Not squashed yet. Though two TV projects about Hillary Clinton -- a miniseries from NBC and a documentary from CNN -- were scrapped this week, a movie about the former first lady's early days as a lawyer and her relationship with Bill Clinton is slowly moving forward. The New York Times says that although the movie still doesn't have financing or a cast, it does have James Ponsoldt, whose credits include "The Spectacular Now," on board as a director. 

Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams
Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams in "Trouble With the Curve." (Warner Bros. October 2, 2013)

Stealing signals? Ryan Brooks, a movie producer, has sued Warner Bros. and Clint Eastwood's Malpaso Productions, claiming that the actor and studio stole his idea for the 2012 father-daughter baseball movie "Trouble With the Curve." “This case is about a conspiracy to steal the body, structure, theme and soul of a unique, original, copyrighted screenplay from a production company and its owner,” Brooks' lawsuit said. More from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.


Before getting into baseball playoff mode and 



 Guess I won't launch a spinoff column called Morning Fixx. ExxonMobile is suing 21st Century Fox's new cable network FXX over the channel's logo which features interlocking Xs, reports Bloomberg. ExxonMobile is claiming copyright infringement and claims people will confuse the cable channel with the gas and oil giant. No, I'm not making this one up. Just to add fuel to the fire (zing!), next time FXX has a show that tanks in the ratings I'll make sure my headline asks if the network is "out of gas." Get it? Out of gas.





It could be the new cable...Product made direct for Netflix, Amazon and other services need not have the universally accepted target of 12 to 30 year olds, a broader appeal 18 to 40. They can be niche or target older viewers and still bring in revenue for the service for which they are produced.

Watch for the on-demand video service market for actors, product and viewership to grow as the big three become competitive and others enter the market. 



Amazon said to be developing a set-top box in time for the holidays
Amazon.com is reportedly readying a video-streaming device in time for the holidays. The set-top box would deliver content directly to the TV - and further Amazon's digital ambitions. It has secured exclusive Hollywood content, and financed original TV series including Amazon Studios' "Alpha House" with, from left, Mark Consuelos, John Goodman, Clark Johnson and Matt Malloy. (Amazon Studios)

Amazon set top box in time for Christmas.
Retail giant Amazon is said to be preparing to unveil a video-streaming device just in time for the holidays.
The new set-top box would position Amazon to compete with other Internet-connect TV devices in the market, including those sold by Roku and Apple Inc.according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news.
Such a gadget would further Amazon's growing ambitions in digital entertainment.
Amazon has been investing heavily in its Prime Instant Video subscription service, which offers unlimited online access to movies and television shows (not to mention free two-day shipping) for an annual fee of $79 as well as original content available only to its subscribers.
A set-top box would give Amazon a way to deliver its programming directly to consumers -- and position the company to compete in the living room with Apple's AppleTVand Google, whose hot-selling Chromecast streaming device delivers YouTube videos and subscription video services likeNetflix and Hulu Plus to the living room TV.
"They're doing more and more original programming," said Richard Doherty, an independent analyst with the Envisioneering Group. "This device is just an enabler."
A spokesperson for Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


The Skinny: I think 10 p.m. Wednesday is available for me if anyone has any suggestions on what to watch. I'm throwing in the towel on "Nashville." Maybe I'll finally finish "Orange is the New Black." I'm still trying to get through the second episode of NBC's "The Blacklist." I do like James Spader, but I'm not sold on the show yet. Wednesday's headlines include layoffs at Paramount Pictures and a producer's accusation that Warner Bros. and Clint Eastwood stole his movie idea. Thursday's headlines include a restructuring at Focus Features. Also, Comcast buys the Black Tower andAEG is cleared of any wrongdoing in Michael Jackson's death.



Daily Dose: It looks like the ABC drama "Lucky 7" about how winning the lottery changes the lives of seven people will have the dubious distinction of being the first show canceled this season. In its second airing on Tuesday, "Lucky 7" had less than 3 million viewers and under a 1 rating in the coveted 18-49 demographic. Those numbers don't bode well for a long life. CBS has tapped John Orlando to fill the large shoes left by Martin Franks, who had overseen the broadcasting giant's lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill. Orlando, who has been a senior vice president in the CBS D.C. office, has been bumped up to executive vice president and now reports directly to CEO Leslie Moonves.


