PICKETS MAY SHUT DOWN GLOBES

Although the late-night talk shows are set to return to the air next month, the Golden Globes ceremonies may not. On Thursday, Writers Guild strike coordinator Jeff Hermanson announced plans to picket the show, which would likely result in most celebrities shying away. (The New York Times reported that the WGA plans to place pickets "on the sidewalks around the Beverly Hilton Hotel," the site of the awards ceremony, thereby raising the prospect for the invited guests "of having to confront strikers as they walk up the red carpet." However, in the past the area around the hotel has been cordoned off by police and private security firms, preventing protesters from coming within shouting distance of the arriving celebrities.) Most industry observers agreed that if the Golden Globes telecast is canceled, so, too, will the Oscars telecast in February, if the strike is not settled by then. Meanwhile, Daily Variety reported that January 7 appears to be the likely date for the start of negotiations between the Directors Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

CNN RECEIVES FAVORABLE MENTIONS ON MSNBC, FOX NEWS

CNN got some unexpected promotion from rivals MSNBC and Fox News Channel Thursday during their reports about the assassination of former Pakistani President Benazir Bhutto, the TV Newser website observed Thursday. When an MSNBC anchor asked Sen. Arlen Specter, who is in Islamabad observing the elections, how he learned about the bombing, he replied, "Watching CNN." Later, during an appearance by Husain Haqqani, a former top aide to Bhutto, on FNC, Haqqani complained that he "saw evidence on CNN myself" that evidence at the scene was being destroyed by Pakistani authorities.

SUPER BOWL RATINGS IN THE WORKS?

Saturday's telecast of the New England Patriots/New York Giants game is likely to rival a Super Bowl game when it comes to drawing an audience -- although that audience will be split three ways, between CBS, NBC, and the NFL's own cable network, published reports observed. It will mark the first time that two broadcast networks have carried an NFL game since the first Super Bowl game in 1967. Viewers will be tuning in to see whether the Patriots will be able to finish the regular season without a loss. (The last team to do so was the 1972 Miami Dolphins.) Patriots games have already set ratings records this year, both on cable and on the networks.

BEWKES MAY BREAK UP TIME WARNER, SAYS REPORT

Incoming Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes is likely to move quickly to dismantle the company by spinning off Time Warner Cable and selling AOL and Time Inc., according to Bloomberg News. Such a move would leave the company principally with its Warner Bros. and New Line film studios, its Turner Broadcasting cable networks, and HBO. The wire service quoted two financial analysts, Chris Marangi of Gamco Investors and Daniel Poole of National City Bank as saying that such a strategy would lift the company's stock, which has remained stagnant since Richard Parsons pulled it out of its tailspin five years ago. "The company is much better off today, but the stock hasn't gone anywhere," Poole told Bloomberg. "It's been very frustrating." Marangi suggested that by becoming the world's largest media company, Time Warner has become unwieldy. "There's nothing special necessarily about being the biggest,'' Marangi said. "It's more important to be nimble." Ironically, Bewkes is likely to look favorably on billionaire Carl Icahn's proposals for lifting the company's stock -- proposals that were successfully opposed by Parsons. Bloomberg noted that during a Nov. 7 conference call, Bewkes remarked, "We will be looking at anything that improves our strategic advantage."

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.