×

January

18 Talk magazine closes the day after its big Golden Globes party. Topper Tina Brown and 100 staffers are laid off.

23 After signing an $80 million contract, Mariah Carey and record label EMI mutually agree to dissolve the crooner’s record contract. EMI shelves out close to $50 million to the diva as part of her exit.

24 Mark Canton is hired by Michael Ovitz’s financed film unit, APG (a subsidiary of AMG), in an effort to turn the company around.

February

6 NBC reups latenight yakker Conan O’Brien’s contract for four years at $8 million annual salary. He is the highest-paid host ever in the 12:35 a.m. slot.

11 NBC reups “The Friends” cast for the 2002-03 season, shelving out a license fee between $5.5 million-$6.5 million an episode. Each of the six reap $150,000 per episode.

14 Dick Clark Prods. is acquired by Mosaic Media/CDP Capital and former MGM topper for $40 million.

19 A federal appeals court challenges FCC rule capping broadcasters’ reach at 35% of national audience.

25 Singer Michael Jackson and Raju Shavel Path invest $15 million-$21 million into MDP Worldwide, a film production company.

28 A consortium of investors commits $375 million to build a full service 700,000-square-foot 15-story studio complex in the heart of Manhattan at 44th Street and 10th Avenue.

March

1 ABC makes a move for younger demos in its weekly latenight slot. The web attempts to cancel Ted Koppel’s “Nightline” and courts CBS’ David Letterman.

5 The Motion Picture Assn. of America announces that movie admissions hit a 40-year high of 1.49 billion.

10 Screen Actors Guild voters deliver an overwhelming victory vote to prexy Melissa Gilbert over Valerie Harper after a rerun election is called.

11 Letterman reups with CBS in a five-year $150 million deal, dismissing rumors that he was absconding to ABC.

26 Milton Berle, aka “Mr. TV,” passes away.

April

8 German entertainment conglom Kirch media collapses with an outstanding debt of $1.23 billion, becoming the biggest German insolvency in post-WWII history. In all, $440 million is owed to Hollywood studios.

12 Despite the decline in CEO compensation from the fallout of 9/11 and shaky stock and ad market, Viacom’s Sumner Redstone and Mel Karmizan each take home a $15.3 million salary and bonus package for 2001.

15 Canal Plus prexy Pierre Lescure is ousted by Vivendi Universal topper Jean-Marie Messier after the division fails to meet Messier’s financial expectations. Lescure takes to the airwaves, rousing support against his dismissal and the French public’s displeasure with Messier.

May

2 Universal acquires Good Machine, folding the production shingle into its Focus Features. David Linde and James Schamus continue to head the shingle; USA Films’ Scott Greenstein ankles.

3 Michael Ovitz sells his interest in talent management group AMG to the Firm in a deal valued at $12 million.

3-5 With an opening weekend of $114.8 million and a single day gross of $43.7 million, Sony’s “Spider-Man” topples all previous B.O. bow stats.

8 After six years of producing such hit films as “Air Force One,” Beacon founders Marc Abraham and Armyan Bernstein part ways. Abraham sets up another shingle at Universal called Strike Entertainment while Bernstein continues Beacon.

28 An SEC filing reveals insider trading at cabler Adelphia and an off-balance sheet debt of $2.3 billion.

June

3 Hollywood titan and former Universal-MCA topper Lew Wasserman, 89, passes away.

15 Martha Stewart is investigated as part of the ImClone Systems stock scandal. Stewart allegedly sold 4,000 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock the day before the FDA rejected its experimental cancer drug.

18 Disney is dealt a million-dollar setback in Winnie the Pooh royalties when a California court rules in favor of the accounting measures used by the A.A. Milne estate for the Pooh license.

July

3 Vivendi Universal prexy and chief exec Messier is officially ousted by the board, with Jean-Rene Fourtou handed the reins.

24 Adelphia Communications files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, though it promises service will not be halted. A $1.5 billion facility from various banks funds operations during proceedings. Founder John Rigas, two of his sons and two former execs of the cabler are arrested and charged with looting Adelphia of hundreds of million of dollars. They are handcuffed and taken from a Manhattan apartment in a televised perp walk.

August

3 ABC inks seven-figure deal with HBO, giving the network first look at programming developed by the cable giant. ABC-owned Touchstone Television is not part of the pact.

4 FCC mandates manufacturers to include digital tuners on all TV sets by 2007.

15 The Murray Bill, which would rescind an amendment that exempts musical artist’s from California’s seven-year limit on service contracts, is tabled until next year.

September

4 “Shrek” producer John Williams jumps his production arm at DreamWorks to rival Disney for a multi-project animated film output agreement, making it the second established turnkey supplier behind Pixar at the Mouse House.

13-15The $5 million indie feature “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” crosses the $100 million domestic B.O. mark.

18 Rosie O’Donnell breaks deal with publisher Gruner+Jahr USA as she leaves her namesake magazine. Magazine lays off all 120 staffers Oct. 17 and ceases publication with December issue.

October

2 AFI unplugs its awards telecast after just one year on television.

9 New Line inks deal to give it first crack at stories from popular men’s magazine Maxim, celebrating the macho world of “beers, babes and gadgets.”

21 Paramount will have first crack at screen rights to a new installment of Mario Puzo’s “The Godfather” franchise that is in the planning stages at Random House.

November

6 Winona Ryder’s court case finally comes and goes. Her fate in her Saks shoplifting case is decided by a jury that includes former Sony topper Peter Guber. She is found guilty of felony grand theft and vandalism of $5,500 in merchandise and sentenced to three years probation, 480 hours of community service and receives more than $10,000 in fines.

18 Cable giant Comcast merges with AT&T Broadband for $27 billion. Ditching the AT&T name, deal forms the country’s largest cable TV operator, with 22 million subscribers.

26 German conglom BMG closes its $2.74 billion acquisition of the rest of Zomba Music, home of the teen pop label Jive Records, making it the world’s third-largest music publisher.

December

9 NBC Entertainment president Jeff Zucker takes over the reins of Bravo as the Peacock formally completes its $1.25 billion acquisition of the cable net from Cablevision.

19 British film production company FilmFour is shut down by parent Channel 4 as a result of continuing financial losses — a reported £28 million ($44 million).

22 Warner Bros. chairman-CEO Barry Meyer fires the 20-year president of Warner Home Video and the “godfather of DVD,” Warren Lieberfarb.

23 Cody Cluff, embattled prexy of the Entertainment Industry Development Corp. film-permitting agency of Los Angeles resigns after three tumultuous months, triggered by a criminal probe into his alleged misuse of $700,000 in public funds. Cluff, the city and county of Los Angeles agree not to sue each other for civil damages.