Connect with us

TV

Amazon Studios Chief Jennifer Salke Adds MGM to Portfolio, Chris Brearton to Oversee Strategy, MGM+ and Unscripted TV

Published

on

Amazon has settled on a new corporate structure for its expanded content operations, putting most of MGM under Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke while also promoting MGM veteran Chris Brearton.

Salke will oversee all aspects of scripted TV and film, distribution and marketing for MGM. Brearton will oversee MGM’s unscripted TV, the MGM+ streaming service and he will also hold the role of VP of corporate strategy for Prime Video and Studios. Salke and Brearton both report to Mike Hopkins, senior VP of Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Studios and MGM.

The moves were expected after months of speculation regarding how MGM would be integrated into the Amazon orbit. Hopkins confirmed the new hierarchy in a memo to staffers late Tuesday.

“Jen’s outstanding reputation in the creative community has earned her the respect of Hollywood’s top talent throughout the industry,” Hopkins wrote. “With Jen now having oversight of both studios – along with distribution and all creative marketing – creatives will have a single point of entry for the opportunity to showcase their content across all our platforms. Serving the creative community in this way will streamline and enhance the creative process, expand our growing stable of content, and strongly reinforce Jen’s commitment to being the home for talent.”

Amazon closed its deal to acquire MGM for $8.5 billion in March. The studio’s film leadership team of Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy exited weeks after the transaction. Mark Burnett, the famed producer who also ran MGM TV, confirmed his departure on Monday, which paved the way for the transition with Salke and Brearton.

Salke plans to hire a film executive to lead feature development and production. Julie Rapaport, who became Amazon’s sole head of movies in March, will continue in that role and “support the MGM film team as we continue to integrate,” Salke wrote in a memo. Among other changes, Sue Kroll, the Warner Bros. veteran who was hired last month to lead marketing for Amazon Studios, will also take on TV and film marketing for MGM. Vernon Sanders, who oversees TV for Amazon, will add oversight of MGM scripted TV.

Salke hinted at the shuffling to come in a lengthy interview for a Variety cover story last month. It’s expected that MGM will continue to produce content for outside buyers, in addition to serving Amazon’s growing number of platforms, including the ad-supported streamer Freevee and MGM+ (the premium cabler previously known as Epix).

Brearton joined MGM in 2018 after representing the studio for years as a lawyer with Latham & Watkins. Salke has been at the helm of Amazon Studios since 2018.

Here are the full memos sent Tuesday evening by Mike Hopkins, Jen Salke and Chris Brearton:

Hi team,

Nearly nine months ago when we acquired MGM, we said we would take a thoughtful and measured approach to the integration process. It was important to take the time to ensure the right people were in the right jobs for maximum collaboration, creativity, and innovation. We have made many important decisions during this time, and now have completed the essential work of setting up our organizational structure. I am pleased to share that effective immediately, Jennifer Salke will become head of Amazon and MGM Studios, adding oversight of MGM scripted television and film, distribution, and creative marketing. Additionally, I’d like to welcome Chris Brearton, who will take on a new role, VP, PVS Corporate Strategy, MGM+ and MGM Alternative Television.

Jen’s outstanding reputation in the creative community has earned her the respect of Hollywood’s top talent throughout the industry. With Jen now having oversight of both studios – along with distribution and all creative marketing – creatives will have a single point of entry for the opportunity to showcase their content across all our platforms. Serving the creative community in this way will streamline and enhance the creative process, expand our growing stable of content, and strongly reinforce Jen’s commitment to being the home for talent.

Chris Brearton has been running the business of MGM and leading its integration into Prime Video and Amazon Studios. In his new role, he will lead business planning and corporate strategy for PVS. He will also oversee MGM+ and MGM Alternative, where he will be responsible for accelerating the rebrand and spearheading the growth of the MGM + premium service, while also working closely with the seasoned MGM unscripted television team to continue their legacy of megahits, such as Survivor, Shark Tank and The Voice. Brearton will report to me and join my senior leadership team, effective immediately.

