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September 2009 Archive

Half A Dozen Companies Tire-Kicking GE's NBC Universal In Advance Of Vivendi Put: No Deals Imminent, No Prices Yet

Earlier this month, I posted about all the rumors surrounding GE and its 80% ownership of NBC Universal now that the Vivendi put is coming due. (The conventional wisdom, as yet unconfirmed, is that Vivendi may decide to sell its 20% of NBCU this year since the French company is more interested in expanding into telcom than hanging onto a non-core asset like media.) So a “what if” scenario is developing between GE and interested companies which include media giants. I’ve… Read

LA Times Names Online Showbiz Editor

Why does everytime the Los Angeles Times makes an entertainment coverage personnel move, the positions always sound identical? The newspaper today announced Lisa Fung as Online Arts & Entertainment Editor to oversee multimedia coverage of all arts and entertainment, including Calendar, The Envelope and Company Town, as well as more than a dozen blogs. In addition, Fung is supposed to develop new online properties. Fung has been with the LAT for more than 21… Read

GLAAD's 2009-2010 TV Season Study: More Gay Characters On Network, Fewer On Cable

Tomorrow, GLAAD's 14th annual "Where We Are on TV" report, which measures the quantity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people on primetime and cable television for the the 2009-2010 TV season. I’ve learned some of the key stats will show: — Quantity of gay and lesbian characters on primetime broadcast is up for the second year in a row. GLAAD counted the total number as well as the percentage compared to the total number of series regulars. Last year characters… Read

Bill Mechanic On Moguls' Bad Decisions

I’ve been sent Bill Mechanic’s keynote speech about the future of indies from this morning’s Independent Film & Television Production Conference. The former chairman/CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment from 1994 to 2000, is now an indie producer (Coraline) and owner of Pandemonium LLC. Mechanic has always been one of the more pensive and articulate execs in Hollywood: “I was asked to address you this morning with my observations on the present as well as the future state of… Read

Email Asking Global Film Community To Sign Petition For Polanski Release

EXCLUSIVE: I have obtained the email which is going out tonight imploring Hollywood and world moviemakers to add their names to a petition protesting Roman Polanski’s Swiss jailing and possible extradition to Los Angeles. Dear Friend, Thierry Fremaux told me the shocking news of Roman's arrest in Zurich, which by now the whole world is attuned to. We are all incredibly distressed and disappointed by this turn of events, particularly as Roman was en route to receive an… Read

Weinstein Co's Dimension Films Stops Pre-Production On 'Halloween 3D'; 'Halloween II' Set For Holiday Re-Release

EXCLUSIVE: So here’s what happened: the script only came in Friday, and it was the first draft that Dimension Films had seen. And The Weinstein Co was rushing to get the film into production for a November start date because it has to be done by January when director Patrick Lussier starts a film for Avi Lerner. A release for Summer 2010 was planned. Sure, the rumor mill claims TWC is out of money amid all those layoffs, and TWC couldn’t agree on a $2.5M budget battle… Read

WGA East Announces 11 New Digital Media Signatories, First Under Writers Guild 2.0 New Media Initiative

These WGAE signings are especially important as they are the first signings under the union’s Writers Guild 2.0 initiative — and the first real foothold in the digital media realm, which is the future of showbiz: NEW YORK CITY –The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) has signed 11 new companies creating content for digital media. These new signatories have produced more than 12 web series currently available online and have additional series in development. The writers… Read

Now It's Summit Prowling For Acquisitions

The following memo just went out to Summit Entertainment employees from bosses Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger about what the fledgling studio plans to do with all its Twilight franchise cash. I hear the company is looking mostly for libraries to acquire: Team Summit: You may have already read or heard about a piece in today's NY Post that Summit is close to putting Morgan Stanley on retainer to help the studio grow its business and advise on possible transactions… Read

If You Care About Another 'Terminator'…

Yet another media company has been forced to restructure. Halcyon Holding Group, which owns the Terminator franchise and which filed for Chapter 11 protection last month, has hired FTI Capital Advisors to evaluate strategic alternatives for the company. Halcyon is in a dispute with Pacificor, the Santa Barbara-based hedge fund that financed Halcyon’s purchase of the Terminator franchise. FTI Capital Advisors will work with Halcyon's management and bankruptcy counsel to… Read

Box Office

Hundreds Of Sell-Outs For 1st Day Of North American Advance Sales Of 'Michael Jackson's This Is It': Huge Global Demand

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t think that Sony Pictures and Sony Music were smart to purchase that rehearsal footage of Michael Jackson preparing for his concerts before his untimely death — even if the pricetag started at $50M. Not only does the trailer clearly show this is an intriguing motion picture, but those who’ve seen the actual movie tell me it’s riveting. (And they don’t even like Michael Jackson or his music…) So it should come as no surprise that Sony is… Read