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Let’s Make a Deal…

Disney-Lucasfilm Deal Enlarges Vivid’s X-Rated Parody Plans

A year after the original trilogy of Star Wars films was in the books, a different kind of film endeavor was launched in the San Fernando Valley in 1984. Since that time, Vivid Entertainment and the porn industry have both come a long way. Today, in the face of the Internet threat, Vivid and other SFVx purveyors have resorted among other things to big-budget, X-rated movie parodies.


Earlier this year, Vivid released Star Wars XXX: A Porn Parody, its biggest budgeted flick yet. The company already has two sequels planned and now, feeding off this week’s Disney-Lucasfilm deal, say they are planning a fourth Lucas homme-age. A quadrilogy?

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Business Insider Gets to the Bottom of Splash News-Princess Diana Movie Partnership

Here’s a good example of how to take “hat/tip journalism” to the next level. It comes from Aly Weisman, editor of Business Insider’s entertainment vertical.

Picking up on a brief September Hollywood Reporter item, USC grad Weisman went ahead and contacted Splash News CEO Gary Morgan. To find out exactly why the makers of 2013 biopic Diana starring Naomi Watts would partner with an entity most such productions normally work hard to keep at bay:

“Traditionally, the production company will hire an on-set photographer,” explained Morgan. “And that photographer will take pictures that they want to release over time for the production, to draw attention to it. And they will then take these pictures and give it to a PR company who will then place that picture in what they think are high traffic or important magazines or newspapers. These PR companies are usually territory-based and don’t deal with a mass audience on a day-to-day basis. They’ll deal with the top-tier, like People magazine, or Entertainment Tonight, or someone like that.”

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George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy Explain the Disney-Lucasfilm Deal

Who better to frame today’s Disney mega-deal than George Lucas? Via starwars.com late this afternoon comes a brief roundtable discussion featuring Lucas and his Lucasfilm co-chair Kathleen Kennedy:

Kennedy points to Disney’s prior success with Pixar and Marvel as a key influencer for the $4.05 billion deal. She also says that Lucas, “her Yoda,” will most definitely be involved in the pass-the-lightsaber process of meeting with screenwriters and determining a basic storyline for the next Star Wars film.

The funniest part of the video conversation occurs at the very end, when Kennedy jokes that a retired Lucas can blog about how his gatekeeper-successors are messing it all up.

Charter, Verizon to Launch TW Cable SportsNet

Charter Communications and Verizon FIOS reached an agreement with Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes on Friday afternoon, adding two more cable providers that will be able to watch the Los Angeles Lakers starting next week.

Charter is trying to launch TWC SportsNet on or before Oct. 31 and will be available in SD on channel 215 and in HD on channel 787; Time Warner Cable Deportes will be available on SD channel 216 and HD channel 788.

“Charter is committed to bring programming to our customers that mirror their interests,” said Allan Singer, Charter’s senior vice president of programming. “We are proud of Charter’s robust selection of sports programming.  Charter is the first provider of this brand new programming in our service areas, and we know that the addition of these networks especially pleases our customers in Southern California.”

 According to a Time Warner statement, the details of the Verizon deal would be announced in the coming days.

Westwood One Founder’s New Division Puts Podcasts on the Launchpad

Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment Group is getting into the podcast business.

Per an announcement today, Pattiz has partnered with Kit Gray to form new division Launchpad Digital Media. It’s set up essentially as a podcast syndicator and, thanks to Gray, counts most of the genre’s marquee Socal gabbers. From today’s release:

The Launchpad platform includes some of the biggest names in digital entertainment including Adam Carolla, Bill Burr, CBS News, Afterbuzz TV with Maria Menounos, Jay Mohr, Dr. Drew, Chris Hardwick (The Nerdist), Mark Maron, Mark & Lynda, Brian & Jill and Penn Jillette. Launchpad will also be home to the Sideshow Network, The Fake Mustache Network, Riotcast Network, Splitsider Network and the Toad Hop Network making Launchpad one of the industry’s largest players.

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Penske Deal May Put Gerry Byrne Back in Driver’s Seat

Media reactions to this morning’s Variety-PMC deal confirmation are coming in faster and more furiously than a Vin Diesel-Paul Walker car chase.

