What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:25 AM 4/13/2018

by Ray Rahman

the Hollywood Reporter's Most Powerful People In Media 2018 - Getty - H 2018
Ben Gabbe/Getty Images

What's news: Is Cannes what it used to be? Plus: An early look at this year's Emmy race, SAG-AFTRA's move to eliminate hotel meetings and details from THR's New York Media party. — Ray Rahman

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Inside the THR New York Media bash: Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Gayle King, Norah O'Donnell, Megyn Kelly, Spike Lee and more turned out to celebrate THR's eighth annual list of the 35 Most Powerful People in New York Media at The Pool in New York. See the gallery.

In attendance: Andy Lack, Dr. Mehmet Oz, David Rhodes, Brandon Victor Dixon, Al Roker, Carson Daly, Lester Holt, Martha Stewart, Eric Schneiderman, David Remnick, Jeff Glor, Richard Plepler, Dan Abrams, Gina Gershon, John McEnroe, William Bratton, Arianna Huffington, Tiki Barber, Craig Melvin, Tommy Hilfiger.... See the list.

Quoted: "You're on the list and I'm not! God dammit" Joy Behar to Don Lemon. "Mooch!" — Don Lemon to the Mooch. "I think the president is a New Yorker." — the Mooch. "We ain't claiming Agent Orange." — Spike Lee. "I wish I didn't have to go to work." —Sean Hannity as he walked out.

Odd pairing: Sean Hannity talking to Michael Avenatti, who represents adult film star Stormy Daniels. The two posed together for a selfie and had a "very good" conversation, Avenatti said. "We were just talking about the fact that we're both street fighters," he told THR afterward.

Sightings: Omarosa Manigault Newman exchanging phone numbers with Savannah Guthrie.... Marla Maples refusing to answer questions about Donald Trump on the red carpet.... Megyn Kelly catching up with Brian Kilmeade.... Richard Kind laughing with HQ host Scott Rogowsky.... Retta and Amber Ruffin one-on-one.... Joe Mangianello with his hand in his pocket by the pool.... Cristin Miloti with a crew on the couch.... Michael Wolff shaking hands with Don Lemon.... Spike Lee shaking hands with the bartenders.... Ann Coulter grabbing a slider by the bar.... Pat Kiernan chatting with Brian and Jamie Stelter.... Ari Melber in conversation with Anthony Scaramucci.... Ronan Farrow and Jon Batiste arriving late.... Everyone telling Savannah Guthrie, "You're so tall!" Full report.

  • Has Cannes Lost Its Luster?

    There's a creeping sense that the best in international cinema may no longer be on display at the festival, Todd McCarthy writes:

    “The only explanation is that the films they saw aren't too good,” or so a French film industry insider confided in the wake of the startling exclusion of numerous new works by prominent directors from the lineup of the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

    Stir into all this the ever-increasing reluctance of American companies to debut prime would-be awards-worthy titles this early in the year and you have a very patchy and confusing landscape.... Read more.

    + The Thierry Fremaux interview: "We're now in 2018 and the film industry has changed with regard to what I call 'cinematographic creation,'" the Cannes artistic director tells THR.

    "Netflix is behind that change, but they're also a company that loves cinema — just like we do at Cannes. But they have a business model, which is the Internet, while our model, whether it's right or wrong, is a festival where films are screened in theaters and then released in theaters in France." Full Q&A.

    Meanwhile, at the Beijing Film Festival...

    Filmmaker backlash amid increased censorship: Organizers recently cut gay romance Call Me by Your Name from the lineup, sparking a wave of negative attention as insiders worry how the international film community will respond to the crackdown. Full story.

    Stan Lee update...

    Concerns: Pow! Entertainment, the production company Lee co-founded in 2001, has released an open letter expressing its concern about the well-being of the 95-year-old Marvel Comics creator and hope that he’ll be able to “spend his time going forward without impediment or stress.” The letter follows THR's report this week on the alleged physical and financial abuse of the comic creator by his daughter J.C. Lee and several feuding men.

    SAG-AFTRA's new proposal...

    Nixing sketchy meetings: A once- and perhaps still-common industry practice came under fire from SAG-AFTRA as the performers union issued a guideline calling for the industry to “put an end to high-risk locations for professional meetings,” specifically including private hotel rooms and residences.

    The document, titled “No Auditions or Interviews in Private Hotel Rooms or Residences,” observes that “misconduct...often occurs outside of the formal workplace setting...." Read more.

    Bob Iger explains himself...

    Why he didn't run: The Disney CEO — motivated by the "patriot in me" but discouraged by wife Willow Bay — may have been closer to running for U.S. president than many may have presumed. In fact, it was a blockbuster deal for Disney to acquire most of 21st Century Fox that finally put an end to his flirtation with a presidential run, he revealed in a new Vogue profile.

