Hollywood insiders brace for James Comey testimony



On Wednesday afternoon, ousted FBI director James Comey had his name on the top of the Twitter trending chart just hours before he's set to take center stage Thursday during testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

But in Hollywood, his name has been on the tip of many tongues for days now as insiders confirm, cancel or rejigger schedules so they can commit undivided attention to the live event, scheduled to start at 7 a.m. PT. The hearing will be aired live, blanketing across broadcast and cable networks, many of which have announced blocks of coverage starting after 6 a.m. and continuing through midday.

Read more: Former FBI Director James Comey's Full Opening Statement Released Ahead of Testimony

Rick Rosen, head of television at WME, tells The Hollywood Reporter that he canceled a doctor's appointment and pushed up business calls to the East Coast and Europe to "very early" in order to watch the testimony. Meanwhile, Paradigm's head of TV Debbee Klein admits that she didn't reschedule anything but will still be watching. "I am curious to know what will be said," she teases.

She's not alone. Comey is expected to be queried on how President Donald Trump sought his loyalty in his first few months in the White House as well as the investigation of fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Trump's relationship with Russia. It will be Comey's first appearance since Trump dismissed him on May 9 and will come less than a day after he revealed his full opening statements to the press.

The early morning start won't interfere with many staff meetings on the West Coast, but could disrupt many East Coast meetings and/or lunches. THR reached out to more than a dozen companies — among them studios, agencies, PR firms and production companies — and found that many insiders will just be pausing regularly scheduled business activities to watch the action live.

"Glued to this!" says veteran manager-producer Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, founder and CEO of the Gotham Group and a longtime Democratic fundraiser.

51 PHOTOS
Reactions to James Comey's Senate testimony
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Reactions to James Comey's Senate testimony
This is history in the making, folks. #ComeyDay #ComeyTestimony #TimeToSetTheRecordStraight #ComeyPleaseSaveUs https://t.co/BvLx0eWjdY
At some point I hope he tells us what he's been binge watching on Netflix since he lost his job #ComeyTestimony
What idiot decided to call it the #ComeyTestimony instead of James and the Giant Impeach?
#comey "It confused me when I learned on television that I was fired over the Russia investigation." #ComeyTestimony
I hope this #ComeyTestimony pilot gets picked up for a full season. It's a bit House of Cards meets American Horror Story, but it's solid.
Comey has now said that Trump has aimed to defame him and the FBI. He literally just called Trump a liar. #ComeyTestimony
Do you have any doubt of Russia's interference in the 2016 election? Comey: None #ComeyTestimony
Comey: "The FBI is honest, the FBI is strong. The FBI is and always will be independent." #ComeyTestimony
Was the FBI able to confirm any allegations in the dossier? "not a question I can answer in an open setting" #ComeyTestimony
If you're tweeting about ANYTHING other than #ComeyTestimony right now...don't. This is maybe the most important thing this year. #comeyday
Sure sounds like the Steele dossier is “credible,” but honestly is anyone at this point surprised? #ComeyTestimony
Maaaaaan this ain't no Super Bowl #Comey #ComeyTestimony #Testicomey
"Not a question I can answer in an open setting"? Come on Comey you don't have a job to lose. #ComeyTestimony
Twitter waiting on Trump tweets #ComeyTestimony https://t.co/pCUiZJoCnR
Comey: Bill Clinton's meeting with AG Loretta Lynch contributed to his decision to publicly discuss Clinton email probe. #ComeyTestimony
