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Posts Tagged ‘Ron Meyer’

Exclusive: The Dish on That Book About Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer and Christiane Amanpour

LunchAtMichaelsSchool is back in session for the cool kids and they showed up in droves at their favorite cafeteria at 55th and Fifth. Come on, it’s just like high school — but with better clothes. In attendance: NBCUniversal’s Ron Meyer and Steve Burke, Joe Kernen, Andrew Ross Sorkin, Tom Brokaw, Donny Deutsch and Showtime’s Matt Blank among the media mob scene. It seemed more than a bit ironic that Michael’s looked like an old boys club since I was joined today by Sheila Weller for an exclusive first interview about her new book, The News Sorority (Penguin Press), which chronicles the rise of Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric and Christiane Amanpour in television news. While the book’s press release paints the book as a thoughtful, “astute” guide to the behind-the-scenes goings on in television broadcast news and a paean to the accomplishments of these three incredibly ambitious women amid the “impenetrable newsroom boys club,” early reports have instead latched on to the more juicy tales of rivalry and the occasional missteps among the women. Shocking, I know. “It pains me that the news aggregators focused on the catfights,” Sheila told me. “It showed me the knives are out for women who succeed.”

Sheila Weller and Diane Clehane

Sheila Weller and Diane Clehane

What Sheila is referring to is the headline-grabbing items in the New York Daily News and The Daily Beast. The Daily News ran an item on the book for Father’s Day with the headline “Hate-y Katie” and an unflattering picture of her, which, said Sheila, didn’t exactly thrill her rep, Matthew Hiltzik. “I told him I didn’t plant any of it,” she told me. Lloyd Grove PM’d Sheila on Facebook asking: “What’s this book being passed around the networks like a crack pipe?” and then wrote a lengthy piece about the book for The Daily Beast, which recounted some of the more gossipy exchanges involving the women. “Once a book is sent to a media organization, you can’t control what happens with it,” said Sheila. “I was stunned by the Father’s Day item.”

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Harvey Weinstein, Ron Meyer and the Secrets of Sheryl Sandberg’s Media Coach

LunchAtMichaelsIt was the usual mix of moguls on the menu (Harvey Weinstein and Ron Meyer at Table Four), seasoned with a smattering of stylistas, social types and a generous side order of  publicists at Michael’s today. The mood was downright festive in the dining room with a birthday celebration for Shari Rollins, who was feted by hubby politico Ed Rollins and a table full of BFFs at Table One, while a group of fashion folks led by Laurie Haspel toasted the return of National Seersucker Day in the center of the room. As the festivities grew more spirited and the decibel level rose, I leaned in to hear every fascinating utterance by my lunch date, Emmy-Award-winning correspondent and media coach to the famous and fabulous, Bill McGowan.

Bill McGowan and Diane Clehane

Bill McGowan and Diane Clehane

As founder and CEO of Clarity Media Group, Bill, who describes himself as a “total Cyrano de Bergerac,” has coached a head-spinning roster of newsmakers, captains of industry and media types to say the just right thing at the right time on air and in front of an audience when it really counts. He’s crystallized all his best advice and culled it down into a highly digestible, compulsively readable book, Pitch Perfect: How to Say It Right the First Time, Every Time (HarperBusiness), which was published in April. “I’ve been coaching HarperCollins authors for 12 years; now I am one,” said Bill. And, trust me, he’s got plenty of material. In the course of his 25-year career in television, Bill conducted thousands (!) of interviews and worked on ABC News’ 20/20, CBS News’ 48 Hours, Public Eye with Bryant Gumbel and Current Affair. He also worked with the “very generous” Bill O’Reilly back in the day at WCBS News as a desk assistant when Fox’s future front man gave him his first on-air shout-out. “I was 21 at the time and he was always really good to me.”

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The Hollywood Reporter Poaches Hilary Lewis From The New York Post

The Hollywood Reporter has announced that Hilary Lewis will join the magazine as its New York staff editor of THR.com. Lewis, who comes to THR from the New York Post, where she has worked as a reporter and online producer since 2009, starts June 10 and reports to THR.com editor Chris Krewson.

“With her tremendous business reporting experience, Hilary will be a major asset to THR’s New York bureau, especially as our East Coast entertainment industry coverage continues to grow,” Krewson said in a statement. “We’re lucky to have her on board.”

“Anyone who’s had an eye on entertainment media knows firsthand what THR has accomplished in recent years,” said Lewis. “Joining the company marks a real milestone for my career. I’m looking forward to big things.”

In her new role, Lewis will be responsible for writing, reporting and editing entertainment stories that touch every sector of the industry. She will also be a presence for THR on the red carpet covering the city’s biggest film premieres and events.

Over the past four years at the Post, Lewis has broken exclusive stories and uncovered financing deals including previously unreported details about how Star Trek Into Darkness and World War Z production house Skydance reached its co-financing deal with Paramount.  Her interviews have taken her from leading Hollywood talent like Rob Lowe to major executives Ron Meyer and Jeff Zucker.

