ANKLER ON THE AIR! OSCAR SEASON TAKES OFF!

The Ankler Podcast is back!  Awards Season madness is kicking up dust. This week, Ankler on the Air wades through the smoke with two fearless industry observers: New York Magazine film critic Emily Yoshida and the Ankler’s own Editor-at-Large Jim Gibson. We talk about the madness of the Oscar race, how these decisions go down and what surprises lie ahead on the Oscar trail. Then we look at AT&T’s sudden, shocking decision to pull the plug on Filmstruck, the classic film streaming service beloved of cineophiles. And finally we look at horror producer Jason Blum’s statement and apology about the lack of female horror directors. All brought to you this week by our good friends at calm.com. Click to listen today!

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THE EIGHT CIRCLES OF AWARDS SEASON HELL

So your picture’s getting a little buzz and you’re ready to dive in and test the waters on the circuit. Well, fasten your seat belt, you’ve got a wild ride ahead. With a mere four months to go, you’re going to see sides of this industry you never dreamed possible: Awards consultants! Blogger pundits! Hollywood Award Advisory committee members are all going to demand you remember their names. You’ll go to 4th tier Guild Award dinners so endless, you’ll wonder if eternity takes the shape of a banquet hall. It’s all on the magical ride they call the awards season. So get ready and here’s your guide to the circles of hell that await your presence; please do try to be on time. 1. OSCARS Mayor: Dawn Hudson Claim to Significance: Still watched by..lots of people around the world. Major Hazard: Dodging Peggy Siegal and Roger Friedman in the Eastman

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Netflix’s Bonds Have More Fun

So exactly how deep in the hole does a company have to go before it stops looking like the next Amazon and starts looking like the next MoviePass? But, you say, Amazon stayed in the hole for almost two decades before it became consistently profitable. True enough, but unfortunately not every company that takes on massive debt turns out to be Amazon. (Also: Netflix is also more than 20 years old!) Who wouldn’t become an entertainment goliath if we could take out a $2 billion bond on top of $10 billion in debt to fund a bunch of new shows? Give me one billion with no expectations of results and I promise you I’ll get myself on the cover of the NYT Magazine as the greatest innovator and disruptive genius Hollywood has ever known. Netflix may yet turn out to be the Amazon of entertainment, not just standing astride the

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Oi Gevalt AMPAS

Now, it’s great news that AMPAS is walking away from an ill-conceived idea which would’ve undermined their entire existence, so let’s not look a gift horse and all. But on the other hand . . . Oy gevalt! If say, you saw the Midwest regional division of some insurance conglomerate having a very public nervous breakdown about the speakers and presentations lineup for its quarterly sales meeting, you’d shrug your shoulders and say, well, Midwestern regional divisions of insurance conglomerates aren’t in show biz. They’re not used to this kind of attention, so let’s cut them some slack. But the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is in show business. By all rights, it should have a very good idea how attractive it is to stage a multi-year nervous breakdown on a public stage. Yet this keeps happening! Thankfully, the NYT story explains how it’s all the fault of these darn governors and

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THE NETFLIX JUBILEE

It feels a little like we’re turning a corner in the Age of Netflix Hooplah, that the industry and the media are inching slowly forward from “THEY WON ENTERTAINMENT!!!” to “So . . . what comes next here?” I wouldn’t say dots are being connected yet, but they are becoming visible, and more and more of them are everywhere. In today’s special edition, we’ll lay them out. Maybe–probably–it’s too soon to say what they will all definitively add up to, but there’s enough cause for . . . head scratching to suggest the prevailing hoopla is overdue for an update. To recap, or for those who have joined us recently: 1. Unquestionably, Netflix won Round 1 of the War for Entertainment. 2. In doing so, it created a service beloved by many, with lots of wonderful shows. 3. Netflix did this, however, in the great tradition of 21st Century Tech Startups: with

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Feel the Burnett

Is there any point at which Hollywood feels the need to suspend business as usual for a bit? For all the hourly grandstanding about the occupant of the Oval Office from people in this town, a geniune–if fairly idiosyncratic–industry poohbah might be sitting on tapes that have the potential to genuinely move the story, but why should Hollywood let even that stir up the status quo? The Apprentice outtakes have been the topic of considerable interest since 2016, when another tape of Trump speaking candidly came as close as anything to derailing his campaign. But in the two years since, Mark Burnett has steadfastly refused even to discuss the possibility of what may or may not exist on those years of tapes. Reporters have amazingly agreed to a “No Trump questions” ground rule for interviews with him. In this piece, Burnett was subjected to a withering barrage from Hollywood’s once leading trade

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LES MISERABLES

That’s what you call an official cave-in. Let’s recap among the wreckage of the past days: In the face of charges, a stream of CBS executives have come forward to say, in terms of varying mealy-mouthedness, that they stand by Les, including the network’s head of programming who stood before the TCA to offer, “I’m not saying we’re perfect, but…a lot of us have been here a long time precisely because CBS Entertainment is such a fulfilling place to work.” If you’re notsexually harassed, CBS is a lot of fun! Off the record, many friends of Les have been pounding away at the Farrow story: claiming Ileanna Douglas left the show for creative reasons, that the story insanely inflated Christine Peters position, was ancient history.. In his much-anticipated appearance on the CBS earnings call, Moonves sounded as though he’d be at the helm of an independent CBS well into the 2020’s.

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Dark Side of the Moonves

This is a preview of today’s edition of The Ankler, the entertainment industry’s most feared newsletter.  A lot to unpack in the news of recent weeks, since The Ankler lit out for the fjords. A year ago, if you had to name the most successful MVP Executives of movies and TV, the people who had brought the most billions in value to their respective companies, you could’ve made a credible case for John Lasseter and Les Moonves as the two obvious picks. Cert,ainly they’d each be in the running for the prizes. So we can’t say The Reckoning is just flesh wounds anymore. This may not be the most the most significant angle, but a very interesting one for me is the insight the Moonves revelations give into just how much has changed in the past year. Outwardly, things have changed completely. Executive class bad behavior–of all sorts–is being punished

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Laika Rolling Stone

There is no place more dangerous place to be in Hollywood than on a dilettante’s payroll. However well-intentioned the dilettante, however talented, however, driven they might be–at some point if it isn’t at least 30% about the money, this business just gets too hard. Making, marketing, financing, and selling movies is a business that will break and humiliate you in a zillion ways. Not to mention dealing every day with the heartwarming group of geniuses who staff this business. If you don’t on some level need to be doing it, the day will come when you get tired or broken, or sick of fighting. When whatever genuine creative inspiration you brought to Hollywood has been trampled on by the whims of fate and undeserving popcorn eaters and you finally turn the card over in your head: There has to be a better way. Too bad then if you’re one of

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THE ANKLER’S EXCLUSIVE WEEK OF DESTINY TIP SHEET

Entertainment history was made yesterday. Or maybe it was ended. The starting gun sounded on the dismantling of some major slice of the entertainment industry–and all the institutional knowledge, traditions, real estate, and jobs that go with that. The poohbahs, the conglomerates and the tech giants are off and running, vying to build up a big enough war chest to lock up a seat in the Great Entertainment Semi-Finals. Here’s your tip sheet to the drama that lays ahead as so many sit and wait for history to happen to them. RANDALL STEPHENSON: He’s the no-nonsense accountant from Texas, ready to ride down Main Street Showbiz and clean up this town. But even with Time Warner, has he got what it takes to fight it out with the big bad streamers? Warners Film and TV + HBO + Turner + DirecTV + a bunch of cables and cell towers = The

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