THR Blasted With $150M Defamation Suit By David Bergstein

By | Friday February 21, 2014 @ 10:02am PST

DJP LEGAL BADGEAfter years of court battles of his own, David Bergstein is now turning the legal spotlight onto The Hollywood Reporter – for $150 million. Earlier this week the film financier filed a defamation suit against the trade and parent company Prometheus Global Media. “Defendants’ reporting included material misstatements which were imgresnot matters of opinion, inference, shading or context, but were simply untrue,” says the February 19 filing in New York state court (read it here). Seeking “not less than” $100 million in damages and $50 million more in other compensation, the detailed complaint alleges that the trade deliberately allowed biased and false reporting against the film financier by one reporter in particular – Alex Ben Block.

Also claiming business interference and conspiracy, the very litigious producer is alleging that Block, who wrote the vast majority of the trade publication’s stories about Bergstein’s bankruptcy and other proceeds, was in the pocket of Aramid Entertainment’s David Molner, a former business associate of the film financier’s and his primary legal adversary. “Plaintiff was advised that Block was paid and compensated by Molner, and Block and defendants were given special access in return for the favorable bias which defendants’ articles set forth. Block and defendants continued to play a key role in furthering Molner’s improper efforts,” the 24-page complaint claims. Read More »

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Guggenheim Digital Media Loses Another Top Exec

Zander LurieEXCLUSIVE: EVP Zander Lurie has confirmed that he plans to leave Guggenheim Digital Media. That will make him the second of CEO Ross Levinsohn’s top lieutenants to bolt over the past three months, and company watchers are wondering how long the … Read More »

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The Hollywood Reporter Trafficks In Crap

By | Thursday October 24, 2013 @ 2:50am PDT

As you know, Deadline is laser-focused on reporting accurately about the business of Hollywood and ignoring its celebrity bullshit. By contrast, The Hollywood Reporter rumor-mongers inaccurately about the business of Hollywood and gorges on celebrity bullshit. My parent company was curious what … Read More »

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Time Warner Says THR/Barry Meyer Claims “Complete Fabrication”

The Hollywood Reporter has really hurt their credibility. I don’t understand how they could write that stuff. It isn’t true,” Time Warner told me. The Hollywood Reporter Jeffrey BewkesThe strong denial was about a July 11th THR article … Read More »

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Variety For Sale! (Because It Can’t Compete With Deadline Hollywood)

I don’t want to start any rumors that Deadline Hollywood is going to buy Variety. But I am curious what the square footage is of Variety President Neil Stiles’ office… That Reed Business Information today announced it is beginning a process to sell Variety doesn’t come as a surprise to me. In fact, for the past year, I’ve been predicting it would go on the block in April 2012 based on my sources’ accurate information. (They told me Reed was merely waiting until the end of Oscar season and that “For Your Consideration’ ad revenue.) This follows the divestment by RBI of its other U.S. business magazines over the past three years. The last time Variety was put up for sale was when parent company Reed Elsevier trie to auction its b-to-b publishing unit RBI as a whole in February 2008 but took it off the block late that year citing the down global markets. But the price tag was unrealistically high. And now Variety is worth far less.

Reed can see that Variety’s best days are behind it: that awards advertising has slumped, that its paywall isn’t the panacea now that its print edition is too thin and its online posting not a priority, and that its showbiz reporting is increasingly inaccurate. (Just today, Variety wrongly claimed that The Hunger Games‘ midnight shows grossed $25M when the real number was $19.75M.) Why, just the other month, I was having a conversation with Neil Stiles where he admitted to me that a recent survey conducted by Variety showed that Deadline was the most consumed online trade by the entertainment industry: way more than Variety, and way way more than The Hollywood Reporter. (Stiles also confirmed to me he’s working without a contract but denies rumors that he’s on the way out and about to retire to his new home in Florida.) Meanwhile, other media outlets keep reporting that investor Guggenheim Partners wants to sell The Hollywood Reporter Read More »

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UPDATE: Prometheus Selling ‘Back Stage’; The Hollywood Reporter’s Parent Company “Dropping Assets Like Flies Now”

The Hollywood Reporter’s Parent Company Continues To Cost Cut: Prometheus Pulled Plug On Hollywood Creative Directory

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The Hollywood Reporter’s Parent Company Continues To Cost Cut: Prometheus Pulled Plug On Hollywood Creative Directory; Adweek Also In Trouble And In Turmoil

