January 18, 2018

‘Fire and Fury’ May Be Coming to a Screen Near You


Photo
Since its publication less than two weeks ago, “Fire and Fury” has raised questions about President Trump’s fitness for office and helped lead to the banishment of Stephen K. Bannon from the president’s inner circle. Credit Alastair Grant/Associated Press

“Fire and Fury” could be coming to the small screen. Or maybe even the big one.

Endeavor Content has acquired the rights to Michael Wolff’s No. 1 best-selling book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” and plans to develop it into a TV show or a feature film.

No TV network or film studio has been attached to the project.

A “Fire and Fury” adaptation could be the first major dramatic portrayal of the Trump White House. HBO had plans to develop a show from a book by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann about the final days of the 2016 campaign, but that project was canceled after Mr. Halperin was accused of sexual misconduct.

News about the rights to Mr. Wolff’s book being acquired was reported by The Hollywood Reporter, and was confirmed by a spokeswoman for Endeavor Content.

Mr. Wolff was expected to be the executive producer of the project, and would be joined by the British television executive Michael Jackson.

There is heated competition in television these days for major projects, and “Fire and Fury” will most likely attract a lot of interest. Since its publication less than two weeks ago, Mr. Wolff’s book has raised questions about Mr. Trump’s fitness for office, and helped lead to the banishment of the former chief White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon from the president’s circle of advisers.

Continue reading the main story

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/17/business/media/michael-wolff-fire-and-fury-trump.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Fake News Awards? Don’t Roll Out the Red Carpet Just Yet

“It’ll be something later today,” she added. “I know you’re all waiting to see if you are big winners, I’m sure.”

From the beginning, the awards were the sort of Trumpian production that seemed easy to mock but difficult to ignore. Members of the news media joked about the speeches they would prepare, the tuxedos and gowns they would fetch. It would be an honor, they said, just to be nominated.

Here, it seemed, was the opéra bouffe climax of Mr. Trump’s campaign against the media, a bizarro-world spectacle that both encapsulated and parodied the president’s animus toward a major democratic institution.

Late-night comedy shows created satirical Emmys-style advertising campaigns to snag what some referred to as a coveted “Fakey.”

“The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” bought a billboard in Times Square, nominating itself in categories like “Least Breitbarty” and “Corruptest Fakeness.” Jimmy Kimmel, who has emerged as a Trump bête noire, called it “the Stupid People’s Choice Awards.”

Politico reported that the awards could even pose an ethical issue for White House aides, with some experts arguing that the event would breach a ban on government officials using their office to explicitly promote or deride private organizations.

And press advocates cringed at the prospect of a gala dedicated to the phrase “fake news,” which has already helped corrode trust in journalism in the United States and around the world.

Photo
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House secretary, on Wednesday, the date the president had given for the awards. “I know you’re all waiting to see if you are big winners, I’m sure,” Ms. Sanders told reporters. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

Two Republicans from Arizona, Senator John McCain and Senator Jeff Flake, denounced Mr. Trump’s anti-press attacks, with Mr. Flake noting in a speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday that the president had borrowed a term from Stalin to describe the media: “enemy of the people.” (Ms. Sanders shot back at Mr. Flake on Wednesday, saying, “We welcome access to the media every day.”)

Advertisement

Continue reading the main story

Adding to the drama, White House aides remained silent on the details, unwilling even to confirm the fact that the awards would happen at all.

“Maybe the Fake News Awards are themselves fake news, and the WH is making a super-meta statement on the inherent paradox between the ‘real’ and the ‘perceived,’” wrote a Twitter user named @capitalzoo, one of many politicos who had been anticipating the event with glee or dread — or a mixture of both.

Newsletter Sign Up

Continue reading the main story

By Tuesday, the entire venture seemed in doubt, with Ms. Sanders referring to it as a “potential event.”

It is not unusual for Mr. Trump, in his long and circuitous career in real estate, entertainment and politics, to announce plans to fight back against journalists whose work displeases him and then decline to follow through.

There was the libel lawsuit that he threatened this month against the author Michael Wolff over his slashing, if error-specked, book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House”; Mr. Wolff’s publisher, Henry Holt and Company, responded by moving up the release date. “Fire and Fury” is now a No. 1 New York Times best-seller, and Mr. Trump’s lawsuit has not materialized.

An earlier iteration of the Fake News Awards that the president proposed on Twitter in November — the “FAKE NEWS TROPHY!” — has yet to appear.

At the tail end of the 2016 presidential race, Mr. Trump said he would sue The New York Times for libel over an article that included two women who accused him of touching them inappropriately. The Times replied with a stern letter, and nothing further was heard of the suit.

On an occasion when he pursued a grievance in court, Mr. Trump met with poor results: The defamation suit he brought against a biographer, Timothy L. O’Brien, was dismissed by a New Jersey judge in 2009. Mr. Trump had claimed that Mr. O’Brien severely understated his net worth.

Advertisement

Continue reading the main story

Even if this week’s awards do not go forward, the buzz around them has contributed to a larger shift in American attitudes toward the press.

