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Kobalt Music Responds to Sale Rumors With a Long ‘Maybe’

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Music publishing giant Kobalt, whose roster includes Paul McCartney, The Weeknd, Dave Grohl, Childish Gambino and Lorde, responded to sale rumors that broke into the open on Wednesday evening with a wordy “maybe.”

“We’ve always had great interest in the company,” a rep for Kobalt said in statement. “We’re always evaluating the best capital structure for the business to make sure we have the right capital partners to continue to build and grow the world’s best independent company for artists and songwriters.” Bloomberg reported Wednesday that the company is “working with advisers to explore strategic options including a potential sale,” citing sources as saying it could be valued at more than $1 billion.

The rumor is the latest in the song-catalog boom of the past few years, which has seen companies like SONGS Music sold for a reported $150 million — to Kobalt, as it happens — and fast-rising newcomer Hipgnosis investing more than $1 billion in catalogs in less than two years.

Kobalt’s likely suitors would seem at first to be the three majors, Sony/ATV, Universal and Warner, and Hipgnosis. However, Hipgnosis last week acquired the indie publisher Big Deal — incuding its infrastructure and 35 staffers — and for the majors the complexity and expense of merging with a company the size of 20-year-old Kobalt, which has more than 700 employees in 12 offices across the globe and represents some 25,000 songwriters, could be a deterrent. Sources tell Variety that various entities have circled Kobalt but shied away, due to the price, the nature of its deals — many of which are said to be short-term — or the fact that not all of the company’s current roster necessarily would be included in a deal. However, an investment firm or technology company could make a splashy move into music with an acquisition, or Kobalt could simply continue to ride the rising tide of copyrights.

Kobalt was founded in Sweden by Willard Ahdritz (pictured above) with a proudly stated emphasis on technology, timely payments and transparency in a business that has not traditionally been renowned for those qualities. The company has risen to become one of the world’s largest publishers, and sale rumors picked up in January when Ahdritz shifted from CEO to chairman.

 

 

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The 50 Best Spy TV Shows Ever

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(Photo by FX)

Deciding which series are worthy of inclusion on a list of the best spy shows and streaming series ever is a matter of mystery itself.

With its propensity for disguises, double-crosses, and surveillance, FX’s Cold War–era drama The Americans, is certainly about spies. But the series — which has a 96% series-level Tomatometer score, every season of which is Certified Fresh (including one 100% CF season), and is regarded by critics as one of the greatest shows in this Golden Age of Television — is also about marriage, parenting, and history’s winning side’s ability to whitewash facts. Should it receive a lower ranking on our ultimate spy show list than a classic like CBS’s Mission: Impossible? Also of note: They both have catchy theme songs.

Where should a complicated sci-fi caper like Starz’s Counterpart stand? The series, which returns for season 2 on December 9, finished off its first season with one of those rare, perfect 100% Certified Fresh Tomatometer scores. It stars J.K. Simmons as both a mild-mannered bureaucratic pencil pusher and his aggro alt-universe counterpart, who hunt dangerous reality-hopping spies.

The espionage stories of John le Carré have also had televised adaptations. Le Carré’s The Night Manager (featuring one of Britain’s top Toms) and, most recently, The Little Drummer Girl both aired on AMC, are Certified Fresh at 90% on the Tomatometer, and rank high on our spy series list.

Spycraft can also be quite funny, as in Mel Brooks and Buck Henry’s beloved Get Smart, which ran on NBC and CBS in the late ’60s, and the long-running animated FX comedy Archer, which has a 93% Tomatometer score.

We considered more than Tomatometer scores to finalize our spy show ranking, however; we also looked at variables like how many seasons each series has, how each of those seasons scored, how many reviews determined those scores, and whether those seasons were Certified Fresh, We looked at other reputable media lists of top spy series to help gauge where to place some classic series without enough reviews to register a Tomatometer score, and then applied a dose of editorial discretion to break some ties and rank some titles based on their cultural resonance.

