NETFLIX lays off 150 in cost reduction move, mostly in US
Mirren & Harrison Ford to lead YELLOWSTONE prequel / XFL makes DISNEY deal / SPIDER-MAN director sets STAR WARS DIS+ series
Mornin! This is Sean McNulty and here’s the Hollywood + Media news to know on WEDNESDAY May 18, 2022.
Where LIONSGATE’s comin’ to Jersey! Finally their experience doing John Wick movies will come in handy 💪. They’re a minority investor and getting naming rights on a new $100 Million, 12 acre, 6 soundstage & post-production complex in Newark (on the good side).
To be completed in Spring 2024, and it’s right next to Newark Airport which I’m sure the sound department will appreciate.
AND: WBD and CBS round out the 2023 Upfronts today.
PLUS: The NY TIMES points out that for being so inescapable and just incredibly annoying a mere 3 months ago… you don’t see any celebs hawking cyrpto in commercials anymore. Or now apparently willing to comment on it. #BradyDamonGwynethReeseLeBron
📽 THE SILVER SCREEN
“Spider-Man: No Way Home” director Jon Watts creating new “Star Wars” series for DISNEY+
He’ll also direct it naturally, set soon after “Return of the Jedi” and will be a la an 80’s AMBLIN coming-of-age adventure movie in spirit… but that’s all we got. /Vanity Fair
He just left the “Fantastic Four” reboot a month ago, saying he needed a break from superheroes (he did the last 3 “Spider-Man” pics). So I guess this technically counts as a break from that?
Some other details on already announced new SW series in VF’s sprawling “Star Wars” cover story in the link ☝️ for the inclined.
A24 doubles down on Pete Davidson stock, gets new lead role in Aussie “Wizards!” pic
About 2 potheads who run a beach-bar (Pete and Franz Rogowski) who stumble across stolen money and hijinx ensue. Naomi Scott (“Jasmin” in “Aladdin”) also co-starring. /Deadline
Pete has “Bodies Bodies Bodies” coming out from A24 this August.
ALSO IN MOVIES
UNI signs Nicholas Sparks to 3 picture, first-look deal. First will be a pic on his book “The Wish”, partnering with ANONYMOUS CONTENT in the deal. His last studio movie was 2015’s “The Long Ride” with Scott Eastwood and Britt Robertson. /THR
HULU hires writer to write new “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” movie script - Justin Haythe (“Red Sparrow”, “Revolutionary Road”, “The Lone Ranger”) is doing the honors, although 20TH has commissioned several reboot scripts over the years that never happened, so hopefully Justin cracks the code. /THR
IN THE HOLLYWOOD EXECUTIVE SUITE
AMC sets Len Fogge as President of Marketing, reporting into CEO Matt Blank. He had been consulting there, and was Marketing Prez at NBC, and EVP at SHOWTIME prior. /THR
Meghan & Harry set Ashley Momtaheni as new EVP of Comms for their ARCHEWELL Co. She previously was VP of Global Comms/Media Relations at UNIVERSAL PICTURES. /Variety
STX Prez of International John Friedberg departs after 7 years, will still consult with the company under their new owner THE NAJAFI COMPANIES. /Deadline
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📝 IN OTHER WORDS…
“When I started this, ‘Lost’ was one of our biggest hits. Now it’s our corporate motto.”
- JIMMY KIMMEL giving his annual Upfronts roast of his DISNEY parent company.
📺 THE TV SET
PARAMOUNT+ sets Helen Mirren & Harrison Ford to co-star in “Yellowstone” prequel “1932”
Set in… well think you get the gist - a continuation of the Dutton family saga in the Great Depression, from Taylor Sheridan. Will debut this December. /THR
ABC gives 4 hours a week to “Bachelor in Paradise” on Fall TV schedule
Now hosted by regular “Bachelor” host Jesse Palmer - who said ABC would be lacking a good plan to replace “DWTS”?
Otherwise “Celebrity Jeopardy!” will be added on Sunday nights at 8p in Sept.
“The Rookie: Feds” gets Tues at 10p,
Hilary Swank series “Alaska” gets the post Grey’s slot on Thursdays at 10p.
Gina Rodriguez comedy “Not Dead Yet” will be mid-season. /Deadline
NETFLIX sets Tom Brady as first guest in new “Greatest Roasts of All Time: GROAT” series
And yes, Jeff Ross is involved.
Tom is also Executive Producing the “GROAT” series of specials (no other guests announced), so if it has the objective, freewheeling lens of his ESPN+ series “Man in the Arena”… well I’ll just let that one stand for itself actually. /Variety
CBS pretty much business as usual in the Fall, but cuts Thursday comedy to just one hour
That hour being 8p with “Young Sheldon” and this season’s breakout “Ghosts”. There are no new comedy series on CBS this year.
“CSI” franchise returns to it’s old Thursday night home with “CSI: Vegas” taking the 10p slot. New series, mother-son legal dramedy “So Help Me Todd” goes in the 9p slot.