In a study released this week by Gallup and the Knight Foundation, 66 percent of Americans who were surveyed said most news organizations blurred opinion and fact, up from 42 percent in 1984. “Fake news” was deemed a threat to democracy by a majority of respondents. And political affiliation is a major factor in perception of bias: 67 percent of Republicans said they saw “a great deal” of political bias in the news media, and 26 percent of Democrats said the same.

For a while, it seemed that Mr. Wolff might dominate the honors, making Mr. Trump briefly forget his disdain for “fake news” CNN and the “failing” New York Times.

Mr. Wolff is likely to stay a thorn in the president’s side. The Hollywood Reporter said on Wednesday that the author had signed a seven-figure deal to adapt “Fire and Fury” for a medium the president holds dear: television.

Continue reading the main story

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/17/business/media/fake-news-awards.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

He Leaked a Photo of Rick Perry Hugging a Coal Executive. Then He Lost His Job.

“It seemed like that was the right thing to do — exercising my First Amendment rights to get the information out there,” said Mr. Edelman, who had worked at the agency since 2015 and whose job included photographing events that the agency promoted in press releases, on the web and elsewhere.

The day after the photos were published by In These Times, a liberal magazine, the Energy Department put Mr. Edelman on administrative leave, seized his personal laptop and escorted him out of its headquarters in Washington, he said. He was later told, without explanation, that his employment agreement had not been renewed, internal agency emails show.

Mr. Edelman has now filed a complaint with the Energy Department’s inspector general and, according to his lawyer, is seeking protections provided to federal whistle-blowers. On its website, the Energy Department notes that it is illegal to retaliate against whistle-blowers, who are typically protected when they alert a supervisor or the inspector general to information that they reasonably believe to constitute an abuse of authority, or other misconduct.

In the complaint, Mr. Edelman accuses the agency of retaliation and asks for his job back or at least to recover his laptop and other personal belongings. In addition, Mr. Edelman accused a former colleague of encouraging him to delete the photos of Mr. Perry and Mr. Murray, which Mr. Edelman and his lawyer argue are public records.

Photo
The cover sheet, left, of a confidential “action plan” that Mr. Murray brought to the meeting last March calling for policy and regulatory changes friendly to the coal industry; and right, details of the plan calling for replacement of members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Credit Simon Edelman/Department of Energy

The Energy Department declined to discuss the circumstances surrounding Mr. Edelman’s employment, the status of the photos, or the details of his complaint, but a spokeswoman characterized his accusations as “ridiculous.” Mr. Edelman supported his complaint with emails and other documents, but some claims were based on his statements alone.

“They are based on his own subjective opinions and personal agenda,” the spokeswoman, Shaylyn Hynes, said in an email. “Industry and other stakeholders visit the Department of Energy on a daily basis. The secretary welcomes their input and feedback to strengthen the American energy sector. This meeting was no different.”

Advertisement

Continue reading the main story

A spokesman for Mr. Murray said the coal executive “does not have a recollection as to the exact statements allegedly made nearly a year ago.” The spokesman, Gary Broadbent, added that “Mr. Murray has frequently said that the Trump administration must advance reliable and low-cost electricity for all Americans and protect coal mining jobs.”

The confidential documents Mr. Murray brought to his meeting with Mr. Perry called for “rescinding anti-coal regulations of the Obama administration” and cutting the staff of the Environmental Protection Agency “in at least half,” according to portions visible in Mr. Edelman’s photographs.

Last week, The New York Times obtained a copy of a separate memo written by Mr. Murray, and reported that the Trump administration had completed or was on track to fulfill most of the 16 policy and regulatory requests contained in it. Mr. Murray told The Times the two memos essentially covered the same material.

Document

Murray Energy’s ‘Action Plan’ for the Trump Administration

Robert E. Murray’s wish list of environmental rollbacks reads like a playbook for the Trump administration.

Mr. Edelman, a Democrat, came to the Energy Department under President Barack Obama two years ago after producing videos at a consulting firm in Chicago and serving as creative director for the electoral campaign of former Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois. After Mr. Trump’s election, Mr. Edelman said, he received greater responsibility, including photographing Mr. Perry’s meetings.

Mr. Edelman’s complaint offers a behind-the-scenes look at the meeting on March 29 between Mr. Perry and Mr. Murray, who have been friendly for many years. In addition to his company contributing $300,000 to the president’s inauguration — and personally holding a fund-raiser for Mr. Trump during the campaign — Mr. Murray has been a financial backer of Mr. Perry, a former governor of Texas who has also run for president.

In a statement, Mr. Murray’s spokesman said the company had supported Republicans “who have been staunch defenders of the United States coal industry, and the jobs and family livelihoods that depend on it, and low-cost, reliable, fuel secure electricity for all Americans.”

The meeting started, the complaint said, with Mr. Perry giving Mr. Murray “a deep bear hug.” Once they got down to business, Mr. Murray presented the memo. “This needs to be done,” the complaint says Mr. Murray insisted.

Mr. Perry replied, “I think we can help you with this,” according to the complaint.

Rattled by the exchange, Mr. Edelman said he stayed for about 15 minutes to keep listening, until he drew the attention of an agency official. “How much does a photographer need of us just sitting around?” the complaint quotes the agency official as asking.

The photos sat for months without much attention.

