At the bottom of this post is an excerpt from an official statement that appeared on The One Ring website. Basically, it tells us why Peter Jackson won't be directing the film(s) of The Hobbit.
To follow the excerpt, you will probably need to know that Jackson has brought a law suit against New Line over some 'suspicious' Lord of the Rings book keeping. Why Jackson has issued this statement now is anybody's guess, but I think, to be fair, he's probably as disappointed that he won't be Hobbiting as the rest of us are. It might even be a last ditch attempt to get the situation sorted to his satisfaction - that is, to force MGM into paying for a longer option and sitting tight until Jackson is ready to make The Hobbit on his own terms.
Seems like MGM are in a hurry, however, and that somebody is going to have to make this film sooner rather than later - I just hope it isn't Anand Tucker or Chris Weitz.
Here's the excerpt:
Several years ago, Mark Ordesky told us that New Line have rights to make not just The Hobbit but a second "LOTR prequel", covering the events leading up to those depicted in LOTR. Since then, we've always assumed that we would be asked to make The Hobbit and possibly this second film, back to back, as we did the original movies. We assumed that our lawsuit with the studio would come to a natural conclusion and we would then be free to discuss our ideas with the studio, get excited and jump on board. We've assumed that we would possibly get started on development and design next year, whilst filming The Lovely Bones. We even had a meeting planned with MGM executives to talk through our schedule.
However last week, Mark Ordesky called Ken and told him that New Line would no longer be requiring our services on the Hobbit and the LOTR 'prequel'. This was a courtesy call to let us know that the studio was now actively looking to hire another filmmaker for both projects.
Ordesky said that New Line has a limited time option on the film rights they have obtained from Saul Zaentz (this has never been conveyed to us before), and because we won't discuss making the movies until the lawsuit is resolved, the studio is going to have to hire another director.