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STX Taps Hasbro to Handle UglyDolls Toys (EXCLUSIVE)

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 08:29 AM PST

STX Entertainment and Hasbro are joining forces in advance of the UglyDolls movie.

STX has high hopes for the whimsically grotesque line of plush dolls and it’s enlisting Hasbro to be its global toy licensee. UglyDolls first hit store shelves in 2001, the brainchild of David Horvath and Sun-Min Kim.

Throughout their decade-plus history of adorable ugliness the toys have been more a novelty item than a mass-market commodity. STX wants to change that by working with Hasbro, one of the world’s largest toy manufacturers. Prior to the deal, Horvath and Kim had handled manufacturing of the dolls before tapping Gund, a maker of plush products, to create the items. That pact with Gund has expired. The UglyDolls movie opens in 2019 and is being directed by Robert Rodriguez (“Machete”).

STX is a relatively new player in Hollywood. It launched in 2014 and has produced such movies as “Bad Moms,” “The Gift,” and the upcoming Amy Schumer comedy “I Feel Pretty.” Along with its films, the company is backing such TV programs as “Valley of the Boom” and also recently announced it is doing a virtual reality show with Rodriguez and Michelle Rodriguez.

“When Robert Simonds conceived of STX over three years ago, the idea was to build a global media company with entertainment properties that could seamlessly move across all platforms,” said Adam Fogelson, Chairman of STXfilms, in a statement. “In UglyDolls, we have exactly that – a universally appealing brand with the potential to reach a massive audience on every screen and experience, and a meaningful way into animation. It is incredibly exciting to take this next big step with a company of Hasbro’s global reach, experience and influence to bring the ‘Uglyverse’ to longtime fans and new audiences.”

“UglyDolls is a brand with deep history and tremendous equity, and we are thrilled to work with STX to bring the Uglydolls story to life in all new ways via rich storytelling and immersive play experiences,” said Samantha Lomow, Senior Vice President of Hasbro, in a statement.

The UglyDolls brain trust also praised the pact.

“Our roots are deeply intertwined with a profound love for the toy industry,” said Horvath. “We’ve been fans of Hasbro’s toy lines for ages, and are great admirers of their creativity and aesthetic sensibility. We are absolutely thrilled to be working with Hasbro and STX Entertainment on the UglyDolls franchise.”

In addition to the upcoming feature film, STX has UglyDolls projects in the works across the company’s multiple divisions, including its television, virtual reality, and games arms.

The global master toy deal between STX Entertainment and Hasbro was brokered by Stephanie Sperber at White Space Entertainment.

Prince Estate Inks Merchandising Deal With Minnesota Twins Baseball Team

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 08:27 AM PST

Prince was known for his skill at basketball — infamous, in fact, thanks to Charlie Murphy’s legendary skit on Chappelle’s Show — and of course he got a hometown nod during Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl halftime performance. And now baseball fans will be able to celebrate the Minneapolis legend thanks to a deal the Minnesota Twins have struck with the late singer’s estate whereby the team will sell Prince-related merchandise year-round, including hats, shirts and balls; they’re also having a Prince-themed night for the second year in a row. The co-branding deal, announced yesterday by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, is believed to be the first of its kind in Major League Baseball — and the new items will be for sale exclusively at the team’s Target Field, beginning with their home opener against the Seattle Mariners on April 5.

(Actually, Prince performed with a pair of dancers, Maya and Nandy McLean, who called themselves The Twinz at the time of his legendary Super Bowl performance in 2007, but that’s a stretch…)

More merch will go on sale on the Prince-themed night, June 8 (the day after the singer’s birthday), at which the first 10,000 fans who enter the stadium will receive inflatable purple guitars in the shape of the singer’s famous symbol.

“Along with our fans, we look forward to celebrating the legacy of a man who brought an international spotlight to our great city,” team CEO Dave St. Peter told the Star Tribune. The team’s retail provider, Delaware North Sportservice, struck a deal with Bravado, the Universal Music-owned merchandising company that struck a deal with Prince’s estate early last year. Team representatives said Prince’s family approved of the deal.



Kevin Spacey Foundation to Shut Down in U.K.

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 08:24 AM PST

The Kevin Spacey Foundation, which worked to encourage young people in the performing arts, will cease operating in the U.K. from Wednesday, the organization’s trustees say.

The foundation’s social media activity had already been wound down and its website scaled back in the wake of the sexual harassment and assault allegations against Spacey that emerged last fall. The site now consists of a holding page and another page announcing that the foundation would be shuttered Wednesday.

