Variety

Founded in 1905, Variety is an entertainment newspaper published weekly by Reed Business Information. The subtitle of the paper is The International Entertainment Weekly. Variety features stories and columns pertaining to theatre, television, radio, music, records and movies. Variety's Vice President and Editor-in-Chief is Peter Bart. Charles Koones serves as President and Publisher. Dana Harris is the Editor and Olivia Hemaratanatorn is the Managing Editor.

Articles from Vol. 326, No. 16, 2015

Al Jazeera English's Fight for INDEPENDENCE
Eight years after Al Jazeera English launched as the Arab world's counterweight to CNN Inti, and BBC World, the Doha-based 24-hour news network, now airing in 130 countries, is still in expansion mode despite a few setbacks - perhaps most notably having...
American Horror Story: Freak Show
AMERICAN HORROR STORY: FREAK SHOW (FX)Episode: "Massacres and Matinees"TV movie or miniseriesProduction Designer: Mark WorthingtonFor his fourth "American Horror Story" go-round, production designer Mark Worthington and his talented team let their freak...
Artisans Face Fast-Changing Environment in SoCal
Glaciers melt, forests burn, yet there remain deniers of manmade climate change.Few deny, though, that economic climate change is parching Southern California's entertainment industry.The drought in SoCal production jobs is causing some pros to migrate...
Artisans to Get Their Day in the Limelight
Variety will present its Inaugural kudos for below-the-line pros at the 30th edition of the Santa Barbara Inti. Film Festival in February.The awards will be bestowed Feb. 3 at the Arlington Theater with Variety awards editor Tim Gray moderating a tribute...
Artists' Affection Made Seminal Series Crackle
For a young bonnie raitt, appearing on one of the first episodes of WTTW's "Soundstage," was a pivotal career moment."I was still relatively unknown nationally and to have Ken offer that kind of showcase, bringing me together with my friends and frequent...
A 'Strange' Brew, Indeed
A 'Strange' Brew, IndeedStrange MagicDirector: Gary RydstromVoices: Alan Cumming, Evan Rachel Wood, Elijah KelleyIf you've ever longed for a movie with all the insistent life lessons of a Disney fairy tale, the tacky visual excesses of digital-era George...
At Work With: Ken Ehrlich
Louis J. HorvitzOnce interested in becoming a racewar driver, Horvitz now uses those fast reflexes to direct live television events like the Grammy and the Folden Globes.Ken Ehrlich can claim a monumental legacy in the music world through the hundreds...
A Yearlong Journey on the Awards Trail
Many complain about the short memories of Oscar voters, but two of this year's best picture nominees were released more than six months ago: "Boyhood" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel." Of the two, it's "Boyhood" that has the better chance to take top honors,...
'Breaking' Prequel May Get 'Better'
'Breaking' Prequel May Get 'Better'Better Call SaulSeries; AMC, Sun. Feb. 8, 10 p.m.Writers: Vince Gilligan, Peter GouldStarring: Bob OdenkirkI'm a lawyer, not a criminal," protests the protagonist in "Better Call Saul," a spinoff/ prequel to "Breaking...
Californication/house of Lies
CALIFORNICATION (Showtime)Episodes: "Faith, Hope, Love"; "Like Father Like Son"; kickoffHOUSE OF LIES (Showtime)Episodes: "Wreckage," "Middlegame," "Zha-Moreng"Half-hour single-camera TV seriesProduction Designer: Ray YamagataIn the fast-paced world...
Caper 'Mortdecai' Misses 'Point'
Caper 'Mortdecai' Misses 'Point'MortdecaiDirector: David KoeppStarring: Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow. Ewan McGregorShould the recent surge in male facial hair as a fashion accessory stall in 2015, barbers would be within their rights to blame "Mortdecai,"...
Charging Up Electric Moments
KEN EHRLICH has produced more than 200 TV specials and live events, but the producer, who's getting a star Jan. 28 on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, is perhaps best known as the creator of "Grammy moments," those unforgettable, chill-inducing performances...
Charren Remade Face of Children's Television
Peggy Charren, who as the mother of two daughters in the 1960s launched a grassroots movement to improve the educational quality of children's television, culminating in the passage of the 1990 Children's Television Act, died on Jan. 22. She was 86 and...
