After helping make “SpongeBob Squarepants,” “MTV Unplugged” and “The Daily Show” household names, MTV Networks chairman and CEO Judith Ann McGrath is stepping down.
In a statement released Thursday, Viacom announced that McGrath, who was named chairman and CEO of MTV Networks in 2004, will not be replaced, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
“Judy has long been the creative heart and inspiring soul of MTV Networks and has deservedly been associated with so much of the great entertainment, cultural relevance, social significance and business success that have defined our media networks over the years,” Viacom president and CEO Philippe Dauman said. “Her positive and passionate spirit has helped create an organization that is recognized for truly listening to its audiences, not only about their entertainment choices, but also about the social issues and the causes that matter to them most.”
Executives at the company will be reporting to Dauman.
“The people of MTV Networks have always been singularly important to me. Together we have built world-class brands that connect with fans from kid to adulthood, from SpongeBob to Hot In Cleveland, from Unplugged to The Daily Show. We have attracted and nurtured the best talent in the world, and I know that will always be a hallmark of the company,” McGrath said in a statement. “Creatively, financially, all the brands and businesses are in wonderful shape today. I leave with pride, joy and gratitude for the ride of a lifetime. I especially thank my friends and colleagues on the senior team, who will continue to lead a kick-ass organization. They have my respect and affection, always.”
McGrath has been with the company since 1981, when she started as a copy writer.
McGrath was named by Fast Company as one of the top 100 creative people when she helped actor George Clooney lock commitments from ABC, CBS, NBC and more than 20 other networks to broadcast the “Hope For Haiti” telethon. The commercial-free fundraiser collected more than $60 million for victims of the earthquake-ravaged country.
While Dauman said he understands McGrath’s decision to leave, he insisted that the networks are “reaching new creative and ratings milestones.”
“We will all miss Judy enormously, but we respect her decision and understand her desire to leave at the very top of the game with a legacy of success that stretches from the earliest days of cable television to current season highlights,” he said. “The networks under her direction are rapidly expanding to new platforms and reaching new creative and ratings milestones, all under the able guidance of experienced and talented management teams. With a deep executive bench and our popular and growing stable of media network brands, we are confident that Viacom won’t miss a beat and will flourish.”
Larry King thinks his CNN talk show successor Piers Morgan was “oversold” by the network. Although the legendary TV icon thinks the British former tabloid editor is a “fine broadcaster,” he feels that the network should have created such noise for his arrival. King, 77, bowed down as host of “Larry King Live” in December 2010 after 25 years. Morgan made his debut as his heir in January, and has since interviewed high-profile guests such as Oprah Winfrey, Howard Stern, and George Clooney.
The reactions to the new “Piers Morgan Live” host were mixed, and so does King’s. King admits that he wishes CNN did not created such a huge advertising campaign to publicize Morgan as the new host as reason, saying the show “might have been better off starting quietly.”
He said to BBC host Eddie Mair, “I think one of the problems they did was over sell it. He was going to be dangerous, he was going to be water cooler talk.”
“He’s good but not that dangerous. I think they might have been better off starting quietly and that’s not Pier’s fault, or maybe it is, I’m not inside anymore.”
As if trying to soften his criticism, the mellow-talking, suspender-wearing icon added, “He’s certainly not bad. He’s certainly an acceptable host. He asks good questions, maybe he interrupts a little too much at times. I think he may have been oversold.”
George Clooney’s current squeeze should have known that a confirmed bachelor like him will never walk down the aisle again. Elisabetta Canalis has apparently just learned that she will never be Mrs. Clooney while watching George’s interview with Piers Morgan on CNN. Somehow, the news still surprised the Italian actress even though a lot of people already know that George will forever be a bachelor. According to Popeater, when “The American” star told Piers Morgan on Friday that after being married once, he will never do it again, Elisabetta was crushed. A source told, “Elisabetta had no idea he was going to say that. She thought she was going to be the girl who would finally get George to settle down and put a ring on it. She was totally surprised.” Still, George’s current ladylove is determined. The insider added, “If he doesn’t ask her to marry him soon she will ask him. And if he says no, well there are plenty more fish in the ocean.” George was married to actress Talia Balsam from 1989 to 1993.
