The Tao of Ari’s Abs & Licht’s Deck Chairs
“What is Ari’s diet?” It’s a question, posed without sarcasm or irony, that has come up in at least half a dozen different conversations I’ve had this week, in Los Angeles and New York, with Ari-EmmanuelOther Hollywood executives, rival agents, various on-air talents and PR heavyweights. This is a reference, of course, to the now-famous photos of the super-agent media mogul sprinkling Elon Musk aboard his yacht in Mykonos, first published by TMZ. As I quickly learned, the thesis I advanced earlier this week – that there really wasn’t much news for a media reporter to cover in these scorching summer days, when everything the world seemed to be off in another time zone – transformed was totally wrong: there was something the media was talking about, obsessively, and that was Ari’s Adonis-like abdomen.
Insofar as there was any real news value in these photos – there wasn’t – it simply came from knowing where Elon was and what he was doing after he decided to cut his take highly publicized control on Twitter. (Alas, a Delaware court could decide in a few months that he can’t walk away that easily.) But as the mainstream online turned the Tesla CEO’s very pale, bulldog-like physique into a thousand memes, industry insiders who have been on yachts with Ari, or aspire to be on yachts with Ari, or aspire to be represented by Ari – or at the very least aspire to be at the same private function as Ari – were very focused on the 61-year-old man with washboard abs and zero ounces of body fat, and wondering: how does he do it?
It turns out the answer is a fitness regimen and diet so extreme it’s untenable for anyone but the most disciplined military professionals, top athletes, or corporate warriors of our time. . According to four sources with knowledge of the routine, Ari wakes up well before sunrise every day – one source puts the time at 2:30 a.m. – and takes an hour-long ice bath. This is followed by a session in his private sauna and deep meditation, which is in turn followed by a hard and intensive workout in his private gym around 4am, except on Mondays when he doesn’t train because he fasts for 24 hours. On the other six days of the week, he fasts for about 6 p.m., skipping breakfast, having lunch at noon, and eating dinner at six. Her diet is heavily but not exclusively vegan, and includes a very specific, bespoke kale-thistle-spinach-avocado smoothie (I have the recipe, it’s pretty long), as well as a good dose of lecithin. The final ingredient is regular ingestion of bacteria-eating microworms, which he takes “for longevity,” a source said. On days when he is not flying, he works from a desk on a treadmill. Many people in the industry have stories of watching Ari’s calls on the treadmill desk.
The diet is extreme, sure, but again, that’s not all that surprising given Ari’s relentless drive and ambition. One could describe this routine to any of Ari’s contemporaries without mentioning his name and his practitioner would always be obvious. Indeed, that’s exactly what I did, describing it to various media executives, then asking “guess who?”, and the response always came back the same: “Ari!” Whether knowing about the diet is helpful to these folks or the aforementioned industry goers, I’m not so sure. (Do what you want with it, dear reader. But maybe slowly, and not all at once.) There are many paths to good health, and not all of them are through ice baths and microworms. . Anyway, it works very good for him. (Puck is represented by Endeavour’s WME, by the way, but I assure you Ari and a WME spokesperson wanted absolutely nothing to do with it and declined to comment.)
Apple vs. Amazon reaches fourth quarter
These days, my own media obsession centers around live sports rights, the asset that keeps linear TV alive, and is increasingly coveted by tech giants for their streaming platforms. As I reported last week, Apple and Amazon are now locked in a runoff for the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket, the out-of-market sports package that would dramatically improve the appeal of Apple TV or Amazon Prime.
The price could still swing in the direction of either company – the NFL will announce its decision in the fall – but as I said last week, I believe Apple has the upper hand. I noted that the Commissioner Roger Goodel meet Tim Cook and Swirl Tail at the Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley, which doesn’t necessarily mean a whole lot. A more telling detail, which I have since learned from sources familiar with the matter, is that Cue and Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, boarded the same jet bound for New York from Sun Valley. This is notable because Kraft is the president of NFL broadcasting, and thus the man primarily responsible for negotiating deals with the league’s media.
