Thursday, 1 July 2010

Hollywood Babble On & On #545: Some Quickies

Welcome to the show folks...


Really, they must, and I'm not talking about calling a bathroom a "loo," an elevator a "lift," and botulism "dinner." I'm talking about the relationship between the venerable British Broadcasting Corporation, it's talent, and their agents.

Apparently it got out that a recently resigned TV host was pulling in some serious millions every year, not Hollywood millions, but nothing to sneeze at, and everybody had a collective shit fit. People are apparently outraged that a public broadcaster, supported by a combo of taxpayer dollars and a "license fee" that gives you permission to own a radio and TV, would be paying so much for their on air talent. Some angry words have been spoken, and now the BBC is threatening to reveal what everybody makes, apparently against the wishes of the agents, who also aren't taking the threat seriously.

Now this is where I'm confused.

In Hollywood, the agents seem to love it when their clients land the big bucks, and brag about it from the highest mountain.
So why not in England?

Anyway, when it comes to the star salaries in British television some questions have to be asked:

1. Are these salaries commensurate with the salaries offered in the private market?

2. Should these salaries be commensurate with those offered by private broadcasters when the BBC is supposed to be a public service?

3. Does the fact that the BBC suckles from the government teat unfairly warp this salary market?

4. Do the salaries paid by the BBC earn some sort of return on their investment for the BBC in the way it's expected for private broadcasters?

5. Should the BBC even try to compete with private broadcasters in the field of salaries? Shouldn't they aim more for 'do it for quality, and for Britain' deals over cash? Can they?


Tonight Show host Jay Leno is racking up worse ratings than he did when he was first challenged by David Letterman's Late Show in the 90s, and worse ratings than Conan O'Brien's tenure.

You may remember that Leno ousted Conan from the
Tonight Show simply because he was more expensive to fire than O'Brien. Now it looks like he's going to cost NBC a lot more by sticking around, dropping lame rehashed jokes, than if they just fired him when his prime-time show created a massive black hole in their ratings.

You gotta love NBC, why have just a problem, when you can have a massive disaster.


Billionaire Carl Icahn officially owns at least 33.9% of Lionsgate stock, (or almost 38% according to some) and the Lionsgate management are in full "glass half-full" mode. This buy-up activates all sorts of expensive "self-destruct" mechanisms in Lionsgate's debt covenants and management employment contracts that could cost the mini-major mega-millions, as well as setting Icahn up in a position to launch his long threatened proxy fight.

Despite reports of some Lionsgate honchos meeting with Icahn, the rhetoric, and the threats are still flying fast and furious, and it looks like this whole business is going to get very, very, expensive.

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