"The Crazy Ones" looks like a hit, mostly due to Robin Williams universal appeal.

Who's up and who's down. The TV season has a long way to go but that doesn't mean the media can't start scrutinizing every rating and share. Even though more and more viewers are recording shows and watching later, or accessing shows on video-on-demand (I watched the second episode of "Mom" that way), the early Nielsen numbers still get tons of attention. Looks at Week 1 of the fall TV season from the Hollywood Reporter and USA Today


sleepy
Tom Mison as Ichabod Crane in the premiere episode of "Sleepy Hollow." (Kent Smith / Fox / April 3, 2013)

The headless horseman will be around awhile longer.
Fox has ordered a second season of "Sleepy Hollow," its hit debut fall drama.
The show, a quirky, modern take on Washington Irving's legend of Ichabod Crane, opened to an audience of more than 10 million viewers on its first night, and increased to 13.4 million over the next three days.
Counting views through Web streaming, video-on-demand and digital video recorders, more than 22 million people have watched the first episode. It was the network's most successful fall drama premiere since "24" debuted in 2001, Fox said. 

“The show has proved to be a risk well worth taking," said Kevin Reilly, Fox's chairman of entertainment. 
Typically, a broadcast TV series runs as a series of 22 episodes. Fox, however, only ordered 13 episodes for the first season and has ordered 13 episodes for Season 2. 
This is part of a larger effort to decrease the number of reruns. 





Pink slip Tuesday. Viacom's Paramount Pictures said Tuesday it was cutting 110 jobs, primarily from human resources, technology and finance. It is the second time in two years that the studio -- which has dramatically cut back on the number of movies it makes -- has trimmed staff. Details from Bloomberg and the Los Angeles Times.


Peter Schlessel
FilmDistrict founder Peter Schlessel, above, will become chief executive of Focus Features in January, Universal Pictures announced. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times / May 20, 2011)

New focus. Universal Pictures is shaking up its specialty label Focus Features. Out as CEO is James Schamus, replaced by FilmDistrict founder Peter Schlessel. The move is a sign that Universal is staying committed to Focus, which produced "Brokeback Mountain," "Moonrise Kingdom," "Atonement" and "The Kids are All Right." However, Universal also wants Focus to release movies with broader appeal. More on the makeover from the Los Angeles TimesWall Street Journal,Hollywood Reporter and Variety.


10 Universal City Plaza.
10 Universal City Plaza. (Ho / CoStar Group)

Bet on black. Comcast is buying the high-rise known as the Black Tower that houses much of NBCUniversal's West Coast offices for $420 million. The building used to be owned by the entertainment giant but it was sold off many years ago. The move also means that if NBCUniversal wants, it can also move its cable networks group from the mid-Wilshire area to Universal City Plaza. Details on the deal from the Los Angeles Times.

'Gravity'
Sandra Bullock stars in "Gravity," which will probably be the No. 1 film at the box office this weekend. (Warner Bros.)

'Gravity' to rocket to No. 1 at box office.

