Yesterday, we learned that Paramount distribution chief Wayne Lewellen had been dumped in favor of former Dreamworks distrib president Jim Tharpe. Today, we're getting more details on the shift, and it looks like it was anything but amicable. As suspected, Lewellen's status as a member of the old Paramount guard meant very little to new Paramount chief Brad Grey – or, at least, very little good. Grey, who was vacationing in South Africa at the time, instructed newbie marketing officer Rob Moore to inform 33-year veteran Lewellen, on the day before Christmas, that he had been terminated. I don't know where these chatty cathys got the idea that studio execs are suppossed to have manners, but that slight has apparently got the whisper train rolling. "It's just horrible. Truly horrible," a "high-level studio source" told Page Six. "Brad fired him at Christmas and he didn't even have the common decency to pick up the phone and call Wayne himself. He had to have his henchman do it. Wayne is the best in the business and to just toss him out like that is unforgivable."

The quick blow is apparently the first of many to come. The Sixxers' source claims that whilst trying to secure the merger, Grey made a promise to Dreamworks' Steven Spielberg and David Geffen that they'd be able to place any of their people anywhere in the Paramount organization that they liked. This is a double boon for Grey, who has been apparently looking for excuses to clean the Paramount house of the employees he inherited. "
Unlike Brad, who just got here and couldn't care less about us, Steven has actual loyalty to his people," says the source. "Brad must have figured it was easier to get rid of everyone who built Paramount than to risk crossing Steven or screwing up the deal."  And so Grey lounges on the beach, no doubt surrounded by servants and nubile young boys, whilst Paramount's entire distribution division fears for their jobs. "Everyone is going nuts. Paramount isn't going to tell anyone whether or not they still have jobs until DreamWorks comes in and decides who gets to stay."
categories Movies, Cinematical