The Latest Fashion in Hollywood Showrunning Deals

The times are a’changin’. In case you’ve been wondering what the currently agentless (because WGA-ATA conflagration!) super writer-producers are doing to keep themselves in the style to which we all wish we were accustomed, here ’tis!

NOTE FROM LB: God, I love this pic. Reminds me those great days of yore!

Showrunners Testing Waters With Multiple TV Overall Deals
by Lesley Goldberg

How much work is too much for a top showrunner? In a Peak TV era overflowing with choice, content creators big and small are leveraging the demand for their services with deals for exclusivity on different platforms.

On Aug. 7, Jeff Davis (Criminal Minds) inked a “broadcast-only” overall deal with the newly independent Fox Entertainment. While the pact was designed to be beneficial to the network — which says it also could sell Davis’ fare to outside platforms — the showrunner is still free to sign another TV overall deal elsewhere. That practice, multiple sources tell The Hollywood Reporter, has been growing quietly for the past few years as new platforms have emerged.

Deals such as CBS TV Studios’ 2015 pact with Ridley Scott’s Scott Free are also for broadcast only. Now, sources say some prolific producers are shifting away from the all-encompassing exclusive overall deal that media titans like Netflix and WarnerMedia can offer such creators as Ryan Murphy and J.J. Abrams, respectively, and instead are opting for a variety of deals on four levels: broadcast, basic cable, premium cable and streaming.

And for some, a fifth level — film — is an option, too. Sources say one prolific producer with scripted series at a broadcast network and three different streaming outlets — effectively working with four totally different companies — has quietly renewed a broadcast-only deal and is closing in on an exclusive streaming pact with another outlet.

Confused? Don’t be. Take Abrams, who is in final negotiations for a $500 million film and TV overall with WarnerMedia, as an example. The prolific writer, producer and director previously had two separate deals — a film pact with Viacom-owned Paramount Pictures and a TV deal with Warners….

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LGBTQ Creators Sue YouTube for Discrimination

Is Google dancing the ole “Two Steps Forward, One Step Back” shuffle? As our Magic 8-Ball said just the other day, “Signs point to uh-oh.” (Yeah, ours is special.)

Here’s the situation.

by Jude Dry

LGBTQ YouTubers are suing the company, which is owned by Google, claiming YouTube suppresses their content. The suit alleges the site regularly culls subscriber lists for LGBTQ creators, affecting their ability to sell advertising, which is the primary way to monetize content on YouTube. With almost 2 billion monthly viewers, YouTube is by far the world’s largest video streaming site. The lawsuit was filed in federal court on Tuesday August 13, as originally reported by The Washington Post.

Led by five LGBTQ creators, the suit claims YouTube engages in “unlawful content regulation, distribution, and monetization practices that stigmatize, restrict, block, demonetize, and financially harm the LGBT Plaintiffs and the greater LGBT Community.”

YouTube spokesperson Alex Joseph responded to requests for comment with this emailed statement:

“We’re proud that so many LGBTQ creators have chosen YouTube as a place to share their stories and build community. All content on our site is subject to the same policies. Our policies have no notion of sexual orientation or gender identity and our systems do not restrict or demonetize videos based on these factors or the inclusion of terms like ‘gay’ or ‘transgender.’ In addition, we have strong policies prohibiting hate speech, and we quickly remove content that violates our policies and terminate accounts that do so repeatedly.”

The lawsuit alleges that YouTube regularly labels LGBTQ videos as offensive or sexually explicit because of the creators’ sexual orientation. It also claims that LGBTQ videos are regularly demonetized, that YouTube changes their thumbnail images, and excludes them from content recommendations, resulting in decreased viewing numbers….

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Larry Brody: WGA Files Antitrust & Racketeering Lawsuits Against WME, CAA, UTA

by Larry Brody

I haven’t been posting about the WGA-ATA battle recently because I didn’t want whatever TVWriter™ reported to influence the current election campaign underway at the Writers Guild of America West.

But yesterday’s news about the latest action by my guild is a genuine game-changer. So here it is.

The WGAW and WGAE have announced that they’ve taken the dispute with the three biggest talent agencies in the country to a new, and to me, totally reasonable level:

Sorry but the links above aren’t clickable. Gonna have to do a bit of googling, my friends, but it’s for a good cause.

‘Then Again with Herbie J Pilato’ Season I Ending with the Big Guns

We here at TVWriter™ love the way things are going for Herbie J Pilato, our Contributing Editor Emeritus. It’s with great pleasure that we present this latest mainstream (read: “OldMedia”) article about his hot new streaming TV show.

