What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:36 AM 4/3/2018

by Ray Rahman

Saudi Cinema_Comp - Getty - H 2017
Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images; iStock

What's news: The Saudi Prince dined with the stars — including Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas and The Rock — last night. Plus: The Golden Globes is up for grabs, Fox News stands by Laura Ingraham and all eyes are on Roseanne as the show returns for its second week tonight. — Ray Rahman

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  • Who Wants the Golden Globes?

    The awards show is up for grabs as NBC's exclusive negotiating window ends, writes Michael O'Connell: 

    NBC has had one of the longest-running awards show contracts with the Globes, having aired the ceremony since 1993. Losing the event would leave it without a major awards effort, though the network will remain on the likely continuing rotation for the Emmy Awards and recently acquired the Billboard Music Awards.

    For the Globes' part, sources say that DCP and the HFPA are pursuing all of the broadcast networks and some streamers for potentially acquiring the show. The latter option would be a huge blow to linear TV, which has at least maintained a stranglehold on event programming as so much other content heads to alternative platforms.

    Dick Clark Productions statement: "The Hollywood Foreign Press Association and Dick Clark Productions value our 25-year relationship with NBC and will continue to have discussions with them about extending our television deal. However, as the exclusive negotiation period with NBC has ended, we are evaluating offers from other interested parties." Full story.

    Roseanne week two begins tonight...

    Is the show a real Emmy contender? Scott Feinberg: "There could be a few obstacles in its wake. During its original nine seasons, Roseanne was never an Emmy darling. It did earn 25 nominations, winning four times in the acting categories. But it attracted only one writing nom and never was nominated for best comedy series. "

    However: "There is a whole generation of people working in TV today — many of whom are TV Academy members — who came of age with and greatly admired the original Roseanne, and really want to like the reboot, too.... As long as people like that feel that they can enjoy the show without feeling like they are abdicating their values, their ballot may be in play." Full column.

    Kareem Abdul Jabbar: Roseanne is really TV's most anti-Trump show. "While Will & Grace, another revival successfully reinvented for current political times, openly pontificates its anti-Trump bias, Roseanne is more subversive in its presentation of class struggles, health care, gender identity, and other issues that reflect the failures of the Trump Administration," writes Abdul-Jabbar. "And it does so with searing wit, satirical commentary, and profound insight." Read more.

    Week one ratings update: The new totals for the Mar. 27 premiere have the ABC comedy totaling 25 million viewers and a massive 7.3 rating among adults 18-49. Looking at just the audience, the 6.6 million viewer add-on from the premiere night is a time-shifting record. And that doesn't even include the additional 4.3 million viewers who tuned in to an encore telecast Sunday night — or the growth it will see from Hulu and ABC streaming.

    The Laura Ingraham situation...

    She'll be back: "We cannot and will not allow voices to be censored by agenda-driven intimidation efforts," Fox News co-president Jack Abernethy said in a strong show of support for the embattled primetime host. "We look forward to having Laura Ingraham back hosting her program next Monday when she returns from spring vacation with her children."

    Trump defends Sinclair, insults CNN...

    Yesterday: "So funny to watch Fake News Networks, among the most dishonest groups of people I have ever dealt with, criticize Sinclair Broadcasting for being biased," Trump tweeted. "Sinclair is far superior to CNN and even more Fake NBC, which is a total joke."

    Today: "Check out the fact that you can’t get a job at ratings challenged @CNN unless you state that you are totally anti-Trump?" the president wrote. "Little Jeff Zuker [sic], whose job is in jeopardy, is not having much fun lately. They should clean up and strengthen CNN and get back to honest reporting!"

    CW announcements...

    Ten come back: Fresh off news that it is expanding to a sixth night of originals for the 2018-19 broadcast season, the network has renewed nearly its entire lineup: Arrow, Black Lightning, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Legends of Tomorrow, Dynasty, The Flash, Jane the Virgin, Riverdale, Supergirl and Supernatural.

    Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's end run: According to star-creator Rachel Bloom, the show's next, fourth season will also be its last. "Just turned on my Wifi on our flight to Chicago and found out that #CrazyExGirlfriend has been renewed for a final season," she tweeted. 

    Elsewhere in TV...