Check out Rotten Tomatoes’ list of best spy shows ever before it self destructs in three … two … just kidding. Like the FBI’s most wanted list, we’ll keep updating this dossier as more information becomes available.

Synopsis: Spy drama about five American, British and Canadian recruits to a World War II espionage school…. [More]

Synopsis: A case officer at a Berlin CIA station tries to unearth the source of a leak in this drama…. [More]

Synopsis: A French military attaché is drawn into a world of betrayal in the diplomatic salons of Warsaw in the years… [More]

Synopsis: A federal agent goes undercover to infiltrate a group of Islamic terrorists in Los Angeles…. [More]

Synopsis: A drama about FBI trainees at the FBI Academy in Quantico, one of whom is a sleeper agent who will… [More]

Synopsis: A cult favorite about an enigmatic former government agent who turns vigilante, offering his services as a one-man security force… [More]

Synopsis: The popular adventures of a resourceful former Special Forces operative, who undertakes impossible missions at the behest of a crimefighting… [More]

Synopsis: A pre-James Bond Roger Moore plays the urbane, Robin Hood-like Simon Templar, who may skirt the law, but always for… [More]

Synopsis: A drama based on the true lives of America’s earliest spies, the Revolutionary War-era Culper Ring…. [More]

Synopsis: A spy series about a private-security agent who returns to work a year after an attempt on her life, a… [More]

Synopsis: British sci-fi series about a scientist who develops a potion that renders him invisible. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have an antidote… [More]

Synopsis: Aaron Spelling’s jiggly classic about gorgeous gumshoes working for an unseen boss garnered as much derision as it did male… [More]

Synopsis: Using the popular DC Comics title as a springboard for riveting and intelligent action and adventure, Human Target provides a… [More]

Synopsis: Young, beautiful and condemned to death for a vicious crime she didn’t commit, Nikita is given a second chance to… [More]

Synopsis: Debonair burglar Alexander Mundy is released from jail when he agrees to work for a U.S. agency in this genial… [More]

Adjusted Score: 100.564%

Critics Consensus: Sharply intelligent, visually striking, and bracingly bleak, The Prisoner remains a political metaphor for the ages.

Synopsis: An imaginative, mesmerizing—and enigmatic—British cult series about a character known only as Number 6 (series creator Patrick McGoohan) who, after… [More]

Synopsis: Popular tongue-in-cheek adventure about Old West Bond-like intelligence agent James T. West clashing with an array of (usually psychotic) villains…. [More]

Synopsis: A man unexpectedly stumbles into a career with MI5 after quitting his mundane job at a computer store…. [More]

Synopsis: An eccentric millionaire and his five sons make up an international rescue team who use a Thunderbird spacecraft to come… [More]

Synopsis: An action-adventure series following Peggy Carter as she does undercover work for Howard Stark while also holding down a routine… [More]

Synopsis: A dramatic thriller based on novelist Tom Clancy’s CIA operative as he begins his career in the spy game…. [More]

Synopsis: An intelligence officer takes an undercover assignment in Iran, but PTSD spells, incompetency in the federal government and the challenges… [More]

Synopsis: An animated comedy spanning time and place to follow the misadventures of suave spy Sterling Archer and his misguided cohorts… [More]

Synopsis: A gay man is drawn into the dangerous world of espionage when his boyfriend, who works for the Secret Intelligence… [More]

Synopsis: A presumed-dead ex-CIA agent and a billionaire software genius try to stop crimes before they happen…. [More]

Synopsis: Spyjinks involving two slick agents with the United Network Command for Law Enforcement, which combats an organization called Thrush. Tongue-in-cheek… [More]

Synopsis: A spy emerges from hiding to seek revenge on a clandestine government agency that betrayed her after rescuing her as… [More]

Synopsis: A spy attempts to uncover why he was kicked out of the business while helping Miami locals who can’t rely… [More]

Synopsis: An inexperienced CIA trainee with top-notch linguistic skills becomes a field operative under mysterious circumstances in this action-drama series…. [More]