Then, in September, Mr. Perry proposed that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission adopt a rule that would increase financial returns for power plants capable of stockpiling at least 90 days’ worth of fuel on-site — a plan that would effectively subsidize struggling coal and nuclear power plants, particularly in areas where Mr. Murray operates.

Advertisement

Continue reading the main story

Without the change, Mr. Perry warned, the plants could shut down, which would threaten the “reliability and resiliency of our nation’s grid.”

That phrase rang a bell with Mr. Edelman. The cover page of Mr. Murray’s memo described a plan “to assist in the survival of our country’s coal industry, which is essential to power grid reliability.”

Mr. Edelman said he decided to share the photos with the news media — The Washington Post published the images after In These Times — hoping to derail Mr. Perry’s proposed rule. The rule faced opposition from a cross section of environmental groups, energy companies, free-market advocates and former regulators, and last week, the energy commission rejected it.

Mr. Murray has said that the meeting with Mr. Perry was primarily about the need to study the resilience of the power grid, not to ask for specific actions by the energy commission or other arms of the federal government. Mr. Broadbent, his spokesman, said that “a word-for-word comparison” of the proposed rule and Mr. Murray’s action plan “reveals that they have only two words in common.”

Photo
Mr. Perry and Mr. Murray, third from right, with his hand in the air, on March 29, 2017, at the Department of Energy headquarters. Credit Simon Edelman/Department of Energy

On Dec. 7, the day after In These Times posted the photographs, and a day before they appeared online at The Washington Post, Mr. Edelman said he was summoned by his boss and told he was being placed on administrative leave with pay.

The agency later declined to extend his two-year employment agreement, which ended late last year, effectively dismissing him despite previously agreeing to extend him for two more years, Mr. Edelman said.

A security officer for the agency also refused to allow him to pack up certain personal belongings, Mr. Edelman said, including his laptop and camera equipment. The next day, a supervisor instructed Mr. Edelman in an email to provide the agency the administrative rights to the Google Drive folder where he stored the photos, according to a copy of the email reviewed by The Times.

Advertisement

Continue reading the main story

Separately, another colleague warned him over the phone that “we can come to your home and have someone watch you delete it,” Mr. Edelman said. Mr. Edelman did not record the call.

In a phone call a few days later, which was recorded, the colleague reiterated that Mr. Edelman needed to transfer ownership of the folder. “I would suggest that doing it sooner rather than later would probably be a good thing for you,” the colleague said, according to the recording, which was heard by The Times.

Photo
Mr. Edelman, right, and his lawyer John Tye. Credit Lexey Swall for The New York Times

“You can get access to a computer,” the colleague added, “even if you need to go to a freaking library to do it.”

Mr. Edelman said the department had still not returned his laptop. Among the other items he said he left behind because of the hurried exit: a cake from his colleagues celebrating his 35th birthday.

Mr. Edelman hired a lawyer, John Tye, a former whistle-blower from the State Department who works at Whistleblower Aid, a nonprofit firm. Mr. Tye defended Mr. Edelman’s decision to keep the photos, arguing that they were “in the public domain” and were not classified, and that they had been stored on Mr. Edelman’s private drive at the Energy Department’s instruction.

By filing his complaint with the inspector general, Mr. Tye said, Mr. Edelman was seeking protections provided to federal whistle-blowers, including prohibition from “adverse employment actions and dismissal.”

After Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, heard about the incident, his office contacted Mr. Edelman, who also shared the complaint with Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, who is a neighbor in Washington. It was Mr. Whitehouse who shared the separate memo by Murray Energy with The Times.

“Federal employees should not be fired for doing their jobs,” Mr. Sanders said in a statement. “The Department of Energy must investigate as to why Mr. Edelman was fired.”

Lisa Friedman and Brad Plumer contributed reporting. Kitty Bennett contributed research.

Continue reading the main story

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/17/business/rick-perry-energy-photographer.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Weeks After Matt Lauer Is Ousted, ‘Today’ Changes Show’s Top Producer

“I am not surprised by the allegations,” Ms. Curry said, when asked if Mr. Lauer had abused his power.

Newsletter Sign Up

Continue reading the main story

“I can say that I would be surprised if many women did not understand that there was a climate of verbal harassment that existed,” she said. “I think it would be surprising if someone said that they didn’t see that. So it was verbal sexual harassment.”

In a memo to staff members, Andrew Lack, the chairman of NBC News, praised Mr. Nash for helping stabilize “Today” and for being “one of the best live control room producers in the business.”

“We’ve offered him a number of roles within NBC News and NBCUniversal, and we hope he’ll stay in the family,” Mr. Lack wrote.

For his part, Mr. Nash said he wanted to spend more time with his family.

“I will forever cherish the unbelievable experiences and incredible people I have had the privilege to work with,” wrote Mr. Nash in a memo to members of the “Today” staff. “It was so much fun. Dr. Seuss wrote, ‘Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.’ I’m so glad it happened.”

Continue reading the main story

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/17/business/media/today-show-producer.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Meet Your Art Twin: A 400-Year-Old With an Oily Complexion

Advertisement

Supported by

Image
Ross W. Duffin stumbled upon his art twin, a warrior from a 17th-century Jan van Bijlert painting. Many people intentionally set out in museums to find their doppelgängers.CreditBeverly Simmons

By

Jan. 17, 2018

Ross W. Duffin was wandering through a museum in Pasadena, Calif., last summer when he paused before a 17th-century painting of a bearded warrior in armor.

