In: Sue Naegle. Sex sells, and so do vampires -- at least in recessionary times (zombies do good too). HBO's Sue Neagle, formerly co-head of of the television department at United Talent Agency and present president of HBO Entertainment, which oversees all series has a genuine hit in "True Blood." Tasked with bringing the network back from the slump after the Sopranos reached its endpoint, she seems to have captured the lightening. From TVByTheNumbers:
"When Sue Naegle first took over the helm at HBO I wrote some post about her already being on shaky ground. Mostly what got me there was reading about True Blood. It was at a time CBS’ Moonlight was on the bubble (indeed, a few weeks later the bubble would burst for the CBS show). I didn’t view vampires as a ratings winner and thought it was pretty silly. But not being in the proximity of any teenage girls, I was unaware of the phenomenon that was Twilight and how all of that would play out.
"Months later when I wrote HBO: True Bloody Mess before season one of True Blood kicked off, I still don’t think I’d ever heard of Twilight!
It turns out I was hugely wrong. The strategy around True Blood was well-crafted and definitely paying off big for HBO which coupled an extremely successful DVD launch (over 850K units and $30 million in revenue in its first three weeks of release) with the on-air launch of season two of True Blood that had viewing increases of 157% over season one. We’re results oriented, and those are great results.
"My hat is off to Sue Naegle."
Neagle also shepherded the critically acclaimed In Treatment (Emmy bait, to be sure). Next up: "Hung," about a reluctant suburban gigolo. So there.
Out: Sean Penn. Talented but volatile Sean Penn, if you haven't already heard, is hitting pause on his career. The reasons are nebulous. He may be working on his marriage; it may be because of rehab. From DeadlineHollywoodDaily:
"I'm told the Best Actor Oscar-winner has pledged in private conversations with Hollywood in recent days that he doesn't want to go to work 'right away' and wants to 'regroup' and 'just needs personal time'. So now he's pushing off some movies he was planning to do. These include MGM's The Three Stooges and Imagine/Universal's Cartel. So what's the fallout? Well, Fox was thinking of partnering with MGM on the comedy but it doesn't look like 20th is involved right now, according to my latest info. And, regarding Cartel, an insider informs me, 'CAA told us Sean is taking a year off to work on his marriage. We heard this two weeks ago.' Now both those pics' filmmakers have to decide whether to wait for Sean or just recast."
Penn is also known for having a eye that wanders far and wide.