What's news: Donald Trump is still expecting a call from Disney CEO Bob Iger. Plus: Who gets paid after ABC cancels Roseanne, how far Solo may fall in week two, what Apple is planning for its next series order and unveiling the full, star-studded Drama Actor Roundtable. — Erik Hayden
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The abrupt cancellation of Roseanne will not come cheap, as several sources suggest that ABC and parent company Disney could be on the hook for "tens of millions of dollars," Lesley Goldberg writes:
The stars: Per multiple insiders, reps for the stars, including Sara Gilbert, Laurie Metcalf and John Goodman, who recently negotiated new deals for the 11th season at $300,000 an episode (up from $250,000 a year before), are expecting to still be compensated for at least 10 episodes of the season since, as many note, "Their options were exercised." Or at least that's the case they intend to make if ABC opts not to pay them for the jettisoned season. "They'll lawyer up if they have to," says a source with ties to the show.
The writers: What's less clear is if and how the writing staff will be compensated. Only a very select few — and maybe even just one — have a clause in their contracts that requires that they be paid for a minimum number of episodes, in this case 10, regardless of whether anything gets produced. (The scrapped 11th season was due to run 13 episodes, up from nine.) The remainder of the writing staff is contractually obligated to be paid only for produced episodes, of which there were none. Full story.
Elsewhere in TV...
? Nat Geo programming president exiting. At the company for four years, Tim Pastore will be replaced temporarily by exec Geoff Daniels before a permanent solution is found. His memo to staff.
? Apple orders Emily Dickinson comedy series. The tech giant has given a straight-to-series order for Dickinson, from Paul Lee's wiip, Anonymous Content, Michael Sugar and David Gordon Green. Hailee Steinfeld will star.
? ABC planning on The Middle spinoff. Fresh off the show's nine-season run and May series finale, the broadcast network is near a deal for a spinoff revolving around Eden Sher's Sue Heck.
? Lionsgate developing Primates of Park Avenue. The studio is teaming with author Wednesday Martin to develop a half-hour comedy based on her best-seller from Simon & Schuster. A network is not yet attached.
Quoted: "I am going to tell you the truth, she wanted it to happen, if you saw how her tweets escalated this weekend." — Tom Arnold, speaking about the racist tweets sent by his ex-wife, Roseanne Barr, and the subsequent cancellation of the hit ABC show.
Quoted, Part II: "Iger, where is my call of apology? You and ABC have offended millions of people, and they demand a response." — Donald Trump, keeping up his pressure on the Disney CEO after the cancellation of Roseanne.
^Netflix's David Letterman show gets Howard Stern to open up. The radio star spoke about his struggles with OCD, anger and betraying the trust of friends and loved ones during a period when he focused intensely on his career at the expense of his personal life. Full story.
? Viacom makes a bet on live events. The company is expanding revenue streams for events like SlimeFest and ClusterFest, with Comedy Central boss Kent Alterman saying live experiences help "solidify brand affinity."
? ABC sued over Michael Jackson TV special. "The estate of Michael Jackson on Wednesday sued ABC and parent company Disney, saying a two-hour documentary on the singer's last days improperly used the King of Pop's songs," the Associated Press reports.
? Netflix's Kimmy Schmidt final episodes to air in 2019. Co-showrunner Robert Carlock has revealed that the second half of season four, initially expected to arrive later this year, will instead likely drop next year.
? New TV ad measure index launching. Kristin Dolan's data company 605, in which cable giant Charter has an investment, has debuted The 605 Impact Index, which promises to measure the impact of advertising on branding and sales.
*About The Americans finale last night. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys open up about why the FX show's gut-wrenching twist was the perfect end. Q&A.
Also: Where the Emmys race stands right now. Scott Feinberg offers his latest assessment of the Emmys race days before nomination voting begins. In the top comedy category, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon), Atlanta (FX), Barry (HBO), Black-ish (ABC) and Silicon Valley (HBO) are among frontrunners.
That's the big question for week two of the Lucasfilm title's run after an underperforming $103M four-day holiday opening. Pamela McClintock forecasts:
Box-office observers expect Solo to gross north of $60M for the weeked, while the Deadpool sequel is tipped to earn another $20M-plus. If tracking is correct, none of the the smaller films opening nationwide this weekend will come close to matching Solo or Deadpool 2.