I appreciate all of the work on this integration and believe we are now better positioned to deliver on our ambitious vision with very best leaders at the helm. Throughout this process you have continued to deliver great entertainment to customers around the world. We released three MGM film titles to direct-to-streaming (DTS) releases on PV including Thirteen Lives, Anything Is Possible, and Samaritan, and the critically lauded theatrical releases of Till and Bones & All. We partnered on celebrating the 60th anniversary of the 007 franchise in October 2022.

We have new quality storytelling to bring to our customers in the coming weeks with Women Talking, Boys in the Boat, and Creed III, with even more in development for Prime Video. In addition to launches, we greenlit Road House with Jake Gyllenhaal and The Underdoggs with Snoop Dogg. In partnership with MGM Television, we greenlit and commenced production on Shelter (based on the bestselling thriller novel by Harlan Coben), The Consultant (starring Christoph Waltz), and A Road to a Million (a reality competition series featuring locales from 007 movies).

I am so appreciative of all the work you’ve collectively done this year, and look forward to all we can do together as we build the next phase of this rich legacy of amazing content. You will be hearing from Jen and Chris soon about their visions and goals for their respective organizations. Thank you all for your patience and commitment throughout this process.

Mike

Here is Salke’s memo:

Team,

Mike just shared some news about our organizational structure, and I wanted to say how proud I am to be named the head of Amazon and MGM Studios. It is a privilege to lead a team of such immensely talented people. We have such an exciting opportunity ahead of us as we continue to build out our best-in-class studios and entertain even more people all over the world.

With my added oversight of MGM’s scripted television and film, distribution, and creative marketing, I have some news to share on my leadership team. Vernon Sanders will continue to run Amazon television and will now have oversight of scripted MGM television with Lindsay Sloane and Rola Bauer. Julie Rapaport will continue to run the AOM team as well as oversee the MGM film team as we continue to integrate. Dan Scharf will add oversight of MGM’s BA and business operations as well as casting, music, and production. Amazon Studios newly appointed marketing head Sue Kroll will add MGM to her purview, and MGM’s chief marketing officer Stephen Bruno will now report to Sue. Brad Beale’s content licensing remit will now include MGM, with Chris Ottinger, MGM’s head of worldwide distribution and acquisition, now reporting to Brad. And Erik Lomis, head of theatrical distribution at United Artists Releasing, will report directly to me. I’d like to thank all of you for your patience as we integrate the talented teams at MGM. And we will have more announcements to share over the next few months.

These are dynamic times for all of us in the entertainment industry. And here at Amazon and MGM Studios, we have the best leaders, creatives, and talent in the business. I am proud to be a part of this amazing organization and look forward to all that we can – and will – do together.

Jen

Here is Brearton’s memo:

Team,

I realize that we’ve all been through a tremendous amount of change over the last few months. With the integration now complete, I am excited about the opportunity to harness and leverage all that Amazon can bring to our business.

We are now ready to embark on this journey together. With the leadership of Michael Wright as head of MGM+, Brian Edwards and Barry Poznick as heads of unscripted television, and Ted Lim overseeing corporate strategy and development, we continue to build on the legacy of MGM Studios. I have the utmost confidence in our team, along with the resources of Amazon and the leadership of Mike Hopkins and Jen Salke, as we continue to create brilliant content for global audiences.

Chris



Read the full article here

Bobby focuses on creating higher margins while investing in society. He believes that our World has room for improvement, and one of his goals is to be part of the evolutionary process. What makes him successful is the collaboration with founders and partners. Bobby has a successful track record in envisioning and creating deals and opportunities from scratch in various industries.

TV

Jailed ‘Scrubs’ Writer Eric Weinberg Faces 12 More Sexual Assault Lawsuits

Published

on

Twelve more sexual assault lawsuits were filed Friday against jailed “Scrubs” writer and producer Eric Weinberg, who is accused of being a serial rapist.

Weinberg, 62, is also facing 18 criminal charges involving five women. Two women also filed lawsuits against him in November, alleging that he sexually assaulted them on separate occasions in 2019.

