What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:12 AM 3/14/2018

by Ray Rahman

The Crown Still Season 2 - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of Netflix

What's news: Nancy Dubuc is officially Vice's new CEO. Plus: More names (including Ari Emanuel) join the inclusion rider movement, Fox News is hit with a lawsuit and Viacom suspends programming for a cause. — Ray Rahman

[Note: To receive this Today in Entertainment newsletter by email each weekday, click here.]


  • Vice Lands Dubuc

    It's official, write Lacey Rose and Natalie Jarvey:

    Vice's new look: Former A+E Networks chief Nancy Dubuc will be stepping in as CEO, filling a role long assumed by co-founder Shane Smith — who will now serve as executive chairman.

    How it happened: Recognizing the value of having a female at the helm and already having a short-hand with Dubuc, a vocal advocate for women in Hollywood, Smith is said to have recruited her to the top position. 

    Smith: "Why Nancy Dubuc? Simply put, because rarely in business do you get to work in a perfect partnership … I get to work with one of my best friends and media heroes. We are a modern day Bonnie and Clyde, and we are going to take all your money."

    Dubuc: "Shane and the team at Vice have done what all of us aspire to do — build a brand and make content that people really care about … It’s an honor to join a brand with such tremendous opportunity, and I look forward to growing the platform for decades to come." Full story.

    The Crown's pay disparity ...

    Mind the gap: Despite playing the show's ruling monarch, it turns out Claire Foy was making considerably less than her royal counterpart Matt Smith on Netflix's The Crown. That won't be the case in future seasons: "Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen," exec producer Suzanne Mackie said. (Foy, of course, won't be on the show any longer — Olivia Colman takes over the role starting next season.)

    Fox News faces litigation ...

    Sued: The parents of murdered Capitol Hill staffer Seth Rich are suing Fox News for emotional distress, claiming its coverage of the crime painted their son as a traitor and has prevented them from properly dealing with his death.

    Also named in the suit: Reporter Malia Zimmerman and guest Ed Butowsky

    Backstory: Rich was shot in the back in D.C. in July 2016 while employed by the DNC, and law enforcement classified the death as a botched robbery. On May 16, Fox News ran a story alleging that the staffer had leaked thousands of internal DNC emails to WikiLeaks. The story went viral and sparked theories that the alleged leak and his death were connected.

    Larry Kudlow, on his way up ...

    White House calling: The CNBC senior contributor, who has been floated as a top candidate to replace Gary Cohn as President Donald Trump's top economic adviser, got a strong endorsement from the man who will make the hiring decision. "He's a very, very talented man, a good man, and I think Larry Kudlow has a good chance," Trump said yesterday. "I'm also speaking to many others, but I think Larry has a very good chance."

    Jake Paul's new calling ...

    Activist? The popular YouTube vlogger (and brother of the controversial Logan Paul) is dipping his toes into the political realm with his latest video, titled "It's time to end school shootings," which features Marco Rubio. The video has 2.6 million views already.

    HBO exec apologizes ...

    "Embarrassed": Senior vp drama Francesca Orsi says she regrets saying that the Big Little Lies cast's salary demands for season two "raped" the premium cable network. “Obviously, I am embarrassed by my poor choice of words. We are extremely proud of Big Little Lies and excited for the second season," Orsi said in a statement.

    Over at SXSW ...

    YouTube's new strategy: How does the platform plan to combat fake news? Susan Wojcicki, CEO of the Google-owned video streaming giant, has the answer: She said that YouTube will begin featuring text from Wikipedia and other third-party sources alongside videos focused on popular internet conspiracy theories.

    Will it help? Not everyone's sure: "the problem with youtube foisting fact-checking/context, etc. off onto wikipedia is not that it will ruin wikipedia with edit wars, but that it misunderstands the problem, which is in [YouTube's] platform design," tweeted New York Magazine's Max Read.

    Viacom's moment of silence ...

    National walk-out day: In observance of a nationwide student protest against gun violence, MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, Comedy Central and other Viacom networks will suspend programming at 10 a.m. in each time zone for 17 minutes.  

    FX's big pickup ...

    Silicon Valley drama: Annihilation and Ex Machina writer-director Alex Garland has set up a Silicon Valley drama called Devs at FX as a pilot order. Garland will write, direct and executive produce the pilot, which reunites him with Scott Rudin, who will exec produce alongside DNA TV.

