Join Nikki Finke at 5:30 PM PT for her annual Oscar Live-Snarking!
EXCLUSIVE: What is maybe the most anticipated Academy Awards in recent memory is also mutating into what could be one of the longest Oscars in Hollywood history. I can feel a yawnfest coming on already. Sources tells me that last week the show clocked in at 3 hours and 40 minutes. Then it was shortened. But now the telecast doesn’t even commence presenting the Best Picture Oscar until after 3 hours and 23 minutes. And that’s only if everything goes according to schedule – which it never does. The telecast’s opening number lasts a full 15 minutes in what is the prelude to the most music-filled Academy Awards ever. So this could easily become an Oscar ceremony lasting 4-plus hours. (The longest on record is 4 hours, 23 minutes in 2002.) That’s not good news for longtime Academy Awards broadcaster ABC whose research demonstrates that, after 11 PM East Coast Time, the network loses 100,000 people per minute. That could hurt ratings for Sunday’s show which contains more suspense than in recent years. At around $1.7 million to $1.8 million for a 30-second spot, the Disney-owned ABC has sold out its ad inventory at prices higher than the network has charged since 2008 when the economy started to tank.
EXCLUSIVE: When he completes Sunday’s Oscar hosting stint, Seth MacFarlane will get down to business about where to place his next film, one that is shaping up to be the hot movie project in town. I’m hearing that Universal Pictures has the inside track to acquire A Million Ways To Die In The West, the live action comedy he’ll begin shooting this spring that is a kindred spirit to Blazing Saddles. Several studios are chasing the project, which so far stars MacFarlane, Amanda Seyfried and Charlize Theron.
MacFarlane is once again teamed in this venture with Media Rights Capital, which finally rode in a big winner when it backed MacFarlane’s last film, Ted, the foul mouthed stuffed bear comedy that has now grossed over $536 million worldwide and is out-grossing Skyfall in Japan. MacFarlane wrote the script with Ted and Family Guy cohorts Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild, and Scott Stuber and Jason Clark are producing. They were producers on Ted with MacFarlane and John Jacobs. You can see he is a loyal guy, and so why wouldn’t he go back to Universal when the result was so good last time around. Read More »
Oscar telecast producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron know their stuff when it comes to putting on a show. With huge musical successes in movies (Chicago, Hairspray, Footloose), TV (The Music Man, Cinderella), and Broadway (Promises Promises, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying), they have the chops to pull off the film industry’s biggest night of the year, though it has sometimes proved a pitfall for other producers. It can be challenging when the Academy mandates that valuable airtime goes to all 24 categories, including sound mixers, makeup and hairstylists, and producers of documentary short subjects, to name a few. But that doesn’t faze this veteran producing pair who say they started assembling the show’s elements from the day they got the job in late August.
“We certainly are going to be celebrating the nominees and winners like a regular Oscar show, but they are fitting into the design of the show that we’ve created, so there’s going to be an enormous amount of entertainment”, Zadan says, pointing to the 50 years of James Bond tribute they have announced, which won’t be a reunion Read More »
The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has released portions of an interview with 85th annual Oscars host Seth MacFarlane on his biggest challenge as host, on his involvement in the show’s production, on keeping things unpredictable, on how Saturday Night Live helped him prepare, on interacting … Read More »
Tommy Dewey has landed a lead role in Dads, Fox‘s six-episode multi-camera comedy series from Ted co-writers Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild and co-writer/director/star Seth MacFarlane. Written by Sulkin and Wild, Dads centers on two successful guys in their 30s, Eli and Warner (Dewey), who have their lives turned upside down when their nightmare dads unexpectedly move in with them. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Brenda Song(The Suite Life On Deck) is the first actor cast in the Fox multi-camera comedy series from Ted co-writers Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild and co-writer/director/star Seth MacFarlane. Written by … Read More »
The trio behind Ted, the biggest comedy hit of last summer, are headed to Fox’s 2013-14 schedule. In an unusual move, I hear Fox has opted to go straight to series on the multi-camera live-action comedy written/executive produced by Ted co-writers Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild and executive produced by Ted co-writer/director/star Seth MacFarlane. The decision was made based on the pilot script, which I hear the network brass loved. This is the second scripted series set for next season, along with NBC’s comedy starring Michael J. Fox, which has 22-epsiode straight-to-series order. Read More »
It is a big year for TV talent as TV writers/performers are hosting the top movie awards shows this year: the Oscars, Seth MacFarlane, and the Golden Globes, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. (Additionally, Kelsey Grammer is hosting the DGA Awards and Nathan Fillion the WGA Awards.) With their NBC show Smash nominated for best comedy/musical series, Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, producers of the upcoming Academy Awards, had a front-row seat at tonight’s Golden Globes ceremony, and Meron, who attended, watched the proceedings up close. MacFarlane didn’t attend but he too watched the Globes, tweeting occasional comments. He later joined the Golden Globes crowd at the HBO party, accompanying his girlfriend, Emilia Clarke, who co-stars on the network’s hit drama Game Of Thrones. MacFarlane was effusive in his praise for Fey and Poehler’s performance as hosts. “Please give Tina and Amy high marks because they did great,” MacFarlane said. Does the duo’s strong showing increase the pressure on him? MacFarlane seemed unfazed. “It doesn’t matter how I do, Oscar hosts always get thrashed,” he deadpanned. Read More »
Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences President Hawk Koch vigorously defended the Academy’scontroversial new system of online voting when we spoke right after the nominations announcement this morning. He said despite the kinks and some complaints from members about difficulty in voting electronically that it actually brought out the biggest voter participation the organization has had. “It’s the first time, yes. But the first time you do anything of course there’s problems. Remember the first time you walked? Of course there’s problems. But the truth is we’ve had more people voting for nominations than we’ve ever had. And we had more people in each branch, every single branch had more people voting. So that portends two things. One, the online voting worked and two, everyone was excited about the films this year. They wanted to make sure and vote. And three, the questions about ’oh has everybody had a chance to see all the films?’ Our members saw all the films,” he said breaking with the long held tradition of keeping Academy voter turnout totals secret and not commenting at all on the subject. There had been speculation the Academy’s sometimes-rocky transition into online voting might actually depress voter participation but Koch said that definitely turned out not to be the case according to their internal figures.
Of course the Academy has been under strong scrutiny for the way it has conducted its first foray into the perilous waters of online voting, something every guild and most voting organizations have been doing for the past few years. Because the Academy (which could be a prized target for hackers) has to be overly concerned about security and the threat of having their system infiltrated they devised a “foolproof” system involving the use of codes and passwords and special phone numbers for member verification which confused some members and angered others. Others I spoke with over the course of voting seemed fine with it, so it was a mixed bag. The Academy tried to accommodate everyone and extended the registration period by two weeks after the first Deadline article appeared on November 28, and later changed its rules to automatically send a paper ballot for those who didn’t register online. As more members expressed frustration about being “locked out” of the system the Academy took another unprecedented step and even extended voting by one day to January 4th instead of the original announced date of January 3rd. Read More »
After hanging out with the casts of Modern Family, Glee and Sons Of Anarchy in their holiday cards the last three years (click on the titles to watch them again), 20th Century Fox TV chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman are getting animated this year for a … Read More »
Seth MacFarlane can add another credit to his resume. He’s set to guest star in the season premiere of The Simpsons that will air on Fox in fall 2013. MacFarlane will voice the character of a married man who pursues Marge … Read More »