Music Journalist Chet Flippo Dead at 69
Chet Flippo, a former Rolling Stone editor who had been serving as editorial director of Cmt since 2001, died Wednesday morning in a Nashville hospital. He was 69. Cmt said Flippo had been suffering from a "lengthy illness." Billboard, where Flippo served as Nashville Bureau Chief from 1995 to 2000, reported that he had pneumonia. Also read: BuzzFeed Journalist Michael Hastings Dead at 33 Flippo, best known for his writing about country music, authored several books about musicians including Hank Williams and the Rolling Stones. He started writing for Rolling Stone while a student »
- Sara Morrison
Selma Blair Dropped From Anger Management Via Text by Charlie Sheen, "At Peace" With Exit, Source Says
It seems like breaking bad news through texting is the new trend. First Katy Perry revealed that Russell Brand broke the news that he was filing for divorce via text message, and now an Anger Management source exclusively reveals to E! News that Selma Blair learned she was dropped from the show after receiving a text message from star Charlie Sheen. Though he doesn't really have the authority to make firing decisions, Sheen knows that the show, which received a 90-episode order from FX after its first season, can't go on without him, the insider says. But a source tells E! News exclusively that Blair, who departed the FX sitcom after reportedly complaining about Sheen to producers, "really had no problem »
Jason Schwartzman Joins Tim Burton's 'Big Eyes'
Jason Schwartzman will get artsy in Tim Burton's upcoming film, Big Eyes. The Weinstein Co. comedic drama is based on the true story of painter Margaret Keane and her husband Walter, who took credit for his wife’s work. Story: Tim Burton to Direct Christoph Waltz, Amy Adams in 'Big Eyes' Schwartzman, who starred in Rushmore, Spun, I Heart Huckabees and The Darjeeling Limited, will play a San Francisco art gallery owner named Ruben. Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams will star as the married couple, who rose to prominence in the art world and mainstream for paintings of big-eyed children
- Rebecca Ford
FX Orders Kelsey Grammer-Martin Lawrence Sitcom
Series is produced by Debmar-Mercury and Lionsgate TV under Debmar’s “10/90″ deal format that calls for accelerated production of 100 episodes if the initial 10-episode test run fares well.
Untitled comedy about two lawyer friends was created and is exec produced by sitcom vets Bob Boyett and Robert Horn. »
- Cynthia Littleton
Charlie Sheen Tweets "Greatest Dad" Award Amid Reports Brooke Mueller Left Betty Ford Rehab Center
Well, this is one way to tackle the tabloids. Charlie Sheen took to Twitter Tuesday to post a pic of his "Greatest Dad Award" amid reports claiming his ex-wife Brooke Mueller jeopardized her chances at regaining custody of the former couple's four-year-old twins by leaving Betty Ford Rehab Center. "On a grant from MIT at 41000' archeologists Pekk&Sheen discover what can only be described as ancient bitchen," the Anger Management star captioned the twitpic (whatever that means). According to TMZ, Mueller left Betty Ford last week and entered into a new treatment facility in Orange County. But new reports suggest the judge overseeing the 35-year-old socialite's custody »
Universal Picks Up 'Locke & Key' Comic (Exclusive)
Universal has optioned Locke & Key, the acclaimed supernatural comic book series by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez, to develop as a feature film. Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Bobby Cohen will produce via their Universal-based K/O Paper Products banner. Ted Adams, the CEO and publisher of Idw Publishing, the company behind the comic, will also produce. Locke & Key tells of three siblings who, after the gruesome murder of their father, move to their ancestral home in Massachusetts. They soon discover the house has magical keys that give the bearers a vast array of powers and abilities. However,
- Borys Kit
Black Sabbath earn their first No. 1 album ever on the Billboard 200
Black Sabbath’s reunion album has yielded at least one new career high-water mark for the hard rock vets: “13” sold 155,000 and debuts at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 this week, making it the Brits’ first chart-topper for the overall album sales tally. Black Sabbath’s previous best charting week came with “Master of Reality” in 1971 at a No. 8 peak. “13” is Sabbath’s first studio album with Ozzy Osbourne at the helm since 1978’s “Never Say Die!” Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories” stays put at No. 2 (48,000, -22%) and Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience” climbs No. 9 »
- Katie Hasty
Bachelor Host Chris Harrison Launches "Revolutionary" New Dating App—See It Now!
