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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JORDAN PEELE’S GARGOYLE DREAMS MEET DISNEY’S BIG IP REALITY

This month we’re going to see the media get very confused about what story to tell about Disney. It could focus solely on the upside: Incredibles 2 is about to make something northward of a gazillion and a half dollars, reminding everyone of the power of these brands when executed at the level Disney can still execute. On the one hand: you’ve got a shopping cart overflowing with fiascos and more curses unfolding than one company should have to bear. Losing John Lasseter in such a drawn-out manner certainly counts as a fiasco. What he does next may count as a wrecking ball. That said, to paraphrase a recovery catchphrase, they’ve got problems in areas where other studios don’t have areas. This month we’ve seen a couple of downsides of the Big IP game. The first one, from the Solo experience, is clear: When you concentrate all your chips in the Big IP game,

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LASSEDAMMERUNG! DISNEY’S LAW OF THE JUNGLE CRUISE

The moment of decision approaches on the Fate of John Lasseter. At stake is more than the management of one animation division. This is the precedent-setting crossroads: On the line here is whether Me Too remains on the march or starts to be swept under the red carpet. Not to mention, incidentally, the fates of two or three studios. After an initially blasé reaction, the battle has been raging over the past week with increasing volume inside and out, as a social media Stop John movement has gained traction.  Over the past few days, the #LoseLasseter hashtag has been catching fire on Twitter; contributors include people from across the animation industry and even, shockingly for a company that brooks no public dissent, some Disney employees sprinkled in among the protesters. (I’ll let you find them yourself rather than draw undo attention to them.) And now, because of one obscure pebble in

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Dark Day in Mousetown

This is a preview of today’s edition of The Ankler, the entertainment industry’s most feared newsletter. Remember all the way back to yesterday morning when a mere disappointment was the worst thing that could happen to a company like Disney? What a difference a Tweet makes! Remember last week when all CEO IP Bob had to worry about was his still uncertain path to victory against Netflix in the Great Entertainment Semi-Finals, how to finesse a Lasseter return, and Comcast’s challenge to his Fox acquisition? As of this week, you can add to that: canceling his network’s top-rated show and suddenly, concerns about one of the major tentpoles of his whole corporate strategy, Lucasfilm. (Okay, if you want to really get mean, you can throw in that once we get past the Incredibles 2, Disney has a suddenly very iffy release calendar for the next 12 months). That’s a lot

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A NETFLIXONIMICS CASE STUDY: THE BEN-GLE HAS LANDED

THE LATEST VERY SPECIAL ISSUE OF THE ANKLER FEATURES TRUE TALES FROM THE STREETS OF HOLLYWOOD IN THE TIME OF THE APP.  BELOW IS A BRIEF PREVIEW OF ONE OF THESE STORIES: Who doesn’t love a good bonfire? And a bonfire of cash! Well, that’s not just entertainment, that’s an accomplishment. Which seems to be the working frame of reference for the entire world when talking about Netflix. Look at the mountains of cash they are willing to set on fire – now thatis a company! (Especially if somewhere in those mountains of cash are bags full of FYC advertising dollars). They made a hundred movies to no discernible effect or public response…Well, let’s watch them make 200!  200 bigger movies! We’ll let directors spend more money than they ever dreamed of! As Mike Fleming put it yesterday, Netflix “is doing too many risky things on the feature front to be defined derogatorily

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France Like No One is Watching

In another age, if Hollywood’s priciest annual boondoggle turned into a turgid public debacle, it might not have been such a big deal. Back in the 90’s, to send half the industry around the world for two weeks of grim headlines about the collapse of the international film world might not have been so bad – hey, what’s a few tens of millions if the troops had fun. But the incongruity becomes glaring in these days of austerities and cutbacks and housekeeping deals sent packing, for Hollywood to still spend millions  on an event that gets headlines, from the Trade. Press no less..like this:   “It wasn’t just the shadow of disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein casting a pall over the proceedings. Everywhere you looked, there were clear signs that the old thrill is gone.”  When THR says thrill is gone from a Hollywood mega-event, you can put your money that the thrill has cleaned

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