What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:13 AM 6/1/2018

by THR staff

Samantha Bee_2 - Getty - H 2018
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

What's news: Shari Redstone's grip on CBS gets challenged in a shareholder lawsuit. Plus: Trump pressures TBS over Samantha Bee's Ivanka slur, the Academy unveils its board of governors finalists, Warner Bros.' head of casting exits and a close look at Hollywood's year of the female activist. — Erik Hayden

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  • Shari Challenged

    Now that CBS shareholders have been teased with the possibility of wresting control of the broadcast company from Shari Redstone, they are going to court to make it happen, Eriq Gardner writes:

    The fight: For a few weeks now, Leslie Moonves and Redstone have been battling it out in court and in board meetings. With a potential CBS-Viacom merger in the background, a special committee of CBS' board of directors is asserting independence from its controlling stockholder — Redstone's National Amusements Inc. — and has voted to dilute NAI's 80 percent voting stake by issuing a dividend.

    The arguments: Redstone alleges the vote is invalid because the company's bylaws have been amended. CBS alleges that the amended bylaws are invalid because they are inequitable and impermissible under Delaware corporate law. In short, it's a mess.

    Also: It will come as no surprise to see Class A stockholders (Redstone) and Class B stockholders (everyone else) now directly engaging in litigation with each other. Full story. 

    Elsewhere in TV... 

    ? TBS under pressure from Trump over Samantha Bee. The president tweets about Bee's apology for using a slur against Ivanka Trump: "Why aren’t they firing no talent Samantha Bee for the horrible language used on her low ratings show? A total double standard..."

    ? FX to bring Lil Dicky to small screen. The cabler has handed out a pilot order to the untitled comedy starring the rapper-comedian. The show hails from the all-star team of Jeff Schaffer, Kevin Hart and Scooter Braun.

    ? Syfy picks up Resident Alien. The cabler has given a pilot order to an adaptation of the dark comic. It will be adapted for the small screen by Chris Sheridan alongside Dark Horse Entertainment president Mike Richardson.

    Quoted: "I am sorry to those who I offended, and I also take full responsibility for my 'likes' on Instagram that were hurtful and offensive." — Garrett Yrigoyen, an ABC Bachelorette contestant who liked Instagram posts that mocked undocumented immigrants; the trans community; liberal feminists; and that spread misinformation about Parkland, Florida, shooting survivor David Hogg.

    ^Cosby accuser set to break silence. Jeremy Barr emails: Tonight, Bill Cosby accuser Andrea Constand will break her 13-year silence and speak with NBC News' Kate Snow on Dateline. Snow shared the story behind the story with THR.

    + "For years, I’ve covered the story of women making allegations against Bill Cosby and Andrea had seen that coverage," Snow said. "I attended parts of last year’s trial and this year’s retrial. This spring, I wrote Andrea a personal letter just before I watched her testify. Days after the verdict, she agreed to sit down with me.” Early video. 

    CNN fires back at Morgan Freeman's lawyer. The network called a letter from Freeman attorney Robert M. Schwartz "rife with empty speculation, overheated rhetoric and in some instances plainly false assertions."

    ? Fox's Last Man Standing revival brings back showrunner. Kevin Abbott, who served as the Tim Allen comedy's third showrunner, will return in the same capacity for its recently announced seventh season.

    ? SAG-AFTRA netcode contract talks begin. The agreement covers unscripted and non-primetime fare. The current iteration of the contract has been in effect for over three years and expires June 30.

    *R.I.P., Sid Cohen. The veteran television executive, who handled the syndication business for MGM, King World Productions and Paramount Pictures, died Tuesday in Marina del Rey. He was 84. Full obit.

    Also: Still thinking about that Americans finale? So are THR TV critics Daniel Fienberg and Tim Goodman, who chat at length about the twists, turns and resolution of the "powerful"  FX series ender. Full conversation.

  • 'The Crow' Chaos

    Sony’s planned reboot of The Crow has once again gotten its wings clipped, Richard Newby writes:

    Star and director are out: In the latest twist, star Jason Momoa confirmed he and director Corin Hardy were leaving the project. Financial issues are said to be the reason behind the film’s failure to launch, but the inability to get this project on the right track has now been a decade-long saga.

