Saturday, July 21, 2018

News Briefs

Displaying 51 - 60 of 3098
  • Friday, Jun. 15, 2018
Apple announces multi-year content deal with Oprah Winfrey
In this Oct. 21, 2017 file photo, Oprah Winfrey arrives for the David Foster Foundation 30th Anniversary Miracle Gala and Concert, in Vancouver, British Columbia. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

Apple says it has reached a multi-year deal with Oprah Winfrey to create original programs for its streaming service.

Apple said Friday the programs will be released worldwide as part of a lineup of original content.

Apple has yet to launch its service, whose major competitors will include Amazon and Netflix.

Winfrey founded and heads the OWN channel as chair and CEO. She recently extended her contract with OWN through 2025.

An OWN spokeswoman said Winfrey has an exclusive on-camera deal with OWN but can appear elsewhere on a limited basis.

Winfrey's content for Apple will be solely for the streaming service, the representative said.

  • Friday, Jun. 15, 2018
Kansas City-based agency Barkley expands to Colorado 
Pictured (l-r) are Randy Rogers, Jeff Graham and Wade Paschall.
BOULDER, Colo. -- 

Kansas City, Missouri-based advertising agency Barkley announced that long-time partner agency Grenadier in Boulder, Colorado, will become an official part of the Barkley brand. Barkley made the structural change to attract talent and streamline its creative process.

Founded as a Barkley partner agency in 2012, Grenadier started as a strategic and creative boutique agency focused on emerging brands. Today, the team in Boulder has evolved into a more seamless extension of Barkley, working on several of the agency’s key clients such as Bass Pro Shops and Thrivent Financial. 

“I’m excited for our team to be able to work on big, important brand problems faster than we could as a stand-alone agency, and to have the support and depth that our Kansas City office brings us,” said Jeff Graham, SVP, managing director at Barkley (formerly the managing director at Grenadier).

In the new structure, creative, strategy, account, and production teams will report to a company-wide lead regardless of office location. The goal for the restructuring is to allow Barkley to deliver the right team at the right time for clients big or small. Grenadier’s leadership will remain in place. In addition to Graham, Grenadier partners Wade Paschall and Randy Rogers will be taking on roles as VPs/group creative directors at Barkley. 

The shift also opens up Barkley to a vast pool of talent in the Denver/Boulder area, which has a high concentration of startups and a culture of innovation. Advertising people frequently move to Colorado  for one of the dominant agencies and stay because of the lifestyle. Barkley hopes to emerge as another viable destination for those people.

Barkley has more than 400 employees on staff. Grenadier now operates as Barkley and will maintain its current office location and team with future plans for growth.

“The agency with the best people wins—and our job is to get an unfair share of great talent,” says Jeff King, CEO at Barkley, “We believe expanding the Barkley footprint to include Boulder helps us achieve that.” 

  • Friday, Jun. 15, 2018
Google barely moves needle on gender, diversity in workforce
This July 19, 2016, file photo shows the Google logo at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) -- 

Google barely raised the number of women and under-represented minorities among its ranks, while it got less white and more Asian over the past year, according to the search giant's fifth annual diversity report .

The report released Thursday comes a week after shareholders voted down proposals to study linking executive pay to diversity goals and as it grapples with ongoing lawsuits over gender discrimination

Google bumped the percentage of its female employees up by a tenth of a percentage point to 30.9 percent.

Despite falling more than 2 percent, white workers remained the majority at 53.1 percent, while Asians grew more than a percentage point to 36.3 percent. Black and Latino workers grew a tenth of a percent to 2.5 and 3.6 percent.

Google says it needs to do more on diversity, and added new data on hiring, attrition and gender by ethnicity. The new data showed black workers left the company at far higher rates than other groups. The report said its efforts at improving diversity must include "creating an inclusive culture" and not just boosted hiring.

Google is part of Alphabet Inc., which is based in Mountain View, California, and employs about 85,000 people.

  • Thursday, Jun. 14, 2018
Nicole Kidman, Amazon sign TV, movie production deal
In this Jan. 5, 2018 file photo, Nicole Kidman appears at the 7th annual AACTA International Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP, File)

Amazon Studios says it's signed a deal with Nicole Kidman and her production company for TV and movie projects.

Under the "first-look" deal, Amazon and Kidman's Blossom Films will develop original series for Amazon Prime Video and big-screen films.

