The Morning Fix: Grading Zucker. Sony's 'Meatball' move. More Disney exits.
After the coffee. Before playing back "Gossip Girl" in slow motion.
Taking down Zucker. The hottest read Monday was New York magazine's lengthy piece by Mark Harris on Jeff Zucker's reign at NBC. The article rips Zucker's tenure running NBC for its lack of creativity, quick-fix solutions and, of course, throwing in the towel on dramatic programming at 10 p.m. with the Jay Leno show. The message NBC has been sending, Harris asserts, is, "We're not even going to pretend we're trying anymore." Though the article was certainly a bummer for NBC, another downer was thinking it should have been published in flagging Entertainment Weekly, where Harris (and -- disclaimer -- myself) used to toil for years.
Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs.com Sony is going to sell its animated movie "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" (I swear I almost typed methballs, it's too early) via the Internet before its DVD window opens. The movie, which was a summer success for the studio, will be available through Internet-enabled televisions (which Sony makes) and the company's Blu-ray disc players. So as not to alienate Wal-Mart and other retailers, the cost will be almost $25, according to the New York Times.
Digital Disney. The spin out of Walt Disney Co.'s latest studio shake-up is that the movie studio is preparing for the digital age, says the Los Angeles Times. Gone after 29 years is Mark Zoradi, president of Disney's Motion Pictures Group. His exit comes after studio chief Dick Cook was ousted in favor of Disney Channel topper Rich Ross.
ESPN still unrivaled. Sports Business Journal takes a look inside Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN, which has been on a spending spree for the last few years as part of a strategy to overwhelm any potential competitors. So far, it seems to be paying off.
Gray matter. Robert Prather, CEO of Gray TV, a small broadcaster with NBC affiliates, said on an earnings call that the Jay Leno show at 10 p.m. "is not working so far." Though this may seem like stating the obvious, most NBC affiliates have been unwilling to go public on what the smaller ratings are doing to their bottom line. He also had some kind words for any network that wants a piece of the money he gets for his signal from cable operators. See Broadcasting & Cable for more.
Bon Jovi Inc. A new CD and Showtime documentary and the lofty title of "artist in residence" at NBC Universal is just the latest for Bon Jovi. Jon Bon Jovi, leader of the group, also wants to become an NFL owner. Bon Jovi already has been a financial player in the Arena Football League. "I'm the CEO of a major corporation who has been running a brand for 25 years," he tells USA Today.
Wonder what his dad will say about this? Justin Halpern, whose Twitter feed "S*&% My Dad Says" has almost 1 million followers, will not see his father's sage words become the basis of a sitcom, per the Hollywood Reporter. We have a feeling his dad might wonder why a studio and network need to pay his son money to develop a show about a grumpy father when such characters have been a staple of TV since Day One.
-- Joe Flint