One thing is CLEAR: Comey is a highly respected, former member of our government. I can feel the sadness of many. #ComeyTestimony
"I was concerned he might lie." -- former FBI director about the President of the United States. #ComeyTestimony
Now we know what Trump whispered into Comey's ear: "I really look forward to working with you" #ComeyTestimony https://t.co/d0Ij5kYYnV
Comey says he was confused when @realDonaldTrump kept asking him if he wanted the job after telling him 3x he could stay. #ComeyTestimony
Comey on Oval mtg: "I'm 56 yo. I've seen a few things...I knew something was about to happen that I needed to pay very close attention to."
It's sad that I enjoy this far more than I do watching any sporting event. #ComeyTestimony #DCSuperBowl
Comey just gave a good lecture on using leaked info, which is often wrong or misleading #ComeyTestimony
"I take the President at his word that I was fired because of the Russia investigation." - #ComeyTestimony
Comey on Trump's loyalty demand: "I don't know the president well enough to read him well. … it was very awkward." #ComeyTestimony
Comey: Lordy, I hope there are tapes. #ComeyTestimony
Feinstein with the most important Q so far: why didn't you tell #Trump this wasn't appropriate? #ComeyTestimony
"Nice job you got there. 'I hope' nothing happens to it." #ComeyTestimony
Whoever is in charge of hiding the president's phone this morning deserves a raise. #ComeyTestimony
"... the odor of Presidential abuse of power is so strong." - Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon. #ComeyTestimony
"A J. Edgar Hoover situation" can mean a lot of things. #ComeyTestimony
Comey is a really good, experienced witness #ComeyTestimony
OK. The written testimony needed to be pre-reading for ALL of the senators. #ComeyTestimony
I've never wanted Trump to tweet so badly in my entire life. Pick your phone up! Do it!! DO IT!!!!
"A gut feel" = why #ComeySays he kept memos of Trump meetings #ComeyTestimony
#ComeyTestimony "The Russians interfered in our election in 2016-2017... there is no fuzz on that... that's about as unfake as you can get"
Why did he kick everyone out….As an investigator that's a very significant act. #ComeyTestimony
"They'll be back," Comey says of election meddling by the Russians. #ComeyTestimony
Comey says he broke date night with his wife to attend dinner with President Trump. Moral of story, never break date night? #ComeyTestimony
Comey on leaking to the media: "Like feeding seagulls at the beach"
"I need loyalty, I expect loyalty." Front pages today @BostonGlobe @bostonherald #ComeyTestimony @boston25 https://t.co/fIjAlmwqDe
#comey was asked if he thought he would've been fired if Hillary Clinton was president: "I don't know." #ComeyTestimony
Comey: If @realDonaldTrump taped me, 'my feelings aren't hurt. Release all of the tapes. I'm good with it' #ComeyTestimony
"That's Bob Mueller's job to sort that out." When asked whether this arises to obstruction of justice. #ComeyTestimony
Laughter as Comey says he's 'between opportunities' right now. #ComeyTestimony
Senators have 7 minutes to ask questions; not sure why they waste 90 seconds of it on waffle-y preamble #ComeyTestimony
Trump's lawyer expected to make a statement after the Comey hearing finishes #ComeyDay #ComeyTestimony
“I’m not sure if he’s watched any of” #ComeyTestimony, “it’s a regular Thursday of the White House,” says @SHSanders45.
If Comey didn’t trust Trump, he should have resigned. #ComeyTestimony
"I was fired to change the way the Russian investigation was being conducted." #ComeyTestimony
"I'm not going to sit here and try to interpret the president's tweets." - Comey #ComeyHearings #ComeyDay https://t.co/HLXrGxWHZ8
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At ICM Partners in Century City, the hearing will be broadcast on all televisions in common areas, a move that is expected at other agencies in town as well as studios, THR is told. Same for PMK-BNC's offices, according to co-chairman and CEO Cindi Berger.

