Big Bang Theory Production Delayed Over Contract Dispute!
Work on the eighth series of US sitcom The Big Bang Theory has failed to start on time, as the principal cast members fight for higher salaries.
Stars Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Kunal Nayyar and Simon Helberg did not return to work for the first day of production on Wednesday.
Negotiations are continuing with studio Warner Bros. Television (WBTV).
The comedy is the most-watched TV show in the US, with an average audience of 23.1 million in 2013-14.
Earlier this year, the show was extended for a further three series, meaning the show, which centres on a group of high-functioning science “geeks”, will now air until at least 2017.
In a statement, WBTV said: “Due to ongoing contract negotiations, production on The Big Bang Theory – which was originally scheduled to begin today – has been postponed.”
The move came as a surprise to the studio, which previously said it expected the eighth series to go ahead without a hitch.
The delay affected a “table read” – in which the cast would have run through the script for the comeback episode.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Parsons, Galecki and Cuoco currently earn $325,000 (£190,000) per episode and are seeking up to $1m (£584,000) per show.
Such a deal would make them the highest paid actors on US television – ahead of Ashton Kutcher and Jon Cryer from Two and a Half Men, currently understood to be the most rewarded TV actors.
Both shows were created by Chuck Lorre, who recently said he did not expect the contract dispute to be overly disruptive.
“There are people at Warner Bros. Television and people representing the actors who have done this before,” he said earlier this month.
“This will work itself out. I think it’s great; I want them all to be crazy wealthy because nobody deserves it more than this cast. It’ll work out.”
However, salary negotiations on top-rated comedies have turned ugly before. In 2012, several actors on the hit show Modern Family took legal action to have their contracts declared void in a dispute over pay.
After staging a similar walk-out, TV network Fox relented and doubled their salaries.
CARLTON 7S 2014 EDITION LAUNCHED IN STYLE!
The Carlton Super 7s rugby tournament launched in grand style here in Colombo today(30) with the Blue Carpet launching ceremony. The event filled with colorful stage events along with team introductions.
Sri Lanka Exchange Implements New Business Growth Plan!
Sri Lanka’s Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) has been on a bull run since 2009. Significant post-war growth saw the exchange’s benchmark All Share Index (CSEALL) peak at 7,800 points in February 2011 and although a correction came shortly after, positive market sentiment and a conductive regulatory environment has driven market recovery since mid-2012. Strengthened by an improving economy, the stock exchange appears to be entering a new phase leveraged on strategy, innovation and a redefined business model. Andrew Neil reports.
Clearly, the list of ‘have dones’ is an impressive one. Similarly, for the country’s capital markets, much has been achieved. As war came to an end, CSE’s market capitalisation was a mere $5.2bn with just 230 companies listed. However, since 2009, the market has grown up by 189% reaching a market capitalisation of $19bn. 59 new companies have been listed with the total number of listings reaching 289. The benchmark CSE All Share Index (CSEALL), on average, has outperformed some of the leading global and regional indices between 2009-2013, ranging between 5300 and 6500 in recent times.
“There is undoubtedly positive momentum in the country and its capital markets,” says CSE’s chief executive officer Rajeeva Bandaranaike. “However CSE’s mission and strategic thrust extends beyond purely market performance. “The exchange’s strategic direction, and its roadmap for transformation, constitute a four-pronged approach for growth. Our strategy encompasses capturing further investment flow, enhancing the CSE’s attractiveness as a fund-raising venue, transforming intermediaries and internal competencies to foster growth and developing into a world class organisation.”
Recent signs suggest that Bandaranaike’s goal of luring foreign money to Sri Lankan shores is well underway. 2012 saw net positive flows of foreign investments totalling LKR39bn (around $300m), signalling confidence in the country’s economic prospects after net outflows in 2010 and 2011. This positive trend continued into 2013 with net foreign inflows reaching LKR23bn.
Data from CSE shows that most of last year’s foreign investment went into banks, finance and insurance. The banking sector’s total loan book has grown at 16% CAGR over 2009-2013 on the back of increased economic activity. In an effort to uphold the growth, the Sri Lankan government has extended several incentives to the financial sector. One proposal allows National Development Bank (NDB) and DFCC Bank to raise up to $250m each for foreign sources over a ten year period with the idea to provide long-term financing to key growth sectors.
Foreign investment into beverage, food and tobacco was also positive, hardly surprising given that tourism remains central to Sri Lanka’s growth story. Post-war, the number of tourist arrivals has doubled, leading a boost in activity from retail firms and local and foreign hotel developers.
“Hotels & travel, diversified food and beverage, food and tobacco sectors have consistently traded at higher P/E multiples than the market over the past four years, which reflects their growth trajectory,” says Bandaranaike. “Manufacturing, power, land and property still trade below the market, and present attractive investment opportunities.” Bandaranaike adds that CSEALL has little or no correlation with major worldwide indices, thus making it a good diversification option for investors.”