    Plot: The project revolves around a young computer engineer, Lily, who investigates the secretive development division of her employer, a cutting-edge tech company based in San Francisco, which she believes is behind the disappearance of her boyfriend.

    In other TV news ...

    ? Cagney and Lacey sets its team: The CBS pilot has snagged Grey's Anatomy alum Sarah Drew as Cagney; she'll be joined by Michelle Hurd (Blindspot) as her partner Lacey.

    ? CBS also lands Tone Bell: He'll join the multicamera comedy pilot Fam as the male lead opposite Nina Dobrev.

    ? Deal or No Deal will return on CNBC: The network is reviving and reimagining — but still keeping host Howie Mandel — for a reboot of the popular game show, which originally ran on NBC from 2005 to 2009 (and where Meghan Markle famously got her start).

    ? Starz renews Power: The show will return for a sixth season.

    ? A correction: Yesterday's newsletter stated that that Netflix picked up Loren Bouchard's new animated comedy Central Park — in fact, it was Apple.

    On the Obamas' potential Netflix deal ...

    Critic's notebook: "With all the stars seemingly at Netflix, the Obamas are big fishes but not the only big fishes," writes Tim Goodman. "And may the TV gods help them if they think that waltzing in and offering up a bunch of eat-your-vegetable programming to the insta-pleasure Stranger Things streamer is going to work as a content philosophy. Netflix is not PBS." Read more.

    Speaking of ...

    Is Netflix developing its own 60 Minutes? Per MarketWatch: "The streaming service is in the early stages of developing what it hopes will be a “sharp, balanced” news show. ... A TV executive, who recently collaborated with Netflix on a documentary series, said the streaming giant is planning a weekly news magazine show to rival longstanding network shows CBS’s 60 Minutes and ABC’s 20/20."

    Elsewhere ...

    ? This Is Us: 9 burning questions for season 3. A look at the biggest questions that remain after last night's season two finale, including: Who are Randall and Tess discussing in the flash-forward? Will Kevin and his new girlfriend last? Read more | Chrissy Metz interview | Producer interview

    ? Why Speechless is doing a musical number — about jury duty. Series creator Scott Silveri shares how the writers on his ABC comedy about a family with a special-needs child overcame some pretty impossible odds to complete the elaborate performance from star Minnie Driver. Full guest column.

  • Feig Signs Up

    The inclusion rider movement scored another victory ...

    Paul Feig is in: Feig tweeted on Tuesday morning that he, through projects under his Feigco Entertainment banner, would pledge his support of the proposed contract that was introduced into the greater Hollywood lexicon after Frances McDormand name-checked it in her Oscars acceptance speech. He joins Michael B. Jordan, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in joining the movement.

    Ari Emanuel, too: "It is imperative that you have a conversation with your film and TV clients about this critical issue," the Endeavor CEO wrote wrote in a memo to WME staff on Monday, one day after USC's Stacy Smith addressed the company. "We also know that talking about inclusivity is not enough. It must be institutionalized in order to create change." Read the full memo.

    De Niro rips Trump ...

    Fundraiser: The same night Donald Trump was in Beverly Hills for his own fundraiser, Robert De Niro was at a benefit in L.A. publicly excoriating the president and "the Trump world of dishonesty and greed."

    Sample excerpt: “A college education is important, but education without humanity is ignorance. Look at our president. He made it through the University of Pennsylvania, so he was exposed to a quality education, but he’s still an idiot ... Of course, he did have to overcome the curse of growing up rich and spoiled. And endure the heartbreak of bone spurs. Maybe that had an effect.” Read more.

    Greatest Showman update...

    Bump: "Last weekend, The Greatest Showman posted a huge 26% upturn in its takings in the U.K. and Ireland compared with the previous weekend. That's in its 11th week of release, taking its total to £37.3m - and giving it a longevity that's virtually unheard of in the world of here today, gone tomorrow popcorn fodder" the BBC colorfully reported

    Rotten Tomatoes' new competitor ...

    CherryPicks: That's the name of producer/director Miranda Bailey's new site, which featuring reviews exclusively from female critics. "We're creating a platform where women can go to and see what other critics that are their gender think about art and media," Bailey says. Read more.

    About Stephen Hawking ...

    R.I.P.: The British theoretical physicist, author of the worldwide best-selling book A Brief History of Time and the subject of the Oscar-nominated film The Theory of Everything, has died at the age of 76. His children confirmed the news in a statement: "We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today. He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years." Read more.

