Longtime ABC Executive Janice McGoff Dies at 68 – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine

Janice McGoff, a 30-year veteran of ABC who was known for her deft handling of talent relations, died last month in Highlands Ranch, Colo., after a short illness. She was 68.

McGoff joined ABC’s human resources department in the late 1970s. She worked her way up through the publicity and special events departments before being promoted to director of talent relations in 1990.

McGoff was well-known throughout the company and among talent representatives for her careful handling of travel and hospitality arrangements for ABC stars in connection with upfronts, corporate events, affiliate meetings, press junkets, charitable activities, and community outreach events.

After Disney acquired ABC in 1996, McGoff’s responsibilities expanded to include talent relations matters for Disney Channel and ESPN. She was VP of talent relations at the time of her retirement in 2007.

McGoff attended UCLA and worked for Max Factor and A&M Records before she joined ABC.

Survivors include a daughter, Katherine Pitt; a grandson, a sister and a brother. The family requests that donations be made to the fund established in her name at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

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Afterglow Klubjumpers (Radio Remix) [feat. Armand Hutton]

Here’s to a sync license in 2018 for this song! Stay tuned!


By Diana Dilee Maher

Download now from Itunes

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Sniper Drama ‘Downrange’ Scores European Sales – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine

MPI Media Group has closed European sales on the Ryuhei Kitamura sniper drama “Downrange” at the American Film Market.

Deals have concluded with Wild Side for France, Splendid for Germany and Benelux, Pictureworks for India, Koch for Italy, Phoenicia for Mideast, Njuta for Scandinavia, and A Contracorriente for Spain.

Produced by Genco, the film follows a group of road-tripping college students whose van breaks down along a remote stretch of highway as they fall into the crosshairs of an enigmatic sniper. Japanese helmer Kitamura is best known for directing “The Midnight Meat Train.”

The company said, “This thoroughly 21st century nightmare, featuring rawly effective performances, drags the audience into the unknowably thrilling and excruciatingly tense drama unfolding before them which is sure to be a standout at this year’s Midnight Madness.”

Nicola Goelzhaeuser, MPI’s VP of international sales, said, “AFM has once again proven to be an important and vital market for independent films. We are thrilled to have found so many great partners who will continue to bring these films to audiences around the world.”

MPI Media Group’s subsidiaries include Dark Sky Films, MPI Home Entertainment, and the WPA Film Library. The company conducts global film sales via MPI International.

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‘Theseus’ Producer Sohum Shah Touts Fantasy Thriller ‘Tumbad’ – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine

Sohum Shah, the producer and actor behind widely acclaimed Indian drama “The Ship of Theseus” returns to Hong Kong’s FilMart with “Tumbad.”

The film, now in advanced stages of post-production, and expecting a major festival berth this summer, is a dark thriller set in British colonial India and told in a non-chronological order. With a lush and stylized look, the film also boasts horror and fantasy elements.

The film is directed by first time feature maker Rahi Anil Barve. Shah produces through his Recyclewala production company, as he did previously with Anand Gandhi’s “Theseus.” That film won India’s National Film Award in 2014 following a high-profile festival career that included Toronto, London, Tokyo and the Hong Kong IFF. Shah played the critical role of a stockbroker in “Theseus” and also doubles up in the new film with an apperance in “Tumbad.”

“Theseus” was sold by Hong Kong- and Amsterdam-based Fortissimo Films. Shah aims to use this week’s Hong Kong market to lock down an international sales agent for “Tumbad.”

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John Bailey Allegations Throw Academy Into PR Nightmare – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine

On March 16, we received an explosive tip: Motion Picture Academy president John Bailey was being investigated for allegations of sexual harassment. The story we broke, which revealed that the probe was initiated after the Academy received three claims against Bailey, became the latest PR nightmare and potential scandal in recent years to envelop the venerable Hollywood institution.

Last year, after the wrong best picture Oscar was initially announced, the Academy took a long time to publicly respond and apologize for the embarrassing gaffe, drawing the ire of the media.

