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New Tuners Big (‘Finding Neverland’) And Small (‘Fun Home’) Please Auds as Broadway B.O. Jumps 7% on Eve Of Tony Noms

Fun HomeCircle in the Square Theatre

Broadway heads into the Tony season hawking something for everyone, as audiences prove amenable to shows on every scale as long as they like what they see. That’s particularly true among the recent crop of musicals, with An American In Paris, Finding Neverland, Something Rotten!  and The King And I big shows all — played to capacity or near capacity houses. All but Something Rotten! circled the $1-million mark (the last hindered by a heavily comped opening week and a… Read

Business

‘American Sniper’ And ‘Fifty Shades’ Drive Increase In Average Q1 Ticket Outlays

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The two R-rated films were important in lifting the average ticket outlay in Q1 to $8.12, up 2% vs the same period in 2014, according to the National Association of Theatre Owners. Average ticket outlays are usually higher in a quarter when you see a lot of grown-ups paying full freight; kids films are popular in discounted matinees. American Sniper and Fifty Shades Of Grey also did well at Imax and other large-screen venues, which charge premium prices. Remember that the… Read

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Byron Mann Joins ‘Hell On Wheels’ On AMC

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Byron Mann (The Man With The Iron Fists, Rise Of The Legend) has joined the cast of AMC's Hell On Wheels as a series regular. Mann will play Chang, a powerful businessman and main Chinese labor contractor vying for power in the building of the Central Pacific Railroad. Chang controls the flow of Chinese workers along with their specialized food and sundries, which has allowed him to build a small empire in Truckee's Chinatown. Hell On Wheels began production on its… Read

Film

Jayne Meadows Allen Dies: Broadway Actress Wooed And Won TV & Film Audiences

Jayne Meadows

Jayne Meadows Allen, a gifted comedian in the Lucille Ball vein who became familiar to TV audiences as a longtime panelist on CBS’ I’ve Got A Secret, died April 26 of natural causes at her home in Encino, CA. She was 95. Her death was announced by her son Bill Allen, CEO of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp, who was with her in her final hours along with his wife Marie and Jayne’s grandchildren Bradley, Robert and Amanda. She had lived in the San Fernando… Read

TV

SAG-AFTRA Puts Two Reality Shows About Comedians On “Do Not Work” List

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Non-union comedy shows are no laughing matter for SAG-AFTRA, which has put two upcoming reality shows – Esquire Network's Comedians Of L.A. and Oxygen's Living With Funny – on its "Do Not Work" list and warned its members that they will be disciplined if they perform on the cable shows. Both programs, which focus on the lives of stand-up comedians, are produced by L. Plummer Media, which bills itself as "an African-American-owned full-service production company based in… Read

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Universal & Will Packer Land David E. Talbert Spec ‘A Meyers Thanksgiving'; Eye Holiday 2016

David E. Talbert

EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has acquired A Meyers Thanksgiving, a spec script that David E. Talbert wrote and will direct, with Will Packer producing. The deal was mid-six figures upfront, but is seven figures for script and directing if the movie gets made. Those signs look promising: It is being fast-tracked to begin production in the fall, timed for holiday 2016 release. The pic is a holiday themed comedy about an estranged family facing their first Thanksgiving… Read

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‘Black-Ish’ Creator Kenya Barris To Script ‘Good Times’ Film

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EXCLUSIVE: Black-Ish creator Kenya Barris is riding high on his freshman sitcom about an upscale African-American family. Now, he has been set by Sony to write Good Times, the feature adaptation of the groundbreaking sitcom about an African-American family on the other side of the spectrum, struggling in the Chicago projects in the turbulent ’60s. Scott Rudin and Eli Bush are producing. Sony set up the project last year. Good Times, which aired on CBS from 1974-79, was… Read

Awards News

Stephen Schwartz, Ur-Hedwig John Cameron Mitchell Will Receive Special Tony Awards

Neil Patrick Harris Signs Copies Of His Book "Choose Your Own Biography"

John Cameron Mitchell added “starred on Broadway” to the long list of credits attached to his trailblazing musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch that already included written by, co-created (with Stephen Trask), starred in the original off-Broadway production, and directed and starred in the film adaptation. In recognition of his Broadway run in the role (which opened last year with Neil Patrick Harris playing the title role of a mostly-transitioned formerly male East… Read

TV

Jenny Slate & Ari Graynor To Topline FX Comedy Pilot From ‘Obvious Child’ Duo

Jenny Slate Ari Graynor

FX Networks has officially ordered a comedy pilot co-created by Gillian Robespierre and Elisabeth Holm (Obvious Child), which will be starring Jenny Slate and Ari Graynor. Robespierre will direct the pilot from the script from her and Holm, with the two executive producing along with Ravi Nandan and John Hodges of A24 Films and Slate for FX Productions. The pilot is described as an honest comedy exploring the adult female friendship of two creative partners — Lou (Slate)… Read

Film

Joel Silver Teams With Financier Daryl Katz, Launches New Company; Hal Sadoff CEO

Joel Silver Hal Sadoff

Joel Silver is teaming with Canadian entrepreneur Daryl Katz to form Silver Pictures Entertainment, a new company that will develop, produce and provide or arrange financing for its own slate of feature films, TV and digital projects. Running the company as CEO will be Hal Sadoff, the former ICM film finance agent-turned-producer who has worked with Silver on such pics as House On Haunted Hill, Gothika and most recently Silver Pictures’ The Nice Guys. Under the deal… Read

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Thom Beers To Step Down As CEO Of FremantleMedia North America, Jennifer Mullin & Craig Cegielski Named Co-CEOs

Craig Cegielski Jennifer Mullins

Thom Beers will be stepping down as CEO of FremantleMedia North America at the end of his contract this summer. Beers, founder of one of the most prolific unscripted production companies, FMNA-owned Original Prods., became FMNA CEO in September 2012, succeeding Cecile Frot-Coutaz, who left to become CEO of FremantleMedia. Beers, who had been dealing with a family matter, remains a shareholder in Original and is expected to continue to be involved in the company as an… Read

TV

Bladesmiths Cut To The Chase In New Competition Series On History

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Production has begun in Brooklyn, NY on Forged In Fire, a new competition series in which bladesmiths from around the world will test their mettle. Hosted by weapons expert Wil Willis, a former Army Ranger and decorated Air Force para-rescue specialist, the series will feature world-class bladesmiths recreating many of history's most iconic edged weapons, from the Japanese katana to the medieval broadsword to ancient throwing blades like the Chakram. It’s set for premiere… Read