Shoot the messenger: Sherry Lansing

In honor of our 100th birthday, Variety invited Sherry Lansing (former CEO, Paramount Pictures; CEO, Sherry Lansing Foundation) to talk back about his coverage in the ‘bible of showbiz.’

What do you think of our coverage?

“The coverage is always extraordinarily good, and extraordinarily insightful, balanced and fair. Variety sets the tone for how you’re going to feel all day.”

Have we ever scooped a story too soon and stressed you out?

“I guess I’d have to say every time I was hiring somebody, (Peter Bart) seemed to know about it before the deal was closed. So I would always be sort of in awe of, not just Peter, but the whole paper. I would get this call (from a reporter) and I would go, ‘My God, the ink’s not dry, how did he find this out?’ What I found to be really good: If (Bart) felt it was going to damage the negotiation, maybe the deal wasn’t done … he would never try to hurt you. He was always rooting for the picture. … I believe that Variety is a huge fan of the movie business. Of course, we’ve all had stories we didn’t like, but unfortunately they’re mostly true.”

Does one piece of writing stand out in your mind?

“I remember the column (Bart) wrote about my being polite, returning every call — that was something I saved. His columns are just treasures. I never knew he was writing it. I was in Washington, D.C., and someone called me. It was one of the nicest gifts anyone has ever given me in my entire life — I saved the column in Perma Plaque.”

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