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Aug 15, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Eisner increases his Disney stake

The Walt Disney Co. Chairman and CEO Michael Eisner spent $10 million of his personal funds to acquire 725,000 shares of Disney stock on the open market today at prices ranging from $13.55 to $14.49 per share. A Securities and Exchange Commission filing indicates his stake in the company now totals 13.9 million shares, not counting the stock he holds through retirement and other accounts. Mr. Eisner is under extreme pressure from a formerly supportive board of directors to reverse the company’s sagging fortunes or face being replaced. The company is in the process of shrinking the size of the board.

Gemstar-TV Guide to restate results: Gemstar-TV Guide International late Wednesday night said it will restate and delay the reporting of its 2001 financial results to the Securities and Exchange Commission as it continues to review its accounting.

The Pasadena, Calif.-based firm said the restatement will reverse the recognition of approximately $20 million of revenue from its TV Guide subsidiary, which will not impact 2001 net loss, cash flow or 2002 financial results. But, the reversal will reduce operating income in the Interactive Platform sector for 2001 by approximately $20 million. As part of its review, an audit committee is examining whether advertising revenue was properly allocated to Gemstar’s Interactive Platform Sector and its Media and Services Sector.

Separately, News Corp., Gemstar Chairman Dr. Henry Yuen and Gemstar executive VP Elsie Leung have submitted a joint proposal to Gemstar’s board of directors to restructure its management. Although details were not immediately available, the changes would give News Corp. greater control of Gemstar as part of a settlement of disputes among the parties. A committee of independent board members is reviewing the plan.

Voice-over, animation Emmys announced: HBO grabbed three of the four Emmys in the voice-over performance and individual achievement in animation categories, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced today.

These juried award categories, which have no nominations, will be presented at the 2002 Primetime Creative Arts Awards on Saturday, Sept. 14, at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, one night before the 54th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards are telecast on NBC.

Voice-over performance Emmys were awarded to Pamela Segall Adlon for her roles as Bobby Hill, Clark Peters and Chane Wasonasong in the “Bobby Goes Nuts” episode of Fox’s “King of the Hill.” Peter Macon received an Emmy for his narration for the “John Henry The Steel Driving Man” episode of HBO’s “Animated Tales of the World.”

Emmys for individual achievement in animation were awarded to Maciek Albrecht, for production design and for animation of “The Christmas Song,” “Feliz Navidad” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” segments of HBO’s “‘Twas The Night” holiday special. Andrey Zolotukhin also grabbed an Emmy statuette for production design of the episode “John Henry The Steel Driving Man” of HBO’s “Animated Tales of The World.”

CBS names next ‘Survivor’ gang: CBS has revealed the identities of the 16 castaways participating in “Survivor: Thailand,” the fifth incarnation of the reality series scheduled to premiere on Thursday, Sept. 19 (8 p.m. to 9 p.m., ET).

The castaways who will be vying for the $1 million grand prize were introduced on Thursday’s telecast of CBS News’ “The Early Show.” They are Jake Billingsley, 60, a land broker, from McKinney, Texas; Erin Collins, 26, a real estate agent, Austin, Texas; Stephanie Dill, 29, a firefighter/emergency medical technician, from Fayettesville, Ark.; Jan Gentry, 53, a first-grade teacher, Tampa, Fla.; Helen Glover, 47, a U.S. Navy swim instructor, Middletown, R.I.; Brian Heidik, 34, a used-car salesman, Quartz Hill, Calif.; Jed Hildebrand, 25, a dental student, Dallas; Shii Ann Huang, 28, an executive recruiter, New York City; and Ghandia Johnson, 33, a legal secretary, Denver.

Also, Clay Jordan, 46, a restaurant owner from Monroe, La.; Penny Ramsey, 27, a pharmaceutical sales executive, Plano, Texas; John Raymond, 40, a pastor, Slidell, La.; Ted Rogers Jr., 37, a software development manager, Durham, N.C.; Ken Stafford, 30, a police officer, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Tanya Vance, 27, a social worker, Gray, Tenn.; and Robb Zbacnik, 23, a bartender, from Scottsdale, Ariz.

“Survivor: Thailand,” again hosted by Jeff Probst, will strand the contestants on Koh Tarutao, a remote island off the southern coast of Thailand, during the region’s dangerous monsoon season. The show is produced by SEG, Inc. Mark Burnett is executive producer.

Plotnik named news director at WABC: Kenny Plotnik has been promoted to news director at WABC-TV, New York. Mr. Plotnik, who joined the ABC-owned station in 1987 as executive producer of the 11 p.m . newscast, had been assistant news director at the flagship station for three years. He replaces Dan Forman, who recently returned to WNBC-TV, New York, after two years as WABC’s news director.

CBS Sports elevates Simko, Malmgren: Chris Simko has been promoted to senior VP, CBS Sports sales and marketing, and Bob Malmgren has been promoted to VP, CBS Sports sales.

Mr. Simko will be responsible for managing the NCAA Corporate Champion program in conjunction with the NCAA and Host Communications. He also will work with the PGA Tour, PGA of America, United Stated Tennis Association and the College Conference on sales and marketing efforts. He will continue to oversee the commercial and sponsorship sales of U.S. Open tennis and golf and college sports.

Mr. Malmgren will be responsible for all aspects of inventory management of college football, NCAA Basketball, golf and U.S. Open tennis.

Lynch takes GalavisiÛn post: Univision VP and National Sales Manager Joanne Lynch has been named senior VP and general manager of GalavisiÛn, Univision’s cable network. Ms. Lynch, who had been based at Univision’s Miami sales office, will now be based in New York, reporting to Ray Rodriguez, president and chief operating officer, Univision Television Networks.