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

Continue reading »

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

Continue reading »

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

Continue reading »

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

Continue reading »

HOLLYWOOD DANCES AROUND THE DONALD

Things are getting weird in Donald Trump’s Hollywood. And it is Donald Trump’s Hollywood, because the shadow of this Presidency is starting to fall everywhere upon it: whether, in whispers and rumors, or in major plays to keep on the right side of or ahead of an administration that wishes nothing good to the industry at large. While talent may pose as The Resistance, this is certainly not a fight the corporate overlords would have chosen. At a time when the poohbahs are trying to claw out a future for Hollywood, trouble from Washington is the last thing they want. Trump didn’t bring about this moment of total insecurity for Hollywood. It’s not because of Donald Trump that the streaming onslaught began, that Harvey Weinstein was exposed, that movie marketing costs are exploding through the stratosphere. But add to that a new element of instability and uncertainty, and you have Donald Trump’s Hollywood, in a bottle. Here

Continue reading »

IS HOLLYWOOD PREPARING A LAST STAND AGAINST BIG TECH?

Just as the Silicon Valley Death Star has fixed its planet-buster-beam on Hollywood, the studios may be on the brink of getting the one thing they’ve desperately needed: hope.  But are they strong enough to play their hand and take advantage of the rare turn of misfortune for their greatest foe? To recap: as we move towards the Great Entertainment Semi-Finals, Hollywood’ ancient, industrial superpowers stand on the brink of being swallowed whole. IE, having their seats taken away by the giants of tech, which are roaring into town to assimilate all the world’s content creation companies into their own algorithmic, post-carbon bliss. The fundamental imbalance here is, of course, that the studios have to play by basic rules of economics, physics and acceptable cultural norms, while the tech giants can create havens for Nazi-propaganda and teen suicide boosterism; run ads around jokes about beating up Rhianna; blow tens of billions on unwatched misfires; and call it all data collection. Not to mention compromise the

Continue reading »

Hollywood Preps for War!

With the madcap fun of the Oscar race behind us, we can get back to focusing on the subject at hand – the imminent meltdown of the entertainment industry as we know it as we head into the  World Entertainment Semi-Finals, coming sooner than we’d like. There are two parties whom we all but know (not that we ever really know) will have berths in the final showdown: Disney and Netflix.  And right now, which of those do you suppose has the upper hand? Given the numbers in this chart, Netflix will be worth more than Disney sometime by the end of the week, give or take a couple hours. That’s Disney, with its Marvel and its Star Wars and its total domination of the box office; its theme parks all over the globe; and its mountains of Winnie the Pooh-branded pajamas and Doc McStuffins ice capades shows. All of that is now worth less than an app with a bunch of

Continue reading »

THE LAST OSCAR TAKE AT THE END OF THE WORLD

I warned them but they went ahead and did it.  There were plenty of excuses they could’ve used to cancel last night’s show.  It was drizzling cats and dogs the day before! What self-respecting Angeleno wouldn’t clear their calendars for a month after a trauma like that? But ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do and die… One good thing about what I think we can call the systemic Oscar meltdown this year: now that we’re at a new low, viewer-wise (what’s the T word again?), if next year does not bring about the long overdue, everything-on-the-table, wholesale revamping of this spectacle, we’ll all be free to finally wash our hands of it. One more big lurch downward and Oscar will be a stone’s throw from Young Sheldon. And we don’t feel the need to shut Hollywood down for six months and rearrange our entire business to deal with the fall out over each episode of Young Sheldon. I think it’s hard for Hollywood

Continue reading »

Get Ready for the Least Watched Oscars in History!

Here it is!  Hollywood’s biggest week, and welcome everyone to the lead up to what could be the all-time, least watched Oscar ceremony in history! Somewhere there’s a scientific term for when the very act of studying something destroys it. Never have more people devoted more attention and more thought and more pixels to an evening than this year’s Academy Awards – pundits, activists, producers, stars, marketeers, swag suite promoters –  more camp followers than trailed after Napoleon’s Grande Armee,  and the net result will likely be – audiences scared away by the millions.The importance of this is not nothing. If ever the movie industry could use a boost of glamour and good will it is now.  To recap: not only is the survival of the movie studios on the line, but along with it the very open question of whether future generations will continue to leave their homes to

Continue reading »

LIFE OF RYAN

Now Netflix has got Shonda Rimes and Ryan Murphy.  Both defected from arms of what will soon be the combined greater Disney metropolitan area. Has Netflix taken Disney’s king and queen?  $300 million for the creator of the Versace mini-series and American Horror Story?  Okay..if you say so.  It will be an interesting experiment. If American Horror Story, Scream Queens had debuted on Netflix would we even know their names today? Would Glee have become a sensation? Would Shonda Rimes’ last couple shows for that matter., if they appeared among the great tides of streaming releases have been noticed by anyone? Just as it takes hundreds of millions of dollars of marketing over the course of decades to create a Will Smith, what is American Horror Story apart from the full weight of a legacy network’s marketing budget behind it? We’ll find out.  Or we won’t, because we won’t have access to that data, but block out time in your schedule in

Continue reading »