Two of the most overly dramatic—and annoying—people on TV are celebrating birthdays today: CNBC's Jim Cramer is turning 55; Glenn Beck of Fox News turns 45. Good Morning America's new anchor, George Stephanopoulos, is 49. Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney, is 59. Former Mets outfielder and failed financial guru Lenny Dykstra is 47. Actress Laura Dern is turning 43. Director Alexander Payne (Election, Sideways) is 49. R&B singer Roberta Flack is 73. Actress Elizabeth Banks is turning 36. Tween star Emma Roberts is turning 19. Robert Wagner is 80. Olympic swimmer Mark Spitz is turning 60. Golfer Greg Norman is 55. And NYC restaurant legend Elaine Kaufman turns 81 today.
A couple of months ago, Harvey Weinstein was showing off his slimmer physique, a look he achieved thanks to weight loss guru Dr. Louis Aronne, the author of the diet book, The Skinny. But judging by the pics that Dealbook posted this afternoon from the media mogulfest in Sun Valley, Harvey hasn't been making much time for the good doctor recently. Stress will do that to you, of course, especially when the economy is in the toilet and your peers keep alluding to "depleted cash reserves" and the like. Do note, though, that Disney chief Bob Iger looks as svelte as ever. Getting up at 4:30am every morning to work out isn't much fun, no. But it does keep you in size 30 Dockers. [NYT/Dealbook]
• How many networks covered the Jackson memorial? Count 'em yourself: ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, HLN, MTV, VH1, VH1 Classic, VH1Soul, BET, E!, TV Guide, TV One, Univision and Telemundo. [AdWeek]
• The WSJ is planning a weekly New York-only arts-and-culture section. [NYO]
• Condé Nast will launch a version of GQ in China in October. At last! [NYT]
• The view from Sun Valley: Barry Diller doesn't think Twitter is ever going to make any money. But Disney chief Bob Iger says we're all going to be paying for online content in the near future. So everyone is in agreement. [WSJ, WSJ]
• OK!'s $500K cover of a dying Michael Jackson wasn't a big hit. [DF]
• The New York Times has pulled down a gallery of photos that had been digitally manipulated, presumably without its knowledge. [E&P]
• Coming in 2010: An entire cable channel devoted to Olympic sports. [THR]
• The adult entertainment industry is phasing out "narrative arcs" and dialogue, and it's supposedly because the Internet has shortened attention spans. [NYT]
Jim Cramer has a reason to be even more manic today: It's his 54th birthday. Recent Fox News arrival Glenn Beck is 44. Disney CEO Bob Iger is turning 58. This Week's George Stephanopoulos is 48. So is Alexander Payne, the filmmaker behind Election and Sideways. Restaurateur Elaine Kaufman is 80. Musical legend Roberta Flack is 72. Laura Dern turns 42. Actress Elizabeth Banks is 35. Robert Wagner is 79. Tween star Emma Roberts is turning 18. And swimming legend Mark Spitz is celebrating his 59th birthday today.
It won't be quite as cheery as usual at Herb Allen's annual media mogul retreat, which kicks off today in Sun Valley. This time last year, the credit crisis was but a blip on the radar. Oh, how things have changed over the past twelve months. Without the billions on hand to close big deals, the economic downturn has made life pretty depressing for the master-of-the-universe set. But gather they will— the tennis and hiking must go on, damnit—and aside from the handful of players who were dropped from the invite list on account of their declining influence, all the media big shots are expected. Among those who will be cruising in on their company-owned jets: Rupert Murdoch (along with son Lachlan), Warren Buffett, Viacom chief Philippe Dauman, Les Moonves, Howard Stringer, Edgar Bronfman Jr., Jeff Bewkes and Dick Parsons of Time Warner, NBC's Jeff Zucker, Universal's Ron Meyer, Paramount chief Brad Grey, and Disney's Bob Iger.
Noting that Disney head Bob Iger's salary rose 7% this year to $27.7 million dollars, Reuters then runs through the point-by-point breakdown: "Disney paid Iger a $2 million base salary, plus a $13.7 million bonus. The company expensed $7.9 million in stock awards and $2.2 million in option awards for Iger during the fiscal year ended September 30." According to our calculations, that adds up to $25.8 million. So where's the missing $1.9 million coming from? Hannah Montana black-market-ticket brokerage fees? We open the commenting floor to your own suggestions. [Reuters]
The Hurty Elbow blog bravely risks an immediate shutdown by Disney's lawyers (or worse) by exposing their Pixar division's incredibly valuable trade secrets on the internets; enjoy the next 35 seconds knowing that by the time you reach the end of their exposé, its creators may already be dead at the hands of a hitman who will go to the grave disavowing any connection to John Lasseter or Bob Iger. Also, be warned: The clip contains a spoiler that may ruin your upcoming viewing of Ratatouille.
