What Matters in Hollywood Today

6:56 AM 8/8/2017

by THR Staff

Illustration by Victor Kerlow

What's news: CNN is going to be staying in the Time Warner stable, AT&T's top entertainment exec says. Plus: HBO hackers leak emails online, Tidal hires its fourth CEO, Netflix makes a bold comics buy, The Young Turks raise $20M and Showtime likely won't be reviving Twin Peaks again. — Matthew Belloni and Erik Hayden

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  • CNN Isn't For Sale

    John Lamparski/Getty Images

    AT&T will not sell CNN after its acquisition of parent Time Warner closes, according to incoming Entertainment Group chief John Stankey, who spoke with Kim Masters in his first interview since he was named as the exec to lead Time Warner. Some highlights:

    + There will be no changes with respect to CNN's editorial independence. “You can’t run a national news organization with that importance to our society without maintaining its editorial independence," Stankey says.

    + With respect to possible layoffs after the deal closes, Stankey says: "Because this is a vertical deal with no overlap in our businesses, you won't see layoffs, with a few exceptions of duplication at the corporate level. We want those people [at Time Warner] to be around."

    + He expresses support for Warners CEO Kevin Tsujihara. "Categorically, to the extent that Kevin is interested in continuing to work with us, we’d love to have him here," Stankey says. "He’s a talented guy."

    + As for Time Warner’s TMZ, which has also been the subject of sale speculation, Stankey says he is still unfamiliar with the property. Overall, however, he says AT&T is buying a collection of assets and has “no intention to divest any of that or restructure it, unequivocally, bar none.”

    Elsewhere in TV...

    HBO hackers leak top exec's emails. The hackers behind the data breach have now posted a cache of internal documents, including a script summary of an upcoming Game of Thrones episode and a month's worth of emails from the inbox of one of the company's execs.

    + HBO statement: "HBO believed that further leaks might emerge from this cyber incident when we confirmed it last week. As we said, the forensic review is ongoing."

    CBS beats earnings expectations. The company said ad revenue grew to $1.3B, while content licensing/distribution was up to $1.1B from $943M and affiliate/sub fees were up to $848M from $733M. "A lot of money is going into Colbert," CEO Leslie Moonves said.

    Showtime likely won't revive Twin Peaks again. "I don't think so, but it's not impossible. [David Lynch and I are] both avoiding the conversation for a while; we want to let the story coalesce and see how people feel at the end," Showtime CEO David Nevins said at TCA.

    The Young Turks politics network raises $20M. Former MSNBC anchor Cenk Uygur's venture has raised a new funding round that was led by 3L Capital. Greycroft, e.ventures and WndrCo, Jeffrey Katzenberg’s firm, also participated.

    OWN renews Greenleaf for season three. Oprah Winfrey's network has ordered more of the megachurch drama, which is produced by Lionsgate. Additionally, Rick Fox has been promoted to series regular for the forthcoming third season.

    ^Debuting today: Apple's bet on Carpool Karaoke. The show could come to be known as one of the few projects developed before Apple made its first big high-profile Hollywood hire. Natalie Jarvey looks behind the scenes.

    Netflix enlists Cher to voice rock diva. The iconic singer is voicing a role on the animated series Home: Adventures With Tip & Oh, Netflix's adaptation of the feature film that hails from DreamWorks Animation TV. She will also sing on the episode.

    Netflix's Atypical, reviewed. Jennifer Jason Leigh and Michael Rapaport star as parents of an autistic teen in the series. Tim Goodman's takeaway: "you watch it go from potential Netflix gem to no-thanks network hash in roughly four episodes."

    Anonymous Content extends Paramount TV first-look deal. The studio has extended its first-look deal with the production company through the end of 2019. Thus far, the pact has produced four television series, including 13 Reasons Why

    Fox's American Grit eyes ratings low. Airing back-to-back episodes on Sunday, its first episode averaged just a 0.3 rating among adults 18-49 and only 920,000 viewers before a second episode brought modest upticks.

    R.I.P., Ty Hardin. The actor who starred as a former Confederate officer who wanders the Old West in the 1958-62 ABC series Bronco, has died. He was 87. Full obit.

    It's a deal (again): Tidal hires fourth top exec. "Richard Sanders, a long-time Sony Music executive and former president of Kobalt Music Group, has been named as the fourth CEO to head the streaming music service, according to a source familiar with the situation," Billboard's Dawn Chmielewski reports.

  • Netflix's Bold Comic Buy

    Jaap Buitendijk

    Why did Netflix buy a mini-Marvel? The streamer's deal to purchase Millarworld makes sense on several fronts, Paul Bond writes: 

    Netflix agreed to pay an undisclosed amount to purchase Millarworld, bringing graphic novelist Mark Millar into the fold in a bold move to own more of the superhero movies and TV shows it will make available on its streaming service in the coming years. 

