An eight-year member of DISH network's board of directors resigned over the manner in which a bid for the bankrupt telecommunications company LighSquared was handled -- a bid that, if accepted, could result in millions of dollars of personal profits to company Chairman Charlie Ergen, the Wall Street Journal reported today (Thursday), citing people involved in the situation. The director, Gary Howard, had served on a special two-man board committee directed to assess the LightSquared deal, because Ergen had been buying up LightSquared debt at huge discounts and could profit substantially if DISH bought the company, the Journal said. Howard and the other committee member, Stephen Goodbarn, reportedly expressed concern that DISH's $2-billion offer for LightSquared could look bad in the eyes of regulators, given Ergen's personal interest in the company, and wanted to keep open the possibility that at least some if Ergen's gains be returned to DISH's shareholders. Members of DISH's board, however, felt that the company could ensure that The Deal would be fair to shareholders; moreover, they felt that Ergen stood to profit even if another company bought LightSquared, the Journal's sources said. The board disbanded the committee on July 23, two days before DISH made its bid for LightSquared. Two days later, Howard resigned.
Mark Cuban, who pioneered streaming video with Broadcast.com in the 1990s (becoming a billionaire when he sold it to Yahoo! in 1999), thinks Google would be making a savvy move if it obtained the rights to air the NFL's Sunday Ticket. As for questions about whether the Internet has sufficient bandwidth to deliver football to tens of millions of viewers, Cuban told AllThingsD.com that it does ... sort of. It's one thing to originate it and distribute it, Cuban said during an email exchange with the Wall Street Journal-affiliated site, It's another to make sure that every peered Internet provider will get it to the home at a quality Google wants it delivered. And even when it is delivered to the home in top quality, there's no assurance that every viewer's wifi hook-up is working correctly. Cuban acknowledged that he has never championed live programming online. but I am softening, he said. What may be changing his mind, he said, is that viewers have seemingly become accustomed to watching video being interrupted for buffering.
It's certainly rare when a horror flick is even screened for critics in advance of its opening. It's rarer still when such a movie receives overwhelmingly positive reviews. But such is the case with director James Wan's The Conjuring. Several critics are comparing it with the best of the genre. It brings to mind '70s' supernatural horror films such as The Exorcist with its stillness, steady build of suspense and handsome cinematography, writes Claudia Puig in USA Today. Ty Burr in the Boston Globe compares it with The Amityville Horror. The movie, he writes, digs up no new ground -- indeed, it seems almost proud of its Old School bona fides -- but it plows the classic terrain with a skill that feels a lot like affection. Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune argues that The Conjuring is a far better movie than Amityville Horror. He concludes, Might this movie actually be too good, in a slightly square way, to find the audience it deserves among under-20-somethings? Maybe. Maybe not. I hope not. Manohla Dargis in The New York Times praises it as a fantastically effective haunted-house movie. She also expresses her theory about why such movies do so well at the box office. It's been estimated that 75 percent of Americans believe in the paranormal, while only 54 percent believe global warming has begun. Evidently it's easier to believe in the terrors that can't hurt us than to believe in those that can, which may partly account for why so many vampires, zombies and their paranormal ilk are running amok in the popular imagination. But Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal says that while the film may be entirely irony-free and enjoyable up to a point for its straight-faced burrowings from the Exorcist and The Amityville Horror, the difference is that The Exorcist took the nation by storm with fresh ideas and brilliant filmmaking. The Conjuring conjures with amped-up echoes of old ideas and represents a bet that they still retain their creepy appeal For Today's audience.
The talent agency representing Big Brother contestant Aaryn Gries has dropped the actress following a flood of complaints about her remarks concerning blacks, gays and women during the reality show's live Internet feed (but removed by CBS for the primetime telecast), the Wall Street Journal reported today (Thursday). The agency, Zephyr Talent, said in a statement posted on its Facebook page that Gries revealed prejudices and other beliefs that we do not condone. We certainly find the statements made by Aaryn on the live Internet feed to be offensive. At the same time, more than 3,000 people have signed a Change.org petition demanding that Gries be removed from the show. But some viewers, including season 12 competitor Ragan Fox, who is openly gay, have called on CBS not to delete the offensive comments from the primetime broadcast. The Journal quoted Fox as saying on his blog: What's the point of casting racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities if production's going to edit out the racism, ethnic discrimination, and homophobia that these people encounter inside the house?
