Morning Consult Entertainment: Bill Simmons to Lead Global Sports Content at Spotify; Max Cutler to Manage Audio Creator Content


Essential entertainment industry news & intel to start your day.
May 13, 2022
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  • Spotify Technology SA is reorganizing its internal podcast structure, promoting Bill Simmons and Max Cutler to lead new divisions focusing on global sports content and talk creator partnerships, respectively. Simmons will continue to serve as managing director of The Ringer, which Spotify acquired in 2020, while Cutler, who previously led new content initiatives, will be tasked with managing the platform’s partnerships with audio content creators such as Dax Shepard. (The Hollywood Reporter)
  • Husam Asi, a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association who was put on probation earlier this year amid sexual misconduct allegations, is suing the organization, saying that it is “weaponizing false sexual misconduct allegations” because of “his attempts to hold it accountable.” The organization’s spokesman, James Lee, reiterated the HFPA’s position that “a member has been accused by a third party of significant and serious charges” and said that the organization will wait for an external investigation to conclude before taking any action. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Endeavor Group Holdings Inc. reported a net income of $517.7 million in the first quarter, up from $2.4 million during the same time in 2021, while revenue rose 37% year over year to $1.47 billion. The company also raised its full-year revenue and profit outlook.  (The Wrap)

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What Else You Need to Know


Sony PlayStation Staff Fume Over CEO’s Abortion Comments

Jason Schreier, Bloomberg

Some staff at Sony Group Corp. are seething following an email Thursday from the head of PlayStation that urged employees to “respect differences of opinion” on abortion rights before entering into five detailed paragraphs about his two cats’ first birthday.


Covid Spike Hits Entertainment Industry Hard With Outbreaks At 4 Studios, Per L.A. County Data

Tom Tapp, Deadline

For the past few months, the entertainment industry has been one of hardest hit — if not THE hardest hit — sectors in Los Angeles, consistently logging the highest number of Covid outbreaks in the county. Now, as studios are setting return-to work-dates for employees, at least three lots are seeing sizable outbreaks, with other clusters at a studio headquarters, a TV production, a production facility and a performing arts venue.


MAC Announces ‘Stranger Things Collection’ Ahead of Show’s Season 4 Premiere

Latifah Muhammad, Billboard

MAC is teaming up with Netflix for a transformative new collection inspired by Stranger Things. Announced on Thursday (May 12), the MAC x Stranger Things Collection will take your from Hawkins High to the Upside Down.


After Attacks, Comedians Wonder: Can People Still Take a Joke?

Matt Stevens, The New York Times

It was a joke about a mother, cocaine and Walmart that set the man off.


Fred Savage doing ‘a lot of self-reflection’ after ‘Wonder Years’ firing

Sara Nathan, Page Six

Fred Savage has been “doing a lot of self-reflection” since his ABC firing last week.


‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ is the latest Marvel movie to be shut out of China. Here’s how it’s impacted the MCU at the box office.

Travis Clark, Insider

Marvel’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” debuted over the weekend to an impressive start at the box office with $450 million worldwide, $187 million of which came from the US, signaling that the theatrical industry is on the road to recovery. But that doesn’t include China, the world’s biggest theatrical market and typically a boon for Marvel Cinematic Universe films.


Movie critics gush over Tom Cruise’s return in ‘Top Gun’ sequel

Lisa Richwine, Reuters

It took Tom Cruise 36 years to head back to the danger zone, and movie critics said Thursday it was worth the wait to see “Top Gun” back on the big screen.


Framestore CEO William Sargent Stepping Down After 26 Years, Handing Reins To Mel Sullivan

Diana Lodderhose, Deadline

Framestore founding member and CEO William Sargent has stepped down after 26 years in the role at the Oscar-winning VFX studio. Mel Sullivan has been made the company’s new CEO, effective from this week.


TV Upfronts 2022—What Brands Should Expect From Ad Pitches

Catie Keck, Ad Age

TV’s annual spring ad event kicks off next week with presentations from some of the entertainment industry’s biggest players, including Disney, NBCUniversal, and the newly formed Warner Bros. Discovery, among others.


Asian Representation Is Slowly Growing in TV Shows, Nielsen Finds
Parker Herren, Ad Age

For Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Nielsen released its latest collection of insights on Asian representation in TV, advertising and gaming, as well as the viewing habits of Asian American audiences. Nielsen’s 2022 Asian Diverse Intelligence Series Insights report found growth in on-screen Asian representation and a positive lift for brands that advertise alongside inclusive programming.


