Review JUNE 11 - 17
Gas Update: Local pump prices took a significant drop for the week ended June 14. A price of self-serve regular was $2.317, according to the Energy Information Administration. That's down from $2.344 the week before and $2.361 for the week ended May 31. The statewide average was $2.289, down from $2.316 the week before.
Housing Surge: Los Angeles County home prices kept surging in May, with the median price reaching $394,000, up 25.9 percent from a year earlier. However, home sales fell 3.1 percent for the month, another indication of the limited inventory available. The prospect of higher interest rates has some analysts expecting the market to cool down in the next few weeks.
Upfront Action: CBS said it expects advance advertising sales to increase 9 percent, to $2.4 billion, as advertisers paid more to book commercial time on "CSI" and "Survivor." CBS has increased its prices more than the other major networks in part because it was the only network to increase its audience for the 2003-04 season. The network has also added the fewest number of new shows for the fall.
WB Resignation: Jordan Levin resigned as chief executive of the WB Television Network, less than a year after being named to the position. Levin quit rather than accept a position of network president of entertainment under Chairman Garth Ancier, who has management oversight. Its ratings fell slightly this season. After the resignation, the WB announced an overhaul of management that has producer David Janollari as the new entertainment president.
ABC Stores: Thanks to the NBA Finals between the Lakers and the Pistons, ABC wound up tied with CBS as the No. 1 network and the most watched network among viewers between 18 and 49, the demographic prized by advertisers. ABC is again trying to rebuild its prime-time schedule after failing to produce a mega-hit. For the entire series, ABC's ratings rose 62 percent from a year ago.
Safeway Suit: Safeway Inc. was sued by California over sales of cigarettes to minors. State Attorney General Bill Lockyer's suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeks civil penalties estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and a court order to prevent further sales. Lockyer sued after an undercover investigation determined that Safeway, parent of Vons, has the highest rate of sales to minors among the major chains. A Safeway spokesman called the suit unjustified.
Video Suit: Electronics Arts Inc., Atari Inc. and Vivendi Universal SA's video game unit sued 321 Studios Inc. to stop the sale of software that allows people to copy videogames, following similar suits by movie studios. In the suit, filed in federal court in New York, the videogame makers claim that 321 Studio's "Games X Copy" let users bypass encryption codes. 321 said later in the week that it might have to file for bankruptcy protection because of mounting legal costs.
Preview June 21 - 27
Kato Speech: Japanese Ambassador to the United States Ryozo Kato will be the featured speaker on Monday (21st) during a luncheon meeting of the Japan America Society at the Omni Los Angeles Hotel. Kato will speak on current Japan-U.S. relations. For information: 213-627-6217.
Sports Beat: The Dodgers are in San Francisco for a three-game midweek series Monday-Wednesday (21st-24th) and then play host to the Angels over the weekend (25th-27th). The Angels are home Mon.-Thurs. (21st-25th) against Oakland and then it's the Dodgers. The Sparks are away all week while the Galaxy is home on Wednesday (23rd) against New Jersey and Sunday against Chicago. Two weeks of Wimbledon get under way on Monday.
Economic Reports: Slow week. Thursday (24th): May new home sales and durable goods orders. Friday (25th): Final first quarter domestic national product figures and the University of Michigan consumer sentiment numbers.
Economic Outlook: The UCLA Anderson Forecast comes out with its quarterly numbers on Tuesday (22nd). Included will be outlooks for the national, state and regional economies.
Firing Line: Leonard Schaeffer, chairman and chief executive of WellPoint Health Networks Inc., in the midst of being acquired by Anthem Inc., speaks before Town Hall Los Angeles on Thursday (24th) at the Omni Los Angeles Hotel. State officials and the California Public Employees' Retirement System are raising concerns about the deal. For information: 213-628-8141.
Film Festival: The 10th annual Los Angeles Film Festival continues throughout the week. The festival features nearly 200 films, including 83 features representing 31 countries. The festival will utilize screening facilities including the Laemmle Sunset 5 Theatres, Directors Guild of America, the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, and the ArcLight Hollywood Cinerama Dome. For information: 866-345-6337.
Black Films: The Hollywood Black Film Festival kicks off on Tuesday (22nd) at the Harmony Gold Theatre in Hollywood with a feature by Ralph Farquhar titled "Gas." The festival, which runs through the 27th, exhibits a variety of independent films. For information: 310-712-3998.
New Bowl: The newly renovated Hollywood Bowl is host on Friday (25th) to performances by Sarah Chang, Brian Wilson and John Mauceri and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra plus fireworks. The new look features an overhauled shell plus video screens.
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