The Biz


The Biz: Was The Writers' Strike Worth It?

Writer's Guild

Watching New Girl or Homeland on your computer, mobile phone or Xbox has become so second nature to viewers, it's hard to recall that new technology once brought Hollywood to a standstill.

But how writers were paid for the digital distribution of their work was at the core of a 100-day work stoppage that put primetime TV viewers on a strict diet of reality and reruns in 2007 and early 2008. Daily Variety deputy editor Cynthia Littleton, who chronicles the battle and its lasting impact in her new book TV On Strike: Why Hollywood Went to War over the Internet (Syracuse University Press), says while many writers took a financial beating from the walkout, they had little choice but to take a hard line. The emergence of Netflix, Hulu and other services since the strike has proven online viewing is a robust business. We asked her about the strike's aftermath and what's ahead... read more

The Biz: Jon Lovett Returns To The Beltway In 1600 Penn

Jon Lovett

Just when Jon Lovett thought he was out of politics, they pulled him back in. The 30-year-old former stand-up comic toiled over speeches for President Obama for three years ­before he quit in September 2011 to pursue comedy writing in Hollywood. "The one thing I didn't want to do was a show about the White House," he says. "I was too close to it." But on January 9, Lovett... read more

The Biz: CNN's Piers Morgan Targets Guns

Piers Morgan

Every cable news anchor gets his or her share of hostile tweets. But CNN's Piers Morgan might be the first to spark a petition to the White House demanding deportation. More than 80,000 signatures have been gathered from pro-gun activists angry over the British journalist's repeated calls for an assault-weapons ban in the aftermath of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 20 children dead. They can sign all they want — but he's not backing down.

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The Biz: Coming Soon to a TV Near You

Richard Gere

This may go down as the year movie studios discovered that there's no place like home for watching some first-run films.

In Demand, a major distributor of video-on-demand services for cable systems, says 2012 saw a 21 percent increase in the number of movies it offered subscribers on the same day or before they played in theaters. Thirteen distributors now supply new films to VOD and online streaming services, more than double the number in 2010, when indie distributors like IFC and Magnolia were leading the trend. read more

The Biz: Christiane Amanpour Goes Back to the Beginning

Christiane Amanpour

The sight of Christiane Amanpour reporting from conflict zones in the Middle East is one of the most familiar images in television news. So it will be a real change of pace for viewers when she's seen as a relaxed traveler — and mother — in Back to the Beginning, a two-part special airing Dec. 21 and 28 (9/8c, ABC). Amanpour and her son Darius hit the road earlier this year to explore the ancient sites depicted in "the oldest stories ever told," as she puts it. They take an archeological tour through Turkey and the Middle East to examine the sites of biblical tales that unite rather than divide the followers of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Amanpour talked to The Biz about the special and her new boss at CNN, Jeff Zucker.

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The Biz: Why Shark Tank Is Bigger Than Ever

Shark Tank

American workers haven't had it easy these days, as they deal with high unemployment rates and home foreclosures. What better way for them to escape their economic woes than to watch a ­reality show where the stars are a bunch of one-percenters?

That's why they're tuning in to ABC's Shark Tank, which has quietly grown into a hit with close to 7 million viewers each week. The show... read more

The Biz: King David: Inside the Life of a Showbiz Giant

David Geffen

Entertainment mogul David Geffen was pleased that the prestigious PBS documentary series American Masters wanted to feature him as a subject — until executive producer Susan Lacy told him he had to be interviewed on camera. Geffen likes to talk, but apparently not... read more

The Biz: Governor Mitt Romney Reveals His Favorite TV Shows

Mitt Romney

The electorate may be deeply divided, but the two candidates running for president share common ground on their favorite TV show. Both President Barack Obama and his opponent Governor Mitt Romney told TV Guide Magazine that Modern Family is the show they most enjoy watching with their wives. President Obama told us about his TV preferences and pop culture habits... read more

The Biz: Will Michelle Obama Be the Next Oprah?

Michelle Obama

While President Obama has been locked in a tight battle for reelection, his wife's favorability ratings have soared higher than ever. America loves First Lady Michelle Obama, and when viewers see her on the talk-show circuit doing pushups with Ellen DeGeneres or reeling off a Top 10 list on Late Show With David Letterman, it's easy to understand why.

Michelle Obama has such an appealing TV presence that if she and her husband find themselves moving out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in January, she'll have the opportunity to make the transition from high-profile, engaging talk-show guest to big-name talk-show host — arguably the biggest ever in terms of recognizability.

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The Biz: Bob Schieffer Preps for Final Presidential Debate

Bob Schieffer

CBS News Washington bureau chief Bob Schieffer has worked on his network's coverage of every presidential debate since 1976. But Schieffer told TV Guide Magazine he decided to stay out of the fray this time around until he moderates the final presidential debate between President Barack Obama and his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, in Boca Raton, Fla., on Monday (9/8c). read more

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