Reese Witherspoon Dumped, Quickly Scooped Up On The Rebound

mark · 01/10/08 03:35PM

· With plenty of time on their hands these days to evaluate their relationships, studios have start dropping (and/or not renewing) first-look deals with partners with whom they've fallen out of love. Not even America's Sweetheart Reese Witherspoon (and her Type A shingle) has been immune from this recent caprice, though New Line was more than happy to climb into bed with her after a recent dumping. [Variety]
· A belt-tightening ICM is suspending several agents, who still will receive strike pay and benefits until the end of the labor war, and temporarily cutting some salaries. The silver lining: they're not laying off any assistants. (Yet.) [THR]

Bored Agents Flocking To Facebook To Screw Each Other During Their Strike-Provided Free Time

mark · 12/19/07 05:30PM

With precious few deals to make, phone calls from needy clients to dodge, and script coverage to pretend to have read during the strike, the industry's idling agents have been spending their sudden surfeit of free time congregating inside Facebook's virtual Mr. Chow dining room, giddily partaking of all the cutting-edge networking and sheep-tossing features they were once far too busy to enjoy. This week's NY Observer examines this phenomenon, even getting several reps on the record about how they use their favorite new toy:

A Missed Connection At The CAA Death Star

mark · 12/12/07 05:30PM

Though we at Defamer realize that the primary function of CAA's Century City Death Star is to wreak havoc on behalf of its clients, we hope—delusionally, perhaps—that the temporary evil-slowdown the agency is experiencing due to the writers strike might allow employees to use the space to achieve happier, less detructive ends. In the hopes of promoting this briefly opening window of opportunity, we pass along this Craigslist plea by someone hoping to reconnect with a staffer who caught his eye:

The Big O Makes Her Presidential Pitch

mark · 12/10/07 03:40PM

· Oprah Winfrey delivers an impassioned, 20-minute stump speech in Des Moines on behalf of Barack Obama, whose presidential candidacy was officially designated as one of her Favorite Things of 2007. In addition to the inspiration they received, each one of the thousands of Iowans in attendance at the rally left with his or her own copy of O's Guide to Life and a dozen Perfect Endings cupcakes. [Variety]
· VH1 greenlights eight episodes of Viva Hollywood!, its Top Modelesque talent search for Telemundo's next big telenovela star. There's also a $100,000 prize to cushion the blow when the competition's winner fails to capitalize on the big break and returns to his or her bartending job. [THR]

Defamer Holiday Gift Ideas: My First Crackberry

mark · 11/23/07 01:00PM

Looking for the perfect holiday gift for the fetus who has everything? As you roam the Beverly Center in search of Black Friday deals today, make sure to drop by the Baby's First Cellphone kiosk just outside the Sony Style Store, where you can choose from a variety of miniaturized BlackBerry and Treo models featuring keyboards tiny enough to be furiously tapped by even the most delicate of second-trimester thumbs. (Sorry, folks, no iPhones, as Steve Jobs decided that amniotic fluid would smudge its touch screen, ruining its cutting-edge aesthetics.) Help that future agent growing in your trophy wife's belly get a head start on his show business career!

CAA's Solidarity March Snacks Underwhelm Churro-Craving Picketers

mark · 11/20/07 08:13PM

[Note: UPDATE after the jump!] In what represents a clear snacking downgrade from the delicious, piping hot churros that had previously won CAA near-universal acclaim from the striking-writer community, the evil agenting monolith's conspicuously overdressed, munchie-proferring emissaries were spotted at this afternoon's Hollywood Blvd. Solidarity March distributing—audible gasp!—scones.

mark · 11/15/07 04:50PM

After drawing his 100-decibel HuffPo blogophone to his lips to let Hollywood know he's displeased that his personal strike fund is being rapidly depleted by his constant contributions to his children's swear jar (if this keeps up, they'll have enough saved for Priuses of their own by February), Endeavor superagent Ari Emanuel directs his frustration at WGA negotiator David Young, reminding him that all the red-shirted groupie tail he's been pulling after crowd-surfing at Guild rallies will dry up if he forgets what made him so desirable in the first place: "And Dave Young, the writers' chief negotiator, seems to be basking in the limelight, telling the LA Times that he was treated like "a rock star" at rallies and pickets all over town. Must be heady for a union organizer who came out of the schmata business. Yes, Hollywood is intoxicating. But Dave, you need to remember that people are hurting — and that this is not about you, and it's not about being a rock star. In any case, rock stars don't get the cheers and the adulation and the groupies and the money by not recording records and not going out on tour. They get in the studio, they hit the road, they make deals." [HuffPo]

