Week in Review: Strikes and other battles
EmptyWe're all doomed: Hollywood is broke! OK, maybe that's overstating things a wee bit, but a new report from media analyst Screen Digest's new U.S. unit paints a bleak picture. According to the study, 2006's slate of mid- to big-budget pictures will finish a collective $1.9 billion in the red after accounting for five years of revenue streams.
Speaking of the elephant in the room ... picket lines were hopping this week with kids (bring-your-kid-to-picket-duty day) and celebs (bring-your-star-to-picket-duty day). Meanwhile, away from the studio gates, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other politicos were working behind the scenes with writers and producers, U.K. scribes were officially pledging not to scab, and class act David Letterman was paying his writing staff out of his own pocket.
No writers? No problem. At least not for Endemol USA. The reality format producer gobbled up producer Original Media this week in a reported $50 million move that will allow the U.S.-based Endemol unit to expand into films and digital programming.
Guild fight!: IATSE president Tommy Short doesn't think much of the WGA strike action and said so publicly this week, releasing a letter in which he accuses WGA West president Patric Verrone of planning a strike "no matter what you were offered" and slams WGAW exec director's David Young's "incompetence and inexperience."
Broadway blues: Wulfert and Michelle, above, came from Holland hoping to see a Broadway show. Bad timing, guys. With Hollywood already at a crawl thanks to its own labor woes, stagehands on the Great White Way hit the bricks after three months of negotiations with theater owners and producers collapsed. Talks are to begin again this weekend, but 27 plays and musicals remain shuttered.
About those rules ...: Newspapers and TV stations in the same market -- never the twain shall meet, right? Not so fast, says Kevin Martin. The baby-faced FCC chairman has released a new plan that would ease regulations on common ownership of papers and TV outlets in the top 20 markets.
Judy, Judy, Judy: Remember that O.J. Simpson book that never quite got published? Remember how that led to Judith Regan's ouster at HarperCollins? Turns out that wasn't really the reason, at least according to a new $100 million defamation suit Regan has lobbed at the publisher and parent News Corp.
And it feels so good: Jason Reitman is reuniting with "Juno" scribe Diablo Cody, coming aboard Cody's horror-comedy "Jennifer's Body" as a producer. And Marcus Nispel is reuniting with the slasher genre, signing on to direct an updated version of the slightly less hallowed "Friday the 13th" franchise for New Line and Paramount/MTV.
'Family' affair: Lionsgate knows a good thing when it sees it. The company has locked up indie darling Tyler Perry -- still raking in the dough with "Why Did I Get Married?" -- acquiring rights to his next two projects: "The Family That Preys Together" and "Madea Goes to Jail."
Whew!: On a final note, we can all breathe easier knowing that E! has picked up a second season of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians." Oh, Kim Kardashian, what scrape will you get into next? Now we get to find out!