Disney employees who recently lost their jobs in the recent Cast Member Massacre will be overjoyed to learn that the company made "massive gains in its fiscal third quarter," and that's even before their saved salaries and the Pirates 2 box office dollars hit the books. OK, here's a cheerier thought: The noble sacrifice of their paychecks will probably help Bob Iger boost his annual bonus. Yay! [Variety]
Great News For The Recently Shitcanned Day continues, as Paramount gets "back in the black" from the DreamWorks acquisition, corporate parent Viacom reports a large gain in profits, and super-positive CEO Tom Freston declares that the 'Mount is "re-emerging as a top-tier studio." Thanks, everybody they fired to make this possible! [Variety]
There's really nothing else to talk about in Hollywood but money, so we note that Sony beat Disney to $1 billion at the domestic box office. Remember last year when everyone thought Sony's Amy Pascal was getting fired for her bombtastic summer of Stealth and XXX? Good times. [THR]
Universal and Fox entrust 26-year-old Neill Blomkamp, who previously has only directed commercials, with directing their precious Halo project. The studios' first choice for the blockbuster hopeful, the guy who came up with the edgy, buzzed-about "Apply directly to the forehead" spots, was unavailable. [Variety]
John C. Reilly is officially inducted into comedy's New Gay Mafia by landing a second starring project in a week following Talladega Nights, this time hooking up with Judd Apatow and Jake Kasdan for Walk Hard, a spoof of musical biopics like Ray and Walk the Line. [Variety]
An amused operative from within the Disney corporate family shared with us this company-wide e-mail in which Head Mouse in Charge Bob Iger pats his underlings on their collective back for Pirates of the Caribbean 2's record-shattering™ performance. But in his exuberance to reach out and personally touch the inboxes of his cast members, Iger may have neglected proofreading his missive, tragically misspelling the name of one of his stars and redundantly referring to the Pirates franchise as "something that will be enjoyed by generations of people for generations." Ever the perfectionist, Iger eventually corrected his mistake. Says our operative: "Two hours later he sent out the exact same memo with the spelling corrected. No mention that he had gotten it wrong the first time. At Disney, we don't acknowledge mistakes." An excerpt from the memo [boldface ours]:
Today's Wall Street Journal reports that the flirtation between Pixar's Steve Jobs and Disney's Bob Iger has turned "serious," advancing from the Sitting Deliciously Close On The Couch, Coyly Swirling Wine In The Glass, With Occasional Smoldering Eye Contact Stage to the "Does It Make You Feel Good When I Touch You There?" Stage, with an eye towards the Mouseketeers buying up The House That Toy Story Built (sub. req'd.):
We've all been waiting since October for Apple/Pixar's Steve Jobs and Disney's Robert Iger to finally escalate the coy eyelash-batting and game of footsie the two moguls publicly engaged in while presenting their iPod content partnership. Now, with rumors of a new deal between the companies, Pixar's stock price has swelled, leaving us all in breathless anticipation for the tongue-wrestling sure to accompany an official announcement about a studio sale (or some other union). Unfortunately, analysts have to spoil the prurient fun of a hypothetical consummation by asking the "big questions" about whether or not the whole thing is even a good idea. From the LAT:
Now that Michael Eisner has been stripped of his Mickey ears and cast out of the Magic Kingdom, new CEO Robert Iger wasted no time trying to get back into Apple/Pixar head Steve Jobs' pants. The two moguls did everything but claw at each other's belt buckles when they announced yesterday that ABC's shows will be available to download to the new video iPod, and hinted that the Disney-Pixar relationship may soon be back on:
An SEC filing reveals that Michael Eisner has resigned his seat on Disney's board of directors and "no longer provides any services" for the company, seemingly killing our crazy hope that he'd one day serve us a piping-hot churro outside the Haunted Mansion. Our Mouse ears are limp with grief, etc etc. The filing also discloses details of new CEO Bob Iger's compensation package; after paying out hundreds of millions of dollars in salary and bonuses to Eisner over his two decade tenure, it looks like the company wants Iger to earn his coming fuck-you money:
At last Thursday's unveiling of Disneyland's "special" star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, outgoing CEO Michael Eisner and CEO-to-be Bob Iger commemorate the Magic Kingdom's 50th anniversary by kneeling down and simulating the company's secret, Mickey-blowing initiation ritual.
[Photo: Jeff Lange, Jim Hill Media]