March 2009 Archive

We Interrupt Lunch For This 'Bulletin'…

Now urgent emails announcing “an all staff meeting” at William Morris are being sent around Hollywood by a rival tenpercentery. (Then again, I was assured by rival agents that the WMA-Endeavor merger would be announced a month ago.) This is hilarious, and why playing out agency negotiations in public is only fun for competitors. As one tells me, “We're just waiting for the fallout with a… Read

Lionsgate About To Do Big Relativity Deal: So Why Today's Layoffs?

EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate's Jon Feltheimer and Michael Burns were having a celebratory St Patrick's Day dinner at the Chateau Marmont with Relativity Media's Ryan Kavanaugh on March 17th. “The guys are on their second bottle of expensive wine and getting along like a house on fire,” my source who spotted them emailed me. For some time, I'd been tracking Relativity Media shopping a major film financing package described as a “mega first-look deal” to four studios: Universal… Read

Who's Clued In …And Just Clueless

Geez. It took the Los Angeles Times four reporters to say absolutely nothing new today about the William Morris-Endeavor merger story. Not even one fresh development. This, despite the fact that the paper is more than 5 weeks late printing a word about the deal, and more than two weeks behind The New York Times. Patrick Goldstein's brief LAT blog post doesn't count: it was timed to the NYT story, and acknowledged I broke the news back on February 17th, yet still managed… Read

Studios Plan To Replace MPAA's Glickman

Yes, it's true. I'm told there's a lot of dissatisfaction among Hollywood CEOs with MPAA head Dan Glickman. “The unhappiness focuses on the fact he's a bad and boring speaker who has not repped the movie business well in Washington,” my source says. The moguls in particular blame him for not being able to keep those $246M in tax breaks for studios and filmmakers intact within the stimulus package. The thinking is that Glickman, a Democrat like Jack Valenti (although… Read

GREAT NEWS! California Film Commission Getting “Tons Of Calls” For New Tax Break

The California Film Commission tells AP it's receiving tons of calls from independent producers, studios, TV shows and features and “all very excited and very anxious to get started” filming in the state because of $500 million in new tax credits. Even though the first credits aren't applicable until 2011, applications will be accepted July 1. The newly passed so-called Ugly Betty law is aimed at big movie productions with budgets up to $75 million, new TV series willing… Read

Big Media To Become Behemoth Media?

News reports say the FCC may have to revisit newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership restrictions because of the rotten financial condition of print newsosaurs. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has written to the Justice Department suggesting it take a broader view of competition when it considers possible media mergers. Big Media has gone to court to further relax these rules, while consumer groups oppose any more media deregulation because it's putting too much control in… Read

Hibberd: NBC Knifes 'Chopping Block'

I told you that NBC got bitch-slapped by Univision last Wednesday in the 8 PM and 9 PM hours. Now comes the fallout: NBC's unscripted show Chopping Block is being pulled from Wednesday's primetime lineup at 8 PM after only 3 episodes aired. So reports James Hibberd, the excellent TV columnist. His sources say NBC informed affiliates Thursday PM that the reality series will bite the dust. (I tried watching it because I liked the BBC version Last Restaurant Standing, but… Read

WMA-Endeavor Meeting Inconclusive…

They came, they met, they didn't decide to merge yet. I hear William Morris CEO Jim Wiatt was “shaking”. He's angry at how he's being portrayed during these negotiations. (But, c'mon, what kind of leader doesn't officially inform his staff until this morning there are merger talks underway even though they're being played out on my website?) Now even his WMA colleagues are worried he's gonna blow this deal they need. Could a coup d'etat be in the offing? Meanwhile… Read

A Marvel-ous Idea For Screenwriters…

Marvel Studios has started a writers program. The goal is to put more than half a dozen film writers on staff, give them an office, and “work them like horses!” one of my sources says. I've confirmed this smart move. (Makes you realize how backwards Warner Bros is by comparison on their DC Comics film development.) *UPDATE: Marvel comic book writers are not excluded from applying.* One source tells me the terms of the program “are apparently more onerous than the terms of… Read

Paramount Extends J.J. Abrams' Deal

HOLLYWOOD, CA (March 26, 2009) — Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc, today announced an extension of its agreement with J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot Productions to run through 2013. This continues the first-look relationship originally started with Abrams and long-time colleague, producer Bryan Burk, in July 2006. "Today's announcement is meaningful to me in many ways," said Brad Grey, Chairman and CEO, Paramount Pictures Corporation. "Bad Robot was one of the first deals… Read