Oct 6, 2015
2:18 am

Is Lionsgate About to Merge with Starz? Well, Depends Upon Who You Read and Believe (Variety)

“It’s starting to feel inevitable that Lionsgate and the Starz premium cable channels will merge operations, brought together by the command bond of investor John Malone,” reports our good friend Cynthia Littleton for Variety, where she is managing editor for television.

She adds, “But how quickly the companies will tie the knot is still the subject of much speculation. The Los Angeles Times reported Monday that the two entities were in advanced merger talks. That was downplayed by insiders at both companies and a senior Lionsgate investor, all of whom acknowledge that the concept of merging has been discussed in abstract but disputed that talks to unite the companies are under way at this time.”

Furthermore, as we reported just 21 days ago, the AMC Networks supposedly were in “preliminary discussions” to acquire Starz, according to Bloomberg.

Oct 6, 2015
1:59 am
Oct 6, 2015
1:55 am

Legendary John Woo to Produce Limited Episode TV Series (THR, Variety)

“John Woo is returning to his Hong Kong roots as he teams with Catalyst Global Media to executive produce a new TV drama,‘Cognition,’” reports The Hollywood Reporter.

The story says “The neo-noir crime thriller covers two serial killer investigations set in America’s declining mid-West and the thriving Far East. ‘Cognition’ will center on an American ex-detective who travels to the Far East for a cancer cure, only to recount his memories of a failed ten-year serial killer investigation as part of his treatment.”

According to the Variety account, “The show has been created by Alex Garcia Lopez, director of cult British TV drama series ‘Utopia’ and ‘Misfits.’ He is writing and will direct the series, which begins production next year. Woo will executive produce the series, which comprises eight one-hour episodes, alongside his long-term producing partner Terence Chang and Lori Tilkin.”

A legendary martial arts/action director/producer, Woo is best known in the U.S. for directing “Face/Off” in 1997, and “Mission Impossible II” in 2000.

No network or streaming service was mentioned in the story as having the rights to show the series.

To read more about this item please click on the links, above, which will take you to the stories in The Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

Oct 5, 2015
3:37 pm

Relativity Studios’ President Steps Down (B&C)

With the TV, film, sports and music production firm Relativity Media in bankruptcy and looking for a buyer, Relativity Studios President Tucker Tooley has stepped down, B&C reports. Tooley will leave the company following a 30-day transition period.

“Tooley joined Relativity Studios in 2007 and oversees its film division, which is part of Relativity Media,” the story reports. “He said he will focus on filmmaking and ‘the creative side of the business.’”

Relativity Studios is the company’s largest division, and “has produced, distributed or structured financing for more than 200 films,” B&C notes. Among its properties is the CBS drama “Limitless.”

General manager Ramon Wilson takes over the post on an interim basis.

Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh said: “Tucker has been instrumental in building Relativity Studios and in the growth of our company. I am proud to call him one of my most trusted colleagues and friends. He has overseen and was the creative force behind some of the company’s biggest hit films. This is the beginning of a new chapter, and we expect to have a long-term relationship moving forward.”


Oct 5, 2015
3:21 pm

Princess Leia’s Slave Bikini Sells at Auction, Fetches a Hefty Price for Not Much Fabric (E! Online, Starpulse)

The sexy gold bikini worn by Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in “Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi” sold at acution for $96,000, E! Online reports.

Fisher wore the skimpy costume in a scene in which she had become a slave of Jabba the Hutt — a scene that remains etched in the fantasies of adolescent boys everywhere who saw the movie when it was first released in 1983.

The buyer was not named, but as part of the purchase price the buyer also receives the accompanying slave collar, some chain links and a letter of authenticity signed by “Star Wars” costume designer Richard Miller.

While the gold bikini was probably the most famous “Star Wars” item sold in the auction, which was run by the company Profiles in History, it was not the most expensive. That honor went to a miniature model of Princess Leia’s “Blockade Runner” flying ship, also known as an Alderaan cruiser. Starpulse notes that the model, the first flying vessel to appear in a “Star Wars” movie, went for $450,000 — a record for a set piece from the “Star Wars” films.

To put the “slave Leia” costume in perspective, here’s a parody PSA about the costume starring “The Big Bang Theory’s” Kaley Cuoco:

Oct 5, 2015
3:11 pm

Family of Robin Williams Settles Dispute Over His Estate (Reuters)

The family of the late comedian and actor Robin Williams appears to have settled a dispute over his estate that has dragged on for almost a year. Williams committed suicide in August 2014.

Reuters cites court papers indicating that family members have reached a proposed settlement.

“The settlement, filed in San Francisco Superior Court on Oct. 2, dismissed a petition filed by the actor’s widow, Susan Schneider Williams, in December 2014 and brings an end to a nearly year-long dispute over a list of over 1,200 items belonging to the late actor,” Reuters reports.

Details were not disclosed, and the proposal requires court approval. Family members did not respond to requests for comments for the story.

“Susan Williams, who was the late actor’s third wife and not the mother of his three adult children Zelda, Zachary and Cody Williams, had said in the petition that some property was removed without her permission after the actor’s death from the house she had shared with her husband,” the story reports. “In August, attorneys for the three children filed papers in court saying Susan Williams was trying to unjustly increase a reserve fund dedicated to all recurring costs associated with the luxury Tiburon, California, home.”