    Millar is behind Universal’s Wanted, Lionsgate’s Kickass and Fox’s Kingsman (and an upcoming Chrononauts for Universal), so new content based on those properties might be off the table for Netflix for now, but he’s got more to mine, like Super Crooks, American Jesus, Starlight and Huck

    "Netflix is a distributor of other people’s content and if they want to be a player, they have to own more,” says Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities. “When you have an opportunity to buy Millar, you do it. He’s that good. He’s an intellectual property machine."

    The analyst doesn’t see a more acquisitive Netflix going forward. “Rather than buy another company, I expect Netflix will just sign more long-term deals with people like Vince Gilligan,” he says. “Netflix would love to discover the next Quentin Tarantino, for example.”

    Elsewhere in film...

    SAG-AFTRA contract gets approved. Members have voted overwhelmingly to approve the new three-year contract with the producers for film, TV and basic cable that was negotiated last month. The vote was 75.79 percent in favor. Details.

    Ruth Negga joins Brad Pitt in sci-fi film. The Oscar-nominated actress will star with Pitt in New Regency's Ad Astra, James Gray's upcoming epic, which is described as an adventure film about one man’s journey across a lawless solar system.

    Amazon lands Lucille Ball biopic. Cate Blanchett is in talks to star and Aaron Sorkin is writing the script, which focuses on the life of the iconic TV actress. The authorized biopic is being produced by Ball and Desi Arnaz's children.

    Sony Pictures Classics picks up Annette Bening drama. Directed by Paul McGuigan, Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool stars Bening, Vanessa Redgrave, Jamie Bell and Julie Waters and will make its world premiere next month at the Toronto International Film Festival.

    ^Trailer watch: Jennifer Lawrence's Mother! The first trailer for Darren Aronofsky's Paramount horror thriller is shaping up to be a thoroughly unsettling drama if the tense scenes and piercing score is anything to go by (opens Sept. 15). Full clip.

    Fox enlists Stranger Things director for thriller. Becca Thomas has been tapped to direct Malignant, a sci-fi actioner that James Wan is producing. It is based on a Boom! Studios comic titled Malignant Man that Wan co-created. 

    Disney's Lion King casts Alfre Woodard. The actress is the latest to join Jon Favreau's remake, voicing Sarabi, Simba's mom. Woodard joins Donald Glover as Simba and James Earl Jones, who will be reprising his role as Mufasa.

    First Deadpool 2 image of Cable debuts. Ryan Reynolds shared the first two stills of Josh Brolin as Cable, the X-Men character Rob Liefeld created in 1990 along with Louise Simonson. Photos.

    Paramount moves animated Amusement Park. The studio said that the feature, marking the directorial debut of Pixar animator Dylan Brown, will now be released wide on March 15, 2019. (Its most recent release date had been July 13, 2018.)

    ► Surprise: IM Global CEO Stuart Ford forced out. Sources say Stuart was forced out of the company Friday after disagreements with Tang Media Partners and CEO Donald Tang. Ford has been the face of IM Global, which is one of the film industry's leading foreign sales, financing and production companies. Details.


  • Bel-Air's $350M Listing

    Courtesy of Rogers & Cowan

    The Bel Air estate of former Univision head Jerry Perenchio, known as Chartwell, hit the market on Monday for an asking price of $350 million, making it the priciest home listing in the U.S., Peter Kiefer writes. The estate spans more than 10.3 acres.

    What else we're reading... 

    "What makes an actor look like a bad guy?" Ellen Gamerman writes: "Hollywood can transform almost anyone into a villain. But what’s the formula for a scary character whom audiences can’t stop watching?" [The Wall Street Journal]

    "Britain's first black film star, on Bond, racism - and turning 100." Xan Brooks profile: "From Thunderball to Inception, from punchy thrillers to mixed-race romances, Earl Cameron blazed a trail through British acting." [The Guardian]

    "How America lost its mind." Kurt Anderson's cover story: "The nation’s current post-truth moment is the ultimate expression of mind-sets that have made America exceptional throughout its history." [The Atlantic]

    "Queen of the wood nymphs." Amy Larocca on the making of Woodshock: "Who else but Kirsten Dunst could star in the Rodarte sisters’ trippy first film?" [New York]

    "You don't want a Friends reunion." Matt Wilstein chats with Matt LeBlanc, who thinks "a Friends reboot is incredibly unlikely, he also thinks it’s a terrible idea." [The Daily Beast]

    What else we're seeing...

    + "Billy Eichner launches an Emmy smear campaign." [Late Night]

    + "Jeff Bridges' The Dude is a Zen master in Buddhist circles." [Tonight Show]

    + "James Corden is obsessed with Sharknado 5." [Late Late Show]

    + "Laura Dern made 'pew pew' gun noises on the Star Wars set." [Late Show]

    Today's birthdays: Jackie Cruz, 31, Meagan Good, 36, Jon Turteltaub, 54, The Edge, 56, Keith Carradine, 68, Larry Wilcox, 70, Dustin Hoffman, 80. 

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