What have times come to when Steven Spielberg turns down money? Has it really come to that? Is there some way we can all pitch in? Or is it all part of some master plan...
• Steven Spielberg has agreed to delay his option on a payout worth several hundred million dollars from Universal Orlando for his stake in their theme parks, a clause which was inserted into his 1987 contract with the company. The delay gives the company some breathing room to get out from under their debt load. It is unclear what the director will receive in exchange for his magnanimous gesture. The director, traditionally said to be one of Hollywood's toughest hagglers on his own behalf, is not generally known for handing multi-national corporations zillion dollar gifts out to the goodness of his heart. [LA Times]
• Miss Saigon may be coming to the big screen. Producer Paula Wagner has announced plans to bring the show, famed for its mock on-stage helicopter landing, to the big screen, where seeing a helicopter land is, traditionally, not as big a deal. Wagner is eyeing the project for Lee Daniels, the director of the upcoming, hugely buzzed about Precious. [Variety]
• The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, called by Variety "one of the most successful franchises in entertainment history", will soon have a new home. Nickelodeon, a division of Viacom has acquired the rights to the animated crimefighters for a mere $60 million. [Variety]
• ABC's Flash Forward is getting shaken up. Co-creator/showrunner Marc Guggenheim is leaving the show for reasons unexplained. Co-creator/exec producer David Goyer will take the reins all by himself. [Hollywood Reporter]
• USA Today sizes up this year's TV season five weeks in and calls it middling — few flops, few great triumphs.They report, however, a new factor is at play in network programming: patience. Apparently there is suddenly a willingness to give shows more than a token chance to find their legs and reach audiences. What a concept. [USA Today]
• A full half day since the announcement that Adam Shankman and Bill Mechanic will co-produce this year's Oscar telecast, Hollywood is wondering about their plans. The Wrap's Steve Pond writes, "The appointment of Mechanic and Shankman certainly means that AMPAS president Tom Sherak and the board of governors want to see the same kind of show they saw earlier this year." And now the host sweepstakes begins in earnest. [The Wrap]