Showbiz Sandbox 201: Why CBS Is Winning The Battle (And The War) Over Cable Television

August 12, 2013

For the past two weeks Time Warner Cable has been blacking out CBS networks in New York, Los Angeles and other major markets over a retransmission dispute. Despite losing more than 3 million households ratings on CBS have remained steady giving the network no reason to back down from its demands. With the new television and football seasons set to begin in September Time Warner Cable may have no choice but to cave in to CBS’ terms.

Meanwhile, this summer’s blockbuster movies continue to underperform at the box office with Disney announcing they may have to take a $190 million write down on losses from “The Lone Ranger”. Actor Johnny Depp and producer Jerry Bruckheimer have figured out who to blame for the movie’s failure; vengeful American film critics.

After being publicly trashed by George Clooney, activist investor Daniel Loeb was unable to convince Sony to spin-off its entertainment divisions. Even so, Loeb says he’s pleased since the company’s stock price is up and its management more accountable to shareholders.

Of course we also cover the week’s top entertainment news including a lost film from Orson Welles, a new ending for the “Finding Nemo” sequel and the surprising new owner of The Washington Post.

Read more


Showbiz Sandbox 148: Soaking Up This Year’s Cannes Film Festival

May 22, 2012

Uncharacteristic inclement weather drenched the first half of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, though the rain could not dampen the spirits of attendees or distributors looking to acquire hot titles. Are the selections at this year’s festival going to be future award contenders as they were last year with “The Artist” and “Tree of Life”? We’ll let you know.

Of course, Cannes has never been short on movie stars. This year’s festival has featured appearances from Bruce Willis, Nicole Kidman, Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Brad Pitt, to name just a few. However some journalists are finding that getting access to such talent can be costly, especially if you have to pay thousands of euro for interviews. We’ll explain.

One film that didn’t make it into the festival is “Battleship”. The $200 million action film finally opened in North America over the weekend to poor reviews and tepid box office receipts. Like Disney was forced to do with “John Carter”, Universal will likely take a write down on the movie.

We also cover the week’s top entertainment headlines including this year’s entries to the National Recording Registry, ABC’s plans to expand “Good Morning America” to the afternoon and the creator of “Community” gets fired from his own show.

Read more


Showbiz Sandbox 147: TV Networks Are Upfront About Their New Schedules

May 14, 2012

It’s the time of year when North American television networks put on big presentations to introduce their fall lineups to major advertisers; a process referred to in the industry as “the upfronts”. It’s also the time when TV audiences find out which of their favorite shows are sticking around for another season and which have been canceled. We’ll fill you in on some of the shows that didn’t make it some of the new series we have to look forward to this fall.

Adele continues to make news in the music world. Her album “21” sold 18 million copies last year which accounted for 1.6% of all the music sold around the world. The pop singer even helped the United Kingdom increase their share of global music sales to 13%.

Tom Hanks appears to be headed to the Great White Way to make his Broadway debut. So is Zooey Deschanel who will be starring in a musical based on Loretta Lynn’s autobiography “Coal Miner’s Daughter”.

Read more


Showbiz Sandbox 39: Chez Sundance

January 25, 2010

Co-host Karen Woodward puts a moratorium on any more talk of “Avatar”, James Cameron’s 3D sci-fi epic which continues to break box office records. So instead, we skip straight to Sundance, where the atmosphere has gone from recession (last year) to depression (this year). J. Sperling Reich is in the snowy, cold ski town and fills us in on the movies everyone in Park City is buzzing about.

If you can’t make it to Sundance this year, no worries, you’ll be able to catch a few of the festival’s selections on YouTube.

Also in movie news, anti-smoking activists are claiming that Sigourney Weaver’s line “Where’s my damn cigarette” in “Avatar” should have earned the film an R rating. What set of rules is the MPAA going by when they come up with some of their absurd ratings?

After a brief fly by of the SAG Awards, we head over to television land.  Things have calmed down in the Conan vs. Leno vs. NBC war, but Michael Giltz and Karen must not have gotten the memo. They argue over who was wronged more by the whole debacle. Meanwhile, Conan O’Brien hosted his last “Tonight Show” on Friday.  Read more


Showbiz Sandbox 9: I Loves Me A Good Ouster Story

June 22, 2009

Entertainment journalist Michael Giltz provides his insight and wit again this week.

“The Proposal” topped the box office, and was Sandra Bullock’s biggest movie opening ever. Which begs the question, why is this not also “a Ryan Reynolds movie”? Sean Penn is taking a year off for some “personal time,” or perhaps he just wants to get out of “The Three Stooges.” Other people taking time off are Steven Soderbergh and Brad Pitt, after Colombia Pictures President Amy Pascal pulled the plug on the Steven Zallian-scripted “Moneyball” which was set to shoot on Monday, June 22. Sam Mendes is having better luck, having just signed a two year deal with Focus Features, and he will direct the film adaptation of George Eliot’s classic “Middlemarch.”

It was a shoot ‘em up between NY Post Critic Lou Lumenick and Universal over Lumeneck’s early review of “Public Enemies.” Turns out there was an embargo on when the reviews could be published. Lumenick claims he didn’t know that, but according to Michael Giltz, it’s a rule of thumb that all reviewers know. Read more