cityfile · 10/27/09 02:52PM

• Nell Scovell, a writer on Dave Letterman's show in the late '80s, has stepped forward to detail the show's "hostile, sexually charged atmosphere." [VF]
• Layoffs: Yesterday's cuts at Forbes claimed 30-40 people; reality TV-focused Teen Vogue laid off half a dozen staffers today; the cuts continue this week at W; and a big round of cuts could go down at Time Inc. sometime next week.
• Sarah Palin's memoir, which comes out next month, had already earned her $1.25 million even before she stepped down as Alaska's governor. [AP]
• Michael Jackson's This Is It debuts in theaters tonight. [NYDN]
• How's Jay Leno's new show doing more than a month in? Not so good. [NYT]

Good News for Neocons, Long Islanders, Al Roker Fans

cityfile · 04/29/09 11:35AM

• More trouble at Condé Nast: Ad pages at Vogue are down 31 percent this year and Vanity Fair experienced a 52 percent drop in May alone. The silver lining: Graydon Carter's lavish expense account remains unaffected. [NYP]
• The Sun really may be returning after all. As a website, that is. Seth Lipsky says "there's a business plan for the site in the formative stages." [Politico]
• This certainly isn't a good sign: It seems NBC is exploring the possibility of leasing out part of its headquarters in Washington D.C. [NYO]
• More desperate: NBC will air another season of Celebrity Apprentice. [THR]
• The Portfolio names/logos that never were (and more on its closing). [NYO]
Al Roker will co-host a Weather Channel show called Wake Up With Al from 6 to 7 a.m. Because waking up with Al is what you've always dreamed of. [NYT]
• Oprah Winfrey's Twitter usage is way down. So much for that! [AdAge]

Magazine Sales Fall, The Times's Survival Strategy

cityfile · 02/09/09 12:46PM

• Magazine newsstand sales tumbled during the second half of 2008. [NYT]
• The Grammys were seen by an estimated 19.1 million people last night. [AP]
• The Times reports on the Times's recent troubles, conveniently concluding the paper's "positioned itself well to ride out another year of recession." [NYT]
Steve Brill has a few thoughts on how the Times can save itself. [Poynter]
• Not surprisingly, SI is milking every last dollar out if its swimsuit issue. [WSJ]
• Following the news last week that Universal and DreamWorks were parting ways, Disney announced today it would distribute DreamWorks's films. [THR]
Jim Cramer's ratings are up; his stock picks are as lousy as ever. [Barron's]
• A Queens hairstylist is suing the Daily News after the paper accidentally identified her as "Manhattan Madam" Kristin Davis. Twice. [Regret the Error]

Letterman Begins Negotiations, Cuts at the Journal

cityfile · 01/30/09 12:03PM

• A round of staff cuts at the Journal may come next week. [Portfolio]
• CBS and David Letterman are negotiating a new deal to keep him on the network after his contract expires in 2010. [B&C]
• Is The New Yorker in trouble? [Gawker]
• Gannett, the largest U.S. newspaper company, is writing off $5 billion. [E&P]
• Dreamworks and Pepsi have a 3D commercial airing during the Super Bowl on Sunday. You'll need special glasses to watch it, however. [Time]

Market Robs Spielberg of His Dream Studio

Owen Thomas · 12/18/08 01:42PM

The spectacle of ordinary people coping with extraordinary forces runs throughout the cinematic work of Steven Spielberg. And now Spielberg himself is dealing with an unexpected crisis: A credit drought that could kill his studio.

STV · 11/19/08 12:52PM

Soloist Silenced Even Longer: Paramount announced Tuesday that it's pushing back The Soloist yet again, this time to April 24. The studio surprised even its former DreamWorks partners last month by drop-kicking the Robert Downey Jr./Jamie Foxx drama into 2009, culminating in an unceremonious dump-and-run in March and its withdrawal from the opening-night slot at last month's AFI Fest. The move is yet another slap in the face to the 'Works, whose loss of an '08 Oscar contender is only compounded by The Soloist's new, utterly insurmountable April competition Vanilla Gorilla. Insult, meet injury. [Variety]

David Geffen: You've Got Me to Thank for Obama

Kyle Buchanan · 11/07/08 12:11PM

Though Hillary Clinton was once seen as the inevitable pick in this year's presidential election, the first stain on her pantsuit may have come as early as February 2007, when gay mafia don/beach hog David Geffen broke ranks with the Clintons to endorse Barack Obama. "I don't think that another incredibly polarizing figure, no matter how smart she is and no matter how ambitious she is — and God knows, is there anybody more ambitious than Hillary Clinton? — can bring the country together," Geffen told New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd then, as his second assistant provided a helpful yes-man chorus of "Oh snap!" and "No she did not just say that!" Now, the LAT's Patrick Goldstein has caught up with Geffen to get his thoughts on Obama's once-unlikely victory, and Geffen dropped this tidbit about his own kingmaking ability:

DreamWorks Remembers David Geffen as Loving, Studio-Shopping Father

STV · 10/27/08 02:22PM

A tender postmortem in today's New York Times reminds the world yet again that seriously — like, really, this time — David Geffen is leaving DreamWorks. Having shepherded the monolith through the Hollywood establishment from conception to its first marriage (and divorce) before giving the frazzled bride away a second time in an arranged marriage to its dashing Indian suitor, Geffen's tenure is remembered fondly by his 'Works co-founders Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg. Not that they'll admit to knowing what they're doing without him.Such modesty! To a point, anyway: If and/or when his Reliance Big Entertainment honeymoon ever tapers off, Spielberg and DreamWorks president Stacey Snider really won't have the Geffen touch to help woo another international conglomerate into bed. But by then Spielberg, 62, will probably be ready to scale back anyway, and survival will be less about braintrust than brand (and the library it manages to develop with its new distribution partners at Universal). He shouldn't even be there now, if one of his more illuminating disclosures today is to be believed:

A New Baby for Brown, Arianna and Tina Make Nice

cityfile · 10/27/08 11:35AM

Campbell Brown is reportedly pregnant. [TVNewser]
♦ Arianna Huffington and Tina Brown aren't in competition. They're best friends! [NYT]
The Robb Report is on the market. The price? "Upwards of $100 million." [Folio]
♦ NBC has exiled the struggling Lipstick Jungle to Friday nights. [Variety]
♦ CNN's new (and appallingly unfunny) political humor show starring D.L. Hughley debuted this past weekend. [NYT]

Helen Mirren's House Of Ill-Repute

Seth Abramovitch · 10/23/08 02:13PM

· Taylor Hackford is shopping around Love Ranch—a brothel drama starring wife Helen Mirren (oooh!) and Joe Pesci (ewww!)—to studios in search of a distribution partner. [Variety] · Javier Barden has signed on for Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's new movie, Biutiful, a Spanish-language film about "a man embroiled in shady dealings who is confronted by a childhood friend." We smell cattle bolt fumes! [Variety] · Netflix, who we dumped since they decided to start charging more to rent Blu-ray (you hear us, Netflix? That's the reason. It wasn't us, it was you. Now stop e-mailing, because we found a new rental boyfriend) has hooked up with Samsung, whose new Blu-ray player is equipped to stream their movies. [Variety] After the jump: What director does DreamWorks have on tap to fill Chicago 7 with cameos by his friends?· DreamWorks's The Trial of the Chicago 7 is courting director suitors, having met most recently with Ben Stiller, who assured Steven Spielberg he'd only go quarter-retard in his portrayal of Abbie Hoffman. [THR] · Juan Carlos Gonzalez—who'd certainly adorn any Wheaties box celebrating the Neutral Olympics—looks to be the mediator brought in to oversee SAG-AMPTP talks. We're all but certain this will enliven the proceedings, as anyone who knows Gonzalez knows he can bring even the most bitter of enemies together through the power of mime. [THR]

Robert Downey Jr. Saved, Jamie Foxx Doomed in 'Soloist' Oscar Oblivion

STV · 10/20/08 03:18PM

The fallout from Paramount's recent release-date shuffle continues today, with agents and saber-rattling DreamWorks brass continuing their protest over The Soloist's move to 2009. While we sustain our first impression that the Jamie Foxx/Robert Downey Jr. tearjerker will in fact be better than the diabetic-coma inducing trailers already in circulation, that's not much comfort to those who fear the bump from November to March will impugn Soloist's profile among critics and audiences alike. But now, as a peace offering to the angry gods at CAA who packaged the film for the 'Works with its clients Downey, Foxx and director Joe Wright, Paramount has forged a silver lining for one-third of that jilted braintrust.Sort of. After all, can DreamWorks or CAA ever really find consolation in a Tropic Thunder campaign pushing Downey as Best Supporting Actor? They'd better — neither Downey nor Foxx had a shot at Best Actor anyway with Sean Penn (Milk), Josh Brolin (W.), Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler) and Brad Pitt widely foreseen to hold down four of the five slots, and the latter star's Curious Case of Benjamin Button (not to mention, to a lesser degree, Downey's Iron Man performance) already drawing from Paramount's awards war chest. DreamWorks insiders are still griping over some perceived revenge from Paramount, but even they'd acknowledge that The Soloist is better off with spring prestige all to itself. And that a nominated blackface performance is no doubt one of the least controversial ways to revive public interest in the Oscars. We're pulling for you, RDJ.

The Road to Oscar Hell is Paved With Dead Paramount Movies

STV · 10/17/08 03:25PM

What a mess: Paramount's reshuffling of 2008 awards bait including Defiance and The Soloist — the latter of which now won't open until next March — has left devastated Oscar watchers (including us) tossing out their carefully wrought Trophynomics™ calculations for the fall movies season. Few are more dismayed than the DreamWorks gang, whose hopes that The Soloist might at least cover the cost of hiring movers were met with the reality check that the 'Mount has more important, Brad Pitt-y things to do before year's end. We think this, along with other traumatic developments elsewhere over the last week, calls for an all-new Oscar scorecard; start over with us after the jump.So who's in and who's out? · The Soloist: OUT. The move to March 13 stings for everyone, especially with millions in marketing dollars already being spent ahead of the Jamie Foxx/Robert Downey Jr. drama's Nov. 21 release. Both men were on the bubble for actor nominations — Foxx as a schizophrenic cellist and RDJ as the journalist who chronicles his feel-good recovery journey — but Paramount's new conservatism (i.e. an intern hiding Brad Grey's checkbook) means it only has so many in-house resources to lend to its fall releases. The studio's semi-official insistence that the shifts have nothing to do with the film's quality or favoring its homegrown Benjamin Button and Scott Rudin/DreamWorks offering Revolutionary Road, but that's bullshit. It's not 2006 anymore; nobody can afford all this prestige at once.