By | Thursday September 29, 2011 @ 4:28pm PDT

Deadline recently wrote that The Hollywood Reporter was laying off and/or firing staff because of financial problems. Internal sources at embattled parent company Prometheus Global Media revealed to Deadline this week that the Hollywood Creative Directory employees, comprised of its publishing director of 17 years Valencia McKinley and her staff of three, were laid off and informed that the outlet had been sold. There’s no question that Prometheus is looking to cut costs, especially with The Hollywood Reporter hemorrhaging red ink because of soaring overhead. Two execs from the previous and new administrations say the Hollywood Creative Directory has its own P&L therefore it’s a separate entity inside Prometheus — even though the HCD website reads “The Hollywood Creative Directory is part of the information services unit of The Hollywood Reporter.” That’s apparently only for co-branding purposes. Interestingly, one insider doesn’t even think the HCD was sold. Another believes that was just a cover story so Prometheus’ money problems wouldn’t be made public. There’s also news that another Prometheus publication, Adweek, is suffering declining ad revenue under its redesign with editor Michael Wolff hired last October. But now the high-profile Wolff is considered a goner. So that’s another Prometheus publication in trouble. Read More »

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BREAKING! Deadline’s Parent Company Sues The Hollywood Reporter’s Parent Company For Copyright Infringement

2ND UPDATE: The Hollywood Reporter has just removed from its website PMC’s unique and original featured module comprised of source code that produced PMC-owned TVLine.com’s distinctive homepage. This egregious theft and other issues form the basis for the copyright infringement lawsuit which Deadline’s parent company PMC filed today against The Hollywood Reporter’s parent company Prometheus Global Media.

PMC had spent numerous months and substantial resources in researching and developing the most optimized, intuitive, and user-friendly way to come up with a creative, unique, and interactive featured module for its TVLine.com. The featured module was created using unique and original source code. On or around August 2011, THR copied and stole PMC’s source code for this featured module, and as a result THR’s homepage featured module is nearly identical to that of TVLine. Even the names and labels of THR’s source code is identical to TVLine’s. PMC was formerly known as Mail.com Media Corporation, commonly referred to under the acronym MMC. For that reason, the initials ‘MMC’ appear in each of the labels. THR’s source code and module still contained the initials ‘MMC’ in its labels. THR’s source code also flagrantly contained PMC’s same inadvertent misspelling of the word ‘Carousel’.

UPDATE 1 PM: Yes, Hollywood is indeed buzzing about today’s lawsuit. And so are mediacentric websites.

PREVIOUS 11 AM: For the record, Penske Media Corporation, the parent company and owner of various leading digital media properties including Deadline.com, this morning sued Prometheus Global Media LLC, which owns and operates The Hollywood Reporter, for copyright infringement. Here is the link to PMC’s complaint and its exhibits. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and requesting a jury trial, is very juicy and makes for great reading. Here is the summary: Read More »

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The Truth Hurts The Hollywood Reporter…

By | Friday September 9, 2011 @ 4:08pm PDT

Today my parent company boss received a letter from lawyers for Prometheus Global Media, the owner of The Hollywood Reporter, claiming “it has come to our client’s attention that your employee, Nikki Finke of Deadline.com, is now engaged in conduct on your behalf that crosses the line from her usual bad behavior to a concerted and unlawful attempt to disrupt THR’s business. In an effort to gain a competitive advantage for Deadline.com, Ms. Finke falsely has told THR advertisers and others in the Hollywood community that THR is experiencing financial problems [sic] will cause it to make massive layoffs, end its print edition and/or go out of business, or be sold by Prometheus.” I’m also accused of harrassing THR staff such as ”emailing one employee with the threat of ‘humiliating’ him…” The lawyers then emailed me.

Here was my response (which my boss wants me to share with you):

To: Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, NYC

You can stick this letter up your asses if you think you can intimidate me as a journalist who has spent months now reporting and preparing an article about The Hollywood Reporter which I plan to publish very soon. If anything I have been very circumspect about informing Hollywood about the truth regarding THR. Because the truth hurts:

– This week THR laid off/fired more staffers in addition to the other staffers laid off/fired this summer alone.

– I have contacted THR staffers only when they claim ‘exclusives’ that aren’t (because Deadline had the true earlier ‘exclusive’) or when THR staffers steal Deadline content (our exclusives with no reference or link). [See cease and desist letter which Deadline sent to THR on February 25th, 2011.] I have been warning other reporters and other media outlets about this as well. Which is why I plan to start “naming names” of reporters who slap their bylines on Deadline’s exclusive information. They deserve humiliation for it.

– In the case of the staffer you refer to, he admitted he was wrong and changed his copy after I contacted him.

– THR’s investors have complained publicly about how much red ink The Hollywood Reporter is hemorrhaging.

– THR’s management have complained publicly about problems with ad sales staff and cash reserves.

– THR staff keep calling me and asking for jobs saying they are worried about The Hollywood Reporter’s future.

– THR keeps coming after Deadline’s staff to hire them “with a blank check” even though we have contracts.

– Prometheus just removed its CEO Richard Beckman.

– Your own publisher Lynne Segall shared with me multiple reports about how much red ink The Hollywood Reporter has been hemorrhaging, how much ad sales it was losing, and other negative information. She also went into the marketplace on a daily basis sharing this info with Hollywood showing Deadline was the superior buy.

– Guggenheim’s Todd Boehly slandered me to Bloomberg/Business Week. You should also be aware that he in the past exhibited extremely inappropriate behavior towards me when he was offering me the THR editorship.

