You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Margulies nixes $27 mil; Vilanch back at Oscars

MARGULIES SEALS ‘ER’ EXIT: After a prolonged negotiation to keep her from ankling “ER,” Julianna Margulies is turning down the chance to become one of the highest-paid female actors in TV history, and will ankle at season’s end.

Margulies had been expected to leave what is still TV’s top-rated show once she completes her sixth season, but appeared ready to sign a two-season extension worth about $27 million, after being courted heavily by exec producer John Wells and Warner Bros., which dangled a feature development deal.

Dish hears that after some serious soul-searching, Margulies just gave WB the bitter medicine. Feeling she’s taken her character as far as she can — her Hathaway character gives birth to twins on “ER’s” first Thanksgiving Day nonrerun — Margulies decided to leave all that cash on the table, and walk away to pursue roles in features and theater.

Calling her “an integral member of the ‘ER’ family, Wells gave Margulies a glowing sendoff. “Her talent and commitment have greatly contributed to show’s success,” he said, “and we look forward to working with her throughout the remainder of the season and hopefully sometime in the future. We wish her well and know that she will be successful in all of her endeavors.”

BRUCE BUNCHES UP: Bruce Vilanch will return for his 10th Academy Awards telecast, since he has been named head writer by producers Richard and Lili Fini Zanuck. This time, he might be contending for a golden trophy himself, with the film about his gagman life, “Get Bruce,” being touted for a docu consideration by Miramax.

Vilanch, whose most memorable Oscar contributions were the montage films and theme songs that he collaborated on with Billy Crystal, will continue writing for whoever hosts the next Oscarcast. He might have writer’s cramp with all the writing obligations he’s taking on. He’s been asked by Rosie O’Donnell to be her key writer for the next Tony Awards, and he’s just made a book deal with Putnam to write a collection of witty observations.

He continues as head writer and permanent square on “Hollywood Squares,” and wrote the gags in the current Bette Midler tour, which wraps in Vegas on New Year’s Eve. If that’s not enough, he’ll star in and produce, with his manager Joan Hyler, a one-man show that’s in talks to land Off Broadway at the Westbeth Theatre, where Sandra Bernhard and Eddie Izzard recently performed. Vilanch is repped by William Morris, where Dan Strone made his book deal, and by attorney Stan Coleman and Hyler Management.

WEBER’S HYPHENATING: While Steven Weber’s joined the ensemble cast of the Mike Figgis-directed pic “Time Code,” which has no script, the thesp has moved into the screenwriting game himself. Weber, last seen starring in the TV version of Stephen King’s “The Shining” and in the bigscreen “Jeffrey,” will write “Clubland” for Showtime and Dustin Hoffman’s Punch Prods. Weber will star as well in his tale about father and son talent agents in the late ’50s. Weber’s repped by ICM and AMG.

More Voices

  • Hollywood Has Come Far With Diversity

    An Insider's Look at Hollywood's Diversity Efforts and How Far It Still Needs to Go

    I am a white man working in Hollywood. I grew up in Beverlywood, an all-white, predominantly Jewish, Los Angeles neighborhood sandwiched between 20th Century Fox Studios and MGM, where my elementary school had only one black student. I am compelled to write about diversity in Hollywood because “diversity” — in front of and behind the camera [...]

  • Venice Film Festival A Star is

    How Venice, Toronto and Telluride Festivals Stole Cannes' Luster (Column)

    In all the years I’ve been attending film festivals, I have never seen a lineup that looked as good on paper as Venice’s did this fall, boasting new films by Alfonso Cuarón (“Roma”), Damien Chazelle (“First Man”), Paul Greengrass (“22 July”), Mike Leigh (“Peterloo”) and the Coen brothers (“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”) in competition, [...]

  • Black Women in Medicine BTS

    Hollywood Needs to Include People With Disabilities on Both Sides of the Camera (Guest Column)

    In five years, nothing has changed. Despite open calls for greater diversity and inclusion, recent research shows that there was little change in the number of characters with disabilities in popular films in 2017. A study conducted by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism found that [...]

  • Seven Seconds

    Fighting the Racial Bias at the Core of Hollywood’s Cop Shows (Guest Column)

    If fiction is the lie that tells a deeper truth, the TV crime genre has been, for the most part, the lie that simply tells a lie. As a storyteller (Veena) and an advocate for racial justice (Rashad), we collaborated for the past two-and-a-half years in an attempt to reimagine the roles of cops, victims, [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein Trial

    Column: Documentarian Barry Avrich Ponders Whether Harvey Weinstein Will Be Convicted

    Will Harvey Weinstein go to jail? That’s perhaps the most debated topic in Hollywood. It’s a question that makes me miss my friend Dominick Dunne, the controversial Vanity Fair columnist who would have already succeeded in interview-ing the chambermaids at Harvey’s sex-addiction clinic. Dunne once prophetically told me there would be a massive reckoning in Hollywood. He [...]

  • Janet Mock Pose

    'Pose' Writer Janet Mock on Making History With Trans Storytelling (Guest Column)

    I first met Ryan Murphy on location in Hollywood in July. The set was a nightclub, filled with background actors staged as glistening go-go dancers, shirtless revelers, and twirling drag queens. They were all basking under the glow of a spinning disco ball — a fitting setting for my first Hollywood job interview. I was [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content