Message from Jeff Zucker: For me, the week after Labor Day still has the “back-to-school” feel. In that spirit, I want to welcome you back for what I know will be a very exciting fall. I hope you’ve been able to take some time to relax this summer, and now are focused and eager to charge ahead, wherever you are.
On the television side, many are focused on the new NBC season, which kicks off in three weeks with an exciting new slate. Sunday Night Football, which will be so important in driving awareness of our primetime schedule, launches this Sunday, preceded by a special NFL Opening Kickoff game this Thursday night, featuring the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts.
There’s certainly much to look forward to this fall, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention some outstanding summer achievements. Universal Pictures blew the roof off, with the incredible success of The Bourne Ultimatum, along with Knocked Up, Chuck and Larry, and Evan Almighty. All four will surpass the 100 million dollar mark at the domestic box office. In fact, Bourne is approaching the 300 million dollar mark in worldwide box office, and already has surpassed the final tally for both earlier Bourne movies.
Universal Parks & Resorts has been exceeding all expectations, as well, with all-time record financial performances this summer behind strong growth in attendance and profits in Orlando and Universal City.
Our Cable Entertainment group continues to shine, with USA continuing its No. 1 ranking and SCI FI and Bravo also maintaining their strong performances. Meanwhile, CNBC Business Day had its best August since 2002, showing why CNBC is and will continue to be “First in Business Worldwide,” while MSNBC continued its strong positive ratings trend. The NBC Network can also be proud, with the summer’s top show in America’s Got Talent and the summer’s top new show in Singing Bee.
On the international front, we announced a significant strategic acquisition. Adding the international Hallmark Channels to our Global Networks portfolio will more than double our number of international TV channels and give us scale in the growing global marketplace.
I also want to single out all the women and men who continue to work in harm’s way for NBC News, around the world, bringing today’s news to our worldwide audiences.
We’ll have a complete business update at the end of the third quarter, in about a month, but I wanted to make sure everyone knew that we had an incredibly productive summer, even with all the vacations! The momentum continues!