Johnny Depp Voted The #1 Money-Making Star Of 2010. After starring in one of the biggest box-office hits of the year, Johnny Depp was voted the #1 Money-Making Star of 2010. Voted on by motion picture exhibitors, this was the third year Depp was considered the star responsible for bring the most people into theaters. Depp starred in this year’s “Alice in Wonderland,” which earned over $1 billion at the global box office, while “The Tourist” with Angelina Jolie has pulled in about $77 million at the box-office world-wide. It’s the third year Depp has come in at #1 on the poll, which has been conducted each year since 1932. Depp also topped the list in 2006 and 2007, when “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” were among the biggest box-office hits of the year. Next year, he’ll voice the animated comedy “Rango” and star in the fourth installment in the “Pirates” series, “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” affording him the chance to come in at #1 yet again. His “Tourist” co-star Angelina Jolie comes in at #2 on the list. Along with “The Tourist,” she also led “Salt” to a gross of $293 million worldwide. Robert Downey, Jr. is at #3, thanks to his work in “Iron Man 2” and “Due Date,” while Matt Damon scores the #4 spot for “Green Zone,” “Hereafter,” and “True Grit.” At #5 on the list is Steve Carell, who starred in “Date Night,” “Dinner for Schmucks,” and voice Gru in the Universal hit “Despicable Me,” while Tom Hanks scored #6 for his voice work in “Toy Story 3” alone.
Top Ten Money-Making Stars of 2010:
1. Johnny Depp
2. Angelina Jolie
3. Robert Downey, Jr.
4. Matt Damon
5. Steve Carell
6. Tom Hanks
7. Denzel Washington
8. Leonardo DiCaprio
9. George Clooney
10. Anne Hathaway
Ryan Reynolds Named People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive”. Ryan Reynolds joins the ranks of Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Johnny Depp as he’s named this year’s Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine. The 34-year-old actor had been previously honored by the magazine in 2009 and 2008, but this year is the first time the star, who suits up for “The Green Lantern” next year, has taken the title and the cover. “The most difficult part is going to be organically working this title into a conversation with random strangers,” Reynolds joked to People magazine. It also didn’t hurt that Reynolds has been showing off his abs for years in films like “The Proposal,” “The Amityville Horror,” and “Blade: Trinity.” If that’s not enough, he’s also covered many a Men’s Health magazine. “My body naturally wants to look like Dick Van Dyke,” he jokes. “When I stop training, I turn into a skin-colored whisper.” He also expects home life with his wife of two years, actress Scarlett Johansson, to change. “Now it’s going to be, ‘Sexiest man, take out the garbage.’ That does sound better,” he said. Also scoring Sexiest Man honors this year are Jon Hamm, Jon Bon Jovi, Joe Manganiello of “True Blood,” and “Twilight” star Kellan Lutz.
Brad Pitt And George Clooney’s Pricey Prank Wars. Brad Pitt and George Clooney have been playing some pretty pricey pranks on one another. Our source told us that the pranks between the two A-list actors have been escalating, with the pranks now costing the duo in the thousands just to get one up on the other. “Brad and George are sending each other an endless stream of male escorts while each is on set,” an insider tells our source. “They will pay them in advance on a credit card to make sure the escort shows up.” It doesn’t look like the pranks will end anytime soon, as the two have been going at their jokes for years. “A few years ago Brad offered a $1,000 to people to get them to pee in the vents George Clooney’s car,” an insider tells our source. “George came right back and offered $5,000 to pepper spray Brad’s car and paint it Orange.”
