Johnnie L.

Stories by Johnnie L. Roberts

  • Big Media And The Big Story

    One of Dwight D. Eisenhower's most enduring acts as president was his warning about the dangers of the 'military industrial complex'--the cozy ties between a weapons-hungry Pentagon and the nation's business-hungry defense contractors. Is the relationship between big media and big government the 21st century version of this--what international relations expert James Der Derian has dubbed the "military-industrial-media-entertainment network?"On Wednesday, Condoleezza Rice, the president's national security adviser, asked the major networks to refrain from showing unedited video messages taped by Osama bin Laden. All but one are controlled by major conglomerates that have important pending business with the government. All of them readily acceded to her concerns. At the request of the FBI and White House, "America's Most Wanted," the crime-fighting reality show on the Fox network, which is owned by media conglomerate News Corp., produced a Friday night television special on the list...
  • Network Synergy At Work

    As horrible as it was, the surreal image of a hijacked jetliner slamming into the World Trade Center wasn't the only picture drawing stunned double takes from viewers. Tuning to MTV and VH1 and finding grim-faced CBS anchor Dan Rather was surprising, too. Ditto for viewers who flipped to TNT or Court TV only to find CNN. And when sports fans turned to ESPN, it had been displaced by ABC News, anchored by Peter Jennings.There was a method to the media madness: corporate synergy. With tragedy unfolding throughout the day yesterday, the handful of corporate giants that now control the most popular broadcast and cable channels ran their coverage on all of their outlets. The most far-reaching example: AOL Time Warner. It controls TNT, Court TV, local cable-news channels, TBS Superstation and CNNfn as well as CNN-which ran on all of them. Even AOL-owned WB, the youthful broadcast network, dumped its entertainment schedule last night to carry CNN.Then there's AOL's rival Viacom, parent to...
  • The Economic Fallout

    With the linked global financial markets plunged into chaos following the horrific terrorist attacks on Washington and New York, nervous investors, seeking a safe haven, sent the price of gold skyrocketing in the aftermath of the attacks.While U.S. financial officials scrambled to assure the public that markets and money supplies would be protected, there was concern about the lasting impact of the attacks. With the U.S. economy already teetering on the edge of recession, some traders worried that the devastating assault would act as a negative catalyst, further depressing global markets and economic activity.The attacks destroyed one of the most prominent architectural symbols of global finance and trade. U.S. securities markets came to a complete halt on Tuesday, and stocks plunged across Europe. It's not clear when trading can resume; the rubble of the collapsed World Trade Center is located only a block or so from Wall Street, the epicenter of world finance, through which at...
  • The Disc That Saved Hollywood

    You'd think that, at 64, the decidedly dated Snow White would be headed for retirement. Disney has milked $1.1 billion out of the perky princess since "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" first arrived in 1937, rereleasing the movie eight times in theaters for each successive generation, and then selling millions of videotapes in two "limited" releases. Nonetheless, Disney is going to the wishing well again. On Oct. 9, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" arrives on a next- generation DVD, and Disney CEO Michael Eisner is hoping that one bite of this apple will make shareholders forget all about "Pearl Harbor" and Disney's California Adventure. Two years in the making, "Snow White" the DVD is 15 hours of digitally compressed entertainment offered up in four different languages and jammed onto two silvery, CD-size discs.There's a "making of" documentary, an interactive Dopey game and an original recording of "Some Day My Prince Will Come" by Barbra Streisand. You can take a virtual tour of...
  • The House Of Grubman

    When Allen Grubman's daughter got kicked out of prep school years ago, the high-powered music lawyer knew just what to do: he made a few phone calls and got her enrolled in another (and still another when she flamed out of that one--and another after that). When she wanted to start her own public-relations firm in 1997, he opened his checkbook as well as his Rolodex, sharing some of his own clients to help fill her roster. And so, when 30-year-old Lizzie Grubman woke her father in the wee hours this past Fourth of July weekend to inform him that she'd had an accident in his Mercedes-Benz SUV, he knew exactly what to do: he picked up the phone. "I said, 'I'll volunteer to help'," uber-spinmeister Howard Rubenstein told Grubman. "And he said, 'No! No!' " No price is too high to pay to help Daddy's girl.Surely by now you must have heard of Allen Grubman's daughter Lizzie, the rich, cover-girl celebrity publicist who reps the likes of Britney Spears and Jay-Z and controls the guest...
  • Moving In On Ma Bell

