AT&T spins off, fails to ruin HBO; Sacha Baron Cohen rounds up the cast of the Ali G Show for an MTV Award; we finally find out how Snake Eyes from G.I. Joe talks; Prince still rules.
Extremely Rich People News: AT&T plans to spin off HBO, Warner Bros., the Turner channels and other media properties into a new company with Discovery. The Los Angeles Times calls the $43 billion deal “a stunning retreat for AT&T,” which acquired all the properties through its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner in 2018. The LAT also quotes telecom analyst Craig Moffet calling it “a dismal failure” and “embarrassing chapter for what was once one of America’s most storied companies.”
May I Editorialize? There was a lot of understandable fear when a phone company took over HBO in 2018 that it would ruin the prestige cable network by emphasizing quantity over quality. (AT&T exec John Stankey infamously told HBO employees that AT&T wanted subscribers to watch HBO for “hours a day” to allow for data mining and increased monetization. Ugh. He became CEO of AT&T last year.) But in my humble opinion, AT&T has failed to ruin HBO. Perhaps if they’d had more time.
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Respec’: Here is Sacha Baron Cohen accepting the MTV Movie & TV Awards Comedic Genius Award with some friends. Is there a laugh track or are people just incredibly happy to be at an in-person award ceremony? Not trying to be cutting, I truly can’t tell.
— Movie & TV Awards (@MTVAwards) May 17, 2021
Snake Eyes: Nine-year-old me is very intrigued by the new trailer for Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins but a little disappointed that he talks, because the whole thing that made Snake Eyes so cool in the G.I. Joe comics was that he didn’t talk. The justification is that this is his origin story, before his vocals were fried. Anyway, I love the props in the below video for Larry Hama and the classic G.I. Joe story “Silent Interlude.” Non-nerds, all of this will make sense when you watch the video below.
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Can You Picture This?: Thirty-seven years ago today, Prince released “When the Doves Cry,” the first single from his film/album Purple Rain, and no one has released a better single since.
Main image, above: [Please read aloud in the voice of a narrator from an Eddie Murphy movie]: Sacha Baron Cohen — and Sacha Baron Cohen! — as Ali G and Borat at the MTV Movie & TV Awards.