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Posts Tagged ‘Matt Weiner’

‘Mad Men’s’ Matt Weiner: ‘Find a Way to Turn Rejection into Something that Inspires You’

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ABC News anchor Robin Roberts, NBC Sports chairman Mark Lazarus, and CBS chief research officer David Poltrack are among the newest members of the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame. Their honors came Monday night at a black tie event at the Waldorf Astoria co-hosted by Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly and NBC Sports anchor Bob Costas.

MediabistroTV caught up with several TV luminaries, including Kelly, Costas, “Mad Men” creator Matt Weiner and even former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre, to get their keys to success. WATCH:

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Two Old Pros Come Together for Saturday Evening Post Q&A

When you’ve been in the entertainment journalism game as long as Jeanne Wolf, there is no longer any doubt about a preferred professional approach. As the veteran reporter’s personal website About page makes clear, she’s in it to have fun.

That breezy M.O. imbues Wolfe’s Q&A with Anjelica Huston for the March/April issue of The Saturday Evening Post. The interviewer and Smash star are each in their own way grand dames of Hollywood, freely and comfortably chatting be the topic Jack Nicholson or the actress’ in-progress autobiography:

Q: You’re writing a memoir. How is that going?
AH: I’m kind of in the midst of it, and it’s daunting, but on the other hand, it feels quite cathartic. Since I’m in the process, it’s a bit hard to talk about. I remember quite a lot, I have to say. Sometimes I wish I remembered a bit less.

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Summer’s Social Swans, Kim Kardashian’s BFF and the Woman Behind Mad Men

1003_mockup.gifWhere else could you possibly find friends of reality stars (Come on, you can’t expect an A-lister sighting every week) and the last vestiges of Cafe Society all in one room? If it’s Wednesday, at Michael’s, of course. I couldn’t even begin to do justice to the head-spinning scene there today, so I’ll just let the roster of what passes for celebrity sightings these days speak for itself.

I was so excited about today’s lunch, because I was meeting the woman responsible for greenlighting one of my favorite shows, Mad MenChristina Wayne has had an amazing career  – she also is responsible for getting Breaking Bad on air — and I found her story fascinating. Had it not been for Christina’s spot-on instincts, Matt Weiner‘s script, which had been floating around for eights years at that point, might not ever have seen the light of day.  The former AMC senior vice-president of scripted series and mini-series is now president of Cineflix Studios and executive producer of the new BBC America series, Copper — but I’m getting ahead of myself.

A born and bred New Yorker who grew up on the Upper East Side, Christina decided to move back after 12 years in Los Angeles for personal reasons in 2005 (“There was no one left to date!”) and after receiving a call from a friend asking if she’d be interested in working with AMC. Up until that point, the network was pretty much airing nothing but old movies. “I had no idea what AMC was. I thought he was talking about the movie theater chain,” said Christina. Back then, the basic cabler was looking to develop scripted content; Christina signed on as a consultant as the net’s “creative voice,”  but didn’t want to tell her screenwriter friends since, at the time, working in television seemed like a step down and “an embarrassment.”

Diane Clehane and Christina Wayne
Diane Clehane and Christina Wayne

She started by calling everyone she knew in L.A. and wound up with the script for Broken Trail, a huge hit starring Robert Duvall that got the greenlight in eight days. When she read the script for Mad Men on a flight back from Los Angeles, she knew she had something special. AMC wasn’t able to get a studio to pick it up, so the pilot was self-financed for $3.3 million and the rest, as they say, is television history. Without a huge marketing budget, Christina attributes a lot of Mad Men‘s buzz to the nonstop coverage it received in The New York Times who covered the show from every angle possible. “The show was their lovechild,” she said. And still is, I’d say.

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Matt Weiner Revisits the Casting of Don Draper

Mad Men creator Matt Weiner was on Dennis Miller’s radio show today, basking in the after-glow of Sunday’s fifth season debut. The AMC series is Miller’s favorite program, and at one point the conversation drifted to the casting of Jon Hamm as Don Draper.

