Morning Consult Entertainment: CAA-ICM Merger Delayed Due to DOJ Scrutiny


Essential entertainment industry news & intel to start your day.
January 14, 2022
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Morning Consult Entertainment will be off Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The weekday newsletter will resume Tuesday.


Top Stories

  • Creative Artists Agency LLC’s merger with ICM Partners, which initially planned to close by the end of last year, is now delayed due to scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Justice, according to sources. One source said that the review of the deal, which would combine two large talent agencies and result in only three major agencies in Hollywood, was triggered after industry unions voiced concerns. (The Hollywood Reporter
  • Cineworld Group PLC, parent company of Regal Cinemas, said revenues in the last half of 2021 increased as a result of Marvel blockbusters such as “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” The company said the rate of growth was strongest in the U.S. region, as revenue climbed to 91 percent of 2019 levels in December. (Variety
  • Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.’s sports unit acquired $600 million in debt financing and renewed its deal with the NBA to stream live games ahead of the third-quarter launch of the company’s streaming service. Sinclair Chief Executive Chris Ripley said that in addition to NBA and NHL games, the company also has digital-rights deals to some MLB markets. (The Wall Street Journal
  • The Producers Guild of America delayed its annual awards ceremony from Feb. 26 to March 19 due to the surge in omicron cases. The new date is the same weekend as the Writers Guild Awards, and roughly one week before the Oscars, which are currently scheduled for March 27. (Deadline)

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What Else You Need to Know


Alec Baldwin Will Turn in Phone to Investigators This Week, Lawyer Says

Julia Jacobs, The New York Times

A lawyer for Alec Baldwin said on Thursday that the actor would turn over his cellphone “this week” to authorities investigating his fatal shooting of a cinematographer on the set for the film “Rust,” nearly a month after detectives secured a search warrant for the device.


New Jersey Vastly Expands Tax Credits for Film/TV Productions

Jeremy Fuster, The Wrap 

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law Thursday a significant expansion of the state’s tax credits for film and TV productions, hoping to pull more major entertainment projects from hubs like California, Georgia and New York.


Georgia Film and TV Tax Credit Jumps to a Record $1.2 Billion

Gene Maddaus, Variety 

Georgia doled out a record $1.2 billion in film and TV tax credits last year, far surpassing the incentives offered by any other state. The figure is 40% higher than the state’s previous record, $860 million, which was set in 2019, as the generous credit continues to fuel exponential growth of the industry.


Critics Choice Live Telecast Rescheduled For March 13, Same Date As BAFTA Film Awards; Might Be Major Conflict For Some Nominees

Pete Hammond, Deadline

After being felled by the still-raging Omicron variant, the Critics Choice Awards have announced its new date, Sunday March 13 — which also happens to be the same date as the BAFTA Film Awards in London.


TPG, Parent Company of CAA and DirecTV, Sets IPO Share Price

Jennifer Maas, Variety 

TPG, the massive private-equity firm whose holdings include CAA and DirecTV, has set the price of its initial public offering at $29.50 per share, offering 33,900,000 shares of Class A common stock.


Omicron Surge Is Another Bummer for Awards-Season Box Office

Pamela McClintock, The Hollywood Reporter 

Before the pandemic, theatrical distributors of all sizes could count on a huge bump between the Oscar noms and the Academy Awards telecast — but not this year.


Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Pulp Fiction’ NFT Battle With Miramax Heats Up

Joe Flint, The Wall Street Journal

A dispute between Quentin Tarantino and Miramax over the writer-director’s efforts to auction off script pages and other artifacts from the hit movie “Pulp Fiction” as nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, has gone from legal squabble to public brawl.


Animation That’s More Than Kids’ Stuff

Carlos Aguilar, The New York Times

Since the inception of the best animated feature Oscar category in 2001, the Academy has sporadically celebrated thematically mature works alongside box-office powerhouses aimed at audiences of all ages. These more adult-oriented titles are often hand drawn productions conceived abroad in languages other than English and without the involvement of large corporations.


Why Are the Oscars So Bad at Nominating Gay Actors?

David Canfield, Vanity Fair 

Ian McKellen was the first openly gay actor nominated for an Academy Award—and 20 years after his “Lord of the Rings” nomination, he remains the last.


‘Home Work’ to Return to Magnolia Network After Probe of Renovation Complaints

Jennifer Maas, Variety 

Magnolia Network has decided to return “Home Work” to its lineup after initially pulling the show due to complaints made by homeowners about the quality of work done by the contractors who host the unscripted series.


WGA TV Awards Nominees: ‘Ted Lasso,’ ‘Succession,’ ‘Only Murders,’ ‘Yellowjackets’

Christian Blauvelt, IndieWire 

Hollywood’s writers nominate a new crop for the 2022 Writers Guild Awards. “Squid Game” is notably absent due to ineligibility.

Technology and New Media

TV Ratings: Netflix’s ‘The Witcher’ Drew 2.2 Billion Viewing Minutes During Season 2’s Debut Week

Mónica Marie Zorrilla, Variety 

Starving for “Witcher” content after nearly two years of pent-up anticipation, audiences went hard for the Henry Cavill-fronted adult fantasy drama series during Season 2’s opening weekend on Netflix. The title soared up Nielsen’s Top 10 SVOD ratings charts from Dec. 13-19, hitting 2.2 billion viewing minutes in its first week on the streamer.


