FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker will become SVP of Governmental Affairs at NBCUniversal after her term ends at the agency in June, Comcast announced today. Baker, a Republican member of the FCC who voted in favor of the recent Comcast-NBCU merger, is the latest big name to join Comcast’s Washington lobbying team; former NCTA boss Kyle McSlarrow was hired as president of Comcast/NBCU in DC in March. “Commissioner Baker is one of the nation’s leading authorities on communications policy, and we’re thrilled she’s agreed to head the government relations operations for NBCUniversal,” McSlarrow said. “Meredith’s executive branch and business experience along with her exceptional relationships in Washington bring Comcast and NBCUniversal the perfect combination of skills.” Baker will report to McSlarrow and will work closely with Rick Cotton, NBCUniversal’s EVP and General Counsel, who continues to set strategic policy direction for NBCU. Reactions to the move already are coming in.
WASHINGTON DC: New MPAA chief Chris Dodd will deliver his first speech about Hollywood issues to a non-industry audience next week. He did tell me, though, that he’s preparing to enlist the government’s help in fighting piracy overseas. [Nikki UPDATES: Fat chance, since Dodd is a longtime Democrat, and the Republicans have already taken over the House of Representatives and are now targeting the Senate, too. The GOP and showbiz are barely on speaking terms. But of all the out-of-work Congressional blowhards which the MPAA could have hired, I don't understand why it chose an ethically challenged one in the person of Chris Dodd, whose efficacy and integrity is now at such a low point that every sitting Congressional member would and should be justified in shunning him.]
That said, the MPAA threw a kind of coming-out party for its new topper Friday night. Saturday Night Live’s Seth Meyers provided the only star power at the cocktail reception in the MPAA’s Washington headquarters, and he didn’t even perform since he’ll do standup in front of 2,600 VIPs Saturday night at the annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. It was Dodd’s pal, SNL creator Lorne Michaels, who persuaded Meyers to mix and mingle with the MPAA before the weekend’s main event. Dodd also didn’t address the group. Instead, the retired U.S, who juggled hors d’oeuvres from Top Chef All Stars runner-up Mike Isabella while listening to a pianist play lounge-bar renditions of The Lady Is A Tramp and Beauty And The Beast. Still, …
UPDATE: What a change from President and First Lady Obama’s first White House state dinner. (Obama Thanks Hollywood With Coveted Invites) This time around, only a few actors and actresses and others from Hollywood made the cut: Whoopi Goldberg, Eva Longoria-Parker, George Lopez, Univision’s Jorge Ramos from Miami, and former DreamWorks political adviser Andy Spahn, now an independent consultant but still advising SKG. (Geffen and Spielberg attended the 1st state dinner…) CAA’s Christy Haubegger, the founder of Latina magazine and a film producer before she became an agent, is invited only to the entertainment portion in honor of the Mexico President with Beyoncé and Rodrigo y Gabriela performing.
President Obama Makes Fun Of Jay Leno – Who Then Gets Few Big Laughs And Some Groans: “Ooh, This Is A Tough Room!”
The First Yuckster at the White House Correspondents Dinner tonight taunted Jay Leno before The Tonight Show host took the podium. “I am glad that the only person whose ratings fell more than mine is here tonight. Great to see you, Jay. I’m also glad that I’m speaking first – because we’ve all seen what happens when somebody takes the time slot after Leno.” Jay was seen laughing, turning red, and then standing up and saying to the people around him, “Goodnight, everybody.”
Leno quickly tried to return the favor during his 4th stand-up appearance at the dinner. But I can’t point to single joke that killed with the crowd. Instead, Leno’s barbs aimed at Obama were mostly dull like this: “When you were elected, I was a little worried the comedy well had dried up. So thank you for picking Joe Biden. I appreciate that.” And Leno’s voice grew soft when he mentioned that “President Obama loves to socialize — health care, car companies”, or that ”he has the most diverse staff at the White House. They represent every ward in Chicago.” As if Jay were embarrassed to get in any real digs at the Prez.
Politico has compiled a roster of tonight’s power and glitter at the White House Correspondents Dinner. So, natch, I’ve included only the celebs (below). Jay Leno will entertain at the annual media-politics-showbiz schmoozefest in Washington DC. At the prestigious gig last year, Wanda Sykes was more political than funny attacking Republicans during the dinner attended by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Clearly, the group wanted a blander and therefore safer comic emcee so C-Span won’t have to use its 7-second delay button. This is Jay’s 4th time hosting: he headlined the 2004, 2000, and 1987 dinners during the administrations of both parties. NBC is taking great pains to showcase Leno. I don’t know why because Jay doesn’t have Wanda’s balls. Still, MSNBC is covering the event live, and Sunday the “Morning Joe” hosts will review the evening. From Politico, guests include:
ABC Table: Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal; Modern Family‘s Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell; George Stephanopoulos and Ali Wentworth, who invited J.J. Abrams and his wife, Katie McGrath.
American Urban Radio Network Table: Wendy Williams
Bloomberg News Table: Rosario Dawson, James Brooks.
CBS Table: Julianna Margulies; Morgan Freeman; Betty White; Chelsea Handler
CNN Table: Ashley Judd; Dennis Quaid; Quinton Aaron; The Tuohy family, whose story is the basis for the film The Blind Side; James Badge Dale and Jon Seda of the HBO miniseries The Pacific; Larry King, who is bringing Seth MacFarlane and Jeff Probst; Joy Behar.
Creative Coalition Table: Jessica Alba and her husband, …
The non-profit, non-partisan social and public advocacy organization of the arts and entertainment community has upped its Executive Director since 1998, Robin Bronk, to CEO. The move comes a few days before its April 29th event at the Library of Congress in Washington DC hosting Capitol Hill members of the House and Senate to support American film preservation.