Updated 6/20/2007
Styleguide: A-C | D-G| H-L| M-R | S-Z | REVIEWS | PEOPLE, PICS AND MORE

To suggest corrections, additions or changes, email gary.north@variety.com

Hold down the CONTROL key,
tap the F key,
type in what you are looking for,
then tap the RETURN (or ENTER) key.

If not listed below, consult the following references in the following order:

AP Stylebook; Webster’s II New College Dictionary; www.m-w.com; www.dictionary.com


Popular on Variety

dash – em dashes are preceded and followed by a single space. They are made with the em dash button on the Word toolbar, or Alt 0151 on the keyboard number pad


dates – In Daily Variety: No yesterday or tomorrow. Events that take place on the date of publication take place “today.” Use days of the week for events that take place during that week, dates for all other.

  • Days of the week should always be spelled out.

  • Months should be spelled out when they stand alone or when they’re used with the year only (January 1994). Abbreviate with exact date (Jan. 1, 1994).

  • In weekly Variety, use specific dates whenever possible, not “last week.” Never use days of the week.



  • Variety style varies from AP style in that it’s much more liberal in stand-alones, particularly international (Vancouver, Sydney, Cannes, Sarajevo, Milan, etc.) but also in U.S. (Park City, Orlando). This is fairly subjective. If in doubt, ask a senior editor or slot.

  • Almost all weekly stories get datelines unless there is an initial dropcap (you must have permission from a senior editor to leave it off).

  • All Hollywood/L.A. stories get Hollywood dateline in Gotham; all New York stories get New York datelines in the Los Angeles edition.

  • In Weekly usage, it is suggested that “Calif.” follow city names except for the most obvious ones: Beverly Hills, Hollywood; Santa Monica and Pasa-dena are debatable – see next bulleted item. “Calif.” and “New York” (state) do NOT apply in daily papers, depending on the edition; it is assumed that if there is no state name after a lesser city, it is in the state of the editon (N.Y. or Calif.).

  • Pasadena & Santa Monica: For stories about TV Critics Press Tour, dateline is “Pasadena, Calif.” for New York and weekly editions and no dateline for L.A. (but try to work “Pasadena” into story); same with stories about the L.A. Film Market: “Santa Monica, Calif.” for N.Y. and wekly editions and no date-line for L.A. (but work Santa Monica into story). The “Calif.” can be dropped if it’s clear from the story/stories that these are taking place in California.

  • India: If you see the name Bombay in a story, change it to Mumbai; if you see the name Chennai, change it to Madras; Calcutta is now Kolkata.

  • Exceptions: no dateline for Nielsen TV ratings stories from Rick Kissell, overseas box office stories, or stories from Michael Fleming (Dish, etc.)

  • AP/Reuters bug in daily datelines: The wire bug goes after the dateline (if there is one) and precedes the dash: PARIS (Reuters) — This is the correct way.

    EXCEPTION: If it is a local story for the local edition and thus has no dateline, the wire name goes as the END of the story, preceded by a long tagline dash, spelled out and boldfaced: This is the end of the story. — Associated Press

  • international briefs: dailies – no city dateline, just country SPEC bar; wkly – both city dateline AND country SPEC bar


date-time line in TV reviews — (Series; NBC, Sun. Sept. 30, 9 p.m.)

Note that there is only one semicolon (immediately after the genre), then the network, then a comma, then the DAY abbreviated and NO comma and then the date, then another comma and finally the time

day care

daylight-saving time (note the hyphen, no caps, no final “s”)

daylong – one word; likewise hourlong, weeklong, monthlong, yearlong

daypart – segment of the broadcast day; daytime (9-3), early fringe (3-7) access (7-8), primetime (8-11), late fringe (11-12), latenight (midnight-6), morn-ing (6-9).