Lewis joins THR.com at a time when the site has seen traffic soar to 11 million uniques and launched key editorial initiatives including, most recently, “Indie Icons,” a channel dedicated to independent film coverage.

[Image: THR]

Universal Pictures COO Ron Meyer Dumps All Over His Own Movies

Bravo! That was FishbowlLA’s immediate reaction when we read Movieline west coast editor Jen Yamato‘s account of a rip-roaring talk given this week at the Savannah Film Festival by Universal Pictures president and COO Ron Meyer.

It’s one thing to label Will Ferrell‘s Land of the Lost as “crap.” But it’s quite another for the former CAA partner to call out a marquee mess made by Comic-con darling Jon Favreau with help from James Bond and Indiana Jones. On Wednesday, Meyer nailed it:

“Forget all the smart people involved in Cowboys & Aliens, it wasn’t good enough. All those little creatures bouncing around were crappy. I think it was a mediocre movie, and we all did a mediocre job with it.”

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Gunfight, the Biography of Guns in America, Isn’t Taking Sides

When UCLA law professor Adam Winkler first began to promote his new book, Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America, he spoke to a booking agent about appearing on television news programs.

“So which side are you on,” the agent asked, “far-right or far-left?” Winkler explained that neither he nor his book came down hard on either side of the gun debate, to which the agent replied incredulously, “Have you ever seen a TV news show?” Nuance, it seems, doesn’t get booked on FOX or MSNBC. So without an extremist stance, Winkler’s career as a talking head was over before it began.

This anecdote was shared with guests by the author at his book party in Beverly Hills Thursday night, held at the home of his parents, Irwin and Margo Winkler, and co-hosted by Arianna Huffington and Ron and Kelly Meyer. But the history of guns in America, Winkler explained, doesn’t correspond neatly with extreme ideologies.

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Kathie Lee Gifford, Marlo Thomas And The Best Seller Brigade

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— DIANE CLEHANE

The joint was jumping when I arrived for my weekly lunch at Michael’s today. Between the bestselling authors, media mavens, and the social swans of the Upper East Side, there was a real buzz in the room — or was it just all that pesky pollen from the azaleas on every table?

I was joined today by jewelry designer and all around renaissance woman Carol Brodie. I’ve known Carol since her days at Harry Winston when she managed to get every A-lister you could possibly name to show up at the Academy Awards dripping in the iconic house’s diamonds. In 2009, Carol launched her own fine jewelry collection, Rarities, on HSN and has become the shopping network’s number one resource for fine gems. With prices ranging from $59.90 up to $10,000 for one of a kind pieces, that’s a lot of bling! It’s amazing to learn just how much people pony up sitting at home watching in their pajamas. She’s also launching a collection of watches next month.

Carol has become something of an overnight success in the digital world, since her mantra is ”click and order” over “bricks and mortar.” As a completely digital brand, she has garnered plenty of attention for her social media prowess and recently spoke at the Fashion 140 conference at Lincoln Center along with fellow Twitter fanatics Robert Verdi and Elle’s Joe Zee. Besides the “priceless” exposure she gets on HSN (her next appearance is scheduled for May 20, when the network celebrates ‘Brazilian Day’), Carol stays in constant contact with her customers through Facebook and tweets up to the minute on virtually everything she is doing, wearing and selling. (She, of course, tweeted our lunch.)

“Social media is the ‘Main Street’ of my brand,” she told me. “I want to talk directly to my customers, and they want to talk directly to me.” Carol is also planning to do a lot more talking with an upcoming book and television show in development (“a cross between Antique Roadshow and Pawn Brokers“) that she’s working on with a former Oprah producer. She kind of makes you feel guilty about all those hours spent watching Bravo instead of designing your website, doesn’t she?

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Sam Haskell, author (Promises I Made My Mother) and former head of William Morris’ worldwide television division, with his wife and daughter — both named Mary. The group was  joined by Kathie Lee Gifford, who I grabbed for a brief chat. When I asked how her Mother’s Day was, she said, “It will be better tonight — Cody is coming home from college!”

2. Former HarperCollins head Jane Friedman, now CEO and co-founder of Open Road with uber ad man Richard Kirshenbaum and Jeffrey Sharp, president and co-founder of Open Road.

3. Diane Sokolov

4. Charlie Schuler

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Daily Beast vs. Vulture

Thursday afternoon, The Daily Beast‘s Peter Lauria posted a very blunt, mightier-than-thou “Facebook Exclusive” take-down of a Claude Brodesser-Akner November 3rd item on New York Magazine’s Vulture blog. West coast editor Brodesser-Akner (pictured) had suggested after speaking to his sources that Universal President and COO Ron Meyer‘s days may be numbered now that Comcast is coming into the NBCUni kingdom.

Responded Lauria:

The lengthy post surmised that Meyer, the longest-tenured CEO in Hollywood, may be pushed out of Universal Studios by new owner Comcast once the takeover is complete. Too bad the story is a steaming pile of poo. According to three sources—all insiders at Comcast or Universal—Meyer’s position under the Comcast regime is secure…

The truth is that Comcast isn’t sure what to do with Universal right now. But sources say that until Comcast can dig into the business it would prefer to keep Universal’s executive team stable and give them a chance to prove themselves.

