You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Inside Move: Valenti, studios mull next MPAA topper

Dreier's possible for position

WASHINGTON — Conservative San Gabriel Valley Congressman David Dreier is among a list of candidates to succeed top Hollywood lobbyist Jack Valenti.

The MPAA prexy will meet with reps of the seven studios Monday in Beverly Hills to discuss possible successors.

While there is no firm timeline for a transition, goal is to wrap up the process by the end of the year if not before. Dreier is a shoo-in to make the early cut, as is Sen. John Breaux (D-La.), former Pentagon spokeswoman Torie Clarke, Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.) and former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.).

At Monday’s meeting each studio will submit their top five picks for the post. While there will likely be some overlap, the total list presented could theoretically include more than two dozen candidates.

Many of the same Washington players have also surfaced in the ongoing search to find the right person to take over the top spot at the Recording Industry Assn. of America.

Everyone from former Pres. Clinton and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) to Melissa Etheridge and Chaka Khan toasted RIAA topper Hilary Rosen in a video aired at a goodbye celebration in Washington Tuesday night. Rosen will leave the position next week.

Tauzin’s spokesman said he was never interested in the post and Dreier declined it.

Asked about his interest in the MPAA job, Dreier said he enjoyed his current job in Congress and added that it would be “unseemly” to discuss any opportunities or offers in the private sector. Dreier faces a 2004 term limit on the powerful Rules Committee chairmanship he holds but could obtain a waiver from Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) to retain the gavel.

As a lawmaker from the Los Angeles area (San Dimas is his hometown), Dreier has strong ties to Hollywood and has led the charge to stem the flight of film production to Canada.

Late last year, he helped convince Hastert to take up the issue and both pledge to pass legislation this session that would provide tax incentives to keep production in the U.S. Dreier even received an award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences last year for his work on the org’s runaway production committee.

Speculation that Tauzin is angling for the post and could leave Congress in the very near future has been making the rounds in Washington for months. Recently, the rumors became so rampant that other lawmakers began jockeying for Tauzin’s influential Commerce Committee chairmanship and House GOP leaders were forced to confront the Louisiana lawmaker about them.

Wednesday the lawmaker issued his most forceful denial to date. In a letter to his colleagues on the Commerce panel, Tauzin pledged to run for re-election in 2004 and to help fellow Republicans raise enough money to keep their seats as well. Tauzin’s promise to stay the course in Congress will not keep him off some studio’s shortlists because Hollywood understands how circumstances can alter even the best-laid plans.

More Film

  • Alfonso Cuaron's 'Roma' Companion Album to

    Alfonso Cuarón's New 'Roma' Album to Feature Beck, Patti Smith, El-P, T Bone Burnett

    Not to be outdone by Ariana Grande’s impending record news, filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón has announced the track list and release date for his new album, which, coincidentally, is also due Feb. 8. He’s the curator of “Music Inspired by the Film Roma,” which was already teased by a Billie Eilish track, and is now revealed [...]

  • The Beach Bum Trailer

    Watch: Matthew McConaughey Stars in Groovy New 'The Beach Bum' Trailer

    Matthew McConaughey takes on new levels of drug use in the latest trailer for “The Beach Bum.” True to the film’s title, the trailer opens on a trashy beach town stage where McConaughey’s character Moondog is waiting to accept some sort of musical award. “Before I accept whatever award it is they’re giving me today, [...]

  • SAG Awards Placeholder

    SAG Awards Unveils Presenters After Accusing Academy of 'Intimidation'

    The SAG Awards has unveiled its first round of presenters, including Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Rami Malek, Chadwick Boseman, Adam Driver, Sam Elliott, and Constance Wu. Wednesday’s announcement comes two weeks after SAG-AFTRA accused the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of intimidation in trying to limit actors from presenting on awards shows other [...]

  • Kevin Hart Fatherhood

    Kevin Hart Partnering With STX on Two Comedies (EXCLUSIVE)

    Kevin Hart is partnering with STXfilms to produce on a pair of comedy movies through his HartBeat Productions with an eye to star in both projects, Variety has learned exclusively. The announcement comes on the heels of Hart’s solid box office performance in “The Upside,” in which he co-stars with Bryan Cranston. STX’s comedic drama, co-produced [...]

  • Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marco Graf

    Disruptor Netflix Joins Big Studios at the Table With MPAA Membership, Analysts Say

    Netflix is starting to look a lot like the media institutions it has been disrupting for years. In one fell swoop on Tuesday, the streaming giant racked up an impressive 15 Academy Award nominations, including a best picture nod for Alfonso Cuaron’s black-and-white, Spanish-language drama “Roma.” Hours later came official word that the company had [...]

  • Italy's Notorious Pictures Expands Into Exhibition,

    Italy's Notorious Pictures Expands Into Exhibition, Plans 200 Screens by 2023

    Italian distribution and production company Notorious Pictures is branching out into exhibition, aiming to have 20 multiplexes up and running within the next five years. The company has appointed former UCI Italy chief Andrea Stratta to head up a new Notorious Cinemas unit. The company said it was already in the process of taking out a [...]

  • cats logo

    As 'Cats' Starts Production, Downtown Lands Admin Deal for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Music (EXCLUSIVE)

    Downtown Music Publishing has entered into a multi-year publishing administration deal with Faber Music, which represents the musical repertoire from “Cats,” the beloved and long-running Broadway sensation currently being turned into a feature film starring Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, James Corden, Idris Elba and Judi Dench, among others. The Universal picture, directed by Tom Hooper, recently [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content