    Elsewhere in film ...

    ? Nicolas Cage's drug thriller: The actor will lead a cast that includes Laurence Fishburne, Leslie Bibb and Adam Goldberg for the border-crossing thriller Running With the Devil from Navy SEAL Jason Cabell.

    ? Madonna's next movie: She's set to direct the feature Taking Flight, based on the life of ballerina Michaela DePrince, for MGM.

    ? The Fantastic Beasts 2 trailer is here: The franchise is bringing its magic back to Europe. Watch.

  • Amanpour's New Beat

    The veteran correspondent, who rose to prominence as a boots-on-the-ground reporter dodging danger in war zones, is shifting her focus, writes Marisa Guthrie:

    “It was not the easiest thing for me to do, to sit and talk about people’s sex lives,” says Christiane Amanpour.

    Her upcoming limited series, Sex & Love Around the World, is a stark departure — for her and CNN. “Mostly when you think, sex and television [news] you think sex trafficking, you think child brides. This is exactly the opposite. It's the vital other side that never gets explored.”

    The idea for the series was borne of Amanpour’s curiosity about how people, particularly women, maintain intimacy in war zones. “It’s incredibly intimate and powerful material," says executive producer Anthony Bourdain. "I think it’s really going to surprise the hell out of people." Read more.

    What else we're reading ...

    — "AT&T and Justice Department are on a collision course." Meg James writes: "The trial's outcome will go far beyond who produces the next Batman movie." [Los Angeles Times]

    — "At the Fox News site, a sudden focus on women as sex offenders." Jonathan Galinsky writes: "Instances of female teachers sexually abusing male students are rare. But stories on the subject have lately taken up a lot of space at FoxNews.com." [New York Times]

    — "Summer movie season is over. Welcome to summer movie year." Todd VanDerWerff writes: "It doesn’t matter what month it is. There’s a new 'summer movie' opening." [Vox]

    — "Tracy Morgan is a survivor. And 'a better man now.'" Dave Itzkoff's profile: "He is more than ready to move forward, as feisty, as fiery and as occasionally prone to fly off the handle as he has ever been." [New York Times]

    — "How Sharon Stone won a rom-com leading role written for a 25-year-old." Julie Miller interviews the actress: "I said, 'I think it would be more interesting if I play the daughter.'" [Vanity Fair]

    — "Kelly Marie Tran has a story to tell." Nicole Chung asks the Last Jedi breakout: "So what comes after Star Wars?" [GQ]

    — "Shia LaBeouf is ready to talk about it." Eric Sullivan's profile of the actor begins: "Shia LaBeouf is nervous about this story — 'I have so much fear about this thing,' he confesses to me when we first meet — and it drives him to do what he’s always done when faced with something he cannot fully control: Prepare. Obsessively." [Esquire]

    — "What kills good movies (It's not bad reviews)." Richard Brody writes: "In the past decade, film criticism has become better than ever." [New Yorker]

    — "How Spring Awakening inspired a generation of theater fans." Esther Zuckerman writes: "Even now, more than a decade later, Spring Awakening touches a raw nerve that takes me right back to when I was an inexperienced, stressed-out junior hoping that a boy would just notice me." [Vulture]

    — "How Lewis Black's righteous anger has gotten us through two decades of craziness." John Hugar writes an appreciation of the seasoned comedian. [Splitsider]

    — "Here are all the Pixar-themed treats coming to Disney parks this year." Including Ratatouille-themed beignets. [Eater]

    What else we're seeing ...

    + "Angela Bassett describes the waterfall scenes in Black Panther." [Late Show]

    + "Andy Samberg on having drinks with Mark Hamill." [Jimmy Kimmel Live!]

    + "Ricky Gervais enjoys freaking out Twitter trolls." [Tonight Show]

    What else we're hearing ...

    + "Doctor Strange with Amy Landecker." The actress discusses her almost entirely cut role in the 2016 Marvel film. [I Was There Too / Earwolf]

    + "The case of the missing Black-ish episode." What happened at ABC? [Screengrab / KCRW]

    Today's birthdays: Ansel Elgort, 24, Steph Curry, 30, Corey Stoll, 42, Betsy Brandt, 45, Kevin Williamson, 53, Billy Crystal, 70, Michael Caine, 85, Quincy Jones, 85.