Former NBC Chairman Jeff Gaspin Named President of Primary Wave Entertainment

Jeff Gaspin, a former chairman of NBC Universal Television, has been appointed president of Primary Wave Entertainment after the company acquired Gaspin Media.

Gaspin will also serve as a member of the company’s management board, David Guillod and Lawrence Mestel, founders and co-CEOs of Primary Wave, announced Friday. Gaspin’s role is effective immediately and will be based out of the Los Angeles office.

Gaspin Media is a production and consulting company formed in 2012. Credits include TV series’ “To Tell the Truth” (ABC) and “First Impressions with Dana Carvey” (USA). Gaspin will continue to serve as the executive producer on those titles.

Also Read: NBC’s Jeff Gaspin Resigns, Citing Lack of Role

As president of Primary Wave, Gaspin will have input on all business operations and will lead the expansion of original content across TV and digital platforms. He will oversee CeeLo Green‘s “The Good Life” (TBS), “Being Mary Jane” (BET) starring Gabrielle Union,” and “The 100.” Gaspin will also find further distribution opportunities for content across broadcast, and mobile platforms.

“Primary Wave is a talent-centered entertainment company where actors, artists, directors, writers and creative minds can do their best work. Jeff is a skilled, innovative leader who will make a powerful impact on our business,” said Mestel and Guillod in a statement. “As we continue to build momentum across our television and digital portfolios, it has become more important than ever to establish an effective operating structure for Primary Wave. We will continue to grow our executive ranks with key new hires as we pursue an ambitious expansion of our original content slate.”

Primary Wave has produced the feature film “The Coldest City,” starring Charlize Theron, as well as “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck.”

See Video: TheGrill: Innovators Talk Opportunities, Pitfalls for Video Content in the Digital Age

During his tenure at NBC Universal Television, Gaspin was responsible for two broadcast networks — NBC Entertainment and Telemundo, as well as the group of cable networks including USA Network, SyFy, Bravo and Oxygen. His successes also include the acquisition of “The Voice” and developing “Grimm,” while leading the company’s early deals with Netflix.

As the head of alternative programming at NBC, Gaspin developed the hit shows “The Apprentice,” “The Biggest Loser” and “Deal or No Deal.” In 2014, he launched TAPP, a subscription platform where super fans could connect with their role models.

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Why David Letterman Thinks Donald Trump Is a ‘Damaged Human Being’

Although Donald Trump was a frequent guest on David Letterman‘s “The Late Show,” the now-retired entertainer does not have very nice things to say about the presidential candidate now.

In an interview with the New York Times, Letterman explained that he has known Trump for a long time, and “nobody took him seriously” and “people loved when he would come on the show.” Letterman recalled that Trump was the perfect guest while the comedian made fun of the mogul’s hair and ties.

“So now, he decides he’s running for president. And right out of the box, he goes after immigrants and how they’re drug dealers and they’re rapists,” he said. “And everybody swallows hard. And they think, oh, well, somebody will take him aside and say, ‘Don, don’t do that.’ But it didn’t happen.”

Also Read: Rosie O’Donnell Details Depression Caused by Presidential Debate Insult in Poem About Ivanka Trump

Letterman added that Trump is a “damaged human being” for the moment in the current campaign when he mocked a New York Times reporter with a congenital disorder. “If you can do that, and not apologize,” the comedian said, “you’re a person to be shunned.”

Letterman thinks that Trump will be “crushed in the general election,” citing New York Times columnist David Brooks, who said a similar thing. “I think people just were amused enough about him to keep him afloat in the polls, because nobody wanted the circus to pull up and leave town,” Letterman said.

The former “Late Show” host also asked people to stop giving Trump the attention he seeks, bringing up a recent dispute between Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the republican candidate.

Also Read: Donald Trump Makes History With Zero Major Newspaper Endorsements

“Kids, if you turn off the light, the moths will stop coming,” Letterman said.

If he were to have Trump as a guest on his show today, Letterman said he would take the opportunity to address the mogul’s behavior.

