What does 2010 hold for media? We take some guesses.
Like hangovers and resolutions that will never be kept, predictions are a tradition of the new year.
With that in mind, we offer up our own prognostications. Some are obvious (come 2011, Jay Leno won't be on NBC's prime time; MGM will be sold) and some are out there (Disney will make a play for video game publisher Electronic Arts; Washington will throw some tough regulations at the cable industry in an effort to rein in programming costs).
Of course, saying MGM will be sold is a little bit of a "boy who cried wolf" prediction, so we'll go a step further and predict that Time Warner will beat out News Corp. for the foundering studio. News Corp. Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch has shown a little restraint lately, such as when he pulled out of bidding for the Travel Channel (after raising the price). Also, Murdoch is going to spend much of the next year focusing on his battle with Google and other aggregators.
Meanwhile, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes is sitting on a pile of cash. If Time Warner grabs MGM, Warner Bros. gets total ownership of "The Hobbit," which could succeed Harry Potter as the studio's next big franchise.
On the executive-shuffle front, look for a lot of jockeying to succeed Warner Bros. CEO Barry Meyer in 2011. Expect TV chief Bruce Rosenblum and Home Entertainment Group president Kevin Tsujihara to duke it out for Meyer's office, but don't be surprised if dark horse Phil Kent, who oversees Turner Broadcasting, emerges as a serious contender.
Assuming the Comcast-NBC deal closes next year (and, heck, even if it doesn't), expect a lot churn in the executive suites. A joke making the rounds in the industry asks whether, among NBC Universal's Jeff Zucker and Jeff Gaspin and Comcast's programming chief Jeff Shell, there aren't too many Jeffs in the kitchen.
For the rest of our guesses, please see our story here. And if we happen to luck out and be right on any of these, we promise not to say "toldja!"
Make some predictions of your own. Leave us a comment and we'll run the best ones. Try to keep it clean!
-- Joe Flint
Photos: Top: News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch. Credit: Amy Sussaman / Getty Images. Bottom: Time Warner's Jeff Bewkes. Credit: Evan Agostini / Associated Press.