    Brian Roberts was seated so close to the basketball court that he could have read the inscriptions tattooed on Allen Iverson, the Philadelphia 76ers superstar. Unlike many of the stylish fans in the money seats, the CEO of cable-giant Comcast was dressed in a subdued blazer that looked like an off-the-rack bargain. Roberts seemed unruffled even though Comcast is majority owner of the Sixers, who were entering the final game of the NBA's Eastern Conference championship tired and bruised. But his calm proved justified as the Sixers went on to win. Days later, however, the scrappy team fell to the overpowering Lakers in the NBA championship.Now the unflappable Roberts is gunning for even bigger game. Last week Philadelphia-based Comcast, the industry's best-run company, made a $58 billion hostile bid for AT&T's cable business, known as AT&T Broadband. Over the past three years AT&T spent $100 billion on a cable-buying binge, positioning itself as a one-stop supplier of...
  • Chances Are, You've Only Surfed A Few Sites Today

    For more than a year now, consumer advocates and promoters of media diversity have warned about cyberhogs: giant companies that draw most of the traffic on the Internet. The fears swelled in the wake of AOL's January acquisition of Time Warner. Now, critics of media concentration have fresh ammunition: A study released Monday by market researcher Jupiter Media Maxtrix finds that just four companies-AOL Time Warner, Microsoft, Yahoo! and Napster-control roughly half of the time Internet users spend online. That's down from 11 companies two years ago. Moreover, 60 percent of online time is controlled by only 14 companies, a breathtaking plunge from 110 companies in 1999. That's "an incontrovertible trend toward online media consolidation," the authors of the report wrote.Jupiter says the numbers should be viewed as a cautionary sign-particularly by Washington regulators. The message: don't believe the hype from proponents of media deregulation. "Regulators should think twice about...
  • Rumble In The Media Jungle

    Buffy the vampire slayer's latest moves have left her fans gasping for breath. In her five seasons on the WB network, the sultry agent of good has killed dozens of night stalkers and demons, and even managed to finish high school and matriculate at UC, Sunnydale. The show made Sarah Michelle Gellar a big star and gave the WB a hip edge over its archrival, UPN. So fans were stunned by last month's news that "Buffy" was decamping to UPN. Wailed Boyslayer, one groupie on the official "Buffy" Web site, "How could you WB guys let such a great show slip through your fingers and let it go to a loser network that only has sci-fi shows?" Here's the deal, Boyslayer. As part of an escalating rivalry, "the loser network" upped the ante for the hot series, offering "Buffy's" producer a whopping $2.3 million an episode, a cool half-million dollars more than WB's bid. ...
  • This Space Available

    "The Runner" seems to fit the times. In the new ABC reality show, hidden cameras follow a "runner" (though the whole trip isn't made on foot) as he or she travels across America. While viewers try to track the runner down, he or she must accomplish certain "missions," going to a fast-food joint in a specific state, for example, and ordering a cheeseburger. Each week viewers can pick up clues about the runner's whereabouts on the prime-time show, or on the official "Runner" Web site. Catch the runner and win as much as $1 million. If the runner makes it across the country undetected in 28 days, he collects the money. ...
  • Cradle To Grave Tv

    Months ago, WB network CEO Jamie Kellner greenlit "The Oblongs," one of the more bizarre projects ever slated for prime-time television. The upcoming cartoon series on the AOL Time Warner-owned WB is a wicked satire showcasing a family of misfits living in a toxic valley. The father, Bob, is a limbless optimist. Wife Pickles is a bald, chain-smoking alcoholic. Two of the kids, Biff and Chip, are conjoined twins sharing three legs and three buttocks. But the twisted content is not the new show's most remarkable aspect. Rather, it's he novel plan Kellner is weighing to air it on several AOL Time Warner channels in short order, vastly expanding the audience for the expensive animated production. On April Fools' Day, "The Oblongs" will debut on teen-friendly WB. Soon after, it likely will appear on the Cartoon Network. "This wouldn't have happened before,'' says Kellner. ...
  • A Tough Season