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Lunch: A Smiling Anna Wintour, Hungry Brian Williams, & A Tasty Mogul Stew

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— DIANE CLEHANE

They were dishing like it was 1999 today at Michael’s where it was SRO at the bar and in the lounge and filled with movers and shakers of every stripe in the dining room. I got a serious case of whiplash trying to keep track of it all. Between keeping an eye on Anna Wintour, who seemed to swoon over Vivi Nevo‘s every word, and watching Brian Williams and Universal honcho Ron Meyer tuck into their lunch with unbridled gusto, I found the scene even more fascinating than usual. Another intriguing phenomenon was the steady stream of suits that poured into the restaurant until it nearly overflowed. Was there a noontime shuttle from Brooks Brothers? Or perhaps, in some circles, the expense account in making a comeback. Here’s hoping…

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. A casually clad Charlie Rose, who explained why he was wearing Chuck Taylors with his pinstripe suit: “I worked out earlier this morning.” The PBS talk show host was with two mystery guests.

2. Anna Wintour and Vivi Nevo. The Vogue editrix seemed completely enraptured by the Israeli venture capitalist. Whatever could have made her smile so much?

3. Hollywood casting agent Bonnie Timmermann with Law & Order SVU star Richard Belzer and literary agent David Vigliano. Belzer entertained his pals throughout lunch by reading stories aloud from a pile of old issues of Star magazine. I’m thinking Richard is considering writing a book based on some tabloid tales. Sounds interesting.

4. Glued to his Blackberry throughout the first half of lunch, a tie-less Harvey Weinstein with James Neaderlander and another business type. The group all gave Bonnie Timmermann a big ‘hello.’

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Jeff Zucker’s NBCU Deal Denial and A Surprise Visit From Bill Gates

SV20089.jpgDan Cox, on special assignment for FishbowlLA, covering the 2008 Sun Valley Media Conference.

Universal Studios CEO Ron Meyer was standing with NBCU head Jeff Zucker, waiting for Zucker’s kids coming out of the Chocolate Foundry. Both were upbeat about the Sun Valley conference.

Meyer gave kudos to colleague Jeff Katzenberg, the DreamWorks partner who had a presentation on 3-D this morning.

“It was good,” Meyer said, “a great display of the technolgy.” Katzenberg gave a presentation about the uses of 3-D in film and TV and reportedly showed an “incredible” visual display of the possibilities.

Nike chairman Philip Knight was also exuberant about the display. “It’s where we’re headed. It’s the future,” he said.

Zucker_7.10.jpgZucker, meanwhile, denied a newspaper report of NBC possibly unloading assets at the Sun Valley conference.

“No, there’s nothing like that,” Zucker said. “I’m just here watching.”

Former American Express chairman James Robinson III said he was only here out of a long-standing friendship with host Herb Allen.

But Robinson said that Katzenberg’s speech, like other technology-driven segments, was fascinating and will be of great use to companies like Amex and others. Robinson now runs RRE Ventsures, which deals in applied technology and its utilization.

Former Microsoft chair and founder Bill Gates unexpectedly showed up last night was hovering around the morning presentations. Asked if he had any comment on the pending Microsoft/Yahoo! discussions, he said: “No thank you. No.”

SAG’s Ad Meant for the Moguls & Murdoch on the Markets

SV20087.jpgDan Cox, on special assignment for FishbowlLA, covering the 2008 Sun Valley Media Conference.

As studio chairmen and agency heads all attempt to escape the jowls of Hollywood and its labor problems, the Screen Actors Guild has a bright marketing executive. SAG bought an full-page ad in the local paper for Sun Valley, the Idaho Mountain Express, that said simply: “We Want a Deal.”

It was aimed at the studio heads up here, including Universal’s Ron Meyer, DreamWorks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg, Sony’s Sir Howard Stringer, Disney’s Robert Iger and agency senior executives like ICM’s Jeff Berg, CAA’s Richard Lovett and Bryan Lourd, UTA’s Jim Berkus and William Morris Agency’s Jim Wiatt.

Unfortunately for SAG, as Sony chairman Stringer told mediabistro: “Unfortunately for the Screen Actors Guild, we don’t see that newspaper up here. It’s not delivered to us.”

Also seen in the valley: IAC chairman and CEO Barry Diller who had to stop riding his bike after almost running into Wendi Deng, wife to billionaire media mogul Rupert.

Murdoch_Deng_7.9.JPG“Where are you going, Wendi,” Diller asks.
“I’m going to get some Yoga pants,” she replies.
“What are yogurt pants?” Diller persists.
“No, yoga pants, you know to do yoga in.”
“Yogurt pants?”

Hubby Rupert was later cornered by an AP reporter who asked about the markets. Murdoch’s simple yet eloquent reply: “I’m a bear.”

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