“I thought, ‘Wow, that is really funny, he looks just like me,’” Dr. Duffin recalled. Then he moved on.

But his wife, Beverly Simmons, was stunned by the resemblance. “She came running after me and said, ‘You have to come back and look at this painting!” Dr. Duffin said.

Dr. Duffin had found his art twin. So the couple did what millions of people have discovered as a new way to interact with art — something that has exploded with new popularity in recent weeks thanks to a new feature in a Google museums app.

But Dr. Duffin and his wife were pioneers last summer, using old-fashioned serendipity. He stood next to the oil painting, a work by the Dutch artist Jan van Bijlert displayed at the Norton Simon Museum. He turned sideways, raised his chin and narrowed his eyes. His wife captured the moment with her iPhone.

Long before the Google Arts and Culture app, which became the most downloaded mobile app over the weekend, art aficionados, dabblers, narcissists and soul searchers pondering a cosmic connection to distant humans have been searching for their art twins, a long-gone, sometimes fictional or unknown doppelgänger encased in oil, sculpture or ceramics.

Some set out specifically to find their twin, in an engaging pastime that gives museum visits a new focus. Others, like the Duffins, have stumbled on theirs as they wander.

As anyone who regularly looks at a social media feed knows by now, millions more need never leave home or cross a border to find that uniquely familiar face on some obscure etching. They just upload a selfie and let technology do the sleuthing.

The app was available in 2015, but its arts matching feature was introduced in mid-December. Its popularity has quickly surged, and Instagram, Twitter and YouTube users have widely shared photos of both their art twins and those of celebrities, from William Shatner to Taylor Swift. Google estimates more than 20 million selfies have been uploaded using the new feature.

Dr. Duffin said he was amused by his moment with the unknown soldier, described by the museum as probably a more mythological than human figure. But the resemblance had an impact on his life after he posted the photograph on Twitter, where it was widely shared without identifying him by name.

“A month later, all of a sudden, it started to get a lot of play in the press,” Dr. Duffin, a professor of music at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, said in an interview. “I would get email messages from people I had not heard from in years who knew immediately it was me.”

With people seeking selfies that make a connection going back in time, museums are using the opportunity to engage with visitors.

Image
Wesley Rowell with a sculpture of an unidentified man from the third century B.C. “To think about the lives, the generations, between him and me in New York City, is kind of bizarre,” Mr. Rowell said.CreditFrançois Brunelle

Leslie C. Denk, a spokeswoman for the Norton Simon Museum, said the museum had noticed some visitors posting photographs of themselves posing like works of art, particularly alongside sculptures by Auguste Rodin and Aristide Maillol.

“Art has the power to transport us through time, and so I think it’s a joy to recognize ourselves, a friend or even a pet, in an artwork from centuries ago,” she said.

Art-twinning happens so often in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston that it hosts a fan favorite every week on Instagram. The most popular piece to pose with is “Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer,” a sculpture by Edgar Degas.

“In our galleries, visitors frequently seek out their museum doppelgänger or attempt to mimic works of art — usually as they search for the perfect Instagram shot,” said Katie Getchell, the deputy director and chief brand officer at the Boston museum.

At the Brooklyn Museum, selfies with artworks are also popular. “The success of Google’s project comes as no surprise to me, or probably to anyone else who works in a museum,” said Brooke Baldeschwiler, the museum’s senior manager of digital communications. “It’s really simple. People love to see themselves in art.”

If human beings are obsessed with selfies, then the Google Arts and Culture app is the addiction’s enabler for the art world. It does have its critics. Some people just find facial recognition software creepy, and the app is not available in Texas and Illinois, which have some of the country’s strictest laws about the collection of biometric data, including selfies. The app also has mixed results, particularly when it comes to race, gender and age.

“My grandmother got Ronald Reagan’s presidential portrait,” said Patrick Lenihan, a spokesman for Google.

Far from the virtual realm, Greco-Roman antiquities, Egyptian funerary portraits and the contemporary people who resemble them are being brought together in an exhibit in Canada called “My 2,000-Year-Old Double.”

The Musée de la Civilisation in Quebec City has narrowed down thousands of selfies to a few dozen people who resemble the artworks, arranging for them to be photographed in Montreal by François Brunelle, whose previous projects include documenting people who look alike but are not twins.

Wesley Rowell, 57, who works in New York City, was one of them.

He will appear alongside his art twin, a sculpture of an unidentified man from the third century B.C.

“To think about the lives, the generations, between him and me in New York City, is kind of bizarre,” Mr. Rowell said. “I keep going back to that human need, to feel like I am connected to everything that was before me.”

Amanda Bullis, 29, an actor who lives in Jersey City, was chosen for her similarity to a face carved onto a vessel, dating between 300 and 201 B.C.