    Iger: "Willow initially not only hated the idea, but put her foot down because she thought it would be highly destructive to our family."

    It: Chapter Two details...

    The new guys (potentially): James McAvoy and Bill Hader are in talks to join Jessica Chastain in the horror-movie sequel. McAvoy would play the adult Bill Denbrough, the unofficial leader of the group of kids nicknamed the Losers Club, who grows up to be a successful author (played by Jaeden Lieberher in the first installment). Hader will play the adult Richie Tozier, the jokester who grows up to be a DJ (first played by Finn Wolfhard).

    Kristen Bell's next movie...

    Musical comedy: Bell is attached to star in STXfilms' Fantasy Camp, where she will play a junior high school teacher who faces her fears and pursues her dreams while attending a Broadway performing-arts camp for adults.

    Elsewhere in film...

    ? Trailer: Timothee Chalamet's Hot Summer Nights. The retro coming-of-age film from A24 follows Chalamet as a summertime weed dealer on Cape Cod. Watch.

    ? Martin Scorsese's next Netflix project: The streamer has ordered an untitled SCTV reunion special, with Scorsese (currently at work on The Irishman for Netflix) to direct. Jimmy Kimmel will host the cast reunion in May in Toronto, footage from which will anchor the doc.

    ? Disney's live-action Mulan lands two stars: Jet Li is in final talks to play the emperor of China, who orders the mobilization of troops via the conscription of one male from each household, while Gong Li is confirmed as the villain of Mulan, a powerful witch. Details.

    ? Salma Hayek inks first-look deal with Lionsgate: The actress and her producing partner Jose "Pepe" Tamez will produce feature films for Lionsgate under the actress' Ventanarosa Productions banner for Lionsgate to release.

    ? John Travolta's Gotti finds new distributor: Vertical Entertainment has come on board as theatrical distributor and has set June 15 for the wide-release debut of the film, which was dropped from the schedule of previous distributor Lionsgate Premiere back in December.

    Warner Bros. hire: Michelle Slavich, formerly a high-ranking communications executive at Google, has been named executive vp global publicity and strategy for Warner Bros. Pictures. The announcement follows the retirement of longtime Warner Bros. publicity exec Juli Goodwin after 18 years with the studio. 


  • The 2018 Emmy Race (Already)

    Scott Feinberg kicks off the Emmy hunt with the first of what will be weekly assessments of the race:

    Best Drama frontrunners: Game of Thrones (HBO), The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu), This Is Us (NBC), The Crown (Netflix), Stranger Things (Netflix), The Americans (FX), Westworld (HBO).

    Best Comedy frontrunners: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon), Atlanta (FX), Black-ish (ABC), Silicon Valley (HBO), Will and Grace (NBC), Barry (HBO), GLOW (Netflix).

    Best Limited Series frontrunners: The Looming Tower (Hulu), Twin Peaks (Showtime), The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (FX), Godless (Netflix), Howards End (Starz).

    USA's pilot orders...

    Four new shows: USA Network picked up four buzzy dramas from producers including Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail, Denis Leary, Peter Berg, former HBO programming president Michael Lombardo and Tim Kring. The projects: Treadstone, a prequel to the Matt Damon-led Bourne franchise from Kring (Heroes); Leary starring in crime thriller Erase; Esmail's pulpy mystery thriller Briarpatch; and Berg's and Lombardo's competitive high school cheerleading entry Dare Me.

    Norman Lear's next TV project...

    Fried Chicken and Latkes: The TV legend along with Will Gluck and his Olive Bridge Entertainment banner and Global Road Entertainment are teaming up with Rain Pryor — the daughter of late comedian Richard Pryor — to develop her one-woman show Fried Chicken and Latkes as a single-camera comedy. A network is not yet attached.

    Kevin Hart goes to CBS...

    Reality show: The comedian will host TKO: Total Knock Out, a 10-episode series described as an obstacle course competition that the network dubs as "physical and funny." Hart: "This show is perfectly aligned with my global brand," Hart said of his first-time hosting assignment. "The minute Mark Burnett pitched me, I got it and we decided to work together. This show has the potential to make me look tall."

    Helen Hunt talks Mad About You renewal...

    Maybe? "It's not for sure yet," she told Ellen Degeneres. "I will say that Paul Reiser is in my kitchen a good amount because we're talking about how to make it and not wreck it, because we're proud of what we did.… It would be fun."

    Phoebe Waller-Bridge's HBO comedy...

    Pilot order: Two months after being taken out into the marketplace, the premium cable network has handed out a pilot order to comedic thriller Run. Waller-Bridge, creator of Fleabag and Killing Eve, will exec produce alongside Vicky Jones and have a recurring role.

    Plot: A romantic comedic thriller about ex-lovers who made a pact 15 years before that if they ever needed to escape life, they could send each other a simple text message — "RUN" — and impulsively disappear together.

    Broad City's end is near...