mark · 11/14/07 05:10PM

Lost in all the hubbub over the delicious, if nutritionally suspect, sticks of cinnamon-caked goodness CAA's Armani-clad cater-waiters served to striking writers from atop sparkling, silver trays was the Agency for the Performing Arts' far healthier option: granola bars and Capri Sun juices, fare that earned the smaller shop 6 out of 10 health points in this round-up of picket-line snacks, a score easily surpassing the -2 assigned to the churros. On this day, at least, no one was asking, "Who the fuck invited APA?" [LAT]

Update: Innovative, William Morris Putting Assistants Out On The Streets

mark · 11/13/07 01:23PM

[Note: an update follows after the jump.] As it turns out, those call-rollers who were told that they'd be sacrificing their overtime pay to help their companies weather the writers strike were the lucky ones, as THR confirms that Innovative Artists has laid off about 10 of its assistants, a move the agency's head says is necessary for the firm's survival while the flow of executive-nourishing commission checks slows to a trickle:

F Your Consideration: Walk Hard

mark · 11/09/07 09:01PM

· Is this the best For Your Consideration ad we've ever seen? Could be. Though we're still partial to one from 1993 in which Jack Nicholson was depicted defecating into Tom Cruise's Navy officer's hat to support his Best Supporting Actor candidacy in A Few Good Men.
· If the strike drags on, we wonder if call-to-action videos like this one will start featuring the home phone numbers for Les Moonves and Jeff Zucker instead of their office lines.
· Here's what you missed, signage-wise, if you didn't make it down to the Fox rally.
· Guys named O.J. Simpson should probably start avoiding Vegas.
· The strike's hidden victims: coffee shops.
· Avoid these drinking establishments unless you're looking for representation.

mark · 11/09/07 07:37PM

As some readers seem weirdly obsessed with the specifics of CAA's pastry-dispensing activities at Fox earlier today, we're happy to keep the ball rolling with this reader-supplied anecdote: "It wasn't just pastries, it was Churros. Piles and piles of hot churros. The lady standing next to me took one from the besuited and $400 sunglass bespectacled agent offering them on a silver tray:
Lady: Ooooh, churros. Where are you guys from? What restaurant?
Agent: Creative Artists Agency
Lady: I'm sorry, where?
Second Agent in charge of carrying napkins two steps behind the main Churros-bearing agent: Uh, CAA?!?!?!
Lady: Oh."

mark · 11/09/07 05:43PM

From an attendee of today's Guild siege of Fox Plaza: "I was at the WGA rally. Assistants from CAA were out in full force with trays offering the writers pastries." While it's certainly generous of CAA to taks some time away from its regularly scheduled evildoing plans to service its striking clients, it's not like the agency might not benefit from the short trip across Century City. For example, if in the course of distributing those delicious pastries, some of the writers became distracted long enough for their infants to escape their momentarily unattended strollers or wriggle free of their baby-bjorns, somehow finding their way into the burlap sacks and butterlfy nets carried by other Creative Artists assistants, well, that's just a happy little side effect of supporting the cause. UPDATE: We're now told that William Morris was on the scene with coffee and bagels and UTA with Power Bars; with such a high concentration of agents bearing gifts for hungry strikers in that crowd, it's a miracle that any parents whatsoever left the rally with their young families intact.

Forest Whitaker Sells Out To Mountain Dew To Prove Someone Is Willing To Pay For Online Content

mark · 11/07/07 03:03PM

·The future of online entertainment is now, and Forest Whitaker is stepping boldly into the brave, new world of selling out interactively: the Oscar winner is teaming with Pepsi for a web-based fantasy game called Dewmocracy, in which players will ultimately help create a new, totally extreme flavor of The Dew . [Variety]
· In belt-tightening measures meant to help them survive the strike, agencies are cutting back on overtime, travel, expenses, and baby consumption. With the vast majority of their revenue tied to TV and film, a prolonged work stoppage could mean that chop-shops like CAA would no longer be able to afford the freshest, straight-from-the-nursery infants they're accustomed to gobbling, and may have to temporarily switch to cheaper, lower-quality frozen toddlers until business returns to normal levels. [Variety]

