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Posts Tagged ‘Amy Pascal’

Taking Another Look at That Bernard Weinraub Farewell Column

ShutterstockAmyPascal2013When Bernard Weinraub exited the New York Times in 2005, he of course composed a farewell column. That article contains what now seem like a number of very prophetic statements, given the criminal intrusion and Tinseltown reactions threatening his wife’s tenure as Sony Pictures co-chairman. Starting with this Weinraub observation about his 14 years covering Hollywood:

My marriage, and some of the events that tumbled out of it, taught me something about the ferocity of a culture in which the players can be best friends one day and savage you the next.

Maybe it was 24 hours then. But thanks to the solidified culture of texting, email and social media, it’s now nanoseconds. As some of Pascal’s emails have shown (and the press has failed to properly contextualize), one of the main jobs of a studio chief is to tell each fragile ego what they want and need to hear. Regardless of that studio chief’s personal, true beliefs.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Sony Demands News Orgs. Delete Data | Denby to Step Down

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Sony Pictures Demands News Agencies Delete ‘Stolen’ Data (NYT)
Sony Pictures Entertainment warned media outlets on Sunday against using the mountains of corporate data revealed by hackers who raided the studio’s computer systems in an attack that became public last month. THR Sony Pictures Entertainment lawyer David Boies sent a letter to news organizations Sunday, referring to leaked Sony documents as “stolen information” and demanded that the files be ignored, or destroyed if they had already been downloaded. “We are writing to ensure that you are aware that SPE does not consent to your possession, review, copying, dissemination, publication, uploading, downloading or making any use of the stolen information, and to request your cooperation in destroying the stolen information,” the letter reads. Variety The security breach and subsequent data dump has made public such internal financial documents as film budgets, earnings statements and emails from top Sony executives. It’s also resulted in a series of embarrassing revelations such as an email exchange between Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chair Amy Pascal and producer Scott Rudin in which the two made a series of racially charged jokes about President Barack Obama’s favorite movies. Both Rudin and Pascal have since apologized. Deadline The Sony information continues to be released in batches from unknown sources, including one Sunday in an email to news organizations that included a link to more information cached in online sites and promised an unspecified “Christmas gift” to come. Re/code A group claiming responsibility for the devastating hacking attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment on Sunday offered to selectively hold back on releasing email correspondence of its employees, provided that they write in and ask. The offer, apparently from the Guardians of Peace, a group that says it has carried out the attacks, marks a new twist in its ongoing campaign of embarrassing leaks of data stolen from the studio’s computers, now entering its third week.

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Maureen Dowd Dismisses BuzzFeed Insinuation

AmyPascalThumbOur first reaction last night to Matthew Zeitlin‘s BuzzFeed item about some more of those Sony hack emails, in this case a brief March 2014 correspondence between studio co-chairman Amy Pascal (pictured) and her husband, former New York Times reporter Bernard Weinraub, was two-fold.

One, we quickly ascertained that there was no email in the shared string from Maureen Dowd; second, after reading, we surmised that if anyone had overstepped some bounds here – privately and carelessly – it was Pascal’s husband Weinraub. Today, in a statement provided to FishbowlNY and other outlets, Dowd has responded:

“I never showed Bernie the column in advance or promised to show it. Bernie is an old friend and the Times’ former Hollywood reporter, and he sometimes gives me ideas for entertainment columns.”

“In January, he suggested a column, inspired by a study cited in the LA Times, about the state of women in Hollywood. Amy is a friend and I reassured her before our interview that it wasn’t an antagonistic piece. She wasn’t the focus of the story, nor was Sony.”

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Google News Axed in Spain | Sony Execs Apologize for Emails

