The Morning Fix: Lou Dobbs returns. Comcast shuffle in high gear. Viacom wants to break up the band.
After the coffee. Before figuring out where I fit in at Comcast-NBC Universal.
The Skinny: Covering the executive shuffling expected at NBC Universal after Comcast Corp. takes over is turning into a full-time job for some. Lou Dobbs is back. Viacom is breaking up the band.
Is it really that big a deal? The speculation on who will end up with what job after Comcast Corp. closes on its deal to take control of NBC Universal kicked into high gear Wednesday afternoon. First, the Hollywood Reporter said Jeff Gaspin, the executive overseeing NBC Universal's entertainment operations, had been told he was odd man out. That was quickly denied elsewhere, but Gaspin may still be the odd man out at the new company. In the meantime, Deadline Hollywood again touted the idea that CBS senior executive Nancy Tellem was in talks for a big job at the new Comcast-NBC Universal. Now, that's possible or Comcast could have talked with her as part of a fact-finding mission, which companies often do under these circumstances. Finally, the Wrap released its own story on the new structure, of which the only real surprise was that Pat Fili-Krushel, currently Time Warner Inc.'s head of human resources and a former ABC president, will join Comcast-NBC Universal as its "chief administrative officer." The bulk of these stories are all the same. Former Showtime exec Bob Greenblatt will get oversight of NBC while the key cable executives at NBC Universal will remain in place. Wonder how Comcast, which isn't used to all this gossip, will deal with those inside the NBC Universal ranks who are talking out of school.
No fun and games. Viacom Inc., parent of Paramount Pictures and MTV Networks, said its third-quarter earnings were down almost 60%. The reason wasn't any funk at its movie or TV operations, but rather a big write-down at its Harmonix video game unit, which the company disclosed it wants to unload. Harmonix makes the "Rock Band" game. Otherwise, the company had a solid quarter and posted a profit of $189 million on revenues of $3.33 billion. Early analysis of Viacom's numbers from Reuters.
He's back! Former CNN personality Lou Dobbs, who left a year ago after clashing with management there over his outspokenness on issues including outsourcing and illegal immigration, has found a new home at Fox Business, the 3-year-old cable network that News Corp. started as a companion to its powerhouse Fox News Channel. Dobbs, who toyed with running for political office, will host a show on the cable channel starting early next year. The move was not a complete surprise as Dobbs is tight with Roger Ailes, the News Corp. executive over both Fox News and Fox Business. Coverage from the Los Angeles Times and New York Times.
Not throwing in the towel yet. Lions Gate is still harboring dreams of a marriage with MGM, even though the latter is moving forward with its own recovery plan. Lions Gate Vice Chairman Michael Burns said on CNBC Wednesday that the company has had recent meetings with MGM. Meanwhile, the production company released earnings Tuesday and had a net loss of $30 million. The latest from Variety. Meanwhile, the New York Post looks at what MGM co-CEO Stephen Cooper will walk away with after the once-proud studio is done with its restructuring.
RIP Dino De Laurentiis. Legendary producer Dino De Laurentiis died Thursday morning in Los Angeles, according to the Italian news service Ansa. De Laurentiis, who was 91, had a lengthy list of credits including Fellini's "La Strada" and "Le Notti di Cabiria" and Al Pacino's "Serpico." He was also behind "Death Wish," the original of which still stands out as a great tale of urban blight. More from the Los Angeles Times.
People still buying underwear in their underwear. One would think that with the explosion of online shopping that HSN and QVC would be in trouble. But the two shopping channels, often dismissed as cheesy, still rake in the cash. The Wall Street Journal looks at what it has dubbed "the golden age of TV shopping."
-- Joe Flint
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