"Every executive has a TV in their office and there are TVs in common areas," Berger reports. "I'm certain everyone will be riveted!"

She concludes that no matter what happens — and what business does or doesn't get done at offices around the country — the ratings will be huge.

"This is government's version of the Super Bowl!" Berger quips. Coincidentally enough, that's exactly how a bar in Houston, Texas, is referring to Comey's testimony. Watering hole Axelrad is opening early Thursday, just like many bars and restaurants across the country in preparation for the hours-long event.

CBS News has a full roundup for where to drink and watch the hearing.

31 PHOTOS
James Comey through the years
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James Comey through the years
FBI Director James Comey waits before testifying at a House Intelligence Committee hearing into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 20, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
UNITED STATES - JUNE 14: Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey speaks at a conference at the Bloomberg News Bureau in Washington DC June 14, 2004. (Photo by Ken Cedeno/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama announces James Comey (L), a Republican who served in the Bush Justice Department, as his choice to replace Robert Mueller as the next FBI director, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, June 21, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)
WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES: US Deputy Attorney General James Comey (L) and FBI Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Gary Bald take questions 05 August, 2004, at the Justice Department in Washington, DC, after announcing that two men from Albany, New York, were arrested charging each with concealing material support for terrorism and participating in a money laundering conspiracy. Mosque Imam Yassin Aref, 34, and mosque founder Mohammed Hoosain, 49, were arrested following a raid on an Albany mosque late 04 August. Officials said the two men had agreed to launder money to help a presumed terrorist, actually an undercover FBI agent, buy a shoulder-fired missile. AFP PHOTO / TIM SLOAN (Photo credit should read TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 21: James Comey (L) FBI Director nominee walks with outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller (R) to a ceremony annoucing Comey's nomination in the Rose Garden at the White House June 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. Comey, a former Justice Department official under President George W. Bush, would replace Mueller. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
James Comey, U.S. President Barack Obama's nominee as director of the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), arrives to a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, July 9, 2013. Comey, the nominee to be the next FBI director, said interrogation techniques such as waterboarding used during his time in President George W. Bush's administration constitute torture and are illegal. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
FBI Director James Comey, right, talks to Spain's Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz, left, during a meeting in Madrid, Spain, Monday, Dec. 9, 2013. Photo: Rodrigo Garcia/NurPhoto (Photo by NurPhoto/Corbis via Getty Images)
FBI Director James B. Comey testifies in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - AUGUST 20: Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey speaks during a press conference at the conclusion of a visit to the Denver FBI Field Office on Wednesday, August 20, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. Director Comey's visit to the Denver FBI Field Office is part of his plan to visit all FBI Field Offices in his first year as director. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
The shadow of FBI Director James Comey is seen as he addresses the audience during the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) annual meeting at the State Department in Washington, DC on November 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ MLADEN ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
FBI Director James Comey adjusts his tie before testifying to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on ?Russia?s intelligence activities" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 10, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
FBI Director James Comey testifies before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the "Oversight of the State Department" in Washington U.S. July 7, 2016. REUTERS/Gary Cameron
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 13: FBI Director James Comey arrives at the U.S. Capitol for a classified briefing on Russia for all members of the House of Representatives January 13, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The internal Office of the Inspector General at the Justice Department announced yesterday that it is conducting a review on the handling of FBI and DOJ's investigation into the Hillary Clinton private e-mail server case. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
FBI Director James Comey testifies to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on ?Russia?s intelligence activities" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 10, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 10: FBI Director James Comey and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (L-R) arrive to testify before the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill January 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. The intelligence heads testified to the committee about cyber threats to the United States and fielded questions about effects of Russian government hacking on the 2016 presidential election. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - JULY 8: Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey (L) announces indictment of the former Enron CEO, Kenneth Lay, while FBI Director Robert Mueller listens July 8, 2004 in Washington DC. Lay was indicted on 11 counts, including securities and wire fraud and false and misleading statements surrounding the collapse of the energy giant. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
James Brien Comey, Jr. (born December 14, 1960) is the seventh and current Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2013. (Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 31: Manhattan U.S. Attorney James Comey announces the arrest in Italy of alleged Russian mobster Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov on charges that he engineered the ice-skating vote swap scandal that rocked the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Tokhtakhounov allegedly fixed the Russian skaters' victory in figure skating in exchange for throwing the gold medal to two French ice dancers. Amid worldwide outrage, the Canadian figure skaters were eventually awarded a second gold medal. , (Photo by Todd Maisel/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 21: FBI Director nominee James Comey (L) speaks as U.S. President Barack Obama (R) looks on during a ceremony announcing Comey's nomination in the Rose Garden of the White House June 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. Comey is a former Justice Department official in the administration of former U.S. President George W. Bush. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 18: Manhattan U.S. Attorney James Comey during an interview wirth the Daily News. (Photo by Robert Rosamilio/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - JUNE 08: The Honorable James Comey, Deputy Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, is sworn in before delivering testimony during the House Judiciary Committee hearing concerning reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act June 8, 2005 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The Committee has heard from 30 witnesses during its 10 hearings this year, from both supporters and those with concerns over certain aspects of this anti-terrorism law. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
James Comey, U.S. President Barack Obama's nominee as director of the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), laughs during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, July 9, 2013. Comey, the nominee to be the next FBI director, said interrogation techniques such as waterboarding used during his time in President George W. Bush's administration constitute torture and are illegal. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
UNITED STATES - JUNE 26: James Comey, right, President Obama's nominee as the next director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, meets with Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., in the Russell Senate Office Building on Wednesday, June 26, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 04: FBI Director James Comey testifies during a hearing before the House (Select) Intelligence Committee February 4, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee held a hearing to examine threats to the U.S. from all around the world. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
FBI Director James Comey (L) and US Attorney General Eric Holder announce a record 8.9 billion USD fine against the French bank BNP Paribas for violating international sanctions during a press conference at the US Justice Department in Washington on June 30, 2014. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
FBI Director James B. Comey testifies in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)
FBI Director James Comey is sworn in prior to testifying before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 3, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey speaks at the Intelligence National Security Alliance Leadership Dinner at the Hilton Mark Center in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., March 29, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
U.S. President Barack Obama (C) sits with FBI Director James Comey in the Oval Office in Washington after making comments to the media about shootings at military facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee, July 16, 2015. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
BOSTON, MA - MARCH 08: FBI Director James Comey speaks at a cybersecurity conference at Boston College on March 8, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. Comey, delivering the keynote address to the two-day conference, did not address recent claims by President Donald Trump that former President Barack Obama ordered a a wiretap of then-candidate Trump. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
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