Review & Preview
Final Answer?: Disney made some long-awaited changes at the network that included the departure of industry veteran Stu Bloomberg and the naming of Susan Lyne to head entertainment programming. Lyne will report to Lloyd Braun, who becomes sole chairman of Disney's TV Group. Bloomberg had a hand in many hit shows over the years, including "Home Improvement" and "Roseanne," but he erred two years ago by pushing to have "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" on four nights a week only to see the audience steadily shrink.
Poor House: Walt Disney Co. Chairman Michael Eisner went without a bonus for the second time in three years because of the company's weak performance specifically, a $158 million loss for 2001. Eisner still gets a base salary of $1 million (and let's not forget an $11.5 million bonus year before last).
There's No Business...: A highly volatile year left location shooting in Los Angeles flat in 2001 from a year earlier. Citing permit figures, the Entertainment Industry Development Co. said there 27,435 shooting days outside studio lots, down less than 1 percent from a year earlier. Don't try reading too much into the numbers: Hollywood was so busy cranking out movies and TV shows in the first half of the year in anticipation of a walkout by writers and actors that second half activity slowed to a trickle.
Leaving Home: Stuart Wolff resigned as chairman and chief executive of Homestore.com less than a week after the Internet company announced that it had overstated its revenues by up to $95 million for the first nine months of 2001. Wolff left to pursue a new technology venture. The new chairman is Joe Hanauer, a board member, and the new chief executive is W. Michael Long, former chairman of WebMD Inc.
So Much For Big Crowds: Reflecting the continued tough times in tourism, Legoland California will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesday until this summer. The move, which will results in 30 layoffs (out of a workforce of 400) comes despite the Carlsbad theme park reporting that the last two weeks of December were the busiest in 2001.
The Yuks Stop Here: Agreeing with a state court's ruling that T-shirts bearing the likeness of the Three Stooges were "merchandise, not art," the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by a Los Angeles man who was sued by their heirs. Gary Saderup had hoped to have the last laugh in a case he said was about First Amendment rights, but now he will have to pay the descendants of Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Joe DeRita $75,000 in profits.
Bond Sale Close: California officials are nearing an agreement to let the state sell $12.5 billion of bonds in what would be the largest municipal bond sale in U.S. history. Gov. Gray Davis and the state Public Utilities Commission have been haggling over terms of the bond issue. Proceeds would be used to cover the cost of buying electricity for utilities last year.
Play it Again, SAG: Screen Actors Guild members will be going back to the ballot box following a decision by a five-member board that the last year's election was invalid due to a series of problems with the union's New York ballots. The ruling leaves SAG President Melissa Gilbert, and other new officers, in limbo until new elections can be held.
Tsatskeh Alert: The Gift and Home Furnishing Market opens in Tuesday for a eight-day run that is expected to bring 25,000 retailers in search of various knickknacks. The shows runs at the L.A. Mart and L.A. Convention Center.
Sigh, More Awards: The Golden Globes winners are announced on Sunday in a nationally televised event that rivals the Oscars and Emmys in numbers of stars in breaking bread together. More than that, it will offer clues on the Oscar race.
Back to the Malls: Since shoppers clearly didn't buy enough stuff during the holiday season 2001 was the worst retail year in a decade city officials and retailers have joined up to promote Shop L.A. County for four five days starting Jan. 17. Retailers at 19 county malls from Sherman Oaks Fashion Square to the Citadel Factory Stores will participate in the shopping bonanza, in which prices will be slashed up to 70 percent. The program is part of Mayor James Hahn's economic recovery effort, announced following the Sept. 11 attacks, and will be supported by several local media outlets.
Sports Stuff: The Lakers return to L.A. from what (at this writing) has been a successful road trip. They play the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples on Monday night (one of the few teams they have lost to this season) and on Wednesday they take on the Miami Heat. Also this week: the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic out in the desert.
More Talk on Playa: Just when you thought that the Playa Vista project had been discussed to death, you can hear more about it from the developers themselves. Tim Walker of MaguirePartners and Steve Soboroff, the new Playa Vista president, will give an update on the project to the Los Angeles Headquarters Association.
West World: It has been a not-so-good year for the Westside as the dot-com blowout battered that part of town and a recession and Sept. 11 added to the woes. Mayor Hahn's economic recovery coordinator Joy Chen will be part of a Westside Urban Forum panel on Friday talking about what's in store for the future.
Just Say No: Barbara Lee, the Bay Area Democrat who was the only member of Congress to vote against Resolution 64 authorizing the use of military force in Afghanistan will discuss the reasons for her opposition to the war. Lee will speak at a Town Hall Los Angeles luncheon at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel on Monday.
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