The Oscar ceremonies in 2015 and 2016 saw a huge public backlash against the Academy when zero minority nominations were announced for any of the acting categories. Outrage over the lack of diversity in the Academy’s voting membership resulted in the creation of the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, prompting the organization to expedite efforts to diversify its membership, which was 94% white.

Last year, more controversy raged after Casey Affleck won the actor Oscar for “Manchester by the Sea” and press reports resurfaced that he had settled sexual-harassment lawsuits with two women over alleged incidents on a movie set. In January, it was revealed that Affleck wouldn’t present the best actress Oscar, as is customary, nor would he attend the ceremony.

Even after the Academy expelled Harvey Weinstein in October, soon after a New York Times exposé detailed the mogul’s decades of sexual harassment, questions lingered over why the board didn’t oust Affleck, Roman Polanski — who admitted to raping a 13-year-old — and Bill Cosby, who was accused of sexual misconduct and drugging by dozens of women and is about to be retried on criminal charges of alleged assault against a former Temple University employee.

The news about Bailey comes just three months after the Academy instituted a code of conduct stating that members may be disciplined or expelled for abuse, harassment or discrimination. Bailey’s will be the first case to test the new claims process, which determines how such allegations would be adjudicated. Guilty or not guilty, the fallout is far from over.

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Jimmy Kimmel’s Meat Guru Preps Hollywood Steakhouse APL Restaurant – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine

Adam Perry Lang is perhaps best known in L.A. for setting up his barbecue smoker in the parking lot of his buddy Jimmy Kimmel’s Hollywood Boulevard studio. But soon, he will open APL Restaurant, a different kind of meat-centric experience, down the street in the historic Taft Building on Hollywood and Vine — one that concentrates more exploring the pleasures of dry-aged steak and fine whiskeys.

Between appearances on the Super Bowl episode of “Top Chef” and checking on the restaurant’s progress, Lang is hunkered down in an industrial park in suburban Lawndale, near LAX, honing the craft of knife-making and tinkering with the beef aging process.

Walking into Lang’s man-cave/test kitchen, the first thing you spot is the double-barreled smoker rig that Lang tows to various barbecue events. The next thing is the forge. Glowing at something like 2000 degrees, the renowned pitmaster heats a piece of vaguely knife-shaped raw steel until it glows bright orange, puts it on the anvil and gives it a dozen or so good thwonks with a mallet on the way to making a sharp edge. Making Damascus steel knives by hand is just one of his clutch of obsessions — and APL diners will be able to slice into their aged steaks with Lang’s own carefully-forged blades.

Culinary books of all kind are another obsession, piled in photogenic stacks on an antique oak butcher counter salvaged from a market in Granite City, Illinois. There’s everything from “Jewish Holiday Cooking” to a valuable edition of Brillat Savarin to kitschy ‘60s French treatises on trussing rabbits — plus a menu signed by Salvador Dali.

Vintage relics like a 1920s cash register, a huge walk-in ice box from the Illinois market, and a big red neon MEAT sign from the set of Kimmel’s Austin, Texas show make the utilitarian space look more like an industrial-chic restaurant, and a miniature, fully-stocked bar gives a preview of what APL Restaurant is going to look like when it opens this spring.

Despite Lang’s reputation as a barbecue master, don’t expect baked beans or sticky sauces at APL. The concept is high-end steakhouse-meets-brasserie, inspired by Lang’s stint cooking at Restaurant Guy Savoy in Paris and by his love for dry-aged beef. Lang considered several neighborhoods before he settled on the space just a stone’s throw from Kimmel, who is an investor in the restaurant.

“Hollywood has the kind of energy I’m looking for,” says the man who opened Daisy May’s BBQ in Manhattan, and it doesn’t hurt that the space is just across from the Pantages Theater, a ready source of hungry theater-goers. In the basement, Lang will butcher sides of beef and experiment with dry-aging techniques.

Beef, including his famous short ribs, is the centerpiece of the menu, but there will also be pastas, locally-sourced seafood like vermilion rockfish, and a cocktail program that reinterprets classics with a soupcon of modern creativity, just like the food.