STX and Lakeshore's romantic survival adventure, Adrift, could fare the best with a launch in the $10M-$13M range. Johnny Knoxville returns to the big screen this weekend in Action Point, an R-rated ensemble comedy from Paramount that's only expected to earn $4M-$7M in its domestic start. Full preview.
Elsewhere in film...
? Paramount's Sonic the Hedgehog finds star. James Marsden is set for the lead in the upcoming film based on the classic SEGA video game character, which will use a mix of live action and CGI. Sonic will be helmed by first-time feature director Jeff Fowler.
? Netflix's The King rounds out cast. Robert Pattinson, Sean Harris, Ben Mendelsohn and Lily-Rose Depp have joined Timothee Chalamet and Joel Edgerton in the upcoming period drama. Production begins in June in the U.K.
? Amazon developing Anita Bryant film. Empire Strikes Back scribe Lawrence Kasdan will write and direct a movie based on the life of the beauty queen turned musician turned gay rights opponent for the streamer.
? Angelina Jolie, David Oyelowo team for fantasy. The duo are set to star in Come Away, an imagined prequel to the classics Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. Brenda Chapman, who won an Oscar for her work on Brave, will direct.
^Universal aims to restore more classic silent films. At a screening of a restoration of The Man Who Laughs (above) at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, the studio said that it will be restoring 10 new titles as part of the ongoing project.
? Michael Moore's Trump doc back on track? The filmmaker's tweeted warning to Trump (and Roseanne Barr) yesterday raises speculation that he has managed to secure the footage from his planned Fahrenheit 11/9 project that had been set up at the Weinstein Co.
? Pakistan bans Bollywood female comedy. The country’s censor board has banned Veere Di Wedding, a film about marriage and relationships, over "vulgarity" ahead of the film’s worldwide release on Friday.
? Tom Cruise teases turn in Top Gun sequel. The star is kicking the tires and lighting the fires on Paramount's Maverick, tweeting a picture on day 1 of production.
? Christopher Marlowe film in the works. Producer Gary Kurtz, director Greg Hall and screenwriter Francis Hamit are teaming up for a film about the 16th-century British playwright, a friend and rival to William Shakespeare, who may also have been a spy.
*R.I.P., Frank Doubleday. The actor, a specialist in portraying villains who turned in a pair of especially creepy performances in the John Carpenter films Assault on Precinct 13 and Escape From New York, has died. He was 73. Full obit.
Also: STX beats Sesame Street over puppet movie. "Judge Vernon Broderick on Wednesday ruled that distributor STX Productions can continue to use the tagline 'No sesame. All street' in promoting the R-rated film," the Associated Press reports.
It's here: Jason Bateman, Darren Criss, Jeff Daniels, Michael B. Jordan, Matthew Rhys and J.K. Simmons sit for a candid chat about terrible advice, lucky breaks, penis prosthetics, fear of musicals, the key to longevity and freedom in Hollywood. Full roundtable.
What else we're reading...
— "News is helping drive BuzzFeed’s Hollywood ambitions." Sahil Patel notes: "the publisher’s news division has helped BuzzFeed land its first deals with big-name buyers such as Netflix and Hulu." [Digiday]
— "'I’m sorry' gets more expensive." Suzanne Vranica writes: "Brands trying to repair their images are spending millions of dollars to apologize online, in print and on television." [Wall Street Journal]
— "The never-ending war on fake reviews." Simon Parkin writes: "For online retailers, the fight against the practice known as 'review brushing' is now a major part of the business." [The New Yorker]
— "How Big beat the odds." Jason Bailey writes: "When the coming-of-age comedy/drama hit theaters 30 years ago this week, it didn’t sound like much." [Vulture]
— "Zach Woods in the woods." Lauren Larson writes: "We took Silicon Valley’s awkward mother hen into the wild, dressed him in the splurgiest tech wear, and learned how to be men." [GQ]
+ Bonus quote: "The whole goal with this was to make sure that we didn't have hate speech on the service. It was never about punishing one individual." — Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, saying the company mishandled plans to remove music from R. Kelly and other artists from its playlists.
From the archives...
+ On May 31, 1985, Universal brought Chevy Chase's comedy Fletch to theaters stateside, where it became a summer hit. Flashback review.
Today's birthdays: Colin Farrell, 42, Paolo Sorrentino, 48, Brooke Shields, 53, Tom Berenger, 69, Clint Eastwood, 88.