DBS – direct broadcast satellite. Spell out on first reference. Direct to home satellite is acceptable as a description of this type of service. Some countries call it DTH (direct-to-home), which is acceptable in international stories.

d-cinema — digital cinema

dealmaker, dealmaking, policymaker, decisionmaking, filmmaking, etc.; contrary to AP; see also “making”

deejay, DJ, veejay, VJ

Det. — OK for Detective (as a title), contrary to AP

De Nationale Investeringsbank – Dutch bank

Dept. – abbreviate in proper names

dialogue – Not dialog, but compare with analog & catalog

DIC Entertainment — kidvidder

Dick Clark Prods. – not dick clark prods.

die-hard (n, adj)

digital cinema — abbreviate as d-cinema

Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998

digital video recorder, aka personal video recorder — abbreviate as DVR or PVR

direct broadcast satellite, DBS – small dish satellite delivery such as USSB or DirecTV

Directors Guild of America – DGA on subsequent references. (Note no apostrophe)

DirecTV – a satellite subscription TV service owned by Hughes

disabled – see handicapped entry in AP Stylebook

disc, disk – compact or DVD disc; use disk only in computer contexts (floppy disk, hard disk); see diskery, below

Dish — No dateline run on Mike Fleming stories

diskery – record company

Discop East – Intl. Discounted Television Program minimarket for Eastern and Central European territories

Disney – the Walt Disney Co.; never Dis in stories or heads. Can use Mouse, Mouse House, but sparingly

Disneyland Paris

distrib – distributor or (v.) distribute (may be used in text); don’t use distribber nor distribbery

distrib’n – distribution (headlines only)

divisions of companies – are not generally capitalized. Example: the motion picture group of Paramount Pictures.

doc, docu, docs (plural) – short for documentary, documentaries. Never dox.

docudrama, docusoap

Dogma 95 – a Scandinavian-initiated filmmaking aesthetic; DON’T use the Scandi spelling of Dogme

Dolby – Dolby Surround (caps), Dolby Digital (caps) and 5.1-channel Dolby Digital (note the lower-case “channel”); generic reference: 5.1-channel surround sound or Dolby Digi-tal surround sound; try to avoid the phrase Dolby Surround sound.

dot-com – see also Internet


d.p. – director of photography


DreamWorks – no SKG. Company formed by Jeffrey Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg and David Geffen. D’Works acceptable in headlines but DW isn’t; also may be referred to as the Troika (but never the Dream Team).

drop-off (n, when referring to the fall in an audience rating or moviegoing) – compare with falloff

dropout (per AP)

drug lord – but: warlord

DTS – Digital Theater Systems brand of stero uses a CD linked to film

DTT – digital terrestial television; OK on second reference

D2Mac – Broadcast standard

ducat, ducats – ticket(s)

duo — usually takes a plural verb; see Usage

Dutch names — per AP, lowercase particles such as de, der, la, le, and van, von when part of a given name: Charles de Gaulle, Baron Manfred von Richthofen, but follow individual preferences, as in bin Laden, or Dutch names such as Van Gogh or Van der Graaf. Capitalize the particles when the last names start a sentence: De Gaulle spoke to von Richthofen. But, per house style, lower-case on second reference in the middle of a sentence: John de Mol sold Endemol to Telefonica, but that doesn’t mean de Mol gave up his broadcast ambitions.

DVD, Divx, DVD PAL (foreign format)

E! Entertainment


EBITDA – earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization – basically cash flow)

EC, EU – European Commission (governing body), European Union (group of countries it governs). Spell out on first reference.

EchoStar, PrimeStar, DirecTV

11th hour — not “eleventh hour”

emcee – not MC; refers to Master of Ceremonies

email – no hyphen, but: e-tailer, e-commerce (for now)

Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Center – Tarzana Campus (or Encino Campus)

Ent. – unacceptable in text as abbreviation for Entertainment (as in Rysher Entertainment); OK in headlines if really necessary.

epic – avoid overuse as description of films or TV shows. “Roots” and “Lawrence of Arabia” are epics; most other things are not.

episode – not ep (but seg ok)

equal, equaled, equaling – see cancel entry for rule

“ER” – NBC TV show. No periods.

et al.