Attention single people of the world and fans of Bachelor Nation: If you're dying for your own Sean Lowe to ride away with on an elephant, Chris Harrison is coming to your rescue! The Bachelor host and Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss just launched a new dating app today called At First Sight that they believe will change the world of online dating. "It's really going to be revolutionary," Harrison tells E! News exclusively. "It's a fun, Instagram-slash-Twitter-slash-Vine version of a dating site. We do it how we cast the show. We do video profiles in which you are answering questions that a casting director from The Bachelor would ask you. You will see the videos and see if there's chemistry. »
Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson Go Back In Time in 'Free Bird's Trailer (Video)
Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson are going back in time to the first Thanksgiving ever -- and they want turkeys off the menu -- in the trailer for Relativity's "Free Birds." In the animated comedy, Reggie (Wilson) is one smart turkey on a farm full of dopey corn-blind ones. When he is pardoned by the President of the United States, Reggie is recruited to go back in time to stop humans from stuffing and basting his breed each November. Cue the 1621 revolt, and Reggie getting slapped around and thrown into walls »
- Tony Maglio
Venice Film Festival Gears Up for a Starry 70th Anniversary
Although Alberto Barbera opted to slim down the Venice Film Festival lineup when he was appointed artistic director last year, the world’s oldest international sprocket opera appears to be setting a particularly lavish table for its 70th-anniversary edition running Aug. 28-Sept. 7. While the only confirmed title so far is Paul Schrader’s crowdfunded Los Angeles-set noir “The Canyons,” set to premiere out of competition (with Schrader serving as jury president of the fest’s Horizons sidebar), speculation has swirled around any number of potential entries.
It’s a truism of the festival circuit that films that don’t play Cannes in late spring wind up at Venice, Telluride and/or Toronto in the fall. Two big prestige releases that seem likely to follow that trajectory are “Gravity,” Alfonso Cuaron’s space odyssey starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, and “Twelve Years a Slave,” Steve McQueen’s period drama with Chiwetel Ejiofor, »
- Justin Chang and Nick Vivarelli
Is English-Lingo ‘Master of Altamira’ the Symbol of New Euro Pix?
With the film biz ailing on the plains in Spain, any new production is news. But “The Master of Altamira,” skedded to start production this year, is noteworthy as a microcosm of trends now driving international film production.
Like many other European projects, it will lense in English. It’s not targeted at a youth market, but at older audiences. And it’s one more example of Euro producers determined to make movies without depending on the U.S. market for either finance or recoupment.
Spain’s Alvaro Longoria, producer of Steven Soderbergh’s “Che” and director of the Javier Bardem-produced “Sons of the Clouds,” will produce the pic, from a screenplay by Olivia Hetreed (who scripted “The Girl With a Pearl Earring”).
The film is set up at Spain’s Morena Films, one of a dozen Spanish shingles still producing sizable movies. “Altamira” financing will mix co-production coin »
- John Hopewell
Indie Auteurs Delve Into Gray Areas of Black-and-White Film
In this modern era of 3D, effects-laden movie spectacles, some of Hollywood’s most prolific indie directors are making a colorful splash into black-and-white.
Ever since the critical and commercial success of 2011’s Oscar-winning global hit “The Artist,” there’s been a resurgence of the age-old cinematic format that over the decades graced such classics as “Citizen Kane,” “Psycho,” “Manhattan,” “Schindler’s List” and “The Last Picture Show.”
This year alone there are four black-and-white pictures — Noah Baumbach’s “Frances Ha,” Joss Whedon’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” Alexander Payne’s upcoming release “Nebraska” and Brit helmer Ben Wheatley’s “A Field in England.” Along with Tim Burton’s animated feature “Frankenweenie” and Pablo Berger’s “Blancanieves” last year, moviegoers will have had more exposure to the throwback format in a two-year span than during any other comparable timeframe in recent history.
For the three U.S. directors, each film aficionados of the highest order, »
- Andrew Stewart
Steven Spielberg: Tackling TV on His Own Terms
Steven Spielberg has a bustling TV company led by trusted lieutenants and an insatiable appetite for producing smallscreen fare even as he stays busy as ever in film. But the DreamWorks mogul wants to work on his own terms, so he’s decided to write the checks himself.
Spielberg got his start in TV in a Navajo serape. He vividly remembers the looks he got from the seasoned Universal crew members, old-school down to their porkpie hats and vests, when he showed up sporting long hair and hippie garb for his first professional directing assignment. It was 1969, and he had just been given his big chance to impress the brass by helming a segment of the pilot for Rod Serling’s “Night Gallery” starring Joan Crawford.
Crawford was perfectly respectful to Universal’s boy wonder during the day’s work, but afterward she called the head of the studio to get him fired. »
- Cynthia Littleton
Amblin’s ‘Falling Skies’ Clicks for TNT
Steven Spielberg’s most commercially successful series in recent years has been TNT’s sci-fi entry “Falling Skies.” The popcorn drama, starring Noah Wyle as a history professor who winds up leading a resistance operation after an alien invasion, has blossomed into a big-tent hit for TNT, opening its third season on June 9 to strong numbers. The series also has a lucrative off-network licensing pact with Amazon Prime.