Image
Amanda Bullis with a vessel dated between 300 and 201 B.C. She found it interesting, she said, that “I am part of a larger humanity that has been evolving and changing, but largely the same, over thousands of years.”CreditLeft, Sterling Batson, Musee de la Civilisation

Ms. Bullis sat for hours for hair and makeup. “In that moment I was able to embody her,” she said, adding that it made her think about her ancestry. “I just found it interesting that I am part of a larger humanity that has been evolving and changing, but largely the same, over thousands of years.”

Dr. Duffin, the Ohio professor, said he did not think much more about his art twin after he posed with the painting in California. He is accustomed, he added, to being mistaken for another bearded fellow.

Strangers often ask him, “Has anyone ever told you that you look like Santa Claus?” he said. “And my answer is, ‘Not since yesterday.’”

Advertisement

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/17/arts/google-art-selfies-doppelgangers.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Ditching Spike in Favor of Kevin Costner and Some Mean Teens

Still, the Spike moniker (and lots of showings of “Cops”) kept the network from truly being seen as a general-audience destination. Cue the name change. The reinvention also fit it in with the corporate decision under a new chief executive to focus on six of Viacom’s bigger brands (BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., and now Paramount), at the expense of its smaller ones (TV Land, CMT, VH1 and Logo).

Paramount Network, which bills itself as “television’s destination for premium entertainment and storytelling,” will showcase original programming (about a third of the schedule), supplemented by TV series and feature films culled from the Viacom and Paramount vaults (“Pitch Perfect,” “The Devil Wears Prada”). There will also be many fewer showings of “Cops.”

The network was set to begin its new life with a live episode of “Lip Sync Battle” on Thursday, Jan. 18, followed on Wednesday, Jan. 24, with its first big offering, “Waco,” a mini-series about the botched siege of the Branch Davidian compound in 1993. The show epitomizes the network’s chase for the cinematic, with grand vistas; a fully reconstructed Texas compound; and name actors, including Taylor Kitsch (“Friday Night Lights”) as David Koresh, and Mr. Shannon as the F.B.I. hostage negotiator tasked with bringing him in.

Inhabiting the role of that embattled cult leader, accused pedophile and wannabe rocker took its toll, Mr. Kitsch admitted. “It took two months to come out of it,” he said. “That, and counseling.”

Waco – Official Trailer 2 (2018) Michael Shannon, Melissa Benoist TV Series HD Video by FilmTrailerZone

Later this year comes “Yellowstone,” created and directed by Taylor Sheridan (“Hell or High Water”) and starring Mr. Costner, who did not come cheap. The network is paying him half a million dollars an episode. “To get Kevin to agree to do multiple seasons of a TV series,” Mr. Kay said, “you have to pay him what he’s worth.”

Photo
In “Waco,” a Paramount Network mini-series, Taylor Kitsch plays David Koresh, the leader of the Branch Davidians. Credit Lewis Jacobs/Paramount Network

The new name of the network probably helped lure Mr. Costner, too. “I’m not sure if he shows up for Spike,” Mr. Kay said.

Advertisement

Continue reading the main story

(Both “Waco” and “Yellowstone” were high-profile entries from the Weinstein Company. But since the raft of allegations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein, all traces of the Weinstein name have been scrubbed from the credits, though the company still has a financial stake in the shows.)

One of the biggest departures for former Spike lovers will be “Heathers,” which veers wildly from the original. In the new series, Ms. Doherty’s character, Heather Duke, is a gay male, while Heather NcNamara is now African-American. And the leader of the crew, Heather Chandler, is no longer a svelte blonde but a brunette self-described “plus-sized girl.”

Newsletter Sign Up

Continue reading the main story

“It was so nice to read a character who’s described as a big girl, someone who would be the teased, bullied person in the original movie,” said the new alpha bully, Melanie Field, a veteran of Broadway musicals (“Evita,” “Phantom of the Opera”). “And then to see her in a position of power, to see her saying, ‘This is who I am, I’m going to claim my power,’ I just found it really liberating and exciting.”

Despite the changes, there will still be frequent nods to the 1989 movie for the fiercely loyal “superfans” of the original, said Jason Micallef, the series creator and showrunner.

“It’s not like we taped over the original,” he said.

To ensure Paramount Network had a decent stable of original shows in its first months, Viacom also transferred some properties from TV Land. “Nobodies,” a comedy produced by Melissa McCarthy and her husband, Ben Falcone, about the hangers-on of the show-business world, begins its second season in the spring. And both “Heathers” and “American Woman,” a forthcoming comedy starring Alicia Silverstone and Mena Suvari set amid the sexual revolution of the 1970s, were originally slated for TV Land.

Photo
The 1989 movie “Heathers” (starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater) gave the teen comedy a very dark and violent makeover. Credit New World Pictures

Paramount Network is also holding on to Spike favorites like “Ink Master” and “Bar Rescue,” as well as “Lip Sync Battle,” that dying network’s biggest ratings hit.

Further down the line, the screenwriter Tracy Oliver (“Girls Trip”) and the producer Karen Rosenfelt (“The Devil Wears Prada”) are working together on a serial version of the 1996 film “The First Wives Club,” while David Shore (“The Good Doctor”) is developing an adaptation of “Accused,” the award-winning BBC series.

Despite the eclectic mix of programming and some substantial budgets, Paramount Network’s reliance on advertising has kept them out of the game on some coveted projects, like an untitled Reese Witherspoon-Jennifer Aniston TV series that was recently purchased by Apple.

