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3 Entertainment News Stories You Missed: Amazon’s Casting Coup, an Emmys Shift, and the Death of Tom Sherak

By Brett Gold – Feb 2, 2014 at 11:08AM

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With news breaking every day in Hollywood, a number of stories get overlooked that really should be a bigger deal than reported. This is a look at the top three from last week.

In the entertainment industry news comes out fast and furious, and sometimes the importance and impact of some of those developments gets lost in the shuffle. Here's a look at three of the top entertainment industry stories from the past week that you may have missed and why they are worth a second look.

Film executive Tom Sherak passes away at age 68

Tom Sherak (Credit: AMPAS)

Hollywood may be a fickle bunch, but there are a select group of people who have won over the masses. The passing of former Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences president Tom Sherak this week proved that, as the industry has truly come together to honor the visionary executive who died this week at age 68. 

Impact on industry

In a word: immeasurable.

Among people in the industry, you'd be hard pressed to find someone who didn't know who Sherak was, but for the public at large, the man's legacy may not be as well-known and his passing may not have been big news. But his impact on the film industry was as large as his love for friends and family. His career spanned five decades and included three years as head of the Academy. He's equally known for his tireless work on behalf of the Southern California Multiple Sclerosis Society where he helped raised millions.

While his passing may not influence one specific stock, it will certainly have both an emotional and financial impact on the industry. Sherak was recently appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti as the city's first film czar. His job was to devise a plan to stop the mass exodus of film and TV projects from the LA area. Many studios have been hurting thanks to other cities' willingness to offer better tax benefits, and Sherak was expected to help reverse that trend (and all for a yearly salary of $1).

Beyond all of that though Sherak touched a number of lives and he will certainly be missed.

NBC shifts Emmys to Monday

Company affected the most: NBC (a subsidiary of Comcast (CMCSA -0.31%)

Credit: ATAS

Football and pre-emptions seem to go together as well as Sundays and tailgating. This week NBC caused a stir by revealing this year's Emmy telecast would air on Aug. 25, which is a Monday. While the award show was expected to be moved up due to NBC's Sunday Night Football package, the change of days is puzzling to many in the industry.

Impact on business

This is a situation the network would probably like to avoid going into such a pivotal time. Over the next few weeks NBC will debut its new-look late night, air the Olympics, and then debut the majority of its midseason lineup, but still a big focus for this week was on the Emmy date. The switch to August is tradition with NBC, as it's previously gone earlier during its turn carrying the telecast (the big four networks rotate annually).

Yet it's more the switch in days that has people buzzing. NBC attributes the change to the network having to coordinate pre-season football airings (yes, I said pre-season) and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' need to schedule the Creative Arts Emmy ceremony, which always happens days prior to the live show. Of course insiders have suggesting there's another cause at play -- the MTV Video Music Awards.

MTV had already staked its claim on Sunday, Aug. 24, and NBC didn't want to go head-to-head with the show. As a result, the already busy fall season (which usually kicks off the day after the Emmys) just saw another wrinkle added to the mix.

Amazon signs deal with Ron Perlman and Marc Forster

Company affected the most: Amazon.com (AMZN -1.63%)

(AMZN -1.63%)

(AMZN -1.63%)(AMZN -1.63%)

Amazon's foray into scripted TV just got taken up a notch as the streaming service has inked a deal with a talented pair of industry vets. The project titled Hand of God would star Sons of Anarchy alum Ron Perlman and be directed by Marc Forster (Quantam of Solace, World War Z).

The series centers on Perlman, who would play a powerful hard-living judge "who has a religious awakening and starts having visions and hearing voices through his ventilator-bound son that could be God speaking to him."

Impact on business

Perlman won over many fans on Anarchy even though his character performed a number of despicable acts. His addition to the pilot is a major coup for Amazon as he could have easily signed with a major broadcast or cable network now that his run on the FX drama is over.

The series would be the first drama to air on Amazon Prime, which last year launched its first two series (comedies Alpha House and Betas) after they were selected following an on-site poll. It's expected Amazon will continue the that popular (and groundbreaking) trend this year, but either way, this is a huge move for the company, especially after competitors Netflix and Hulu have been successful luring big talent to their platforms.

While traditional TV has its "big four networks," it looks like the streaming world now firmly has its "big three."

Brett Gold has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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