    It was supposed to have been another buoyant night for Dick Ebersol. The chairman of NBC Sports had settled into the cramped production trailer outside the Coliseum in L.A. on a recent Saturday to watch a raucous game of XFL football, the league he had launched with the World Wrestling Federation. The XFL's debut the previous week had been a ratings smash. Ebersol knew it would be tough to match that showing, when many tuned in to see, as he says, "if we would have naked cheerleaders running around with chairs to break over the heads of referees." Still, he was pumped. The XFL game would be followed by "Saturday Night Live," guest-starring the white-hot Jennifer Lopez. ...
  • Megawatt Mogulfest

    Talk about a chance encounter. It was a megawatt group of Masters of the Media Universe, and what they might have been plotting is anybody's guess. In any case, there they were-AOL Time Warner's chairman Steve Case, CEO Jerry Levin, the company's co-chief operating officer Richard Parson and Chief Financial Officer Mike Kelly-assembled all at once in the 29th-floor executive sanctum of the world's media behemoth.Nothing unusual there, except maybe that Case had ventured up to the newly combined AOL Time Warner's New York head quarters from Dulles, Va., where he has elected to keep his office.No, the noteworthy aspect of this Feb. 7 gathering lay in the identity of the guest they'd just finished meeting with: none other than the King of Media Dealmakers, Liberty Media boss John Malone.This mogulfest has lots of potentially monumental media stuff to discuss-megasize assets to split up, subdivide or cobble together-as well an array of friends and foes to conspire with and against.This...
  • All For One, One For Aol

    Last summer, months before the Federal Trade Commission approved America Online's $110 billion merger with Time Warner, a new arrival at the Manhattan headquarters of the world's largest media and entertainment company had executives there buzzing. Robert Pittman, AOL's president, had quietly moved into a 32d-floor office at Time Warner'sRockefeller Center digs. Around the same time, AOL subscribers were greeted by an offer to buy Sports Illustrated, a Time Warner title, as they logged on to the nation's biggest Internet service provider. The two companies held a joint board meeting in Atlanta last summer, and the directors even attended a ball game played by the Time Warner-owned Atlanta Braves. And Time Warner employees are already enjoying a new perk: free access to AOL.Were they jumping the gun? When the Dec. 13 FTC approval was announced at a news conference in Washington, D.C., it seemed as though the deal had squeaked past hostile regulators. During 11 months of review by the...
  • Mr. Rap Goes To Washington

    The impresario of the hip-hop revolution never seemed interested in politics. He liked casual urban fashions, sleek women and the millions that could be made from tirelessly promoting the edgy new street music called rap. He became an icon of pop culture and inspired a new generation of music-business entrepreneurs from the inner city, where the political issues are fierce. Yet he didn't even bother to vote in recent elections. So what was Russell Simmons--cultivator of star rappers, cofounder of Def Jam Records, owner of homes in New York City and the Hamptons--doing last week with leading political activists in a meeting with that squarest of officials, Attorney General Janet Reno? And wasn't that Simmons up there onstage in Washington last Saturday--the 37th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s historic march on the capital--to exhort a massive gathering of mostly young, mostly black demonstrators against police brutality?The hip-hop generation--a broad, multiracial segment of...
  • Creating Static For Aol

    Few have seen "the video," as Disney's latest production is known around Washington. But what they remember is a truly scary movie: an apocalyptic, though speculative, vision of a combined AOL and Time Warner. With monopoly control over a big chunk of broadband cable--the high-speed interactive cable service now inching across the nation--AOL Time Warner could, the video warns, obstruct rivals' Web and interactive-TV offerings. "Gatekeepers like AOL Time Warner," it predicts, may "force feed" their own new media to captured customers and control the converging worlds of TV, the Net and computers.AOL Time Warner executives are unamused by the video, part of Disney's militant lobbying against the merger. Apparently at least one Disney employee sympathizes with them. Someone identifying himself only as "Mickey" (Mouse?) mailed an early version of the video to AOL. He also faxed a copy of the video script, which apparently emanated from "Good Morning America," owned by Disney's ABC...
  • Edgar's Exit Strategy

