Studio chief staying through 2012
Ron Meyer has signed up for five more years with NBC Universal.The prexy and chief operating officer for Universal Studios, who, at 12 years, has been in his job longer than any other current studio chief, extended his contract to 2012. New contract supersedes his last five-year extension, signed two years ago, which was to run until 2010. Extension comes after a strong week for the studio — it signed a massive deal for a new Harry Potter attraction and scored at the box office with laffer “Knocked Up” — and sweeping management changes on the TV side of the conglom. Meyer, 62, said the extension was an easy decision to make. “I have no desire to be any place else,” he said. “I’m having too good a time to leave.” The former CAA prexy has led the studio through a series of upheavals since taking the reins as prexy and chief operating officer in 1995, soon after Seagram acquired MCA Universal from Matsushita. Five years later Vivendi came on the scene, followed by GE-owned NBC in 2004. More recently, the exec weathered the loss of DreamWorks when GE balked at the price, and an off year at the box office in 2006. However, this summer’s slate got off to a promising start with “Knocked Up.” Upcoming are “Evan Almighty,” Tom Shadyac’s pricey sequel to “Bruce Almighty”; and the latest Bourne installment. Meyer says his biggest challenge is making sure the studio creates the “best and most successful content,” because content drives the biz more than any other decision. “The truth is, I’m a big believer in the movie and theme park business,” he said. Although there have been rumblings about belt-tightening by his corporate overlords, Meyer defends their approach, calling NBC U prexy and CEO Jeff Zucker “nothing but supportive of our process” and describes GE topper Jeff Immelt as “being there more often than not” for U. “I will say that GE gets a bad rap,” Meyer said. “Overall, from my perspective, they are great people to work for. They put their money where their mouth is.”
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