“The Trustees have reached the conclusion that the work of the Kevin Spacey Foundation UK is no longer viable and as such the Foundation will be closing on the 28 February 2018,” the statement read.

“The Trustees would like to thank all their partners, artists and organisations for the great work that has been done in association with the Foundation. The Trustees hope that the objects of the charity will be taken forward by other organisations.”

Steven Jackson-Winter, a drama teacher and longtime Spacey associate who headed the foundation’s U.K. operations, could not immediately be reached for comment. He is thought to have left KSF last November and is now consulting on various projects.

The Kevin Spacey Foundation was officially registered in Britain in 2008, during the two-time Oscar-winning actor’s tenure as artistic director of The Old Vic theater in London from 2004 to 2015. The foundation is a registered charity in both the U.S. and Britain. The status of its operations in the U.S., where it listed nearly $1 million in assets at the end of 2015, is not immediately clear.

The organization worked with young people in film, theater and dance, offering scholarships and awards, mentorships and educational programs for emerging talent. But its future immediately became clouded after actor Anthony Rapp accused Spacey of sexually assaulting him when he was just 14 and Spacey was 26.

Britain’s charities commission asked the foundation’s U.K. trustees for assurances that safeguards were in place to protect young people participating in the foundation’s programs. Regent’s University in London, where Spacey conducted workshops, and Pace University in New York, which received donations to help students with scholarships, said their relationships with the foundation were short-term and had ended before the allegations against Spacey surfaced.

Spacey was removed from the foundation’s board of directors last November. He was fired from Netflix series “House of Cards,” and replaced by Christopher Plummer in Ridley Scott’s “All the Money in the World.”

Scotland Yard has opened several investigations into alleged sexual assaults by Spacey in London.

Trump Taps Campaign Manager for Reelection Bid in 2020

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 08:11 AM PST

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has tapped Brad Parscale as campaign manager for a 2020 re-election bid.

Trump already filed paperwork for re-election on inauguration day in 2017, although it did not represent a formal announcement. His choice of Parscale, who led his campaign’s digital operations in 2016, is a sign that he is assembling a team for his reelection operation.

“Brad is an amazing talent and was pivotal to our success in 2016. He has our family’s complete trust and is the perfect person to be at the helm of the campaign,” Eric Trump, the president’s son, said in a statement released by Trump’s campaign. Drudge Report first reported on Parscale’s appointment.

The campaign said that in “addition to focusing on building its infrastructure for the 2020 race,” they would be engaged in the 2018 midterms, “providing candidates with general support, endorsements, and rallying the support of the political grassroots by engaging Trump supporters in districts and states.”

Parscale’s success caught the attention of Hollywood. Last year, he was tapped by Black Label Media to serve as their digital consultant on the movie “Only the Brave” to help the film appeal to red state voters. The work was done through his for-profit company Giles-Parscale.

“Brad was essential in bringing a disciplined technology and data-driven approach to how the 2016 campaign was run,” said Jared Kushner, senior adviser to Trump and the president’s son-in-law. “His leadership and expertise will be help build a best-in-class campaign.”

Trump held his first campaign rally less than a month after he was inaugurated, and has since held eight others. His political events have been paid for under the auspices of a re-election bid.


SundanceTV Orders Blumhouse TV Docu Series ‘No One Saw a Thing’

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 08:00 AM PST

SundanceTV has given a six-episode order to the true crime documentary series “No One Saw a Thing” from Blumhouse Television.

The series examines an unsolved case from the early 1980s in what Sundance described as “America’s heartland.” A small-town resident was reportedly shot dead in front of about 60 people who continue to deny having seen a crime. The series produced by Israeli documentarian Avi Belkin will examine “the corrosive effects of vigilantism in small-town America,” per Sundance.

“No One Saw a Thing” is targeted to debut on SundanceTV and the streaming Sundance Now platform in 2019.

Belkin will direct and exec produce with Alexandra Shiva, and Blumhouse‘s Jason Blum, Jeremy Gold, and Marci Wiseman.

The greenlight for “No One” comes amid SundanceTV’s efforts to beef up its documentary slate with upcoming projects on the 1978 Jonestown massacre, the cult of Tony Alaimo, and the notorious “Preppie Murder” saga from 1980s New York.

“This project underscores SundanceTV’s commitment to working with top-tier talent to explore infamous crimes and the impact of these stories on popular culture,” said Jan Diedrichsen, general manager, of SundanceTV and Sundance Now.

Blumhouse TV is a partnership of producer Jason Blum, who is riding high on the Oscar nominated “Get Out,” and ITV.