On a recent visit to the workshop, Lang served up one of the 100-day aged steaks, with a smoky, wild-tasting crust encasing a buttery, nearly-bloody center. A simple salad of butter lettuce, a chunk of Lodge bread with whipped butter, and a large dollop of ultra-indulgent pommes aligot enriched with Cantal cheese made a perfect, and very French, lunch.

“Whiskey resets the palate” when you’re eating beef, Lang says, so there will be an extensive selection of brown liquor, plus cocktails that play with the overall theme by using aged vermouth, for one. Beverage director Jonathan Michael McClune shared tastes of drinks like a smoky tequila-ancho chili cocktail topped with flecks of gold leaf, and a bracing, citrusy take on the Corpse Reviver II.

But barbecue will not be completely ignored. Where a tiny one-chair barbershop served customers for 60 years, Lang will install a lunch window offering just a few items: a well-priced basic sandwich and a crazy, indulgent meat orgy of a sandwich that might cost $40 or more.

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Tronc Chairman Steps Down Amid Report On Unwanted Sexual Advances – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine

Michael Ferro, the former Tronc chairman, stepped down from the company’s board on Monday, effective immediately, just hours before a report from Fortune outlined allegations of sexual advances by two women who were doing business with him.

Ferro, a Chicago businessman and largest Tronc shareholder, will be replaced by Tronc CEO Justin Dearborn. The company’s announcement that he would step down made no mention of the allegations, but instead praised Ferro for “having created considerable shareholder value for the company in just two years as chairman of the board,” according to a statement by Dearborn.

Ferro, 51, leaves Tronc after agreeing last month to sell the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune to Los Angeles biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong for $500 million. The sale of the newspapers came after a pitched unionizing effort that culminated in a landslide vote by employees of the Los Angeles Times newsroom to form a union.

The allegations of sexual misconduct are the latest to rock Tronc. In January, National Public Radio published a report detailing two settlements involving former Los Angeles Times publisher and CEO Ross Levinsohn in previous corporate jobs. He was placed on leave and last month cleared. He was then named CEO of Tribune Interactive, a new business unit under Tronc.

The allegations against Ferro came from two women who were seeking to do business with the startup investor.

One woman, Kathryn Minshew, told Fortune that Ferro had made an unwanted sexual advance in September 2013. Minshew, an entrepreneur, was looking for funding for her career-advice startup The Muse. After entering into a deal with Ferro, Minshew said he invited her to drinks with a group of his friends one evening in September. After drinks, Ferro said the two would go to his company’s corporate apartment and “really jam — just get into the business,” Minshew told Fortune.

She said he approached her with two glasses of bourbon and then tried to kiss her. Eventually, she was able to get away, but was left shaken.

Another woman, Hagan Kappler, found herself in a similar position three years later during the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Kappler was an executive at Ingersoll Rand, a $14.2 billion global manufacturing multinational, and was tasked with creating a digital strategy for the company. She had met with Ferro four months earlier, in a meeting during which Kappler says he talked about prostitutes, strippers and his views on women working in tech.

When the two met up again in Las Vegas to flesh out a business idea, Kappler said Ferro tried to hug her and she at one point told him he was invading her personal space. After her rejections, she said Ferro appeared to lose interest and eventually asked her to leave, but not before saying he hoped she would be out drunk in Las Vegas later that week and would call him.

Over several months, Kappler and Ferro had contact, but later interactions included her male boss, who attended a subsequent meeting and to whom she reported the Las Vegas incident.

In a statement, Ferro’s spokesman did not directly deny the allegations raised, but said the “on-the-record allegations appear to involve private conduct with private individuals who were not employees of Tronc or any other company he ran.”

In the statement, Ferro’s spokesman said that in more than 20 years of leading public companies and other enterprises, there have been no claims filed against him nor settlements made on his behalf. It also noted that Ferro had “retired back to private life after leading a financial turnaround of Tronc as the non-executive chairman. There will, therefore, be no other comment.”

