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Posts Tagged ‘Peter Bart’

Mike Fleming Cautions Those Who Choose Nikki Finke

BartFlemingLogoFor anyone with a granular interest in the Hollywood trades, the latest edition of Mike Fleming and Peter Bart‘s weekly Deadline column is a must-read

Fleming confirms it was his idea to bring Finke back into the Deadline fold. He details how the negotiations with PMC chief Jay Penske fell apart and ends this latest conversation with former Variety boss Bart with a stern warning:

“Since the thrust of her new site seems to be Deadline-bashing, I feel comfortable in making this clear: those who choose to break their news with her will need to be happy with that result. You might get a scant mention, but you’ll find no love here.”

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Deadline’s Mike Fleming is Going Bicoastal

DeadlineHollywoodlogoBeginning next month, Nikki Finke‘s tireless film editor will divide his time equally each month between Long Island and Los Angeles. It’s a big change for Fleming, one he wants you to know is not an indication of troubles at the mother ship:

I think Deadline is thriving despite a recent batch of articles implying otherwise, and it pisses me off when journalists cheap shot us (I disagree with New York Times’ reporter Brooks Barnes and his assessment that Deadline has grown bland. The only thing that concerns me is Barnes could teach a master class on how to write blandly, so he’s as close to an authority as you’ll find on the subject).

Ha ha. Fleming goes on to share all sorts of great recollections: how his showbiz reporter career began accidentally in connection with a project involving Ralph Macchio, Emilio Estevez and Peter Bart; how a Long Dong Silver porn tape threw Variety parent company execs for a loop; how a trial run living in LA was ended by his wife’s ultimatum; and how Disney learned to live with his Jessica Rabbit revelations.

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Nikki Finke Less Than Thrilled with Fleming-Bart Variety Column

It’s the kind of collaboration we expected at PMC-owned Variety. Right there, online today and in this week’s print edition, are Deadline film editor Mike Fleming Jr. and his former Variety mentor Peter Bart, together again in a new column. This occasional feature is called “Double Take” and certainly will cause many Hollywood trade watchers to do the same.

FishbowlNY was curious what Fleming’s current boss Nikki Finke thought about the PMC cross-pollination. She is not pleased.

“I wasn’t even aware that Peter Bart still had a job at Variety until recently,” she told us exclusively. “It’s shocking enough that Variety continues to employ him despite his long history as one of the most unethical journalists at a trade.”

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Amy Wallace Revisits Her Iconic Peter Bart Profile

For geeky followers of the Hollywood trades, it doesn’t get much more Memorial fun than this. In Nieman Storyboard’s latest “Annotation Tuesday!”, The Awl’s Elon Green and reporter Amy Wallace line-item annotate her famous September 2001 Los Angeles magazine profile of then-Variety editor Peter Bart.

It says something about the wily Hollywood industry skills outlined by Wallace in her cover story that today, improbably, Bart has weathered a storm of change at Variety and cranks out a weekly column alongside three new editors-in-chief. Green asks at one point how the celebrated Los Angeles magazine piece feels to its author 12 years later. Wallace’s answer:

The main way that the piece has become utterly dated is that the trades are no longer as powerful as they were then. Variety is trying to reboot at the moment and The Hollywood Reporter is a glossy vehicle for luxury advertising (that actually caters brilliantly to this same insecurity I describe here, by celebrating power brokers and putting their pictures on high-quality paper).

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Peter Bart Shares a Few Gatsby Memories

Under the hilarious headline “Hollywood’s F. Scott Fitz and Starts,” Variety executive vice president and editorial director Peter Bart frames the upcoming fourth film version of The Great Gatsby in ways that the average pajama-clad movie blogger can only dream of.

Not only was Bart instrumental in version number three, one that almost paired Marlon Brando with the script nuances of Francis Ford Coppola. But he was also there at the genesis of version number four. If we had this kind of access, we’d lead with the information as well:

Baz Luhrmann took me by surprise four years ago when he confided over lunch that he intended to shoot The Great Gatsby as his next movie — he explained that he had become obsessed with the Gatsby story. I told him that I, too, admired the great F. Scott Fitzgerald novel but could never quite figure out its story — nor could the three directors who’d made previous Gatsby’s.

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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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Peter Bart on the Failure of Johnny Depp’s ‘Passion Project’

For his latest Variety missive, current VP and editorial director Peter Bart zeroes in on the box office failure of Johnny Depp‘s The Rum Diary. Released over the Halloween weekend, this Hunter S. Thompson derived entertainment has grossed just $12.5 million domestically and a paltry four million and change internationally.

Bart says that it was not for a lack of PR. He notes that although Depp appeared “marginally comatose” during a special one-hour interview with Larry King, the actor was otherwise enthusiastically willing to subject himself to the nightmarish press junket experience. However, according to Bart, there are a couple of bigger problems at work here:

The boozy Thompson was always pissed off, and that’s the paradox of Depp’s biopic. Depp venerated Thompson but was not the actor to play him. In the film, Depp seems pliant, almost benign–a good soul responding to the madness surrounding him.

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Variety Publisher Ridicules Latest Takeover Rumor

Today’s gossip item by Richard Johnson at The Daily quotes only an unnamed “insider.” And it does not specify what realm of the Hollywood media or business firmament that insider toils in.

Still, the idea of Variety being acquired by Nikki Finke‘s boss, 30-year-old wunderkind Jay Penske, is enough to make former grand poobah Peter Bart lose his Hillcrest Country Club lunch. To The Daily‘s credit, they actually ran this one by the folks on Wilshire Blvd.:

“He is working on a deal, and the numbers seem consistent based on online and print and profits,” one insider told Flash yesterday. But Variety Group president Neil Stiles (pictured) said, “Nonsense, and you can quote me.”

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Film Critic Set to Reveal ‘Secret Swarthmore Life’

LA Times film critic Kenneth Turan graduated from Pennsylvania’s Swarthmore College the same year as the release of The Graduate. This coming weekend, the 1967 alum, who went on to earn his master’s at Columbia University in New York, will return for an Arts Weekend speech entitled “Swarthmore Made Me: A Critic’s Secret Life.”

Turan tells Swarthmore’s The Phoenix, a student newspaper founded the same year as the LA Times (1881), that his current teaching style is heavily influenced by his time on campus as a history major:

Teaching film reviewing and nonfiction writing at USC, Turan sees a lot of himself in his own students. “I’m excited by the field and I was hoping there was a place for me, which is exactly how my students feel,” he said… His teaching style is “an attempt to make my students get as much out of my class as I got out of the classes I took at Swarthmore.”

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Richard Rushfield: Idol Pundit

Former LA Timer, ex-Gawker editor Richard Rushfield has turned his beat into a book: A tuned tome about a ten year old reality show. “American Idol: The Untold Story” is in stores now.

Speaking of untold stories, his book party was at a swanky undisclosed location last night. Guest included Rob Long, Clare Hoffman, Ben Goldhirsh (publisher of GOOD) and Peter Bart. From the Daily Beast, Gabe Doppelt and Kate Aurthur and novelist Andrea Seigel.

And yes, if you were wondering…he did charge his guests for copies of his book. Twenty-seven bucks each.

We won a couple of bets on that one. Now pay up.

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