Alfonso Cuaron's 3-D sci-fi drama "Gravity" will probably have major pull with moviegoers at the box office this weekend. 
The film starring Sandra Bullock as an astronaut stranded in space is expected to launch with a healthy $45 million, according to those who have seen pre-release audience surveys. The only other picture hitting theaters nationwide this weekend, the Justin Timberlake-Ben Affleck thriller "Runner Runner," will probably open with a lackluster $10 million.
On Saturday, meanwhile, Sony Pictures will host advance screenings of its upcoming "Captain Phillips" in 800 locations. The studio is hoping that the previews will stoke interest in the Tom Hanks hijacking thriller, which goes wide next weekend.
Since its premiere at the Venice Film Festival in August, "Gravity" has been a critical darling. But the film has had a long and troubled road to the big screen. It was initially set up at Universal Pictures before moving to Warner Bros. Angelina Jolie and Natalie Portman were at various points set to star in the picture, which co-stars George Clooney, before Bullock signed on.
"Gravity" is so far generating the most interest among older moviegoers.
A source close to the production said the film, whose costs were shared by Warner Bros. and director Brett Ratner's RatPac-Dune Entertainment, put the budget at $110 million. The studio declined to comment.
The movie is the first studio release from director Cuaron -- who co-wrote the space epic with his son, Jonas -- in seven years. The Mexican filmmaker's last release, 2007's "Children of Men," earned three Oscar nominations but disappointed at the box office with just $35.6 million in domestic sales.
"Runner Runner," set in Costa Rica, stars Timberlake as a Princeton grad student who gets mixed up with a wealthy online gambler, played by Affleck. Financed by New Regency for $30 million, the 20th Century Fox release has earned largely negative reviews: On Thursday, it had notched only a 22% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Timberlake, whose fourth studio album was released Monday, has had mixed success as an actor. Though his supporting turn as tech billionaire Sean Parker in 2010's "The Social Network" was praised by critics, the performer has yet to prove he's a solid box office draw.
As a leading man, his biggest success to date came opposite Mila Kunis in the 2011 romantic comedy"Friends with Benefits," which grossed a decent $55.8 million in the U.S. and Canada. Later that year, his sci-fi flick "In Time" bombed with domestic audiences, collecting just $37.5 million -- though it raked in an impressive $136.4 million overseas.
Opening in limited release, Roadside Attractions will launch its Christian family drama "Grace Unplugged" in about 500 theaters. The film follows a young evangelical singer (AJ Michalka) who comes to Los Angeles in hopes of becoming a star and breaking free from her authoritarian background. To build awareness about the movie, Roadside has held more than 100 word-of-mouth screenings with church leaders and pastors. 

Michael Jackson
AEG was found not liable in the death of Michael Jackson. (Assoicated Press/Joel Ryan)
Cleared. Entertainment giant AEG was cleared by a jury of having any role in the death of Michael Jackson. The pop singer's mother Katherine Jackson and his children had sued AEG claiming its hiring of Dr. Conrad Murray made it culpable in the star's 2009 death. While AEG signed off on Conrad, who is now in jail for his role in Jackson's drug-related death, the jury didn't find that the doctor was unfit to care for the singer. Coverage from the Los Angeles Times and New York Times.




Tom Clancy, Best-Selling Master of Military Thrillers, Dies at 66.

Tom Clancy, whose complex, adrenaline-fueled military novels spawned a new genre of thrillers and made him one of the world’s best-known and best-selling authors, died on Tuesday in Baltimore. He was 66. (below is from the New York Times)
Mr. Clancy, who grew up in Baltimore, died at Johns Hopkins Hospital after a brief illness, his lawyer, J. W. Thompson Webb, said on Wednesday. Neither Mr. Webb nor Mr. Clancy’s longtime publisher, Ivan Held, president of G. P. Putnam’s Sons, said he knew the precise cause of death.
Mr. Clancy’s debut book, “The Hunt for Red October,” was frequently cited as one of the greatest genre novels ever written. With the book’s publication in 1984, Mr. Clancy introduced a new kind of potboiler: an espionage thriller dense with technical details about weaponry, submarines and intelligence agencies.
It found an eager readership. More than 100 million copies of his novels are in print, and a remarkable 17 have reached No. 1 on the New York Times’s best-seller list, including “Threat Vector,” released last December. Prolific until his death, Mr. Clancy had been awaiting publication of his next book, “Command Authority,” set for Dec. 3.
The impact of his books has been felt far beyond the publishing world. Some were adapted by Hollywood and became blockbusters starring Harrison Ford, Alec Baldwin and Ben Affleck as Mr. Clancy’s hero protagonist, Jack Ryan. Mr. Clancy arranged for his thrillers to be turned into video games that were so realistic, the military licensed them for training. And on television, fast-paced espionage using high-tech tools in the Clancy mold found a place in popular shows like “24” and “Homeland.”
The enterprises made Mr. Clancy a millionaire many times over and a familiar figure on the pop-culture landscape, frequently seen in photographs wearing a baseball cap and aviator sunglasses and holding a cigarette. With his riches he acquired an 80-acre farm on the Chesapeake Bay. He became a part owner of the Baltimore Orioles. He even bought a tank.
It was all a far cry from his days as a Maryland insurance salesman writing on the side in pursuit of literary aspirations and submitting his manuscript for “The Hunt for Red October” to the Naval Institute Press in Annapolis, Md. An editor there, Deborah Grosvenor, became mesmerized by the book, a cold war tale set on a Soviet submarine.
But she had a hard time persuading her boss to read it; Mr. Clancy was an unknown, and the publisher had no experience with fiction. She was also concerned that the novel had too many technical descriptions, and asked Mr. Clancy to make cuts. He complied, trimming at least 100 pages while making revisions.
“I said, ‘I think we have a potential best seller here, and if we don’t grab this thing, somebody else would,’  ” Ms. Grosvenor, now a literary agent, said in an interview on Wednesday. “But he had this innate storytelling ability, and his characters had this very witty dialogue. The gift of the Irish, or whatever it was — the man could tell a story.”
The press paid $5,000 for the book, publishing it in 1984.
“The Hunt for Red October” became a runaway best seller when President Ronald Reagan, who had been handed a copy, called it “my kind of yarn” and said that he couldn’t put it down.
But its details about Soviet submarines, weaponry, satellites and fighter planes raised suspicions. Even high-ranking members of the military took notice of the book’s apparent inside knowledge. In a 1986 interview, Mr. Clancy said, “When I met Navy Secretary John Lehman last year, the first thing he asked me about the book was, ‘Who the hell cleared it?’ ”
No one did, Mr. Clancy insisted; all of his knowledge came from technical manuals, interviews with submarine experts and books on military matters, he said. While he spent time on military bases, visited the Pentagon and dined with military leaders, he said, he did not want to know any classified information.
“I hang my hat on getting as many things right as I can,” Mr. Clancy once said in an interview. “I’ve made up stuff that’s turned out to be real — that’s the spooky part.”




