Michael Eisners secret plan
to rebrand Tribune Co.
Ex-Disney boss envisions costumes for reporters, merchandise tie-ins for news stories and turning the company's iconic Chicago headquarters into a thrill ride.
Now that Dumb and Dumber (a.k.a. Randy Michaels and Lee Abrams) have resigned, rumors are again swirling that former Disney chief Michael Eisner will be hired to lead Tribune Co. out of bankruptcy.
NotTheLATimes has obtained a confidential memo outlining plans to rebrand the media company as "the Happiest Newsroom on Earth."
Phase 1 calls for converting the Tribune Tower building in Chicago to the Tribune Tower of Terror, a new thrill ride.
Also, reporters and editors will be required to dress as popular Disney characters. At the L.A. Times, for example, columnist Patt Morrison will be cast as the Mad Hatter, editor Stan Russton will morph into Capt. Jack Sparrow and Sam Zell will report for duty as one of Snow White's dwarfs.
Phase 2, code-named "Honey I Shrunk the Staff," institutes various cost-cutting measures. Instead of maintaining expensive foreign bureaus, all international news will be reported from the world pavilions section of Disney's Epcot Center in Florida.
Eisner also hopes to boost revenues by repackaging domestic news. "It's no longer enough to simply publish the news," he says. "Major stories will now feature product tie-ins, such as City of Bell action figures, and musical scores written by Elton John."
Also, whenever possible, news articles should include interviews with a handsome prince or princess, the memo says.
Story by Roy Rivenburg and Robert Rendo, reporting from inside Mr. Zell's Wild Ride, a future roller coaster at Eisner's media theme park.