Ferro’s only public comment on Monday was about his departure from Tronc. “I want to thank everyone who worked so hard over the last two years creating great journalism, strengthening the company’s financial position and delivering significant value for shareholders,” he said in a statement. “I am confident that under the leadership of Justin and the rest of the board and management, Team Tronc will continue to deliver value for investors while executing the plan for digital transformation.”

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Who Would Stay, Who Would Go if Murdochs Sell – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine

Who runs the film studio? Who gets the keys to the TV kingdom? And will a Murdoch be in line for Bob Iger’s throne?

There are more questions than answers as the possibility of Disney acquiring the 20th Century Fox studio and other significant assets from 21st Century Fox appears to be gaining steam. CNBC reported Tuesday morning that a deal valued at $60 billion or more could be struck as early as next week.

It’s understood that high-level Disney and Fox executives had substantive conversations during the Thanksgiving holiday break. But sources at both Disney and Fox say there has been no formal communication with the rank-and-file about the prospect of a deal. The silence has led to much nervous speculation about how a Disney-Fox marriage would be structured, and what it would mean for senior leaders on both sides. Sources cautioned that the talks remain in the delicate stage with no certainty of a deal coming to fruition. But that hasn’t stopped industry insiders from speculating about what the combination of two historic Hollywood brands might look like after the dust settles.


One of the most intriguing questions posed by what would be a historic union of two Hollywood studios is whether the Fox deal could also provide an answer to the drawn-out process of finding a successor for Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger. Peter Rice, the Fox Networks Group chief who was recently promoted to president of 21st Century Fox, has been seen as a candidate even before the merger discussions took root. Twenty-First Century Fox CEO James Murdoch and executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch would emerge from the proposed stock transaction with big stakes in Disney, thanks to the Murdoch clan’s holdings. It might be hard to imagine a Murdoch working for another media giant, but already there’s been speculation that James might seek a role overseeing international TV operations. Sky and Star TV are businesses he helped grow before climbing into the corporate executive suite a few years ago. Lachlan Murdoch, meanwhile, might be more inclined to stay involved with the assets that don’t go to Disney: Fox News, Fox Sports, Fox Broadcasting, and the TV station group.


Twenty-First Century Fox CEO James Murdoch praised the one-year-old regime of Stacey Snider at 20th Century Fox for putting the film studio in “a good place” creatively. But would Snider maintain her perch if the studio is sold to Disney? Perhaps 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight would endure as a specialty labels within Disney’s film universe, which also includes such content engines as Marvel, Pixar, Lucasfilm, and, of course, Walt Disney Pictures. Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn has had the hottest hand of any studio chief in recent history— thanks in part to the wealth of material at his disposal.

Would there be enough breathing room in the kingdom for Snider to stick around under Horn? Or might she be asked to serve as the sorcerer’s apprentice for a period? Horn, who has been in the role since 2012, turns 75 in February. Disney has faced criticism for its lack of female division heads, and Snider does have a deep resume, having run Universal, DreamWorks and Fox. Some in Hollywood said they could imagine Fox as a stand-alone production unit inside Disney, making more original movies in the vein of Fox’s upcoming awards contender “The Post,” a period drama about the Washington Post during the Watergate era, while Disney continues to focus on the big tentpoles.


The formidable 20th Century Fox Television production operation is a crown jewel in the Fox empire. The mothership studio has a deep library and dozens of shows in production at any given time — with notable recent success stories including NBC’s “This Is Us” and Fox’s “Empire.” The Fox 21 Television Studios arm focuses on cable and streaming outlets. Together they deliver a wealth of mostly scripted TV series content that travels the globe. There is no question that Fox’s TV operation is larger and more profitable than Disney’s ABC Studios unit, which has been beefing up its talent roster and diversifying under the direction of president Patrick Moran. Would size win out? It’s hard to imagine Disney maintaining parallel TV production operations.