Citizenfour
CITIZENFOUR (OpenfloadJDocumentary (feature)Editor: Mathilde Bonnefoyitizenfour" is the modem cousin of post-Watergate thrillers like "Three Days of the Condor," but with the simmering suspense that only real life and thoughtful editing can deliver....
Connecting with the Demo
Ken ehrlich isn't as synonymous with the Emmys as he is with the Grammys, but he does have the right Emmy mindset."I think a degree in psychology is always the first thing for anybody in television, because there are last-minute problems with people...
Dick Gregory : Forever a 'Bad Boy'
It was more than half a century ago that Dick Gregory became the Jackie Robinson of stand-up comedy, arguably the first black comic to break through to the white American mainstream. Yet he's only receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Feb....
Docs Take Diverse Approach to Subject
From photography to warfare, conservation to whistleblowing, this year's five Oscar nominated documentaries are united by overlapping themes and topics of interest, but remain uniformly distinct in their approach.Leading the quintet is Laura Poitras'...
Dodging Disasters on Music's Big Night
Live television is a high-wire act in the best of times. But on a Grammy telecast, with its mercurial slate of divas and rock stars, even the best-laid plans often go awry.When that happens, and the show threatens to go off the rails, it's up to producer...
Experience Counts in WGA Foundation's Veterans Project
Christine Berg is an Army brat. But these days, it may be better to describe her as a Wonder Buffalo.Born to a military father in Thailand, raised in Germany and having served in the U.S. military herself out of high school, she says she's seen so much...
Festival Highlights
The 30th edition of the Santa Barbara fest kicked off Jan. 27 with "Desert Dancer," followed by a gala at the Paseo Nuevo. Star Kevin Costner and helmer Niki Caro will accompany dosing night film "McFarland, USA" on Feb. 7. Laurels will be given to these...
Fist-Bumping Bob Dylan, Bonding with Barack
Not many people on this Earth can boast being on a fist-bump basis with Bob Dylan. Grammy producer Ken Ehrlich, however, fist bumps Dylan all the time.Ehrlich spends a lot of time palling around with music legends. And he uses those friendships to coax...
Gotham
GOTHAM (Fox)Episodes: Pilot, "Selina Kyle," "Arkham"One-hour period or fantasy single camera TV seriesProduction Designer: Doug KranerProduction designer Doug Kraner has given "Gotham" a new and original look. The production design is richly textured...
Healthy Rivalry in Foreign Film Race
On an Oscar nomination morning that brought more than its usual share of controversial omissions, foreign-language film was - for a change - left out of the fracas. Few could argue with this year's strong, healthily diverse field of critical and festival...
House of Cards
HOUSE OF CARDS (Netflix)Episode: Chapter 18One-hour contemporary single-camera TV seriesProduction Designer: Steve ArnoldScenery is an illusion - an elaborate construct of lies tacked together to make you believe that what you are witnessing is real,...
Igniting the Era of the Diva
In the late '90s, women ruled the pop charts, but it took Ken Ehrlich to unite the performers and usher in a new Era of the Diva.In 1998, Ehrlich and VH1 launched "Divas Live," an annual benefit for the channel's Save the Music Foundation that showcased...
In Big Apple Real Estate, the 1% Has Money to Burn
If Your Mama has said it once, we've said it 52,000 times: The rich, and the super-rich in particular, operate at a profoundly profligate level of consumption that's difficult for financial mortals to comprehend. As we revealed last week, music industry...
In Their Own Words
MELISSA MCCARTHY AND Billy Gardell had never met before landing the title roles on "Mike & Molly." Five years later they're thick as thieves. Variety's Geoff Berkshire asked the stars to reflect on their journey together on the occasion of the show's...
J.Lo Thriller 'Door' Isn't Well Hinged
J.Lo Thriller 'Door' Isn't Well HingedThe Boy Next DoorDirector Rob CohenStaffing: Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Guzrnan, Ian NelsonDirector Rob Cohen is an old hand at straightforward genre product, with a career that stretches from "Miami Vice" to "The Fast...
Kudocast Producers Face Thankless Task
Reading over Ken Ehrlich's resume, with all those Grammy and Emmy telecasts in his past, one question comes to mind: Why would anybody want to produce that many award shows?The entertainment industry is full of thankless tasks, most of them below the...
Laugh Riot
The upside-down map of the world and backwards-running clocks on the set on Larry Wilmore's new Nightly Show" aren't the only things askew at Comedy Central. But on Wilmore's programi, that's intentional."Nightly Show" is the noisiest in a series of...