The new lawsuits accuse Weinberg of sexually assaulting 13 women from 1998 to 2017. The women ranged in age from 18 to 35 the the time of the assaults, and most of them allege a common pattern. According to the complaints, Weinberg would meet women in a public place, such as a cafe or a grocery store, tell them he was a photographer and invite them to participate in a photo shoot.

Weinberg would have them come to his home, where he would begin taking photos. He would then encourage them to undress, and would sexually assault them, according to the lawsuits. Several of the lawsuits state that the women were in fear of being killed or seriously injured if they refused Weinberg’s commands.

Some of the suits allege that he would take photos of the women during the assaults. Afterward, he would sometimes plead with them not to go to the police. One woman alleged that he threatened to harm her child.

The lawsuits identify the plaintiffs by pseudonymous initials. One of the complaints covers two accusers, who allege that they went together to Weinberg’s house in October 2013, and that he sexually assaulted both of them.

Some of the women allege that he would show them pictures of his kids to put them at ease.

One woman alleges that Weinberg sexually assaulted her when she was working as an actor on the MTV show “Death Valley,” where he was a writer and producer. The suit alleges that Weinberg called her repeatedly in the weeks leading up to the assault and would talk about his penis and sex acts while masturbating.

The suit also alleges that Weinberg cornered her in an isolated part of the set, pinned her against a wall and groped her breast, hip and thigh. She stopped working on the show after that, and refused his invitation to participate in a photo shoot, according to suit.

The woman alleges that Weinberg approached her on the street years later, apparently not recognizing her, and complimented her looks and asked if she was an actress. She told him to leave her alone, and he allegedly became angry and grabbed her wrist and tried to force her into her car. The suit alleges that Weinberg approached her two more times in public places in later years, and that she reported him to the police and had to have security cameras installed at her home.

Another woman alleged that Weinberg met her through OKCupid, and they agreed to get a drink at a bar. The woman alleges that Weinberg drugged her drink, took her to her home, and raped her.

Weinberg was arrested in July and released on $3.225 million bail. He was charged on Oct. 5 and his bail was increased to $5 million. He has pleaded not guilty.

A judge revoked his bail on Oct. 25, after finding that the allegations suggest that Weinberg “cannot stop and will not stop his sexual assaults on women, and therefore he poses a danger to the safety of women.”

At the time, prosecutors said that the LAPD had received more than 70 tips about Weinberg.

He is currently being held at the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic.

Weinberg was first arrested in 2014, but prosecutors declined to file charges.

The plaintiffs are all represented by attorneys Micha Star Liberty and Amy Zeman of Oakland. The suits name Weinberg and his company, Guitar and Pen Productions, as defendants.

Weinberg worked on “Scubs” from 2001 to 2006. He also worked on “Veronica’s Closet,” “Californication,” and “Anger Management.”



Read the full article here

Continue Reading

TV

Poker Face Art Teams Natasha Lyonne With Columbo

Published

on

Natasha Lyonne’s Charlie meets her TV inspiration, Peter Falk’s Columbo, in new fan art celebrating Rian Johnson’s hit show Poker Face.


Poker Face art teams Natasha Lyonne’s human lie detector Charlie with Peter Falk’s classic detective Columbo. Rian Johnson brought back the whodunit movie with his sly and comedic murder mystery films Knives Out and Glass Onion. Now the acclaimed writer-director is doing the same for the classic TV detective show, with his hit Peacock series Poker Face, starring Lyonne as a seemingly average person who possesses the superpower to always know when people are lying.

SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY

In celebration of Johnson’s accomplishment with Poker Face, artist Readful Things has unleashed a new image that brings Lyonne’s Charlie together with her greatest TV inspiration, Lieutenant Columbo.

As can be seen above, Johnson himself took to Twitter to express his appreciation for the art, posting “Holy holy” in response to the image. Currently holding down a 98% score on Rotten Tomatoes while finally giving Peacock a buzzworthy original show, Poker Face is indeed well on its way to re-establishing the detective genre on the small screen as Johnson hoped. But back in the day, Columbo was the state-of-the-art when it came to TV detective stories, thanks in large part to its lead actor Falk.


