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Authors’ Protest of Amazon Shows That Bigger Isn’t Always Better in Business

Originally posted on Variety:

When some 900 authors last week delivered a call to arms against Internet giant Amazon, the subtext of their message went beyond a dispute about rights and numbers. It also signaled a growing discomfort over control of intellectual property in the hands of fewer and fewer people.

I am old enough to remember a time when books were published by publishers and movies were made by studios (that’s all they did) and here’s the dirty little secret: The product was better, and so were the margins.

Today, the corporate giants that own these industries complain that the movie business is too volatile, books and magazines too cyclical, TV series too risky and newspapers too depressed — indeed the whole damn creative community is too demanding and difficult to deal with.

All of which raises this question: What are these multinationals doing in these businesses to begin with? Why should the…

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Telluride vs. Toronto: The Battle for Oscar Supremacy

Originally posted on Variety:

Healthy, even heated competition between film festivals is nothing new. Cannes was founded in the late ’30s as the French response to Venice. In recent years, Shanghai has felt the heat from the government-backed Beijing, while both SXSW and Tribeca have sought to position themselves as viable alternatives to Sundance.

Rarely, however, have such tensions spiked quite so visibly, or with such high stakes involved, as in the case of Telluride and Toronto.

Nestled deep in the Rocky Mountains, the 41-year-old Telluride Film Festival is an intimate four-day affair that screens a highly selective program for Hollywood elites and deep-pocketed movie buffs. The 39-year-old Toronto Film Festival is an 11-day press and industry behemoth, Byzantine in its complexity and Canadian in its efficiency, which unspools about 300 features and attracts journalists, publicists, filmmakers and dealmakers from all over the world. Two very different events, forced by the vagaries of art…

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Robin Williams: Should Hollywood Do More to Help Stars in Dark Places?

Originally posted on Variety:

Robin Williams battled drugs and depression for almost as long as he was famous. Although he maintained his sobriety for nearly 20 years, friends say he slipped into a dark place over the summer, following the cancellation of his CBS series “The Crazy Ones.” He checked into rehab in June, and on Aug. 11, at the age of 63, he hanged himself in his home in Tiburon, Calif. His wife, Susan Schneider, said that while Williams had stopped using drugs, he had been struggling with depression, and was suffering from the early stages of Parkinson’s disease.

Although those who worked with the actor found him upbeat and cheerful, his pal, author Harlan Ellison, said he had noticed a change: “The last few years have been gray and oppressive in many ways for him,” the writer noted. “I think Robin wanted out for some time.”

In the days following Williams’ death…

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Originally posted on NBC Sports Pressbox:

NBC’s Sunday Night Football Broadcast Team of Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya Call Game from Glendale, Ariz.

STAMFORD, Conn. – August 20, 2014 – Larry Fitzgerald and the Arizona Cardinals host Andy Dalton and the AFC North champion Cincinnati Bengals for an NFL preseason game Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, television’s No. 1 primetime program. The game will take place at University of Phoenix Stadium, the site of Super Bowl XLIX, which will be broadcast on NBC on Sunday, Feb. 1.

Calling Bengals-Cardinals is seven-time Emmy Award-winner Al Michaels (play-by-play), in his 29th season as the voice of the NFL’s premier primetime package; 15-time Emmy Award-winner Cris Collinsworth, who has won the Emmy for Outstanding Event Analyst in each of his five seasons in the Sunday Night Football booth; and sideline reporter Michele Tafoya, who won her second Emmy…

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Originally posted on NBC Sports Pressbox:

STAMFORD, Conn. – August 20, 2014 – NBCSN’s coverage of Major League Soccer continues Friday, August 22 at 9 p.m. ET when FC Dallas host Real Salt Lake at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.

Western Conference powerhouse Real Salt Lake, unbeaten in their last six games, are led by U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Kyle Beckerman. FC Dallas, third in the Western Conference, come into the contest off of a 5-0 away win against the San Jose Earthquakes this past Saturday, and feature a rising star in rookie Tesho Akindele.

COMMENTATORS: NBC Sports Group’s lead play-by-play announcer John Strong calls FC Dallas vs Real Salt Lake and will be joined by joined by Bolton Wanderers (U.K.’s Football League Championship) midfielder Stuart Holden and host Russ Thaler.

Strong on FC Dallas vs Real Salt Lake: “This is a fun-looking clash at the top of the Western…

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Inside NT: Panini America Opens Two Boxes of 2013-14 National Treasures Basketball

Originally posted on The Official Panini America Blog:

Panini America 2013-14 National Treasures Basketball Teaser (39)National Treasures release day, in any sport, has become something of a national hobby holiday in recent years as the entire collecting community it seems fixes its gaze on the many breaks offered by one of the industry’s favorite high-end brands. Today, that is a decided hoops holiday as hobby shop owners, collectors and breakers across the globe have welcomed 2013-14 National Treasures Basketball to the marketplace with open arms.

We’re certainly not immune to that unrivaled excitement inside Panini America HQ. We’re just as giddy and filled with anticipation as everyone else. We can’t wait to see what everyone’s pulling. This morning, we got the opportunity to pull a few beautiesrip two early boxes of 2013-14 National Treasures Basketball for the purposes of this Teaser Gallery, which takes you card by card through the experience.

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Originally posted on NBC Sports Pressbox:

Everton v. Arsenal Saturday, Aug. 23 at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC

Tim Howard Makes ’14-15 Broadcast Debut on Monday With Lee Dixon & Matt Smith in On-Site Studio at Manchester City-Liverpool

Crystal Palace v. West Ham United Live in Theaters Saturday at 10 a.m. ET

All Matches Available on NBC Sports Live Extra

STAMFORD, Conn. – August 20, 2014 – A matchup of last season’s champions Manchester City and runners-up Liverpool on Monday at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and mun2 highlights NBC Sports Group’s Premier League coverage this weekend.

On Saturday, fifth-place finishers Everton and U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper Tim Howard host last season’s fourth-place finishers Arsenal at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and mun2.

Two days after playing against Arsenal, Howard makes his season broadcast debut with NBC Sports Group joining Lee Dixon and ITV Sport’s Matt Smith at the Manchester City-Liverpool match for a live…

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