That’s Herbie on the right. The other dude you should already know.

by Anthony C. Hayes
via the Baltimore Post Examiner

Herbie J Pilato knows classic television better than most. And he happens to be a good listener – attributes his guests clearly enjoy when they appear on his show, Then Again with Herbie J Pilato. We caught up with Herbie this week (a tad prematurely we discovered) for a recap of his first season’s show. Our error, however, proved to be timely, as we got a peek at some of the fun Herbie has in store for his fans. Then Again with Herbie J Pilato is now streaming on Amazon Prime, Shout Factory TV, and other media outlets.

BPE: Thanks for taking a few minutes to sit down with us today. When we spoke back in 2017 about your then-new book Dashing, Daring, and Debonair, we got somewhat side-tracked because you said you were in the process of launching a nostalgia-filled television show. Would you please bring us up to speed on that venture?

HJP: Yes. It’s been quite a journey. Hosting the show (Then Again with Herbie J Pilato) is something I have been working toward, consciously and subconsciously, really, since I was a kid. But in recent years, the show ultimately evolved from the hosting of my “Throwback Thursday” live events at the Burbank Barnes & Noble in 2015. Those live events, too, had in turn evolved from my Classic TV Seminars that I’ve presented for years throughout California and New York state.

Either way, I always wanted to host a TV talk show that hearkened back to the way talk shows used to be, along the lines of The Merv Griffin Show, The Mike Douglas Show, Dinah! and The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, the latter on which I had worked as an NBC Page.

In each of those cases, the host actually gave their guests time to talk, and all the guests would remain on the show until the end. It was a conversation that the studio audience and the TV audience at home felt like they were participating in. And that’s the charm of it. And I wanted to return that charm to the format and television.

Then Again with Herbie J Pilato has afforded me that remarkable opportunity.

BPE: In our previous interview, you mentioned speaking with several Dark Shadows alumni, including Lara Parker! Have to admit that after all these years I’m still crushing on Angelique.

HJP: And who still isn’t?! Talk about bewitching – those eyes and cheekbones. It really was magical to meet and chat with her, as well as with David Selby and Kathryn Leigh Scott….

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Rise of the All-Digital Actor

Regardless of whether your experiences with the actors you’ve been writing for and otherwise working have been good, bad, or indifferent, the following post about a future where electronic media – which are pretty much everything we watch today except for stage plays and live concerts – is fascinating.

NOTE FROM LB: Admission – my knee jerk first reaction to an actorless future was, “Yes! No more ridiculous actor demands to deal with!” But I immediately thought of all the times great performances have resonated with me as a viewer and saved my butt as a producer and realized that no matter how great the technology may get, human performers always will be irreplaceable.

by Carolyn Giardina

On July 23, Will Smith gave reporters an early preview of his upcoming thriller Gemini Man, in which the star fights with a younger clone of himself. The 50-year-old actor noted that, with advances in visual effects, he could sit back and let a digital double do all the work. “There’s a completely digital 20-year-old version of myself that can make movies now,” he quipped. While the comment got a laugh, it wasn’t too far off from Hollywood’s new reality: Actors can now play a character at any age — regardless of their own.

New VFX techniques could be used to tell stories that studios might not have attempted just a few years ago. It’s not too difficult to imagine in the near future, say, a digital likeness of an Avengers star appearing in Marvel Studios’ ever-expanding big-screen universe in perpetuity, even if the actor has long moved on from the role. And who profits from these digital copies of actors will likely spark union debates as usage grows more common.

This fall, two prestige tentpoles will test the waters for this new paradigm. In Paramount’s Ang Lee-helmed Gemini Man (Oct. 11), “Junior” Smith involved creating a fully digital character that looks and acts like Smith did around 1996 when he starred in Independence Day. The character was created by VFX house Weta Digital to use in some of the most complex scenes where “Junior” has to act alongside Smith.

Meanwhile, Martin Scorsese’s period drama The Irishman stars Robert De Niro, 75, as Frank Sheeran, a labor union leader and alleged hit man for the Bufalino crime family, and Al Pacino, 79, as union activist Jimmy Hoffa. Both actors (and others) will appear at different ages spanning decades, which is accomplished with VFX and makeup.

But it’s the digital de-aging work, which is being handled by Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic, that has been the focus of much curiosity, though specifics of the techniques used haven’t been revealed. It’s become common for an actor to have their face and body scanned at the start of a project if VFX might be needed (for instance, in action films for a digital stunt double)….

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