“I went in hard,” Mr. Cox said, “but we were told no matter what, the two of them didn’t want to be anywhere with commercials.”

Advertisement

Continue reading the main story

But what Mr. Cox and other executives say they can offer the creators of TV shows is a lot more attention and care than, say, Netflix. The hope is to form a stable of show creators who will return for future projects and to secure those elusive hits that can define a network.

“You know, Netflix, they drop a show a week — Naomi Watts had a show,” he said, referring to “Gypsy, “and I was thinking, oh my God, if I had Naomi Watts, that would be huge for us. For them, it came and went. Poof, gone.” (Netflix canceled the series six weeks after its premiere.)

“We’re going to curate our shows like a museum,” Mr. Cox added. “We are going to pick really beautiful pieces, but we’re not going to just pile all kinds of stuff in here.”

Continue reading the main story

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/16/arts/television/paramount-network-heathers-yellowstone-kevin-costner.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

‘The Greatest Showman’ Soundtrack Repeats at No. 1


Photo
The soundtrack to “The Greatest Showman,” starring Hugh Jackman, had the equivalent of 104,000 sales last week. Credit Niko Tavernise/Twentieth Century Fox

The soundtrack to “The Greatest Showman,” the P.T. Barnum biopic starring Hugh Jackman, is No. 1 on the Billboard album chart for a second week, with the equivalent of 104,000 sales in the United States, according to Nielsen.

The album, released by Atlantic, was helped by the Golden Globes on Jan. 7, where the film won the best original song award for “This Is Me.” It’s the first time a soundtrack has been No. 1 for two weeks in a year and a half, since “Suicide Squad” reached the top in August 2016.

In an otherwise sleepy week of music sales, Ed Sheeran’s “÷” holds at No. 2 on its 45th week out. One of last year’s biggest hits, the album was shut out of the major categories for the 60th annual Grammy Awards, scheduled for Jan. 28 — an omission that left much of the music industry scratching its collective head.

G-Eazy’s “The Beautiful Damned” is No. 3, and Bruno Mars’s “24K Magic” — a contender for multiple Grammys, including album of the year — rose 11 spots to No. 4, helped by a remix of its song “Finesse” featuring Cardi B.

Post Malone’s “Stoney” is in fifth place, and Taylor Swift’s “Reputation” is No. 6, the first time her album has fallen past the top three spots since it was released two months ago.

Continue reading the main story

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/15/arts/music/greatest-showman-soundtrack-billboard-chart.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

The Guardian, Britain’s Left-Wing News Power, Goes Tabloid

But heavy losses forced an about-face of sorts. The Guardian lost 44.7 million pounds, or around $61 million, in the year ending April 2017, following losses of £68.7 million the year before. The investment fund that had helped the paper deal with such losses was being drained at an alarming rate.

The shift to a tabloid print size is part of several moves, from cutting around 300 jobs to selling a stake in a trade publication group, to curb those losses. The Guardian’s style of journalism will not change, but the new format allows it to be printed by a wider array of presses, helping it cut costs. Other British newspapers, including The Times of London and The Independent, have moved from broadsheet to tabloid formats for similar reasons.

“Our move to tabloid format is a big step towards making The Guardian financially sustainable and ensuring we can continue to invest in agenda-setting journalism for generations to come,” Katharine Viner, editor in chief of Guardian News and Media, said in a statement on Sunday.

David Pemsel, the chief executive of Guardian Media Group, declined on Monday to specify how much could be saved by the shift to a more compact format, but said the figure was in the millions, adding that “to the bottom line, it’s significant.”

By April, The Guardian is expected to have reduced its operating losses to £25 million, with the goal of breaking even in 2018-19.

Photo
The Guardian in 1921. Credit The Guardian

“We’re in the process of finding a new business model,” Ms. Viner said on Monday. “I wouldn’t like to say we’ve got there yet, but I think we’re on the way.”

The Guardian began in 1821 as a newspaper based in the northern English city of Manchester, but it moved its headquarters to London in the 1960s. It carved out a role as a left-of-center voice in Britain’s hypercompetitive newspaper market. In 2011, it accelerated its expansion overseas, hiring more than 50 journalists in the United States and Australia in about a dozen bureaus.

Advertisement

Continue reading the main story

Along the way, it abandoned its traditional broadsheet format in 2005, opting for a design known as the Berliner. The move cost £80 million, because The Guardian was the only British newspaper to print in that size and it had to construct new printing sites in London and Manchester with specially commissioned printing presses.

Now, it will move to a tabloid format and will be published on printing presses owned by Trinity Mirror, the British publishing company that owns The Daily Mirror, a traditional left-wing tabloid. The Guardian has not yet decided what it will do with the printing presses and land in London and Manchester.

In a teaser video on Friday, the newspaper said the new design was intended to offer a “space for new voices” and “space for ideas.”

The Guardian’s new look Video by Guardian News

The shift to a more compact format is a significant change for the publication, which has said in the past that the tabloid format was “not in the tradition of the Guardian.”

Still, such a change is “less seismic” now compared to previous years, because so much consumption of news is done online, said Charlie Beckett, a professor of media and communications at the London School of Economics.

Still, Mr. Beckett said, the new format had managed to reflect the publication’s mixture of content, and was in keeping with the style and design of its website, all while being a little easier to shove into bags. “This works as something for people’s portable, time-poor lives,” Mr. Beckett said. “I think it’s going to fit in with people’s behavior, their reading habits, in a way that doesn’t ask them to do anything too difficult.”

Newsletter Sign Up

Continue reading the main story

David Hillman, who worked on a redesign of the paper in 1988, was less impressed, admitting that he had struggled to spot it at a newspaper stand.

“It’s very neat, very gray, and rather kind of middle-aged,” Mr. Hillman said. “Visually, this is a step backward.”

Mr. Hillman quickly added, however, that he had himself been “crucified” during a previous redesign, and conceded that any such shift would be a difficult task for a publication as recognizable as The Guardian.

“You have to understand whatever you do, it’s going to be criticized,” he said. “Basically, people don’t like change.”

Continue reading the main story

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/15/business/media/guardian-tabloid-uk.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

The Delicate Dance of a Progressive C.E.O. in the Trump Era

That lesson has helped shape Mr. Hudson’s worldview and his management approach at Sonic, which he has led for more than 20 years. During that time, he has cultivated something of a rarity in corporate America — a management team that is mostly women and minorities and a board that is close to that.

Photo
Sonic’s executive team at the company’s Oklahoma City headquarters. Credit Nick Oxford for The New York Times

And in choosing to speak publicly about his personal views in recent months, Mr. Hudson has joined other corporate executives, normally as tight-lipped a bunch as can be found, who are commenting on social and political issues like never before. Many have forcefully denounced policy proposals from Washington or actions by President Trump that they think threaten to harm society, the environment and their employees.

That Mr. Hudson would speak for diversity and inclusion is not surprising. He is a longtime Democratic donor whose office features, in addition to photos of his wife, who is a doctor, and two sons, a picture of him with former President Bill Clinton, who appointed him chairman of the board of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation. He has served on boards related to the Oklahoma City public schools and with the Ford Foundation.

But he noted at a recent conference in New York that nearly 95 percent of Sonic’s roughly 3,600 locations, largely concentrated in the south central United States, are run by franchisees who have varying political views. He also referred to a report that came out during the presidential campaign suggesting that people who ate at Sonic supported Mr. Trump.

Photo
Testing a new creation at the company’s culinary innovation center. Credit Nick Oxford for The New York Times

And he is aware that people who are drawn to Sonic because they like the food — or are fans of the company’s popular commercials featuring two male improv comedians in a car — may not want a side of political talk from the chief executive. In today’s fractured political climate, it does not take much to end up on the wrong side of a boycott.

“I do feel one of my chief responsibilities is to work to ensure the success of our brand and our franchisees’ opportunities,” Mr. Hudson said in an interview last month. “Our franchisees make big bets on us doing the right thing with the brand — and by big bets, I mean they bet their futures, homes, mortgages, hopes and aspirations for their kids.”

That means, he said, “you’ve got to be careful where you step.”

“I’m very aware that Cliff is very socially conscious and does a lot of things to demonstrate that,” said one of Sonic’s franchisees, Max Gelwix, who operates restaurants in California. “But we’ve never talked politics.”

Photo
A giant tater tot figurine in the employee dining room. Credit Nick Oxford for The New York Times

Navigating such terrain is tricky for most business leaders, who have traditionally chosen to steer well clear of these topics because of the very real risks of alienating consumers and damaging their brands. For all the executives who have proactively used Twitter, there are plenty of cautionary tales of companies getting ensnared in social media maelstroms split along partisan lines based on comments from their celebrity representatives or where their ads show up online.

Advertisement

Continue reading the main story

“Sonic has not, nor do I think it’s appropriate, for its brand to make political statements,” said Susan Thronson, a board member at Sonic since 2015. Franchisees “have different financial objectives, they have different investor expectations, different growth expectations. But around the brand experience, you have to be in lock step.”

Last year, a group of prominent business leaders quit President Trump’s short-lived business advisory councils after he blamed “many sides” for the violence around the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. Though Mr. Hudson has never criticized Mr. Trump in a public forum, he raised his personal experience and the diversity at Sonic’s top ranks while on a panel in New York shortly after the Charlottesville riots. Others have used social media and internal memos to express their views on topics like climate change and immigration reform. Some business school curriculums are even adding coursework in social justice and activism at the corporate level.

Photo
A menu board that is used for testing in the marketing department. Credit Nick Oxford for The New York Times

“At a time they feel many institutions may be struggling in ways to provide a lot of checks and balances that we’re accustomed to, a lot of business leaders feel an obligation to speak out,” said Aaron Chatterji, an associate professor at the Duke University Fuqua School of Business who is teaching a class about activism among chief executives. “But there’s a tremendous amount of downside for C.E.O.s as well, depending on their audience.”

Sonic is relatively small compared to other fast-food chains, with about $480 million in annual revenue and 400 employees at its headquarters on Johnny Bench Drive in Oklahoma City. (Its franchisees’ sales top $4 billion.) The office has an open floor plan, and colors near employees’ nameplates signal their preferred communication style. Red means be brief and blue suggests that people provide more detail. Sonic and its franchisees donate to public schools through an initiative called Limeades for Learning.