“I would have gone right after him. I would have said something like, ‘Hey, nice to see you. Now, let me ask you: What gives you the right to make fun of a human who is less fortunate, physically, than you are?’” he said. “If you see somebody who’s not behaving like any other human you’ve known, that means something. They need an appointment with a psychiatrist. They need a diagnosis and they need a prescription.”

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STX Board Member Dominic Ng Says Hollywood Should Not Fear ‘Chinese Values’

East West Bank CEO Dominic Ng has helped facilitate several co-production deals between American and Chinese studios — putting him at the center of an issue that’s recently become hot button in Hollywood.

This week, the Government Accountability Office agreed to a request from 16 legislators to review an existing committee on foreign investment, to make sure its legal powers have kept pace with the fire hose of Chinese cash flowing into Hollywood. And Thursday, Rep. John Culberson asked the Department of Justice to take a look at the dealings of China’s Dalian Wanda Group, which has snapped up entertainment companies from AMC Theaters to Legendary Entertainment — and which has close ties to the Chinese government, which censors Hollywood films that are allowed into its theaters.

Culberson raised alarm over the number of acquisitions and co-financing deals made by Chinese entertainment companies that “raises serious concerns about how this may be used for propaganda purposes.”

However, Ng told TheWrap that Americans have nothing to fear in terms of “Chinese values” making their way deeper into American multiplexes. In his view, those “values” will look a lot more like the positive and absurd comedic stylings of one of the country’s most famous and commercially successful directors, Stephen Chow, than a message from the Communist Party of China.

Also Read: Lawmaker Wants DOJ to Probe Dalian Wanda’s Hollywood Acquisitions

Chow’s most recent film, “The Mermaid,” is a surreal and deliberately goofy tale about a rich developer with plans to build an environmentally-destructive project that would ravage the local sea life, only to change his mind when he falls in love with a mermaid. And although China isn’t particularly known for eco-conscious consumers, the movie and its message were a hit, racking up more than $550 million at the Chinese box office, making it easily the country’s highest-grossing film ever.

Ng, who recently joined the board of independent distributor STX, brought up “The Mermaid” and some of Chow’s previous films — such as “Shaolin Soccer” and “Kung Fu Hustle” — as more emblematic of the type of “Chinese values” its entertainment tycoons want to bring to Hollywood than what the members of Congress seem to fear. In Chow’s films, the humble, working-class protagonists always triumph over bullying bad guys — sometimes even government officials.

“What do [Chow’s] Chinese values look like?” Ng asked. “Poor vs. rich. Good vs. bad. And the good always wins.”

Also Read: Washington Post Warns That China’s Hollywood Invasion Is a ‘Propaganda’ Play

Ng said ordinary Chinese prefer to watch stuff that’s positive — sometimes on the verge of being corny — and Chow has struck an obvious vein churning that out. He acknowledged that he used to see more obvious propaganda films touting Communism circulating around China, but those have become less prevalent as the younger generation would rather watch anything else.

China’s government does operate a censorship body that reviews each of the 34 imported films allowed in each year, and has banned seemingly harmless fare like “Ghostbusters” for its supernatural elements. A Chinese villain in a major studio tentpole is also unlikely to appear any time soon, several industry observers have told TheWrap.

However, Ng said Chinese studio heads and entertainment executives are investing in studios and production companies at sometimes eye-popping values because they are driven by their desire to make movies that can eventually travel — which Hollywood does so well, and which China hasn’t been able to master. Heavy-handed propaganda from the Communist Party doesn’t seem like it would play well internationally.

Also Read: U.S. Government Agency Will Review Dalian Wanda, Chinese Investment in Hollywood … Eventually

And even for movies that barely play outside of China like “The Mermaid,” which made just $3.2 million in the U.S., Ng said the messaging is hardly ominous. “The Mermaid” was explicitly about saving the planet, and it became a massive mainstream hit across all demographic groups.

“‘The Mermaid’ grossed $550 million in China, and it was about environmental protection,” Ng said. “Is that a Chinese value?”