That off the record meeting with reporters that Attorney General Eric Holder had arranged to discuss the DOJ's investigations of leaks of classified information to the press turned out to be anything but. Although several news organizations, including the Associated Press, Reuters, The New York Times, CNN and NBC, had refused to attend the meeting unless Holder agreed to speak on the record, three of the five reporters who did attend apparently had no hesitation about speaking to other journalists about the meeting after it was over. The Washington Post reported that the Department of Justice had agreed to allow the reporters to describe what occurred in at the meeting in general terms. One of them, Gerald Seib, Washington bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal, said, There was a commitment to change the department's guidelines for handling cases such as these and a renewed commitment to support a federal shield law for journalists. Another reporter who attended, Martin Baron, executive editor of the Washington Post, said, We expressed our concerns that reporters felt some fear for doing their jobs, that they were concerned about using their email and concerned about using their office telephones. Jane Mayer at the New Yorker, who also attended the meeting, said, I think it's constructive that they are willing to address the criticisms of the department. But what will really matter is if they follow through and make some changes.
John Cusimano - Food Bank For New York City's Can-Do Awards - arrivals - NY, NY, United States - Wednesday 1st May 2013
Ordinarily, the annual conference of theater owners known as CinemaCon is not the setting for much controversy. That's not the case this year. Regal Entertainment and AMC Entertainment, the nation's top two exhibitors, have reportedly made it known that they don't like the terms that Disney is seeking for sharing revenue with the exhibitors. Indeed, the two chains said on Wednesday that they have halted advance sales of tickets for Iron Man 3, scheduled to open on May 3. Some analysts expect it to open with more than $150 million in domestic sales. We hope to reach agreement and get tickets on sale as soon as possible so it doesn't affect opening weekend, Ryan Noonan, an AMC spokesman, said Wednesday in a statement. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, AMC chief Gerry Lopez said that Disney is demanding a bigger cut of the revenue for Iron Man 3 than for anything I have seen in my time in the industry. ... It's enough for us to pause and push back. Neither Disney nor any of the other theater chains is commenting on the dispute, but the Journal said that Cinemark USA, the nation's third-largest exhibitor, is also refusing to sell tickets, but that Carmike Cinemas, the fourth-largest, reached a new deal with Disney on Thursday and began selling them.
aising increasing concerns that China's often heavy-handed censorship policies will be reflected in the content of Hollywood movies, TheWrap.com reported on Sunday that Paramount execs asked the producers of World War Z to remove a reference to China in a scene in which the characters discuss the possible origins of a zombie pandemic that is causing worldwide chaos. According to the website, the studio advised the movie producers to drop the reference to China and cite a different country as a possible source of the pandemic. The report comes following reports that Skyfall was heavily altered to satisfy Chinese censors' objections before it was shown in that country -- now the No. 2 market for movies behind the U.S. Men In Black 3, Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End and Mission: Impossible 3 were also altered for Chinese consumption. But The Changes to World War Z would appear to revise the content of the film not only in China but also in the rest of the world, including the U.S. While some analysts have argued that increased competition from U.S. films may encourage Chinese censors to relax their policies, only this weekend it was disclosed that a retrospective of Andy Warhol's work, which has begun a two-year Asia tour, will omit Warhol's portraits of Mao Tse-tung. The state-run newspaper Global Times protested in February that one of the portraits suggested that Mao wore lipstick and was therefore disrespectful. In a statement to the Wall Street Journal Eric Shiner, director of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, which has organized the Asian tour, voice no criticism of the Chinese action, saying only, We understand that certain imagery is still not able to be shown in China and we respect our host institutions' decisions.
Amir Efrati, who covers the major Internet operators such as Google and Yahoo! for the Wall Street Journal, noticed that several full-length feature films were available on YouTube. Checking further he discovered that indeed hundreds of movies, generating hundreds of millions of views, had been uploaded during just the past year. In a report for the Journal today (Friday), Efrati remarked, Why the movie studios didn't block the films by using a special YouTube program -- called Content ID --for identifying their copyrighted content is a mystery. When he contacted the studios, he reported, each declined to comment. However, Howard Gantman, a spokesman for the Motion Picture Association of America told Efrati: We are aware of the issue and are concerned about it. Our member companies have raised the issue with YouTube and hope they will work cooperatively with us to fix it.
Carl Icahn, who has taken a 10-percent stake in Netflix, has vowed to find a buyer for the video rental company who'll be willing to pay a hefty premium for its weakened stock and sort out its increasingly perplexing financial model. There is a very good argument that, at the right premium, somebody should buy Netflix. ... They've got a great platform, he told today's (Wednesday) Wall Street Journal. That is also why it is such a great acquisition candidate for someone, he added. He also said that he expects to recruit allies among other Netflix investors. Most of the shareholders would like to see the company sold at a big premium, he told the Journal. Icahn's strategy would appear to sidestep the recent decision by Netflix's board to put a Poison-pen strategy in play if he tries to increase his own stake in the company. I guess they decided to go to battle, he told the newspaper. But Icahn is adept at battling headstrong CEOs. If they want to go to war, he said, then we'll go to war.