The Morning Fix: Vivendi keeps quiet! NATO is going nuclear! Reality bites. Drama at CW.
After the ... wait a minute, Starbucks raised their prices?!!
Well? We're waiting. Vivendi had its board meeting Wednesday but didn't say -- at least publicly -- what it plans to do with its 20% stake in General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal, which could determine whether Comcast's plan to acquire a majority stake in NBC U happens. How inconsiderate of them. Don't they know we have rumors to spread and theories to pontificate on? News (or lack thereof) from the Los Angeles Times.
Sumner's selling. Going back on his vow to not sell anymore Viacom and CBS stock, mogul Sumner Redstone is unloading about $1 billion worth of shares in the two companies to pay off the heavy debt load of his closely held theater chain National Amusements Inc. The company is holding on to most of its movie theaters but will unload some, including Los Angeles' classy Bridge. Details from the Los Angeles Times and New York Times. The Wall Street Journal's Martin Peers (my former cubicle mate there and at Variety) says Sumner needs to sell more.
NATO is ready to go nuclear. No, not that NATO, the National Assn. of Theater Owners is very angry with Paramount Pictures for rushing "G.I. Joe" and "The Goods" onto DVD less than three months after their theatrical opening (and, in the case of "The Goods," theatrical closing too). Theater owners, as you might imagine, have some wild idea that if stuff goes to DVD so soon after theatrical release, people won't go to the movies. That's just crazy talk, right? News from the Hollywood Reporter.
Reality bites. News Corp. is closing down its little-watched Fox Reality Channel. The 4-year-old network, which will stick around until March, was in about 50 million homes. Fox is looking to launch a new network in that space. The news from the Wrap.
Drama at CW. The CW is wrapping up its drama development. According to Variety, the hotter projects include "Confessions of a Backup Dancer" (does that one really need to be explained?) from the same production company behind "Gossip Girl" and "Plymouth," about a group of young (of course) people racing to another planet to try to save the human race. And I bet they look fabulous doing it.
MySpace wants to be happening again. News Corp.'s MySpace, the once-cool, now played social website wants its mojo back (did I really just write that?). The Wall Street Journal reports that the site is "striving to become an online hangout for people to connect with friends over entertainment content." Funny, we kind of thought that's what they were already trying to do.
Brown's beast. The Financial Times takes a look at Tina Brown's Daily Beast, which seems to be on a bit of a hiring run. Beast owner Barry Diller says there is no judgment day for the website to prove it can be financially viable.
Rushed out the door. In the wake of criticism from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and others, conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh has been dropped from the team headed by sports business mogul Dave Checketts that is trying to by the St. Louis Rams. Details from the St. Louis Business Journal.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: "30 Rock" is back. Producer and studio boss Dan Melnick, who was key to many ground-breaking movies, died. Former Paramount chief Sherry Lansing said Melnick was "an extraordinary producer and extraordinary executive." Hey, he did "Straw Dogs" and "Get Smart," which is good enough for us.
-- Joe Flint