mark · 11/01/07 02:19PM

Faced with the possibility of months of lost commissions, Endeavor superagent/HuffPo superblogger Ari "Can't We All Just Get Along?" Emanuel makes a last-ditch plea for sanity during these tense, pre-strike moments: "I'm about to get myself in a lot of trouble. So be it... Listening to both sides in the looming writers' strike, it's clear to me that politics is about to trump sound economics. Neither the Writers Guild nor the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers is looking at the issue properly. If you look at the amount of money that was at issue during the last writers' strike in 1988, I bet it was less than the amount the strike ended up costing all concerned. And I believe that will be the case this time around, too. [...] Going on strike to lose more than you gain is not smart negotiating." [HuffPo]

Strike-Prepping ICM Tells Employees Not To Freak Out When Half Of Their Paycheck Disappears

mark · 11/01/07 12:04PM

Yesterday afternoon, ICM announced to its entire staff that now that an industry-crippling strike could hit at any moment, it seems like as good a time as any to hang on to a week of everyone's pay, giving the agency the "financial flexibility" it needs to keep the lights on. Sure, this unexpected move might cause "short-term financial challenges" to those employees who might find it difficult to afford luxuries like "food" and "shelter," but they're confident that the angry mob of assistants on the verge of rioting will extinguish their torches and lay down their pitchforks once they realize that missing 50 percent of their paychecks isn't due to a "salary reduction," just some little payroll system changes they'd been planning for a long time. The e-mail announcing the paycheck reduction follows; sadly, the agency's partners made no official offer to allow any adversely affected staffers to crash on their couches if their next rent checks bounce:

Vanity Fair Moves Oscar Party Dangerously Close To CAA Death Star

mark · 10/25/07 11:03AM

The shuttering of Morton's, the longtime home of the post-Oscar orgy where Vanity Fair invites a few hundred of its closest Hollywood friends over to enjoy a second round of congratulatory fellatio, has necessitated a change of venue for the most eagerly anticipated bash of the awards season. Variety reports that editor Graydon Carter has chosen Craft's new Century City outpost for this year's event, a location nestled so close to the CAA Death Star that the restaurant's management often has to ask the evil agency to change the position of the enormous laser cannon on its roof to minimize the shadows it casts across its dining area. Say Var:

Writerless Talk Show Hosts And Unemployed Agents: Looking At The Coming Strike's Real Victims

mark · 10/15/07 12:33PM

Catching a strong whiff of the fetid stench of fear wafting off everyone currently drawing a paycheck in the entertainment industry, today's LAT offers up two pieces on the looming™ writers strike that seems increasingly inevitable every time the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers break from their negotiating sessions to issue dueling press releases decrying the other side's commitment to destroying Hollywood with their unchecked greed. In his column on a possible strike's impact on the TV landscape, Scott Collins travels back to 1988 in his Labor Strife Wayback Machine to see if there are any lessons to be learned from the network schedules resulting from that year's crippling work stoppage:

Fortune Goes Inside The CAA Death Star

mark · 10/02/07 07:38PM

For undoubtedly strategic reasons that may not become clear for months—or even years—CAA has allowed a Fortune magazine writer to infiltrate the Death Star and publish a lengthy piece on the current state of the evil agenting monolith. While the scribe obviously couldn't get anyone with concen for their personal or professional well-being on the record about the agency's seemingly neverending reign of terror (said one "half joking," anonymous studio head whose spouse, children, and career are certainly already dead: "I value my wife and kids. And I value my relationship to CAA. If they don't like this article and I'm quoted, there goes my first look at the best projects.") the scribe did get some face time with partners like Bryan Lourd, Richard Lovett, and Kevin Huvane, as well as fly-on-the-wall access to some shadowy rituals rarely witnessed by outsiders:

CAA Assimilates The Yankees

mark · 10/01/07 01:51PM

· Agenting's Evil Empire joins forces with its baseball equivalent, luring the New York Yankees into their nefarious embrace with the promise of brokering lucrative new corporate sponsorships and keeping the clubhouse buffet stocked with the most delicious babies the Bronx has to offer. [*Full disclosure: As a lifelong Yankees fan, this one really hurts.] [Variety]
· Now using fifth-grade English reading lists to fill out his development slate, NBC perfect storm Ben Silverman has ordered 13 episodes of a drama series based on Robin Crusoe. [THR]