What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:15 AM 8/16/2017

by THR Staff

Photographed by Miller Mobley

It's magazine day: A revealing look at how the Kardashian clan became a billion-dollar brand leads the new issue. Plus: Michael Moore brings his Broadway crowd to Trump Tower for a protest, CBS is developing a Scooter Braun singing show and can Disney create a Netflix of sports? — Matthew Belloni, Erik Hayden and Jennifer Konerman

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On the cover: In 2007, an L.A. family's unvarnished docuseries launched on E!, and reality TV, female body image, social media and, above all, the economy of celebrity were forever changed. Now the stars and producers of the megafranchise reveal the secrets of its improbable explosion into the zeitgeist, Leslie Bruce writes: 

Kris Jenner (star, executive producer) Before the show, I was managing Bruce's speaking career and personal appearances.

Kim Kardashian (star, executive producer) I was going to [Pierce College], and after school I would go work the cash register at our store, Dash. This all happened when I was 27 …

Kendall Jenner (star) That's so crazy because I'm not even 27. We've lived the same amount of time of the same thing, but I'm not even the age you were when you started.

Ryan Seacrest (executive producer) Everyone was talking about The Osbournes, and I said to my development executive Eliot [Goldberg], "Let's try to find something in this world and take it to E!"

Kris One night, Deena Katz [casting director for Dancing With the Stars] came over for dinner and life was swirling around, and she said, "This is a reality show — I think you should really talk to Ryan Seacrest." So I did ... Full story. 

+ Kareem on Kris Jenner I How the family redefined the business of celebrity.

  • Can Disney Create a Netflix of Sports?

    Illustration by: Guy Shield

    Disney CEO Bob Iger's recent plan to launch two streamers — one for family fare, another for ESPN — carries huge stakes for the future of the cable bundle, Paul Bond writes in a new feature: 

    Since Disney announced on Aug. 8 that it would ditch Netflix and launch its own over-the-top video channel for family fare, more than $3B in market capitalization has vanished at the world's largest subscription streaming service to date. Such is the clout of the dominant film and TV studio and its plan to build a digital home for anticipated blockbusters such as Toy Story 4 and Frozen 2. But it may be separate plans to launch a new ESPN stand-alone streaming service that could have quicker and more meaningful implications. 

    Iger said the new ESPN service will stream 10,000 hours of live sports annually that customers won't get from the ESPN cable channel. Additionally, Iger said the ESPN digital service will offer individual sports packages for purchase. It sounds simple enough, but investors are wondering first, if Disney will cannibalize its existing ESPN customers and second, whether this move by cable's most popular channel will hasten the demise of the cable TV bundle. 

    "The new ESPN service looks initially positioned as an add-on product for existing pay TV subs," wrote Bernstein analyst Todd Juenger. "But it's a very slippery slope from there to a true, full-blown network substitute. Disney could pull that switch any time. What do you do now if you're Discovery, Viacom, AMC Networks, Fox or anybody?"

    Meanwhile, in film...

    ► AMC Theatres tries to block MoviePass subscription service. The theater operator said it is consulting its attorneys in an attempt to squash the efforts of an independent company that is selling a month's worth of tickets for $9.95.

    Eli Roth enlists Cate Blanchett for horror film. The Oscar winner is joining the director's adaptation of The House With a Clock in Its Walls and co-starring with Jack Black in the Amblin Entertainment project.

    ► Jennifer Aniston in talks to star in STX comedy. My Blind Brother writer-director Sophie Goodhart penned the script and will direct. The story centers on a suburban couple who try to recapture the fun of their youth. 

    Captain Marvel taps new screenwriter. Geneva Robertson-Dworet is set to write the script for the superhero movie starring Brie Larson after one of the original writers Meg LeFauve moved to writing and directing Disney's animated film Gigantic.

    Fox plots License to Drive remake. Alisha Brophy and Scott Miles are writing the new version of the 1988 comedy, which will be rebooted with female leads. John Davis is producing.

    Hellboy reboot adds American Honey star. Sasha Lane will join David Harbour in Lionsgate and Millennium’s project about the demonic hero from the Mike Mignola comic books. Milla Jovovich and Ian McShane also are attached to star.

    ^Trailer watch: Molly's Game. Jessica Chastain stars with Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera and more in Aaron Sorkin's directorial debut to premiere at Toronto Film Fest. Watch here.

    ► Val Kilmer to star in Iranian-American comedy. Kilmer will star in 1st Born, which centers on a newlywed couple, Iran-born Ben and his American wife. The film is the first joint feature film co-production between Iran and Hollywood. 

    ► YA adaptation The Hate U Give adds Detroit star. Algee Smith has joined Fox 2000's adaptation of the Black Lives Matter novel about a teenage girl from a poverty-stricken slum who now attends a suburban prep school. Amandla Stenberg is starring.

    ► John Krasinski's A Quiet Place adds Suburbicon actor. Noah Jupe has closed a deal to join Emily Blunt and Krasinski in the supernatural thriller from Paramount and Platinum Dunes. Krasinski will also direct.

