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Posts Tagged ‘Claudia Eller’

WSJ’s Alexandra Cheney Joins Variety

AlexandraCheneyVarietyThe folks at Variety want everyone in LA to know that incoming senior film reporter Alexandra Cheney knows how to surf. Don’t laugh; this skill could come in handy in the new year whenever she works on a feature involving one or more surf-loving producers, agents, managers and studio execs.

Cheney’s athletic background, which goes along with three years most recently spent writing for the Wall Street Journal‘s “Speakeasy” blog and Marketplace section, is highlighted at the end of today’s announcement as well as in this quote from film editor Claudia Eller:

“Alexandra, who was a professional surfer and is a hard-driving journalist, has the perfect kind of competitive DNA needed to aggressively cover the fast-changing, dynamic movie business,” Eller said. “She will be a great addition to our already strong film team.”

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New York Magazine Charts Finke-Penske Ups, Downs

BenjaminWallacePicAmong the many fascinating revelations in the New York magazine feature by Benjamin Wallace (pictured) about the evolution of Nikki Finke‘s relationship with Jay Penske is the way she helped her PMC boss drive down the acquisition price of Variety, the property that would eventually prove to be their Deadline Hollywood undoing:

Finke says she advised Penske on how to game the bidding by telling friendly reporters the other bidders were overpaying for it, in order to scare them off. Soon after a Los Angeles Times article to this effect was published, Ron Burkle dropped out.

[Editor's note: Burkle reportedly walked away after his substantially lower offer than Penske's eventual purchase price was rejected.]

Adding to the noteworthiness of this particular New York magazine passage is the fact that the LAT article in question appears to have been written by none other than Patrick Goldstein, author of a Los Angeles magazine profile of Finke and co. that went online last Thursday. In the portion of the Los Angeles magazine article where Goldstein discloses his personal relationships with trade players, he begins the summary of his Nikki dealings with, ‘Finke and I have been friendly for years.’ Apparently so.

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Variety Recommits to Film Criticism

Not too long ago, Hollywood pundits were interpreting the hiring of New York-based Scott Foundas by Variety as a major sleight to the publication’s two other film critics, Justin Chang and Peter Debruge. Time to reverse that punditry.

Variety Studio At Chivas House - Day 1 - The 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival

Per an announcement in the trade today, Chang and Debruge have been raised to Foundas’ “chief” tier. Fellow chief film critic Chang will remain based in Los Angeles while chief international film critic Debruge will work from a Paris base:

“We are aggressively stepping up our efforts in film criticism, which has been a hallmark of Variety for many decades,” said Jay Penske, chief executive officer of parent Penske Media Corporation. “We will continue to be the dominant force in this significant arena as we expand our voice in every key territory overseas.”

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Variety Grabs Newsweek/Daily Beast Vet

Ramin Setoodeh, who spent a combined 11 years at Newsweek and The Daily Beast, has moved over to the Hollywood trade side. As Variety‘s New York film editor, he will be based here alongside a small but growing staff.

From this morning’s announcement:

Setoodeh will also produce videos, webcasts and make regular television appearances on news shows to talk about the film industry. He reports to Claudia Eller, editor-in-chief, film…

A fearless and industrious journalist, Setoodeh once went undercover and auditioned for American Idol, and launched several Web series — one featuring Channing Tatum and Chris Evans candidly discussing their early acting jobs. His 2010 theater review of Sean Hayes in Promises Promises went viral, sparking a major debate about gay actors in Hollywood and eliciting responses from such high-profile players as Ryan Murphy, Aaron Sorkin and Kristin Chenoweth.

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Two Trade Publication Staffs Walk Into a Westwood Office Building…

Among the various Twitter wise-cracks posted in response to the news that Variety, Deadline (and other PMC Web publications) will soon be sharing the same LA westside digs was this one:

More like reality TV show. Especially since one of the floors being leased at the Westwood high rise will feature “a full video production studio and three green-screen rooms.”

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Variety Makes Steven Gaydos a VP

Last week, Variety announced the appointment of three new editors-in-chief – Andrew Wallenstein, Cynthia Littleton and Claudia Eller. Today, the trade has made another big move on the “advertorial” side, promoting executive editor Steven Gaydos to the additional role of VP.

The expanded, double title would seem to reflect that Gaydos has the full confidence of new owner Jay Penske, running a features department where most of the money will be. From this afternoon’s announcement:

Gaydos will oversee all editorial for features, events, creative partnerships, custom publishing and other special projects…

Gaydos has been responsible for nearly 200 reports and related events each year, directing the multi-platform production of territorial surveys, film, TV, digital and music reports, business-oriented personality and corporate profiles. In addition, he created and directed the “10 to Watch” program and oversees various initiatives such as brand’s Impact Lists, Hollywood’s New Leaders, Dealmakers and the Billion Dollar series.

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Variety Gets Three New Editors-in-Chief

They are Andrew Wallenstein, (digital), Claudia Eller (film) and Cynthia Littleton (TV). Colleague Tim Gray is not going away but rather will remain in a “leadership role.”

What’s most intriguing here is that Jay Penske is continuing a pattern of promoting female staffers (Littleton) to heretofore male-dominated editorial roles. Last fall, he appointed Michelle Sobrino-Stearns associate publisher. From this morning’s announcement:

The installation of Eller and Littleton as two of the three editors-in-chief marks the first time in the brand’s storied history that women have served in the top editorial role.

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Daniel Miller to Join LA Times’ Company Town

Hollywood Reporter senior writer Daniel Miller is leaving the entertainment trade for the  pastures of the LA Times‘ showbiz blog Company Town. He starts his new gig next Monday. Looks like he’ll be on the studio beat.

Miller will report to entertainment news editor Claudia Eller.

Memo to staff from LA Times assistant managing editor John Corrigan after the jump:

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Top Gun Sequel’s Best Asset May Be 28-Year-Old Billionaire’s Son

Recent rumblings that a sequel to Top Gun may be brewing brought about a large, collective groan. But after reading today’s LA Times profile of David Ellison, the 28-year-old son of Oracle Corp. billionaire Larry and potential sequel producer, FishbowlLA is cautiously optimistic.

Under a headline that suggests Ellison Jr. is intent, with $350 million in funding, in working with Paramount Studios to make his Skydance Productions a “media company 2.0”, writers Claudia Eller and Ben Fritz put forth a portrait of a young man who has little hesitation about what he is doing:

Ellison pitched Top Gun‘s original team — Cruise, director Tony Scott and producer Jerry Bruckheimer – on ways to update the story to the 21st century, such as integrating the increasing use of unmanned drones by the military.

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Warner Bros. Buys Into UK Production Facility

For a long time now, the Hollywood industry skein has been a tale of two kitties. While much of the TV production has remained in Los Angeles, feature film have decamped to all corners of the U.S. and beyond.

The latest confirmation of this trend comes courtesy of a newswire pick-up by Claudia Eller and Richard Verrier at the LA Times “Company Town” blog. Warner Bros., a studio that has been heavily involved in a UK production facility near Watford, is buying the compound and making further investments that will result in two new soundstages, a Harry Potter museum and an estimated 300 additional non-LA jobs.

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