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Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos (Video)

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos won the Nobel Peace Prize Friday for his determination to end a civil war that killed over 200,000 residents of his country.

“I receive this with great emotion,” Santos said in an audio post on Facebook account. “I am eternally grateful.”

“I receive this award in their name: the Colombian people who have suffered so much in this war,” Santos continued. “Especially the millions of victims that have suffered in this war that we are on the verge of ending.”

Also Read: Shimon Peres, Former Israeli President and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Dies at 93

Santos, 65, went to Harvard and the Associated Press called him an “unlikely peacemaker” because of his mishaps as the country’s defense minister.

Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia leader Rodrigo Londono and Santos signed a peace deal last month to end a half-century of hostility, but the agreement was voted down six days later.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee did not honor Londono with an award. The Committee said it believes that Santos, “despite the ‘No’ majority vote in the referendum, has brought the bloody conflict significantly closer to a peaceful solution,” according to the AP.

Since 1901, the Nobel Prize winners have consisted of five different types of winners: dissidents, peacemakers, institutions, statesmen and grassroots activists.

Watch the Associated Press video on the history of the Nobel Peace Prize above.

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‘Departed’ Dog Immortalized by Role in the Film

It’s one thing to memorialize your pet with a headstone. But it’s quite another to get your dog immortality by earning it a role in a Martin Scorsese film.

To mark today’s 10th anniversary of the release of “The Departed,” TheWrap spoke with Emma Tillinger-Koskoff, a frequent Scorsese collaborator who has worked films including “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “Hugo” and “Shutter Island.”

She is also producing his upcoming film about jesuit priests, “Silence,” and got her start producing as an associate on “The Departed” the Oscar-winning Boston gangster film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson and Mark Wahlberg.

Aside from her fond memories working with such top-level talent, she told TheWrap how she received the one and only acting credit of her career: “Woman with Dog.” Her co-star was her dog, Monkey.

Also Read: 18 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘The Departed’ for Its 10th Anniversary (Photos)

“I had a dog who was like my child, my everything,” she said during a phone interview on Thursday. “I thought, this dog is not going to be around forever, but if I can capture her on film in a Marty movie she will be around forever.”

It took some convincing, recalled Tillinger-Koskoff. “I begged and begged and I finally won him over… I said ‘Please please please let me be ‘Woman with Dog.’ He said, ‘Yes, but the whole point of scene is — just be walking the dog. Don’t react. Don’t do anything. Just walk the dog.’”

The scene (below) takes place about midway through the film, when two guys in Billy’s (Leonardo DiCaprio‘s) gang attempt to point out undercover cops on the street.

Tillinger-Koskoff appears with her dog at the 43-second mark:

“I suddenly got really nervous before my shot,” recalled the producer, who admitted to ruining two takes. “Of course the guys say something to me to which I immediately react — not once but twice. And then finally, the third time, I thought, OK, I just keep walking no matter what they say to me.”

Busy working on “Silence,” Tillinger-Koskoff said she only realized it was the 10th anniversary of “The Departed” when TheWrap reached out.

“It’s one of those films — I really can’t change the channel when it’s on,” she said.

Monkey departed this mortal coil in 2009, but lives on forever in “The Departed.”

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Newswire: Never mind, Lee Daniels will direct that Richard Pryor biopic after all

Way back in May, we reported that Lee Daniels was forced to drop out of The Weinstein Company’s oft-delayed Richard Pryor biopic over—what else—“scheduling conflicts.” Daniels is a big deal in the TV world these days, and it turns out that his schedule was simply too hectic for the movie studio, which chose to give him the boot rather than keep putting off the project. Now, though, it looks like those conflicts have cleared up, as Variety is reporting that Daniels is back on board to direct the film.

Titled Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said (which will probably be trimmed down because it’s very unwieldy), the film will star Mike Epps as Pryor, Oprah Winfrey as his grandmother, and Kate Hudson as Jennifer Lee Pryor. The script was written by Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, Mr. Holmes, and a few Twilight movies for good measure), and …