Mel Gibson To Don His Actor's Hat Once More

Seth Abramovitch · 04/29/08 03:20PM

· Mel Gibson has signed on for his first acting job since Signs and We Were Soldiers back in 2002. In Edge of Darkness, a feature based on a BBC miniseries from the '80s, he'll play "a straitlaced police investigator whose activist daughter is killed, probably by the Jews." [Variety]
· Could one-half of the lusty network coupling responsible for siring struggling, bastard offspring The CW be missing their former identity? Warner Bros. just launched TheWB.com, where you can catch streamed episodes of old programming and newly launched online series. [Variety]

Viacom PR Admits 'Public Crapping' May Not Bode Well For New Pay Network

STV · 04/25/08 12:25PM

The week that started with Les Moonves and Phillipe Dauman kickboxing in Sumner Redstone's corporate steel cage will apparently end with Dauman retreating to his corner of the Viacom boardroom for medical attention. Or at least that's the impression we glean from today's gloom-and-doom survey of the Great Pay-Cable Cockfight of 2008, during which Paramount broke off from cousin network Showtime after failing to renegotiate an output deal for its titles. On their own now with partners Lionsgate and MGM/UA, even Viacom/Paramount flacks acknowledge finding little comfort in the TV wild:

The Battle For Sumner Redstone's Heart

Ryan Tate · 04/22/08 05:20AM

There are dueling views on who is winning the battle for supremacy in the eyes of the notoriously combative media mogul Sumner Redstone. On one side is Philippe Dauman, head of Viacom, who recently decided to form a new movie channel to distribute films from Viacom's Paramount. On the other side is Les Moonves at CBS, who was allegedly "royally screwed" by Dauman's new channel since it ended the hope that his Showtime network would screen Paramount films. Daubman hopes the incident will help him get CBS and Viacom merged back together and put under his control, the Post reported this morning. Not so fast, said the Wall Street Journal: Dauman's movie channel is a supremely bad idea.

Four Reasons American Idol Ratings Are Dropping Like Ryan Seacrest's Testicles

carnevale · 04/21/08 12:15PM

American Idol's ratings are falling to record lows, and Scott Collins of the Los Angeles Times is all over the reasons why. Collins blames the bloated two-hour charity special, Idol Gives Back; the writer's strike; generic show fatigue; the contestants; the presentation, Facebook; and CBS boss Les Moonves' undercover operatives. But that's the least of it. Here are the four real reasons the Fox talent show has finally lost its opiate-strength hold on America's masses. (Difficulty level: 9).

Paramount, Showtime, CBS Spend Weekend Fighting in Grandpa Sumner Redstone's Sandbox of Death

STV · 04/21/08 12:00PM

While most of us fled the office to enjoy early spring, Sumner Redstone spent another relaxing weekend watching his corporate children at Viacom gouge each others' eyes out. And this time around he got his money's worth, with Paramount finally breaking free from CBS/Showtime to start its own pay-cable and VOD service with MGM and Lionsgate. It's an untidy, somewhat shocking scenario that we (and seemingly the rest of the Web) can't yet make sense of, but join us after the jump to parse the winners and losers at a glance.

New Movie Channel "Royally Screwed" Les Moonves

Ryan Tate · 04/21/08 12:35AM

CBS honcho Les Moonves had a week from hell. It started with a Times highlighting how his salary keeps going up while revenues at his beleaguered company keep going down. Then he had to answer to news department staff about leaks that made Katie Couric look like a lame duck in the anchor chair at CBS Evening News. Now he's said by Nikki Finke's sources to be "royally screwed" after fumbling negotiations with Viacom, a sibling company in the Sumner Redstone media empire. Moonves had been trying to cut the amount CBS' Showtime was paying for Paramount movies, but Paramount said "screw this" and decided to form its own cable channel along with studios MGM and Lionsgate. Here's why the whole situation is especially awkward, according to the Times:

Moonves Backs Couric, Nobody Believes Him

ian spiegelman · 04/19/08 10:07AM

Embattled anchor Katie Couric (legs!) of the long-withering CBS Evening News got a vote of confidence from network boss Les Moonves yesterday, but it was probably just a bunch of meaningless hoo-ha. Moonves said at a staff meeting that Couric "is my anchor today, tomorrow and in the future." Aw, sweet. "But the public display does not change the reality that Couric is likely to relinquish the anchor chair after the election, according to two top network executives who declined to be named discussing a private meeting."

Katie Couric Just One Element Of How CBS Sucks

Ryan Tate · 04/14/08 01:11AM

Anonymous CBS News employees complained to the Times about how Katie Couric was getting too much attention and the rest of the company was going ignored. The paper went ahead and looked at the rest of CBS and, what do you know, it turns out Evening News host Couric "may be the least of" CBS's worries. Its prime time ratings are down 20 percent, viewers are the oldest among major networks, the news and sports websites are behind rivals, the Early Show just lost its executive producer and the news division is laying off people and cutting back budgets. Meanwhile, CBS chief Les Moonves (pictured) saw his salary rise to $37 million last year, more than twice what Couric is believed to make. Anyone else want to complain to the Times about how they are not getting enough attention? [Times]

Old Men To Blame For Everything, Again

Rebecca · 03/14/08 09:08AM

The subprime mortgage situation, the looming social security crisis and the History Channel: old men are ruining this country for us young women. If we were in charge, every day would be talk about periods and make-up day. And here's another thing old men are destroying: The broadcasting career of Katie Couric. Les Moonves, CBS chieftain, blames his own demographic for Couric's dismal run as news anchor. Men don't like getting information from a lady! Well, maybe if that Miss Couric tramp talked less about periods and make-up and more about how WWII was really won, she would do better in the ratings. [pagesix.com]

