The Morning Fix: ABC's McPherson out! Comcast earnings slip. Some pilots face turbulence. Haim Saban takes on Oliver Stone.
He's outta there. ABC Entertainment chief Steve McPherson is hitting the road. The move, which came abruptly Tuesday afternoon, is only a few days before the executive was supposed to present the network's new shows to television critics. Of course, he took over the job several years ago only weeks before the network had to present a schedule for advertisers, so untimely entrances and exits are his forte. While McPherson got high marks from the creative community and put on many ambitious shows, the network has struggled in the ratings. At the same time, McPherson had a colorful reputation for being fiery while his boss at Disney, Anne Sweeney, is known for being more of a cool cucumber. Waiting in the wings to replace McPherson is Paul Lee, head of ABC Family, the cable network that has had a resurgence over the last few years. Coverage from the Los Angeles Times, Deadline Hollywood, Vulture, Variety, Hollywood Reporter, Washington Post and the New York Times.
Pilots need to land for repairs. Every spring, the broadcast networks order hundreds of scripts and make scores of pilots and then pick the best for their fall lineups. Then they look at the pilots again and decide they can make them better. Or they look at them and realize they are not all that funny after all. Over the last few weeks, there have been lots of cast changes and shows being tweaked before the new season starts. The Los Angeles Times tries to make sense of it all.
Comcast profits take dip. Comcast Corp., the nation's largest cable and broadband provider, said Wednesday morning it had net income of $884 million for its second quarter, an 8.6% drop from the same quarter a year ago. The company said costs associated with its proposed acquisition of NBC Universal was the main culprit. Must be all those legal bills associated with the cable operator's fight to get the deal through Washington. Revenue for Comcast was up 6.1% to $9.52 billion. More from Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.
Keep it local. Sony's "The Green Hornet" was filmed in Los Angeles, a victory for the city and state even though the movie got great offers to shoot in Michigan, Massachusetts and elsewhere. Location manager Mike Fantasia tells Variety he got suppliers to trim costs to keep shooting here.The mayor even pitched in and let the movie use his office.
The view from the coast. Lucian Grainge, the new co-chief executive of Vivendi's Universal Music, has decided to do the job from Los Angeles instead of New York, where his rivals and co-CEO Doug Morris are based. Well, I've heard there's a music scene in Los Angeles too. The Wall Street Journal profiles Grainge, who will take over a label that has about one-third of the U.S. music market.
Starz wants to buy some. Liberty Media's pay cable unit Starz is looking to raise upwards of $1 billion for original programming, according to the Hollywood Reporter, which said the goal has been dubbed "Operation Turbo." Starz will need deep pockets if its new chief Chris Albrecht really wants to take on his old pals at HBO.
Haim Saban probably not seeing "Wall Street 2." Media mogul Haim Saban is blasting Oliver Stone over remarks that the director made regarding the Holocaust that have been blasted in some circles as being anti-Jewish. He tells the Wrap that CBS chief Leslie Moonves should pull the plug on Stone's series on CBS's Showtime pay cable channel. Stone has already apologized over his remarks.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: "Mad Men" tries to get every little detail right, but here's one they got wrong in Sunday's season premiere. As expected, Walt Disney Co. has struck a deal to buy Playdom, a social networking game company, for $563.2 million. DreamWorks Animation boosted revenues by 20% but profit was down because of costs tied to the release of "Shrek Forever After."
-- Joe Flint
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