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It’s Mitchell’s time to spring Mouse trap

MEMO TO GEORGE MITCHELL:

Last week wasn’t exactly your finest hour, Senator. Much of the testimony at the Eisner-Ovitz trial has been testy; yours was just clueless. Your responses demonstrated a curious inhibition that never characterized your activities in the past as senator and statesman-at-large. To cite one telling point: When a rep for Michael Ovitz quoted his pay at CAA as between $20 million and $25 million a year, you never asked for any sort of confirmation. It’s bad enough believing an agent, but an agent for an agent?

So there’s another Disney board meeting coming up this week — one that could give you an opportunity to remind your admirers that George Mitchell is not napping. My suggestion: Look at the Disney slate at this moment in time and invite to the meeting those individuals who actually made it happen. “The Incredibles,” “The Aviator” and “Finding Neverland” are three superb movies and three sure-fire Oscar candidates. “National Treasure” is emerging as one of the season’s true sleepers. Invite Steve Jobs, John Lasseter, Harvey and Bob Weinstein and Jerry Bruckheimer to address the board and explain their attitudes toward the company. And ask some questions: What’s really behind the rupture in the Pixar and Miramax relationships? Must Miramax still go into exile, even though it cut its overhead in half? Does it make any sense for Disney to press the “disconnect” button on its most innovative partners? Jerry Bruckheimer makes hit movies but also is one of the most successful producers in television, yet Disney did not exactly nurture his early TV efforts (why else did “CSI” end up with a Canadian company and CBS? What suggestions does he have about Disney’s relationships with the creative community?

Step up to the plate, George. The bizarre issues emerging from the Delaware trial reflect bizarre issues at the Mouse House.

Isn’t this an excellent moment to remind everyone that you are, after all, a free spirit, that you understand the problem and can take some steps toward mastering it?

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