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Entertainment as Politics...

Yesterday, the animation community... nee, the entertainment community was shaken up by the surprise announcement by Roy Disney of his resignation from the company created by his late uncle, and his harsh comments directed at Eisner about how he failed as CEO of Disney and that he too should retire from Disney. This comes straight on the heel of the announcement that Disney was closing its feature animations studio in Florida, which was in the middle of work on "A Few Good Ghosts" due next spring. (This is the one which you can see while visiting Disney World. I got to see Mulan while in production.)

This has followed unsuccessful talks with Pixar, unsuccessful talks with the Henson Company to acquire the Muppets, trouble with most of their divisions like the ABC Network and feature animation (though animation has been gaining some ground recently with "Lilo and Stitch" and now "Brother Bear".)

Interestingly enough, word was that Eisner was prepared to leave Disney in September of 2004 (capping a 20 year career at the company) because -- well -- they were going to push him out otherwise. Because of, well, all of the failures I enumerated above and more, and the growing impression that Eisner is less concerned with nurturing the company, but rather enriching his own pockets. That he is less concerned that the company has on his watch turned into a "rapacious, soul-less" entity, which is "always looking for the 'quick buck'" and thus losing the public trust, as I quote Roy Disney.
Eisner's stock wasn't high among the the people he employed. Finding an encouraging word about Eisner in animation boards is about as difficult as finding a promotion for "The Iron Giant" back before its release in 1999. If you need visual illustration, "Son of Faster, Cheaper" by longtimer Floyd Norman sketches out what has become the new ethic at Disney on Mike's watch.

screencap of LATimes.comIn all this, and after 50 minutes of typing and referencing, I've wandered away from the point of this post... which was to mock the LA Times. Only in Los Angeles, would the newspaper confuse entertainment with politics. But with the backstage dealings and maneuvering, I can understand.


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Dec. 1st, 2003 07:16 am (UTC)
In other executive news you may find interesting, Boeing today ousted Chairman and CEO Phil Condit. The interesting part is they brought Harry Stonecipher out of retirement. That is one tenacious SOB -- he was the first outsider to run the old McDonnell Douglas before he sold it to Boeing. And he has experience making the government happy -- his first CEO job was to get the old Sunstrand Aero back in the government's good graces. That's good, because the government is seriously pissed off at Boeing, one of the bigger defense contractors, right now. Not just over the 757 tanker lease issue, but over Boeing Satellite's use of Lockheed documents -- they're proposing Boeing not be able to bid on new satellites.

Things will get very interesting in defense-contractor-land over the next few months.
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