As Beyonce and Jay-Z squashed divorce buzz at the VMAs across town Sunday night, Showtime CEO Matt Blank squashed another headline grabbing celebrity squabble on Sunday night.
The backstory: Former buddies 50 Cent and Floyd Mayweather, who fights on Showtime, have been sparring publicly in recent days. The latest round saw 50’s claim that Mayweather can not read, one that appeared to backed up by outtakes from a voice over recording session broadcast on a New York radio station.
50 Cent offered Mayweather a $750,000 donation to a charity of his choice if he could read a page of a “Harry Potter” book. Jimmy Kimmel offered to host the contest on his show. Mayweather responded by posting a photo of post-fight paychecks for $72 million.
“Floyd can read absolutely,” Blank told TheWrap. “Not only can he read, he can write when he endorses those $50 million checks. Whatever the beef is, we’re on Floyd’s side. Floyd’s the best. We love him.”
Sports and beef fell far off Showtime’s radar though as they huddled their nominees for an intimate Emmy eve party at the Sunset Tower hotel, the antithesis of boxing bombast, with a hushed, mellow and relaxed calm permeating the indoor-outdoor gathering.
When Blank and David Nevins send out invites, they get a papal response from their flock. Everyone showed.
There was Edie Falco grabbing time with William H. Macy. Steps away, Jon Voight giving Mandy Patinkin a warm hug with an “Oh Mandy” upon spotting him and Claire Danes, apparently just back from South Africa.
Peter Facinelli suited up and comic Heather McDonald whose special comes out this week towered over the carpet. Don Cheadle was cool as ever with his left hoop earring, and even a Hollywood dean, Jerry Weintraub continued to hit the Emmy circuit, after boothing it up with Warner Bros CEO Kevin Tsujihara at CAA’s Bouchon bash Friday night.
“We had eight of our nine shows recognized this year and a hell of a lot of actors,” entertainment president David Nevins said, his left arm in a sling due to a bicep tear. “This is just an affectation. When people get sick of this I’m going to add an eye patch,” he joked to his crowd of about 130 intimates.
“Thanks to our boss Leslie Moonves and Julie,” Blank said. “Every year it becomes more apparent that David and I get to do some really fun things because of all of you (in this room.)
As to whether his relationship with Robert Greenblatt, now head of NBC and formerly of Showtime helps them out with a better seats at the Nokia, he said “Bob and I always look out for each other. He’s terrific.”
I let Lizzy Caplan know that she has a front row seat next to Josh Charles. “No! What? Cool,” she answered. “Does that mean I win?”
Win or just look good in the front row, the pre-party timing puts everyone in a good mood. “The purpose of tonight is to celebrate what we consider to be all of our winners,” Blank told TheWrap.
Showtime strives for intimacy, curtaining off each section of the room and keeping the lights so low I’m surprised it passed fire code. With the lights so low, they ran the risk that one of their hardest working showrunning teams might just fall asleep.
“Episodes” do-it-all-ourselves writer-director-producer duo Jeffrey Klarik and David Crane shot in London until 7 p.m. Saturday night. They arrived fresh off a plane without a pause, and they don’t get first class sleeper cabins. “I think you have to win one (to get a sleeper cabin),” Klarik said. “A nomination does not count.”
Their star Matt LeBlanc will be following them back to the UK after a week in L.A., where “Episodes” is in production through the end of September. His plans could change too, though.
Though he has to be out Tuesday morning early, “If I win, I’ll probably get s–tfaced,” LeBlanc chuckled.
KT Tunstall’s guitar set loomed in the corner, but there would be no stringing or strumming for William H. Macy, as he did when he played the ukulele and a cover of “Surfer Girl” at the Sundance premiere party for the movie he directed, “Rudderless”. On that night back in Park City, Selena Gomez followed him singing “Come and Get It” in a rowdy, acoustic atmosphere on Main Street.
“No, no, no,” Macy said, rejecting my thought that he could play again. “I have to drink a lot before I will play the ukulele or anything else in front of people.”
Macy had come from working on music with Gomez earlier on Sunday, tied to “Rudderless’” October 17 release. This explains Macy, Felicity Huffman, and Gomez’s joint arrival to the Women In Film/Variety party Saturday night.
For anyone that wanted to work up the courage to play ukulele, Heineken and Svedka flowed throughout the party. Bottles of champagne on ice topped every table in the lounge, one in front of TV Academy CEO Bruce Rosenblum who sat with Nevins at a front table to watch KT Tunstall.
The Emmys telecast itself must be in strong shape at this point. No late night rehearsals for the boss.
Further proof? While Showtime celebrated on the terrace, there was to be no “Late Night” either for Emmys host Seth Meyers who was arriving back at the Sunset Tower in a branded Audi Emmy vehicle, presumably from rehearsals, just after 8 p.m. He was casual in jeans and a button down, carrying a messenger bag.
That’s your weekend update.
Now on to the show.