A tricky consideration here is that the 20th TV studio bosses — Dana Walden and Gary Newman — also oversee the Fox broadcast network, which is not among the assets Disney is angling to buy (for starters, FCC rules prohibit one company from owning more than one of the Big Four networks). The deal as it stands will put Walden and Newman, who have been professional partners since 1999, at a crossroads with some of their turf left behind no matter which way they go. Unless, of course, Disney has bigger plans for the pair, or Walden and Newman have their own plans. Walden’s name has surfaced as being on Jeff Bezos’ wish-list for the vacancy at Amazon Studios.


The valuation of Fox’s FX Networks cable group has to come with a special premium for the Landgraf factor. FX Networks CEO John Landgraf is one of the most respected programmers and mangers of creative talent in the industry. He has been on the short list for major network and studio job openings for a decade. At FX, he’s built a loyal team of executives who have punched above their weight with a mix of high-brow prestige programs (“The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” “The Americans”) and edgy crowd-pleasers (“American Horror Story,” “Sons of Anarchy”).

Given this track record, it would not be surprising to see Landgraf and Co. courted for a bigger profile within an enlarged Disney TV group. Of course, such a move would have implications for existing Disney/ABC TV Group brass starting with president Ben Sherwood.

The National Geographic Channels group, headed by Courteney Monroe, would likely remain an autonomous entity even after a sale as Fox owns most, but not all, of that joint venture with the National Geographic Society.

Meanwhile, the 22 regional Fox Sports cable channels would easily fold into the ESPN operation, which has long operated autonomously from Disney/ABC TV Group. Fox’s national Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 cable networks are not part of the sale equation as those would surely raise red flags on an anti-trust basis if combined with ESPN. ESPN has not been in the regional sports network business — but the expansion with the Fox RSNs might still prove a hurdle on the regulatory front.


Fox’s collection of 300-plus international cable channels, its stake in Euro satcaster Sky and the growing Star India TV business are a big part of the deal’s appeal for Disney. The international TV assets aren’t as high-profile as the Hollywood brand names but they represent huge growth potential in an area where Disney is lagging its traditional media rivals. With little overlap, Disney would probably seek to keep existing management in place, at least for the near term.

(Pictured: Stacey Snider, Peter Rice, John Landgraf, Dana Walden, and Gary Newman)

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Film of David Bowie’s ‘Lazarus’ Musical to Premiere in Brooklyn – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine

Lazarus,” the stage musical written by David Bowie with Enda Walsh in the months before his death in January 2016, will receive a special premiere on May 2 at the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, New York. For one night only, the theatrical premiere of a film based on the show’s London production will be soundtracked by the seven-piece band that backed Michael C. Hall and the show’s cast beginning on December 7, 2015 in New York. Tickets for the show go on sale Tuesday.

Lazarus” features nearly 20 songs spanning the Bowie catalogue, rearranged by the artist with Henry Hey. Songs include the hits “Heroes,” “Changes” and “Life On Mars?,” album cuts like “Always Crashing in the Same Car” and “It’s No Game (Part 1),” and four songs written specifically for the show (“Lazarus,” “No Plan,” “Killing a Little Time,” “When I Met You”).  The Kings Theatre presentation will mark the first time that the musicians have performed the songs live since the show’s New York finale on January 20, 2016.

The band features musical director/arranger/keyboardist Henry Hey, keyboardist/guitarist JJ Appleton, drummer Brian Delaney, saxophonist Lucas Dodd, bassist Fima Ephron, trombonist Karl Lyden and guitarist Chris McQueen. The film’s cast includes Michael C. Hall in the lead role of Thomas Jerome Newton, Amy Lennox, Sophia Anne Caruso, Michael Esper and Jamie Muscato. “Lazarus” was inspired by Walter Tevis’s novel “The Man Who Fell to Earth” and starred Michael C. Hall as the character Bowie portrayed in the 1976 film adaptation of that book.

Lazarus The Motion Picture/Live Soundtrack Experience is presented by Live Nation in association with RZO Productions, Inc., under license from David Bowie Archive. All net proceeds from this show will be donated to Public Programs at the Brooklyn Museum including monthly, talks, performances, and screenings.


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