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Jim Hill on Saban, the Muppets, and Disney

Discussion in 'Muppet Headlines' started by Phillip, Oct 9, 2002.

  1. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    Yeah i think you are quite right, though EMTV is i think one of KirchMedia's main creditors - they were jointly tied in with the F1 deal and many others. Kirch is now being sold off by a German bank and i think the creditors have some influence with them and sit on a board but i'm not sure. Maybe thats where Jim Hill was coming from, i have no idea - maybe Phillip can get some clarification on what he meant.
  2. BoyRaisin2

    BoyRaisin2 Well-Known Member


    Anyway, I wonder if Saban still has any ties with Disney since they own and air all of his shows, which were on the other hand part-owned by Fox? Probably not...

    I hope Disney bought Fox Family for the network and not for the bonus of (practically) washed up Saban shows.

    Who knows, Henson could always be sold AGAIN. I wouldn't be surprised.
  3. Phillip

    Phillip Administrator Staff Member

    Remember Kirch Media went bankrupt in July 2002. That changed everything because Kirch lost control of his business, which is now being overseen by administrators working with creditor banks and other companies like EM.TV who have a vested interest in the company's future.

    Kirch did help rescue EM.TV when EM.TV almost went bankrupt 18 months ago. That deal was finalized in the Spring of 2001. However, EM.TV has paid off quite a bit of that debt already through selling of other assets (the Henson ones were Sesame characters for $180 million, selling their 65% ownership in Igel, and the Crown Media rights for around $100 million along with selling Formula 1 and many other various deals).

    I don't know all the details here exactly, but Kirch still owed EM.TV quite a bit of money from the Formula 1 breakup and several other major partnerships that they agreed to last year, so that's why EM.TV supposedly has a say in who gets Kirch. Reportedly, the same banking firm is also representing EM.TV and Kirch as well. So having Kirch would give Saban more media prowess. While Kirch isn't what it used to be, he'd be getting the Kirch empire along with Henson at a bargain-basement price.

    EM.TV has to have 63 million in cash to pay off a loan by the end of the year, so that's why most believe the Henson sale will be complete in November in order to secure the cash necessary to pay off their loan.
  4. BoyRaisin2

    BoyRaisin2 Well-Known Member

    From Big Bird and The Dark Crystal to two German companies named Kirch and EM.TV. How far we've come.

    Saban, buy KirchMedia. It's bigger!

    I still just don't understand how EM.TV could let Mr. Saban get Henson for close to $100 million while Disney (or whoever) could have been expected to pay $200-250 million for our beloved corporation. This is the part that confuses me most of all, since Disney and Viacom are major media companies.
  5. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    Yeah, i'm sure there would be a lot of speculation as to whether they could get the money together or not in the end, but i actually thought Rivkins management buyout was rumored to be more than $100 Million. I guess Saban could get lucky - we'll be seeing pretty soon. As for Disney - it looks like they would like the Muppets, but their board are looking more at internal expansion rather than external - i guess they don't want to take on any more problems right now than they already have. However, as mentioned - that doesn't neccasarily mean we won't be seeing any Disney/Muppet projects in the future.
  6. BoyRaisin2

    BoyRaisin2 Well-Known Member

    They had to buy Fox Family, didn't they? Though I've been rooting for Disney, kinda figured they'd never buy them. It was so likely it wasn't likely.

    Well, rather a billionaire than AOL Time Warner.
  7. Muppets1985

    Muppets1985 Well-Known Member

    YES!! this HAS been bugging the HECK right out of me, Disney offered EM.tv $200, million and EM.Tv sayed "NO!" and now the price IS $100 million and Disney isn't DOING A THING??? GEEEZZZZ!!!...:mad: :mad: Im mean Im just Soooo...so ...sooo MAD right NOW ITS NOT EVEN FUNNY!!! Im mean here i HAVE been Hopping and Prying EVERY night ever since i've heard about this sale (1year ago) and now...**Sigh**......Im soooo sad!:( :( :( :( :( (for real I am!)

    latter *crying*
  8. Michael

    Michael Active Member

    I just got around to reading Jim Hill's article and I really think in future it might be better for all parties to wait a little before they jump into getting an "Editorial" online ASAP that is basically a rewording of the first press story that we all saw. That with as many attempts as possible to get the editorial on to more comfortable ground (i.e.: Disney) makes it much more of a non editorial than anything new or revealing.

    I generally like Jim Hill's articles, but lets face it they are Disney articles and they belong back on a site similar to Laughingplace. This latest one only goes to prove that more.

    Those of us who have frequented MC for a while are all used to such phrases as "sources at Henson" in order to give what you are saying more justification, however if they continue to be hollow leads that cannot be proven then that not only reflects on the writer but in turn the site.

    In truth nobody really knows what's going on (and that includes the vast majority of people at Henson) and nobody will until just before its announced. We see in the Berlin version of Variety EMTV have said that the Henson company still has possibilities to buy the company back, its going to be a matter of time which is why writing an Editorial one month where you describe Disney as the buyer and then writing another a month later where you presume (because of the latest stories being banded around) that Saban is the new owner only goes to prove that there really is no inside knowledge.