In a statement Thursday, Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke called Kidman "a force of nature" as an actress and a producer.

Blossom Films, founded by Kidman and Per Saari, produced the Emmy-winning series "Big Little Lies" for HBO.

Amazon is striking deals with other prominent Hollywood figures, including "Get Out" filmmaker Jordan Peele.

Another major streaming service, Netflix, has landed top producers Ryan Murphy ("American Horror Story") and Shonda Rhimes ("Scandal").

  • Thursday, Jun. 14, 2018
Movie adaptation of true-crime podcast "S-Town" planned
In this June 2, 2017 file photo, Tom McCarthy arrives at the "13 Reasons Why" FYC Event in Beverly Hills, Calif. McCarthy is in negotiations to direct a film based on the seven-episode podcast "S-Town." (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

The popular true-crime podcast "S-Town" is being developed as a movie.

The film production company Participant Media has acquired the feature-film rights to the seven-episode podcast. "Spotlight" director Tom McCarthy is in negotiations to direct.

Made by the creators of the podcast "Serial," ''S-Town" is about an Alabama antique clock restorer from Woodstock, Alabama, named John B. McLemore. In 2012, he sent an email to the makers of "This American Life" asking for help in a murder investigation.

Longtime "This American Life" producer Brian Reed traveled to McLemore's hometown. But Reed uncovered not so much a whodunit procedural as a more mysterious small-town tale.

Deadline first reported the deal.

  • Wednesday, Jun. 13, 2018
Police investigate elder abuse of Marvel Comics' Stan Lee
In this April 23, 2018 file photo, Stan Lee, left, and Keya Morgan arrive at the world premiere of "Avengers: Infinity War" in Los Angeles. Lee has taken out a restraining order against Morgan who had been acting as his business manager and close adviser. Lee took out the order Wednesday, two days after Morgan was arrested on suspicion of filing a false police report. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

Los Angeles police are investigating reports of elder abuse against Stan Lee that come amid a struggle over the life and fortune of the 95-year-old Marvel Comics mogul, court documents showed Wednesday.

The investigation was revealed in a restraining order granted against Keya Morgan, who in recent months has been acting as Lee's business manager and personal adviser.

Morgan has inserted himself into the life of the Lee, according to the order. The filing accuses Morgan, 42, of taking advantage of Lee's impaired hearing, vision and judgment, moving Lee from his longtime family home and preventing family and associates from contacting him.

Morgan was arrested on Monday for allegedly filing a false police report by calling 911 and saying burglars were in his house when in fact two detectives and a social worker were conducting a welfare check on Lee.

"I have a very dear friend I take care of who is 95 and um, uh, three unidentified people have gone inside this house and locked the door and locked his security out and I'm very, very scared that they're harming him," Morgan said on the 911 call made on May 30, according to a transcript filed with the restraining order.

Attempts to reach Morgan on Wednesday were not immediately successful. An attorney he hired on a previous criminal case said he no longer works for Morgan, and it's not clear if he's retained a new attorney. Morgan's cell phone was no longer accepting messages.

Morgan's arrest and ouster is the latest and most dramatic move in the fight that has emerged over Lee's business and estimated $50 million fortune since his wife of 69 years Joan died in July.

Police have been investigating reports of elder abuse against Lee since at least February, and had issued an emergency order keeping Morgan from Lee even before Wednesday's order was issued.

Lee has for decades been revered as a comic book giant for his central role in creating the Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man, Iron Man and other major Marvel characters. In more recent years he has become a grandfatherly figure over the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with his comical cameos in each film beloved by fans.

Morgan is a memorabilia dealer and Marilyn Monroe expert who befriended Lee's daughter and only child J.C. Lee, and since February has increasingly taken personal control of Lee's life and household, taking advantage of Lee's age to influence and isolate him, Lee's attorney Tom Lallas said in the restraining order request.

He got rid of many who had worked for Lee, including Lallas, who had been helping with Lee's estate planning and other financial matters before his ouster, and has now returned. Morgan prevented friends, employees and relatives, eventually even J.C. Lee, from contact with Lee, police said in reports included with the restraining order.

Detectives said in the reports that in interviews Lee acknowledged that Morgan had helped him, but would frequently forget his name when talking about him.

The reports said they had twice done welfare checks on Lee, on Feb. 23 and again on May 30, when Morgan was not home. Morgan returned and was denied entry. After his 911 call reporting burglars, he again called 911 to say a security guard was being threatening and aggressive.