    ? ESPN+ has a start date: The Disney-owned sports network revealed that its direct-to-consumer offering will launch April 12. For $5 per month, subscribers will get access to a lineup of live sports (including daily live MLB and NHL games), original programming and an on-demand library.

    ? BBC Studios opens for business, looks to China. The newly formed outfit, which employs some 3,000 staff members and has annual revenue of $2 billion, unveiled a further push into China as it looks for production opportunities in the growth market.

    ? Disney could acquire Sky News in latest offer to seal deal with U.K. regulators. The news came in an update published by Britain's Competition and Markets Authority, which has been looking at concerns about Sky News’ independence from Fox.

    ? Is Mario Batali plotting a comeback? Per NYT: "Batali, who has never been known for his patience, is asking that question — actively exploring when or whether he should begin his [comeback]. Friends and associates say he is floating ideas, pondering timelines and examining whether there is a way for him to step back into his career, at least in some fashion."

    ? What did Seth Rogen know? During his Monday appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Rogen claimed that Stormy Daniels bragged about “sleeping” with Donald Trump back in the mid-aughts. "She did mention it and again, at the time, it wasn’t that surprising," Rogen said.

    + Donald Trump's lawyer asks court to compel Stormy Daniels' arbitration. Michael Cohen says the "hush agreement" and its arbitration provision were valid as soon as he and the adult entertainer signed it.

    Looking back at Steven Bochco...

    Critic's notebook: Bochco achieved greatness by doing things his way. "With Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law and NYPD Blue under his belt, not only was Bochco's legacy cemented, but so, too, was his bankability and his reputation for not putting up with even an ounce of anyone's bullshit," writes Tim Goodman. Read more.

  • Hollywood's Saudi Arabian Night

    The Saudi Prince and his entourage dined — and took selfies — with the stars last night. Peter Kiefer and Abid Rahman write:

    Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, began a whirlwind trip to Los Angeles on Monday with a string of meetings with some of the biggest names in entertainment, capped by an intimate dinner at Rupert Murdoch's Bel Air estate.

    In attendance, sources say, were Disney CEO Bob Iger and wife Willow Bay, Universal film chairman Jeff Shell, Fox TV exec Peter Rice and film studio chief Stacey Snider, as well as actors Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

    Also there: Murdoch’s wife, Jerry Hall, Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara, Nat Geo CEO Courtney Monroe and filmmakers James Cameron and Ridley Scott. Read more.

    Where they stayed: The Four Seasons — all of it. The star Doheny Drive property is fully booked Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, and sources confirm that the Saudi Prince and his crew have reserved the entire hotel for their L.A. excursion.

    Box office update... 

    Chappaquiddick in trouble? The indie movie may not clear $4 million in its nationwide debut over the April 6-8 weekend, according to tracking. If so, Chappadquiddick will become the latest film about one of the members of America's most famous political families (in this case, Ted Kennedy) to get voted out of office by moviegoers. Full story.

    Elsewhere in film...

    ? Jeff Robinov's Studio 8 seeks to raise $200 million: The company is working with investment bank the Raine Group to find additional equity investors to finance new film and television projects.

    ? EuropaCorp stock jumps on report of possible sale to Netflix: Shares in Luc Besson's French film studio opened more than 30 percent higher Tuesday following French news reports that Netflix was close to buying the company.

    ? Helen Mirren's Oscars idea: “There really should be an Oscar for stunt work,” she said in an interview in the U.K. “These guys are incredible and they’re so careful and so professional. And they’re artists. They do amazing things.”

    ? Zazie Beetz joins Natalie Portman in Pale Blue Dot: The fast-rising Atlanta breakout is in talks to co-star alongside Portman and Jon Hamm in the Noah Hawley feature about an astronaut love triangle, of which Beetz's character will be a part.

    ? Tracy Morgan and Aldis Hodge sign up for What Men Want. They'll join Taraji P. Henson in Paramount's gender-swapped version of the 2000 Nancy Meyers-directed What Women Want.

    Apple speculation...

    Which studio would Apple want to buy? The latest rumor that Apple had kicked the tires on an acquisition of A24 has reignited speculation that the tech giant wants to buy a studio so it can better compete with Netflix, Amazon and Hulu in the lucrative streaming media market. Apple has $285 billion in cash, so it can afford to buy practically anything it wants.... Read more.