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Google News to Shut Down in Spain Over ‘Google Tax’ (Mashable)
Google said Thursday it will shut down its Google News service in Spain to prevent publishers’ content from appearing on it — ahead of a new law requiring the Internet search company to pay Spanish news organizations for linked content or snippets of news. NYT / Bits The website, which compiles headlines and summaries of news articles from various sources, will go dark in Spain on Dec. 16. Google plans to shut the site there in protest of the new law. The rules, which come into force in January, do not specify how much Google and others like Yahoo! News would have to pay per article. But they carry a potential one-time $750,000 fine if companies do not comply with the law. WSJ / Digits Google also is removing Spanish publishers from Google News world-wide. Those publications will still show up in general Google searches, but that’s less significant than it appears. That’s because the news “cluster” that appears with many general search results is fed by Google News. So if Spanish publishers are excluded from Google News, they won’t appear in the news cluster of ordinary search results — meaning much less traffic from Google. GigaOM Spain is not the first European country to pass a so-called ancillary copyright law — Germany did so in March 2013 — but Spain’s version is much more heavy-handed. Variety In Germany, the ancillary copyright law, introduced in July after lobbying by VG Media and backed by Axel Springer, obliged Google to pay publishers for news snippet texts on its search engine. After Google News removed the snippets from its search engine, traffic to publishers’ websites fell by 40 percent over two weeks. VG Media was forced to authorize the snippets. Demonstrating Google’s massive market power, Axel Springer CEO Mathias Dopfer dubbed its move to charge for snippets “the most successful failure in our history.”

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Nikki Finke Cranks Out Her Best New Story Yet

JeffBlakePicWhy did Nikki Finke return to the Internet airwaves, under threat of litigation from her former boss Jay Penske? So she could continue sharing stories like this one.

Finke’s behind-the-scenes account of what led to this week’s forced exit of Sony Pictures Entertainment vice chairman Jeff Blake (pictured) expertly triangulates his fate with the politics of a conglomerated studio lot, the machinations of Dan Loeb and the actions of Blake’s scrambling, fearful bosses (Amy Pascal, Michael Lynton). It’s a must-read and, best of all, is only Part One.

Finke reveals that Blake was almost scapegoat-fired last summer following a secret July 4 meeting. She notes that when it all, almost came crashing down last year, Blake, a longtime box office source, shared an unusual request:

I loathe those calls I sometimes have to make telling Hollywood bigwigs they’re in danger of getting axed. To my surprise, Blake verbally shrugged it off except to say “Water rising here”.

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Taraji P. Henson Stars in Latest Bernard Weinraub Play

AbovetheFoldPosterOn Tuesday, Above the Fold began previewing at the Pasadena Playhouse in California. That’s close to KPCC 89.3 FM, a short MTA Gold Line ride from the Los Angeles Times and a couple of 134/210 freeway exits east of ABC 7.

Why the media triangulation? Because the author of the play is none other than Bernard Weinraub, former formidable New York Times reporter and husband to Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal. From the official synopsis:

Jane (Taraji P. Henson), an African-American newspaper reporter from New York, flies to a Southern university where three white fraternity members have been accused of raping a young African-American woman. Taking place amidst the shift from print to digital journalism, Above the Fold asks tough questions about the exploitation of tragedy, the cost of success and the dangers that come when ambition collides with truth.

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Anne Sweeney Tops THR’s ‘Women In Entertainment Power List’

Disney/ABC Television Group President Anne Sweeney is the most powerful woman in Hollywood according to The Hollywood Reporter‘s 19th annual “Women In Entertainment Power 100” list. It’s the second year in a row she’s topped the list.

The rest of the Top 10:

2. Amy Pascal, co-chairman, Sony Pictures Entertainment
3. Bonnie Hammer, chairman of NBC Universal Cable Entertainment
4. Oprah Winfrey, chairman of Harpo Studios
5. Abbe Raven, president and CEO of A&E Television Networks
6. Stacey Snider, co-chairman and CEO at Dreamworks
7. Donna Langley, co-chairman of Universal Pictures
8. Nina Tassler, president of CBS Entertainment
9. Dana Walden, chairman of 20th Century Fox Television
10. Judy McGrath, chairman of MTV networks

Kinda surprising to see Oprah at number 4, considering she was named the third most powerful woman in the entire world this year by Forbes.

Fortune Recognizes Media Mavens On 50 Most Powerful Women List

ann_moore.jpgIt’s no surprise that some media movers and shakers made their way onto Fortune‘s 50 Most Powerful Women List.

Oprah Winfrey, who topped ForbesWoman‘s list of of the most influential women in the media earlier this summer, was the top media leader on Fortune‘s list as well. The Harpo chair ranked sixth after just five other powerful businesswomen including PepsiCo’s Indra Nooyi (number 1) and Avon’s Andrea Jung (number 5).