“E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial”

“E.T.”/ “ET” – “E.T.” for the film/”ET” for “Entertainment Tonight”

ethnic references: Either “black” or “African-American” is acceptable. “Native Americans” refers to indigenous/”first nations” people whose ancestors populated what is now the U.S.; “Indian” should refer only to people of the Asian country India. Also: Asian-American


European Union – EU (see EC)

euros – plural for monetary unit, as per dollars (a change from our previous style of no s); Every computer in the newsroom is supposed to be equipped with the font set for the euro symbol, as shown here: € — if not, call IT.

exclamation point – should be avoided. Use only when it’s part of a title (as in “Jeopardy!”) and on the extremely rare occasion it adds appropriate empha-sis in a headline or column.

exclu, exclus – Do not use these expressions in either text or heads

exec – short for executive; execs plural in all texts; exex plural in heds only

exec shuffle – format for briefs is one graf, ragged right, boldface princple name(s)


executive titles – See also entry under “titles of execs, heads of state, other government officials”; generally:

Capitalize the title of a head of state when the title precedes a name: President Vladimer Putin, President Bush (no first name and middle initial unless un-clear which Bush is being written about), Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, King Adolf, etc.

Lower-case titles of corporate execs, etc.: prexy Alan Wright, Senior exec vice prez James Jones (Sr. okay in heds), exec VP John Smith, etc.

Government/legislative titles – see se


“eXistenZ” – film title

exhib, exhibitor – movie theater owners

Eye web – CBS

faceoff (n), face off (v)

facelift – one word, contrary to dictionary and AP

fade-out, fade-in

fairy tale

falloff – compare with drop-off

fan base

“Fantasia 2000” – no slash in title name


FCC – Federal Communications Commission should be spelled out somewhere in story but not necessarily on first reference.


feds — not Feds

feevee – pay TV

fest — gabfest, chatfest, etc., but film fest

FIAPF – Intl. Federation of Film Producers, Paris-based; regulates A festivals — all caps, except to “rule of four” initials

film fests: Caps OK when truncating the name of such fests: Venice Film Fest, Montreal Film Fest, etc., but: the Venice fest, the Montreal fest.

FilmFour Ltd. – name is one word

filmmaker, filmmaking, film work — use ‘filmer’ only sparingly

film size — 8mm, 16mm, 36mm, etc. – no space before mm

film stock — we will now go with, say, 35mm or 70mm — with no space, despite AP style to the contrary

Filmstiftung Nordrhein-Westfalen – EC’s No. 2 subsidy fund; German

film titles — see the NAMES & TITLES styleguide

fin-syn – defunct financial interest and syndication rules; sometimes still shows up as a phrase in foreign stories

Fipresci – international critics organization

the Firm

first-look (adj.)

firstrun — always one word

flack — although it’s a Slanguage word, avoid; use “PR maven” instead

flick, flix – do not use – this is not a Variety word. Exception: chick flick(s).

Focus Features — specialty label at Universal; not Universal Focus or just Focus.

follow-up – hyphenated in all uses except Spec font hedders on review pages (such as legit): FOLLOWUP

forego, forgo – the former means to precede, the latter means to do without. Hardly the same thing. See excellent explanation in AP Stylebook or your dictionary.

foreign company names – Americanize them: Rank Organization, Reed Midem Organization

foreign currency – generally speaking: figure in foreign currency (figure in U.S. dollars) on first use, then U.S. dollar figure only. If a sentence contains two figures, it is acceptable, for consistency, to keep the double reference on both figures, and then drop it for the rest of the story. The exception is heavily financial stories, where both figures may be kept for comparison to previous results. For Australian, Canadian or any other dollars, the proper form is C$100, A$100, NZ$100, etc.

= = = =

foreign film titles:

• stories that cite such titles in text should give the original foreign-language title in quotes, followed by the translated English title in parentheses without quotes; example: … who also made “La Verite si je mens! 2” (Would I Lie to You? 2).

