The studio international networks division, led by CEO David Lynn, nabbed the majority stake in the Israeli media player it didn't already own.
ViacomCBS Networks International, a unit of the Hollywood studio, on Monday said it has acquired 100 percent control of Ananey Communications Group, an Israeli pay TV channel provider and content producer.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but ViacomCBS acquired a controlling stake in Ananey after, in December 2017, first picking up a minority stake. Besides producing content for its own and VCNI's channels in Israel, Ananey also produces the hit teen drama Greenhouse Academy for Netflix.
Ananey has also long licensed or represented Viacom's global brands for Israel, including Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and Nick Jr., including after the merger with CBS to create ViacomCBS.
Ananey's founder and chairman Udi Miron takes on a new role as special advisor to Ananey and becomes a general partner of a newly formed venture capital fund, Gazella — New Media Experience, that he and VCNI will jointly invest in. The fund will focus its investment in Israeli media and technology businesses.
As Ananey is consolidated into VCNI, CEO Orly Atlas-Katz will report to Maria Kyriacou, president of VCNI's operations across Australia, Israel and the U.K.
"Ananey is a well-established and successful producer of local and global content and it is a strong fit with the rest of our international networks and studios business," David Lynn, president and CEO of VCNI, said in a statement on the rationale for the deal.
Lynn oversees Viacom's media networks and related businesses outside the U.S., and reports to ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish, a former CEO of VIMN.
Source: Hollywood Reporter
CBS is launching a month-long sequence of Sunday movie nights in May, featuring five contemporary classic movies to keep viewers entertained while they stay indoors. The network announced that the weekly programing event will kick off on May 3 and will feature two “Indiana Jones” films, “Forrest Gump,” the first “Mission: Impossible,” and “Titanic.” The titles all hail from Paramount Pictures' library, which is also part of the ViacomCBS family.
“It's a five-week programming event with epic films, iconic stars and brilliant stories that viewers love...and love to watch together,” Noriko Kelley, an executive vice president at CBS Entertainment, said in a statement.
As for newer projects, CBS made headlines yesterday when the company announced that it would air a special pandemic episode of “All Rise.” The Simone Missick-led legal drama's upcoming episode will be shot using various social media platforms and online technologies and the production will abide by social distancing guidelines.
ViacomCBS is one of numerous entertainment companies that have been broadly impacted by current events and are starting to experiment with different forms and schedules for their offerings. The company has halted production on shows ranging from “The Amazing Race” to “The Young and the Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful,” and other companies and studios have followed suit for their own projects. CBS' May film programming will replace the original episodes of “Love Island” that were scheduled for May 24 and May 31; the status of the reality series is up in the air to the ongoing pandemic.
CBS previously ran a “CBS Sunday Movie” franchise that ended in the 2004-2005 television season.
IndieWire is keeping track of all film and television industry-related events and projects that have been impacted by the pandemic. IndieWire is also documenting all of the positive news to come out of the outbreak and also has a list of resources available to entertainment industry workers in need of aid.
The schedule for CBS' upcoming May Sunday movie night programming is as follows:
May 3: “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark” 8-11 p.m., ET/PT
May 10: “Forrest Gump” 8-11 p.m., ET/PT
May 17: “Mission: Impossible” 8-11 p.m., ET/PT
May 24: “Titanic” 7-11 p.m., ET/PT
May 31: “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” 8-11 p.m., ET/PT
Polish composer and conductor Krzysztof Penderecki, whose often disturbing and challenging avant-garde music has turned up in films from “The Shining” to “The Exorcist” and “Children of Men,” and as recently as the TV series “Twin Peaks: The Return,” died at his home in Krakow on Sunday, March 29. He was 86 years old.
Penderecki’s greatest influence on any modern composer can perhaps be found in the work of Johnny Greenwood, the lead guitarist and keyboardist of Radiohead and musician behind the soundtracks for films including Paul Thomas Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood,” “Phantom Thread” and “The Master,” as well as Lynne Ramsay’s “We Need to Talk About Kevin” and “You Were Never Really Here.”
