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Inside The New Hollywood Newsletter That Everyone Is Reading
If you like your industry gossip served with a healthy side of snark, former Buzzfeed LA bureau chief and Gawker alum Richard Rushfield has just launched the newsletter for you. Rushfield's daily industry news infusion,"The Ankler," reads like a crossover between Deadline and the "Defamer" branch of Gawker (RIP): the behind-the-scenes Hollywood intel is as solid as anything you'll find in the trades, but it's delivered without a shred of the sycophancy that so often sneaks its way into mainstream entertainment news. The Ankler, which launched in February, has fast become essential reading for industry-ites and their acolytes, despite still technically being in what Rushfield dubs "free beta mode" (he has eventual plans for a paid subscription model).
Richard Rushfield. (Photo courtesy of Richard Rushfield)
Rushfield, who most recently helmed Hitfix, founded The Ankler in response to existing coverage of the film-and-TV industry by the trades and major newspapers, which he saw as becoming increasingly enamored of power and success. "Breathlessly echoing the stories of the rich and powerful is not my understanding of what journalism should be," Rushfield told LAist, praising the now-defunct Defamer's ability to "get lots of tips and scoops about who's having a meltdown in the commissary" without becoming beholden to industry power-players. No studio exec or A-list star is sacred to Rushfield, whose 20 years covering film and TV for media outlets including Vanity Fair and the LA Times have taught him the value of "speaking frankly about Hollywood the same way we discuss the pharma or petroleum industries—despite the fact that it's a crazy place filled with insane people."
The Ankler cocked an eyebrow at conventional Hollywood wisdom with its coverage of the barely-averted writer's strike, placing the chances of a strike at a mere 24% (significantly slimmer than the 50-50 odds predicted by The Hollywood Reporter).
Girlboss writer and Funny or Die alum Jake Fogelnest called Rushfield's WGA coverage the best in town on Twitter, and Rushfield also made a point of examining the ways in which a WGA strike would affect the industry's middle-class workers.
Taking all my strength not to do a "Toldja" this morning, re my strike odds. Send your prayers— Ankler Rushfield (@richardrushfield) May 2, 2017
"Winner/Loser of the Week" smackdowns (ex. Universal Pictures vs. Sony) and gossipy takedowns of industry insiders like Nikki Finke provide The Ankler's requisite fun and froth, but Rushfield describes the newsletter's main goal as "giving a voice to the people who don't usually have one—assistants, up-and-comers, below-the-line folks." Rushfield decries what he calls the top-down "Silicon-Valley-ization" of Hollywood, explaining, "when the middle of the industry is getting squeezed out at a time when it's more expensive than ever for the average person to live in L.A., it's not conducive to having a thriving creative community."
You can subscribe to The Ankler here. Email email@example.com with questions, comments or particularly juicy Hollywood tips.