Boosting foreign investment has been a major focus for the exchange. Together with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC) and Bloomberg Data Services, CSE has held “Invest Sri Lanka” forums in Mumbai, Dubai, Hong Kong and in London in order to take Sri Lanka’s value proposition global.
“So far we’ve been pleased with the high numbers of institutional, high net-worth investors and fund managers showing interest,” adds Bandaranaike. “Three or four years ago we would be dealing with established emerging market institutional investors, now the interest is broadening to a wider number of players.” Foreign funds currently contribute almost 37% of trading. The likes of Wasatch Fund, BBH Mathews Asia Fund, Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund Kazana, Aberdeen Group are among leading foreign funds who have invested the market.
Speaking at the most recent Invest Sri Lanka forum in London, Gordon Fraser, fund manager and a member of the emerging markets specialist team at BlackRock noted that the long term prospects of investing in the country are the most attractive in the frontier market universe. “It is only in the last 18 months that we have put serious capital to work [in the country] and I would say that now is an excellent time to invest in Sri Lanka. I am very positive about the outlook of the economy. In my opinion, the best economic growth stories are supply side led. Here Sri Lanka can excel, adding infrastructure where it did not exist before,” noted Fraser. “The country is also adding port capacity to leverage its position on east-west shipment routes, transforming into a transhipment hub and working on the provision of more efficient and powerful power capacity. These very simple improvements will have a very large impact on the productive potential of the economy.”
Domestic investment is a high priority for the exchange, as Bandaranaike explains. “Education is a key element of creating interest in our market and promoting investment, especially amongst nascent domestic investors. Over the year significant effort was put into understanding, educating and inspiring retail investors.”
Last year CSE opened several new regional branch offices to capture a growing number of domestic investors. The exchange expanded its local footprint by setting up new branches in Anuradhapura, Ratnapura and Hambantota. Additionally the branches in Jaffna and Negombo were relocated to venues offering greater accessibility.
Still, CSE’s market capitalisation of USD$19bn (around 30% of GDP) is low compared to that of most other emerging markets in the region. The regional average is 168% whereas the world average is 74%. Increasingly market capitalisation to 50% of GDP is seen as a key target, and formed the basis of a 10 point action plan introduced by Sri Lanka’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), along with the CSE, in 2013.
Happy Birthday J.K. Rowling!
Gillian Anderson ‘stellar’ in A Streetcar Named Desire!
Gillian Anderson has been praised for her “stellar” turn in a new production of A Streetcar Named Desire.
The Telegraph said the X Files star gave “the performance of her career” as faded Southern belle, Blanche DuBois.
The play opened on Monday at the Young Vic, near London’s South Bank.
“I staggered out of this shattering production of Tennessee Williams’s bruising modern classic feeling shaken, stirred and close to tears,” wrote the Telegraph’s Charles Spencer.
“Never have I seen a production of the play that was so raw in its emotion, so violent and so deeply upsetting,” his five-star review continued.
“The show lasts three and a half hours, but there isn’t a moment when the tension slackens or attention lapses. It is an absolute knock-out.”
The 1947 play has been given a twist by Australian director Benedict Andrews who sets it in a modern apartment which revolves almost constantly in front of the audience.
The story sees an already fragile DuBois completely break down after she moves in with her sister Stella (Vanessa Kirby) and is tormented by her violent brother-in-law, Stanley Kowalski (Ben Foster).
“There’s no doubt that Gillian Anderson gives a stellar performance as Blanche DuBois,” said The Guardian’s Michael Billington. “[She] captures both Blanche’s airy pretensions to grandeur and her desolate loneliness.”
But he had some reservations about keeping the acting space in perpetual motion. “The shifting focus sometimes becomes a distraction and makes the dialogue hard to hear: Just as you’re getting into a scene, the characters float out of view.”
Michael Coveney, in his WhatsonStage review, observed: “As the cage-like rectangle moves, so does our perspective on the characters, whom we can see now in close-up, now in longshot, through a doorway, in the bathroom.
“It’s the best sort of theatre-in-the-round, turning the style’s disadvantages and drawbacks to aesthetic triumph.”
The Hollywood Reporter’s Stephen Dalton said that Andrews had approached an American classic “with gravitas and grit”.
“In a world where feminism, gay rights and post-modern parodies on The Simpsons are now ingrained in popular culture, the feverish netherworld that Williams depicts perhaps inevitably feels more like shrill melodrama than groundbreaking drama.
“Fortunately, Blanche is the saving grace here, a hugely alluring car-crash heroine in any decade. Top marks to Anderson, who gives great diva and appears to enjoy every minute of it.”
A Streetcar Named Desire is at the Young Vic, London, until 19 September. It will be broadcast via NT Live to more than 550 UK cinemas on 16 September.