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Media Moves: Speier Leaves Deadline, Smith Leaves EW for Peace Corps, Borella to USC

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood January 7, 2011 at 1:31AM

As the trade world has turned upside down over the last two years, Michael Speier has moved from executive editor of Variety (during the downsizing of 2009) to editor at The Wrap to corporate PR at Disney to managing editor at Deadline. In recent weeks, however, Speier has shifted to editing duties at less frenetic Jay Penske properties Movieline and now, Michael Ausiello's new site, TVLine, which successfully launched Wednesday. (EW was sorry to lose all that Ausiello Files traffic, but quickly poached James Hibberd from The Hollywood Reporter.)
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Thompson on Hollywood
Thompson on Hollywood

As the trade world has turned upside down over the last two years, Michael Speier has moved from executive editor of Variety (during the downsizing of 2009) to editor at The Wrap to corporate PR at Disney to managing editor at Deadline. In recent weeks, however, Speier has shifted to editing duties at less frenetic Jay Penske properties Movieline and now, Michael Ausiello's new site, TVLine, which successfully launched Wednesday. (EW was sorry to lose all that Ausiello Files traffic, but quickly poached James Hibberd from The Hollywood Reporter.)

It isn't hard to figure that there isn't room for more than one manager at five-year-old Deadline, where Nikki Finke, although she now takes the rare vacation, is very much in charge of her burgeoning site (where she still stays away from ad sales; that's Lynne Segall's department). She edited Deadline's five print Oscar supplements, which ballooned in scale as advertisers jumped on board, to the chagrin of The Hollywood Reporter, Variety and The Wrap, which have far greater overhead and need the print ads more than Deadline does. The Wrap also attempted a skimpier print edition.

Speaking of EW, Sean Smith is leaving his gig as west coast editor of Entertainment Weekly to serve for two years in the Peace Corps--an utterly voluntary spiritual and lifestyle choice. He is NOT being replaced by EW's Oscar ace Dave Karger, who moved out from New York in July, but remains a senior writer (a Santa Barbara Film festival release got his title wrong). EW is still figuring that out.

Also making a change is PR man Jeff Hill, who will now run his continuing New York IHOP operation (which handles specialty films, many from Sony Pictures Classics) from his new base in Palm Springs. His welcome to California party at Candela this week gathered the creme-de-la-creme of smart cinephile distribs, journalists, fest players and PR mavens. For some years now, ex-LA publicists Blaise Noto and Claudia Grey have plied their trade in Hawaii, away from the industry fray.

And taking the academic route is PR exec Kristin Borella, who has left MGM to become associate dean, communications and public relations at USC. Last year, journalism refugee Tim Swanson left the LAT to teach at American River College in Sacramento, his home town.

Thompson on Hollywood


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.