Repeated comments from Apple and NFL executives don’t warrant Cupertino’s claim to the ticket, but once you pair it with the obvious logic of the deal – a new global media partner for the NFL – as well that to the fact that Amazon has already spent a significant portion of the change on Thursday Night Football, well, it all starts to add up. The rights to the Ticket (plus a stake in NFL Media) are expected to cost well north of $2 billion a year, possibly closer to $3 billion, my sources tell me. No one is in a better position to spend that money right now, in this market, than Apple, the biggest company in the world.
The other sporting asset currently up for auction is the UEFA Champions League – a lower price in the US market, of course, but with underestimated potential as enthusiasm for football here continues to grow and that the United States is preparing to co-host the 2026 World Cup. UEFA’s United States promoter, Relevent Sports Group, is currently receiving inquiries from all major media companies interested in live sports, including understood Shari Redstone‘s Paramount Global, the current rights holder. The offers are due August 15, and as I previously reported, the six-year deal is expected to bring in between $2 billion and $2.5 billion. It offers a great perspective on the exorbitant value of the NFL Ticket, which commands in one year what the Champions League commands in six.
Who will win the Champions League? The smart money here is a traditional broadcast partner that can simulcast games on English and Spanish linear channels, as well as streaming services: NBCUniversal, ESPN, or Fox. (Somewhere an eagle-eyed media analyst is protesting that NBCUniversal actually can’t simulcast. I assure you that will change by the time the deal takes effect in 2024.) Everyone world is at stake, and of course that could stay with Paramount. But, for now, I’m betting on NBC, which also has Premier League rights. We will see.
Lounge chair from Licht
Finally, CNN. Earlier this week I broke the news that Virginia Mosleya television news veteran and a fixture in DC’s political-media establishment (her husband is Tom Nidesthe former COO of Morgan Stanley and obamaat the time of the mega-money, who is currently ambassador to Israel), had been promoted to oversee all editorial. The move, which Chris Licht announced later that same day, along with a track in the Timewill take Moseley to New York, where she will command CNN’s newsgathering operations and function as the newsroom de facto day-to-day chief since Licht has been very public about his desire to run the place like a proper CEO. Meanwhile, the rest of the day-to-day responsibilities at CNN — programming, talent management, etc. – will be managed by the people who were already in place when jeff zucker left the network earlier this year.
And that, really, is the news here. The Time title announced that Licht had chosen a management team “for the post-Zucker era”, but what is actually remarkable in Wednesday’s announcement is that the management team is made up of the exact same people. who worked below Zucker. You could derogatively call it a rearrangement of deck chairs on the Titanic, but with only one promotion to Moseley, it doesn’t even qualify as a rearrangement. If all of Licht’s rhetoric about a new, more sophisticated and less polarizing CNN left you feeling like he was going to drastically change the structure of the network, well, it’s not. This perhaps indicates a lack of ambition or a lack of will to reform a declining medium – and if he had hired people from Silicon Valley who might have had innovative ideas for the news industry, for example ? Instead, he just tried to change the narrative of the place while dialing in some of the tactics that Zucker would likely have laid out in a post as well.Asset environment.
Or perhaps the continuity-as-change strategy suggests that after three months at the top of an incredibly complex global organization, Licht recognized that running a 24-hour news network requires institutional knowledge. very special that you don’t get from a career executive producing in the morning. late-night shows and TV, and that in the absence of a tutor like Zucker, it might make sense to keep the former deckhands on board. Or perhaps more cynically, the strategy here is really to centrify and de-stigmatize the CNN brand, despite massive ratings drops, long enough to make it an attractive upsell for the upcoming HBO Max/Discovery+/CNN bundle. And that’s not really a bad idea either. CNN could bring a lot of value to David Zaslavmaster plan.
So how will Licht make his mark on CNN? The industry spends a lot of time focusing on prime time, but I’m willing to bet the former executive producer of morning joe and CBS this morning is more concerned with the morning hours and designs a show that can compete for spirit share, if not necessarily ratings, both with the Scarborough getting worse and the broadcasts becoming less and less relevant. Of course, CNN’s last president was also a former morning show producer who tried to revamp CNN’s breakfast offering, and he never quite cracked the code. After all, it can be hard to make hard news in the morning when most people just want to talk about Ari’s abs.