Stock update: In case you're wondering, Tribune is up 1.16 percent in early trading, to $32.40. Keep watching the numbers because they will provide some clues on how interested those bidders really are. Also, KB Home is down this morning, but not by a lot - 0.43 percent, to $43.63. Shareholders could be looking for closure.
Bruckheimer power: Disney's cost-cutting dictums in one corner, Jerry Bruckheimer's splashy big-budget releases in the other. Which side do you think is going to win? NYT points out that Bruckheimer still has a few years left on his Disney contract, at which point he becomes a free agent.
Many in Hollywood who know him suggest that it is Disney who will have to accommodate its star, not the other way around. Terry Rossio, one of the writers of the “Pirates” trilogy, explained it this way, recalling a recent conversation with Mr. Bruckheimer about the blockbusters he produced during his 30-year career. “I was standing on the deck of the Black Pearl with Jerry and I had to make small talk which is hard to do because he doesn’t talk much,” Mr. Rossio recalled. “Out of nowhere I asked him, ‘How do you get to be Jerry Bruckheimer?’ He replied, ‘Most people don’t understand the nature of power.’ His sentiment was you fight along the lines of what people already want. You put yourself where your agenda and the agenda of the people you are working with are the same. The reason Jerry rarely has to dig in his heels is because he doesn’t set up a situation where he has to.”
Telemundo cuts back: LAT reports that stations in San Jose, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Dallas and Houston will no longer produce their own newscasts, part of NBC Universal's cost-cutting efforts. Instead, local news for seven Telemundo stations will originate from a central studio near Fort Worth, where, anchors and editors will produce regional newscasts using feeds from reporters and camera operators in the field. Ouch. The consolidation will eliminate 110 jobs. Telemundo's L.A. stations are not affected.
Malone's new movies: That's as in Colorado billionaire John Malone, whose Liberty Media Corp. is launching Overture Films, which will produce 8-12 features a year. Overture, which will start with $500 million to cover production costs, is being run by Chris McGurk, a former Disney and MGM executive, and Danny Rosett, a former head of United Artists. Up until now, Malone has focused on distribution channels as opposed to content.
Business unfriendly: California has the second worst climate for small businesses, according to a study by the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, an advocacy group. That's an improvement from last year, when the state was ranked dead last. The index looks at taxes, regulations, spending and cost of government. Some skepticism is in order - California is at or near the top in small business formations.
Up close and personal: Hard Rock founder Peter Morton gets profiled in the Sunday LAT. Having sold the Hard Rock empire, he's now dabbling in - what else? - movies. His latest venture is "Stardust," which is directed by his godson Matthew Vaughn and which Paramount plans to release next year.
Like most local rich guys — he sold his shares of the Hard Rock Cafe in 1996 for $410 million — he has been approached over the years about financing various film projects, but he always said no. Until nine years ago, when Vaughn asked him if he wanted to put up money for a film he was producing. As Morton tells it, he didn't even bother to read the script, though he did show it to "my good friend [producer] Steve Tisch." He simply wrote a check and "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels," made for about $1 million, went on to become something of a sleeper hit, launching the career of first-time feature writer-director Guy Ritchie. The two repeated the process with the bigger-budget "Snatch," which turned its $10-million budget into a $30-million gross.