Market opens lower: Actually, quite a bit lower in early trading, but now it's coming back. This could be another short pause from the recent gains. Or....
More on Dick Cook's exit: LAT reports that Disney's now-former studio head met with CEO Bob Iger last Tuesday and that Cook first told staffers of his resignation on Friday afternoon (his last day at the company). Today's follow-up stories suggest that Cook should not have been surprised that Iger decided to make a move.
Iger got directly to the point. He told Cook that after a "lot of thought," he wanted to "make a change" at the studio that would affect Cook's job, according to accounts of the meeting. "We need to go in a different direction," said Iger, offering little explanation other than to say that people were complaining that the studio was overly secretive, uncooperative and isolated from the other divisions. When Cook pressed for examples, Iger demurred. The two executives shook hands, and Cook left Iger's office.
Cook's successor?: This being Disney, there's lots of speculation on who the new studio head might be. Among the potential candidates bandied about: Marvel's Kevin Feige, DreamWork's Stacey Snider, the Disney Channel's Rich Ross, and Pixar's John Lasseter. (Variety)
New claims on Marvel characters: Heirs to Jack Kirby, a co-creator of Marvel's "X-Men," "Fantastic Four" and other superheroes, have sent notices of copyright termination to Disney, which is in the middle of buying Marvel Entertainment. From the NYT:
The window for serving notice of termination on the oldest of the properties opened several years ago, and will remain open for some time under copyright law. But Disney's pending purchase of Marvel has given anyone with possible Marvel claims more reason to pose a challenge. Under copyright law, the author or his heirs can begin a process to regain copyrights for a period of time after the original grant. If Mr. Kirby's four children were to gain the copyright to a character Mr. Kirby helped create, they might become entitled to a share of profits from films or other properties using it.
Emmy winners: "30 Rock" and "Mad Men" prevail, as expected. Neil Patrick Harris got strong reviews as host of the ceremony. (NYT)
Phasing out checks: Whole Foods stopped accepting personal checks at two stores in L.A. County and is considering an outright ban. The other big chains, Vons, Albertsons and Ralphs, have more diverse customer bases, so they're likely to accept checks for some time. From the LAT:
"Supermarkets used to be a repository of checking, cashing payroll and personal checks, but in an age of direct deposit and debit cards, that's not something that is relevant to their customers anymore," said Mac Brand, a Chicago food industry consultant.
Ad outlook still bad: Martin Sorrell, who runs WPP, the parent firm for Ogilvy & Mather, JWT, and Hill & Knowlton, among many other agencies, sees some improvement, but not much. From the WSJ:
We describe the recession as L-shaped, which implies that it will never go back to where it was before. The forecast for levels of increase in ad spending, both traditional and nontraditional, are pretty anemic for the next two or three years. I doubt free-to-air television or, in particular, newspapers and magazines, will ever be the same again. But how do you define a newspaper or a magazine? What is a Kindle? If you get a newspaper downloaded on a Kindle, is that newspapers or not a newspaper? It's easy to come to generalizations, but that is dangerous. There will be pockets that will be affected but there are pockets that are improving.
Sam Nazarian back to basics: L.A.'s nightclub and hotel magnate has put his empire-building plans on hold. That includes cancelling plans to build a 1,000-room tower at the Sahara in Las Vegas and laying off 50 people at his L.A. headquarters. From the Business Journal:
"We are having our tough times just like everybody else. Right now, we are looking to fortify and live to fight another day," said Nazarian,