NASCAR Entertainment pitched her to Nickelodeon as a nominee. Earlier this year NASCAR driver Joey Logano appeared on Cartoon Network ‘s Hall of Games Awards show and driver Trevor Bayne was a presenter on the Radio Disney Music Awards. At the same time, NASCAR is adapting to new ways programs are viewed on computers, smartphones and other digital devices, programs that often are shorter than the conventional one hour- or 30-minute TV shows. Case in point: “Flat Out,” a reality show that follows driver Dylan Kwasniewski, 18, who has excelled in NASCAR’s minor leagues. NASCAR teamed with Vuguru, a studio founded by former Walt Disney Co. chief Michael Eisner , to develop “Flat Out” as an online program and sold it to AOL Inc. Tentative plans call for 10 to 15 episodes of about five minutes each. “The younger audience is very used to watching short-form video whenever they want, wherever they are,” Vuguru Chief Executive Larry Tanz said. But NASCAR isn’t selling just racing with “Flat Out.” It’s mainly selling Kwasniewski’s story, which tracks how he’s handling his life and fledgling career after his father, a Las Vegas hotel executive, committed suicide in 2010. Gabriel Lewis, head of AOL Studios, said that while NASCAR “as a brand carries weight,” ultimately “Dylan’s story is really what sold us.” Stoddard said that’s often true of all of NASCAR’s pitches. “You’ve got to have great stories” to get programs made in Hollywood, he said. “It’s not enough to just show up and say, ‘We’re NASCAR, we’ve got tens of millions of fans.'” The NASCAR-themed “Arranque de Pasion” stars acclaimed Mexican actress Kate del Castillo. To help promote the show, NASCAR arranged for Del Castillo to be the honorary starter at NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana last March. Such efforts are critical to drawing more Latinos to NASCAR, said Auto Club Speedway President Gillian Zucker, who has aggressively pursued her own diversity initiatives. While Latinos make up 9% of NASCAR’s overall fan base, they’re 38% of those attending Zucker’s races.
Hollywood stars named in bitter legal battle for overseas film payments
theaters this weekend, about a young, attractive man who struggles to connect with women due to his porn addiction. When Jon falls for the beautiful Barbara, played by Scarlett Johansson, he finds his relationship expectations challenged, while Barbara has her own ideas for the kind of boyfriend Jon should be. “I wanted to play with rom-com conventions and poke fun at them a bit,” said Gordon-Levitt, who also wrote and starred in the lead role. “(Barbara) expects her relationship with Jon to be like the romantic movies that she watches, and she tries to make him into that kind of man. They’re both stuck in their expectations instead of accepting each other for who they are,” he added. “Don Jon,” rated R for its graphic sexual content and strong language, leads a wave of comedies taking the place of conventional romantic-comedies drawing audiences looking for warm feel-good films as the weather gets colder. Movies such as 2001’s “Bridget Jones’s Diary” starring Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant that made $281 million worldwide, and 2006’s “The Holiday” with Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet, which made $205 million at the global box office, demonstrated the power of romantic-comedies to bring in audiences. But in 2013, few traditional romantic comedies follow the traditional formula of boy meets girl in unlikely circumstances, falls in love and eventually lives happily ever after, a model that made films such as 1990’s “Pretty Woman” or 2001’s “The Wedding Planner” into romantic-comedy staples. “Rom-coms are not disappearing altogether, but there is a need for a novel approach … where the story-telling structure is different and doesn’t end with a woman and man just being happy,” said Lucas Shaw, film writer at TheWrap.com. COURTING MALE AUDIENCES Instead of romance, the fall season will see comedies such as “Bad Grandpa”, starring “Jackass” comedian Johnny Knoxville about an 86-year-old man traveling across America with his 8-year-old grandson, and “Last Vegas,” where four aging friends head to Sin City for a weekend of debauchery.
Hollywood dumps romantic comedies for raunchier laughs
Photograph by: TIZIANA FABI , AFP/Getty Images George Clooney and Helen Mirren are among a host of Hollywood stars named as potential witnesses in a bitter legal case in which the actorsa union is being accused of failing to properly distribute up to $130 million in payments to its members. More than two dozen people, including Julie Andrews, Colin Firth, Justin Timberlake and Natalie Portman, are included on a list of possible witnesses in the case brought against The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA.) The case is being pursued by Ed Asner, 83, a former union president in the 1980s. Asner has won more Emmys than any other male actor and became a household name in the 1970s playing Lou Grant in The Mary Tyler Moore Show. More recently, he voiced the lead character in Disneyas animated film Up. More than a dozen fellow plaintiffs, who together call themselves The United Screen Actors Committee, have joined the suit. They include Clancy Brown, who played the bullying prison guard Byron Hadley in The Shawshank Redemption, and others who have worked on TV series including The West Wing, The X-Files, Beverly Hills 90210, and Murder, She Wrote. The list of stars named as potential witnesses also includes Jamie Lee Curtis, Carol Burnett, Ozzy Osbourne and Harry Connick Jr, along with representatives of the estates of Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando and Heath Ledger. The union, which is adamant it has done nothing wrong, collects residual payments when films and television episodes starring its members are shown outside the United States. Payments are distributed on a quarterly basis to any performer who has accrued at least $10 in foreign payments. In lengthy legal submissions Asner and his fellow plaintiffs refer to an aextreme web these parties have woven to steal money that rightfully belongs to US performersa. They accuse SAG-AFTRA of asecretinga money in a trust, generating millions in interest, for more than a decade and claim that the amount has askyrocketeda to more than $130 million. The actors also say the unionas claim that it was hindered by an aantiquated computer systema were asuspect,a and that it has spent millions updating computers. Lawyers for the union say the case has ano merita and are seeking to have it dismissed at a hearing on Oct 7 in Los Angeles before Judge Manuel Real. The union says it is avery prouda of its programme to collect foreign residuals which has asingle-handedly delivered to our members more than $15 million from foreign collections that would otherwise have been lost forevera.
NASCAR’s Hollywood road map aims to boost sport’s popularity
Investigators will be looking at surveillance video from nearby businesses, hoping it leads to that driver. The incident happened near a bus stop in the 6700 block of Santa Monica Boulevard at about 3:30 a.m. The 22-year-old pedestrian died after being rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The victim has been identified as Keymontae Mckenzie, a transgender woman. A longtime friend says she went by the name Unique. “That was the first girl I met out here,” said friend Andrew Scott. “The good die young.” The suspect’s vehicle was described as a light-colored older model Ford Thunderbird. L.A. City Councilman Joe Buscaino says there’s been an alarming rash of hit-and-run crashes in the Los Angeles area. He proposes offering a standing reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of drivers who flee the scene of an accident. He believes the reward will encourage witnesses to speak up. “It’s time to send a clear signal,” Buscaino said. “If you leave the scene of an accident, you are a coward. You are a criminal, and you will be treated as such.” L.A. officials are also encouraging state lawmakers to make the penalties for hit-and-runs on par with the penalties for DUI offenses.