Weiner recalled that at the time of the pilot, the Hollywood trend was for anti-leading men protagonists such as Seth Rogen, and that Hamm was struggling to gain traction. When asked who he originally envisioned as Draper, Weiner told Miller he appropriately reached way back:

“When my casting director asked me who I wanted for the role, I was like, ‘Honestly, I’ve narrowed it down to two people – get me William Holden or James Garner…’ They’re like, ‘You can’t say that.’”

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EXCLUSIVE: Richard Johnson on Living and Daily-ing in LA

If nothing else, former New York Post Page Six gatekeeper Richard Johnson (pictured) has a great sense of timing. A year into his new job as west coast editor of The Daily, he finally got around to checking out a Clippers game.

“I went to my first game Monday night,” he tells FishbowlLA via email. “They killed the Thunder, and Blake Griffin had a monster dunk that has already been re-played a hundred times. Being a lifelong Knicks fan, I have a hard time liking the Lakers. So I am a Clippers fan… I just wish it was easier to get to downtown.”

Today marks the official one-year anniversary of The Daily. The west coast bureau is made up of Johnson and one other reporter, with plans underway to add a third staffer shortly in the wake of Hunter Walker‘s departure last fall for the New York Observer.

We were curious how the A-lister culture of LA compares to that of Manhattan. Johnson says there are some key differences. “The flow of celebrity “gossip” is more tightly managed in Los Angeles,” he notes. “There are more controlled red carpets, more junkets where stars give Q&As, more conference calls. Stars often don’t even stop to talk to the press on the red carpet, whereas in New York you see them out at parties–it’s more open.”

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Lunch: Special Evening Edition as Michael’s Celebrates 20 Years

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— DIANE CLEHANE

As much as we enjoy observing the social customs of the various media tribes during our Wednesday lunches at Michael’s, we jumped at the chance to mingle with the natives last night as they roamed free from the pecking order in the dining room. Michael McCarty threw himself quite a blowout to celebrate 20 years at 55th & Fifth, and a few hundred of his closest friends came out to mark the occasion.

By the time I arrived a little after six there was a line out the door where I crossed paths with my good pals — and Michael’s stalwarts — Lisa Linden and Nielsen’s Gerry Byrne. “I thought I’d get here early and beat the crowd,” Lisa told me. Nothing doing as we inched our way into the packed dining room. A camera crew from LX New York was there as the man of the hour personally greeted each guest at the door with a slap on the back (for the guys) and air kisses (for the gals). Michael’s wife, the talented artist Kim McCarty, whose artwork adorns the restaurant’s walls, beamed with pride. Just another fabulous night out in New York …

Here’s a rundown of the ‘cool kids’ who finished their homework in time to make it out Wednesday night.

Glamour editrix Cindi Leive (loved the leopard!) was chatting with attorney Lorie Almon (“She knows everybody!”) about next Monday night’s Women of the Year awards. Thanks for the invite; we can’t wait. When I asked Cindi what keeps her coming back to Michael’s she told me, “I like the food; I don’t even have to look at the menu. And I get to see people in my world, so I can check off that box. I’m a creature of habit.” Makes sense to us.

The fabulous fashionista, Fern Mallis sailed by, and I just had to ask her whether she’d heard if there was going to be another season of her reality show, The Fashion Show with Isaac Mizrahi. No word yet from Bravo, says Fern. Stay tuned.

I stopped by the bar to say hello to HarperCollins’ David Hirshey and my old friend Michael Solomon, and we got into a lively discussion about our mutual obsession with Mad Men. The show’s season finale airs Sunday, and we’re all on the edge of our seats wondering if desperate housewife Betty will leave her unraveling husband Don Draper for that irksome Henry Francis. We decided that if it were up to us the couple would stay together unhappily ever after, but chances are series creator Matt Weiner has something else in store. Michael, who I got to know when we were both working for TV Guide, now toils for The Daily Beast as features director. After some catching up, we had a nice OTR chat about the good old days when people could still make a living as print journalists.

When I bumped into Investigation Discovery honcho Henry Schleiff, I offered my congratulations on his network’s new show, On the Case with Paula Zahn, which is garnering some good reviews. Kudos!

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