    Red scribes rewriting live-action Naruto movie. Lionsgate's movie is getting a rewrite from Jon and Erich Hoeber. Michael Gracey, who will soon make his directorial debut with The Greatest Showman, has been attached to direct the movie since 2015.

    It's a deal (finally): Daniel Craig confirms he's Bond. "Yes," the actor told Stephen Colbert last night, when asked if he will return as the secret agent. He said he's known he would reprise the role for "a couple of months" now. "We've just been trying to figure things out."

  • Who Wins in Netflix's Shonda Deal

    Getty Images

    What do Netflix and Shonda Rhimes stand to gain from the deal to bring the ABC hitmaker to the streaming company? Lesley Goldberg notes:

    On Aug. 13, the streaming giant revealed that it had lured prolific showrunner Shonda Rhimes away from her 15-year home at ABC Studios with a four-year overall deal that one industry observer estimates could be worth $100M

    With Rhimes, Netflix adds a showrunner whom its audience already has embraced. The streamer boasts a library that includes Scandal and Grey's Anatomy. Also, Netflix will now be able to avoid steep licensing fees on future hot projects from top creators and instead score the financial windfall that comes from either streaming or selling programming around the world. 

    That Netflix would look to own more of its content comes as Disney said it will yank its content from the streamer and broadcast and cable networks continue to vertically align with their studio counterparts. It's an attempt to help turn a profit as the line between a hit and a flop continues to blur amid dwindling viewership and increased competition. Rhimes, meanwhile, scores expanded creative freedom and the ability to stretch her wings outside of broadcast for the first time. 

    Elsewhere in TV...

    Showtime sues to stop pirating of Mayweather-McGregor fight. The cabler is suing to stop more than 40 websites from airing an unauthorized stream of the fight. The sites, writes an attorney, are "all currently formatted as Mayweather v. McGregor blogs populated with articles that are stuffed with keywords related to the fight." 

    ABC's Bachelor in Paradise scores best premiere ratings. The briefly embattled reality show approaches a series high in its slightly delayed debut, topping all of the night's original series in the process. It averaged 5M viewers.

    Apple adds Matt Cherniss in latest TV push. The former WGN America president will serve as a chief creative/head of U.S. programming as Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg eye a split of duties between domestic and international. 

    ► CBS eyes Scooter Braun singing competition show. The potential series is in the early stages, but should the project move forward, each of the Big Four broadcast networks would have a singing competition show.

    ^NBC's Marlon, reviewed. Marlon Wayans' NBC comedy shows how versatile a performer Wayans can be, but it's a family sitcom in which the family is an afterthought. The takeaway: "Marlon is too much Marlon."

    Epix enlists Patrick Dempsey for event series. Two years after his shocking exit from Grey's Anatomy, Dempsey has been tapped to topline the straight-to-series drama The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair. 

    Netflix renews Ozark for season 2. Less than a month after its premiere, the streaming giant has renewed Jason Bateman and Laura Linney drama for another round of 10 episodes. The series launched July 21 to mixed reviews.

    Showtime filming doc series at N.Y. Times. Oscar-nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus is following the newspaper and its aggressive coverage of the administration — another big doc get for the cable network.

    A&E distances itself from Duck Dynasty days. The network home to Scientology and the Aftermath is positioning itself as a place for serious storytelling in a new branding campaign.

    An Angelyne doc that no one knew about. Gary Baum writes: Weeks after the mystery of the L.A. billboard legend was solved comes the revelation that a young filmmaker shot a doc about her past — and in a conversation, he expands on what's known about the enigmatic blonde bombshell.

  • Moore's Trump Tower Protest

    Ashley Lee

    Last night, the audience of Michael Moore's Broadway play was invited to a protest outside Trump Tower in New York City, co-hosted by Mark Ruffalo: "It's a little field trip!" Watch here I Late-night reacts to Trump's "both sides" presser.

    What else we're reading...

    "Apple readies $1 billion war chest for Hollywood programming." Tripp Mickle reports: "Apple could acquire and produce as many as 10 television shows, according to the people familiar with the plan." [The Wall Street Journal]

    "In a body-positive moment, why does Hollywood remain out of step?" Brooks Barnes notes: "Movies - studio movies in particular - show little improvement for lead actresses. There is only Melissa McCarthy." [The New York Times]

    "Why are so many directors un-retiring?" Phil Hoad writes: "Perhaps announcing retirement is an unusually ostentatious method of getting something all artists need ... time to recharge." [The Guardian]

    "Oprah Winfrey is on a roll (again)." Jonathan Van Meter's profile: "Perhaps the main reason Oprah has returned to film acting is not just the recent uptick in the availability of actual roles for black women over 60, but also that she is being asked to return." [Vogue]

    "Down the Breitbart hole." Wil S. Hylton writes: "Is the incendiary media company at the nerve center of Donald Trump’s America simply provocative - or dangerous?" [The New York Times magazine]

    Today's birthdays: Taika Waititi, 42, Steve Carell, 55, Angela Bassett, 59, Madonna, 59, James Cameron, 63, Kathie Lee Gifford, 64, Reginald VelJohnson, 65.

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