Netflix Needs New Subscribers. Its Korean Playbook Is Its Secret Weapon.

Shirley Zhao and Lucas Shaw, Bloomberg

In the race to global streaming domination, Netflix’s success with ‘Squid Game’ and ‘Kingdom’ gives it a map to winning over the rest of Asia. 


ViacomCBS And Comcast Renew And Expand Carriage Deal, Adding BET+ To Streaming Roster On Xfinity

Dade Hayes, Deadline 

ViacomCBS and Comcast have reached a distribution renewal that continues carriage of CBS and a roster of cable networks on the No. 1 cable system in the U.S. while also deepening the companies’ streaming ties.


‘60 Minutes’ Streaming Spinoff Canceled at Paramount Plus

Brian Steinberg, Variety 

The clock has stopped ticking for “60 Minutes Plus,” the streaming spinoff of the venerable CBS News mainstay that was once envisioned as a means of introducing the next generation of viewers to the popular Sunday newsmagazine that has been broadcasting for more than half a century.


Discovery+ Strikes Library Deal With NBCUniversal, Adds Titles Including ‘The Biggest Loser’ & ‘American Ninja Warrior’

Peter White, Deadline

Discovery+ is bolstering its reality offering in the U.S. The factual giant’s streaming platform has struck a licensing deal with NBCUniversal Global Distribution that will see it add a raft of non-scripted library titles to its service.


Why Telemundo is launching a Latino-focused programming hub on Peacock

Meg James, Los Angeles Times

Seeking to broaden the appeal of its streaming service Peacock, NBCUniversal said Thursday it plans to launch a Latino-focused programming hub, Tplus, on the platform.


The Highest-Paid YouTube Stars: MrBeast, Jake Paul And Markiplier Score Massive Paydays

Abram Brown and Abigail Freeman, Forbes

MrBeast is the new No. 1 with record earnings, and Jake Paul ranks second despite past scandals. Here’s how much these celebs raked in.


FuboTV expects record quarter after doubling subscriber base in 2021

Ariel Zilber, New York Post 

FuboTV, the sports-oriented streaming service, says it expects to report record revenue and subscriber growth in the most recent quarter.


A new Degrassi show is coming to HBO Max

Charles Pulliam-Moore, The Verge

Hot on the heels of “Euphoria’s” season 2 premiere, HBO and partner WildBrain have just greenlit a new “Degrassi” series from co-showrunners Lara Azzopardi (“The Bold Type”) and Julia Cohen (“Riverdale”) that the network is billing as “a reprise of the original teen drama.”


Premier League Soccer Finds Central American Home With Paramount Plus

Jamie Lang, Variety 

The Premier League is headed to streaming in Central America, as Paramount Plus has announced it has secured rights to the top-flight British soccer competition from the 2022-23 season through 2024-25.


‘Fortnite’ is technically back on iOS, thanks to a GeForce Now game streaming loophole

Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge 

The popular battle royale game isn’t back on the App Store (where it’s been missing since Apple pulled the app from its storefront in August 2020), but iPhone and iPad owners can now stream “Fortnite” to play on their phones and tablets through Nvidia’s GeForce Now service, which opened up a closed beta today to test the new streaming version of the game.


‘Baby Shark’ Reaches Milestone 10 Billion Views on YouTube

Anna Chan, Billboard

“Baby Shark” has taken a big bite out of the competition! The video for the infectious children’s tune from Pinkfong passed the 10 billion mark on Thursday (Jan. 13), increasing the gap between it and No. 2 video, Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” featuring Daddy Yankee.


Fox’s Paul Feig Comedy ‘Welcome to Flatch’ to Debut First Half of Season Digitally Ahead of Broadcast Premiere

Jennifer Maas, Variety 

Fox will debut the first half of Season 1 of its new Paul Feig-produced comedy series “Welcome to Flatch” on digital platforms hours ahead of the show’s linear debut on the broadcast network.


Kanye West Named as Suspect in Criminal Battery Investigation

Jem Aswad, Variety 

Kanye West has been named as a suspect in a battery report taken by the LAPD’s Newton Division early on Thursday morning, Variety has confirmed. He was not arrested; a rep for West did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


‘Nevermind’ Baby Is Still Suing Nirvana

Nancy Dillon, Rolling Stone

The man pictured as the naked baby on Nirvana’s “Nevermind” album cover has revived his “child pornography” lawsuit against the band after it was dismissed by a federal judge in California last week.


Taylor Swift Accounts for 1 of Every 50 U.S. Album Sales: How She, Drake, BTS & More Dominate Music

Dan Rys,  Billboard

Whether in physical sales, digital downloads or on-demand streams, looking at 2021 numbers, superstars dominate by huge percentages.


1 Out of Every 3 Albums Sold in the US in 2021 Were Vinyl LPs

Keith Caulfield, Billboard

Indie retailers sold almost half of all vinyl LPs, while Taylor Swift was the format’s top-selling artist — accounting for 2.6% of total sales.

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