What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:32 AM 10/10/2017

by THR Staff

Getty Images

What's news: Harvey Weinstein fallout continues as new voices chime in and Hollywood (not to mention The Weinstein Company) starts to ponder what's next. Plus: ESPN yanks Jemele Hill, Star Wars: The Last Jedi brings us Porgs, and Martin Scorsese defends mother! and takes Rotten Tomatoes to task. — Ray Rahman

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  • Weinstein's Next Chapter

    It has now been five days since the New York Times dropped its bombshell Harvey Weinstein story, but in typical Trump-age fashion, it's felt like so much longer thanks to a steady stream of revelations and denunciations. The story is still fast moving, and there's a lot to break down. 

    One of the biggest questions: What will become of The Weinstein Company now? Lesley Goldberg, Pamela McClintock, and Tatiana Siegel report:

    With Harvey Weinstein ousted at his namesake company, leadership is racing to distance itself from the disgraced mogul. That rebranding effort may include a name  change in the next few days, although nothing is definite.

    It is now up to TWC co-chairman Bob Weinstein, his brother, and president/COO David Glasser to forge a new path, along with the remaining members of the board, all at a time when the company was already facing financial pressure.

    "When a leader is taken down, even a despot, it is going to take a while for people to find their bearings," says one veteran film executive who is currently doing business with TWC. "There are a lot of really good and smart people working there and it is a company that does interesting movies. But there do need to be fundamental changes to survive beyond the short-term."

    On Monday, staff at the company were given the day off as Glasser and Bob Weinstein met with ad agencies to discuss ideas for a potential new name. And they reached out to multiple television networks and granted them permission to remove Harvey Weinstein's name from the credits of TWC-produced shows, beginning with Wednesday's episode of Lifetime's Project Runway. (Glasser and Bob Weinstein also contacted filmmakers to allay any concerns, according to one producer.)

    If Harvey Weinstein hadn’t been ousted by the TWC board on Oct. 8, a talent exodus certainly would have followed. Many with film, TV and publishing projects in development would likely have looked for legal outs for existing contracts if Weinstein stayed. Full story.

    Weinstein fallout...

    + On a similar note, there are questions surrounding Harvey Weinstein's wife's fashion brand Marchsea. 

    + Over the weekend, Harvey sent a private email to high-level Hollywood execs begging for their support. "I am desperate for your help," he wrote, asking potential supporters to pen a letter backing him. "No star is ever going to want to wear the brand again," one publicist said. 

    + Clearly it didn't take. Now his name is starting to disappear from Weinstein Co. productions. Harvey removed his producer credit from the upcoming Oscar hopeful The Current War

    QUOTED:  "I was completely unaware of these offenses which are, of course, horrifying and I offer my sympathy to those who have suffered, and whole-hearted support to those who have spoken out." — Judi Dench. "It makes me feel ashamed." — Kevin Smith. "There's nothing to say except that it's indefensible." — George Clooney. "My heart goes out to all the women affected by these gross actions. — Jennifer Lawrence. "It's an epidemic." — Patricia Arquette. "I was warned from the beginning. the stories were everywhere." — Jessica Chastain. "I had hoped that these kind of stories were just made up rumors, maybe we have all been naive." — Kate Winslet. "F--- him and everyone who enabled him to get away with such behavior." — James Gunn. "I think most women have a Harvey Weinstein in their lives." — Ryan Murphy. "Ignoring bad behavior remains the signature move of men in Hollywood." — Lena Dunham

    + An anomaly: Donna Karan, who posited that the women might be to blame. "Are we asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality?" the designer asked. She later walked back her comments. 

    + After being accused of laying off Harvey news last week, late-night went all in Monday night. Seth Meyers had women on his staff address the controvery themselves, while Kimmel asked what the difference was between Harvey Weinstein and the Pillsbury Doughboy. The answer.

    + Meanwhile, The Guardian reached out to over 20 male actors and directors who've worked with Harvey over the years. All declined to comment or did not respond.

    Elsewhere in film...

