March 21, 1999 |
Walt Disney Co.'s Michael Eisner doesn't have one. Neither does Sumner Redstone, the chairman and chief executive of Viacom Inc. But Barry Diller does. And in naming a forceful executive with visionary tendencies as his No. 2 at USA Networks Inc., Diller is winning applause from management experts for taking an initiative that many other media moguls have not--leaving their entertainment companies vulnerable at the top.
June 23, 2011 |
USA Network has come a long way, slowly, from the days when its main contribution to the culture was "Night Flight," an omnibus of music videos, reruns and camp ephemera that kept insomniac kids company back in the 1990s. Now it is the network that "Monk" made, with a small but strong-for-its-size roster of comicdramas that play nice turns on the old big genres — cops and spies and lawyers and doctors: "In Plain Sight," "Burn Notice," "White Collar," "Psych," "Fairly Legal," "Royal Pains.
June 26, 2012 |
Matt Nix always thought he'd be a screenwriter. But after spending nearly a decade doing adaptations and rewrites for film projects that fell apart just before a studio gave them the greenlight, he found himself at a crossroads. "I realized I could waste my whole career writing things no one would ever make," he told me over lunch the other day. His agent encouraged him to try television. Nix lucked out with the first pilot he penned, "Burn Notice. "Now in its sixth year on the USA Network, the Miami-based adventure series about a former covert-ops agent trying to discover who blacklisted him is a powerhouse, routinely turning up as the top-rated Thursday night cable TV show.
June 26, 1993 |
Both scenes are set in a steamy locker room. In one version, a woman drops her dress and exposes her naked body as she and her equally naked lover writhe on a bench. In the other version, the camera angle changes after she reaches for her dress; all that can be seen of the lovers is a grainy close-up of their faces. Same show, different TV channels.
October 26, 1996 |
MCA Inc. and Viacom Inc. terminated settlement talks Friday over the control of USA Network and will head back to Delaware Chancery Court on Monday to resolve their legal dispute. Neither party provided details on why negotiations broke down, but sources close to the situation said tax issues could not be resolved. After five days in court, the trial was postponed last Monday so the parties could negotiate a settlement. Under its terms, Viacom would have paid $1.
May 4, 1998 |
Having dropped off NBC's radar screen two years ago, the naval drama "JAG" has resurfaced to become a consistent Tuesday night performer for CBS--a turnaround that demonstrates how a show canceled by one network can sometimes thrive on another. The ratings for "JAG" have been anything but staggering, but the show has been steadily building, even winning its time period several times in March and April.
December 12, 2001 |
Vivendi Universal Chief Executive Jean-Marie Messier said Tuesday that he is in serious talks with Hollywood mogul Barry Diller to buy USA Networks' entertainment division. For Vivendi, the world's second-largest media company, the move is an attempt to mollify U.S. analysts and investors who have faulted the company for its lack of a U.S. outlet for the company's movie and television properties.
October 23, 2009 |
Just when you thought bromance was dead, here comes "White Collar," a crime drama premiering on USA tonight that lifts the genre to a new and dazzling level. Sparkling, snappy, bursting with energy and good clean heist fun, the first episode of "White Collar" may, in fact, be the most perfect pilot to air in a long, long time. Sure, there are shameless echoes of "It Takes a Thief," the show that launched Robert Wagner's television career, but who cares? Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and "White Collar's" creator, Jeff Easton, promises only improvement, and with a pitch-perfect cast that comes together to create that cinematic Holy Grail: chemistry.
July 16, 1998 |
USA Networks Chairman Barry Diller held preliminary discussions in the last month with General Electric Corp. about merging NBC Inc. with his company in a stock swap that would be valued at between $15 billion and $20 billion, according to sources close to the talks. However, the discussions abruptly ended because Edgar Bronfman Jr., chief executive of Seagram Co., which owns 45% of USA, refused to go along with the idea, the sources said.