MORNING ROUNDUP: MPAA, D.C. Group Engage in War of Words Over Hollywood Tax Breaks
Plus: Watch Tyra Banks' directorial debut, 60 Minutes to air on the iPad, Wayne Newton turns his mansion in a museum and Patti Smith wins top book honors.
- The MPAA and Washington public policy organization Center on Budget and Policy Priorities have engaged in a war of words over tax incentives for film and TV productions that most states offer these days, the Los Angeles Times reports. On Wednesday, the Center released a 13-page report titled "State Film Subsidies: Not Much Bang for Too Many Bucks," which concluded that state film tax subsidies are not worth their cost and take money away from education and infrastructure initiatives. "While subsidies may attract film production to a state, they create few good local jobs and they don't come close to paying for themselves," the L.A. Times quoted senior fellow Robert Tannenwald, who wrote the report, as saying. "Give me a (tax) break, the MPAA responded. "This politically motivated, slipshod report by a think tank in Washington, D.C. demonstrates no understanding of the film and television industry, nor the importance of jobs and economic development produced by these tax credits in states all across our nation," shot back Vans Stevenson, the MPAA's senior vp of state government affairs, saying the investments create revenue for states. "The film and television incentive programs can do wonders and are an economic stimulus."
- Tyra Banks made her directorial debut on America's Next Top Model Wednesday night. The host and executive producer admitted she was "really nervous about directing the girls in motion for the first time. I have to tell you that I have a whole new respect for directors through this process! It looks easy, but it ain't." Banks, who helmed a two-minute film of the remaining four finalists, added, "When we wrapped, I fell to ground because I was exhausted, but excited at the same time! I wanted to give the Top Model fans something different and visually appealing for the new high fashion cycle, so I hope they like it." She may go behind a camera again. "If they do [like it], maybe I'll do something bigger in the future."
- Wayne Newton will turn a portion of his 40-acre Las Vegas home into a museum, he tells the Las Vegas Sun. Casa de Shenandoah -- or "Graceland West," as it’s being dubbed -- won approval from the county commission to offer fans an inside look at the estate's theater, Arabian horses, peacocks, jet and 50 years worth of memorabilia. “We have the football Hall of Fame, the Baseball Hall of Fame … but there is no Entertainment Hall of Fame. So people like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin and Sammy Davis … don’t have that type of Hall of Fame. Now they will,” Newton said.
- Patti Smith won an award for her memoir Just Kids, about her life with fellow artist Robert Mapplethorpe, at the National Book Awards on Wednesday. "I’ve loved books all my life,” the "Because the Night" singer said in her acceptance speech. “I used to wonder what it would feel like. Thank you for letting me find out.”
- Bristol Palin apologized on Facebook for her 16-year-old sister Willow after Willow used a gay slur against a classmate who criticized the family's TLC reality show. The classmate slammed the show on Facebook, and Willow replied: "Haha your [sic] so gay, Sorry that you guys are all jealous of my families [sic] success and you guys aren't goin to go anywhere with your lives." Bristol -- who originally became involved in the debate on Facebook -- wrote Wednesday, "Willow and I shouldn't have reacted to negative comments about our family. We apologize."
- Now you can watch CBS' 60 Minutes on your iPad. The No. 1 news program launched a new $4.99 app. "It is an exciting new way to watch our stories. I love everything about it -- the way the app looks, the way the stories play, and the fact that viewers can watch them anytime they want," said the show's executive producer Jeff Fager. Adds Rob Gelick, svp and general manager, CBS Mobile "The 60 Minutes app takes full advantage of the generous screen size and unique features of the iPad, including high-quality video. The app allows fans to extend their engagement with 60 Minutes on a format that is easy to navigate and highly visual."