    However what Jim Hill has failed to mention is that even if the company does go for the "rock bottom" price of $100 Million there is one h*ll of a lot of baggage that comes with it. The overheads of a company that is producing very little material and whose libraries are bringing in less are massive. There are enormous daily outgoings plus wages and the upkeep of three main offices, two in the States and one in the UK only add to this. The Creatures Shop in London is no where near as busy as it has been in the past and the latest talk is that it may close by the end of the year. Whoever took the company on would not simply be paying out $100 - $200 Million you could at least triple that for the outgoings which would need to be forthcoming almost immediately, not counting the possible debts that have been run up lately.

    Basically in my opinion I think Jim should stick to writing about what could have happened rather than what is going to. His articles on Laughing Place giving an insight into the Disney deal were great and provide far more enjoyment than trying to predict the future and ending up with egg on your face.

    At least that way Phil will get a better deal for his money.

  9. grail

    grail Well-Known Member

    just as an aside...there's a story on Ain't it Cool News about Pixar. one of the briefly mentioned "super secret" things that the guy found out (it's one of their regulars, not an anonymous poster), is that some upcoming project that no one's supposed to know about involves a "crazy Chef". it's a bit of a stretch, BUT with Pixar and Disney's working relationship, the fact that there's no hard and fast rule that says that Pixar HAS to do animation, and the fact that Disney IS still in the running. it's not entirely outside the realm of possibility that "crazy" could mean "Swedish". especially since they made a point of pointing out they didn't know how big a part he would play, if he was part of it at all...which sounds like an ensemble cast to me.

    obviously, that's a lot of ifs and thens, but how cool could it be to see the Muppets in the hands of those that brought us Toy Story. the more i think about it, the more i think Lasseter may be one of the few people currently in the entertainment industry that could do them some justice.

    oh, and completely by coincidence, there were quite a few Muppet references in the talk back, which was kinda spiffy to see...it wasn't all bile spewing for a change. here's the direct link to the story:


    make of it what you will, it's probably nothing...but it could be greatness...


    and i forgot to mention Time Dogs...Henson's first foray into a CGI movie. who better to help with any future projects than Pixar? man, if i turn out to be right i'll really have earned myself a Jr. Detective badge...of course when i'm wrong, i'll just quietly forget that i ever said anything...as will everyone else...right?

  10. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    I know folks are gonna fuss at me...

    But I STILL say I want JHC to get JHC back in their own grips again.

    -I've seen Saban's work, and it doesn't work for me.
    -Disney? Overkill on their sequels and use of their animated films into bad tv series and not enough focus on ORIGINAL works: ie, Tarzan and all those other films based on books. Again I ask, "What's wrong with Mickey, Donald, Goofy, et al?"

    I don't see anything wrong with a few parodies/remakes of other tales, but not EVERY movie you make.

    Honestly, I liked MCC and MTI, but I don't want to see anymore films made based on other works, as I like the original Muppet productions myself.

    On another sentence, I would LOVE to see the JHC go back and look at the original TMS, original sketches on SS, and special 'guest' spots they did on other shows and STUDY THOSE WORKS. In my opinion, that is some of their best work, and by studying it, I think they can get back on track to where they need to be going.

    Glad to see KPrell posting again. Good to hear a voice (or at least READ it). Reminds me of Muley having gone on RADIO and being asked, "Are you a democrat?" Muley: "No, but I have a demo-video--wanna show it?"

    Funzie ;)
  11. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    folks are gonna fuss at me too, Fozzie!

    Fozzwocka, you have some really valid points, so here's my 2 cents:

    Yeah! Saban's work doesn't work for anyone over the age of five! But, he didn't REALLY create them, he just stole them from Japan, and prayed to God that international copyright laws would work for him. Though I must admit, back in the 80's when Hiam Saban wrote music for such shows as Heathcliff, Inspector Gadget, and Super Mario Super Show, he was really good with that stuff. At shows he stinks! He should go back to cartoon scores!

    Though I do like the Buzz Lightyear cartoon (what a schnook am I, huh?) I agree with the anti Disney rant! I mean, Tarzan was a disapointment enough as a movie, but an unfunny, uninterresting cartoon show, and sequal (which I bet is nothing but clips of the show spliced together) are awful. I hoped the sequal would be good, since it left out Tarzan's rightful place as the Duke or Lord of something. My entire understanding of Tarzan is based on a 50's MAD article called Melvin of the Apes, so if I'm wrong, please don't get snippy!

    But then again, House of Mouse (starring good ol' Mickey, as you put it) is junk, a corny commercial for the other movies. Mickey goes and says.."Hey gang! I'm goin' over to the Beast of Beauty and the Beast, who just so happens to have his movie rereleased to video!" Plus, I don't think Mickey is such a big deal anyway, since Disney himself stopped making cartoons of him to focus on DOnald and Goofy (whom I like waaaayyy more than the mouse).

    However (agian) Disney has released some GOOD original cartoon movies, Lilo and Stitch, Emperor's New Groove (both my absolute fave Dizzy flicks), and Atlantis. No more of this lame-a-zoid Princess movie junk. Boy, that really got on my nerves after Pocahauntas! ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!

    The live action movies, however, are pure..well...let's say I don't talk about it in mixed company! Snow Dogs and Country BEars?!?!?! I think that Henson should have refused to make any animatronics for those doo-doo flicks!

    I'm not really good at Buisness, though! Basically I cannot see why Henson can't stand alone. Basically I cannot see why ANY company can't stand alone! What the Heck is up with companies purchasing everything in sight when copywrites expire?!??!?!

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