12/19/2008 10:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Jeremy Piven Leaves Speed-The-Plow: MediaBytes with Shelly Palmer December 16, 2008

Jeremy Piven left David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow this week, claiming mercury poisoning. Piven, who eats sushi twice a day, received a doctor's note after tests showed elevated levels of Mercury. Piven's role will be taken over by Norbert Leo Butz, who will be followed by William H Macy.

GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt expects NBCU to post a profit of $3 billion for 2008. An upbeat Immelt told investors that profits at NBCU could be flat in 2009, or even slightly down. Immelt noted that the new Jay Leno variety show is one of the ways NBCU plans to cut costs and hopefully increase profit in 2009.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the RIAA plans to stop the legal pursuit of illegal downloaders and enact more effective ways to combat digital piracy. Since 2003, the RIAA has brought lawsuits against approximately 35,000 people, including "single mothers, a dead person and a 13-year old girl." The RIAA now hopes to partner with ISP's in order to combat piracy from the ground up.

Macrovision has sold the TV Guide Network to Alan Shapiro and One Equity Partners for $255 million dollars, with an additional $45 million to be paid by 2012. The deal also includes the network, a network of TV related sites, which only recently became bundled in the deal. Macrovision gained a considerable amount for for the network than it did TV Guide magazine, which it sold in October for $1 and liabilities.

Plus, today's consulting question, "Is linking to a site that features pirated material actionable?" Shelly has the answer on today's MediaBytes.

Shelly Palmer is a consultant and the host of MediaBytes a daily show featuring news you can use about technology, media & entertainment. He is Managing Director of Advanced Media Ventures Group LLC and the author of Television Disrupted: The Transition from Network to Networked TV (2008, York House Press). Shelly is also President of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, NY (the organization that bestows the coveted Emmy® Awards). You can join the MediaBytes mailing list here. Shelly can be reached at