Paramount buzz: Brad Grey's future as head of Paramount Pictures gets lots of attention in this morning's saturation coverage of Viacom CEO Tom Freston's axing (wonder if they would do the same thing if the CEO of General Foods were let go). The WSJ's Merissa Marr gets right into it in paragraph five when she mentions Stacy Snider as a potential Grey replacement. Snider recently moved from Universal to DreamWorks SKG, which was acquired by Paramount (and which is owned by Viacom). The story notes that Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone has become good buddies with Mssrs. Spielberg, Geffen and Katzenberg (the three of them often have dinner with Sumner and his wife Paula in the gated community of Beverly Park). At the LAT, Claudia Eller has a nice scooplette about Grey talking about his woes over lunch at Morton's with former Warner Bros. Chairman Robert Daly. She also makes note of the Snider scenario.
Condo cancellation: LAT examines the decision by homebuilder Standard Pacific Corp. to pull out of a deal to buy a 272-unit condo project adjacent to Union Station. They'll be rented out instead. Not surprisingly, a condo glut has developed downtown, with sales from January to June plunging 25 percent from the like period a year earlier. The story says that year-over-year prices are still up, but an earlier piece notes that owners are having to cut asking prices. You're going to hear a lot more about the downtown glut in the next few months.
Sign of the times: The Downtown News reports on the closing of a McDonalds and Burger King and how it might reflect a gentrification that's taking place downtown - or at least trying to. Set to replace the Burger King at Seventh and Flower is something called Wokcano, an Asian "fast casual" restaurant, whatever that means.
Download news: LAT reports that Apple and Amazon will announce plans in the next few days to offer downloadable movies, with Apple also introducing a new version of its iPod. Still unclear is whether the services will allow for viewing away from the computer or iPod, which is the one breakthrough that will make downloading a major distribution channel instead of just a revenue trickle.
State Farm cuts: The state's largest homeowners insurer is proposing rate cuts averaging 10.6 percent, or $103 a year. The proposal will be announced today by State Farm and state Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi, and it provides a counterpoint to Allstate's effort to increase rates by 12.2 percent. Still to be heard from are Safeco and Farmers, though Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi said they, too, could be asking for rate cuts.
Options scandal: OK, the backdating of options contracts by CEOs looks bad, but does it amount to much in actual costs? Well, how about hundreds of millions of dollars? Researchers at the University of Michigan estimated that the fallout of the recent investigations hurts the stocks of those companies implicated by an average of 8 percent.
Full circle: ESPN's stupendously dumb idea of having its different platforms cover the Florida State-Miami game from different vantage points apparently wasn't much of a hit with viewers. The overwhelming majority stuck with the standard-issue broadcast on ESPN over such alternatives as watching eight separate screens - most of which showed players and coaches on the sideline looking at the action on the field.
Boeing gets docked: Cost overruns and delays on its its Global Positioning System satellite contracts will result in the company losing $21.4 million in performance-based fees. The work is being done at Boeing's El Segundo facility. (Editor's note: Why is the location of the work mentioned in the Seattle Times story but not in the LAT piece from Bloomberg? Doesn't the local element mean anything to the local paper?)
Moxie losses: the Redondo Beach nightclub lost its permit to have live entertainment on the pier because of multiple nuisance complaints that have put a burden on the local cops. The club owner, Shadoe Gray, said she couldn't operate a successful business without the live entertainment. On Aug. 27, 30 cops from six South Bay cities responded to a melee outside Moxie in which four men and two women were arrested.