– Prometheus’ Richard Beckman slandered me in the pages of THR and in multiple interviews and emails.

– Prometheus’ Beckman and THR’s Janice Min have slandered me to multiple journalists.

– THR’s Matt Belloni wrote a slanderous email about me which he circulated widely around Hollywood.

– Comparing Deadline To THR in terms of editorial quality or traffic numbers is like comparing The Economist to The National Enquirer. Deadline is an elite business trade about film and TV that does not cover celebrities. Beckman himself banned his staff from using the word “trade” to describe THR which has a gossip editor running it and not a veteran business journalist. For this reason, THR’s multiple house ads slandering Deadline are misleading, false, and intended to harm us in the marketplace. As is the case with all of the above, including this letter you just sent me.

Now get the fuck out of my face.

Read More »

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Summit Scandal At The Hollywood Reporter

EXCLUSIVE: I have learned that editors of The Hollywood Reporter this month deleted embarrassing information about Summit Entertainment principals from a financial story about the studio’s refinancing in order to “horse-trade” it for the cover story interview with Jodie Foster that appears in this … Read More »

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Variety Loses 2 Senior Staffers In One Week

By | Friday December 10, 2010 @ 5:45pm PST

Is this a trend? First, Dana Harris left Variety for IndieWIRE earlier this week. Now Pam McClintock is departing Variety for The Hollywood Reporter. (But will its women’s magazine still be in business in another 6 months since THR‘s … Read More »

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UPDATE: Elizabeth Guider And Andrew Wallenstein Exit The Hollywood Reporter

By and | Monday October 11, 2010 @ 11:01am PDT

UPDATE: It’s finally official: The Hollywood Reporter announced today that Elizabeth Guider is stepping down as Editor after three years at the helm of the newsroom. Guider had been told she was out almost as soon as THR parent e5 … Read More »

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TOLDJA! Disney Acquires Joseph Kosinski’s Graphic Novel ‘Oblivion’

Mike Fleming

Will ‘Oblivion’ Go To Disney For Kosinski?
“Tron: Legacy’ Director Kosinski Pitching ‘Oblivion’ To Direct

I see that The Hollywood Reporter is trumpeting an “exclusive” on the deal right now, but if you consider all Deadline has written on this sales effort–including that Disney was close to a deal–that’s like racing to the top of what you think is an uncharted hilltop, glimpsing my crumpled Bud Light empties scattered about, and then planting your flag anyway. Nice try!

Disney closed its deal to acquire Oblivion, the Radical Publishing graphic novel that will be turned into a directing vehicle for Tron:Legacy helmer Joseph Kosinski. Deadline reported on Monday that Disney had the inside track and an exclusive negotiating window after four studios bid on the property following last week’s pitch effort. The other studios in the running were Paramount, Fox’s Chernin Entertainment and Universal. Read More »

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Steve McPherson’s Lawyer Marty Singer Faxes Letter To The Hollywood Reporter Demanding “Apology And Retraction”

EXCLUSIVE: Last night, at 9:13 PM, outgoing ABC Entertainment Group President Steve McPherson’s pit bull litigator Marty Singer faxed the following letter to The Hollywood Reporter. It accuses THR of becoming an “outrageous scandal sheet” now that former US magazine editor Janice Min and new publisher Lori Burgess are in charge. “It appears that … Read More »

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Steve McPherson Hires Pit Bull Marty Singer

I hear that Steve McPherson, who resigned as ABC Entertainment Group president this week, has asked pit bull litigator Marty Singer to specifically target The Hollywood Reporter. If you haven’t noticed, the front page of THR is increasingly resembling TMZ as a Hollywood scandal sheet now that former US magazine … Read More »

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TOLDJA! Peter Jackson Casting ‘Hobbit’

The Hollywood Reporter has done it again. So I’m embarrassed for the trade paper and any media outlet that stoops to content theft and won’t properly credit Deadline. peter_jackson_hobbit2Back on June 25th, Mike Fleming posted within his scoop about Peter … Read More »

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TOLDJA! Tutor Confirms David Bergstein Won’t Have Role In New Miramax

Back on July 7th and again on July 8th, I was first to report that the notorious film financier David Bergstein “was being pushed aside” and would have no role in Miramax once it was purchased from Disney by construction magnate Ron Tutor and Santa Monica-based Colony Capital. … Read More »

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Do You Think This Could Be The Reason?

Today, The Hollywood Reporter does an AMPTP-friendly story about how Hollywood’s big-name movie stars aren’t pulling in the money they once did at the box office. What the trade fails to point out in its chart is that all but one of the actors are CAA clients. The one who’s … Read More »

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THR Rearranges Deck Chairs On Titanic

So if you’re one of the 10 readers of The Hollywood Reporter left in this town, then you may have noticed today’s rebrand. Yes, it looks cleaner and sharper. But ultimately it’s what’s inside the trade paper that counts. “It all … Read More »

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