Otherwise Jimmy Smits follows Queen Latifah on Sundays at 9p in his new cop show “East New York” , and convict firefighter show “Fire Country” takes Fridays at 9p. /THR
ALSO IN TV
ESPN giving “30 for 30” treatment on 2000 Ray Lewis-led, SUPER BOWL winning BALTIMORE RAVENS. Great, another awesome moment for GIANTS fans to look forward to later this year. /Deadline
HBOMAX & CARTOON NET set animated special from Sacha Baron Cohen, Mike Judge & Greg Daniels, written by Michael Korman (“Nathan For You”) called “Chelm: The Smartest Place on Earth.” Described as a “nod to Jewish intellectual traditions” using absurdist humor. /THR
PAR+ sets Silver Tree (“You”, “The Flight Attendant”) to direct their “Fatal Attraction” reboot series with Josh Jackson & Lizzy Caplan. /Deadline
💻 THE MEDIA BIZ
The Rock’s XFL reboot sets TV deal with ABC, ESPN and FX for its Spring 2023 return
I mean it’s going so well for the USFL so why not 🤦♂️. Granted they don’t have The Rock promoting it… but still baffling why people think there’s an audience for “more football” after NFL season, featuring players… no one knows.
Also those networks specified will air XFL games… but it was not presented as all games will air on those networks. 👋 #ESPN+
NETFLIX lays off 150 (ish) employees
Their workforce is about 11k total worldwide so it’s a little under 2%. Although these are mostly in the US and in creative functions across Film & TV including some Director-level departures.
No confirmed specifics although DEADLINE does have some names they heard in the Drama & Event TV groups that are in the link ☝️.
NETFLIX did put out a statement confirming and saying it’s definitely related to cost-cutting and not a strategy change etc. /Deadline
Animation is also losing 70 roles per THR (unclear if this was part of the 150 or separate, but I think it’s part of the 150), as the severe downsizing of Animation projects continued yesterday, including one from Ava DuVernay. /Variety
ATTN sells to Kevin Mayer-Tom Stagg’s CANDLE MEDIA for $150 Million
All-cash deal, and current management is staying on at the social change-focused digital media co.
Not too clear how it may help or integrate with CANDLE’s other properties (Reese’s co, COCOMELON, Will Smith’s co etc)… but then again that’s for someone else to figure out.
ATTN was founded in 2014, and did funding rounds of $14 Million and $18 Million in 2016 and 2018 respectively. They’ve produced content with & for a variety of networks from ABC, HULU and DISCOVERY. /Axios
ALSO IN MEDIA
DISNEY+ will have no Alcohol or Political ads when the Ad-supported tier launches. Gambling? Oh no that’s totally fine, come right in. /Variety
Top 14 Cable TV providers lost 1.96 Million customers in Q1, about the same as Q1 last year. And in 2020. /NextTV
EATER promoted Stephanie Wu as their new Editor in Chief. She came over from CONDE NAST TRAVELER back in January.
Former EIC Amanda Kludt is now a group Publisher at parent co VOX. /Axios
🏦 STOCK NOTES:
PARAMOUNT GLOBAL +15% ($32.32)
Warren Buffet disclosed today (per legal guidelines) that he bought $2.6 Billion of PARA stock in Q1 to become their 2nd largest outside investor so… there ya go. No word on what he sees here, he also owns stakes in APPLE & AMAZON… but probably not because of their streaming businesses.
Although he also thought he could make a go of it in the newspaper business about a decade ago so, take it fwiw.
But apparently all of these “Yellowstone” series are really paying off with their primary demo.
AS A RESULT…
AMC NETWORKS +12% ($40.39)
LIONSGATE +9% ($12.62)
WBD +6% ($18.36)
ALTICE +12% ($10.50)
AMC THEATERS +10% ($12.90)
DISH +5% ($21.50)
SNAP +5% ($24.54)
CINEWORLD (REGAL Cinemas) +5% ($0.29)
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👩💻 NEW TO WATCH:
NETFLIX “Love on the Spectrum US” docuseries - STREAM HERE
🎥 TRAILER HOUSE
NETFLIX “Only Murders in the Building” Season 2 teaser. Premieres Tue June 28
DISNEY+ “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” series trailer. New MARVEL comedy series premieres Aug 17.
NETFLIX - Letterman & KD (Kevin Durant) talk weed in a clip from Dave’s new round of interviews dropping this Friday.
SONY PICTURES “Where the Crawdads Sing” trailer - SONY’s 2nd crack at the trailer for the pic based on the book, with 100% more new TSWIFT song. In theaters Fri July 15.
HBOMAX “That Damn Che” Season 2 trailer - Premieres next Thu May 26
NETFLIX “Spiderhead” movie trailer - Chris Hemsworth, Miles Teller, Jurnee Smollett in pic about inmates sent to a remote island for some sort of drug/mood altering experiment (run by Chris)… but not quite as serious as that sounds… sorta. From the director of “Top Gun: Maverick”. Premieres Fri June 17
HBO “Irma Vep” movie teaser - Alicia Vikander pic about an actress taking on a French remake of the movie. I think. Premieres Mon June 6 on HBOMAX, and I’m guessing airs the day before on HBO. or maybe on June 6. HBO and the details on YT… not so much.
APPLE TV+ “Home” Season 2 trailer. The lifestyle/#realestateporn docuseries premieres Fri June 17
🎧 PLAYING ME OFF
New KELSEA BALLERINI “Heartfirst”
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