ICYMI: Love, War & Our 'Uncensored Lowdown'
Catch up on our recent best
We’re starting today with a quote from Bret Easton Ellis about The Ankler from his recent podcast, The Shards:
“Richard Rushfield’s brilliant newsletter [is] really the only honest thing being printed in Hollywood because all the other shit is just ridiculous. It really does give the uncensored lowdown on the shit that goes down, and it’s opinionated and it knows what it is talking about. This is not… approved legacy media.”
In that spirit, we both feel this past week was some of our best and smartest work yet. To kick it off…
Three great reads helped answer the question: How did we get here?
1. One majordomo in town told us that this was the smartest piece he had ever read about Hollywood. Courtesy of our free Strikegeist newsletter, republished from writer Matt Stoller.
Time to Break Up Hollywood Hollywood is trapped in a death spiral, with streaming giants struggling to profit while smothering the industry — all while serving as the tinder for the town’s largest labor movement in decades: “Far from a narrow conflict over money, this fight is existential, a question of whether America can be a place where stars are born and movies are made.”
2. Sean McNulty’s epic look at the disappearing financial backend of our major studios — their cable and linear TV divisions— and what it means for the streaming growth it supports is essential reading for every executive:
This is ballpark how much the Studios still rely on the Cable TV Bundle for their overall Entertainment Biz-based Revenue in Q1 2023:
NBCU/MEDIA division: 48%
3. Entertainment Strategy Guy asserts that “the WGA seems to negotiate based on the past five years, not predicting the next 10.” And through a series of charts and data reveals, ESG reports on the challenges present in the current strike negotiations happening concurrent to an era where the next few years of entertainment may be, paraphrasing Game of Thrones, “dark and full of terrors.”
Meanwhile, From the Frontlines of Love and War
Our TV comedy writer, the pseudonymous Kit Sargent, points out that Vladimir Lenin met his wife in a Marxist study group. Herein, she assesses the pros and cons of hooking up during a major labor movement:
“While there’s something to be said for a place where you can wave at someone whose name you can’t remember, yell ‘Josh!’ and have a 50/50 chance of being right, being around writers can get old.”
Richard reports how “the shutdown is revealing fissures between former BFFs and frenemies alike… [as] a series of other faultlines in the industry have begun revealing themselves… encompassing showrunners, Netflix, SAG and even broadcast TV (remember that?). Let’s roll through them and what is being whispered behind the scenes”:
Sonny Bunch is joined by Colby Day, screenwriter of In the Blink of an Eye and Netflix’s upcoming Spaceman, starring Adam Sandler and Carey Mulligan, to discuss all the unpaid work that goes into getting paid work on The Bulwark Goes To Hollywood (read the full transcript here).
Our intrepid Elaine Low hit the pickets, the upfronts and back this week. While we won’t reveal names, subscribers to our separate Strikegeist newsletter include plenty of C-suite execs in town and lots and lots and lots of showrunners and writers. Join us! And reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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🎧 More Podcasts
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Martini Shot: The Comedy Problem Comedy now makes up only 10 percent of American box office — a steep decline. But if comedy thrived during the Hays Code, so it could again today, argues Rob Long.
The Big Show (aka The Ankler podcast) Three of the smartest people in entertainment, Sean, Elaine and Richard, talk the headlines. This week, Topic A is Hollywood's Disappearing ATM Machine (read the full transcript here).
🔎 The Optionist
Andy Lewis delivers a great exclusive from Crooked Media, this time featuring a gritty crime story just ready to be turned into a scripted series.
Exclusive IP Pick: A Town Corrupted by the Promise of Pot Riches The criminality that nearly destroyed California's first city to pass legalized weed farming is chronicled in Crooked Media's 'Dreamtown: The Story of Adelanto'