In a time of chaos, the wise mogul keeps his enemies close, and his off-their-rocker trainwreck creations closer.
• Donald Trump is now getting into bed with his worthiest apprentice/prodigal daughter Omarosa. The pair are becoming partners to produce Omarosa's Ultimate Merger a new show which will attempt to find a husband for the reality star. The show's active subtext will address the question: what is crazier, to get married on a TV show for the attention or to actually want to spend the rest of your days on Earth with Omarosa?
• What with Robert De Niro's film career looking more and more like some rickety nostalgia act, Tribeca sees no doubt safer waters on the small screen. Tribeca has just signed a two year deal with CBS television to develop new shows. [Variety]
• Someone has stolen a percent of ABC! Since the digital conversion, the network's clearance rate — the percentage of American households with access to ABC's affiliates — has mysteriously fallen one percent, and no one can figure out why. The single percentage point could be worth $15 — 20 million a year, but more importantly, the new digital statistics now put ABC below the despised Fox network in national access. [Variety]
• The network meanwhile has pulled the plug on witch-drama Eastwick while ordering more episodes of Jerry Bruckheimer's new procedural The Forgotten. [The Wrap]
• While Oscar's best picture race may be getting all the attention, the Hollywood Reporter writes that the animation category is shaping up as the hottest race on the book, with the field potentially increasing to five films instead of the past three. Pixar's Up faces a conundrum as it looks at potential nominations in both the animated and best picture categories, leading to the possibility that its supporters will be divided in which award they vote to give the film, a split vote which could lead the balloon film empty handed. The category also looks to become a referendum on the state of film technology today with its ranks including everything from motion capture (Christmas Carol) to hand drawn 2D (Ponyo) to claymation (Mary and Max). [Hollywood Reporter]
• Meanwhile in the main category, The Wrap's Steve Pond writes that despite the new ten film wide category, the best picture race appears to have already boiled down to a very stable, very small group of contenders, with the Oscar world basically having decided that the Best Picture of 2009 will be either Precious, Up in the Air or The Hurt Locker. [The Wrap]
• Recession or no, the buyers have been out at the American Film Market. Hoping to snag the next District 9, international agents have picked up the rights to new films starring Mel Gibson, Bruce Willis and Jodie Foster. [The Wrap]
• Disney wont have Mark Zoradi to kick around any more. After being passed over for the top job last month, the President of Disney pics, a 29-year veteran of the company, has announced he is stepping down. [Hollywood Reporter]