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The Dinosaurs’ Last March: Katie Couric And The California Adventure That Isn’t

Wednesday, October 17, 2007  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
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Disney is admitting that its Anaheim “California Adventure” is a flop.  From the WSJ.com (subscription required):

Since its 2001 debut, the Walt Disney Co. theme park Disney’s California Adventure has floundered in the shadow of its legendary neighbor, Disneyland. To fix it, Disney is now planning a $1.1 billion overhaul — the most extensive makeover the company has ever given to a theme park.

Disney’s board recently approved the investment, which will be poured into California Adventure over roughly five years, according to people familiar with the plan. The sum is particularly significant, considering the theme park cost around $1 billion to build and Disney has already spent more than $100 million trying to improve it.

Originally aimed at luring visitors to spend more time and money at the Disneyland Resort, California Adventure has been criticized as lacking Disney’s trademark creative spark. The California theme has fallen flat with visitors from the western U.S., who make up the bulk of attendance. Last year, the park drew just under six million visitors, compared with nearly 15 million at Disneyland and short of Disney’s original forecast of seven million visitors a year for the new park.

Read the whole thing.

It is hard for big corps to admit fundamental errors, but unless and until they do, the problems associated with the big swing-and-a-miss get worse.

Howard Kurtz will be my guest today to discuss his new book Reality Show: Inside The Last Great Television News War.  One of the themes of the book is the big wager CBS placed on Katie Couric and how it just isn’t panning out.  Long time TV genius Rick Kaplan has been brought aboard to try and save the ship, but like the first $100 million thrown at California Adventure, the small measure probably won’t work.  How long will CBS let the audience fasten itself to the other nets because it prefers KC in the AM and not as the anchor?

It took Disney six years to take the deep breath and move.  To get Howard’s view on this and all the other aspects of the dinosaurs’ last march, tune it today.

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