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Posts Tagged ‘Variety’

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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Where Did All Those @Variety Twitter Followers Come From?

That’s a question that caught the attention of Hollywood trade watchers late Friday thanks to Ben Dreyfuss, engagement editor for Mother Jones. He noticed and shared that in late September, the follower count for Jay Penske‘s publishing concern had a “boffo” day.

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What may shock you even more is how cheap something like this is to pull off. Check out for example the prices from this instant-popularity purveyor; they suggest Variety‘s early fall surge could have cost as little as $500.

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Anita Busch: From Deadline Commenter to Deadline Film Editor

DeadlineAnitaBuschPicThe great majority of reader comments that made it through to the bottom of Nikki Finke‘s Deadline items were anonymous or pseudonymous. Among the regular exceptions to this was Anita Busch.

The one-time LA Times and Hollywood Reporter vet, sidelined in recent years by some very nasty Anthony Pellicano business, could always be counted on to chime in under her real, full name. Today, some Hollywood trade watchers were stunned to learn that a journalist who has been out of the game for many years was hired as Deadline’s new film editor. She takes over for Mike Fleming, who moved into Finke’s vacated EIC perch. From today’s announcement:

Both [TV editor Nellie] Andreeva and Fleming have a long history with Busch. She hired and mentored Andreeva at The Hollywood Reporter, and she and Fleming worked closely together for years at Variety, dominating film industry news.

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Variety Drops F-Bomb on Twitter

The first Wednesday tweet designed to promote editor-in-chief: digital Andrew Wallenstein‘s look at the forces behind some recent Hollywood studio exec shuffles was routine:

VarietyTweet1

But then… Who knows. Maybe the individual manning the trade’s Twitter account became frustrated at the lack of clicks. Or was ordered to get more eyeballs onto Wallenstein’s piece. Or there were drinks involved. Because five hours later, in the spirit of Nikki “I Should Be Running Variety” Finke, there was this:

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Rotten Tomatoes Expansion Into TV Gets Quick, Bad Review

That didn’t take long. A few hours after Variety‘s Marc Graser tipped the first big change at rottentomatoes.com since the site launched in 1998, Atlantic Wire fellow Esther Zuckerman has given the expansion a thumbs down.

Launching Tuesday, RT’s TV Zone will rate TV series using the same scale that is employed for movies. With one big difference – TV ratings will be tied to full seasons rather than single episodes. Writes Zuckerman:

TV criticism isn’t the same as movie criticism. Whereas movie criticism is fairly finite — a critic states his or her case and it’s done — television criticism has to account for the fact that shows can vary wildly over the course of their seasons. Note, for instance, how initially critics weren’t too thrilled by Mad Men or Breaking Bad at the shows’ outsets…

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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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TMZ Vet Daniel Goldblatt Now at the Helm of Variety.com

Very few people can point to longer terms of service with TMZ than Daniel Goldblatt. He started with the Harvey Levin operation way back in June of 2005. Roughly six months before the site opted for an original, breaking news voice and eventually found its way to a monstrous Mel Gibson scoop.

After eight years with TMZ as a producer and coordinating producer, Goldblatt has shifted over to New York City and the position of managing editor for variety.com. This may be purely coincidental, but in recent weeks, we’ve been noticing more variety.com linkage on The Drudge Report.

Almost everyone’s a cubicle star in one way or another if they work for TMZ. But it was away from the 24/7 office that Goldblatt clocked one of his more infamous LA moments.

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Josh Dickey’s Tenure at TMZ Lasts All of Three Months

TMZ founder Harvey Levin can be a demanding boss. His ability to ferret out stories, sources and exclusives in a telephone manner that is second-to-none creates exceedingly high expectations for all those who work alongside him in the 24/7 newsroom.

Did the Levin horizon of journalism deliverables have something to do with the exit in late June of Josh Dickey (pictured), hired as TMZ.com managing editor just a few months earlier? Probably.

This morning, just as TheWrap provided a friendly, familiar home for fired Variety film reporter Jeff Sneider, it is now also the new place of re-employ for Sneider’s old boss. Dickey has rejoined Sharon Waxman‘s operation as managing editor, bumping Joseph Kapsch up to Lisa Fung‘s vacated executive editor slot.

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Pink Slips Coming to Variety Editorial Staffers

With Variety now under the ownership of Penske Media, we figured changes (that means staff cuts) were on their way. Well, unfortunately, those moves are coming in March. According to Deadline, “editorial firings” are being planned.

Even those who survive the cuts won’t have much to cheer about. One staffer told Deadline that Variety has been in a perpetual state of chaos since Penske purchased it:

There is complete editorial disorganization from the top down. No one knows if Variety is supposed to be a breaking news organization, an analytical publication, or some as yet undetermined hybrid. Tim Gray keeps pontificating to editorial that things are going to change and Variety will go in a new direction. But nobody knows what that means. They’re totally demoralized.

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