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The Newsdesk 02.24.09 – Ledger’s Final Film Awaits Release; Oscar Gets Ratings Bump

• Dan Aykroyd hinted that Ghostbusters 3 could start filming this fall. Fingers crossed Aykroyd shows up as older, even wackier Ray Stanz.

• Sean Penn might follow his Oscar success by playing the husband of Valerie Plame in a movie based on the ex-CIA operative’s memoirs. (Naomi Watts would play Plame; Doug Liman is scheduled to direct.) The title, Fair Game, should not be confused with the 1995 Cindy Crawford/William Baldwin vehicle of the same name.

• Speaking of Naomi Watts, she’s just signed on to star in Woody Allen’s next project opposite Josh Brolin and Anthony Hopkins. As with all Allen projects, it’s currently untitled, but will no doubt feature urban neurotics in various romantic quandaries.

• Sunday’s Oscars scored a ratings boost from last year’s all-time low. Should the Academy thank Slumdog?

• Patrick McGoohan, Eartha Kitt, and movie trailer king Don Lafontaine are among the notable omissions from the Oscar’s “In Memoriam” montage.

• Heath Ledger’s final film, Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, still has yet to nail a U.S. distribution deal.

David Lynch has joined the Twitter-ing masses,
launching his own Twitter page filled with musings and weather updates.
Really, there’s no reason to follow anyone else. (Expect for AMC News, natch!)

News Corp president and chief operating officer Peter Chernin is stepping down in June to launch a production company for Fox. This news come on the heels of Fox Searchlight’s Oscar success with Slumdog Millionaire

Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke is in talks to direct an adaptation of the young adult novel If I Stay.




The Value Of An Oscar

from Media News by Dorothy Pomerantz

What kind of return on investment do studios get from Oscar


News Corp. President Peter Chernin to Leave

from Advertising Age – MediaWorks

NEW YORK ( — Peter Chernin, the News Corp.
executive who has helped the company build a presence in Hollywood as well as
cable and broadcast TV, will leave the giant media conglomerate, controlled by
iconoclast Rupert Murdoch, in June, the company said in a statement Feb. 23.

Carl Icahn ups stake in Lionsgate to 14%

from Hollywood Reporter by By Paul Bond

As Lionsgate was savoring the $41 million that “Madea
Goes to Jail” made over the weekend — its best opening ever — Carl Icahn
was disclosing he has upped his stake in the company to more than 14% and that
he may become a more active shareholder.

Economy pinches TV pilots


TV News: TV networks lighten comedy load — Pilot season is
feeling the economy’s pain in more ways than one.

Television viewing at all-time high

from L.A. Times – TV News

Nielsen’s ‘Three Screen Report’ for the fourth quarter says
the average American now watches more than 151 hours of TV a month.

Guess Which Medium Is as Effective as Ever: TV

from Advertising Age – MediaWorks

BATAVIA, Ohio ( — A funny thing is emerging from
the smoldering ruins of what may be the ugliest quarter TV has ever encountered
financially: a growing body of evidence which suggests not only that TV
advertising still works, but that it may be working better than ever.

Marketers Demanding Ratings for Each TV Ad

from Advertising Age – MediaWorks

NEW YORK ( — At a time when the web is revealing
so much specific information about the relationship of consumers and their
reactions to ads, marketers feel TV ought to do the same.

Ticketmaster settles with NJ, faces Tues. hearings

from AP Top Entertainment News At 11:05 … by By SAMANTHA HENRY

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Ticketmaster has agreed to
change its online sales process after it directed people seeking Bruce
Springsteen tickets to a subsidiary that charged up to 50 times the face

Will the recession change movies?

from – Entertainment

Movie ticket sales are way up in this down economy. Seem
counterintuitive? Observers say struggling people are looking for a $10,
two-hour escape. The recession also is likely to affect the types of movies
being made. Based on recent successes, there’s evidence to suggest studios will
continue to focus on comedies and action films.

SAG, AMPTP may need mediation

from Hollywood Reporter by By Jay A. Fernandez

Richard Lovett, break out the good china and embossed
invitations. With TV-theatrical contract negotiations between SAG and the AMPTP
at a bitter standstill, both sides may be looking for a third party to pass out
the olive branches.

New Yorker Films shutting down

from Hollywood Reporter by By Steven Zeitchik

New Yorker Films, the boutique label that has long served as
the American home for acclaimed foreign filmmakers, is shutting its doors.

