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August 2008 Archive

Pellicano/Christensen Trial Goes To Jury

The conspiracy and wiretapping case against ex-Hollywood P.I. Anthony Pellicano and Terry Christensen, the managing partner of the powerhouse entertainment law firm Christensen, Glaser, Fink, Jacobs, Weil & Shapiro, will be in the hands of the jury after federal prosecutor Dan Saunders ends his closing argument this morning. Patty Glaser, Christensen’s law partner who’s also defending him, spoke for 3 hours yesterday. According to the Los Angeles legal newspaper Daily Jou… Read

SAG Board Slates To Be Web-Interviewed

UPDATE: The interviews are archived here. The two competing slates in the SAG election, Membership First and Unite For Strength, will be interviewed today at 2PM and 4PM via live Internet streaming using a novel technology known as user generated television. It’s U4S leader Ned Vaughn vs MF’s current SAG board members David Jolliffe and Ann-Marie Johnson — but not in a debate format. (I understand MF asked to hold a town hall-type debate early on and U4S… Read

IATSE Member Petition Urges Leadership To Stop 'Corporate Welfare' For HBO

I’m told a group of IATSE members are circulating a petition that lobbies IATSE leadership to end what they say is a sweetheart deal enjoyed by HBO at the expense of below-the-line IATSE employees. “With all the labor management strife in recent months, it is important to call attention to us non-striking IATSE members who are under constant attack from studios that continue to insist on concessions and rollbacks from their least powerful employees,” one of the insiders… Read

Delay Those Flights By At Least A Day…

Labor Day Weekend is usually a big getaway for Hollywood types. But if you’re boarding a commercial plane today — DON’T. An FAA flightplan computer glitch has created a mess at airports nationwide. This is also affecting general aviation.  Read

SAG Warns Agents, Managers, Producers, Casting Directors: Hands Off Our Election!

This statement from the Screen Actors Guild is on the big actors union’s website. UPDATE: I just found out this is not in response to anything in particular. SAG says it posts this every election cycle: TO AGENTS, MANAGERS, CASTING AGENTS, AND PRODUCERS REGARDING RESTRICTIONS ON CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS This statement from the Screen Actors Guild Hollywood and New York Division Elections Committees is to inform you of various obligations imposed on you by federal law in… Read

'Valkyrie' Nazi Extras Sue Tom's UA Studio

There’s more bad news for the movie studio part-owned by Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner with MGM. Last summer, 11 extras dressed in Nazi army uniforms fell out of the back of a World War II-era troop carrier truck as it swung around a corner in central in Berlin during the filming of Tom Cruise’s biopic Valkyrie, sending the actors to the hospital with injuries. Now, the actors are suing Cruise’s United Artists for $11 million, according to the German magazine Der Spiegel… Read

Cinemax Going All HD Starting September

HBO announced today that, beginning September 1, the Cinemax main channel becomes the first and only 24/7 premium channel that’s “True HD”. Unfortunately, it’s 1080i — not 1080p — according to the news release. Maybe the HBO bosses don’t know the difference? This includes Cinemax’s library of movies and documentaries and short-form programming.  Read

MGM Now Claims It's Not On The Block

MGM issued the following statement today after I and BusinessWeek received tips that Goldman Sachs had been retained to shop MGM. (See Goldman Sachs Shopping MGM — Again.) Back when MGM was last on the block in 2004, Goldman Sachs handled that deal, too. Sony and Comcast and Providence Equity Partners and TPG paid roughly $5 billion in debt and equity to acquire then publicly traded MGM from its majority owner Kirk Kerkorian. But one of my financing sources has this to… Read

Primetime Pilot Panic: ABC Picks Up 5

EXCLUSIVE: Because of the writers strike cutting short this past spring’s pilot season, ABC delayed its development so that most of the network’s new primetime scripted series would go midseason. Pilots were shot in July, and today ABC finally started making decisions. None of this has been officially announced:   Better Off Ted — The formerly untitled laugher from Victor Fresco (Andy Richter Controls The Universe) and 20th Century Fox stars Portia de Rossi. Single With Pa… Read

'American Idol' Adds 4th Judge; Other Changes Planned To Stop Ratings Slide

You can’t pay me to watch Fox’s American Idol where the singing sounds like strangled cats. But it’s been no secret that the network and the show’s producers are planning changes to reverse its declining ratings. This morning, Fox officially announced that Grammy-nominated songwriter Kara DioGuardi will join Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul as a judge. But Fox sources tell me there will be “more significant things happening in the small massaging of the format… Read

SAG Election: Eric Bogosian, Independent

Eric Bogosian, an independent candidate for SAG’s New York Division, sent out this statement: Dear New York SAG members, It saddens me to see our union divided while we are trying to negotiate a new contract. I honestly don’t understand it. I see names of good friends listed on the anti-leadership slate and I don’t get it. You voted our leadership in to do a job, let them do it. Contract negotiations are never easy. But if we want a new contract, we have to let the two… Read