Other female media and entertainment leaders to make the list include Anne Sweeney of Disney (number 16); MTV Networks‘ chairman and CEO Judy McGrath (number 20); Time Inc. chair and CEO Ann Moore (number 21 — pictured right); Hearst Magazines president Cathie Black (number 46); Bonnie Hammer and Lauren Zalaznick of NBC Universal (numbers 47 and 48, respectively) and Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal (number 49).

“In 1998 when we premiered our list of the Most Powerful Women in Business, just two of our honorees ran Fortune 500 companies. This year, 13 do,” Fortune said in the introduction to the list. “When it comes to milestones, we say, Keep ‘em coming!”

Fortune‘s 50 Most Powerful Women

Related: Oprah Tops ForbesWoman‘s List Of Media’s Most Powerful Women

Hollywood Reporter, In Between Layoffs, Manages To Laud 100 Women, Starting With Oprah

oprah2.jpgThe Hollywood Reporter‘s Annual 100 Most Powerful Women List came out today with none other than, no surprise, Oprah at the top of the heap.

She was followed by some of the usual female subjects, including DreamWorks Stacey Snider, Sony’s Amy Pascal, CBS’s Nancy Tellem and MGM’s Mary Parent.

The girls are all breakfasting at the Beverly Hills Hotel this morning. No doubt eating power bars.

Elle’s Women in Hollywood Roundtable

Elle.jpg

Salon’s Rebecca Traister sits in on Elle’s Women in Hollywood round table discussion on the state of show biz, why there aren’t more women directors, and so on. The group wonders why women don’t go to opening weekends, forgetting that people watch movies lots of other ways than at the multiplex, not than any of them ever see films with the public. While distinguished and credible, the ten are sort of randomly chosen. At the table are:

Moderator/producer Lynda Obst (called one of Tinseltown’s great brains, which is a frightening thought)
Claims Kate Hudson has same power as Julia Roberts and Reese Witherspoon in getting girly movies green-lit. Because the audience is clamoring for more.

Writer/director Nora Ephron
Thinks Transformers had a great emotional theme, sucks up to Spielberg. Claims to meet only timid girls at film schools. Ever wonder if she still takes calls from Meg Ryan?

Writer/producer Laura Ziskin
Discussing the lack of female directors, drops a bomb,

Our children watched their mothers and said, “Oh, no thank you. I don’t want my life to be like that.”

Writer/director Callie Khouri
Claims she wanted to make a NASCAR movie. So she directed Ya-Ya Sisterhood instead? Just made indie movie with Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah and Katie Holmes and wonders why no studio wanted it. Then complains about the lack of wish fulfillment in Judd Apatow movies.

Writer/director Patty Jenkins
Liked Spiderman. Admits to concentrating on personal life after making Monster.

Producer Cathy Konrad
Has small child, married to business partner Jim Mangold, admits to scaling back work for family.

Writer/director/producer Kimberly Piece
Loves blowing things up, just made second film.

Writer/producer Andrea Berloff
Has little kid, wonders why more women aren’t in film biz. But she’s fairly new to the business, as World Trade Center was her first produced script.

Writer/producer Margaret Nagle
Breaks away from approved party line by believing babe/nerd hookup in Knocked Up.

Universal president of production Donna Langley (called “that rarest of Hollywood breeds, a female studio head”, as Amy Pascal, wasn’t in the room.)
Points out that despite Jodie Foster’s tiny cameo, lots of women went to see Inside Man starring Denzel Washington. See Queen Latifah, wish fulfillment above.

The discussion was held in August, so Jeff Robinov’s foot hadn’t entered his mouth yet.

These women don’t pay attention to the few women working as TV directors and that reality TV could be a training ground for women (who are usually credited as field producers). Michael Apted started in documentary, after all.

But there’s a big snob factor in features, and never underestimate the insularity of Hollywood. Directors who came from TV, like Dennie Gordon, Betty Thomas, and Mimi Leder, and those who go back and forth, like Nicole Holofcener tend to not get called for big tentpole pictures.

Nikki Finke picks out some high points, but think how lively the discussion could have been, had she sat at the table.

Elle hosts the 14th annual Women in Hollywood Tribute at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills on Oct. 15, when it will honor actresses Lauren Bacall, Scarlett Johansson, Diane Lane, Kate Bosworth, Jennifer Connelly, Amy Adams and director Julie Taymor.

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