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Posts Tagged ‘Alex Ben Block’

Nikki Finke Points Accusing Finger at The Hollywood Reporter*

Reader comments have started to fly in response to a Nikki Finke item in which she alleges that the Hollywood Reporter, before publication of a March 8th business story by Alex Ben Block about Summit Entertainment, removed some information in exchange for an interview with Jodie Foster.

We have to agree with the first order of Deadline.com moderated reader thinking. If Finke’s allegations are correct, is it really so objectionable that Summit co-chairman Patrick Wachsberger and COO Bob Hayward received $30 million payouts as part of a major company refinancing deal, or that co-chairman Rob Friedman is getting $7 million? Happens all the time in the upper corporate echelons. Per commenter “Tulse Luper”:

These guys Wachsberger and Friedman turned Summit from a foreign sales company (have you ever dealt with a foreign sales company? They’re like used car lots) into a mini-major studio. That’s like turning Earl Scheib into The Louvre. They made $30m bucks. Good for them!

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Journos And Marketers Tee Off On Hollywood Re: Oscars

alexbenblock.jpgThe same day Golden Globe nominations were announced, a panel of journos and Oscar-experienced marketers held a small crowd in rapt attention last night for the L.A. Press Club, telling horror stories out of school about the sleazy tricks committed over the last decade in the name of getting the prized statue.

Not the Globes, but definitely their kissing cousin, the Oscars.

The topic was Oscar marketing and how reporters covered it, studios manipulated it and the great unwashed out there lived through it, year after year.

Show business historian and Editor-at-Large of The Hollywood Reporter Alex Ben Block (see, at left) moderated the panel, which included at Ben Block’s request, Patrick Goldstein, film writer for the Los Angeles Times and author of the column and blog, “The Big Picture;” John Horn, entertainment reporter for the Los Angeles Times; Mark Pogachefsky, Co-founder and co-president of mPRm Public Relations; and Dennis Rice, a veteran marketing guru and publicity expert who has held high-level posts at Miramax, October, Walt Disney and United Artists Pictures.

Mordant bunch of battle-scarred vets…at least when it comes to the Oscars.

More below.

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Nicita Out At CAA for Morgan Creek…Go figure!

RickNicita.jpgCreative Artists Agency top-rung earner Rick Nicita seems to be waving bye-bye to the agency to take a job as Chairman and Chief Operating Officer for Morgan Creek Pictures, according to a company release.

While that may well be possible, it’s an awkward fit at best. Nicita has been a top agent at CAA for years with clients like Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. He’s also married to Cruise’s partner at United Artists, Paula Wagner.

While the Morgan Creek position is in fact a job, it seems a bit unlikely because Morgan Creek is by no means a major production entity and Nicita is very much a top agent. The company has had a deal with Universal since 2004, but the best money-makers of their movies were with Warner Bros., with “Robin
Hood: Prince of Thieves
,” “Major League” and “Major League 2.”

As well, the company has long been run by Jim Robinson, who doesn’t play well with others. When former Hollywood Reporter Editor Alex Ben Block left the Reporter to become head of marketing for Morgan Creek and Robinson, it ended quickly because Robinson demanded that Block be in by 9 a.m.

Who knows whether Nicita’s schedule will be all that amenable to Robiinson and Morgan Creek. For L.A. Times story read on…

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LA Herald Examiner’s Almost-20th Reunion Party

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With L.A. media seemingly on its death bed, why not revisit an old ghost?

The Journalist from around the globe are expected to attend a party Thursday night recalling the venerable L.A. Herald Examiner, which shuttered not-quite 20 years ago.

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WGA 07 Strike Week 5: Savage Beasts

Animals in solidarity with the WGA. The bulldog, by the way, is a local–Tyson. Think United Hollywood is paying him residuals?

LA Weekly notes that the average WGA member wasn’t in show biz in 1988, during the last strike. Middle school, more likely.

Alex Ben Block suggests that the WGA watch its collective back, and gets trashed for his pains.

Mike Lacey, Diane Ljungaeus Defend LA Weekly, Jill Stewart Against LA Observed

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Village Voice honcho Mike Lacey writes LA Observed a letter to set things straight about the LA Weekly’s cross town move, editors, departing writers, and just about everything, and after checking around to make sure it wasn’t a fake and hearing from Lacey’s lawyer–KRod posts it, with annotations. Laurie Ochoa wrote him as well, despite his claims to never hear from her.

FBLA hears that a few other people have written to protest his increasingly personal attacks on LA Weekly news editor Jill Stewart, who’s been our editor a few times. One of these is Diana Lungaeus of the LA Press Club, who kindly allowed us to post her letter here:

From: “Diana Ljungaeus”
To:
Subject: Defending Jill Stewart
Date: Thu, 27 Sep 2007 00:11:45 -0800

Kevin,
I had really hoped to stay out of this for several reasons – one being that I am the executive director of Los Angeles Press Club. Let me, therefore, point out that I am writing this solely as a friend and colleague of Jill Stewart. To see her persecuted by LA Observed in the way that I have witnessed of late not only hurts her, but damages journalism itself. Jill would never, not even in “attack-mode,” single out another writer by name as untrustworthy or unethical. She of course gladly will go after news institutions and their weak, non-substantive, gossipy news coverage.

