George Clooney's Backyard Function for Obama Sets New One-Night Fundraising Record

Neetzan Zimmerman · 05/11/12 08:02AM

George Clooney's $40,000-a-plate fundraiser for President Obama, co-hosted by DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, took place last night at Clooney's Studio City manse, and was, by all accounts a resounding success: The event is believed to have shattered the previous one-night fundraising record of $11 million set by Obama in 2008, bringing in as much as $15 million thanks to the 150 deep-pocketed donors in attendance.

Meet Obama's Fancy Celebrity 'Bundlers'

Jim Newell · 07/15/11 04:07PM

So, campaign finance! Perhaps in need of some constitutional reform, hmm? But for now, the rules of the game for presidential campaigns are that you call all of your rich friends and have them bundle donations from their rich friends, "sometimes" in exchange for access or favors for everyone in this elaborate network of rich friends. So who's on the just-released Obama bundler list?

Happy Birthday

cityfile · 12/21/09 07:02AM

Samuel L. Jackson turns 62 today. Kiefer Sutherland is turning 43. DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg is 59. Ray Romano is turning 52. Andy Dick is celebrating his 44th. Jane Fonda is turning 72. Former talk show host Phil Donahue is 74. French actress Julie Delpy is 40. Jane Kaczmarek of Malcolm in the Middle turns 54. Former Mets pitcher Roger McDowell turns 48. Holly Peterson, the socialite and author of The Manny, is turning 45. And retired tennis champ Chris Evert turns 55 today.

The Scene in Washington; Jolie vs. Obama?

cityfile · 11/25/09 07:20AM

• Last night's state dinner drew quite a crowd. On hand of the occasion: Katie Couric (accompanied by beau Brooks Perlin), Gayle King (sans Oprah), Brian Williams, Mayor Bloomberg (with Diana Taylor), Ari Emanuel, M. Night Shyamalan, Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen (accompanied by his youthful boyfriend). Jennifer Hudson provided the entertainment; Naeem Khan was responsible for Michelle Obama's gold dress. [Politico, Reuters, NYP]
• She may not be in rehab (yet), but Lindsay Lohan is supposedly now in counseling and seeing someone a few times a week. It's a start, isn't it? [MSNBC]
• In what may be the most dubious story ever published by Us, a source tells the tabloid that Angelina Jolie "hates" President Obama because he's "all about welfare and handouts" and is really "a socialist in disguise." Naturally, the source goes on to say that Brad Pitt is still a fan of Obama, which means the two "get in nasty arguments" about politics "all the time." [Us]

Ben's Big New Deal, Another Rough Quarter For Viacom

cityfile · 07/28/09 12:45PM

• Ben Silverman didn't have much success during his two-year stint at NBC, but that didn't stop him from scoring a super-sweet deal with Barry Diller's IAC. His new venture will reportedly give him $100 million to play with. [NYP]
• Viacom, the media conglomerate controlled by batty billionaire Sumner Redstone, reported that profits plunged 32% in the second quarter. [NYT]
• Struggling McGraw-Hill reports quarterly profits dropped 22.7%. [PC]
• The Daily News and sportswriter Adam Rubin are refuting the claims of Mets management that Rubin tried to get himself a job on the team. [E&P]
Amanda Hearst has landed a job at Hearst's Marie Claire. It's a miracle! [P6]

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]

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:

Nobel Hopeful Steven Spielberg Brokered Fragile Peace Between Spike Lee and Clint Eastwood

STV · 09/22/08 05:10PM

During this year's NBA Finals, a courtside power summit at Staples Center provided stirring insight into the intimate camaraderie between Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Eddie Murphy. (You might recall Sylvester Stallone joining in when Katzenberg visited the men's room.) We're learning even more today about that alliance, which, in addition to Spielberg's orotund ref-hating, influenced detente in ways not seen since Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill converged at Yalta. The stakes: Peace between directors Spike Lee and Clint Eastwood, who had feuded over representations of African-American soldiers (or the lack thereof) in Eastwood's films. Lee remembers it like it was yesterday:

Baldwin's Pain, Palin's Jacket

cityfile · 09/17/08 05:45AM

♦ In his new book, Alec Baldwin goes off on TMZ's Harvey Levin, and says that the fallout from his infamously leaked voicemail made him want to commit suicide. [R&M]
♦ Barbra Streisand sang four songs at an Obama fundraiser last night. Attendees included Leonardo DiCaprio, Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen. [Fox News]
Anne Hathaway acted like a bit of a diva at an event in Toronto. She also smokes, which her publicist doesn't want you to know. [OK!, R&M]
♦ Sarah Palin's "secretive circle of stylists" dressed her in a $2,500 Valentino jacket for her big speech at the Republican convention. [P6]
♦ Bad news: Hugh Hefner says all three of the Girls Next Door are getting spinoffs. [E!]
♦ Even worse news: Heidi Montag and her sister Holly are "developing a top-secret project" together. [LAT]

Steve Jobs ruthless, Michael Eisner clueless according to new Pixar history

Jackson West · 06/23/08 04:20PM

Pixar, the computer animation company and digital film studio, was undervalued by everyone in Hollywood, from George Lucas who formed the original team at Skywalker Ranch to Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg at Disney. Steve Jobs, however, understood the potential for the company — and how to milk it for every penny. After buying the company for a mere $5 million, after Katzenberg balked on a $15 million price tag, Jobs hovered over the company like an "ominous cloud," according to Michael Hirschorn's review of David Price's new book detailing the company's history. At one point, Jobs squeezed more stock out the company so that the company could stay afloat — shortly before production on breakout hit Toy Story started production. "I’m sitting around here trying to make Steve Jobs richer in ways he doesn’t even appreciate," one employee quips. (Photo by AP/Eric Risberg)

mark · 11/08/07 06:54PM

Breaking! Could bite-sized—but volatile—DreamWorks Animation head Jeffrey Katzenberg be a secret WGA sympathizer? An operative reports from the Warner Bros. picket line: "Funny story today from the WB Gate 2 strike lines. Jeffery Katzenberg was pulling into the lot in his black Prius right in front of a bunch of us. Someone recognized him right away and in an act of God, he hit the red light. A lot of us starting shouting at him (not hostilely, in good humor) asking for just a leeettle bit of internet money. Trapped at the light, he gave us a few "whaddya gonna do?" shrugs, then right before the light changed we got a thumbs up from him! (at least I thought they were his thumbs) A good omen, right?" While the thumbs-up could be a sign that he's not totally unnmoved by the WGA members' plight, we don't know what business brought him to the WB lot; perhaps he was there to join his fellow moguls in a dark ritual in which the evil cabal sips from chalices brimming with the blood of previously defeated writers that's been aging in the Warner Bros. water tower since the 1988 strike, renewing their oath to win this latest war at all costs. Under those circumstances, the seemingly friendly gesture could be interpreted as somewhat less encouraging.

mark · 10/29/07 03:37PM

Quick-triggered DreamWorks mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg was reportedly involved in a simple misunderstanding during a recent visit to New York that resulted in a brief dust-up at the Four Seasons; apparently, a bar manager took a cellphone-toting Katzenberg's friendly greeting of,"Who the [bleep] are you? Do you know who I am?" the wrong way, mistaking the common L.A. idiom that translates to a polite, "Excuse me, dear sir, but I am engaged in some pressing business that demands my immediate attention. Please pardon this brief intrusion," for some sort of hostile expression of Hollywood entitlement. After a clarification, the two men shook hands, and no one was roughly escorted from the premises. [Page Six]

abalk · 09/26/07 08:20AM

Last week Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman, anticipating the departure of Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg from their deal with Paramount, suggested that if the DreamWorks pair left that it would have no effect on the company's bottom line. Yesterday, the pair slapped back at Sumner Redstone's company, naming Tom Freston, who was Dauman's predecessor at Viacom, to the board of DreamWorks Animation. It's more a symbolic gesture than anything else—what's Freston going to do, not buy Facebook for DreamWorks?—but still, every now and then it's nice to see a big fat "fuck you" played out in public. [Variety]

Dauman/Katzenberg Feud Over Spielberg Officially Upgraded To Catfight

mark · 09/20/07 10:51AM

We know that we already mentioned Var's item about DreamWorks Animation romantic enforcer Jeffrey Katzenberg's response to Viacom CEO Phillippe "Just Fucking Try And Give Me The 'It's Not You, It's Me' Conversation, I Dare You" Dauman's thoughtless comments that the possible end of Steven Spielberg's relationship with Paramount would be "immaterial" to his heart's "bottom line," but the dramatic headline hanging over the story in today's print edition has suddenly reframed Katzenberg's retort.