Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Covenant News- The Latest Industry & Social News From the Entertainment & Media Capital of the Universe, HOLLYWOOD, Los Angeles.CA. Wed 25 June 2008

Rihanna & Terence Howard




2008 BET Awards

Shrine Auditorium on June 24, 2008

Los Angeles, California.

DreamWorks deal divides Hollywood
Disney's tween-teen scene growing up fast


The deal between Anil Ambani, the Indian billionaire, and DreamWorks provoked a great deal of debate last week.

Under terms of the deal, which still is being refined, the Indian company, Reliance Big Entertainment of India, would invest half a billion dollars in DreamWorks, then help raise another half billion in revolving credit.

DreamWorks would thus gain its freedom from Paramount (with whom it has thrived financially) and the Indians would instantly become a force in Hollywood.
Opinions of the deal among Hollywood's major players this week tended to break down by generation.

To oversimplify, call them Old vs. New:

New: The deal symbolizes the globalization of the industry and the new worldwide opportunities that will spur Hollywood's growth.

Old: Many foreign players have invested big bucks in Hollywood in the past and the ventures never paid off.

Think Matsushita's buyout of MCA.

Think Polygram, or Vivendi, or Credit Lyonnais.

Think Sony's multibillion dollar write-downs before the era of Sir Howard Stringer.

New: DreamWorks will get a new infusion of capital and autonomy with aggressive new partners who will help it achieve its original objectives.

Old: DreamWorks experienced its most prosperous period ever under its relationship with Paramount and also contributed its best and brightest marketing and development troops to Paramount (and there they have to stay). DreamWorks also nurtured its best development slate there (which also has to stay).

The bottom line: DreamWorks wants to pursue its dream and rid itself of its corporate angst.

And no one -- new generation or old -- can predict where the new structure will take it.

The "movie god" pays no attention to generational thinking, only to the whims of the marketplace.

The late Roddy McDowall was a good friend of mine, and I remember his accounts of what it was like going to school on the old MGM backlot (it's now Sony).

He'd sit next to teenage "contract players" like Elizabeth Taylor, whose time was too valuable to let them off the lot to go to "normal" schools, and, as Roddy recalled, they were all tarted up to look like young femme fatales.

"The studio wanted the boys to keep looking like boys, but the girls were being groomed to play the love interest," he told me.

I was thinking of Roddy's classmates the other day when I saw photos of Demi Lovato, the 15-year-old Texan being groomed by the Disney marketing machine.

Demi is completing her first solo album, and is deemed a potential successor to 15-year-old Miley Cyrus, whose "Hannah Montana" industry has been responsible for $65.3 million in concert tours and other media happenings.

Stars of Disney's "tween" market are squeaky clean, to be sure, as befits the Disney Channel, but it's hard to look at the sharp-looking Demi, posing in jeans, hat and suspenders, without pondering the complexities of squeaky clean.

Ms. Cyrus ran afoul of the image earlier this year when Vanity Fair published her photo with only a bedsheet covering her torso.

Vanessa Hudgens, another Disney star from "High School Musical," has been sighted in the nude on the Internet.

There were abundant apologies in both cases, of course. Vanity Fair had manipulated the photo shoot of Ms. Cyrus "in order to sell magazines," Disney spokesmen said.

(In response, various websites promptly ran Disney ads from around the world using very youthful looking girls in lacy underwear, not to mention the various Miley Cyrus underwear self-portraits).

Disney has good reason to be protective.

The "Hannah Montana" show is averaging 2.4 million viewers a week.

The kid star empire embraces concert tours, the Disney Channel, movies, albums and other events.

An article in the Wall Street Journal this week described the meticulous process of screening and market testing that prospective teen stars must undergo.

To motivate the kids, Disney execs remind them that the company has fostered many child stars over the years, including Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera and Keri Russell.

Sometimes, as with Britney Spears, the end product didn't turn out according to what the handlers had in mind.

In other cases, as with Hilary Duff, money disputes severed the corporate ties.

"We can't stockpile this type of talent because of their ages, so we have to find it anew and it has to fit the programs we're doing,"

Gary Marsh, president of entertainment for the Disney Channel Worldwide, told the Journal.

There's a lot a stake.

Ms. Lovato opens in 'Camp Rock' on the Disney Channel, then rotates across the ABC Network and ABC Family Channel, and then she'll join the sold-out summer tour of the Jonas Brothers, another Disney product for the tween trade.

The Jonas boys really look like teens and if they were still in school, probably would worry about asking out either Ms. Lovato or Ms. Cyrus since the girls look a bit like Roddy McDowall's classmates of old.

Roddy, who admired showmanship, would have greatly admired the amazing "build" behind the careers of Miley and Demi. Poor Roddy --

all that was left for him was some great acting roles in movies like "How Green Was My Valley" and "Planet of the Apes."

Posted Jun 24th 2008

4:42PM by TMZ Staff

He's got seven children from five different women, but it's 63-year-old Jurassic rocker Rod Stewart that can't get enough of mother's milk!

Decked out in precious matching pink outfits on their yacht in Capri, Rod nursed on his 37-year-old wife Penny Lancaster's supple breast.

After his feeding, Penny changed Rod's diaper.

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