(Pictured: Jason Blum)

Emayatzy Corinealdi Cast in Lead Role in CBS Drama Pilot ‘Red Line’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 08:00 AM PST

Emayatzy Corinealdi has been cast in the upcoming CBS drama pilot “Red Line,” Variety has learned exclusively.

In the pilot, after a white cop in Chicago mistakenly shoots and kills a black doctor, the story follow three different families that all have connections with the case as the story is told from each perspective.

Corinealdi will play one of the leads, Tia Young, who is described as a formidable, well-educated woman raised on the South Side of Chicago. Tia’s desire to reconnect with the daughter she gave up for adoption might conflict with her aspirations for a political career. Tia is married to Aaron, and they have a 6-year-old son, Benny.

The project reunites Corinealdi with series executive producer Ava DuVernay, who previously directed the actress in the 2012 film “Middle of Nowhere.” Corinealdi’s other credits include “Ballers,” “Hand of God,” the remake of “Roots,” and the Miles Davis biopic “Miles Ahead.”

She is repped by ICM, Primary Wave Entertainment, and Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano.

“Red Line” hails from writers and executive producers Caitlin Parrish and Erica Weiss. DuVernay will executive produce along with Greg Berlanti, and Sarah Schechter. Warner Bros. Television will produce.

Should the project go to series, it would be the second broadcast drama about a police shooting in the past few years. Previously, Fox aired the limited series “Shots Fired” in early 2017, which followed the aftermath of a black police officer who shoots a white man during a traffic stop.

Rotten Tomatoes Names Time Out’s Joel Meares Top Editor

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 08:00 AM PST

Rotten Tomatoes has a new editor-in-chief: Joel Meares, who joins the movie-reviews ranking and entertainment site from Time Out.

The Australia native will oversee Rotten Tomatoes editorial content, steering international growth and expansion to multiple platforms. Meares also is tasked with developing new editorial ideas and formats, events, franchises, and opportunities using the site’s analytical data and audience feedback.

Meares takes over for Matt Atchity, who exited at Rotten Tomatoes’ EIC last year to join the Young Turks Network as head of programming. Erik Davis, managing editor of Fandango, had served as interim editor-in-chief.

“I am immensely impressed by [Meares’] passion and commitment to film and television and the impact his opinions have had within larger cultural conversations,” Rotten Tomatoes VP Jeff Voris said in announcing the hire. “His track record at Time Out and elsewhere speaks for itself and we look forward to seeing him grow our editorial offerings for our passionate fans.”

Rotten Tomatoes is part of NBCUniversal’s Fandango, which acquired the movie-ranking site in 2016 from Warner Bros. Warner Bros. retains a 30% stake in Rotten Tomatoes.

Most recently, Meares served as global editor-in-chief of Time Out Digital, where he oversaw content strategy for all of the travel and city-guide publisher’s owned-and-operated properties and franchises, including flagship titles in London and New York. Before that, he headed content for the company in North America after a stint as editor of Time Out Sydney.

Previously, Meares was the arts editor of the Sydney Morning Herald and was a staff writer for the newspaper’s the(sydney) magazine. He has contributed to Wired, the Guardian, Travel + Leisure (Australia) and other publications, and wrote about politics and the media as associate editor for the Columbia Journalism Review. In 2015, Black Inc. published Meares’ first book, “We’re All Going to Die (Especially Me),” a collection of comedic essays.

Meares commented, “I am thrilled to begin working with the incredible team of film and television fanatics at Rotten Tomatoes. I have been a fan of their engaging editorial content and the trusted Tomatometer for years and look forward to continuing to grow the brand across all of its platforms.”

Meares holds a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and a master of arts degree from the University of Sydney.

Cardi B stands by her man

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 08:00 AM PST

Cardi B always wanted to work things out with her fiancé Offset in the wake of cheating allegations – even though she believes she could bag any man she wanted.

The 25-year-old rapper is adamant her commitment to her man never wavered even after his iCloud was hacked and photos and footage was leaked of him with another girl admitting she’s “no angel”.

And Cardi insists she doesn’t have to explain her decision to any of the people who have told her she should have dumped the Migos member.

Speaking to the April 2018 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine – on which she stars as the cover girl – she said: “It’s like everybody is coming down my neck like, ‘Why are you not leaving him? You have low self-esteem.’ I don’t have low self-esteem … I know I look good. I know I’m rich, I know I’m talented. I know I could get any man I want –

any basketball player, football player. But I want to work out my s**t with my man, and I don’t got to explain why. I’m not your property. This is my life … I’m going to take my time, and I’m going to decide on my decision … It’s not right, what he f***ing did, but people don’t know what I did, ’cause I ain’t no angel.”