    Star Wars: The Last Jedi drops trailer. The dramatic "Episode VIII" preview offered plenty to get excited about — namely, Porgs. Full breakdown.

    ► Sylvester Stallone to direct Creed 2. He announced on Instagram that he would be taking on the Michael B. Jordan-starring sequel.

    ► Keira Knightley reteams with Imitation Game producers for spy drama. The actress has signed to star in a feature from K Period Media (Manchester By the Sea) and Bristol Automotive (The Imitation Game).

    ^Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges honor first responders at 'Only the Brave' premiere. The movie's stars celebrated the more than 100 men and women in uniform who were invited to the red carpet. "It means a lot to have them here," Bridges said. 

    Will Smith, Tom Holland to star in Fox Animation film. Smith and Holland will take on Spies in Disguise, an animated featured based on an original short.

    Helen Mirren, Luke Evans topline Luc Besson's Anna. The pair join Cillian Murphy and Russian model Sasha Luss, who plays the title role.

    ► WME-IMG renames parent company Endeavor. Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whiteshell will take on new titles as CEO and executive chairman, respectively. The Endeavor name is a callback to Emanuel's old talent agency.  


  • Inside Twitter's TV Push

    Illustration by: Rami Niemi

    In the same way that every popular property on TV seems to have a Chris Hardwick-hosted aftershow, Twitter is looking to expand its position as the default online watercooler, Natalie Jarvey and Jeremy Barr report: 

    Over the past several months, the platform has become home to a growing slate of current events shows and live sports that are not only driving conversations but also attracting interest from advertisers. During the third quarter alone, Twitter is expended to broadcast some 2,000 hours of live programming — up from just 500 hours during the fourth quarter last year. 

    Driving that growth are shows like BuzzFeed AM to DM, which streams live every weekday morning for an hour, and Circuit Breaker, a weekly gadget review show from Vox Media that debuted Oct. 3. The Ringer's Game of Thrones aftershow averaged nearly 600,000 unique live viewers this summer. And a 24/7 channel from Bloomberg is currently in the works. 

    "We think we have a unique medium, where there's an audience already talking about what's happening," says Twitter COO Anthony Noto, "and we're building a video experience on top of that to strengthen that discussion." Full story.

    What everybody is talking about...

    ESPN suspends Jemele Hill. The network said it handed their anchor a two-week suspension "for a second violation of our social media guidelines." 

    + The offending tweet? On Sunday, Hill tweeted that those upset with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones hard-line stance on player protests could themselves protest "boycott his advertisers." Hill, of course, had already been in hot water for calling President Trump a white supremacist on Twitter. Those rallying to Hill's side include ESPN colleague Lindsay Czarniak and Cavs player J.R. Smith.

    + Why now? ESPN appears to be less concerned about the political optics than the bottom line — i.e., a call to punish ESPN's advertisers. Remember, Bill Simmons suffered a similar punishment after going to town on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. 

    + What's next: Who will replace Hill on SC6? The network reportedly had trouble finding someone willing to sit in for her during the Trump brouhaha in September. 

    Elsewhere in TV...

    ► Ryan Murphy's edits American Horror Story: Cult in light of Las Vegas. FX confirmed that it would air an altered version of tonight's episode, which originally featured a mass shooting. Murphy's original cut will still be viewable on VOD and streaming platform.

    Samantha Bee loses exec-producer Jo Miller. Full Frontal showrunner Jo Miller, whom Bee brought with her from The Daily Show, has exited the late-night show. Miller and Bee were close, and in interviews together they would often speak in unison. It's not yet clear yet what prompted Miller's exit or who her replacement will be. 

    ► Meghan McCain joins The ViewThe pundit and senatorial offspring has officially been hired as a co-host, making her the talk show's new conservative voice.

    ^Good grief, TV. Daniel Fienberg confirms what my recent binge of Top of the Lake suggested: We're living in the Golden Age of Sad TV. For further proof, just look at This Is Us, or the most recent episode of Halt and Catch FireFull story.

    Chicago P.D. adds Scott Bryce. The NBC cop drama enlists the Popular actor to guest-star as an Illinois congressman.

