The Morning Fix: Dick Ebersol, Peacekeeper! Shot of Bailey for Disney. Gibson’s gamble.
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After the coffee. Before figuring out how to score tickets to the Jets - Chargers game.
As the Conan turns. The soap opera that is NBC continued with new twists and turns Thursday. Conan O’Brien’s legal team continues to try to work out a deal to get their guy out of the network, while NBC looks for ways to avoid any sort of huge payout to ‘The Tonight Show’ host. Lots of reporting of the obvious going on (guess what folks, we know Conan’s leaving, that was clear from his manifesto) without anyone nailing the basic facts of what sort of settlement, if any, O’Brien will get and how long it will be until he can try to get work elsewhere. Meanwhile, Jay Leno sits quietly and waits to get his old job back, which could be official before next week. Drama reports from Deadline Hollywood and Daily Beast, who seem to be plugged into Team Conan (or is it Team Ron Meyer?). Meanwhile Chase Carey and Roger Ailes (who oversees the Fox TV stations), the two News Corp. execs who will ultimately decide if the network goes after O’Brien, tell the Los Angeles Times they need to see the math before rushing out to go after him.
Tell us how you really feel. As if NBC brass didn’t have enough on their hands trying to clean up the Leno mess in prime time and get O’Brien out of late night, the network’s longtime sports chief Dick Ebersol decided it’s time to do a little Conan-bashing. He rips O’Brien in the New York Times and defends embattled NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker. Ebersol is no fan of Leno, by the way. He and ‘Saturday Night Live’ creator Lorne Michaels are backing Jimmy Fallon for 12:30 p.m.
Shot of Bailey. New Disney Studio boss Rich Ross is full of surprises. He’s tapped producer Sean Bailey as his head of production even though Bailey has no executive experience. At least there were no hard feelings when Ross torpedoed Bailey’s remake of ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’ last year. Disney also said they were letting 80 staffers go at the studio. Details from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.
Haven’t we heard this one before? TV networks are talking tough about the next round of bidding for the Olympics. Earlier this week, NBC Sports chief Ebersol (yeah, the guy who loooves him some Conan O’Brien) said the network would lose money on the Winter Games next month. Now the International Olympic Committee says in the Wall Street Journal it might delay selling rights to the 2014 and 2016 Games, until the economy and ad market are on stronger ground.
Mel’s back; will we return too? Mel Gibson is back on the big screen for the first time in almost decade with ‘Edge of Darkness.’ Gibson himself has certainly spent much of the last few years on the edge and is now almost as well-known for his anti-Semitic rant after being arrested as he is for being one of the world’s biggest action stars. The Hollywood Reporter looks at whether Gibson can still deliver and if audiences will embrace him again.
Don’t run up a big bar tab. WME, the super-agency formed by the merger of William Morris and Endeavor, is retreating. Oh wait, they’re on a retreat; our bad. Author Malcolm Gladwell and ‘Inside the Actor’s Studio’ host James Lipton are among the big names brought in for entertainment. Shouldn’t some of those agents be busy figuring out how they’re going to salvage Conan O’Brien’s career? More from Variety.
-- Joe Flint