Ted Hope: New York Tax Credits Stall Out

from Tribeca Film News and Features Feed by Kristin McCracken

Independent filmmaker Ted Hope calls filmmakers to action on
the first of many disasters the New York film industry MUST pro-actively


Musicians developing iPhone apps

from The Hollywood Reporter – Music by By Antony Bruno,

Kyte, a digital media technology company aggressively
targeting the music industry, launched a new platform, called the iPhone
Applications Framework, for artists interested in developing iPhone


Sean Penn Explains Leaving Wife Out Of Oscar Victory Speech

from Access Hollywood – Movies

Sean Penn, who took home his second career Academy Award for
Best Actor on Sunday night for his role in “Milk,” delivered one of the night’s
most powerful acceptance speeches.  But Sean, who got a standing ovation
from the crowd, left one person out of his speech — his wife, Robin Wright

Kristen Stewart On Why She Declined Presenting At Oscars

from Access Hollywood – Movies

At Sunday night’s 81st Annual Academy Awards, “Twilight’s”
vampire teen heartthrob Robert Pattinson was a presenter alongside “Mamma Mia”
star Amanda Seyfried.  It left many wondering: where was his “Twilight”
co-star, Kristen Stewart?


Watchmen: the first review

Finally, after 23 years of tortured development, pinging
from studio to studio, star to star, and even courtroom to courtroom, the
Watchmen adaptation has arrived on screen. It’s not for the faint-hearted —
and, despite the preponderance of Spandex outfits, capes and costumes, not for
the kids either.

Video: Meet Watchmen’s Female Ass-Kickers

from Wired: Entertainment by Video Team

Actresses Malin Akerman (who plays Silk Spectre II) and
Carla Gugino (who plays the original) discuss the mother-daughter relationship
between the movie’s superheroines.

Diablo Cody to produce ‘Breathers’


Los Angeles: Fox Searchlight acquires zombie book — Fox
Searchlight has acquired rights to the upcoming novel “Breathers: A
Zombie’s Lament” by S.G. Browne. Diablo Cody will produce the zombie
romantic comedy.

Kraft Gets Behind Jonas Brothers Movie to Move Cheese Singles

from Advertising Age – Madison+Vine

CHICAGO ( — The best way to a man’s heart may be
through his stomach, but Kraft is betting that the fast track to mothers’
hearts is through their daughters. Kraft is sponsoring the “Jonas Brothers:
3-D Concert Experience” premiere tomorrow at the El Capitain Theater in
Hollywood, and the food giant plans to give out about 1,000 sandwiches that
will be made on site.

Cusack set for ‘Hot Tub’ comedy

from Entertainment News –

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 23 (UPI) — U.S. actor John Cusack is set
to star in and produce the big-screen comedy, “Hot Tub Time Machine,”
The Hollywood Reporter said.

Watts signs up for Woody’s next

from Entertainment News –

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 23 (UPI) — British-born actress Naomi
Watts has signed on for a role in Woody Allen’s upcoming, as-yet-untitled film, said Monday.

Freida Pinto Lands Woody Allen Movie

from Entertainment on by The Huffington Post
News Team
Freida Pinto will follow up her performance in the Oscar-winning “Slumdog
Millionaire” with a role in Woody Allen’s latest project.

Sean Penn And Naomi Watts Attached To Valerie Plame Movie

from Entertainment on by The Huffington Post
News Team
Not that Sean Penn hasn’t been writing his own ticket for years, but it’s nice
to see winning his second Best Actor Oscar hasn’t made him lazy.

‘Twilight’ director Catherine Hardwicke in talks for
young-adult film ‘If I Stay’

from Entertainment Weekly’s Hollywood Insider by Nicole Sperling

Summit Entertainment is trying to make lightning strike
twice. The studio behind the Twilight movie series has plans to adapt a buzzy
young-adult novel called If I Stay with Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke
at the helm, EW has learned exclusively.

Will Ledger’s last role get U.S. play?

from Hollywood Reporter

Heath Ledger’s last film, “The Imaginarium of Doctor
Parnassus,” is facing challenges on its way to domestic distribution. When
will U.S. audiences get to see it?

Does ‘Iron Man 2’ Script Hint At ‘Demon In A Bottle’ Storyline?

from Splash Page by David Press

Iron Man 2” production designer J. Michael Riva revealed
that he’s received the first script for the sequel to last year’s Marvel
Studios blockbuster, and it looks like the famous “Demon in a Bottle” storyline
will factor into the plot.


“Superbrain” stuns Britain with genius quiz show run

from Reuters: Entertainment News

LONDON (Reuters) – She’s being hailed as Britain’s cleverest
student, a shy, bespectacled and amazingly quick-minded Latin scholar who has
romped away to win Britain’s hardest quiz show almost single-handedly.

Ratings: Oscars up, ‘Dollhouse’ down

from Entertainment Weekly’s Hollywood Insider by Mandi Bierly

The 81st Annual Academy Awards drew 36.3 million viewers to
ABC Sunday night — that’s an increase of 4.3 million people from last year’s
telecast, which remains the lowest-rated ever.

‘America’s Next Top Model’ will require models to be 5’7″
or shorter for new cycle

from Entertainment Weekly’s Hollywood Insider by Adam B. Vary

Contestants for the 13th cycle of The CW’s America’s Next
Top Model will be required to be at or below five feet, seven inches (5′
7″) in height for the first time in the show’s history.

’60 Minutes’ Keeps Ticking

from Media News by Lacey Rose

Executive Producer Jeff Fager on the recent success of the
longest-running news magazine.


