Friday, January 21News That Matters

Tag: Zaslav, David M

Hollywood Glamour Is Pandemic-Proof at the Polo Lounge

Business
LOS ANGELES — Hollywood is down in the dumps. Oscar hopefuls like “King Richard,” “Nightmare Alley” and “West Side Story” have sputtered, and everyone knows that, studio spin aside, the Omicron variant is only partly to blame.What about those stunning Spider-Man grosses? Sure, great, whatever — another superhero hit. It doesn’t change the fact that one storied studio, 20th Century Fox, vanished in 2019 and another, the venerable Warner Bros., is slashing theatrical output by almost half. Unless regulators do something unexpected, Amazon will soon swallow Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Streaming services are ending a moviegoing era.“It’s over,” a glum film executive said at a holiday fete. “TV won.”But there is at least one place where Hollywood feels undiminished. Step into the 88-year-old Polo Loun...
CNN and Chris Cuomo Face Difficult Questions After Anchor’s Suspension

CNN and Chris Cuomo Face Difficult Questions After Anchor’s Suspension

Business
For Mr. Zucker, the decision to suspend Mr. Cuomo was a clear shift after months of supporting his highest-rated anchor, even as details surfaced about Mr. Cuomo’s involvement with his brother’s response to the scandal and as some journalists inside the network raised objections.In May, the network called Mr. Cuomo’s actions “inappropriate,” and the anchor apologized on-air. But Mr. Zucker also told CNN employees that Mr. Cuomo “is human, and these are very unique circumstances.” When records surfaced in August showing some of his exchanges with the governor’s aides, Mr. Cuomo remained on the air, acknowledging the situation only after his brother resigned.“I tried to do the right thing, and I just want you all to know that,” he told viewers on Aug. 16.Mr. Zucker’s calculus changed this we...
Discovery and AT&T: How a Huge Media Deal Was Done

Discovery and AT&T: How a Huge Media Deal Was Done

Business
Deals are rarely smooth, and an anomaly with Discovery’s share price dovetailed with the negotiations. Discovery’s stock began to inexplicably rocket in February and March to $75 from $45 because of a convoluted trading scandal involving Archegos, a little-known private investment firm that bet big on Discovery and other companies via derivatives using billions in borrowed money.With banks forced to buy shares to hedge their spiraling exposure to Archegos, Discovery’s market value jumped nearly 60 percent, for no obvious reason to outsiders. But by May, the stock had returned to where it was during Mr. Zaslav’s initial approach, and the two sides ultimately forged a deal that gave 71 percent of the new company to AT&T shareholders and 29 percent to Discovery.Now, the trick was closing ...
How a Megadeal Reunited CNN’s Jeff Zucker With a Powerful Old Friend

How a Megadeal Reunited CNN’s Jeff Zucker With a Powerful Old Friend

Business
All agreed that Mr. Zaslav’s takeover raised the odds that Mr. Zucker would stay put, perhaps in an expanded role that encompasses more of Discovery and Warner’s combined news and sports assets. Discovery, for instance, owns Eurosport, a European network with broadcast rights to the Olympics and major tournaments in tennis and golf.“They were a formidable team when they were together at NBC,” said Jeff Gaspin, a former chairman of entertainment at NBCUniversal who has worked closely with both men. “They’ll make a formidable team at Warner if Jeff chooses to stay.”Today in BusinessUpdated May 18, 2021, 9:07 p.m. ETThe two men started at NBC in the late 1980s. They trained under Jack Welch, the chairman of General Electric, which controlled the media company, and ascended during NBC’s “...
An Old-School Media Titan Pushes Aside an Upstart

An Old-School Media Titan Pushes Aside an Upstart

Business
Mr. Kilar fashioned himself as a disrupter inclined to break with the status quo in the pursuit of innovation. He became the chief executive of WarnerMedia in April 2020. He previously had started a video streaming company called Vessel and had managed Hulu, where he gained a reputation for thwarting the desires of the entrenched media executives overseeing the company.HBO Max made a lackluster debut just two months after his arrival at WarnerMedia. By August, Mr. Kilar dismissed Bob Greenblatt and Kevin Reilly, two longtime television executives who were in charge of the streaming service’s programming. Mr. Kilar also laid off some 1,000 employees.Those inside the company credit Mr. Kilar with two important decisions that have better positioned the company in the current media climate. He...
AT&T, in Abrupt Turn, Will Shed Media Business in Deal With Discovery

AT&T, in Abrupt Turn, Will Shed Media Business in Deal With Discovery

Business
The merger is a significant about-face for AT&T, a telecommunications giant that got into the media business with its Time Warner foray. Industry experts questioned AT&T’s deal, and now the spinoff indicates a failed acquisition strategy.John Stankey, the chief executive of AT&T, has looked at its media business as a way to keep its phone customers from switching to other companies. AT&T Wireless subscribers get discounts and free access to HBO Max. A deal with Discovery could include stipulations that customers would maintain those benefits.Before he took over as chief executive last year, Mr. Stankey was the company’s chief mergers strategist. But his track record has been spotty. In addition to planning AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner, he was behind the company’s $48 ...