What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:11 AM 5/17/2018

by THR Staff


What's news: The next chapter in the Moonves-Redstone legal drama is unfolding in a Delaware court. Plus: The Arrested Development cast will receive back pay, CBS and Turner execs pitch advertisers, Lachlan Murdoch's New Fox is officially taking shape and ousted MGM chief Gary Barber is handed $15 million-plus in severance. — Erik Hayden

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  • "How's Your Week Been?"


    If you’re Leslie Moonves, it probably got a little better after you asked that question to a Carnegie Hall crowd standing in applause, writes Lacey Rose, Marisa Guthrie and Michael O'Connell: 

    Ignoring the legal drama, his network isn’t having too bad of a week, either — at least not Wednesday afternoon, when CBS offered up its annual upfront presentation to a particularly responsive audience. It wasn’t just the stage appearance that had the ad buyers clapping.

    A salty introductory video started things off on a strong note, with John Malkovich hilariously (if randomly) evangelizing the CBS brand after a coaxing call with Moonves. “Fucking executives,” Malkovich moaned as he hung up on the CBS chief. “Fucking talent,” said Moonves. Full scorecard I New CBS trailers I CBS-Viacom court update.

    Elsewhere in TV...

    CBS replaces showrunner after misconduct claims. Six months after misconduct allegations surfaced around NCIS: New Orleans boss Brad Kern, CBS and producers CBS Television Studios have replaced him as showrunner.

    + Exec producer Chris Silber has been elevated to take over the Scott Bakula-led spinoff in its recently ordered fifth season. Kern will remain a consultant on the drama. The move comes months after news broke that Kern had twice been investigated following multiple complaints about workplace hostility. Full story. 

    ► Rights available -> WWE's Smackdown is being shopped to various networks after NBCUniversal — whose USA Network airs the highly rated pro wrestling matches — declined to re-up its deal, sources tell THR

    + NBCU is said to be focusing on renewing its pact for WWE's Raw, another wrestling franchise, and that deal is expected to close at as much as three times its current value. Full story. 

    Netflix's Arrested Development cast gets backpay. Two weeks after THR reported that the stars of the revived comedy from 20th Century Fox TV took issue with the expanded and "recut" fourth season of the Netflix comedy, the studio has agreed to pay the cast for seven additional episodes.

    + Actors including Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, Michael Cera and David Cross, among others, will receive additional compensation based on the sliding scale that was used to determine their original season four salaries. Details. 

    Turner's upfronts spin: During the one-hour, 50-minute presentation, Turner managed to jam in pitches for each of its networks, from TruTV to CNN, with a cavalcade of stars and a cadre of dramatic clips for projects that hail from everyone from Ridley Scott to Patty Jenkins. Full scorecard I The "Omni channel"?

    Quoted: "Watching the desperate relationship-challenged compete on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette is like watching Hunger Games set in a sunny Hallmark version of high school prom." — From the new Kareem Abdul-Jabber column on reality TV. 

    ^Netflix's 13 Reasons Why season two, reviewed. Daniel Fienberg's takeaway: "The second season of teen suicide drama is a frustratingly unnecessary mess of bad courtroom antics, stale mysteries and clumsy efforts to bring back Katherine Langford." Full review.

    New Fox officially names Lachlan Murdoch CEO. The Murdoch-controlled conglomerate on Wednesday also said that CFO John Nallen will become COO at New Fox, which also will include the Fox Business Network, Fox Sports, Fox Television Stations Group and more. 

    + "The new Fox will begin as the only media company solely focused on the domestic market," Rupert Murdoch said. Details. 

    CBS being pitched Mad About You revival. Following months of discussions that producers Sony Pictures TV and stars Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser want to revive the former NBC comedy, CBS is among the outlets being pitched the potential reboot. No deal is in place.

    CW plans end of the road for three series. Both Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Jane the Virgin are confirmed to be wrapping during the 2018-19 season. Also set for a swan song is iZombie. Details.

    TNT is docking The Last Ship. The Turner-owned cabler has decided that the upcoming fifth season of the Eric Dane starrer will be its last. During its run, the show ranked as one of basic cable's top 10 summer series.

    Fox's New Girl finale sees ratings climb. With a 0.6 rating among adults 18 to 49 and 1.5M viewers, the wrap-up marked a 20 percent increase in the demo and a 15 percent uptick in total viewers.

    Amazon greenlights Diego Maradona soccer drama. Mexican production company BTF Media, makers of the hit Mexican teen drama Soy Luna for the Disney Channel, will produce the Maradona series with Dhana Media and Raze.

    *R.I.P.,Chuck Panama. The journalist-turned-publicist who worked with Elizabeth Taylor and Henry Fonda and ran publicity for shows such as LA Law has died. He was 93. Full obit.

    Also: About those TV reboots... NBC passed on its Bad Boys spinoff starring Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba (it was "good, not great," says one source), ABC said no to Greatest American Hero with Hannah Simone ("too off-brand") and CBS hit the brakes on Cagney & Lacey ("too soft"). More intrigue.

  • 'Deadpool 2' Launches


    More than two years after Ryan Reynolds' Merc With a Mouth transformed into a box-office sensation, Deadpool 2 is hitting theaters around the globe, Pamela McClintock writes: 

    In North America, the 20th Century Fox sequel has a chance of posting a $130M to $150M opening weekend. Overseas, Deadpool 2 is opening in most major markets timed to its U.S. launch — one major exception is China — for a projected foreign debut well north of $100M. 