The outspoken hip hop star won’t change who she is as a person and won’t “lose herself” by turning into someone she isn’t just to please her fans.

She said: “Everybody got different beliefs and different religions and were raised differently, yet you also supposed to be careful you don’t offend somebody. Everybody gets bothered about everything. Everybody got a f***ing opinion about you. If I change myself, then I’m going to lose myself, and I won’t be who makes me happy.”

The American singer appeared on reality TV show ‘Love & Hip Hop New York’ before her hit song ‘Bodak Yellow’ catapulted her to fame, but the singer has always been vocal about her past as a stripper and she’s proud to talk about her previous life as a pole dancer.

She said: “People say, ‘Why do you always got to say that you used to be a stripper? We get it.’ Because y’all don’t respect me because of it, and y’all going to respect these strippers from now on … Just because somebody was a stripper don’t mean they don’t have no brain.”

Kim Kardashian West wants to take away Kendall’s anxiety

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 08:00 AM PST

Kim Kardashian West wishes she could free her younger sister Kendall Jenner from her anxiety.

The 22-year-old model opened up about her battle with the condition during an episode of her family’s reality TV show ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ and admitted some days it’s so bad she struggles to force herself to leave the house.

In an interview with Vogue India magazine Kim, 37, was asked which trait or issue she would take away from any of her sisters and mother Kris Jenner and the concerned beauty admitted she’d like to be able to help Kendall live her life free from anxiety.

Listing the personality traits she would do away with, Kim said: “Kourtney’s stubbornness. And Khloe’s getting too sensitive. I would take away Kendall’s anxiety, Kylie’s, ‘I don’t care, I know what I’m doing’ thing and probably my brother’s moodiness.”

When asked what she’d take from her mother Kris, she added: “Nothing. She’s perfect.”

Kim – who has three children, North, four, Saint, two, and baby daughter Chicago, with her husband Kanye West – also ran through the personality traits she’d most like to inherit from each member of her famous TV family.

And it is her momager Kris, 62, who she admires the most.

The hour-glass beauty said: “I’d take my brother’s sense of humor. Kendall’s sweetness. Khloe’s I-don’t-give-a-f**k attitude. Kourtney’s savviness around finances. Kylie’s ability to just go for it and not care what other people’s opinions are. And my mom’s nurturing.”

Atlantic Records Is Launching Its Own Podcasts, Starting Today

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 07:59 AM PST

Taking a DIY approach to media, Atlantic Records today announced the launch of an in-house podcast initiative with its own dedicated podcast production team. The company is even building a podcast-specific studio at its New York City headquarters, scheduled to be up and running in the spring.

The series, “Atlantic Records Podcasts,” debuts today with the premiere of its first weekly series, entitled “What’d I Say” (a reference to Ray Charles’ 1959 Atlantic hit, in case anyone doesn’t know) featuring interviews with current label artists. A press release describes it as “An inside look at the art of songcraft, the first season includes artists such as Jason Mraz, Whethan, MILCK, Lil Skies, Chappell Roan, Trivium, Sweater Beats, Josie Dunne, and Molly Kate Kestner.” Other series planned for the future include “Inside the Album,” “Respect: Women of Atlantic,” and a series devoted to the Atlantic archives, which stretch back to the label’s founding in 1947.

The initiative is helmed by Atlantic vp Tom Mullen, who hosts his own podcast music series, “Washed Up Emo,” which has been running for seven years and just aired its 124th episode.

In announcing the podcast initiative, Atlantic Chairman & CEO Craig Kallman and Chairman & COO Julie Greenwald said: “Music-making is at the heart of our company, and we already have a state-of-the-art recording studio at the center of our offices. We have a constant stream of artists coming through the building, so the next logical step for us was to create an environment where we could spontaneously capture them telling their stories and talking about their music. With our own podcast team and a dedicated podcast studio, we are able to give fans a unique, insider’s view of our artists, our label, and the creative process in action. With Tom’s deep musical knowledge and podcast expertise leading the charge, we are generating exciting audio content under our own roof.”

Mullen noted: “As I discovered doing my own podcasts, they are an incredibly powerful way of feeding fans’ hunger for intimate knowledge of the artists they love, while also connecting them to new voices. I want to thank Craig and Julie for their amazing support of the project and for giving me this opportunity to turn a personal passion into an actual part of my job. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

To listen to Atlantic Records Podcasts, visit: