Thursday, June 28, 2012

Chris Krewson Leaves Variety For THR: Another Strange Chapter In The Current History Of A Once-Perfect Brand

What a nap! I feel great!

So today’s news was interesting enough to make me return from my sabbatical (which, by the way, is allowed, since it’s my blog.) And notice my headline. I didn't say anyone should be in panic mode. I didn't take sides. I didn't say this was a terrible decision...or a good decision. I just said this is strange.

Here’s what I know: Chris Krewson is generally liked, although his role wasn't defined too well at Variety. He is a solid enough worker. He has 3600 Twitter followers. He moved out from Philadelphia years ago to take the Variety job, only to see what he was up against: paywalls, an archaic platform, lack of progress, leadership voids and the overall sense that Variety, as great a brand as it is to the outside world…lost some steps along the way. Now, he wasn't the perfect fit...but I tend to think he thought he was getting a 21st century toy to play with when he joined. Not a lemon. So I give him the benefit of the doubt. And he's certainly good enough to run both and the now-well-thought-of Is that a fair assessment?

He was also up against directional issues for a while. When the lovely Dana Harris was at Variety, there was an issue of “who’s job is it.” She moved on, of course, to Indiewire, and things got a little clearer for Chris. But by then, things weren’t any cleaner on the publishing side. Chris, simply, was doing a job, the very description of which was not in the place's DNA. (Apologies if I got some of my chronology wrong here...maybe Chris can fill me in.)

Now, to be fair, Web editors aren’t heart surgeons. People are so replaceable. Certainly him. Shaq left, and the Lakers were fine. So although overreactions are what journalists do best, they rarely are justified. Besides, people defect all the time at other media businesses, and it’s not a big deal at all.

Instead, here’s why Chris’ departure is kinda newsworthy: Because it’s not about the person who departed. It’s about the fact that a revolving door is so common at an organization where a revolving door should not exist in the first place.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

So Will One Or Two Actors Play Chang And Eng Bunker?

Been a while since I saw this kind of “big” thing from Mike Fleming. It’s a film version of the Guinness Book of World Records based at Warner Bros. It has details, backstory, names…and it’s exclusive. Hey -- I always wondered what happened to the McGuire twins...better known as the fat guys on the motorcycles. Fleming was actually on quite a roll today. Later on, he posted this, about a sequel moving forward to "Snow White and the Huntsman." 

Obama And Charlize Theron: THR, Deadline Win

I love THR’s presidential slideshow with the Young Hollywood contingent. Feels very inside baseball, and I don’t see the images at any other trade. Let me know if I am missing something. And Deadline’s got the goods on NBC sigining up for Charlize Theron’s modern-day take on the Hatfields & McCoys. Nice!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

'Django Unchained' Trailer Drama Was Fun To Watch

This was the mother of all “Who Had It First” posts. For the first major event trailer I’ve seen in some time. Variety went through some labor pains trying to be top dog -- they tried posting it in the early afternoon, but they then had to give us an “it's not ready yet” update. They eventually got it up at 4:30, and they were still first, so I applaud their transparency and their focus. This followed drama on several other sites as well around town, as detailed here. I won’t be posting the clip. I’ll leave that for the publications themselves. I just like to see who got the goods. And I love the trailer.

'Captain America 2' Directing Gig: Who Had It First?

Looks like the “Community” brotherly producing tandem of Joe and Anthony Russo will get the job. I don't know if the news came from fan sites first or what...but as for the trades, all I want to know is…who had it first?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

From 'Justice League' To Creative Emmy Mailers: Newsroom Roundup

Today was weird. Quiet, but a few pops. I already gave a shout-out to Variety for this one, and later in the day, they came through with this strange -- but fair game -- "Justice League" post. A secret hire way back when got the film back on track. OK, I guess. So on the film side, they win today. Other stories of note included this good one from Nellie over at Deadline about a "Modern Family" producer signing a new deal at Fox, and THR's fun slideshow look at the Emmys currying favor through creative mailers. They're good at these. The Wrap posted plenty of items today, but none of them as power exclusives in my wheelhouse.

UPDATE: Variety Satisfies My Hankerin' For A Really Big Film Exclusive

UPDATE: We have a winner, people: Jon Favreau is the frontrunner to direct "Jersey Boys"...Variety is victorious.

EARLIER: The last one was this, with Tom Cruise. But since then, we haven’t had any earth-shattering stories. So who's going to write something…and who’s it gonna be about: Clooney, Hanks, Bullock, Streep, Jolie, Johansson, Cruz, Winslet, Mirren, Pitt, Smith, Depp, Bardem, Washington, Sandler, Craig, Diaz, Damon, Lawrence, Downey Jr., Pattinson, Stewart, Timberlake, Portman, Spacey, Bale, Bridges, Penn, Weisz, Affleck, Spielberg, Fincher, Nolan, Coens, Scorsese, Howard, Soderbergh, Almodovar, Tarantino, Payne, Cameron…

Monday, June 4, 2012

Diamond Jubilee: Some Non-Industry Events Are Worth Major Coverage (Not Just Ratings Stories)

The “we don’t cover that” excuse can’t really be used anymore. Especially since THR covers alcohol and The Wrap covers cougars. And yes, Deadline and Variety are certainly better at defining and delivering to their core audience. But the Queen's Diamond Jubilee concert had everything: A-list performers, a red carpet, pageantry, international appeal. It was an amazing night by the looks of it. So I’m curious as to why something so obviously meant for the entertainment age would have no appeal as a streamed event (if possible) -- or a heavily hyped and covered (besides ratings) homepage element. (So far, I see THR did have this and Variety posted this small V Page item about Brits in L.A.). London is an important hub for the trades. There are staffs, subscribers, readers and industry folks aplenty. And like I said…”we don’t cover that” doesn’t mean what it used to. This wasn’t a monster truck rally.  

'Spartacus' Ending On Starz: Sharing Is Caring

Everyone worked together on this one, because...well, everyone worked together on this one. The show is ending, and as you saw, all of your news alerts came one after the other after the item was posted everywhere at 6:00 a.m. on the dot (except The Wrap, which posted at 6:16). Smooth and publicist-like. I wonder if anyone's ever said, "Thanks for the release and info. I appreciate your help, but I need to have this alone. And if I don't, you can work with everyone else. I'll find something else." Probably not. I've noticed, however, that you rarely see tag-teaming on the film side.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

I Like Variety's Approach To Sponsored Emmy Content

It’s a simple thing, really. But it’s effective, good business and something I’ve always thought should be more prevalent among the trades: sponsored news packages. Right in the middle of its homepage, Variety has a module. USA Networks is the advertiser, and off to the right are five Emmy stories. Clean, packaged, tight. And it's not special reports copy that was written AFTER an advertiser came onboard and pretends to be real. Just daily news that ebbs and flows and that has a common this case, Emmys. It’s strange that I don’t see it that often on anything except newsletters, which feel very 2009. Because think of all the things that could be sold as a package, designed beautifully, and executed flawlessly: reviews, international stories, television profiles, Oscar Q&As. The list goes on.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

'Desperate Housewives' Trial Drama: THR Wins

Slooooooow day. But this one, about the huge setback for Nicollette Sheridan in her  “Desperate Housewives” money grab, was a great get. Nothing like a nice little exclusive on a lazy Saturday to get me going. And from my favorite blog, no less: THR, Esq.

BOX OFFICE CIRCUS: 'Snow White And The Huntsman'

UPDATE: Variety posted their morning box office story at 8:35. The Wrap posted at 8:36. THR went with theirs at 8:56.

AS OF 8:00 A.M.: Nikki updated her box office story this morning at 7:10 with a full writethrough, and she has a definite number in the headline: $55.8 million. Whatever the final tally turns out to be, she’s got something specific this early, which is what I look for when I log on and seek out box office numbers on Saturday morning. As of right now, THR’s box office story is still the one from yesterday afternoon (!) and just has a guess-timate range ($48-$52 million). Variety’s post is also yesterday’s late-in-the-day report. It has a higher range…but still just a range. Nothing specific. The Wrap has a story about midgets.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Andy Samberg Leaving 'SNL': Who Had It First?

He confirmed it to the New York Times this afternoon, but they ain’t a trade. So now this becomes a question of who was paying the closest attention, and I therefore can still ask…who had it first?

One Of You Made A Basic Typo...And Some Of You Reacted Immaturely

A simple mistake. An error. A misstep that eventually was corrected. But a couple of you had to tweet about it. As if we’re all six-years-old and have to tell on each other. You want to know why the state of journalism really sucks? Because of that. Not because of economics. Not because of misguided resources. But because everyone’s in the playpen. Are you seriously going to call out a freakin’ typo by a fellow professional? Does that mean your newspaper or website never has small gaffes? Considering all the copy that gets posted, an error in a word here and there is just normal. Has been ever since printing presses were invented. And thank God we can now correct them instantly online. But Jesus, to even mention it is just unbelievable. You're right. There was a typo in a headline…for a story that everyone else followed because that writer did her job.

From Care Bears To Mel Gibson: Newsroom Tours

A look around this early afternoon brings us some strong stuff. And some, well, interesting stuff.

Their first Emmy print issue is out, and they’ve posted this today. Always good stuff from Ausiello and Nellie. But I wonder if it’s Q&A after Q&A like last year’s print onslaught…I’ll take a look soon. In the meantime, Nikki has been promising us an Alan Horn interview. I’ll keep expecting it. And Mike Fleming broke the Guy Ritchie/"Treasure Island" item.

They were the first to post the Michael Mann/Venice story early this morning, so bravo. On the flip side, this little Care Bears is just strange and silly. Even for a quickie blog post.

There’s this. And they got the jump on the Kathleen Kennedy/George Lucas story. They also beat everyone on the Brian Roberts/Comcast story…where he stuck it to the film unit for “Battleship” and “The Five-Year Engagement.” A good morning.

The Wrap
More Mel Gibson and Joe Eszterhaz nuttiness. They own this one.

Some Inspired Friday Morning Fun -- Courtesy Of THR

I love this. Just love it. Exactly what you all should do more of (or start doing, depending on who you are). This neat little slideshow comparing movies that have similar themes ("Antz" and "A Bugs Life," for example) is fun, relevant, engaging and, yes, unique. It’s pegged to “Mirror, Mirror” and “Snow White and the Huntsman,” and it’s exactly what I would ask to see more of if I were the boss (it's also in this week's print issue). It also looks fabulous leading the site. And that’s saying something, since so many slideshows are poorly “produced.” Well done, Matt Belloni. Well done.

I Can't Believe I've Hit 5,000 Pageviews -- Thank You!

I know, I's tiny compared to the traffic your sites get. But it sure is big to me. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that anyone would read this stuff when I started back in early May... let alone return for more. So I appreciate all of your eyeballs. It means a lot. Now send me a tip.