  • Samuel L. Jackson Remembers MLK's Funeral

    On the 50th anniversary of the civil rights leader's assassination, the actor recalls being an usher at the funeral, how the tragedy propelled him into activism and why he staged a lock-in that got him expelled from college:

    "We flew back that night and went to Sisters Chapel at Spelman College, where Dr. King was lying in state. The next day was the funeral. They needed volunteers to help people find their way around campus, and I became an usher.

    "I remember Mahalia Jackson singing. I'd been listening to her all my life, so it was great to hear her sing 'Precious Lord, Take My Hand' live. I remember seeing people like Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier. People that I thought I'd never see, let alone have a relationship with later on in life. The funeral was pretty much a blur." Full guest column.

    What else we're reading...

    — "CBS set to make below-market bid for Viacom." James Fontanella-Khan and Eric Platt write: "A merger would reunite CBS and Viacom 13 years after Sumner Redstone, whose National Amusements holds nearly 80 percent of voting shares in each group, decided to split the two in an effort to unlock the value of Viacom." [Financial Times]

    — "What's at stake for Wall Street in Spotify's unorthodox IPO." John Detrixhe lays out today's big financial-world news. [Quartz]

    — "Spotify CEO Daniel Ek: Once the music industry's slayer, now its savior." Maureen Farrell and Anne Steele write: "People close to him say he is steadfast in his belief that technology and transparency will win over the old-school music business." [Wall Street Journal]

    — "Joaquin Phoenix, by Will Ferrell." Ferrell interviews Phoenix, and the result is...interesting. [Interview

    — "Six thoughts on Get Up!, ESPN's new morning show." Bryan Curtis writes: "Get Up! doesn’t strive to be a Good Morning America–style show that whirls between hard news and remote interviews." [The Ringer]

    — "Facebook and the reckoning of the modern self." Jared Keller writes: "The most disturbing insight into the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal has little to do with either Facebook or Cambridge Analytica." [Pacific Standard]

    — "How Iron Man built the foundation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe." Siddhant Adlakha writes: "Marvel wouldn’t be where it is without Iron Man...but it certainly wouldn’t have gotten here without Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man specifically." [SlashFilm]

    — "How two indie filmmakers accidentally wrote a studio film for Emily Blunt and John Krasinski." A Quiet Place writers Bryan Woods and Scott Beck explain how the film came to be. [IndieWire]

    — "The Sandlot at 25: Director David Mickey Evans talks about the cult film's effect." Gary Goldstein digs into the film's secrets and its legacy." [Los Angeles Times]

    — "'It's Wheelmageddon': San Francisco is being overrun by venture-backed scooters." Maya Kosoff writes: "With millions in funding and an impending regulatory showdown, electric scooters are taking over the Bay Area — to mixed reviews." [Vanity Fair]

    What else we're seeing...

    + "Black Panther stole the idea from Tracy Morgan's Black Bobcat." [Tonight Show]

    + "Leslie Mann describes John Cena's butt." [Late Night]

    + "Jenna Fischer's wardrobe malfunction." [Jimmy Kimmel Live!]

    What else we're hearing...

    + "Phoebe and Gayle King take the high road." King opens up about black pride, motherhood and surviving the 24-hour news cycle. [Sooo Many White Guys/WNYC]

    + "When politics does (and doesn't) impact a show." A discussion about what Roseanne's success exactly means. [Very Good Television/Indiewire]

    50 years ago today...

    2001: A Space Odyssey premiered in N.Y. THR's review: "2001 will emerge from its initial long-run Cinerama engagements and subsequent extended runs as one of MGM's all-time box office hits, its wonders and its riddles generating sustained word of mouth and the kind of audience debate that promotes repeat attendance." Full review.

    Today's Birthdays: Paris Jackson, 20, Rachel Bloom, 31, Amanda Bynes, 32, Cobie Smulders, 36, Matthew Goode, 40, Adam Scott, 45, Jennie Garth, 46, Ben Mendelsohn, 49, Eddie Murphy, 57, David Hyde Pierce, 59, Alec Baldwin, 60, Jane Goodall, 84, Doris Day, 96.