CW greenlights ‘Melrose Place’ pilot

from Hollywood Reporter by By Nellie Andreeva

The CW’s update of “Melrose Place” has received an
official pilot order, and Oscar winner Davis Guggenheim has come on board to
direct it.

Starz’s ‘Crash’ getting retooled

from Hollywood Reporter by By Nellie Andreeva

Starz has renewed drama series “Crash” but is
making some changes with the second season, including a new creative team and
some new cast members.

Campbell Execs to Make ‘All My Children’ Cameo

from Advertising Age – Madison+Vine

CHICAGO ( — While some executives sign off on
integration deals, few are expected to actually play themselves as part of the
branded move. Yet two Campbell’s Soup heads will do just that, appearing as
themselves on “All My Children” this Thursday.

‘Housewives’: ‘Any of us could go’

from Today’s Latest Headlines by Michael Ausiello

Michael Ausiello mulls over tidbits from Dana Delany at the
Spirit Awards: Is no one safe on Wisteria Lane?

‘Grey’s’ lets McDreamy twist slip?!

from TV

By Michael Ausiello
Michael Ausiello scratches his head over a press release that casually reveals
a major new plot point


Barack Obama to Honor His Musical Hero, Stevie Wonder

from Latest News by Bob Meadows and
Martina McBride are among performers who’ll salute the legend

Wrap Exclusive: Eminem Sues Universal for Royalties on

from The Wrap RSS by admin

Eminem is causing trouble again. But this brouhaha may
affect a lot more than a few freestylin’ rappers.   TheWrap has learned
that a two-year-old lawsuit by the rapper is set to go to trial Tuesday and
could impact a vast number of musical artists and the most popular
form of music consumption — the digital download over iTunes.

New Music: Bat for Lashes: “Daniel” / “Sleep

from Pitchfork Media – Today by Mark Richardson
Following on “Glass” earlier this month, Bat for Lashes
have posted two more tracks from the forthcoming album Two Suns to their MySpace. Once again, dark and
ethereal pop voiced by BFL leader Natasha Khan is the order of the day.

TV on the Radio packs ‘Science’ for spring tour

from Top Stories from

( Flush with positive attention garnered by
their latest studio release, alt-rockers TV on the Radio will head back out on
the road in May for another round of headlining shows.


INXS denies firing Fortune

from Entertainment News –

SYDNEY, Feb. 24 (UPI) — INXS says it was shocked to hear
its most recent lead singer, J.D. Fortune, claim he is living in his truck
after the Australian rock band fired him.

ONLINE Denies Handing U2 Leak Listeners To RIAA

from Billboard News – All by David J. Prince, N.Y. founder Richard Jones responded forcefully today
(Feb. 23) to accusations that the company had given user data to the RIAA in
order to track illegal downloads of U2’s upcoming album, “No Line On the
Horizon.” Jones’ refutation follows a similar denial made by the RIAA on

Company offering free music streaming

from Entertainment News –

LONDON, Feb. 23 (UPI) — Numerous major record labels have
joined forces with Spotify, a British music service that allows people to
stream music onto their computers for free.


Clooney’s quest for peace in Darfur

from – Entertainment

On Monday night, CNN’s Larry King had an exclusive interview
with actor George Clooney, who returned from the strife-torn Darfur region of
Sudan and just finished meeting with Vice President Joe Biden.

Report: Rourke to name new pup Oscar

from Entertainment News –

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 23 (UPI) — Hollywood actor Mickey Rourke,
who is mourning the loss of his 18-year-old dog Loki, plans to get a new pup
and name it Oscar, a source said.

Sporty Spice Mel C. gives birth to a girl

from Entertainment News –

LONDON, Feb. 23 (UPI) — A message posted on Melanie
Chisholm’s Web site says the British pop singer has given birth to a daughter
in London.


Barkley pleads guilty in Scottsdale to DUI charges

from AP Top Entertainment News At 11:05 …

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Charles Barkley will serve time in
jail after pleading guilty to charges of driving drunk….

Tourists heading to Oscar locales

from Entertainment News –

EDINBURGH, Scotland, Feb. 23 (UPI) — Tourist interest in
locations featured in several Oscar-nominated films has spiked in recent weeks,
the proprietors of a Scottish flight search engine said.


YSL auction of a lifetime set to fetch $380M

from – Entertainment

A three-day auction of art and furnishings that belonged to
the late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent is seeing sale prices far
exceeding estimates, with dollar amounts almost as spectacular as the range of
items being sold.

Sienna Miller’s Fall Collection Makes Runway Debut

from Latest News

The actress/designer describes the Twenty8Twelve line of
leather jackets and skin-tight dresses as “London cool”

Britney’s Dad Calls Ex-Manager a ‘Predator’

from Latest News by Ken Lee

In a restraining-order hearing, Jamie Spears alleges Sam
Lutfi cracked into the once-troubled pop star’s heavily guarded life

Read More