The Morning Fix: Here’s Johnny! World cup is goal for Disney. Meet the tabloid whisperer. Spyglass eyes MGM.
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After the coffee. Before deciding if I’m going to obsess over the Redskins this season. I know, we already know the answer to that.
Goal! Thanks to the World Cup and a couple of hit movies, Walt Disney Co., parent of ESPN and ABC, had a strong third quarter with a 40% jump in earnings to $1.3 billion. On the movie front, while ‘Toy Story 3,’ ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘Iron Man 2’ (from Disney’s Marvel Entertainment) did well, Disney said it did have to write off a couple of releases but declined to say which ones. Also driving profits was ESPN’s coverage of the World Cup. Revenue at the company’s cable TV unit were up 28% to $3.2 billion. Interestingly, on the conference call with analysts, Chief Executive Bob Iger ducked questions about whether Disney would ultimately look to unload ABC, its broadcast network. Of course, it’s a no-win for Iger. If he says no and later gets an offer he can’t refuse, then he misled people. If maybe if the right deal came along, tons of speculation will start and the network will be filled with uncertainty. Coverage of the results from the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg.
Here’s Johnny! Vintage episodes of Johnny Carson’s ‘The Tonight Show’ are finally coming to the Internet and DVD. The Carson Entertainment Group is going to make almost 3,500 hours of Carson’s work available on johnnycarson.com as well as on a DVD collection. More from Variety’s Brian Lowry, a huge Carson fan, and the Los Angeles Times and New York Times.
Spying on MGM! The MGM saga took another twist Monday as Spyglass Entertainment inched closer to a deal to manage the beleaguered studio. The studio’s creditors are trying to wrap restructuring its $4-billion debt and once that is out of the way, the production company’s chiefs Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum would take over as co-chief executives of MGM. The next step after that would the continued search for a buyer, which could be Summit Entertainment, maker of the ‘Twilight’ movies. More from the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal.
Taking over a media giant isn’t cheap. Cable giant Comcast Corp.'s proposed deal to take control of NBC Universal is starting to get pretty pricey. The Philadelphia Inquirer, Comcast’s hometown paper, looks at the various costs associated with the $30-billion deal, which includes all the legal fees associated with the regulatory review and the various investments Comcast has announced in the hopes of easing concerns of various groups that have come out against the deal.
Rupert thinks he owns the Sky! News Corp., the media giant run by Rupert Murdoch, is claiming that it owns ‘Sky’ in Skype, the Internet phone company disclosed. News Corp., of course, owns British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) and apparently thinks that’s where Skype got the inspiration for its name. More from the Independent.
Tracking Bergstein. The Wrap has put its new ace reporter -- former Newsweek and Wall Street Journal writer Johnnie Roberts -- on the trail of controversial movie financier David Bergstein. Apparently, Bergstein was arrested in Florida last fall for some bad checks and gambling debts. He didn’t respond too well when Roberts called him to ask about the bust. Bergstein, who has made some enemies in Hollywood, is close to Ron Tutor, the man looking to buy Miramax from Walt Disney Co.
The tabloid whisperer. Ever wonder how all those tabloid stories find their way onto television? The Atlantic introduces us to Larry Garrison, whom the magazine has coined the ‘news merchant.’ It’s a fascinating look at the behind-the-scenes maneuvering Garrison goes through with clients and the networks.
Just bid already! Robert F.X. Sillerman, the founder and former chairman of CKX, told the Securities and Exchange Commission he is preparing to make an offer for the company, which is parent of ‘American Idol’ producer 19 Entertainment. He’s been saying this for awhile, so we’re not sure what the purpose of the letter is except perhaps to try to get a partner to come in with him. Sillerman, who already owns 21% of CKX stock, is just one suitor for CKX. Others include ‘American Idol’ creator Simon Fuller. The latest from the Los Angeles Times and New York Post.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Lady Gaga by the numbers. KTLA’s Stan Chambers is retiring after more than 60 years of reporting for the station. James Rainey on the Bell scandal. Epix big deal with Netflix may have some bad side effects for the pay cable channel.
-- Joe Flint
Because Wednesday is anything-can-happen day, but how will you know what happens if you don’t follow me on Twitter? Twitter.com/JBFlint