×

Glaxo Says, “Time For Levinson”

Barry Levinson
Ben Hider | Getty Images
Barry Levinson

"Time for Wapner," is one of my favorite movie lines. It comes from Barry Levinson's "Rain Man," in which Dustin Hoffman's savant character, Raymond, would count down the minutes before "People's Court" came on TV.

Levinson has not had a big hit like "Rain Man" in quite awhile, but he will reportedly be taking onthe topic of bigness in the new GlaxoSmithKline-funded documentary about obesity. GSK makes the over-the-counter diet drug Alli. I especially like American Public Media's "Marketplace" recent reporton the controversial production in which the reporter tells listeners to search YouTube under "Poopy in the pants" to get more info on the drug's nasty side effects. Not sure I could say that on TV with a straight face. Easier to do on radio and in print.

Julia Boorstin, who covers the media and Hollywood for CNBC, says Levinson is directly affiliated with the "Creative Coalition," which is working with GSK on the doc. He most recently directed the group's film "Poliwood," which as the name suggests is about Hollywood and politics. It went straight to "Showtime," never to theaters. I suspect the obesity doc will travel a similar path.

I have six degrees of separation from Levinson.

My bio-mom went to Baltimore's Forest Park High School around the same time Levinson was there. (I'm not gonna get into it here right now, but I was adopted at six-weeks old.) My bio-mom and Levinson didn't know each other, but she tells me her father and his father were part of a weekly neighborhood poker group called, "The 100 Club." According to IMDB, another Forest Park High School attendee was Mama Cass, whose death was obesity-related. (Love "The Mamas & The Papas," btw.) Levinson and Cass Elliot (Ellen Cohen) were actually schoolmates. Interesting connection in the context of the GSK movie deal.

Time to get back to work.

Questions? Comments? Pharma@cnbc.com and follow me on Twitter at mhuckman