Once again I'm not on the list. How could we have missed being on this list? Vanity Fair has released its annual "New Establishment" list of the most powerful people in media, technology and entertainment. If you need a chuckle, want to feel envious or are in search of an excuse to yell at your publicist over your ranking, give it a look.



Actor Jeffrey Tambor
Actor Jeffrey Tambor plays the a father with a secret in the new Amazon Studios pilot "Transparent." (Amazon Studios /October 2, 2013)

Jeffrey Tambor on his role in new Amazon comedy 'Transparent.'

Jeffrey Tambor is best known for his delightfully offbeat characters, from the fawning sidekick to Garry Shandling's late-night talk show host on "The Larry Sanders Show" to the head of the dysfunctional Bluth family in the recently revived cult favorite "Arrested Development."
For his latest role, Tambor will get in touch with his feminine side.
On a recent September afternoon in the Pasadena hills, Tambor sported long, shoulder-length blonde hair, palazzo pants and chunky jewelry over a white blouse -- the wardrobe favored by his character in "Transparent," in which the paterfamilias reveals to his grown children that he is exploring a new identity as "Maura."
"Transparent" is one of three comedy pilots put into production by Amazon Studios as the retail giant deepens its investment in original content. Customers will be invited to watch and rate these shows, a process which will influence which pilots should be produced as series and made available exclusively on Amazon's Prime Instant Video and on LoveFilm in Britain.
The pilot, written by "United States of Tara" and "Six Feet Under" producer Jill Soloway, finds humor in the awkward exchanges between characters (but is not the least bit camp -- this is no cross-dressing comedy in the vein of ABC's canceled"Work It.")
Tambor sat down with the Los Angeles Times to discuss his role:
Q: How did you learn about this project?
I was coming out here [to Los Angeles] to do publicity, and they sent me the script.  I read it literally before I got to the hotel. I said, "I need to meet on this." I was so taken by it. It’s so different, so wonderful, it's unlike anything I've ever seen before. And yet it’s so human.... Everybody can relate to this. It's about families. It's about boundaries. It's about love. And it’s really funny.
Q: How did you prepare for the role?
I said to my wife, “What if I’m not pretty?” It’s such a male thing. I was so worried about that. But I love this. I'm a lot less nervous than I thought I would be. This exploration is the same exploration my character Mort is going through. That's the real saving grace, is that he’s young in the transition -- or she’s young in the transition -- and I'm young in the transition. 
I’ll tell you one thing that’s very odd. If you have long hair, you eat differently. I find myself going like this (he brushes back his curls with a sweeping gesture). It's right there. It's not even an affectation.
The only uncomfortable moment I had, was when we took her out one night, and I walked through a lobby -- a group of us went sort of on a field trip. I was nervous about going through the lobby. What was odd was, there was nothing.