Liberated by Their Partnership
Nov. 1, 2006 marked a momentous day in Ken Ehrlich's long and illustrious career: the day that his company, Ken Ehrlich Prods., was acquired by AEG to form AEG Ehrlich Ventures.In the ensuing years, the venture, which was renewed in 2012 for another...
Making Celine Cry: Chanteuse Soars through Her Sobs
"My favorite moment working with Ken Ehrlich," says Celine Dion, "was when he invited me to participate in a Grammy Nominations TV special and he wanted me to sing 'At Seventeen,' the Janis Ian song for which she won a Grammy in 1976."Ehrlich told Dion...
Making the Grammycast Sing
Exec-producing the Grammys requires a complex collaboration of diverse minds. Let's run down some of the key players.* There's Ken Ehrlich, the experienced field general able to marshal all kinds of disparate forces.* In addition, there's Ken Ehrlich,...
Memorable Moments
Variety asked exec producer Chuck Lorre, showrunner AI Higgins and the supporting cast to share their highlights from 100 episodes.Nyambi Nyambi"Pilot"season 1, episode 1"We knew that we had something special - the makings of family."Chuck Lorre"First...
Music Stars on the Grammys' Main Man
"Ken Ehrfich thinks quality is entertaining. His taste is impeccable. His sense of flow is impeccable.He's not putting two big names together and saying 'That's what America wants.' Ken is sensitive, not just emotionally sensitive, but sensitive to each...
My First Time in Variety
How did you meet Rodgers and Hammerstein?I was very young; I had just graduated high school and was on my way to become a veterinarian. Animals were the light of my life. But I was born singing - it was a gift. I had studied some acting and dancing at...
NBC Creates Drama over Thursday Lineup
The reconstruction of NBC's Thursday night lineup begins with the kickoff on Super Bowl Sunday. The Peacock has as much at stake in the telecast of the big game on Feb. 1 as do the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots.NBC is relocating its most...
New Year, New Tech
Sony's Next Walkmansony.com I more than $1,000The Walkman's not dead, It's just really expensive. Sony's ZX2 Walkman, shipping in the spring, is meant to compete on the premium end of mobile devices, and uses Android's operating system to stream music...
Nightcrawler
NIGHTCRAWLER (OpenRoad)Feature film (dramatic)Editor: John GilroyClassic storytelling dictates a dear protagonist whose story is told from his or her point of view. The audience must care about, root for and be satisfied with the journey of this character....
Paradigm Lost: Hollywood
Talk to any top executive or producer in the movie, television and digital businesses today and they will tell you that the challenges they face are more severe and confounding than ever. Industryites are grappling with profound concerns that cut to...
Pic Features All That Paz
Pic Features All That PazBeautiful A TwittedMovie; Lifetime, Sat. Jan. 31.8 p.mDirector: Chris ZallaStarring: Rob Lowe. Paz Vega. Candice BergenBeing unabashedly trashy can be pretty entertaining, and Lifetime takes the plunge - a little too hard in...
Plugged In
What's on Variety.com this weekViola Davis and Uzo Aduba Make SAG HistoryViola Davis, right, pictured with Uzo Aduba, Julianne Moore and Chinasa Ogbuagu, won the outstanding lead drama actress prize at Jan. 25's SAG Awards for her role in "How to Get...
'Project' a Waste of Time Travel
'Project' a Waste of Time TravelProject AlmanacDirector Dean IsraeliteStarting: Jonny Weston, Sofia Black-DElia, Sam LernerLet's say you discover a time machine in your basement. Would you use it to go back and stop Hitler, or would you instead make...
"Saturday Night Live"
"SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE" (NBC)Episodes: Louis C.K. with Sam Smith, Anna Kendrick with Pharrell Wiliams, Chris Rock with PrinceVariety, competition, reality or gameshow seriesProduction Designers: Keith Ian Raywood, Eugene Lee, Akira Yoshimura, N. Joseph...
Silverman Bravely Sheds Her 'Smile'
Silverman Bravely Sheds Her 'Smile'Smile BackDirector: Adam SalkyStarring: Sarah Silverman, Josh Charles, Thomas SadoskiRarely has a performer striven so concertedly to shed any trace of his/her comedy roots as Sarah Silverman does over the course of...