    If Seagram CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. ever sweated, he was cool enough to do it in private. Since the mid-1990s, the part-time songwriter labored to turn his family's booze empire into a global entertainment giant. First, he invested in Time Warner, then acquired Universal Studios and finally gobbled up PolyGram, the world's largest music company--for a total investment of $19 billion. But Time Warner denied him a board seat and Universal released a string of box-office bombs. Lately such Internet buccaneers as Napster have threatened the music business, and Bronfman's rivals, especially the looming behemoth AOL Time Warner, have cast an ominous shadow over his company.As the temperature was rising outside the company, things were also getting uncomfortable on the inside for Bronfman, whose family owns 24 percent of Seagram. His Uncle Charles had agreed to his nephew's Hollywood incursion out of family loyalty, but afterward he sold part of his Seagram stake. His sale was widely seen as...
  • As Ted's World Turns

    Ted Turner was basking in the world's attention. Much of the globe, it seemed, turned out last week to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his genius invention, CNN, the 24-hour cable-news channel. CNN journalists from 130 countries mingled with such CNN household-name stars as Bernard Shaw and Larry King at the cable channel's Atlanta headquarters. Vladimir Putin beamed in via satellite from Moscow for the weeklong affair. Al Gore, George W. Bush and Jordan's King Abdullah dropped by. Former president Jimmy Carter addressed the gathering as Turner sat with U.N. chief Kofi Annan.It was a rare peaceful moment for Turner, one of the world's most mercurial billionaires. Always a favorite of gossip connoisseurs, Turner, who separated from his wife, Jane Fonda, in January, has made headlines recently with his dating antics. In recent weeks, New York tabloids had Turner paired off with a 28-year-old New York college professor. Although the woman seemed to confirm the dalliance, the tabloids...
  • Bmg: Behind The Music

    After starting slowly, the party pulsates into the wee hours in the presidential suite at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Music honchos dance between the staid furnishings. Suddenly, Pink, a hot young hip-hop singer, leaps onto an end table and bursts into her funky debut hit. The revelers, the top brass of Bertelsmann Music Group, lustily belt out the chorus, "There you go," which is also the song's title and a refrain that disses a loser boyfriend. BMG's reserved chief executive, Strauss Zelnick, gamely joins in.The 43-year-old Zelnick, who became one of the world's top music bosses 20 months ago, wants to cultivate a cooler image. He was little known outside showbiz circles until his name surfaced late last year in two messy music-industry squabbles, one involving 'N Sync, the other Arista Records boss Clive Davis. Last week he surfaced again, this time to formally name Antonio (LA) Reid as Davis's successor. It's all in a frenetic day's work for Zelnick, the man who must steer BMG,...
  • A Fresh Face At Arista Records

    For all of their fame, neither Ringo Starr, Buddy Rich nor any other percussionist has ever soared as high in the music business as Antonio (LA) Reid, a onetime drummer in a soul band. On July 1, Reid becomes CEO of Arista Records, one of the music industry's legendary labels and home to such global superstars as Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and Santana. He succeeds Clive Davis, the industry icon who 25 years ago founded Arista, which is now a unit of BMG.It's more than a corporate reshuffling: Reid's appointment strikes a historic note. At 42, Reid, cofounder of the boutique label LaFace, is now one of the highest-ranking black executives in the music business--and one of the few African-Americans to hurdle the industry's notorious racial divide. While black artists always have played integral roles in the U.S. music industry, few have made it into the executive suites. "Here we have a young black executive, who's also a musician, now running this major company," says Kenneth ...
  • For Sale By Owner?

    Tall, lean and confident, Seagram CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. bounds onto a ballroom stage at the Sheraton Hotel in New York last week. Although he has a cold, he's there to deliver a speech on the prospects of the music business in the wired world. He begins on a contrite note. Regrettably, his cold-wracked voice is weakened, the ever-polite Bronfman apologizes. And because he's terribly busy actually running Seagram, he deadpans, "I'm unable to announce today our much-rumored business combination with News Corp., AT&T, Canal Plus, Viacom, Disney, Bertelsmann, Yahoo!, Vivendi, USA Networks, NBC, Sony, Microsoft or any Paul Allen-affiliated company."The audience gets the joke, yet the fate of Seagram is no laughing matter these days for the 44-year-old Bronfman. For weeks he's tried to puncture the rampant speculation that he is peddling Seagram's Universal music, movie and theme-park empire to a Who's Who of new and old media. Bronfman insists he'll be running Seagram "for a long...
  • How To Use A Lifeline