The company, named for “service at the speed of sound” in the 1950s, is long past the days of carhops roller-skating trays of burgers and shakes to teenagers parked for dinner dates. While the company remains America’s biggest drive-in, executives at a recent management meeting discussed home delivery options and sampled a healthier burger alternative that was blended with mushrooms. (Those were still washed down with Oreo mint ice cream shakes.) Recently, it has been facing competition from prepared foods at convenience stores and even Whole Foods.

Photo
Marketing covers the elevator doors at the headquarters. Credit Nick Oxford for The New York Times

At a morning meeting last month, Sonic executives were discussing a new marketing strategy. In a show of how successful its two-men-in-a-car commercials have been — TV ad spending is the company’s biggest marketing expense — they were hoping to replicate that formula with two women. (Company executives frequently mention that 58 percent of the Sonic’s customers are women.) Names of female comedians and actresses were being tossed out. Among the hoped-for criteria projected on the room’s wall was a note to avoid political choices.

Sonic is rare for the number of women and minorities in its top ranks, including its chief financial officer, chief marketing officer, chief brand officer and general counsel. And as of this month, white males are a minority of the independent directors on its board; including Mr. Hudson, they account for half of the group. (To put that in perspective, recent data from Equilar shows that women account for only 16.5 percent of the board members of Russell 3000 companies as of Dec. 31.)

Advertisement

Continue reading the main story

Ms. Thronson, who was previously the senior vice president of global marketing at Marriott, said that it was new for her to serve on a board with four women but that the change didn’t take place overnight: “It’s not investors and outside people saying, ‘Do this,’ but really believing there is something about cognitive variety and that different perspective create better outcomes.”

As for how it influences boardroom dynamics, she said, “When there’s one, we’re a token, and by four, it takes gender off the table.”

Mr. Hudson started at Sonic’s legal department in the 1980s after attending law school at Georgetown University. He became its chief executive in the mid-1990s after helping take the company public. In that time, the company and society have continually changed.

“There’s a lot of folks that feel like the America they understood in the ’50s, ’60s and maybe the early ’70s is an America they don’t understand today as much, and they’re reacting to that,” Mr. Hudson said. “But this is where leaders of all sorts can talk about a big tent instead of talking about a divisiveness, and talk about how we approach this so we have opportunity for everybody instead of a divide-and-conquer approach.

“The strongest thing we can do,” he added, “is attempt to lead by example and be open about it.”

Continue reading the main story

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/15/business/media/sonic-drive-in-clifford-hudson.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Philippines Shuts Down News Site Critical of Rodrigo Duterte

“What this means for you, and for us, is that the commission is ordering us to close shop, to cease telling you stories, to stop speaking truth to power, and to let go of everything that we have built — and created — with you since 2012,” it added.

The Philippines has one of the region’s most freewheeling news industries. More than 30 newspapers have sprung up across the country since democracy was restored 32 years ago.

Rappler said that it had been consistently transparent and that it had told corporate regulators about its company structure when it started operating in 2012.

“Transparency, we believe, is the best proof of good faith and good conduct,” said Rappler, which has won local and international awards for its reporting of impunity in Mr. Duterte’s deadly war on drugs.

“This is pure and simple harassment, the seeming coup de grâce to the relentless and malicious attacks against us since 2016,” Rappler said.

The president’s office sought to distance itself from the order, saying it was the commission’s job to determine corporate legality.

Newsletter Sign Up

Continue reading the main story

“We respect the S.E.C. decision that Rappler contravenes the strict requirements of the law that the ownership and management of mass media entities must be wholly owned by Filipinos,” a presidential spokesman, Harry Roque, said.

The Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines, formed in the 1970s to work for press freedom at the height of former President Ferdinand Marcos’s regime, expressed “deep regret” over the move.

Advertisement

Continue reading the main story

“The decision, which is tantamount to killing the online news site, sends a chilling effect to media organizations in the country,” the group said.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines also denounced the government, calling the move a vendetta by Mr. Duterte and urging media workers in the country to protest.

Francis Pangilinan, leader of the opposition in the Senate, said the revocation of Rappler’s license was a blow against “truth-telling and journalistic integrity.”

“In a time of fear, of relentless attacks on our institutions, the abuse of power, and the feeling of helplessness that this breeds, we seek solidarity,” Mr. Pangilinan said.

The strongman Mr. Marcos closed down television networks and newspapers during his two-decade regime, and he jailed many opposition figures and journalists.

Mr. Marcos was ousted in 1986, and his successor Corazon Aquino helped introduce a Constitution that guaranteed press freedom, arguing that such a right was central to democracy.

Her son, Benigno Aquino III, Mr. Duterte’s predecessor, was often criticized by the news media, and he complained about being unfairly treated. He never made a move to restrict press freedom, however.

The last time a sitting president took aim at the news media was in 1999, when President Joseph Estrada sued the Manila Times over a report about corruption. The newspaper apologized, and Mr. Estrada dropped the suit, but the publication was eventually forced to sell.

Continue reading the main story

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/15/world/asia/philippines-duterte-news-website.html?partner=rss&emc=rss