Morgan was released Monday after his arrest. He is already serving two years of probation for making criminal threats in an unrelated dispute, and he has been summoned back to court to determine whether he has violated the probation.

A day before the arrest, Lee appeared in a video posted to his Twitter account declaring that Morgan was his only partner and representative, and anyone claiming otherwise was lying.

"Anybody else who claims to be my rep is just making that story up," Lee says.

Morgan shared the video on his own Twitter account, whose bio calls him, "Co-creator with Stan Lee."

  • Wednesday, Jun. 13, 2018
Little is off limits on Facebook show "Red Table Talk"
In this Oct. 22, 2016 file photo, Jada Pinkett Smith attends the 26th Annual EMA Awards in Burbank, Calif. Pinkett Smith hosts a multi-generational Facebook show Red Table Talk. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

There's little Jada Pinkett Smith, her mom and her 17-year-old daughter Willow won't talk about on their new Facebook show.

It's called "Red Table Talk" and airs Mondays. But Pinkett Smith says the show is more than just talk among the three generations. A community of women has formed around it on Facebook to interact with the trio and each other. Pinkett Smith said in a recent interview creating a safe community for women is the point — and she loves the interaction.

Pinkett Smith says she turned to Facebook because she and her fellow producers wanted a loose, raw show. Their premiere episode that aired about a month ago has now been viewed more than 27 million times.

  • Wednesday, Jun. 13, 2018
Guess co-founder resigns after sex misconduct investigation
In this May 9, 2002 file photo, Guess Inc. founders and brothers, from left, Armand, Paul and Maurice Marciano arrive at the company's 20th anniversary party in Los Angeles. Guess Inc. says its co-founder Paul Marciano is stepping down after a company-commissioned investigation of allegations of sexual harassment and assault. The company announced in a filing Tuesday, June 12, 2018, with the Securities and Exchange Commission that Marciano is resigning immediately as executive chairman of the Guess board, and his brother and co-founder Maurice Marciano will take over. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

Guess Inc. announced Tuesday that its co-founder Paul Marciano is stepping down after the completion of a company-commissioned investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and assault.

The Los Angeles-based fashion company revealed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that Marciano is resigning immediately as executive chairman of the Guess board, and his brother Maurice Marciano, another company co-founder, will take over.

"The investigation found that on certain occasions (Paul) Marciano exercised poor judgment in his communications with models and photographers and in placing himself in situations in which plausible allegations of improper conduct could, and did, arise," the filing said.

Paul Marciano, who has denied the allegations, will remain a board member and stay on as chief creative officer until his contract expires at the end of January. He had stepped aside from his day-to-day duties when the investigation began in February. He will forfeit his salary for the period he sat out, but will be paid from June until January.  He also owns a 17 percent stake in Guess Inc.

The allegations first became public when model Kate Upton said in a Time magazine interview that Paul Marciano grabbed her breasts during a Guess photo shoot nearly eight years ago. She also says that he harassed her by showing up at hotels where she was staying and texting her inappropriate comments.

"It's disappointing that such an iconic women's brand @GUESS is still empowering Paul Marciano as their creative director #MeToo," Upton tweeted at the time.

Soon after a special committee of the Guess board and an outside law firm launched an investigation, which looked into several reports of inappropriate comments and texts along with unwanted kissing and groping.

"Many of the allegations could not be corroborated. In some cases, no conclusion could be reached because the individuals either declined to be interviewed or provided insufficient information to the investigators," Tuesday's filing said. "In other cases, the investigation found that credible accounts were given by both sides."

Four brothers, including original designer George Marciano, in 1981 founded the brand whose denim became a phenomenon in the 1980s and 1990s.

Paul Marciano handled the company's advertising, best known for its black-and-white photos of models including Anna Nicole Smith.

Resignations like his in the fashion industry have been far rarer than in movies and other media in the wave of sexual misconduct revelations spurred by stories on Harvey Weinstein in October.

The company also said it has settled lawsuits with five of Paul Marciano's accusers for a total of $500,000.

Attorney Lisa Bloom, who represents four of those women, said in a statement that they are pleased with his stepping down as board chair but disappointed he'll stay on in other capacities.

"We do not believe a man with so many credible accusations of sexual assault is fit to lead any company," Bloom said, "much less one that sells primarily to women."

