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The Morning Fix, May 6: Disney earnings drop; HBO reruns hot; Bolster not

May 6, 2009 |  9:53 am

After the coffee. Before the freeway.

Disney's earnings fell by 46% and while the poor economy certainly played its part keeping crowds thin at the theme parks, chief executive Robert Iger also laid into the decision-making at Walt Disney Studios, which saw a 97% drop in profit. "It's not the marketplace, it's our slate, Iger said, which will no doubt put some heat on studio chief Dick Cook. The Los Angeles Times.

HBO's sale of reruns of its Hollywood comedy "Entourage" to cable networks Spike and Comedy Central will bring in $600,000 per-episode, says Broadcasting and Cable. HBO also unloaded "Entourage" and its Larry David comedy "Curb Your Enthusiasm" to the Tribune television stations. That deal is an all-advertising or "barter" deal with HBO getting three minutes and Tribune getting four minutes of comercial time per-episode.

Does he want control of the weather with that too? The New York Post reports that Bill Bolster, the former head of CNBC who has been in talks to run NBC's Weather Channel, wants a private plane and that this has bogged down negotiations. That and a host of other concerns has made the forecast for Bolster coming out of retirement to run the cable network hazy at best. 

Mogul Sumner Redstone's privately held National Amusements has restructured its debt and can breathe a little easier. But the media tycoon might not be able to hold on to his empire forever. As the Los Angeles Times notes, in regulatory filings, CBS and Viacom separately reported that Redstone's preferred and common stock in the two media companies is being used to secure Redstone's $1.46 billion debt.

TV Week, the industry trade magazine owned by Crain Communications, is ceasing publication of its print edition and will go online only with a slimmed-down staff. Consolidation in the media industry coupled with a weak economy has all the trades scrambling. TV Week started life as Electronic Media, rode the program syndication wave in advertising, and for a brief period the "hot book" among the trades before retrenching.

-- Joe Flint