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Strange news about Hobbit movies

John Scalzi has some odd news about two (two) movies based on J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" and Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema.

* MGM and New Line will co-finance and co-distribute two films, "The Hobbit" and a sequel to "The Hobbit." New Line will distribute in North America and MGM will distribute internationally.
  • Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh will serve as Executive Producers of two films based on "The Hobbit." New Line will manage the production of the films, which will be shot simultaneously.

  • Peter Jackson and New Line have settled all litigation relating to the "Lord of the Rings" (LOTR) Trilogy.

Etc. etc. Jackson won't direct. Seeing "The Hobbit" might be cool (cooler than "Golden Compass", which I didn't find bad but didn't get me excited either). We'll see.