  • Tuesday, Jun. 12, 2018
ILM's Rob Bredow to keynote SIGGRAPH 2018
Rob Bredow

Rob Bredow, senior VP, executive creative director, and head of Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), will deliver the keynote address during the SIGGRAPH 2018 conference. In its 45th year, SIGGRAPH 2018 will take place August 12–16 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. 

ILM, a Lucasfilm company based in San Francisco, recently announced the promotion of industry veteran and longtime SIGGRAPH conference contributor Bredow to SVP, ECD, and head of ILM, after serving as CTO of Lucasfilm since 2016. Bredow joined ILM as a visual effects supervisor in 2014, and soon afterward was named VP of new media and head of Lucasfilm’s Advanced Development Group. During his time with Lucasfilm and ILM, Bredow also helped launch its ILMxLAB division in 2015. ILMxLAB combines the talent of Lucasfilm, ILM, and Skywalker Sound to create next-generation immersive entertainment experiences.

“I have been attending SIGGRAPH since before dinosaurs were a commonplace occurrence,” noted Bredow. “The chance to see the latest innovations and meet up with colleagues is an opportunity I look forward to each year. I’ve been personally so inspired by so many of the keynote addresses at SIGGRAPH--it’s an honor to be asked to give the keynote for this year’s theme, ‘Generations.’ I hope to do my part to inspire the next generation of artists, researchers, engineers, educators, and storytellers to take innovative leaps on this creative journey we are on together.”

He added, “In some ways, I can trace the start of my job here at ILM back to a meeting I had with John Knoll in 2006 while organizing the SIGGRAPH panel, ‘Great Failed Idea’s in Production,’ in which he graciously shared the challenges he faced on ‘Pirates of the Caribbean.’ The spirit of learning from our successes and failures while openly contributing to the advancement of the industry is one of the tenets of SIGGRAPH that means the most to me.”

SIGGRAPH 2018 Conference chair Roy C. Anthony said, “Rob is all about innovation--pushing through scary new directions while maintaining the leadership of artists and technologists, together stretching the boundaries of the practitioner’s space. His proven expertise and brilliance led him to his new role as head of ILM, so, obviously, he’s got some serious chops.”  

“Rob is the ultimate modern-day practitioner, a digital VFX supervisor who has been disrupting ‘the way it’s always been done’ to move to new ways,” added Anthony. “He truly reflects the spirit of ILM, which was founded in 1975 and is just one year younger than SIGGRAPH. His story is a great example of how SIGGRAPH, since 1974, has always stood at the ‘bleeding edge’ in its desire to pursue excellence and integrate new experiences, technologies, and artistic expression.”

Bredow is a strategic and visionary leader with a unique understanding of how media and innovation can join forces to tell great stories and create groundbreaking experiences. In his new role, Bredow is responsible for ILM’s creative direction, strategic initiatives, and global operations. Most recently, Bredow was the visual effects supervisor and co-producer on “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” and served as a creative partner to the filmmakers throughout production--from early story meetings to the final frames of visual effects. He leveraged his background in innovative technology to help tell the story of the film, creating grounded images with a unique shooting style.

Bredow’s other credits include VR experiment “Trials on Tatooine” and films such as “Independence Day,” “Godzilla,” “Stuart Little,” “Cast Away,” “Surf’s Up,” “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs,” and others. Bredow is a member of the VFX branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) and the AMPAS Scientific and Technical Council.

  • Tuesday, Jun. 12, 2018
"Avengers: Infinity War" crosses $2 billion in box office
This image released by Marvel Studios shows, from left, Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo and Benedict Wong in a scene from "Avengers: Infinity War." The supersized superhero hit has crossed $2 billion in worldwide ticket sales, becoming only the fourth film to reach that rarified box-office milestone. (Marvel Studios via AP)

The supersized superhero hit "Avengers: Infinity War" has crossed $2 billion in worldwide ticket sales, becoming only the fourth film to reach that rarified box-office milestone.

The Walt Disney Co. announced Tuesday that "Infinity War" reached the mark Monday, about seven weeks after opening. The only other movies in the $2 billion club are "Avatar," ''Titanic" and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

"Infinity War" currently ranks as the fifth highest-grossing film in the U.S. and Canada with $656.1 million thus far. Its $257.7 million domestic opening weekend set a new record. The Marvel release has done just as well overseas. In China, the film's $369.7 million gross to date ranks third all-time.

An "Avengers" sequel to "Infinity War" is scheduled to be released in May of next year.

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