Oct 5, 2015
2:57 pm

Two CW Series Get Vote of Confidence From the Network (Variety)

The CW has given a vote of confidence to two series. Variety reports that the network increased its script orders for “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and “iZombie.”

CW reportedly ordered five additional scripts for each series.

“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” a new one-hour comedy, has yet to bow, with its premiere slated for Oct. 12. “iZombie” is due to launch its second season tomorrow night, Oct. 6.

“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” is part of a female-oriented Monday night comedy block on the CW, paired with “Jane the Virgin.” The show stars and is created by Rachel Bloom.

“Bloom, who co-wrote the pilot with Brosh McKenna, stars as a woman who leaves her New York law firm in search of happiness and romance with her long-ago ex boyfriend in the Los Angeles suburb of West Covina,” Variety reports. “Like ‘Jane,’ the musical laffer (which was originally prepped for CW’s corporate sibling Showtime) is also an hour-long comedy.”

Described as a zombie rom-com, “iZombie” is inspired by DC Comics and hails from “Veronica Mars” creator Rob Thomas. The report notes that the show averaged a 1.1 rating in adults 18-49 with 2.8 million total viewers in Nielsen Live+7 figures for season one.

crazy ex-girlfriend-CW

Oct 5, 2015
2:39 pm

Hasbro Maps Plans for a Decade’s Worth of ‘Transformers’ Movies (Washington Post)

Hasbro is taking a page from the Marvel and DC superhero playbooks, making sure that plans for its big movie franchise make news years in advance. In fact, The Washington Post reports that Hasbro is upping the ante even further by announcing a decade’s worth of “Transformer” movies all at once.

After Disney/Marvel Studios rolled out plans through 2019 for the “Avengers” movies “Infinity War” and “Inhumans,” and WB/DC Entertainment slotted “Justice League: Part Two” right between those two releases, Hasbro unveiled what the paper calls its own “calendar size matters” campaign.

“At an industry conference Saturday in France, Hasbro honcho Stephen Davis announced that his company and Paramount have now planned out the next decade of ‘Transformers’ films,” The Post reports. the plan includes four more “Transformers” movies.

“Michael Bay will continue to be involved for the near future, be it as director and producer,” The Post notes. “And Davis touted his murderers’ row of a ‘writers’ room,’ including Oscar-winning Akiva Goldsman (‘A Beautiful Mind’) and Jeff Pinkner (‘Amazing Spider-Man 2′), who worked together on ‘Fringe.'”

The report notes that the most recent installment in the “Transformers” franchise, “Age of Extinction,” released in 2014, grossed only$245 million in North America, the smallest domestic box office of any of the “Transformers” films. But the movie delivered a massive $858 million in receipts in the rest of the world.

Transformers-age of extinction-poster

Oct 5, 2015
2:19 pm

Pepsi Releases a Product That Was Predicted in ‘Back to the Future II’ — and for a More Reasonable Price Than Marty McFly Paid for It (THR)

It may not exactly be life imitating art — more likely just a soft drink company recognizing a good marketing opportunity — but Pepsi has decided to put out a limited edition soda that was predicted in 1989 by the movie “Back to the Future Part II.”

“On October 21, 2015, Pepsi will release a new limited edition soda, Pepsi Perfect, paying tribute to the day Marty McFly arrived in the future in ‘Back to the Future II.’ The 16.9 oz. bottle will retail for $20.15 — a bargain compared to the $50 that Michael J. Fox shelled out for the drink in the film,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

As it turns out, the movie’s fans have been calling for this for some time.

Said Lou Arbetter, senior director of marketing for PepsiCo: “Fans have always been a little crazy about it. So we wanted to take advantage of the fact that Marty traveled to the future, to this month, and wanted to actually come out with the product.”

The plan is to put out just 6,500 bottles of the beverage. “Each bottle will be furnished in a special case, and while the bottle will be new, the Pepsi formula will be the same as an already existing version of the soda — Pepsi Made with Real Sugar — because after all, the future is now,” THR notes.

Here’s more … hold on!

Oct 5, 2015
10:44 am

It’s Early in the Fall Season, But Here Are the Four Shows Already Designated as ‘Most Likely to Be Canceled’ (Media Life)

Just two weeks into the fall broadcast season, four shows on prime time already are in trouble, according to a new analysis by Toni Fitzgerald in Media Life magazine. Fitzgerald singles out three new drama series along with one third-year drama as “most likely to be canceled.”

The new shows are NBC’s “The Player,” Fox’s “Minority Report” and ABC’s “Blood & Oil.” Additionally, Fox’s third-year drama “Sleepy Hollow” makes the Media Life list. Fitzgerald indicates that the shows, all of which are struggling in the ratings, will have a hard time surviving to the November sweeps.

The report notes that “Blood & Oil,” which stars Don Johnson and pulled a 1.4 in the key 18-49 demo for its debut, leads into ABC’s potential hit “Quantico,” meaning the network may quickly lose patience if the lead-in appears to be dragging down the 10 p.m. show.

Commenting on “Sleepy Hollow,” which has a better time slot this season, Fitzgerald notes that the program managed only a 1.0 in 18-49 for its season premiere — half of what the premiere pulled in last season. Fox’s “Minority Report,” meanwhile, dipped to a 0.9 average in its second week even with a solid lead-in from “Gotham.”

sleepy hollow-poster

Older Articles