Synopsis: A flawless adaptation of John le Carre’s spy novel about the search for a Soviet mole who has burrowed into… [More]

Synopsis: British master spy George Smiley returns for a final encounter with his deadly Soviet counterpart, Karla, in an Emmy-nominated adaptation… [More]

Synopsis: Inspector Gereon Rath, shell-shocked from his service in World War I, uncovers a dangerous web of intrigue when he investigates… [More]

Synopsis: For decades, ex-government agent Raymond “Red” Reddington has been one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives. Brokering shadowy deals for… [More]

Adjusted Score: 99.388%

Critics Consensus: The Little Drummer Girl marches to a steady beat of assured plotting, extraordinary art direction, and a uniformly terrific cast that makes the show’s smolderingly slow burn pace bearable.

Synopsis: The drama series is based on the novel of the same name written by John le Carré and follows the… [More]

Adjusted Score: 94.506%

Critics Consensus: The Night Manager‘s smart writing and riveting story are elevated all the more by Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston’s captivating performances.

Synopsis: Jonathan Pine (Tom Hiddleston), a former British soldier turned night manager in a luxury hotel in Cairo, ends up in… [More]

Adjusted Score: 91.825%

Critics Consensus: Well-acted and powerfully written, The Looming Tower delivers gripping counter-terrorism drama rendered even more soberingly effective through its roots in real-life events.

Synopsis: This drama series exposes the increasing danger of Al-Qaeda in the late 1990s, focusing on how the clash between the… [More]

Synopsis: An action-adventure series based on the Marvel Comics secret-intelligence organization headed by Agent Phil Coulson…. [More]

Synopsis: British spies in 1972 London attempt to stop a secret Soviet plot to destroy Britain…. [More]

Synopsis: German-language spy drama set in the 1980s has a twentysomething East German native go undercover in West Germany, where he… [More]

Synopsis: Starring Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer, Killing Eve centers on two women: Eve (Oh) is a bored, whip-smart, pay-grade MI5… [More]

Synopsis: Elite special agents undertook top-secret assignments in crackerjack episodes, which kicked off with the team leader receiving instructions via a… [More]

Synopsis: An espionage series about a mysterious world hidden beneath the surface of our everyday existence…. [More]

Synopsis: ‘Would you believe,’ as Maxwell Smart would say, this spy spoof was for a time all the rage (and an… [More]

Synopsis: A sleek, fast-paced BBC hit focusing on domestic-security intelligence agents, dealing with threats that range from arms merchants to germ… [More]

Synopsis: Cloak-and-dagger thrillers are subtly skewered in this cult adventure series centering on unflappable bowler-hatted British counterspy John Steed, whose upper… [More]

Synopsis: A sexy, high-octane thrill ride filled with espionage, intrigue and cliffhangers. It chronicles the adventures of operative Sydney Bristow as… [More]

Synopsis: An exciting and edgy real-time action series about U.S. counterterrorist agent Jack Bauer trying to save his country from foreign… [More]

Synopsis: From executive producer, Josh Schwartz (“The O.C.”) and executive producer-director McG (“Charlie’s Angels,” “We Are Marshall”) comes a one-hour, action-comedy… [More]

Synopsis: A troubled CIA operative tries to balance her unsteady private life with her risky high-level job…. [More]

Synopsis: Two KGB spies pose as an American married couple living in 1980s Washington, D.C…. [More]

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TIME100 Talks: Emilia Clarke on Representation and Health

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Emilia Clarke—known for displaying strength as Daenerys Targaryen and exuding warmth in movies like Last Christmas and Me Before You—is no stranger to hospitals and healthcare workers. After suffering two brain aneurysms starting in 2011, her road to recovery brought her to a deep appreciation for the care she received during her journey back to health—and to want to enable others with brain injuries to find similar resources, the actor shared in a TIME100 Talks that aired on Sept. 24.

