Mike Ovitz shuttered his high-profile production company Artists Television Group after two years, a move that further threatens the former ”most powerful man in Hollywood”’s rep and coffers: He reportedly personally invested almost $90 million in ATG and sister company, Artists Management Group. Key clients (including Leo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Robin Williams) remain at AMG, but if perception of failure intensifies they could bolt, leaving Ovitz to prepare for his umpteenth comeback.
Shawn Fanning With Napster held up in courts (it recently settled a suit brought by songwriters and publishers for $26 million, and agreed to pay future royalties based on downloads) and music fans opting for less stringent sites like Aimster, the file-swapping pioneer and Metallica antagonist has become another victim of the dotcom collapse.
Antonio ”L.A.” Reid The head of Arista Records could certainly use a little TLC: Whitney Houston’s $100 million payday might go down with Virgin’s Mariah Carey deal as one of the dumbest, and pricey duds from P. Diddy and Babyface aren’t helping save face. Blu Cantrell’s sales lag behind her radio spins, so it’s largely Usher’s top 10 disc holding up the bottom line.
”Dawson’s Creek” cast It’s a bad sign when Paula Cole’s theme has more holding power than the stars’ careers. ”Dawson” devotees have had to wade through one box office blunder after another, including ”Dick,” and Katie Holmes’ ”The Gift.” Meanwhile, James Van Der Beek was entirely edited out of Todd Solondz’s upcoming ”Storytelling.”
Blurb-Meisters In the critical thrill ride of the summer, Sony acknowledged that it had created a critic (David Manning) to suck up to its own product. The confession forced studios — all of which routinely employ superlative blurbs from less-than-super critics — to reexamine the integrity of their ads.
Backstreet Boys Even before member AJ McLean checked into rehab in July, there were signs teen pop’s elder statesmen were showing their age. Record sales for last year’s ”Black & Blue,” while platinum-plus, fell far short of previous releases. The upcoming greatest-hits collection implies a last chance to cash in.