    Long-troubled: From script issues, budgetary concerns, the inability to find a director or star who stays on long enough for production to start, the project has encountered a development hell unlike any other comic book film based on a single narrative. It seems The Crow is cursed to remain dormant. Perhaps these latest exits are further signs that the notion of remaking the film should finally be given up. Full story. 

    Elsewhere in film...

    ? Warner Bros. head of casting exits. Lora Kennedy has been with the studio for two decades, amassing credits that include Argo, Syriana and The Town, as well as DC features Man of Steel and Wonder Woman. Memo to staff.

    ? Paramount's Blake Lively spy film adds star. Sterling K. Brown has joined the cast of The Rhythm Section as the movie prepares to resume production following Lively’s on-set hand injury accident.

    ? Fox Searchlight dates Keira Knightley drama. The post-World War II film The Aftermath, which was directed by James Kent and also stars Alexander Skarsgard and Jason Clarke, is now set for release on April 26, 2019.

    ? MGM/Warner Bros. cast YA adaptation. Riverdale breakout Charles Melton has been tapped to star opposite Yara Shahidi in The Sun Is Also a Star. Girls Trip scripter Tracy Oliver penned the film that is dated for a May 2019 release.

    ^Shia LaBeouf's new role: His father. The actor has aged himself up, going partially bald for his new film Honey Boy, in which he plays a character based on his father, Jeffrey Craig LaBeouf. Details.

    ? STX developing biopic on UAE president. Shekhar Kapur, who helmed Elizabeth: The Golden Age, will direct from a script by Entourage writer Cliff Dorfman about the first president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed.

    Paramount plans horror thriller Crawl. Kaya Scodelari is in talks to star in the low-budget movie Alexandre Aja is directing for Paramount. Sam Raimi is producing the film, which is set during a Category 5 hurricane. 

    Renee Zellweger's Judy Garland movie finds distribution. LD Entertainment and Roadside Attractions have picked up rights to Judy, directed by Rupert Goold. The film, from a script by Tom Edge, recently wrapped production.

    ? Slate picks up Luke Wilson's dark comedy. The company, which is fully financing the feature, is planning to release The Shitheads theatrically. Macon Blair wrote and will direct the road movie.

    ? Disney's Black Panther wins big at Golden Trailer Awards. The Ryan Coogler film took home the top honor and the most awards of any one film at the 19th annual ceremony. Full list.

    Academy board finalists: Jason Blum, Brie Larson and John Ridley. The first round of voting, which yielded these finalists, spanned May 14-18. The final round of voting, which will determine the winners, will take place Monday-June 8. Full story.

  • Year of the Female Activist

    Ahead of California's June 5 primary, a new generation of Hollywood industry leaders is working to influence 23 congressional and senatorial races and counting: "Men are used to running the show and we are the ones who are constantly having to fight for our rights." Full feature.

    What else we're reading...

    "Nikki Finke is ready to take on the midterm media scrum." Rebecca Keegan writes: "The once feared Hollywood columnist is training her eye on politics." [Vanity Fair]

    "Alicia Silverstone, with a new TV show, proves she’s not clueless." Margy Rochlin's profile: "In a Hollywood reluctant to give women second chances, Ms. Silverstone has rebounded from an early stumble, and is now starring in American Woman." [New York Times]

    "How Amazon wins." Jay Greene and Laura Stevens report: "The giant’s cloud-computing business offers a look inside its model for expanding. ‘You’re stupid if you don’t get scared by that,’ says one partner; others praise the unit’s chief for straddling the line between ally and rival." [Wall Street Journal]

    "I'm nothing but compost." Hadley Freeman profiles Bill Murray: "The actor talks about loneliness, big families, his temperamental reputation - and why he loves to live in the moment." [The Guardian]

    "Shades of the gray lady." Justin Charity writes: "A new documentary miniseries goes inside the Times - just not all the way inside. And what it’s missing is the real tension of America’s foremost newspaper." [The Ringer]

    *New! Emmys video: Lakeith Stanfield talks Atlanta (and the city of Atlanta). Full clip.

    From the archives...

    + On June 1, 1980, the words "CNN: The News Channel" flickered on the small screen as founder Ted Turner launched the cable network and said he expected to lose $2 million a month at first. Flashback article.

    Today's birthdays: Tom Holland, 22, Amy Schumer, 37, Gareth Edwards, 43, Alanis Morissette, 44, Heidi Klum, 45, Jonathan Pryce, 71, Brian Cox, 72, Morgan Freeman, 81.