Clarke’s own experiences have provided her with what she called an “armor of sorts” to face the pandemic. “When you personally come very close to dying—which I did twice—it brings into light a conversation which you have with yourself which goes to the tune of: appreciation for the things you have in your life, thanks for the people who are here,” she said.

SameYou, Clarke’s brain injury recovery charity, attempts to help serve that purpose. But like many other organizations this year, SameYou has felt the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People with brain injuries were leaving hospital early,” she said. “My heart was bleeding for all the people who weren’t able to get what I was able to get.” Experimenting with new virtual ways to connect with brain injury patients has presented its own silver linings, however. “COVID has paradoxically been quite an incredible moment for us to really assess that properly and see: how are the ways, during a global pandemic, can we reach out and make people not feel alone?”

Clarke also discussed the “collective grief” she thinks we are all facing, and the empathy that it might engender. “What can come out of this is the knowledge that this stuff we place so much importance on the, the things, the materialistic things, take a backseat,” she said. “When you feel bad, when you feel low, when you feel sad, when you feel scared—I think there’s a societal setup for you to grab for more to fix it, to kind of cover it. When really what you need is to strip it back and be introspective and reflective where possible. That’s the thing that’s going to last you for the rest of your life.”

While Clarke’s on-camera work has been on hold, she’s stayed active reading poetry on her social media and participating in things like a theatrical table read of a play with her friend and colleague Emma Thompson, who also wrote her TIME100 tribute in 2019, with proceeds going to charity. And when it comes to returning to showbiz, Clarke—who has been vocal about the issues she faced on the Game of Thrones set—is optimistic about how the industry has changed. “There are [now] things like intimacy coaches, which is wonderful, and something that was very far away from my experience,” she said.

Lately, she’s particularly encouraged by movements toward representative storytelling. “Whose stories are we hearing? Who are we hearing? That’s vital. Inclusivity of humanity—of everybody—there’s not enough representation,” she said. “I believe it’s coming. That’s something I care about, and the way that audiences can support that is by watching things … and giving them big box office numbers. It’s a business.”

Expanding the breadth of stories we see on screen is good for everyone, she added: “The world will be richer for it.”

Clarke’s approach right now is earnest hope. “I just keep saying the cheesiest things, but I believe in humanity, I believe in us. It’s chilling that it takes a global pandemic to make a bunch of us stop and assess and see what we have. But I’m hopeful that our healthcare workers and our frontline workers are going to be supported forever,” she said. “I’m hopeful that in the wake of Black Lives Matter and everything that’s happened around that, we will continue to see stories from everyone. I’m hopeful that when we’re not fighting a virus that doesn’t care where you come from or how much money you have, we’ll still say, ‘Oh, we’re on the same side!’”

Write to Raisa Bruner at raisa.bruner@time.com.

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Mandy Moore & Taylor Goldsmith Expecting First Child Together — See Her Baby Bump!

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She’s having a baby!

Mandy Moore and Taylor Goldsmith are expecting their first child together.

Jenna Jones

Mandy showed off her baby bump on Instagram, even revealing the gender in the message: “Baby Boy Goldsmith coming early 2021.”

Moore was just spotted in L.A. over the weekend in a flowy dress, showing just the hint of a baby bump.

mandy-moore-backgrid

Backgrid

Taylor, also a musician, popped the question in May 2017, and the pair tied the knot in November 2019.

Back in 2017, Moore told “Extra” between playing a mom of three on “This Is Us” and and a woman saving kids in “The Darkest Minds,” she was getting the message that she should have kids. The star joked, “Clearly, something in my life is telling me, ‘Have children, have children, you need to have children.’”

She added, “I’m equal parts excited and terrified at the prospect of having kids sometime in the future.”

A few months later, Mandy told us she was also thinking about adoption, which has been a storyline on “This Is Us.”

She explained, “It’s funny, because it is something the show obviously really taps into, it’s something my guy and I have talked a lot about. Perhaps that’s going to be a part of our life at some point.”

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