    Downton Abbey: The Exhibition comes to U.S. After opening in Singapore this summer, an immersive exhibit devoted to the upstairs-downstairs soap will pop up in Manhattan next month. 

    Matt Ryan revives Constantine character. Thanks to a two-episode arc on CW's Legends of Tomorrow, Ryan will get to reprise his role as the demon-hunting DC Comics antihero. He previously played the part on a since-canceled standalone NBC series.

    Billy Crystal takes kids prank show global. The comedian's Jennilind Productions, along with Bunim/Murray and Nutz, are bringing Gotcha to the international market. "Helping youngsters share the gift of comedy with their peers was really appealing," Crystal said. 

  • Scorsese on Rotten Tomatoes

    Courtesy of Venice Film Festival

    Is the rise of Rotten Tomatoes ruining the way we experience movies? Martin Scorsese writes:

    These firms and aggregators have set a tone that is hostile to serious filmmakers—even the actual name Rotten Tomatoes is insulting. And as film criticism written by passionately engaged people with actual knowledge of film history has gradually faded from the scene, it seems like there are more and more voices out there engaged in pure judgmentalism, people who seem to take pleasure in seeing films and filmmakers rejected, dismissed and in some cases ripped to shreds. Not unlike the increasingly desperate and bloodthirsty crowd near the end of Darren Aronofsky’s mother!

    Before I actually saw mother!, I was extremely disturbed by all of the severe judgments of it. Many people seemed to want to define the film, box it in, find it wanting and condemn it. And many seemed to take joy in the fact that it received an F grade from Cinemascore. This actually became a news story—mother! had been “slapped” with the “dreaded” Cinemascore F rating, a terrible distinction that it shares with pictures directed by Robert Altman, Jane Campion, William Friedkin and Steven Soderbergh.

    After I had a chance to see mother!, I was even more disturbed by this rush to judgment, and that’s why I wanted to share my thoughts. People seemed to be out for blood, simply because the film couldn’t be easily defined or interpreted or reduced to a two-word description. Is it a horror movie, or a dark comedy, or a biblical allegory, or a cautionary fable about moral and environmental devastation? Maybe a little of all of the above, but certainly not just any one of those neat categories. Full esssy.

    What else we're reading... 

    How the FBI shapes its image through movies. Ariane Lange and Jason Leopold write: "Government documents reveal the relationship between the FBI and filmmakers." [BuzzFeed News]

    A Dynasty for the generation of Gossip Girl. (Mom can watch, too.) Alexandra Jacobs writes: "It has not been so much created as concocted as a layer cake of nostalgia and novelty to tempt both extremes of the 18-49 demographic." [The New York Times]

    Jennifer Egan's travels through time. Alexandra Schwartz writes: "The novelist combines obsessive research and an uncanny imagination to craft visions of the past, present, and future. [The New Yorker]

    In Conversation: Sarah Silverman. "The comedian on her new show, breaking taboos, and the problem with being dirty." [Vulture]

    — Meet the man determined to make celebrity holograms a major Hollywood draw. Gerrick D. Kennedy writes: "Needled in the thick of Hollywood Boulevard's tourist traps, Alki David's Hologram USA theater is finally closer to reality." [The Los Angeles Times]

    The making of Sean Hannity. Marc Fisher writes: How a Long Island kid learned to channel red-state rage. [The Washington Post]

    Mr. Robot knew in 2016 what America would be like in 2017. Scott Meslow writes: "The Rami Malek-starring drama plays a lot differently in Trump's America." [GQ]

    What else we're seeing...

    + "Jon Stewart grants Trump's request for equal time." [Late Show]

    + "Lea Michele smuggled toilet paper out of the White House." [Tonight Show]

    + "Mackenzie Davis talks about Black Mirror's only happy episode." [Late Night]

    Today's birthdays: Rose McIver, 29, Dan Stevens, 35, Mario Lopez, 44, Wendi McLendon-Covey, 48, Bradley Whitford, 58, Mark Gordon, 61, Charles Dance, 71, Peter Coyote, 76.