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Media Roundup: Disney and Bruckheimer Ending Deal; CBS Emmy Viewership Highest Since 2007


Plus, Fox hires ex-NBCUniversal executive as digital content manager and NBC's chairman renews his contract.

Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer Are Ending Long-Running Film Deal

Following recent news that Disney (NYSE:DIS) would delay the fifth film in the Pirates of the Caribbean series from 2015 to 2016, Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer agreed to not renew their long-running film deal, which has given Disney first-look rights to Bruckheimer's films.

Earlier this summer, Bruckheimer's latest film produced through the partnership, The Lone Ranger flopped at the box office, which will ultimately cost the studio between $160 and $190 million. Whether that flop is a major factor in this latest decision or not, the end of the deal may be a good thing for Disney.

As Bruckheimer said in a press release on Friday:

I am very appreciative of the wonderful collaboration and support I have had at The Walt Disney Company for over 20 years and the 27 movies we have made together. The good news is we will continue working together on Pirates of the Caribbean, National Treasure and other projects we have developed together at the studio.... As we continue to make adventure films, we look forward to returning to films like Black Hawk Down, Enemy of the State, Beverly Hills Cop, and The Rock.

So, Pirates 5 is still on, Bruckheimer gets to return to his roots with more adult-oriented action films, and Disney will continue to focus on the branding of its other lucrative brands, namely Pixar, Marvel, and the newest addition to the crew, Star Wars producer Lucasfilm.

20th Century Hires Former NBCUniversal Executive for Content Management Role

Reflective of the ongoing move of media from traditional mediums like film and television to the internet, as well as the growth of media in emerging markets, the film studio 20th Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA) has created a new position, President of Content Management. Responsibilities of the new job include oversight of digital media and worldwide television distribution. To fill the position, Fox has hired Salil Mehta, a former CFO and COO for the digital networks and integrated media division of Fox competitor NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA).

Mehta will be responsible for content distribution across all media for the company, and will report directly to Jim Gianopul, the CEO of 20th Century Fox.

NBC's Chairman Has Extended Contract Until 2017

Speaking of poaching executive from rival companies: In 2011, Comcast hired former Showtime executive Robert Greenblatt to run NBC, as Chairman. Now, Greenblatt is extending his contract until 2017.

Times have been somewhat tough for NBC: for the TV season that ended in May of 2013, NBC again finished last among the major TV networks in rating for total viewers, and took third for the coveted-by-advertisers 18- to 49-year-old range. Its most valuable properties include Sunday Night Football and American Idol competitor The Voice.

Greenblatt is bringing a slew of new programming to NBC this fall, including The Michael J. Fox Show, the titular actor's return to primetime television, and The Blacklist, a drama starring James Spader.

Breaking Bad Wins Prize for Best Drama Series at the Emmys

At last night's 65th Annual Primetime Emmys, broadcast on CBS (NYSE:CBS) and hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, AMC Networks' (NASDAQ:AMCX) hit series Breaking Bad won for Outstanding Drama Series while ABC's Modern Family won its fourth consecutive award for Outstanding Comedy Series.

In the acting categories, Claire Danes took Lead Actress in a Drama Series for Showtime's Homeland while best actress in a comedy went to Julia Louis-Dreyfus for HBO's Veep. Jeff Daniels won best actor for a drama for HBO's The Newsroom and Jim Parsons won the comedy award for CBS's The Big Bang Theory.

The telecast was a big success this year, drawing 15.2 million viewers, up from last year's 13.2 million. Moreover, for the all important 18- to 49-year-old demographic, viewership was up 30% to its highest viewership since 2007.

It was probably helpful that the NFL game between the Jets and the Bills ran later than expected, forcing the Emmys to start three minutes late, but also adding the boost of viewership from NFL fans who were still on the couch. The telecast did face heavy competition, from the Bears vs. Steelers NFL game on NBC, the penultimate episode of Breaking Bad on AMC, and the finale of Dexter on Showtime.

Follow me on Twitter: @JoshWolonick and @Minyanville
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