A presentation of Deadline feature stories for your Sunday reading enjoyment.
Sky Tweaks Commissioning Structure; Adam MacDonald To Exit Company
Sky has initiated a restructure that will see the removal of standalone Channel Head roles from the Entertainment group. Going forward, the strategic direction of the channels will be set by Sky Entertainment Director of Programs Zai Bennett and the programming team. All commissioning and acquisitions will be handled by Bennett and the individual genre heads. The move is designed to streamline the decision-making process under a flatter and more efficient structure.
It… Full Story
‘Mad Men’ Finale Alert Takes Over AMC Sister Stations During Telecast
As promised, AMC blocked out all sister stations – BBC America, IFC, Sundance Channel and WE tv – during tonight’s series finale of Mad Men. The image above is what showed during the East Coast broadcast of the final episode on BBC America, with variations on the others, while we watched the Mathew Weiner-created series make that great advertising pitch in the sky. Mountain and Pacific time zones can expect the same thing soon.
While an obvious ratings pitch for the… Full Story
Lionsgate Likes Cozying Up To Alibaba, But Won’t Discuss Sale Chatter
Lionsgate execs wouldn’t bite when analysts invited them to address the most important question facing the independent studio: Whether there’s anything to the report that its largest investor, co-chairman Mark Rachesky, is considering selling his 37.4% stake to Alibaba. But they don’t seem to mind having a closer relationship with the Chinese e-retail colossus — its partner there in a new subscription streaming service, Lionsgate Entertainment World, which features the… Full Story
Hollywood’s Phony-Diploma Mills Help Underage Actors Labor In Film Biz Underground
Protecting Kids On Sets: Second In A Series
EXCLUSIVE: Hollywood is awash in fake high-school diplomas that allow underage actors to circumvent California's strict child-labor laws and work as adults. The sham has been going on for years, enabled by a plethora of diploma mills, willing parents, hard-driving agents and managers, complicit casting directors and producers looking to save a buck.
That may finally be changing. One Internet diploma mill that was a go-to venue… Full Story
‘SNL’ Book Excerpt, Updated For Show’s 40th Anniversary As It Rolls Out Vintage Episodes, New Team
NBC began its celebration of Saturday Night Live’s 40th season last night with a primetime rebroadcast of 1975’s Show No. 7 — an episode that stuck a needle in the rump of America, as SNL did weekly back in those days — when Chevy Chase hurled increasingly offensive racial slurs at janitorial job applicant Richard Pryor, calling it a word-association test.
Half an hour later, SNL aired the first episode of the 40th season with guest host Chris Pratt singing a song he… Full Story
As UK Broadcasters Angle For £200M In Retransmission Fees, Showdown Looms for BSkyB, Virgin Media
Last year, the U.S. broadcast networks collected over $3 billion in retransmission fees from cable providers. Their UK counterparts are taking notice. In recent weeks, the chief executives of Britain’s top commercial broadcasters, ITV and Channel 4, called publicly for cable and satellite operators to start paying for the right to carry their programming. ITV even commissioned a study to back its demands. The issue has attracted so much attention that Culture Secretary… Full Story
Oscar Watch: Best Actor Race Most Crowded Ever; Why Academy Should Double Number Of Nominees
We are only just on the cusp of October and you can already put the “NO VACANCY” sign out on the Best Actor Oscar race. Sorry, no room. Don’t even think about jumping in. Every year of late, it seems the Actor race gets richer while the Actress contest actively searches for candidates. Remember how “sure things” Tom Hanks and Robert Redford didn’t even make the cut last year? Perhaps that is just a reflection of what juicy roles the industry is offering on either side of… Full Story
American Studios To American Audiences: Please Take A Seat … In The Way, Way Back
The conventional wisdom in Hollywood long held that the foreign market had an insatiable appetite for American-made genre flicks — actioners, shoot-em-ups, special-effects spectacles, etc. Give the U.S. ticketbuyers what they want and global will fall in line. But with so many domestic releases getting yawns at the local box office, Hollywood has begun feeding the foreign maw first — with consequences we’re only just beginning to understand.
And so the question arises: Do… Full Story
Con Men Lied, Faked IDs To “Teach” Kids Working On Hollywood Film Sets
Protecting Kids On Sets: First In A Series
EXCLUSIVE: Using aliases and fake credentials, two con men have been posing as licensed studio teachers for years, Deadline has learned, giving them access to child actors employed on dozens of low-budget movies and student film projects. In a bizarre coincidence, both men — Kent Linker and Fred Robbins — claimed to be Marty Carlin, an accredited and respected teacher who, at age 83, is retired from on-set work with… Full Story
TIFF 2014: How Chris Rock, New Distribution Blood Fueled Film Deals
As the final acquisition deals roll in on Toronto’s 2014 film festival movies, a couple of overriding themes emerged that bode well for the appetite for indie fare and have sellers smacking their lips for AFM, Sundance, Berlin and beyond. In a fest where Harvey Weinstein left his checkbook home and didn't make a single splashy deal, I have never seen so many new players make statement buys at a festival than happened in Toronto.
The other intriguing development came on… Full Story
Note To Glenn Close, Hugh Jackman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Rupert Grint: Broadway’s Not A Whistle Stop
The most shocking stage news of the week was that Angela Lansbury is getting her Noel Coward act together and taking it on the road. Having filled theaters on Broadway and the West End over the decades, the soon-to-turn-89-year-old will re-create her role as Mme. Arcati in Blithe Spirit, beginning December 9 at the Ahmanson Theatre in LA and ending in March on the other side of the continent at the National Theatre in Washington. She's been playing the eccentric spirit… Full Story
Oscar Watch: First-Class Films From Aniston, Connelly, Costner, Gere Still Seek Distributors As Clock Running Out
The 2014 Oscar clock is running out for powerful, but still unsold, festival showpieces starring Jennifers Aniston and Connelly, as well as Kevin Costner and Richard Gere.
Several unspoken-for films came into this year’s Toronto International Film Festival determined not only to find a distributor, but to set a 2014 release date. In the case of Still Alice, the touching drama of a woman’s descent into early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, that plan worked spectacularly well… Full Story