The Morning Fix: Immelt loves him some Zucker! Disney stores to get Apple-like makeover. DVR ratings good, skipping ads bad! Matthew Perry wants new friends.
All over but the signing? Vivendi hasn't decided what to do with its 20% in NBC Universal, but the media have decided Comcast's deal to take a 51% stake in General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal is a fait accompli. The Associated Press says as part of the deal GE can reduce its stake for cash over time. The Wall Street Journal has found a researcher with a math model to explain why the deal will happen. Fun reading. Meanwhile lots of noise about other potential players for NBC Universal. And in our opinion, that's all there is ... noise.
Immelt's insights. In an interview with Business Week, General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt gives an endorsement to NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker. Well, it's not likely he's going to trash the guy running the company he's trying to sell, is it? Immelt also says Hulu could eventually start charging for some content.
Disney thinking redesign. Walt Disney Co. is looking to overhaul its retail operations and is getting advice from Apple and its boss (and Disney board member) Steve Jobs on how to do it, reports the New York Times. The stores may even be rebranded "Imagination Park." Does this mean when I go to a Disney store, I will feel like I walked into a cult compound the way I do inside the Apple stores?
DVR delights! Analysis of what shows people like to DVR and watch a week later gave a further boost to premiere-week ratings for many established shows. As for boosting ad sales? Not so much. That's because advertisers care only about DVR ratings for three days, not seven days. Makes sense if you are a movie studio, but if you are a car manufacturer, why should you care whether I see the spot for your new Ford in three days or seven days? Also turns out that Fox's low-rated "Dollhouse" gets a boost from DVRs. Analysis from Variety, the New York Times and the Wrap.
It's Epix, but will it be epic? Epix, the pay movie channel from Viacom, MGM and Lionsgate, will launch on Oct. 30 with "Iron Man." But other than Verizon's FiOS service, the owners are mum on just who will be carrying the channel. Interest from cable and satellite operators in the service has not been strong. The channel started after Showtime made clear it wouldn't pay what it used to for the movies from those studios. Details from Bloomberg.
Matthew Perry wants back on TV. "Friends" star Matthew Perry is developing a single-camera comedy (single camera, there's a novel idea) with Sony to shop to the networks. The show is about a 40-year-old who starts to reevaluate his life. The skinny from the Hollywood Reporter.
This is why you got into the movie biz? CBS Films has secured the rights to a "Freaky Friday" sequel (or is it follow-up). "Freaky Monday" is based on the book of the same name by screenwriter Heather Hach and "Freaky Friday" author Mary Rodgers. Confused yet? Disney's "Freaky Friday" did gross $110 million, but still should we just chuck the idea of Hollywood doing something new? From Variety.
-- Joe Flint