April 10, 2018 • Category: "Big Little Lies", Times Up •
Comments Off on HBO Boss on ‘Big Little Lies’ Impact, “Earned” Raises and Addressing Pay Parity
HBO programming chief Casey Bloys gave a really interesting interview to The Hollywood Reporter, talking about the very impressive influence of Big Little Lies and Reese’s role within this:
HBO Boss on ‘Big Little Lies’ Impact, “Earned” Raises and Addressing Pay Parity
When Casey Bloys got his first of two major promotions in early 2016, the HBO executive took a good hard look at the suite of dramas he had inherited and wondered just one thing: Where were all the women?
On the comedy side, where Bloys had been in charge since 2013, he and his team had championed such female-fronted series as Enlightened, Veep, Getting On, Insecure and, of course, Girls. But now the drama lineup that he was suddenly responsible for skewed heavily male, with a mix of series that included True Detective, Game of Thrones and, then, the forthcoming Westworld. “The fact was we hadn’t really had a female-skewing drama since Big Love,” he says, referencing the polygamy hour that ran from 2006-11. “And so we became very interested in diversifying the slate.”
Two years later, much has already changed. In fact, Bloys, who was upped to president of programming later that spring, is coming off a months-long awards season in which his first big female drama, Big Little Lies, swept nearly every category it was in. The accolades followed record ratings and an enviable spot at the center of the cultural conversation — and proceeded significant raises for a cast led by producer-stars Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, who are said to be earning in the $1 million per episode range for season two. “A show like that is a gift to a network,” says Bloys, who credits Witherspoon and Kidman for identifying its potential and bringing it to the network. His boss, chairman and CEO Richard Plepler, lavishes similar praise: “Reese and Nicole had the vision to know what this could become,” he says. “They brought us a jewel and their enthusiasm became infectious, not only with the Big Little Lies team but throughout all of HBO.”
And when the limited-turned-ongoing series returns in 2019, with the original cast plus Oscar winner Meryl Streep, it’ll join a lineup that’s lighter on testosterone — or at least heavier on estrogen. In July, HBO will introduce Sharp Objects, centered on an even more complicated woman played by Amy Adams; and after that, My Brilliant Friend, about a lifelong female friendship. There are others, too, including projects from Misha Green (Underground) and Sally Wainwright (Happy Valley) as well as a second collaboration between Kidman and Big Little Lies’ writer/producer David E. Kelley. Bloys has been similarly focused on moving more women behind the camera, too, with his ratio of female to male writers and directors working its way to 50 percent.
With Big Little Lies back in production, Bloys sat down at the company’s corporate headquarters in New York and talked about those hefty raises, the impact of the Time’s Up movement and how he intends to remain competitive without writing nine-figure producer checks.
One of your execs found herself in hot water last month when she sat on stage at a conference in Israel and said, “From a budget standpoint, going into season two of Big Little Lies without any options in place we’ve been … short of raped.” I’m hoping you can clarify the point that she was trying to make, since it got lost in the drama of her word choice.
Here’s what I will say: obviously it was a really unfortunate statement, not just the choice of words but also the statement because it’s not reflective of how we feel as a network. Let me just say this about Big Little Lies season two. Whatever anybody was paid was 100 percent earned and well worth it. This show was a giant hit for us and for the industry. I know there’s fascination with the negotiations but, listen, they earned it. So, [the comment] was not reflective of how we feel, or how [Francesca Orsi, HBO’s drama chief] feels. And she feels terrible. I know she’s reached out to all the players on the show, and I will say while they were not happy about it they have been incredibly gracious and it actually has led to larger conversations about the choice of the word [raped] and why it’s used.
Will it change the way you go about making deals going forward? As in, will you move away from the one-season contracts?
Not really. Look, Big Little Lies is a unique case. But our business affairs group has been doing this a long time and we tend to do fair deals that people feel good about on both ends and that was absolutely the case here.
Reese and her A Wrinkle In Time co-stars Mindy Kaling and Oprah Winfrey appeared on The Late Late Show With James Corden on Monday. The three-some were joined by Storm Reid to perform a “4D” version of the movie, directed and narrated by James Corden – don’t miss Reese’s lettuce costume or mini-meltdown! During the interview Reese, Mindy & Oprah talked about Reese being an “over-planner” on the set of their movie by scheduling numerous activities for them, Oprah’s love of bathing, how Reese learnt to drive when she was 11, and briefly Big Little Lies season 2. Reese was her typical perky, hilarious self, and her impression of Mindy Kaling was brilliant! Watch clips below and find HD screencaptures in our Gallery:
Reese, Mindy Kaling and Oprah appeared on BBC’s The One Show on Monday evening to promote A Wrinkle In Time. They talked about the film in depth, plus Big Little Lies, Reese’s producing career, and their favourite childhood toys. Reese looks so proud when she talks about Big Little Lies! Reese wore a green dress by Roland Mouret. Watch the interview below, or the full show on BBC iPlayer, and find screencaptures in our Gallery:
Reese can be seen on the cover of the new April issue of Marie Claire UK – it’s the same interview as the earlier US edition, but it has a couple of new photos from the shoot. I love this photoshoot, and I’m glad they’ve chosen a slightly different shot for this cover. Pick up a copy asap if you can, and find the scans in our Gallery:
Reese made an appearance on Good Morning America on Wednesday to promote A Wrinkle In Time. She chatted about her recent visit to her Star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, Time’s Up, the importance of representing women in film, Big Little Lies season 2, Little Fires Everywhere with Kerry Washington, and her upcoming Untitled Morning TV Show with Jennifer Aniston. Reese also received a special message from Dolly Parton who had been on the show last week; Reese mentioned that she “has a show coming on in about a month” in which she interviews Dolly Parton, so we’ll keep an ear out for more information on that in the coming weeks! Watch the interview below, and find screencaptures in our Gallery:
Reese promoted A Wrinkle In Time on two US late night chat shows this week – The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, and Late Night With Seth Meyers. On Stephen Colbert on Wednesday night, Reese chatted about a Bruce Springsteen Broadway Show she went to, Oprah’s on-set ‘rules’, Times Up, and Big Little Lies season 2 (they start it next week!). She then met US figure skating Olympian Adam Rippon, who she had shared some mutual admiration with during the recent Winter Olympics. Reese wore a little blue dress by Roksanda on this show.
The day after, she made an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers and chatted about the movie and her co-stars, her appearance hosting SNL in 2001 (that was Seth Meyers’ first appearance on the show), and Big Little Lies season 2. Reese hilariously demonstrated how she responded when she found out that Meryl Streep agreed to join the show! I loved this interview and Reese’s look on the show – it reminded me of late 90’s Reese!
There a few clips from the show further down this post (we’ll have more in our video archive when it’s launched) and photos and HD screencaptures in the Gallery:
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