November 21, 2009 |
Oprah Winfrey told her audience Friday that she had made up her mind to end her hit daytime talk show in September 2011 "after much prayer and months of careful thought." Now much of the television industry is going to do a lot of praying and thinking as well to figure out how to prepare for life after Oprah. Winfrey must figure out her second act, too, as she turns her focus to OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, the cable channel she plans to launch in 14 months in partnership with Discovery Communications.
November 10, 2009 |
In a continued housecleaning at Walt Disney Co., studio distribution veteran Mark Zoradi is leaving after 29 years. The departure of Zoradi, president of Disney's motion pictures group, follows the ousting of his former boss, Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook, in September and Miramax Films President Daniel Battsek late last month. Under the direction of Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger, the Burbank studio is being remade by Cook's successor, Rich Ross, former president of Disney Channels Worldwide.
November 4, 2009 |
China, finally, is ready to build a house for Mickey Mouse. Beijing has approved plans to build a Disney theme park in Shanghai, a major milestone in the more than decade-long effort by Walt Disney Co. to dramatically expand its reach into China. Disney and the Shanghai municipal government jointly submitted plans in January to build a $3.59-billion park to open as early as 2014. It would be the entertainment giant's fourth theme park outside the U.S., after Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong -- and the first in mainland China, the fastest-growing mass market in the world.
October 31, 2009 |
Daniel Battsek, head of Walt Disney Co.'s specialty label Miramax Films, has been forced out after a series of flops failed to turn around the struggling company, whose brighter moments included such prestige movies as "No Country for Old Men," "The Queen" and "Doubt." Battsek's departure comes on the heels of Disney's move this month to slash 70% of Miramax's staff, to 20 people, and drastically cut the number of movies it releases to only three annually. Miramax's marketing and distribution were also consolidated into the larger Walt Disney Studios.
October 29, 2009 |
The Walt Disney Co. said Wednesday that it would build a 56-acre production facility in northern Los Angeles County, casting a ray of light on an otherwise gloomy film economy that has hemorrhaged thousands of jobs in the last decade. The Burbank company said the proposed Disney/ABC Studios at the Ranch would occupy a corner of the Golden Oak Ranch, a sprawling 890-acre parcel off California 14 that has been the setting of such classic films as "Old Yeller." Plans call for 12 soundstages, production offices, a commissary and other facilities that could be used for film, television, commercial and new media projects.
October 3, 2009 |
Walt Disney Co., looking to rein in costs at its Hollywood studio as it focuses on mainstream movies, is slashing staff by 70% at its Miramax Films specialty label and is substantially reducing the number of pictures it releases. The retrenchment, which has been foreshadowed in Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger's strategy to emphasize family and "branded" films, comes quickly on the heels of the recent ouster of former Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook. The former movie chief left abruptly last month under pressure from Iger, who had been unhappy with the studio's direction and performance.
September 29, 2009 |
After 18 years of dueling lawsuits, courtroom clashes and allegations of impropriety, Walt Disney Co. finally can close the storybook on its battle with the family that holds lucrative rights to Winnie the Pooh. On Friday, a federal judge ruled in favor of Disney by granting the company's motion to dismiss a copyright and trademark infringement claim brought by the family of Stephen Slesinger, who was a pioneer in the commercialization of cartoon characters. In 1930, Slesinger acquired the Pooh merchandising rights from British author A.A. Milne, who created the popular children's stories.
September 23, 2009 |
Walt Disney Co.'s romance with Marvel Entertainment began last February when Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger first brought up the idea of an acquisition during an otherwise innocuous business meeting with Marvel film chief David Maisel. In June, Iger made his intentions clear and the two companies embarked on a nearly three-month-long series of negotiations that involved four in-person meetings, numerous phone discussions and an intense back-and-forth over price that culminated in the $4-billion deal announced Aug. 31. The timeline of the negotiations that led to the acquisition, along with other details of the agreement, were disclosed Tuesday in a regulatory filing from Disney that led with its public offer of up to $2.12 billion in stock to help fund the deal.
September 22, 2009 |
Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Bob Iger must act quickly to replace studio head Dick Cook to avoid further destabilizing the Burbank-based movie operation. Cook's abrupt departure Friday is upsetting employees, many of whom are finding it difficult to focus on work because they are anxious about their future. In addition, stars and filmmakers do not like to face uncertainty and want assurances that their projects will remain on track. Iger is not tipping his hand about whom he will name to fill the job. One executive that's a subject of speculation is Disney Channel President Rich Ross.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 13, 2009 |
Disney unveiled plans today for the largest expansion in the history of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, provided updates on its $1-billion expansion of Disney's California Adventure and said it would modernize the popular Star Tours ride at its domestic parks. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Jay Rasulo chose the D23 Expo in Anaheim, the first-ever gathering of Disney devotees, to announce the ambitious new project in Orlando, Fla., that will nearly double the size of Fantasyland.