“Falling Skies” has been the little creature feature that could for Team Spielberg. The series, co-produced with TNT, was birthed in 2010, around the same time DreamWorks TV was helping to shepherd time-travel drama “Terra Nova” onto Fox. “Terra Nova” had the bigger budget (and no fewer than 11 exec producers), but the ambitious production traveled a rocky road from the start. Nor was it a purely homegrown property for Spielberg.
Spielberg had long nursed an idea for a drama series in which a »
- Cynthia Littleton
Tom Schilling: International Star You Should Know
Claim To Fame
Recently won the acting prize at the German Film Awards for “Oh Boy,” which follows a twentysomething slacker as he wanders the streets of Berlin in search of a good cup of coffee and a greater purpose in life than the legal career he has just escaped. The film seems to have captured the zeitgeist in Germany, with Schilling as its poster boy. People identify with the character, he says.
Born in the Mitte neighborhood of Berlin in the former East Germany, he was 6 when the Wall came down, which coincided with his first thesping role, in a Defa production. “My mother felt there was a hidden talent inside of me,” Schilling says. His career began when he was 12, when he joined the Berliner Ensemble, a theater group founded by Bertolt Brecht.
First Film Credits
- Leo Barraclough
Global Village: China’s ‘Small’ Towns’ Big B.O. Effect; Brits Hit Music Record, More
Tussle Over TV Ratings
Sony Entertainment Television, Times TV and Ndtv have discontinued subscriptions with Kantar and Nielsen’s Tam Media Research, India’s leading TV ratings agency; Tam data determines spending for 75% of India’s annual $2.4 billion ad budget. The three TV nets claim anomalies in the measurement of small markets (those below 100,000 people), saying they bring down average ratings for channels nationwide. Tam began measuring smaller markets after complaints from broadcaster Doordarshan, whose channels are often the only ones available in the more remote areas. Tam reps said they are open to discussions on the topic. Meanwhile, the Advertising Agencies Assn. of India and Indian Society of Advertisers are supporting Tam, saying its data is essential until the 2014 launch of ratings agency Broadcast Audience Research Council, a joint venture among the Aaai, Isa and the Indian Broadcasting Foundation.
Tiers of Joy for Local Pics »
- Variety Staff
Paula Deen: I Used the N-Word, but Don't Condone Racism
Celebrity cook Paula Deen said while being questioned in a discrimination lawsuit that she has used racial slurs in the past but insisted she and her family do not tolerate prejudice. The 66-year-old Food Network star and Savannah restaurant owner was peppered with questions about her racial attitudes in a May 17 deposition by a lawyer for Lisa Jackson, a former manager of Uncle Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House. Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers, own the restaurant. Jackson sued them last year, saying she was sexually harassed and worked in a hostile environment rife with innuendo and racial slurs. According »
- Associated Press
FX Buys Kelsey Grammer, Martin Lawrence Oddball Comedy
FX has scooped up another 10/90 comedy. The network has acquired 10 episodes of the odd couple effort, starring Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence. as Chicago lawyers from vastly different backgrounds who unexpectedly meet in court on the worst day of their lives. Brought together by fate and greed, they develop a partnership and friendship, forcing one another to find the balance between the ethical and unscrupulous in their professional and persona lives. If the still untitled multi-camera comedy, from Lionsgate Television and Debmar-Mercury, hits a certain ratings thresholds with in its initial straight-to-series 10 episode run, 90 more automatically will be
- Lacey Rose, Lesley Goldberg
Jason Schwartzman Joins Christoph Waltz, Amy Adams in Tim Burton's 'Big Eyes' (Exclusive)
Jason Schwartzman has joined the cast of Tim Burton's "Big Eyes," the Weinstein Company drama that stars Amy Adams as painter Margaret Keane and Christoph Waltz as her husband Walter, who took credit for his wife's work while she toiled in obscurity. Based on a true story, "Big Eyes" is being produced by Burton, Lynette Howell of Electric City Entertainment and screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, who previously worked with Burton on "Ed Wood." Krysten Ritter is set to co-star as Margaret's free-spirited friend and confidante DeeAnn, while Schwarzmann will play »
- Jeff Sneider
Michael Cera Having a High Time in 'Crystal Fairy' Trailer (Video)
Michael Cera wants to do mescaline in Chile in the "Crystal Fairy" trailer released Wednesday. He also doesn't want much to do with the title character, played by Gaby Hoffmann. In the clip, all Cera wants is to share a little road trip -- and a lot of drugs -- with his South American buddies. But when the (North) American Crystal comes to town, she kind of messes up those plans, but kind of makes them better. Kind of. See photos: 60 Summer Movies Looking for Your Box Office Bucks: 'Iron Man,' 'Star »
- Tony Maglio
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