THE LION BEZOS — The big media news this week was the purchase of MGM Studios by Jeff Bezos and Amazon for 8.6 billion. First off, MGM has been on the chopping block for 40 years and second, don’t let anyone tell you that Bezos has stepped away from Amazon. At the companies’ shareholders meeting Wednesday, Bezos was proudly front-and-center. If you ask 10 different people, you’ll get 10 different answers about this, but the fact of the matter is thatAmazon probably won’t ask you to spend more money for Amazon Prime, but rather, just spend more time with Amazon Prime.
Amazon has had some hits … and, some misses, but in general, I think this is a big plus for the arts community. More money … more movies. Better people … better directors. Content still is king.
One interesting thing about all is that, yes, MGM is home for all of the James Bond-movies and they will not be simultaneously spun on Amazon like much of the MGM product will be. No, Bond … Bond is still king … like Beezos!
SPACEY RETURNS — Actor Kevin Spacey is on the comeback trail, booking his first film role in four years.
ABC News reports Spacey will appear in the Italian film L’uomo Che Disegno Dio, or The Man Who Drew God. The film will be directed by Franco Nero and also star Nero’s wife, Vanessa Redgrave.
“I’m very happy Kevin agreed to participate in my film,” Nero told ABC News. “I consider him a great actor and I can’t wait to start the movie.” Spacey is not commenting.
The appearance will be Spacey’s first in four years, since multiple sexual assault charges and other misconduct issues first surfaced against the two-time Oscar winner.
Spacey lost his role as manipulative President Frank Underwood in Netflix’s House of Cards in 2017, when the first allegations surfaced.
The cases against Spacey included at least 20 young men reporting alleged sexual misconduct by the actor at the London theater, the Old Vic, between 1995 and 2013. Then, in 2018, Spacey was charged with indecent assault stemming from an alleged incident with a teenager on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, during the summer of 2016. He pleaded not guilty, and charges were later dropped when the the alleged victim withdrew and also dropped a civil lawsuit against the actor
Spacey’s legal woes also included two separate sexual assault cases in Los Angeles. In those, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges against Spacey. The statute of limitations had run out in one case and the second alleged victim, a massage therapist, died. A lawsuit against Spacey involving the massage therapist was also dismissed.
In yet another lawsuit, an anonymous man in New York alleged Spacey abused him in the 1980s when he was 14. A judge in that case ruled the man cannot proceed anonymously.
Spacey’s last prominent film role came in 2018 with Billionaire Boys Club. The film did not fare well at the box office.
Since then, Spacey made a public speech at a museum, and kept in touch with his audience in a series of videos playing his character from House of Cards.
One reader posted on the Deadline website: He is one of our great actors. I suspect he has already paid a price for presumed crimes.
So true. He’s an outstanding actor!
CSI RETURNS — CBS is reviving its hit CSI: Crime Scene Investigation brand with a series that brings original cast members William Petersen and Jorja Fox back home.
CSI: Vegas will debut this fall alongside the network’s expansion of its NCIS and FBI drama franchises, CBS said in unveiling its 2021-22 schedule for advertisers and media.
NCIS: Hawai’i, starring Vanessa Lachey, will be paired Monday night with NCIS, entering its 19th season with star Mark Harmon. FBI: International will be bookended on Tuesday by family members FBI and FBI: Most Wanted.
Peterson and Fox’s characters, who were based in Las Vegas in the original 2000-2015 CSI that spawned a trio of spinoffs, will join ranks with a new team of forensic crime-busters led by Paula Newsome (Chicago Med).
“We’re very excited to have three new franchise shows come on, which we know are going to help the schedule everywhere” they’re placed, said Kelly Kahl, president of CBS. A freshman series with a family pedigree gets a leg up, he said.
Another fall newcomer is the comedy Ghosts, about the new owners (Rose McIver, Utkarsh Ambudkar) of a country estate that comes with spirits described as “eclectic.” It’s based on a eponymous British series, a critical darling.
Midseason shows will include the medical drama Good Sam, with Sophia Bush and Jason Isaacs; the comedy Smallwood, starring Pete Holmes, Katie Lowes and Chi McBride and based on pro bowler Tom Smallwood’s second-act career, and the reality show Come Dance With Me.
An unusual entry is The Activist, described as a competition in which teams try to bring “meaningful change” in the areas of health, education or the environment. The goal: to seek funding and awareness from world leaders at an international summit.
The drama All Rise and comedy The Unicorn have been canceled.
Two CBS series will be making the jump to streaming on Paramount+, the network’s ViacomCBS corporate sibling. Dramas Evil and Seal Team will be available only on the service, although the latter will air four episodes on CBS this fall before its time slot goes to another series.
SHORT TAKES — Speaking of Bezos, his Amazon apparently ran out of vinyl copies of Micky Dolenz’s new album Dolenz Sings Nesmith, prompting a terrific item in Roger Friedman’s Showbiz 411 column. Check it out here: https://www.showbiz411.com/2021/05/25/monkee-time-micky-dolenz-album-of-mike-nesmith-songs-unexpectedly-sells-out-at-amazon-reorders-coming … Interesting article from the UK’s Guardian on how de-fanged Ryan Murphy has become since his move from Fox to Netflix. I’ve not watched Halston, but I understand it’s as racy as anything he’s ever done. Take a look: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2021/may/25/no-more-bite-how-netflix-defanged-ryan-murphy … Thursday, May 27 was the original date of My Father’s Place opening in Roslyn, New York. Amazing …
Happy Bday Buddy (Romeo Delight) Blanch and Carol Klenfer..
NAMES IN THE NEWS — DC Hendrix; Joel Denver; Mike McCann; Richard Branciforte; Kevin Hilliar; Tony King; Anthony Pomes; Keith Girard; Richard Johnson; Donnie Kehr; Steve Walter; Gerard Hoffman; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Nancy Jeffries; Marion Curtis; Glenn Gretlund; Frank Mastropolo; and, BELLA!