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January 2009 Archive

Peter Chernin's Contract Negotiation Now Hurting News Corp Stock On Wall Street

Rich Greenfield at Pali Research has given up on News Corp, changing his “Buy” recommendation to “Sell” within the last 24 hours and dropping his stock target price to $5.50 from $12. The financial analyst was basing his very negative assessment on several issues:  fiscal (June) 2009 operating income expected to decline 30%, with TV profits down 80%, newspapers down over 50%, book publishing down 90%, and filmed entertainment down almost 30%. But I was most interested… Read

R.I.P. Variety Asia

UPDATE: Yes, it’s true. I’m trying to confirm’s report this AM that Patrik Frater, the editor in chief of Variety Asia, and Marcus Lim, the web editor, have been laid off. Frater is known as one of the best connected guys in the region. “And for those who are wondering, yes, this will probably also mean an end to Grady Hendrix's popular “Kaiju Shakedown” blog as both of the men he reports to have just been canned,” the site says. So is it R.I.P. Variety Asia… Read

An Invitation To Ben Silverman's Crib

I’ve already told you about personnel trouble inside all-shook-up NBC. Now I’m told that Ben Silverman is holding a big meeting at his new Pacific Palisades home for all the top NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios senior executives.  (Perhaps in the basement wine room/screening room of his self-described “weekend oasis” purchased last spring and recently featured in Los Angeles Confidential magazine?) The confab’s purpose is to ask “Can’t we all get along?” and… Read

Gersh Loses Two Actors, Signs Two Actors

UPDATE: Someone close to the star of TNT’s The Closer clarified to me that “her team is completely intact except for Gersh. She has the same manager, same lawyer, same publicist, same assistant. Everything’s the same but Gersh.” And, further, that her rethinking her agency “has nothing to do with Bernie Madoff.” So, now that’s clear, she took meetings with various agencies and on Friday signed with UTA. (See my Kyra Sedgwick Signs With United Talent.) Clients come… Read

Now It's Disney/ABC Laying Off 400 Staff

Every day my “inbox” keeps filling with more in-house memos about staff cuts at the studios and networks. This latest whammy has Disney’s ABC Television Group axing 4% of the total workforce all the way up into the executive ranks. About 200 open positions won’t be filled, and another 200 staffers will be let go. Here’s the memo from Disney-ABC TV Group prez Anne Sweeney: Sent: Thursday, January 29, 2009 10:21 AM Subject: Business Update Team: After months of making hard… Read

Former MTV Networks Programming Chief Joins Oprah's OWN As CEO

Christina Norman’s jump to OWN has been rumored ever since the 17-year-veteran of the Viacom network left MTV Networks almost exactly a year ago “to explore something new”. (She’s the one responsible — or, more truthfully, to blame) for all those icky reality shows like The Hills and A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila.) She’ll oversee all business and creative for Oprah Winfrey/Discovery Communications’ cable channel from L.A. as CEO. OWN is supposed to launch in 70 million… Read

'Harry Potter' Stunt Double Injured In UK

Warner Bros is confirming that a stuntman was seriously injured in an accident and taken to the local UK hospital by ambulance. It took place at Leavesden Studios where the latest Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, the seventh and final film based on JK Rowling’s novels, is currently in pre-production. British press reports say the 25-year-old stunt double for the film’s star Daniel Radcliffe was performing an aerial sequence with a harness Thursday AM when he fell to… Read

Is DVD Dilemma On Hollywood's Horizon? Technicolor Owner Thomson Needs Cash

UPDATE: My sources were right: media technology group Thomson SA announced in Paris Thursday that it needs a cash infusion to improve its balance sheet and is exploring solutions with creditors and potential equity investors while warning it was “likely to breach one of its debt covenants”. So here’s the huge problem for Hollywood: the French-headquartered electronics and media giant, since 2001, has owned Technicolor, which is the giant maker of DVDs for the studios. “I… Read

Ammer Exits Marvel Studios After 1 Year

EXCLUSIVE: Geoff Ammer is leaving Marvel Studios as prez of worldwide marketing and will restart his company formerly known as G2 Consulting. He’s been at Marvel since only February 2008. Sources tell me he had just a 1-year contract which is up. And, let’s face it, Marvel’s next movie isn’t until 2010’s Iron Man 2.  Read


This joint SAG/AMPTP statement was released just now: Screen Actors Guild and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to Meet Tuesday Los Angeles (January 28, 2009) —  Screen Actors Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers will meet February 3 and 4, at the AMPTP offices in Sherman Oaks, Calif. We will have no further comment about the… Read