Story of Ex-Gay Man Stirs Sundance
ON JAN. 29, the Sundance Film Festival will premiere "I Am Michael," a controversial drama starring James Franco as Michael Glatze, a former gay activist who in 2007 renounced his homosexuality and turned to Christianity to start a new life. Glatz was...
Super Bowl Ad Game May Have Peaked
The Super Bowl is TV's biggest draw, pulling in hundreds of millions of viewers - along with hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising. So why hasn't NBC been able to sell out its commercial inventory for the game? NBC reported Jan. 7 that it had...
The Big Bang Theory/mike & Molly
THE BIG BANG THEORY (CBS)Episodes: "The Locomotive Manipulation," "The Convention Conundrum," "The Status Quo Combustion"MIKE & MOLLY (CBS)Episodes: "Mike & Molly's Excellent Adventure," "The Dice Lady Cometh"Multicamera TV seriesProduction Designer:...
The Crescent City's Patron Saint
For those who've lived there, and even better, taken in the music scene, there's no place like New Orleans.But when Hurricane Katrina destroyed much of the city, the Nola music scene was especially threatened. Its musicians were scattered, and the city's...
The Man the Stars Trust
At the 2014 grammys, Ken Ehrlich reserved a featured spot for John Legend to sing something that wasn't yet a hit: "All of Me."Ehrlich chose the song "just because he believed in it," says Legend. Sales of the song jumped 174% in the two weeks following...
The Night I Almost Killed Ken Ehrlich
The work that goes into creating a live televised event on the scale of the Grammys is simply astonishing. Unless you happen to be a performer or a person who works behind the scenes, you cannot even begin to imagine what it takes to deliver a production...
The Normal Heart
THE NORMAL HEART (HBO)Miniseries or motion picture for televisionEditor: Adam PennIn Larry Kramer's "The Normal Heart" we relive the unforgivable destruction of the gay community during the AIDS epidemic in the early '80s. In one of the opening scenes...
Tooning Up Expectations
Asifa-Hollywood, the nonprofit organization behind the Annie Awards, has championed the toon industry for nearly five decades, but never has its growth been felt as much as in the last few years after the organization went through a major organizational...
True Art Must Be about the Band, Not the Brand
Is it only about getting paid?That's what the business people in the music industry want. They're envious of their rich friends, they want to maintain their lifestyles, and the only entities that can give them this kind of money are corporations.But...
TV Toons Net Noms
While the temptation at this time of year is to focus on achievements In feature film, the Annie Awards also lauds television/broadcast animation.In fact, 14 of the 31 production awards Asifa-Hollywood will give out on Jan. 31 will go to TV projects,...
Uniting Rappers and Royalty
IT TAKES A RARE KIND of Strategic vision to put Jay Z and the queen of Sweden on the same stage to raise money to fight poverty.Producer Ken Ehrlich seems to be hardwired with that ability.Ehrlich embarked on a new philanthropic endeavor in 2014, joining...
Vice
VICE (HBO)Episode: "Greenland Is Melting & Bonded Labor"Non-scripted seriesEditors: John Langford and Nick CarewIn both segments of HBO's "Vice: Greenland Is Melting & Bonded Labor." editors Joe Langford and Nick Carew tell timely and disturbing...
Visa Line Grows with Pilot Season
TV pilot season ramps up this month, luring artisans and actors from around the world to Los Angeles, where they hope to find work on one of the new network series and, if all goes well, score a recurring gig.But if they're not United States citizens,...
What's Next: Busy Slate for Kudo Impresario
It's a good thing that Ken Ehrlich has already cleared his calendar to receive his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Jan. 28, because there's precious little downtime for the Emmy-Award winning producer in 2015.This year kicks off with the 57th annual...
'Witch' Works Dark Magic
'Witch' Works Dark MagicThe WitchDirector: Robert EggersStarring: Anya TaylorJoy, Ralph Ineson, Kate DickieA fiercely committed ensemble and an exquisite sense of historical detail conspire to cast a highly atmospheric spell in "The Witch," a strikingly...
Woody Jumps into the Stream, but Does He Know the Current?
Did Woody Allen suffer an attack of angst? Or was he merely feeling it was time for a change?With his 80th birthday approaching, Woody had been shooting movies (and raising financing) in just about every country in Europe from Italy to Spain, and was...
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