Infighting, insecurity, in flux
A holdover from 1994’s flux roster, Barry Diller, 53, failed in a bid for CBS and watched the network swap-a-thon from the sidelines. He stayed in the game by snagging Silver King Communications, a group of small TV stations, and five percent of Falcon Cable Systems. Hardly the big leagues — yet.
Oliver Stone (below), 49, needs a hit. The controversial director’s last two films (Heaven and Earth, Natural Born Killers) have done bad to middling BO — not to mention the terrible reviews from presidential hopeful Bob Dole, who called Killers depraved. Stone’s liberal take on Nixon (out in December) will no doubt send the majority leader back to his thesaurus.
Michael Ovitz’s flight from CAA taught former CBS head Howard Stringer, 53, a lesson in Hollywood loyalty. The success of Stringer’s new venture, TELE-TV, depends on alliances brokered by Ovitz — currently cozy with a different set of Baby Bells at Disney.
When CBS lured Leslie Moonves from Warner Bros. TV in July, his No. 2 man, Tony Jonas, 43, assumed control of the studio with a record 21 series on prime time. Now Jonas — who oversaw the development of Friends and ER — must sell as well as he shepherds. Fortunately, he has help: WB agreed to release Moonves from contract if CBS bought five series over five years.
Mouthy maverick Danny Goldberg, 45, and button-down media monolith Time Warner were always strange bedfellows. So it was no surprise when the Warner Bros. Records chairman became a casualty of ’95’s Warner Music Group shakeup. The ex-manager (and guru to Courtney Love) will no doubt find suitable employment. For now, he’s on vacation.
The $5.9 million take of Tim Burton’s Ed Wood no doubt scared Disney, a studio used to Nightmare Before Christmas-size grosses. The director, 36, meanwhile, downsized his Hollywood production company and opened a San Francisco animation studio. First project: an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s classic James and the Giant Peach.
Rich Frank, 52, former chairman of Disney TV (Home Improvement, Ellen), bolted to head up (and partly own) C3, a division of Comcast. The cable giant is betting Frank can put it in the same league as Time Warner and TCI.
— Chris Nashawaty and Dan Snierson