Company Town

The business behind the show

« Previous Post | Company Town Home | Next Post »

The Morning Fix: 'Muppets' may hit top spot. Fight for ICM heats up.

December 2, 2011 |  7:31 am

After the coffee. Before hoping the Weather Channel's Jim Cantore has hit the road.

The Skinny: Is there any longer week than the week after Thanksgiving? Man, this thing dragged. Friday's headlines include a box office preview of the weekend, a giant spectrum sale involving Time Warner Cable, Comcast and Verizon, a battle for control at talent agency ICM and a review of "Shame."

What about Ruth and Gehrig?
It’s no secret that a headhunter working for Microsoft is calling around town in search of a senior programming executive to help the software giant figure out a media strategy and create original content. So what kind of person are they looking for? According to one top studio executive who got a call, the prototype executives are former NBCUniversal Television chief Jeff Gaspin and Peter Liguori, the chief operating officer of Discovery Communications, who is leaving that post at the end of the year. Our only thought is that since Gaspin is available now and Liguori is about to be a free agent, why not just call them instead of looking for their doppelgangers?

Froggy weekend. "The Muppet Movie" is expected to take the top spot at the box office this weekend. Industry analysts have Kermit and the gang taking in $20 million. The real race will be for second place with "Breaking Dawn" battling "Hugo" and "Arthur Christmas." Box office previews from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.

Fight for ICM. The battle between Chris Silbermann and Jeff Berg for control of talent agency ICM rages on. Silbermann, who is president, is trying to lead a management buyout of majority shareholder Rizvi Traverse Management. Berg, the chairman and chief executive, is resisting such a move. Deadline Hollywood says Silbermann has been secretly talking with former Hollywood super agent Mike Ovitz for advice on how to proceed. The Wrap counters in its story that Ovitz is not involved in any of this and that while tensions are running high at ICM ,World War III has not broken out.

And now Colony enters the picture. While Lions Gate and Summit Entertainment continue to talk seriously about merging their small studios, a new wrinkle has emerged. Colony Capital, the investment group that has a major stake in Miramax, has reached out to Summit about buying a piece of that production company. The latest from Deadline Hollywood and the Los Angeles Times.

Spectrum sale. Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, co-owners of a chunk of licenses for wireless communications, have agreed to sell their SpectrumCo LLC to Verizon Wireless for $3.6 billion. The deal, announced Friday morning, will put $2.3 billion in Comcast's pocket while Time Warner Cable will get $1.1 billion and Bright House will take $189 million. The deal covers wireless spectrum serving 259 million people. An early story from Bloomberg.

Do Hollywood and oil mix? A Canadian gas and oil company sure is obsessed with Hollywood. Not only does Paramount Resources Ltd. itself sound like a part of the famous movie studio, the company has several units that seem to be named after Hollywood players including 20th Century Fox and Summit. But now the company may be overreaching. It's newest unit is named Pixar Petroleum Corp. Walt Disney, the parent of Pixar, is not exactly known as being soft when it comes to guarding its intellectual property, so this one might get interesting. The Wall Street Journal has some fun with the topic. 

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Kenneth Turan on "Shame."

-- Joe Flint

Follow me on Twitter. I'm the guard dog of old standards in new media.

Photo: Kermit and the gang in a scene from "The Muppets." Credit: Disney.