Peter Benton Bart (born July 24, 1932) is an American journalist and film producer, writing a column for Deadline.com since 2015. He is perhaps best known for his lengthy tenure (from 1989–2009) as the editor in chief of Variety, an entertainment-trade magazine.
Bart was also a co-host, with film producer Peter Guber, of the weekly television series, Shootout (formerly Sunday Morning Shootout), carried on the AMC television channel from 2003 to 2008 and subsequently seen in syndication and in 53 countries around the world.
Bart was born in New York City, the son of Clara and M.S. Bart. His mother and possibly his father were Austrian Jews who emigrated in the early Twentieth Century.
Bart was educated at Friends Seminary in New York City; Swarthmore College, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and The London School of Economics and Political Science in London, United Kingdom.
He served as a reporter and columnist for The New York Times and as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal and the Chicago Sun-Times prior to entering the film business.
Starting in 1967, Bart worked as an executive at Paramount Pictures, rising to vice president in charge of production; his relationship with Robert Evans was documented in Evans' autobiography The Kid Stays in the Picture. He played a key role in such films as Rosemary's Baby (1968), True Grit (1969), Harold and Maude (1971), The Godfather (1972) and Paper Moon (1973). After eight years at Paramount he became senior vice president for production at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and president of Lorimar Productions, where he was involved in such films as Being There (1979) and The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981). Bart also served as a co-producer on such films as Fun with Dick and Jane (1977) and Islands in the Stream (1977). He also wrote the screenplay for the 1971 film Making It .
He joined Variety as editor-in-chief in 1989. In 2007, Bart appointed Tim Gray to become his successor as editor with the understanding that he would stay on as columnist, blogger and consultant. In April 2009, it was announced that Bart was moving to the position of "vice president and editorial director", characterized online as "Boffo No More: Bart Up and Out at Variety".
In 2001, Los Angeles Magazine reported that Bart had sold the rights to an 86-page novella called Power Play, about "a power struggle between established casino owners and Indian tribes," to Paramount Pictures, where his friend and business associate Robert Evans was a producer. Bart explained he had "probably spent a weekend" adapting the novella from a 108-page script called Crossroaders. The title page of the script showed it had been authored "By Leslie Cox", Bart's wife at the time, "Based on the novel by Peter Bart. September 1996." When asked if he wrote the script himself as well, Bart said he could not remember. Variety policy prohibits staffers from selling scripts, as doing so could generate a conflict of interest given that publication's focus and influence on the Hollywood movie industry, though Bart said he has no problem with staff selling the movie rights to books they have written.
He served as executive producer and screenwriter of the documentary film, Boffo! Tinseltown's Bombs and Blockbusters (2006) shown on the HBO television channel.
Through the years Bart has published eight books, including five non-fiction and three fiction.
He serves on the Board of Advisors for Penske Media Company.
Bart is married to the former Phyllis Fredette. He has two daughters, Dilys Bart Shelton and Colby Bart Centrella.
His nephew is actor Roger Bart.