It’s been a tough time for AOL Time Warner lately. Last week we learned that Jamie Kellner, chairman of the company’s Turner Broadcasting unit, has joined the growing list of top executives to exit the company in recent months. That list includes Steve Case, Jerry Levin, Ted Turner, Bob Pittman and Walter Isaacson.
Now, my sources tell me, AOL Time Warner’s headaches are about to get worse. Though I can’t vouch for the veracity of the following transcript of a conference call held last week between AOL Time Warner Chairman and CEO Dick Parsons and some of his top team, I can say that, to me, it certainly has the ring of truth.
“Er, what’s up, Dick?”
Dick Parsons: “You tell me, Bugs. Is it true? You’re leaving us and going to Disney for the “Roger Rabbit” sequel?”
Bugs Bunny: “Er, yep. I’m flying to Wales with Jessica and Roger next week to start filming.”
Elmer Fudd: “That’s wight. And I’m following the Welsh wabbit, Dick.”
Parsons: “Oh geez, Elmer, do you have to?”
Yosemite Sam: “Hold it, polecat. I’m the roughest, toughest cowpoke in the West, but even I can’t take it anymore, Dick. We’re all leaving the company.”
Sylvester: “Thufferin’ thuccotash, man, the thtock price is in the toilet!”
Porky Pig: “The company just lost a hundred b-b-b-b-b-illion d-d-d-d-ollars!”
Daffy Duck: “Ith dithpicable.”
Tasmanian Devil: “#!!@%&&*#!!”
Road Runner: “Beep-beep!”
Parsons: “Pepe, are you in on this too?”
Pepe Le Pew: “Oui. It eez no longer love, mon cher.”
Parsons: “I’m devastated.”
Foghorn Leghorn: “Wait a minute, boys. Ah say, boys, wait a doggone minute. Dick, we’re leaving you a zipless duck.
Parsons: “Daffy’s staying?”
Bugs: “Er, no, but we’ve arranged for Howard to come over from Universal. It’s a trade. Michigan J. Frog’s going over there. The French like frogs more than they like ducks.”
Parsons: “This is a disaster. You guys are the franchise. This’ll probably sink the company. Don’t do it. Come on, can’t you tell me something? Anything?”
Porky Pig: “Th-th-th-that’s all, folks.”
Chuck Ross is publisher and editorial director of Electronic Media.