Here's yet another year-end list: But these things didn't happen

January 02, 2008|By Timothy M. Gray | Timothy M. Gray,Variety

It's an annual ritual for newspapers to chronicle the news stories of the past year. But there were some major events in 2007 that didn't happen, creating an effect that was possibly more profound.

Here are 2007's top 10 showbiz stories resulting in the conventional wisdom that it was only a matter of days - or hours - before these events would occur.

But we're still waiting.

1. The glut of sequels spells disaster: This past summer had more than a dozen high-profile sequels and threequels, with Spider-Man 3, Shrek the Third and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End setting the theme for the summer by bowing within a four-week period. It was predicted that the sequels would cannibalize one another, but the familiar fare proved a benefit to the box office.

2. The Writers Guild of America would keep working through the end of the year. Most in Hollywood had predicted that members of the WGA would work past the Oct. 31 expiration of their contract. Film studios and TV production companies made contingency plans for a spring strike as the WGA and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers began negotiations in July. But those talks proved spectacularly unproductive. The WGA announced Oct. 19 that more than 90 percent of guild members had given the guild their proxy to call for a strike.

3. Par-DreamWorks stability: The film biz had constant rumors about the Melrose Avenue lot - Brad Grey and/or Brad Weston would leave, Stacey Snider was close to taking over, Chris Albrecht was about to arrive, etc. In 2007, Paramount and DreamWorks were to industry media what Britney Spears was to celebrity tabloids: the gift that kept on giving, providing lip-smacking gossip. There was firm speculation on the fate of the honchos and of DreamWorks itself, but as the year ended, they're still together.

4. Showbiz and Wall Street prepared for a flurry of big-business deals that never happened. NBC Universal parent General Electric did not get out of the entertainment business. Time Warner did not spin off AOL or its cable biz.

5. Grand Theft Auto IV was supposed to bow in October, expected to break sales records and bolster the bottom line of consoles. The GTA launch was delayed until spring, causing many to quickly revise their 2007 projections.

6. The end of the high-def DVD war: The $24 billion-per-year home video business declared that either Blu-ray or HD DVD would emerge as the new format, but instead, the divide got more pronounced.

7. Home networking: A revolution was supposed to happen, with a flood of products to help people watch Internet content on their TV sets. But the Apple TV was the one Apple product that hasn't been a huge success, and other products like Vudu are still a niche biz.

8. Private equity coin will flow freely into the TV biz. Outside funding created a glut of films in 2007 and provided much-needed cash infusion. Of course, business prognosticators declared that this money would soon begin flowing to the TV side to finance studio production slates. Some even forecast that private coin would create a utopian business model allowing top-tier hyphenates to follow their artistic heart's desire.

9. The TV ad business will collapse. The Web's devouring of more ad dollars was predicted to deliver a fatal blow. In fact, Internet ad sales are robust, but so is TV.

10. The newspaper biz will collapse. Newspapers are still here.

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