• All non-English film titles are lower-case except the first word (“Y tu mama tambien”) and proper names.

Exceptions: French titles – the first TWO words are capped IF they are an article (Le, La, Les) and a noun (“La Verite si je mens!,” “La Putain et le saint,” “Les Choristes,” “L’Auberge espagnole”)

German titles – all nouns and proper names are capitalized, all verbs and others are lower-case (when in doubt, trust the reviewer or reporter, or ask around, or check Babelfish.altavista.com, etc.)

= = = =

foreign names: See Asian names, Dutch names, Spanish-language names; also the Commonly Misspelled Names & Film/Show Titles styleguide

= = = = =


• Watch out for column widths and head widths from foreign reporters – their stories often come in narrower than 11 picas, 23 picas, etc.

• TENPERCENTERIES are RAGGED RIGHT, as are datebook, exex shuff, short takes.

babies, hitch are justified (not ragged right).

• In pagination, all heds should be “top modified,” as are pull quotes.

• Kerning maximum is -4 (-5 can be used if copy isn’t too squeezed).

• Reverse kerning (leading out): maximum is +5; please do not use 10.9 AND +5 in the same graph to stretch out copy. It’s better to use a filler or break up paragraphs.

• Maximum leading (to increase) is 10.9, never 11 pts with body copy @9.5. Decreasing leading to 10.3 is dv style. We should never use anything any lower, i.e., 10.2, 10.1 etc.


Fort – always spelled out as part of proper name: Fort Worth




Fox Inc. is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

It’s 20th Century Fox or Fox Broadcasting Co. on first or second reference. We only spell out the studio’s name (Twentieth Century Fox) at the beginning of a sentence (as with all numbers), but Twentieth TV or Twentieth Century TV.

Foxlab – not foxlab.

Fox’s – possessive; not Fox’


France Television – Holding company for pubcasters France 2 and France 3

franchises — see “brands”

freelance, freelancer

FremantleMedia – formerly Pearson Television; Pearson PLC still exists as a major media conglom

Friars Club — no apostrophe

front line (per AP), front-line (adj. per AP)

frontman – one word as of 6/19/07 per TG

fund-raising, fund-raiser (per PB 8/3/99); see also COMPOUND GERUNDS

Furthur Films

f/x – Slanguage for “special effects”

FX – Fox cable web; no slash, and F is capped, contrary to their wishes

Gallic – slanguage for French (adj.)

Game Boy (e.g. Nintendo also Nintendo GameCube)

game plan

gameshow, quizshow

Game Show Network (Sony’s)

GATT – General Agreement on Tariffs & Trade; spell out at some point; and better to refer to world trade agreement on first reference and leave GATT to later references. GATT will be overseen as of 1995 by the World Trade Organization.

gearing – change this financial Aussie-ism to the following phrase: debt-to-equity level

Gemstar-TV Guide

Getty Images

g.m. – as of 6/19/07 per TG (previously capped) to be consistent with our style on p.a., a.d., etc.

GmbH – Abbreviation for German equivalent of Inc. takes no period.

goers, going – as a suffix, in general, does not need hyphen: filmgoers, partygoing, moviegoing, theatergoing public

Golden Globes – Never GG on any reference. May use Globes after first reference. Sponsored by the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.



goodwill (adj.), good will (n)

Gotham – slanguage for New York City

gov’t – OK in heds sparingly; spell out government in text

government acronyms – see acronyms

Governors Ball – official Acad function held directly after the Oscars


Granada Television – U.K. TV company (Grenada is the country)


the Greenblatt-Janollari Studio Inc. (Studio is singular); chiefs are Bob Greenblatt and David Janollari

greenlight (v. & n.) – Past participle is greenlit. To quote Peter Bart’s “Fade Out,” “When a movie earns its greenlight, that means it is officially approved to go into production, that its key personnel are all firmly in place and that a start date has been set.”

GreeneStreet Prods. – note the third e, no space



grown-up (n & adj)

Gruner + Jahr