    On a recent Wednesday night Patricia Fili-Krushel, ABC's president, lingers in the monitor-packed control room of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire." The contestant, a bearded mathematician, confidently answers question after question, bearing down on the $1 million prize. As host Regis Philbin kibitzes with him, the contestant grows more assured. "This guy is going to take us for a lot of money," the show's lead producer whispers cheerfully to Fili-Krushel. Although the ABC boss needs to get back to her office for a meeting, she can hardly tear herself away. Suddenly, the mathematician is struggling with a question about the U.S. Marines and Tripoli. Fili-Krushel and the others in the control room seem to tense up. Big winners are far better for the show's ratings. When the contestant decides to play it safe and walk away with only $125,000 in winnings, the decision seems to suck the air out of the booth.Fili-Krushel has reason to be riveted: call it the "Millionaire" effect. Rarely...
  • Rap's Unlikely King

    In the lead limo, Lyor Cohen, co-president of Island Def Jam, is the first to notice the ominous noise overhead. A police helicopter hovers above the caravan carrying rapper Jay-Z, one of the label's stars, to a performance at an overflowing Norfolk, Va., nightclub. "You hear the cop-ta?" Cohen says, his accent one part Israeli, one part street.Where a less aggressive entertainment exec might see trouble, Cohen--who climbed to rap's highest levels by relentlessly promoting such artists as Run DMC, DMX and LL Cool J--sees only opportunity. Oblivious to the fact that he is the only white person in sight, Cohen quickly deposits Jay-Z at the club's back door and heads to the front. There he approaches a tense fire marshal who wants the packed club emptied--now. Cohen stalls, arguing that canceling the show could start a riot. Suddenly, inside the club, the crowd roars with approval. Jay-Z has snuck onto the stage and launched into a set. The marshal is apoplectic. The audacious...
  • Desperately Seeking A Deal

    There Were High-Fives All Around After Aol Unveiled Its Plan To Buy Time Warner. But Aol Had Been Eying Other Suitors, And The Deal Was Driven As Much By Fear Of Being Left Out As By Any Shared Vision.
  • Under The Gun

    It would hardly be a happy holiday tale. On the night after Christmas, trouble was stirring around rap mogul Sean (Puffy) Combs and his actress girlfriend Jennifer Lopez. The CEO of Bad Boy Entertainment was supposedly flashing wads of cash inside Manhattan's crowded Club New York--arrogantly tossing it about like confetti. Unimpressed, some patrons confronted him. In a scene straight out of a rap video, one annoyed man reportedly threw a stack of bills at Combs.That's when--to paraphrase a song by rapper Jay-Z, who's facing legal woes of his own--blood began to drip in the club. Combs brandished a gun, and one of his artists, a rapper known as Shyne, drew a 9mm Ruger and opened fire, according to the Manhattan prosecutor. Three bystanders were hit, though none fatally. Moments later, Combs and Lopez fled the club in an SUV, along with a driver and one of the rapper's bodyguards, an ex-convict once imprisoned for shooting at a cop. With police in pursuit, Puffy and company allegedly...
  • The Day The Music Stopped

    Arista CEO Clive Davis may have the sharpest ears in the music industry. For more than a quarter of a century the record executive has been keenly in tune with the nation's musical taste, launching such rock giants as Janis Joplin and Billy Joel. Whitney Houston owes her career to him. He backed Puffy at Bad Boy Entertainment. And this year he resurrected the flagging career of guitar legend Carlos Santana by pairing him with buzzy young singers like Lauryn Hill.But last week Davis, 66, needed to turn his attention to another career--his own. A messy effort by Arista's corporate parent, Bertelsmann Music Group, to bring in new label management left the music industry in an uproar over the perceived shabby treatment of Davis. BMG chief executive Strauss Zelnick has long been worried about Davis's failure to groom a successor. With Davis's Arista contract expiring in June, Zelnick brought the issue to a head in recent weeks by openly courting a protege of Davis's to take over Arista's...
  • Puffy's Crowded Orbit

