Call it Hollywood's latest open relationship: HBO and the super-producer Scott Rudin have ended their exclusive television partnership and are both free to sow their oats where they please.
Although it's unclear which party terminated the deal, two different accounts that surfaced late Wednesday suggest the "Newsroom" producer is seeking more breathing room after some of his projects were axed by HBO along the development process.
According to Deadline Hollywood, a spokesperson for Rudin said that, given HBO's perpetually full production slate, the producer has decided to start shopping his projects elsewhere. On the flip side of that report, an unnamed source reportedly told Deadline's Nikki Finke that HBO was "so tired of Scott Rudin's antics that they terminated his overall deal." However, Rudin's spokesman denied that account.
Meanwhile, TheWrap published a statement from HBO in which the network said it is "allowing Scott the flexibility to explore setting up some of the projects he brought to us elsewhere."
HBO went on to say that it looks forward to continuing to work with Rudin on "The Newsroom," Aaron Sorkin's behind-the-scenes cable-news drama that was renewed for a second season earlier this month despite less-than-kind reviews and lackluster ratings. Last week, amid reports that the show's entire writing team was being revamped, HBO confirmed that it is laying off some writers for next season, although said that the process "is nothing out of the ordinary."
Rudin was also apparently disappointed when HBO in May decided not to proceed with the long-gestating screen version of Jonathan Franzen's "The Corrections," which Rudin was set to produce. The series, originally conceived as a film, would have boasted an all-star cast that included such big-screen heavyweights as Ewan McGregor, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper and Dianne Wiest. It was to be directed by indie helmer Noah Baumbach of "The Squid and the Whale" and "Greenberg" fame. HBO was reportedly unhappy with attempts to adapt the challenging narrative of the story, which follows a Midwestern family from the mid-20th century to the turn of the millennium.
There is no word on how HBO and Rudin's new open relationship will affect the pair's other in-development projects, including the upcoming Ben Stiller comedy "All Talk," which the comic actor will both star in and direct. However, given the Rudin's broadly diverse showbiz history, anything is possible. With a resume that spans film, television, music and Broadway, Rudin is among only a handful of people who have been initiated into the coveted EGOT club -- the unofficial name for people who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony award.