Johnnie L. Roberts


During a recent 20-hour flight to Africa, Tom Freston, Viacom's co-president and corporate boss of MTV Networks, had plenty of time for reflection. A screen in the cabin of his corporate jet was showing its flight path over major cities, evoking memories of past trips.


Roll the previews of movies that DreamWorks Animation plans to release in the coming months and years, and you'll see an impressive array of vastly different worlds it has imagined for the big screen.

Altered States

Last week, animation studio Pixar delivered "Incredibles"-sized first-quarter results, surprising Wall Street with profits that had tripled over the year earlier.

Not Their Cup of Tea

Bruce Springsteen's lyrics are too hot for Starbucks. NEWSWEEK has learned that the nation's favorite coffee chain has retreated from a potential deal to sell the singer's new album, "Devils & Dust," because of one steamy tune on the 12-song disc.The song, "Reno," is in part about an encounter with a prostitute.

Corporate Cacophony

Edgar Bronfman Jr.'s dream of becoming an entertainment mogul hit a sour note today when one of the world's biggest music acts all but accused him of financially stripping Warner Music Group.


NEWSMAKERSQ&A: Johnny DamonHis grand slam in last year's playoffs helped the Red Sox beat the Yankees--and their own 86-year curse. Outfielder Johnny Damon tells about that historic home run and more in his new book, "Idiot." He spoke last week with NEWSWEEK's Mark Starr.When you call the Red Sox "idiots," you mean it as a compliment.Absolutely. "Idiot" is considered a cool term now--you know, Green Day came out with its "American Idiot" song.

Divorcing Disney

After months of contentious negotiations, Disney and its estranged film bosses, Miramax brothers Harvey and Bob Weinstein, reached an agreement today to formally divorce, ending the bitterest chapter in one of the most successful independent film ventures in Hollywood history.The long-anticipated settlement--in which the Weinsteins will receive an untold sum of cash and the highly successful Dimension film label as well as share with Disney certain existing high-profile projects--ends one of...

More Woes for Warner

Edgar Bronfman Jr.'s Warner Music Group is quietly reassigning its chief comptroller, NEWSWEEK has learned, drawing renewed attention to problems with its systems for paying artists their royalties.


TV has stretched the "makeover" genre of shows from humans to houses to entire towns. Now the Black Entertainment Television network is going a step further: making over itself.


Heads rolled at CBS News after a report assigned blame for the controversial "60 Minutes II" story about President Bush's National Guard service. Senior news staffers tell NEWSWEEK the inevitable fallout from the story was worsened by an earlier incident that hurt the division's standing.


Carly Fiorina, CEO of Hewlett-Packard, and Gwen Stefani, superstar lead singer of No Doubt, may seem an unlikely pairing. But there they were, center stage at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, bantering for the audience about the new Harajuku Lovers digital camera, whose exterior was designed by Stefani.


You can imagine the pitch CBS News might make to Matt Lauer: for the first time in years, he'd be able to eat breakfast at home at a regular hour, instead of rising in the dark every morning to cohost "The Today Show" on NBC.


When Rupert Murdoch arrived at the election-night party at his Fox News network in Manhattan, he was met by long faces. His executives worried that Murdoch, the president's biggest booster in the media, was in for a disappointing night.

Media Mogul Maelstrom

Should media moguls refrain from endorsing presidential candidates? After all, their empires include television networks and other properties that provide news coverage of the campaign.

Here's The Rub, Sony

It was a bold, down-to-the-wire move that would do Agent 007 proud. At the last minute, Sony elbowed Time Warner aside to win the bidding last week for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the studio that owns the James Bond movies, for $3 billion.


It's near midnight on a recent Wednesday, but for Antonio (L.A.) Reid, the new CEO of Island Def Jam music--he took over in February--the workday isn't done.


It's near midnight on a recent Wednesday, but for Antonio (L.A.) Reid, the new CEO of Island Def Jam music--he took over in February--the workday isn't done.


The opening shot of Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" isn't an image of a clueless President Bush. It's a logo: a stylized drawing of the constellation Leo the Lion, the emblem of the film's distributor, and it's getting deafening applause. "The audience [knows] what we went through to get the picture to the marketplace," says Tom Ortenberg of Lions Gate Entertainment.


This was it: the moment to celebrate. About 250 executives from Hollywood studios and home-electronics companies gathered at the Bellagio in Las Vegas earlier this year to toast their soaring fortunes, thanks to the phenomenal success of the digital video disc.


The spinmeisters at Miramax Books are busily manufacturing buzz about "Bling," the first novel by 31-year-old Erica Kennedy, for which she got a reported seven-figure advance. (Of course, she had to give Miramax the film rights.) This voyeuristic close-up of the hip-hop industry has already made it into the New York Post's Page Six gossip column--not once, but twice.

Mickey's Makeover

It's standard equipment for any TV-programming whiz: a giant scheduling board, with magnets bearing names of all prime-time shows. Execs spend hours moving magnets from slot to slot in search of the perfect lineup.


The drama inside the Philadelphia convention center last Wednesday was worthy of a Disney epic. The audience of 3,000--many of them looking like folks dressed for a day in Orlando, Fla. --sat spellbound as Michael Eisner and his nemesis Roy Disney, nephew of the fabled Walt, launched into a pitched battle of words.

Musical Chairs

Lyor Cohen, one of the music industry's most successful and brash executives, is joining Warner Music Group in a top role, abandoning a 20-year career at Def Jam, the rap label he helped to establish as one of the industry's most successful companies.

This Son Also Rises

James Murdoch, younger son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, didn't want to trade on his last name. So, unlike his brother, Lachlan, who joined his father early on at News Corp., James initially struck out on his own as an entrepreneur.

Prime Time For Parsons

Just 18 months ago, Richard Parsons faced a mass of angry shareholders at his first annual meeting as CEO of AOL Time Warner. Their list of complaints was long: a plummeting stock, strategic gaffes, even the shimmering headquarters project that one said was "replicating the Taj Mahal.'' But recently, Parsons was holding court in the almost-completed building, and much had changed.

Corporate Changes

Kenneth J. Novack, Time Warner vice chairman and a chief associate of the discredited former AOL boss Steve Case, quietly retired his executive post last week.