Tyra Banks And Ashton Kutcher Combine Deadly Reality Forces

Seth Abramovitch · 02/27/08 03:17PM

· If the concept of the two names Tyra Banks and Ashton Kutcher (Tyrashton?) melding into a single, reality-TV -producing force for ABC would drive you to incontinence with excitement, well, maybe you should take a bathroom break before reading this story. [THR]
· Quarterlife, the drama from the creators of thirtysomething that started as a pilot at ABC, then got resuscitated for MySpace, and finally was resurrected on NBC, tanked last night, posting a 1.6 rating/4 share. The series about "twentysomethings coming of age in the digital generation" was doomed to be outdated before it ever reached a wide audience, already replaced with far more timely takes on the same material, like ABC's mid-season replacement, Tumblr Road. [Variety]

Congratulations, Returning Writers

Nick Denton · 02/26/08 05:34PM

Leaders of the writers strike declared a "huge victory" over the suits when they won a larger share of revenues from internet video. Oh yes? One of those suits, Les Moonves of CBS, says the TV network learned during the stoppage that it didn't need nearly as many expensive scripts and pilots. Explaining healthy earnings, he says: "I think there's been a lot of wasted spending...You don't need to spend $5 million on a pilot." So let's get this straight: writers traded in the traditional pilot season, the audition for their boldest ideas, for a cut of non-existent internet revenues. But don't be too harsh in judging their business acumen: this is why they're writers.

McG's 'Terminator' Stakes A Spot In The Distant Future

Seth Abramovitch · 02/26/08 03:09PM

· Any plans for Memorial Day weekend 2009? Great! That means you can catch the opening of Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins, McG's utterly essential contribution to the futuristic-robot-killing-machine franchise that keeps on giving. [Variety]
· The WWE entered into a deal with Fox, giving the studio "a first-look deal" for any project starring one of their wrestlers, and first dibs on John Cena to voice an irascible musk ox in Ice Age: Boot Camp. [Variety]
· A three-month Chinese government ban on Hollywood product has ended, with a March release set for National Treasure: Book of Secrets and 10,000 B.C., after government censors screened both films to ensure they contained "no fingerprints of that lie-spreading Spielberg-devil." [Variety]

Angelina Jolie To Sex Up Boring Old Spy Story About Gun-Running And Terrorists

mark · 12/05/07 03:30PM

· Paramount acquires the rights to the life of spy Kathi Lynn Austin, whose arms-trafficking and terrorism-related adventures could become "an action vehicle" for Angelina Jolie that will ultimately bear little to no resemblance to the intelligence operative's real life. [Variety]
· To help CBS survive the strike/break the wills of writers, Les Moonves plans to repurpose edited versions of Showtime series like Dexter for use on his content-starved broadcast network, though it's unclear whether this idea will include a fucking-lite version of Californication. [THR]
· Publicists love Judd Apatow! He'll be named 2007's "outstanding film showman" at the 45th annual Flackies. [Variety]

Simon Doonan Hates Les Moonves' Kid

Maggie · 11/14/07 02:00PM

Reading-born necklace eater Simon Doonan is passive-aggressively grumbly this morning in the Observer about how all the city's media internships have been swarmed by "fancy-pants progeny" like CBS CEO Les Moonves' daughter Sara (a Vogue and former Teen Vogue intern, beside whom Doonan was seated at a recent industry event, poor man) and Evgenia Peretz, daughter of longtime New Republic editor Marty Peretz and former Vanity Fair intern, who now writes for the magazine full time. These people might not have their fancy jobs were their parents not famous, he's noticed!

mark · 10/22/07 01:58PM

We've just obtainted the new draft of the planned Les Moonves ad to be published in tomorrow's trades: "Hey, writers—You know what? Fuck you. I'll cancel my disappointing Fall season myself, bit by bit. Goodbye, Viva Laughlin! By the time you go on strike, there won't be anything left for you to walk out on. Love, Les. PS—Tell Patric Verrone to check his mailbox. The ear in that bloody wad of Kleenex is Hugh Jackman's. Just wait until he gets four of Jimmy Smits' favorite toes on Wednesday morning when I sacrifice Cane to the cause." [Var]

Today In Saber Rattling: TV Execs Secretly Hoping Writers Will Wipe Out Their Crappy Fall Schedules

mark · 10/22/07 12:24PM

Early Friday evening, the WGA announced that it had received strike authorization from 90.3 percent of its voting members, a victory the organization's leadership touted as an "historic demonstration of unity." What the Guild might not realize, however, is that when it returns to the negotiating table today, emboldened by the ability to take to the streets with the best-written picket signs in the history of labor strife, any renewed threats of a potential walkout on November 1 could be playing right into the hands of an evil cadre of media moguls excited by the prospect of having their fall TV programming mistakes wiped out by a work stoppage.

mark · 10/16/07 05:26PM

Future galactic dictator Les Moonves, having once again tricked antediluvian corporate overlord Sumner Redstone into believing that his plans of world domination will not include the kind of clumsy assassination attempts being plotted by his traitorous daughter, has earned a new contract that will keep him atop CBS Corp through at least 2011. So convincing was the wily Moonves in renewing his pledge of fealty that Redstone willingly handed over the key that opens the chest housing the enchanted dagger imbued with the power to end his immortal life, telling his trusty lieutenant to make sure it never falls into the hands of his scheming, murderous offspring. [THR]

abalk · 07/31/07 01:00PM

After reporting the company's second quarter earnings this morning, "a giddy Sumner Redstone, CBS's chairman, gushed about the performance of CBS and raved about the company's CEO Leslie Moonves. Redstone called Moonves 'the best executive in the media industry' and raved about the 'smart strategic moves' that CBS made to 'position itself in the digital landscape'..." Then he fired him. [CNN]