Katherine Nelson Joins Disney Branded Television
Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter

Katherine Nelson is joining Disney. The highly respected exec has been named vp corporate communications for Disney Branded Television, the division focused on kids and family programming that is overseen by company veteran Ayo Davis.


Julie Plec Mourns “Red Wedding” Day Of Cancellations After ‘Legacies’, ‘Roswell, New Mexico’ & ‘The Endgame’ Axed
Peter White, Deadline

Julie Plec has probably had better days. The venerable showrunner has suffered three cancellations of shows that she exec produces: Legacies and Roswell, New Mexico on The CW and The Endgame on NBC.


‘Supernatural’ and ‘Walker’ Prequels, ‘Gotham Knights’ Land CW Series Orders

Rick Porter, The Hollywood Reporter

The CW ordered only three pilots in this development cycle — but all three of them are going to series.


‘PBS NewsHour’ Sets Succession Plan for Judy Woodruff

Brian Steinberg, Variety

“PBS NewsHour” typically dissects the news with a depth its counterparts at ABC, NBC and CBS do not. For tonight, at least, the venerable show is generating headlines of its own.


Norm Macdonald, who died last year, filmed secret comedy special that Netflix will air

Christie D’Zurilla, Los Angeles Times

Norm Macdonald, the late comic who kept his terminal illness a secret until after he died, had another secret up his sleeve: the posthumous release of a new comedy special. The former “Saturday Night Live” comic, who died in September at 61 after privately battling cancer for nine years, recorded an hour of new comedy while sitting in his living room under what were dire circumstances.

Technology and New Media

Netflix Updates Corporate Culture Memo, Adding Anti-Censorship Section and a Vow to ‘Spend Our Members’ Money Wisely’

Todd Spangler, Variety

Now Netflix is publishing an update to its corporate culture memo for the first time in nearly five years, a copy of which Variety obtained exclusively ahead of its release Thursday. 


Hulu to Stream Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits Festivals in 2022-2023

Gil Kaufman, Billboard

For the first time ever, Hulu will serve as the official streaming platform for C3 Presents’ three biggest festivals. The streamer announced the collaboration with Live Nation on Thursday (May 12), which will bring Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits Music Festival to Hulu for 2022 and 2023.


Marcien Jenckes Named To Head Charter-Comcast Streaming Venture
Jon Lafayette, Broadcasting & Cable

Charter Communications and Comcast Corp. said they named Marcien Jenckes president of their joint venture to build a new streaming platform. Jenckes, who has been president of Comcast Advertising since 2017, will focus on developing the business and monetization models for the new platform, which will be built on Comcast’s Flex and include Comcast XClass TV business and the Xumo streaming service.


Wondery, Amazon Music Unveil Upcoming Podcast Slate

Todd Spangler, Variety

Amazon Music and Wondery, the indie podcast studio Amazon snapped up last year, have assembled a diverse lineup of series in development for 2022 and beyond. “This slate provides a lot of shows that are building on our past successes and driving into new areas,” Marshall Lewy, chief content officer for Wondery and Amazon Music.


Woman Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit After Losing Pregnancy at Astroworld

Ethan Millman, Rolling Stone

A woman who lost her pregnancy after sustaining multiple injuries while attending Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival has sued Scott, promoter Live Nation and others for wrongful death, documents reviewed by Rolling Stone reveal.


Heavily Favored Sweden and Poland, and Eight More Countries, Advance to Eurovision Grand Final

Fred Bronson, Billboard

Sweden and Poland, both among the favorites to win this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, joined eight other countries advancing to the Grand Final on Saturday (May 14) in Turin, Italy.


‘You Owe Me’: Songwriter Accuses Former Publishing Exec of Leveraging His Power for Sex

Elias Leight, Billboard

In March, the songwriter Nataliya Nikitenko posted a photo of Sam Taylor, former executive vp of creative at the music publisher Kobalt, on her Instagram story along with the incendiary allegation that the executive was a “sexual predator.” That same month, she sent an email to company executives seeking to be released from her publishing administration deal, claiming that her alleged experience with Taylor left her “traumatized” and charging that the company “has barely, if ever, had my back.”


Chainsmokers to Release NFTs That Offer a Cut of Music Royalties

Hannah Miller, Bloomberg

Pop music duo the Chainsmokers plan to release nonfungible tokens that will give fans a cut of the streaming royalties from their new album, “So Far So Good.”


Well, that’s one way to deliver baby news: See Kendrick Lamar’s new album cover

Christi Carras, Los Angeles Times

Kendrick Lamar just unveiled a new album cover — and a new baby? On social media Wednesday, the rapper debuted the intimate artwork for his forthcoming album, “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.” 

Morning Consult