    Also opening nationwide this week: Paramount's female-fronted Book Club, which may nab $9M to $10M. Global Road's family offering Show Dogs is likewise hoping to bow in the high single-digit million-dollar range. Full preview.

    Elsewhere in film...

    Ousted MGM CEO's severance disclosed. The company said that it paid Gary Barber $15.4 million in severance, which explains some of the drop in net income for the quarter.

    STX plans action comedy with Vin Diesel. The Fast franchise actor will star in and produce Muscle for the company. Samantha Vincent will produce the film, along with Reginald Hudlin and Byron Phillips.

    Netflix picks up Lost Girls, finds new star. Amy Ryan will star in the true-crime story to be directed by Liz Garbus, the documentarian who is making her narrative feature debut with the film. The project was previously at Amazon.

    Eugenio Derbez plots next film. The Overboard actor will star in a remake of the French comedy The Valet. Rob Greenberg and Bob Fisher will write and direct the feature for Pantelion Films. 

    Quoted: "I practice Scientology, and we do very simple things to get ourselves in better shape: take care of yourself, get good sleep, be better parents, be productive, be motivated. — John Travolta, responding to an audience member during a Cannes panel. 

    ^Paramount's Book Club, reviewed. Opening Friday, Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen star as friends who undergo romantic awakenings after reading Fifty Shades of Grey. The takeaway: "A lightweight showcase for heavyweight talent." + Rotten Tomatoes score: 61 percent. 

    No Paddington 3? The first two movies were critical hits, but the voice of the bear, Ben Whishaw, isn't sure if there'll be a third. “I think Paul King, who is the writer and the director ... I think he quite rightly needs a break," he said.

    Whitney Houston doc trailer unveiled. In Kevin Macdonald's Whitney, the late musician is remembered through rare archival footage, demo recordings and original interviews with her loved ones. Full clip. 

    Cannes awards watch: The first major honors of this year's fest were handed out with Diamantino taking the top honor in the Critics' Week sidebar. Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt's surrealist film, one of seven features in competition, took the Grand Prize.

    *R.I.P., Ron Thomas. SAG-AFTRA’s senior manager of national member education and outreach (and a popular local DJ) died May 3 at his West Hollywood home. He was 46. Full obit.

    New Awards Chatter podcast: Emilia Clarke. The Solo and Game of Thrones actress gives an in-depth interview to Scott Feinberg about her early career and new projects and confirms that she's signed for multiple Star Wars films, but isn't sure that she will be used in them. Full episode.

  • The Strike, 10 Years Later

    Matthew Simmons/WireImage

    A decade after scribes went on strike over digital pay, more than three dozen key players reflect on the tension and "traitors," strategies and solidarity, picket-line romances and the ultimate deal that still impacts how the town runs today. 

    BARRY MEYER, THEN CHAIRMAN OF WARNER BROS. These new-media models were beginning to emerge. We said, "Let's see what develops in three years. If there's something really there, we'll address it then." It sounded perfectly logical to us, but there was a credibility issue that we had with the guilds because we'd made that same speech related to home video, and they had to fight for years to achieve their goals.

    PATRIC VERRONE, THEN PRESIDENT OF WGA WEST It was brinkmanship. They were just going to call our bluff, and we weren't bluffing. Next morning, we were out on strike. An oral history.

    What else we're reading... 

    "The entire economy is MoviePass now." Kevin Roose writes: "Inspired by Silicon Valley’s hyper-growth, companies elsewhere are burning cash in hopes of being the next big thing." [New York Times]

    "Why Ronan Farrow is making NBC nervous." Joe Pompeo writes: "The network is jittery as Farrow prepares to tell his side of the story about what went down while he was reporting on Harvey Weinstein." [Vanity Fair]

    "Selena producer is building theaters for underserved Latino moviegoers." Ryan Faughnder writes: "Maya Cinemas hits a major milestone with the opening of its fifth theater Thursday - a $20-million multiplex in Delano, Calif., about 35 miles north of Bakersfield." [Los Angeles Times]

    "What next for the Arab film festival circuit following Dubai's demise?" Melanie Goodfellow writes: "rumours are rife that Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s largest and richest emirate, is mulling a revival of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival it mothballed abruptly in 2015." [Screen Daily]

    "Matt Zoller Seitz has a recurring dream." Chris Vognar profiles the critic: "He lives and writes and watches and tweets at a ridiculous pace and demands nothing less than perfection from himself." [Dallas Morning News]

    "L.A, America’s future spaceport." Geoff Manaugh writes: "private space investment promises to turn Southern California into the nation’s spaceport. Los Angeles, city of terrestrial stars, is becoming a gateway to celestial stars anew." [The Atlantic]

    What else we're seeing...

    + "Mark Ruffalo convinced Josh Brolin to play Thanos." [Late Night]

    + "Jamie Foxx had to regain his funny after watching Chris Tucker." [Late Show]

    + "Jim Acosta on being hated by the White House." [Kimmel Live]

    Today in 1991...

    + What About Bob? hits theaters: "Murray and Dreyfuss play off each other to their maximum advantage." Review

    Today's birthdays: Lena Waithe, 34, Trent Reznor, 53, Craig Ferguson, 56, Enya, 57, Simon Fuller, 58, Bob Saget, 62,