    On Aug. 24, the nation's record stores were piled high with 1.5 million copies of "Forever," Puff Daddy's second album. Puff, the rap superstar, meticulously primed his fans with a grueling 32-city promotional blitz. He and his brain trust chose the first single, an edgy rap titled "PE2000," to help re-establish the globe-trotting celebrity's street creds. At first, the marketing plan seemed to be working, with "Forever" selling a respectable 205,000 copies the first week. But the CD didn't debut at No. 1; and the following week sales plunged to just 119,000 copies, says industry scorekeeper SoundScan. To help stop the free fall, Puff's team rushed out a second, more radio-friendly single. Finally, last week, with the R&B-flavored tune "Satisfy You" soaring to No. 1, "Forever" yielded its first hit single. That may be a hollow victory, however, since it wasn't able to prop up the album, which slipped to No. 27 on the charts.Yet Puffy's woes as a star may pale beside the unrest...
  • Suing Hollywood's Suits

    The truth is out there. Yet in "The X-Files's" bizarre world of alien invaders, FBI Agent Mulder has yet to find it, even after seven seasons in the starring role in the hit Fox television series. David Duchovny, who stars as Mulder, however, believes he has stumbled upon a disturbing truth about Fox. He claims that the entertainment empire has shortchanged him at least $25 million in profits. Fox, he contends in a lawsuit, cheated him by, among other things, selling "The X-Files" at below market prices to the studio's sibling cable network.Duchovny generally attracts attention for his moody good looks and his heartthrob status. But his high-profile lawsuit is one in a series pitting some of Hollywood's most commercially successful talent--including the creators of "Home Improvement" and producer Steven Bochco ("L.A. Law" and "Hill Street Blues")--against the entertainment giants that control more and more of the Hollywood food chain. While the joke in L.A. is that it's hard to show...
  • She's Out Of Friends

    Young, striking and powerful, Jamie Tarses has embodied the glamorous face of the media business since she was appointed president of ABC Entertainment three years ago. She had invented a new species of television show: souffle-light comedies peopled with stunning young apartment dwellers. She could have easily been a character on "Friends," the hit show she developed in an earlier stint at NBC. At ABC she quickly confirmed her reputation as a hit maker, green-lighting "Dharma & Greg" and "The Practice."Despite her phenomenal success--she was 32 when she got the ABC job--Tarses has been dogged by stories about her volatile workplace behavior all along. She was politically clumsy with her bosses and prone to poor judgment. ABC quickly installed Stu Bloomberg, a seasoned ABC executive, as her boss, undercutting her position. Nights on the town with stars like Matthew Perry made her a gossip-column staple. And those repeated missteps prompted countless rumors of her imminent...
  • Wrestling For Dollars

    In the heat of battle, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, the antihero of the wildly popular World Wrestling Federation, often bellows, "you're a-- is mine!" Soon, fans of professional wrestling can claim a share of his bulky hide. The WWF is leaping from the ring into the arms of the investing public, unveiling plans last week for a stock offering. The WWF hopes to put the squeeze on investors for $172 million, cashing in on the mass appeal of its controversial brand of mayhem. If the issue is priced cheaply, a lot of fans "will be quick to snap it up," says Dave Meltzer, publisher of Wrestling Observer Newsletter. "They will feel like it's an opportunity to get in on the boom."Wrestling, of course, has been a runaway success in recent years. But until now, with the WWF revealing its finances as part of its stock offering, few outsiders would have imagined the company's stunning profits. Since 1997, WWF revenues have swelled to $251.5 million from $81.9 million. Its bottom line has...
  • The Man Behind Rupert's Roll

    Peter Chernin's TV production executives were already in his Twentieth Century Fox office when he arrived for a June 8 meeting. In his affable style, the CEO of Fox Group quickly got down to business. Chernin sought cuts in the $1 billion budget for "Ally McBeal," "Dharma & Greg" and the rest of the record 30 prime-time series the Fox Group produces. "We can't live with these numbers," said the man who wanted the "Titanic" set quickly dismantled after filming, partly so the movie's overspending director couldn't reshoot any more scenes. Just then Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp. controls Fox, appeared at the office door. "Peter, may I see you outside?" Murdoch asked softly. So close are the two men that the aside could have been about anything. Maybe Murdoch briefed Chernin on how he had spent that day divorcing Anna, his wife of 32 years. Maybe it was to invite Chernin to his wedding 17 days later to Wendi Deng, 32, aboard his yacht in New York Harbor (Chernin came). Or perhaps...