“Resident Evil: Afterlife” Finishes First At Weekend Box Office. There wasn’t any real competition at all for Milla Jovovich at the weekend box office. Her “Resident Evil: Afterlife” finished at the top with $27.7 million at the U.S. alone. The fourth installment of the videogame-based franchise even grossed bigger internationally. It hauled another $45.5 million, which means it has surpassed its $60 million budget in just 72 hours, according to our source. George Clooney’s “The American” fell from the top with $5.9 million at third place. “Takers,” meanwhile, rose from third to second with $6.1 million. “Inception” held onto ninth place with another $3 million, while “Eat Pray Love” hangs onto tenth with $2.9 million. The weekend box office top ten:
1. “Resident Evil: Afterlife” – $27.7 million
2. “Takers” – $6.1 million
3. “The American” – $5.9 million
4. “Machete” – $4.2 million
5. “Going the Distance” – $3.8 million
6. “The Other Guys” – $3.6 million
7. “The Last Exorcism” – $3.5 million
8. “The Expendables” – $3.3 million
9. “Inception” – $3 million
10. “Eat Pray Love” – $2.9 million
“The Peacemaker,” “American Beauty” Coming Out In DVD. Paramount Home Entertainment presents two of its blockbuster hits in the ’90s, “American Beauty” and “The Peacemaker,” in DVD this month. The 1999 drama and the 1997 action thriller both boast an impressive cast line-up. In “American Beauty,” acclaimed director Sam Mendes made his motion picture debut with this Academy Award-winning film about a man (Kevin Spacey) who undergoes an intense midlife crisis. Lester Burnham is in his mid-40s who has a materialistic wife (Annette Bening) and an insecure teenage daughter (Thora Birch). His problems aggravated when he falls desperately in lust over her daughter’s best friend (Mena Suvari). The film was nominated for eight Oscars, and won five, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Spacey), and Best Director. George Clooney and Nicole Kidman teamed up for the action/thriller “The Peacemaker” in 1997. In this Mimi Leder-directed feature, a U.S. nuclear specialist (Kidman) and a Special Forces colonel (Clooney) track down stolen weapons and follow a deadly trail of espionage and intrigue to uncover a terrorist plot. “American Beauty” and “The Peacemaker” will come out on September 21
George Clooney’s “The American” Tops Box Office Weekend. George Clooney’s “The American” has taken over last weekend’s box office number one “Takers.” Jennifer Aniston’s “The Switch” has been dropped from the top 10 just after 3 weekends. ”The American,” with a reported $20 million budget, opened Wednesday and has amassed $16.1 million in the U.S. alone. According to eonline.com, it is Clooney’s first number one film since 2008′s “Burn After Reading,” which was an ensemble cast. Drew Barrymore and Justin Long’s “Going the Distance” may have only grossed $6.9 million, but it did a lot better than her films last year, “Everybody’s Fine” and “Whip It.” Although “Machete” does not have Lindsay Lohan in the starring role, her presence made the Danny Trejo film debut in 3rd place with $11.3 million. Weekend Box Office Top Ten by boxofficemojo.com:
1. “The American” – $13 million
2. “Takers” – $11.5 million
3. “Machete” – $11.3 million
4. “The Last Exorcism” – $7.6 million
5. “Going the Distance” – $6.9 million
6. “The Expendables” – $6.6 million
7. “The Other Guys” – $5.4 million
8. “Eat Pray Love” – $4.9 million
9. “Inception” – $4.5 million
10. “Nanny McPhee Returns” – $3.6 million
The American Release Date: September 1, 2010. Academy Award winner George Clooney stars in the title role of this suspense thriller. As an assassin, Jack (Clooney) is constantly on the move and always alone. After a job in Sweden ends more harshly than expected for this American abroad, Jack retreats to the Italian countryside. He relishes being away from death for a spell as he holes up in a small medieval town. While there, Jack takes an assignment to construct a weapon for a mysterious contact, Mathilde (Reuten). Savoring the peaceful quietude he finds in the mountains of Abruzzo, Jack accepts the friendship of local priest Father Benedetto (Bonacelli) and pursues a torrid liaison with a beautiful woman, Clara (Placido). Jack and Clara’s time together evolves into a romance, one seemingly free of danger. But by stepping out of the shadows, Jack may be tempting fate.