democrats, had a top moment at 9:41:16 when the president mentioned his grandmother in a defense of Medicare and Social Security.
The presidential campaign battleground is in full swing on late night TV. GOP candidate Mitt Romney has done the Top Ten list on CBS’ Late Show With David Letterman and more recently visited NBC’s The Tonight Show With Jay Leno in March. Now President Obama is making his first visit on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on location from the campus of the University of North Carolina:
Fallon reads a fan’s Twitter question: …if Mitt Romney was in the room with you right now what would you say to him?
OBAMA: I would say, hey Mitt. How you doing?
FALLON: That’s pretty good. Do you know Mitt.
OBAMA: I have met him, but he, but we’re not friends. He seems like somebody who cares deeply about his family, and his wife is lovely.
This would be just the third veto Barack Obama has made, but the White House says today that he’ll go there if the Senate on Thursday endorses a bill to upend the FCC’s net neutrality rules. The resolution to scrap the regulations — which are due to take effect on November 20 — is similar to one that the House passed in April. The Senate vote could be close: Texas Republican Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s bill has 42 co-sponsors. Supporters include Maine Republican Olympia Snowe, who favors net neutrality but says the issue should be decided by Congress — not the FCC. In today’s “Statement of Administration Policy,” the White House says that “the open Internet enables entrepreneurs to create new services without fear of undue discrimination by network providers.” For example, Comcast wouldn’t be able to favor transmissions over its broadband lines for a service it likes, such as Hulu, over those of a rival such as Netflix. The administration says that disapproval of net neutrality would “threaten the very foundations of innovation in the Internet economy and the democratic spirit that has made the Internet a force for social progress around the world.” If the Senate passes the bill, then the administration statement says “his senior advisers would recommend that he veto the Resolution.”
2ND UPDATE, 12:25 AM: First there was the $35,800-per-person fundraising dinner tonight with Will Smith hosted by his Overbrook Entertainment producing partner and manager James Lassiter. Then President Obama headed over to the home of Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith for a somewhat lower-key event aimed at Latino supporters. He was introduced by Eva Longoria who said Obama “knows he’s the president of all Americans” and that “we thank you for everything you’re doing.” Obama leaves town after Tuesday’s Jay Leno taping.
UPDATE (correcting misidentification), 8:01 p.m.: This evening’s Los Angeles traffic snarl at rush hour was just that much worse because President Barack Obama arrived at LAX on board Air Force One at 4:30 PM. He’s attending two Hollywood political fundraisers for the Democratic Party tonight, first at producer James Lassiter’s mansion and then Melanie Griffith’s and Antonio Banderas’ home. Potus will be making a Tonight Show appearance with Jay Leno tomorrow before jetting out of town. According to the White House pool report, Obama first helicoptered to a landing zone in Brentwood and the motorcade made an “off-the-record” visit to Roscoe’s chicken and waffle house. The president ordered at the counter for himself (and nearby aides) the No. 9 “Country Boy” – 3 wings with choice of waffle, potato salad or French fries ($8.90). He then started chatting with diners. I say who cares if you like Obama’s politics or not: he’s got good taste when it comes to LA’s favorite eats.
Then the motorcade traveled to Hancock Park for the first fundraiser hosted by Lassiter, who is Will Smith’s production partner in Overbrook Entertainment which manages the entire Pinkett-Smith family. Here is the pool report written by the Los Angeles Times‘ Peter Nicholas:
Ad sales are improving for cable but they may not pop as much as many in the industry had hoped, according to information presented at this morning’s opening session of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s annual trade show. ”The jury’s still out on what the economic outlook will be in the second half of the year,” Horizon Media CEO Bill Koenigsberg said. Although cable execs say that unit prices for their upfront sales are running about 11% higher than last year, Koenigsberg says “clients now are cautious. I don’t think the barometer of the upfront is a forecast for the future.” Initiative’s Tim Spengler added that he’s “cautiously optimistic” and has seen “no signs of a pullback yet.” The ad execs said that clients may warm to cable once they have a clearer sense of how many people watch their spots, what screens they they watch them on, and how viewers respond to the commercials. “Measurement is not keeping up with the technology,” Mediavest’s Bill Tucker said. “Getting data across screens is the new frontier, and we’re not there yet.” Koenigsberg says that in about six months the industry should have “a true consistent measurement that we can trade on.”
The advertisers followed a panel about the 2012 election on which President Obama political adviser David Axelrod said that broadcasters, especially local TV stations, will continue to receive the lion’s share of campaign ad dollars.
When President Barack Obama arrived at the Sony Pictures lot in April for a Democratic National Committee fundraiser, most studio employees left early and traffic was tricky. Tonight, it’s the First Lady’s turn. Michelle Obama will attend a fundraiser and discuss the 2012 re-election effort at the home of Michael S. Smith and James Costos. It starts at 6 PM tonight. Among those in attendance will be Linda Lichter, Peggy Lipton, Michael Patrick King, Donna Roth, Suzanne Todd, Jeff Robinov, Bryan Lourd, Roger Birnbaum, Peter and Megan Chernin, Brian Grazer, Kevin Huvane, David and Lona O’Connor, and Ellen and Portia DeGeneres.
Simon & Schuster today is about to market the heck out of O, its anonymously written and self-proclaimed provocative novel about Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. That’s right — the campaign that hasn’t happened yet. Supposedly, it’s penned by someone “who’s been in the room with Obama”. This is kinda different from Primary Colors, the thinly disguised roman a clef about Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign and also written anonymously until journalist Joe Klein came forward to claim responsibility. That novel sold a ton of copies for rival publishing house Random House, and S&S is obviously trying to capitalize on that success. Will Hollywood bite? “We haven’t discussed it with anyone yet, but it’s early, and no one’s read a thing about it until today,” S&S publisher Jonathan Karp just told Deadline.
Primary Colors was deemed a stiff at the box office when Universal made it into a comedy in 1998 with Mike Nichols directing and Elaine May writing the adapted screenplay. Still, that script was nominated for an Oscar along with Kathy Bates for Supporting Actress. S&S is owned by CBS Inc, so maybe Showtime or even CBS Films might get a crack at it first. Meantime, here’s a (satirical) memo Karp just sent his authors:
On January 25, we’ll be publishing a secret novel simply titled O, about President Obama’s campaign for re-election in 2012. The author of the novel wishes to remain anonymous. You may be asked to comment on whether or not you are the author. If
With the economy still sputtering, his approval ratings slipping and the mid-term elections looming, President Barack Obama certainly has enough on his plate. But he surprisingly found time to appear on the December 8 episode of Discovery Channel’s series Mythbusters. In the episode, Archimedes Solar Ray, Obama challenges hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman to prove the ancient Greek myth that scientist and polymath Archimedes set fire to an invading Roman fleet using only mirrors and the reflected rays of the sun? I wonder if he is planning to use the knowledge against the GOP fleet that is threatening the Democratic majority in the upcoming November elections.
Since Barack Obama has been in office, Hollywood celebs keep getting his ear for their pet causes. CNN is reporting that George Clooney paid a visit to the White House on Tuesday and met with President Obama in the Oval Office and discussed his recent trip to southern Sudan. Clooney said, “I think we’re very impressed with how involved, at the highest level, this administration is. And now our job is to try and continue to keep it in the press and … to keep the light turned on for the next 90 days while we try and broker a peace deal, which is what they’re working on right now.