How Columbo Inspired Poker Face

columbo peter falk poster

Poker Face creator Johnson has spoken extensively about his love of murder mystery writers like Agatha Christie, and how their works – and the films made from their works – inspired his own yarns like Knives Out and the recent sequel Glass Onion. While trying to bring back the classic TV detective story however, Johnson naturally turned to a small screen inspiration in Columbo. But it wasn’t so much the mystery side of Columbo that turned Johnson on. Rather, it was the idea of centering a mystery show on a charismatic lead performer whom the audience wants to root for. As Johnson told Screen Rant recently:

More than that though, the great characters like James Garner as Rockford or Tom Selleck as Magnum Pi or Falk as Columbo—those shows were more hangout shows than anything else. You didn’t really tune in for the mystery. You tuned in to hang out with Falk. And so when I became friends with Natasha and realized she could be that for a show, I got really, really excited. That’s where the whole thing started.

Shows like Columbo of course were mystery-of-the-week stories that did not concern themselves with ongoing arcs. Today however, the emphasis in prestige TV is on serialized stories. But Johnson chose to buck this big current-day trend by making each Poker Face episode self-contained, defying the binge model of TV releasing by encouraging viewers to not devour the entire season in one go. This approach received a lot of pushback from binge-model-fixated TV execs, but as Johnson explained to THR, he finally convinced Peacock to go with his old school storytelling style:

And I just kept coming back and hammering the notion that all the shows that I grew up watching were not about the cliffhanger at the end. They were about wanting to come back to hang out with this character that you love and see them win, and that’s equally addictive. And it’s also something I miss, and I bet a lot of people also miss.

Will Poker Face Get A Season 2

Natasha Lyonne as Charlie smiling in Poker Face Trailer

The widespread positive reception for Poker Face would seem to indicate that audiences and critics do indeed miss the old-fashioned episodic approach to TV as much as Johnson does. But will that translate into Poker Face receiving an order for season 2? Peacock has not yet asked for a second season, but it seems inevitable that the renewal will come. And if Poker Face season 2 does indeed happen, Johnson has already revealed his dream guest star, telling Screen Rant he’d love Jamie Lee Curtis to appear. Hopefully, Johnson will get a chance to unleash more Columbo-inspired mystery TV with Poker Face season 2.

Source: Readful Things/Twitter



Read the full article here

Continue Reading

TV

India’s Raveena Tandon to Headline Disney+ Hotstar Series (EXCLUSIVE)

Published

on

Indian actor Raveena Tandon will headline an upcoming series for streamer Disney+ Hotstar.

There are no further details at this stage from Disney+ Hotstar, which exclusively shared an image from the show with Variety.

Tandon said: “I’m extremely elated to be a part of the Disney+ Hotstar family. This show is going to be very special for me as I’ve always liked to challenge and reinvent myself with every character I’ve ever played and this show has given me just that, all I can say is, stay tuned for some fun.”

Gaurav Banerjee, head of content at Disney+ Hotstar, added: “It brings us immense happiness to announce our association with Raveena Tandon. She is and has been a superstar throughout her journey in the Indian Film Industry and together, Disney+ Hotstar and Raveena Tandon will soon bring some magic on the audience screens.”

Tandon, who was a top Bollywood star in the 1990s, is now known for her powerful performances. She headlined 2021 Netflix series “Aranyak” for which she won several awards in India. In 2022, she had a pivotal role in India’s biggest box office hit of the year, “K.G.F: Chapter 2.”

Disney+ Hotstar India has commissioned a slew of successful original series featuring A-list actors. Ajay Devgn starred in “Luther” Indian adaptation “Rudra: The Edge of Darkness,” Sushmita Sen starred in two seasons of “Aarya,” Abhay Deol headlined “1962: The War in the Hills,” R. Sarathkumar and Jagapathy Babu led “Parampara” and Tamannaah Bhatia starred in “November Story.”

“The Night Manager,” the Indian adaptation of the BBC series of the same name, is due in February. It stars Anil Kapoor and Aditya Roy Kapur.



Read the full article here

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest news directly to your inbox.


Trending