    The final season: The previously announced fifth season of the Comedy Central favorite will be its last, with the final season airing in early 2019. Meanwhile, stars Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson have signed a larger first-look television deal with Comedy Central parent company Viacom, with three projects already in development for their soon-to-be former network.

    Abbi and Ilana: "Broad City has been our baby and first love for almost 10 years, since we started as a web series," the duo said in a statement. "It’s been a phenomenal experience, and we’ve put ourselves into it completely...." Read more.

    Elsewhere in TV...

    ? Susan Sarandon will return to Ray Donovan: This time, she'll be a series regular. The Oscar-winner will reprise the role of studio head Samantha Winslow in the Showtime drama's upcoming sixth season after appearing on seven episodes during the 2017 run.

    ? Pose trailer: FX unveiled the first full-length trailer and premiere date — June 3, 9 p.m. — for Ryan Murphy's history-making drama, which will examine several segments of 1980s New York society and feature the biggest cast of transgender actors ever for a U.S. series. Watch.

    ? Jessica Jones gets a third season: Netflix has renewed one of its more critically favored Marvel dramas two months after its second season dropped.

    ? HBO renewals: Two comedies, newcomer Barry and veteran Silicon Valley, have both been re-upped for another season.

    ? Loudermilk renewed for season two at Audience Network: The 10-episode Ron Livingston-starring comedy from Peter Farrelly has been renewed for a second season.

    ? Dancing With the Stars cast: Among the next wave of celebrities joining the summer show are Adam Rippon, Tonya Harding and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Full list.

    ? RIP, Tim O'Connor. The busy character actor who portrayed Elliot Carson, Mia Farrow's father and Dorothy Malone's husband, on more than 400 episodes of the 1960s ABC primetime soap Peyton Place, has died at the age of 90.

    The case for Cynthia Nixon...

    Sex and the City writer Jenny Bicks: "I worked with her on Sex and the City, then on The Big C, so I've known her for many years. On set, she'd be balancing a BlackBerry and her onscreen infant child. She has this kind of ability to stay calm in these environments that are anything but calm...." Read more.

  • Marchesa's Comeback

    Georgina Chapman is plotting her post-Harvey Weinstein comeback, write Booth Moore and Beth Landman:

    "We were all happy to see her," Diane von Furstenberg says of Chapman's emergence from hiding last month when she attended a fashion function (and was met with applause in the room). "Georgina is a great designer, engaged board member, devoted mother and good friend. We all support her."

    Upward trend: Although there was a steep decline in the number of stars seen wearing Marchesa at the end of last year, since January the label has been worn at public events at least a dozen times, albeit by lesser-known actresses. Read more.

    Eric Schneiderman opens up...

    On the Weinstein Co.: "Our investigation is focused largely on corporate malfeasance and a hostile work environment. Sex abuse and harassment is a form of sex discrimination.... So we've been working to try to ensure that enablers of bad conduct are not unjustly enriched by this process."

    On Trump: "I have obviously not shied away from suing the administration when it does something that I think would hurt people I represent. When I sued him in 2013, I got a preview of what the world saw in his campaign, for which he set up a website to attack me. He sued me for $100 million." Full Q&A.

    Checking in on Hollywood's harassment investigations...

    Lack of consistency? In the wake of the #MeToo movement and the swift fall of Weinstein, Lauer, Spacey and others, workplace probes have proliferated, but differing standards and questions over whether to hire outside lawyers create "significant exposure." Read more.

    What else we're reading...

    — "How horror movies became the best bet in Hollywood." Sean Fennessey writes: "Horror is experiencing a sustained era of growth and diversity that is comparable to only superhero movies and animation." [The Ringer]

    — "Wyatt Cenac addresses his 'Problem Areas' on HBO." Dave Itzkoff writes: "It may not seem like television can currently accommodate one more topical late-night comedy show, but Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas is ready to make the case." [The New York Times]

    — "DC Comics publishers talk about redefining Superman at 80." Jevion Phillips interviews Dan DiDio and Jim Lee. [Los Angeles Times]

    — "Why parents are fans of games like Fortnite." Sarah E. Needleman writes: "Online multiplayer video games allow teens and tweens to socialize while playing." [Wall Street Journal]

    — "Something Borrowed and the phenomenon of rom-coms that hate women." Caroline Siede writes: "Like a lot of rom-coms made between 2000 and 2012, there’s a soulless, factory-produced quality to Something Borrowed." [AV Club]

    What else we're seeing...

    + "The Opposition confronts Alex Jones, accuses him of being a crisis actor." [The Opposition]

    + "Joshua Jackson owes his career to Jon Stewart." [Late Show]

    + "Sandra Oh on meeting Justin Trudeau." [Jimmy Kimmel Live!]

    Today's Birthdays: Allison Williams, 30, Glenn Howerton, 42, Bokeem Woodbine, 45, Ron Perlman, 68.