Around the World
EmptyOne ring to bind them
Peter Jackson and New Line co-chief Bob Shaye buried the hatchet this week — and not in each other's heads. After months of public acrimony, the lure of hobbit's gold proved more powerful than their ongoing battle, prompting the "Lord of the Rings" helmer and New Line to settle their profit-sharing dispute and move forward on a new J.R.R. Tolkien adaptation. Jackson won't be at the helm of the two-film "The Hobbit," but will executive produce and be intimately involved with the creative process from the beginning. MGM boss Harry Sloan, whose company co-owns the property and will handle international distribution, is said to have played a key peacemaking role in bringing the feud to an end.
In other Jackson news, Andy Serkis, who worked with the helmer on the "Rings" films as well as "King Kong," has joined the cast of "Tintin," the planned trilogy from Jackson and Steven Spielberg. Serkis is expected to play temperamental sea captain Captain Haddock in the adaptation of the hugely popular European comic strip.
While it's an open question as to how much anyone would miss the sometimes painful banter between presenters, the fact that both Oscar and the Golden Globes struck out in their requests for WGA waivers could mean major problems for the shows' producers. In addition to the lack of guild member-scripted material available during the telecasts, the prospect of a picket line has thrown the attendance of nominees very much in doubt.
In what insiders are describing as a blow to the company, popular Twentieth Television programming president Paul Buccieri, the man credited with building up the News Corp. syndie division's slate of court shows, has departed to take the reins at ITV's Granada America. As CEO of the Brit powerhouse's U.S. unit, he'll oversee the development of new reality and scripted series and formats as well as the exploitation of existing ITV formats.
Don't hate the player
In the biggest move from traditional Hollywood to gaming since Spielberg inked with Electronic Arts in 2005, Jerry Bruckheimer has inked an exclusive deal with MTV Games that will see them team to build a game-incubation studio in Santa Monica. "If you look at our movies ... from 'Pearl Harbor' to 'Armageddon' to 'Top Gun' ... and you look at the angles, the shots and concepts, you see a lot of similarities (to games)," Bruckheimer said.
Rules of the game
FCC chairman Kevin Martin pushed through a 3-2 party-line vote this week, changing the rules governing the owning of newspapers and TV stations in the same market. Martin says the rules change, which will allow companies to own one of each in the nation's 20 largest markets, will help traditional media compete in the age of the Internet. Democratic counterpart Michael Copps called it the "same old same old," insisting it will only allow big media companies to increase their dominance of the marketplace.
Ready to 'Rumble'
"Boondocks" mastermind Aaron McGruder is getting live. The creator of the comic strip-turned-Adult Swim series has inked a deal with Turner-owned Internet comedy hub Super Deluxe to create and write 20 mini-episodes of "The Super Rumble Mixshow," which will combine sketch comedy with a variety of other formats.
By Chad Williams