But forget for a moment about Jay Penske, Nikki Finke and Bonnie Fuller. As NYC-based columnist Roger Friedman astutely points out, one of the central figures in this new Hollywood trade horizon could be an individual most media watchers are unfamiliar with:

Sitting pretty on the Penske board is my old friend, Gerry Byrne (pictured), who commands a daily table at Michael’s. Years ago, it was Gerry who engineered Variety’s stunning comeback from the dead with Peter Bart as editor-in-chief. In the early 90s they revamped the Variety design and made the paper matter again. Eventually Gerry left Variety and sometime later became publisher of The Hollywood Reporter when it was owned by Nielsen. When the Guggenheim people came in, Byrne was sidelined. He left when his contract was up, and joined up with Penske.

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Variety Sold to Deadline.com Owner Penske Media

After months of courting offers, Variety has finally settled on a buyer. Penske Media, backed by private equity firm Third Point, will acquire the trade publication for approximately $25 million.

Jay Penske told the Los Angeles Times that Nikki Finke will not be involved in running Variety, and that the publication will be operated separately from Deadline.com, though staffers may contribute to both. TheWrap hears from insiders that Finke is “having a major tantrum” because Penske will not give her a role in running Variety.

Variety‘s remaining 120 staffers are undoubtedly concerned about more layoffs, but the Chief Executive was vague about his plans when speaking to the LAT:

“We wouldn’t be buying this business if we didn’t have a plan to correct the recent deterioration of both revenues and profit,” Penske said. “We are not buying Variety to gut the newsroom. We are buying the business to build it. Are there going to be changes? Yes. Do we want to reduce our dependency on print revenues? Yes. How quickly that can happen, we’ll know more in the coming months.”

Penske also said that no decision had been made concerning the fate of the print versions of the trade. Variety publishes both a weekly edition and a daily edition on the weekdays.

LA’s Modern Luxury Media Adds Aspen Magazine

Downtown offices were vacated this spring; 2012 summer and fall issues had been canceled. All indications were that 38-year-old Aspen magazine had run its course.

But print media glory be, the bi-monthly publication has found an ideal savior in the form of Century City HQ-ed Modern Luxury Media. From a report in the Aspen Daily News:

Modern Luxury Media president Alan Klein declined to disclose how much the company paid for the local magazine or the specific terms of the deal, but he did note that former owner Janet O’Grady will retain her position as editor-in-chief…

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Oprah Signs Exclusive Deal with Tyler Perry

Not long ago, Our America executive producer and host Lisa Ling told us OWN was the best place she had ever worked. Thanks to a monumental new deal announced today, things are only going to get better.

In a hint of what is to come in the next few years for a fully Oprah-driven OWN, the network has inked an exclusive agreement with Tyler Perry. A pair of shows from the ridiculously prolific Atlanta mogul will debut in 2013, with Perry executive producing, writing and directing across the board:

“I have been looking forward to the day when we would be in the position to enter the world of scripted television. That day has come,” said Winfrey. “We are all energized by the opportunity to collaborate with Tyler… He has an incredible ability to illuminate life stories and characters in his unique voice and inspires and encourages people all over the world.”

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Will Monday Night’s Deadline/Soho House Bash Include a Big Announcement?*

A cryptic Deadline advisory posted Saturday morning by Nikki Finke has some Hollywood trade watchers speculating that the PMC-Variety deal is done. The 11:34 a.m. PDT September 29 message reads:

The Deadline Team won’t provide 24/7 news coverage for at least the next week. One of the reasons is DH business affecting the entire staff in LA, NY and Europe. As a result, we’ll probably miss some breaking stories and delay monitoring some comments, emails and phone calls. Please cut us some slack for the duration.


Which begs the question – will Jay Penske be making a “big” announcement at Soho House in West Hollywood tomorrow night? That’s when the “PMC” in Penske Media Corp. will briefly overlap with “private members’ club,” as Deadline hosts a “Kick Off the Awards Season” party there from 6 to 9 p.m. A who’s who of studio execs, film publicists and awards season PR consultants will hobnob with not just Penske but many other PMC/Deadline folks: film editor Mike Fleming, tv editor Nellie Andreeva, awards columnist Pete Hammond, marketing consultant Madelyn Hammond, executive editor David Lieberman, reporter Dominic Patten, PMC senior vp Nic Paul, PMC senior sales director Cathy Goepfert, Awards/Line managing editor Anthony D’Alessandro and Awards/Line editor Christy Grosz.*

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