“What sad news to wake to. Penderecki was the greatest — a fiercely creative composer, and a gentle, warm-hearted man. My condolences to his family, and to Poland on this huge loss to the musical world,” Greenwood tweeted on Sunday morning.
Penderecki began composing in the 1960s, going on to produce eight symphonies, four operas, a requiem, and many concertos and choral works, many of which are regarded as notoriously difficult to play. His compositions were often politically motivated, including probably his most famous work, “Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima,” which appeared in the films “The People Under the Stairs” and “Children of Men.”
The chilling composition below was also used by David Lynch in the landmark Episode 8 of Showtime’s “Twin Peaks: The Return,” set against images of an atomic bomb that appears to birth evil itself into the world. In “Children of Men,” “Threnody” sets off the film’s masterful long-take sequence as Clive Owen rushes to safety through a harrowing warren of chaos. In this piece, 52 string instruments collaborate to create a nerve-shredding soundscape.
Penderecki’s work also appeared in “The Shining,” with terrifying pieces employed by director Stanley Kubrick in lieu of an original soundtrack though composer Wendy Carlos did turn in a score, it went mostly unused in favor of preexisting music. Penderecki’s works also appear in David Lynch’s “Inland Empire” and “Wild at Heart,” Martin Scorsese’s “Shutter Island,” William Friedkin’s “The Exorcist,” and Peter Weir’s “Fearless.” His work even appears in the 1996 disaster movie “Twister” and the Netflix series “Black Mirror.” He also contributed original scores to films as well, including most recently in the 2015 Polish horror film “Demon.”
Head over to The New York Times for a full obituary...
Comcast has also committed $500 million to support employees impacted by the pandemic.
NBCUniversal and other parts of the Comcast family on Wednesday internally unveiled measures to support employees and others impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Top executives, including Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts, CFO Mike Cavanagh, Comcast Cable CEO Dave Watson, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell and Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch, are donating their salaries to charities engaged in coronavirus relief until the virus crisis passes.
Roberts, in a memo obtained by THR, also said that Comcast was committing $500 million to help staff with pay and benefits if their business units have been shut down due to the pandemic.
"Across our businesses, we have committed $500 million to support our employees through continued pay and benefits where operations have been paused or impacted, and we have committed significant resources to support our customers," Roberts wrote. "Additionally, effective today, and for the duration of this situation, our senior leaders, Mike Cavanagh, Dave Watson, Jeff Shell, Jeremy Darroch and I have chosen to donate 100 percent of our salaries to charities that support COVID-19 relief efforts," Roberts wrote.
Roberts' 2018 salary came to $3.2 million, while CFO Cavanagh's salary was $1.95 million that year and then-NBCUniversal CEO Stephen Burke took home a salary of $2.96 million in 2018. Comcast has yet to announce its executive compensation for 2019.
Roberts, his wife Aileen and their family previously said they were donating $5 million for the Philadelphia public school system to buy laptops for students doing online learning as local schools closed down during the coronavirus crisis.
Comcast is the latest media and entertainment company to unveil that top executives were forging their salaries amid the virus crisis, following the likes of the Walt Disney Co.
Read Comcast chairman and CEO Roberts' full memo to Comcast staff below:
As our world changes by the minute with the new reality that COVID-19 brings, I continue to be amazed and inspired by our people and the human spirit at Comcast, NBCUniversal and Sky. This is obviously an incredibly difficult time for our society. None of us has ever experienced anything like this before, and while it is easy to get mired in the many challenges we are all facing, I think that in uncertain times like these it is incumbent upon us to remain optimistic and look for the good, even if it can be elusive.
One of the bright spots for me has been watching our employees on the frontlines go above and beyond. Our Comcast and Sky engineers, technicians and call center representatives are working around the clock to keep our network running and make sure our customers maintain their vital internet connectivity. Our NBC and Sky news organizations are keeping our world informed — setting up remote...