EXCLUSIVE: I love meta-producer Scott Rudin because he always makes news. (And gives everyone around him heart palpitations every time I call.) So here’s the latest: HBO and Rudin have ended their exclusive deal. Rudin’s reps tell me the reason is so that Scott can have “more flexibility” during his first foray into television. “You know how full they are. He wants to sell elsewhere.” But another source emails me this, which Rudin’s camp strenuously denies: “HBO is so tired of Scott Rudin’s antics that they terminated his overall deal yesterday.” The end follows such Rudin dissapointments as HBO in May deciding not to go forward with the Noah Baumbach/Rudin pilot The Corrections. Based on Jonathan Franzen’s acclaimed book, it boasted one of most star-studded casts ever assembled on television: Chris Cooper, Dianne Wiest, Ewan McGregor, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Rhys Ifans and Greta Gerwig. Attempting to bring Franzen’s book to the screen — something that had been tried unsuccessfully on the feature side for a decade — was considered a big swing. Word is HBO brass liked the performances but the decision came down to adapting the book’s challenging narrative. Needless to say, Rudin was not pleased.
At this point it’s unclear how the severed deal will affect all of Rudin’s HBO projects, so many I can’t even keep them all straight. Of course there’s Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom now going into its second season, Ben Stiller’s comedy pilot All Talk which he’s directing and producing and acting in, writer-comedian Harris Wittels’s comedy, first-time filmmaking duo Lisanne Pajot’s and James Swirsky’s Sundance documentary Indie Game which Rudin was developing as a fictional half-hour comedy series. And probably scores more.