Q: No reaction?
There was nothing. I thought, "Well, that's interesting, because a lot of this, then, is in your head."
All my creative life, I've tried to go to things that make me alert, things that make me stand up and pay attention -- and this is one of them. "Arrested" was one of them. "Larry Sanders."  I want to enter into this world. And I feel I'm in the same area. [Show creator Soloway] is a genius -- genius with a capital "gene."
Q: Is there anything different about this platform? Are the projects different from the ones that come through more traditonal TV outlets?
The answer to that is yes. I love this side of the fence. This side of the fence really excites me. We're sending it a different way, and there’s a different audience.... The envelope is different, and they go, "This envelope is mine. This is my generation. I understand this. Thank you for sending it this way, without a laugh track, without a commercial."
It's sort of like off-Broadway. It's a little like the tightrope, but that's why I'm in this business. Who went in to stay off the tightrope?
Q: What was it like going through the process of hair and makeup? What happened to you as watched your physical transformation?
The first day I did hair and makeup, they put the wig on me and i liked it. I liked hair. You know one of the big perks of this job is? I get to go to hair! I haven’t gone to hair in 50 years.


REBEL WILSON, KATE JENKINSON
Kimmie (Rebel Wilson), left, and Kendall (Kate Jenkinson) in "Super Fun Night." (Gilles Mingasson / ABC / August 20, 2013)

'Super Fun Night' has decent opening; 'Ironside' weak.

It looks like Rebel Wilson's night was super fun for a decent number of people. 
ABC's "Super Fun Night," a comedy about a group of sheltered women who start to try to live outside their comfort zones, opened with 8.2 million viewers and a rating of 3.2 in the key 18-49 demographic on Wednesday, according to early numbers from Nielsen. 
The premiere, in which Wilson and her cohorts ventured to a piano bar for a sing-off, was flat in the demo from last year's premiere of "The Neighbors," which debuted in the same time slot. 
In the 18-49 category, a ratings point equals about 1.3 million viewers.
The numbers for "Super Fun Night" were helped by the lead-in from the Emmy-winning comedy "Modern Family," which brought in 10.9 million viewers and a rating of 4.2. We'll have to wait and see if "Super Fun Night" is super enough to attract a big audience next week.
"Modern Family's" rating in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic held steady from last week. The new series "Back in the Game" fell 18% from last week's premiere to a 1.8, while "The Middle" dropped 12% to a 2.2. "Nashville" fell slightly to a 1.9. 
Overall, ABC tied with CBS in 18-49 with a rating of 2.5. With solid showings from "Survivor: Blood vs. Water" (up 8% from last week to a 2.6), "Criminal Minds" (down 4% to a 2.7) and "C.S.I." (up 5% to a 2.1), CBS finished with the biggest audience among the big broadcast networks with an average of 10.2 million viewers. 
"Ironside," NBC's new cop drama, didn't arrest many viewers with its premiere, which opened to about 6.8 million viewers and a rating of 1.4. That's a 17% drop-off in the demo from last year's opener of "Chicago Fire" in the same time slot. 
Leading in was "Law & Order: SVU," down 26% from last week's premiere to a 2.0, while "Revolution" fell 17% from its season debut to a 1.5. and 5.39 million viewers. 
Fox was all "X Factor." Simon Cowell's singing contest drew an average of 7.76 million viewers and a demo rating of 2.4. Its 18-49 rating was down slightly from last Wednesday, while its viewership increased 1%. 

Roman Coppola
Oscar-nominated writer Roman Coppola is among those signing on with Amazon. (Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times)

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Amazon has ordered three more pilots for its Prime Instant service. Well-regarded Universal Pictures executive Rick Finkelstein has died after a battle with cancer. Robert Lloyd on NBC's remake of "Ironside." 

"Ironside"
Neil Bledsoe, left, Blair Underwood and Brian D'Arcy James star in "Ironside." (Will Hart / NBC / October 2, 2013)