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April 2007 Archive

Studio Moguls Mark Jack Valenti's Passing

Barry Meyer, Chairman & CEO, Warner Bros., issued this statement about Valenti’s passing: “Today, my heart is truly heavy. I have lost a dear friend and mentor — someone who not only made a mark in history, but also had a profound impact on my life. Jack Valenti was a true leader and gentleman whose wit, fire and passion for our business inspired everyone regardless of politics or opinion, background or belief. Jack's love for his country and the entertainment industry… Read

Hollywood Lobbyist Jack Valenti Is Dead: Movie Studios Rate Him 'G' For Greatness

(Refresh for latest…) Jack Valenti has died after falling into a coma following a series of strokes. The 85-year-old Valenti was the Washington D.C. lobbyist for Hollywood’s movie studios and independent producers from 1966 to 2004 as president of the Motion Picture Association of America, where under his supervision starting in 1968 the movie industry developed the ratings system for films. Because of that, Sony Pictures co-chairmen Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal said… Read

Latest Blow: CAA Loses Video Games Czar

EXCLUSIVE (refresh for latest): I’m told Larry Shapiro, who created and co-headed the Games Division of Creative Artists Agency, has just left, and the Hollywood agency is really, really pissed. “They were profoundly unhappy and made it very uncomfortable for him. You don’t leave the mother ship,” a source explained. Still at CAA is Seamus Blackley, who took the CAA gaming gig in 2003 after the demise of the boutique game funding agency, Capital Entertainment Group, he… Read

I Predict The Next Great Hollywood Pitch

It’s today’s first-person Los Angeles Times story: “I am a transsexual sportswriter. It has taken more than 40 years, a million tears and hundreds of hours of soul-wrenching therapy for me to work up the courage to type those words. I realize many readers and colleagues and friends will be shocked to read them. That’s OK. I understand that I am not the only one in transition as I move from Mike to Christine.” C’mon, is this great dialogue, or what: “When I told my boss… Read

Movie Distributors Ban Israeli Film Critics

Here’s Part II regarding my recent posting, Oy Vey! Israeli Film Critics Having Tsuris. Yael Shuv Of Time Out Tel Aviv writes me: “I’ve read your entry titled “Oy Vey!…” and hope it will have some positive effect. As chief film critic and editor of the film section at Time Out Tel Aviv (affiliate of Time Out London), I wish to add my voice to Yair Raveh’s complaint about the two major Israeli film distributors, Matalon and Forum Film. I, too, am banned from their press… Read

Does NY Times Need New Theater Editor?

Retired New York Times Hollywood correspondent Bernie Weinraub today had his first play, The Accomplices, nominated for a prestigious Drama Desk Award. He was named in the “Outstanding Play” category alongside such theater luminaries as Terrence McNally (Some Men), Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon), Tom Stoppard (The Coast Of Utopia), August Wilson (Radio Golf) and David Harrower (Blackbird). “I’m thrilled. To be in the company of these writers is a little overwhelming,”… Read

Why Won't NBC Let Alec Baldwin Walk?

I find this inexcusable: NBC is on the verge of forcing an actor to perform against his will. It’s not like the pain-in-the-ass Alec Baldwin wants to go off and do movies instead of TV. No, if he is to be taken at his word, Baldwin claims he wants to quit acting and take 3-to-5 years off from showbiz to focus on the problem of divorced parents and their children since he’s in the middle of that child custody battle with actress Kim Basinger. Baldwin told The View in a… Read

EXCLUSIVE: QB Matt Leinart Fires CAA

Creative Artists Agency has just suffered a major blow. I'm told that Matt Leinart, the Hollywood handsome Arizona Cardinal quarterback who was a USC star and 2004 Heisman Trophy winner, has fired CAA. I first heard a rumor there was trouble in their marketing relationship early this month, but at the time I was assured by sources close to Leinart that he was still in the CAA fold. Today, I received confirmation that Leinart has severed future marketing ties with the… Read

No Surprise That Rosie Leaving 'The View'

Who didn’t see this coming? ABC and Rosie couldn’t come to a contractual agreement so she won’t be co-host after mid-June. But she’ll still come on the show from time to time. “They wanted me three years, I wanted one year, and it just didn’t work,” said O’Donnell on today’s show. Her many controversyies pushed up ratings for The View: up 15% in key women demographics during February sweeps over the same time in 2006. That audible sigh of relief is from Bob Iger sick… Read

'Best Of The West' Column Writing

The “Best of the West” journalism competition, recognized as the West’s most prestigious, is designed to reward journalistic excellence and to promote freedom of information. It is administered by the nonprofit First Amendment Funding and draws entries each year from journalists in the 13 states west of the Rockies: Category: General Interest Column Writing Third Place: Nikki Finke, LA Weekly Blood From Stones (11-1-06) Cash and Carrey (9-20-06) War of the Words… Read

Roger Ebert Refuses To Hide From Illness

Thumbs up to America’s foremost film critic. Tomorrow night, recovering cancer patient Roger Ebert will demonstrate he’s the class act of journalism when he attends his 9th annual “Overlooked Film Festival” at the University of Illinois at Urbana. He awaits another surgery to restore his speech. But the Chicago Sun-Times and TV film critic won’t have to say a word to demonstrate his tremendous courage not to hide his illness. “I have received a lot of advice that I should… Read

Oy Vey! Israeli Film Critics Having Tsuris

I’m told that two of Israel’s largest movie distributors are making it difficult for film critics to attend preview screenings because the critiques are considered bad for opening weekend business. So I have to ask: first Israel, and eventually the U.S.? Israeli film critic and blogger Yair Raveh emails me to complain that Sony’s Spider-Man 3 (to be released in Israel on May 3rd, a day before the U.S.), New Line’s Fracture (to be released also on May 3rd) and The… Read