Your description of Jill as somebody journalists cannot work with couldn’t be further from the truth. I know this because for several years we worked together on the Press Club board, where she was a popular leader–managing to get busy journalists to work as a team even though this often can be compared to herding cats. And, most importantly, she did this with good humor and was well-liked, even by writers from competitor organizations. Among her many responsibilities she was the editor for our newsletter, The 8 Ball, for four years. During this period she motivated a large mix of volunteers to take time out from their busy schedules to write for the 8 Ball–Bob Baker, Alex Ben Block, Michael Collins, Ted Johnson, myself and Karen Ocamb, to mention a few.

We all know Jill as a hard worker who makes things happen. I also know Jill as an editor, having written for her for the Weekly. Not many others would have given me that chance, knowing I write English as a second language. My first assignment for Jill was “Malibu Bad Neighbor,” about the son of an African dictator who bought the most expensive home in Malibu and is trying to become a force in Hollywood. The story was ignored by local media, even though a national network currently is digging into it–thanks to the Weekly coverage.

Another reason I am inclined to defend her is that Jill brings solid news coverage to LA Weekly. Jill marches to the beat of her own drum and we sometimes disagree, however, she is “independent” in the deepest sense of that word and I salute her for it!

Diana Ljungaeus

Some speculate that Stewart’s take down of the LA Times’ Arnold groping stories may have cost that team of writers a Pulitzer nod. Could Roderick be trying to avenge the John Carroll crowd? And after the paper had been so nice to him, too.

Earlier:
Wiener & Pals Recall the Good Old Days at the LA Weekly—It’s All Jill Stewart’s Fault
Jill Stewart in at LA Weekly, Alan Mittelstaedt Out

FBLA 20 Questions: Alex Ben Block

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Entertainment journalist and author Alex Ben Block writes a column for Hollywood Today but still gave in to our pestering and answered those “so vapid they must be insightful” questions.

1. What newspapers do you read? L.A. Times, NY Times, Wall St. Journal, Variety, Hollywood Reporter and online gossip columns at NY Post, NY Daily News, Washington Post and where ever else tea leaves are being read.

2. Which ones do you move your lips to while reading? The LA Time-waster and WS Jerk when the articles are longer than the wars in Iraq, Vietnam and the Civil War combined.

3. Which Web sites are on your favorites–besides FBLA? Hollywood Today.net, of course; LA Observed, Defamer, Drudge, HuffPo, Roger Friedman (Fox News), Poynter, TV Newsday, CNN, LAPressClub.org, TCM, and for pure intellectual stimulation, The Sun from London.

4. Where do you get your car washed? If only it would rain in SoCal I wouldn’t have to do this at all but instead I go where ever they accept discount coupons.

5. Do you know your dentist’s first name? Bella. She’s from Russia.

6. Do you believe newspapers are going to die? If so, when? No, newspapers will be around until the end of time. There will be fewer but print remains the easiest, most efficient, portable way to rapidly scan and receive masses of info. However, they will look different, have shorter articles, be more analysis oriented, more opinionated, more oriented toward service, and serve as the central element of a range of distribution platforms online, wireless and stuffed into intellectual multi-vitamins for your brain. Of course they will be delivered online as a pdf file.

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Bob Costas: L.A. Sucks

bob_costas_nbc.jpgFishbowlLA correspondent Dan Cox reports from the Television Critics Association tour:

The second Television Critics Association session that followed NBC Entertainment president Ben Silverman‘s coming out party was an assembly of ex-NFL players and broadcasters around NBC’s Sunday Night Football (formerly known as Monday Night Football), including broadcaster Bob Costas, announcer Al Michaels, announcer and former coach John Madden, announcer and former Cincinnati Bengal wide out Cris Collinsworth, former New York Giants star-turned-Today show Tiki Barber and Steelers star Jerome Bettis, NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol as well as a handful of network execs. The subject of football (or lack of it) in L.A. came up after former Hollywood Reporter editor-in-chief Alex Ben Block blurted out: “When are we going to see football in L.A., the second biggest market for a sports team?”

Costas’ throat-clearing reply: “The L.A. market sucks.”

EARLIER:

  • Costas To Return To Radio
  • LA Film Festival: Alex Ben Block Recommends

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    Hollywood Today’s Alex Ben Block confesses his interests at the LA Film Festival.

    I haven’t seen anything, but a couple interest me. Among the movies, The Hottest State, written and directed by Ethan Hawke; and The Beautiful Ordinary, directed by Jess Manafort, about suburban teens.

    And among the documentaries, I am personally looking forward to The Man Who Shot Chinatown: The Life and Work of John A. Alonzo. Alonzo is one of the great cinematograhy artists (with credits that also include Scarface and Harold and Maude).

    Earlier:

    LA Film Festival: Karina Longworth Recommends
    LA Film Festival: Anne Thompson Recommends
    LA Film Festival Starts Tomorrow

    Alex Ben Block Defends the LA Press Club

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    Alex Ben Block responds to Jeffrey Wells’ comments about the LA Press Club at Hollywood Elsewhere).

    ABB wrote:

    Thanks for noticing Jeffrey. However, let me clear up a few things.

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