Entertainment history was made yesterday. Or maybe it was ended. The starting gun sounded on the dismantling of some major slice of the entertainment industry–and all the institutional knowledge, traditions, real estate, and jobs that go with that.
The poohbahs, the conglomerates and the tech giants are off and running, vying to build up a big enough war chest to lock up a seat in the Great Entertainment Semi-Finals. Here’s your tip sheet to the drama that lays ahead as so many sit and wait for history to happen to them.
RANDALL STEPHENSON: He’s the no-nonsense accountant from Texas, ready to ride down Main Street Showbiz and clean up this town. But even with Time Warner, has he got what it takes to fight it out with the big bad streamers? Warners Film and TV + HBO + Turner + DirecTV + a bunch of cables and cell towers = The future of entertainment? Why does the grab bag feel like less than the sum of its parts? There’s a question for an accounting superstar!
Magic 8-Ball Prediction: Most likely
KEVIN TSUJIHARA: Can a dog change his spots? He’s said to have simmered down and, perhaps more importantly, made a bunch of moves that put on ice the Game of Thrones at his studio.
Things are stable enough, and moving solidly enough now that I hear the Phonies will focus on putting out fires elsewhere in the empire for starters and Tsujihara should be safe to keep his chair for the moment. However, the Telephone People have been watching the hijinx of the recent era, so he might wonder, how long will the reprieve last.
Magic 8-Ball Prediction: You may rely on it.
WARNER BROS: Who among us ever really got over the 90’s? Our bodies may be in the departmental brainstorm on the Slack channel, but our hearts are still at Lilith Fair. For some though, letting go of the decade Bob and Terry built, has been a process. While the media world might have changed, in a magical corner of Burbank it’s still the days of mega-producer deals, bottomless expense accounts, jet rides, and pharaonic executive perks. Should give them a lot to talk about when the Telephone People roll up their sleeves and break out those spreadsheets.
Magic 8-Ball Prediction: Outlook not so good
RICHARD PLEPLER: He’s got the tan. He’s got the Emmys. HBO’s printing money. But will the Schmooze King and his living-well Media Elite ways play in Texas?
Magic 8-Ball Prediction: Don’t count on it
PETER CHERNIN/STACEY SNIDER: The man who will unlock the gates for the Phonie hordes hovers in the background, waiting to give the conquerors a tour of the city. Conveniently for him, they are arriving just as the studio that has been handing him zillions in producing fees is about to ride off into the sunset. Even more conveniently, the boss who’s been signing those deals won’t be riding off with her studio, and so is free to run another one. Better still: she’s already run two studios, so why not three?
Magic 8-Ball Prediction: Better not tell you now
WARNER-BASED PRODUCERS: Congratulations, Godzilla is at your door. (See above) And he needs movies!
Magic 8-Ball Prediction: My sources say no.
JEFF ZUCKER: Anyone checked lately how many of his nine lives he’s still got left?
Magic 8-Ball Prediction: Very doubtful
BRIAN ROBERTS: He’s got his war chest packed and ready to ride into the Battle for Fox . But will this be the mongoose that this snake couldn’t swallow? If he fails, Comcast’s seat in the Great Entertainment Semi-Finals starts to look a little shaky. Could the hunter suddenly become the prey?
Magic 8-Ball Prediction: Concentrate and ask again
RUPERT MURDOCH: Will go down in history as only man ever to beat the house in Hollywood.
Magic 8-Ball Prediction: It is decidedly so
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