I found a wonderful site that has stayed on top of news regarding the hold-up and potential production of The Hobbit. I thought I'd give a quick clarification of what the hold up has been (for those who, like me, have not known nor bothered to research into it).
Peter Jackson has sued New Line Cinema for doctoring the numbers in their accounting of how much LOTR made/is making. They were at a stand still for a long time, but the courts recently fined New Line for not getting the required documents in time (i.e. the accounting documents). This has, as near as we can tell, woken New Line up to the fact that they are going to have to do something quick. it seems as though they have entered into serious settlement discussions with Jackson to come to terms that will appease both parties.
They are on a time crunch, as far as production goes. They only have the rights to make The Hobbit until about 2010 (as I understand it). This means that they need to get the ball rolling.
Sam Raimi (directed the Spidermans as well as plenty of other flicks) has made a few comments in interviews that he would like to be considered for directing the film, if Peter isn't chosen. He was quick to add that he feels that Peter should direct the films and that his bid is more of a "in case nothing can be worked out" type bid.
If New Line decides that they can't work with Jackson because of the suit, then a new director would be necessary. I absolutely hate the idea of a new director. This must not come to be.
As an aside, Jackson's case is a really big deal. I can't prematurely say that New Line is guilty, because of that whole "innocent until proven guilty" philosophy that i believe in, but my heart tells me that these production companies and studios are dirty and ever have been. The WGA's strike against them is greatly due to this very sort of thing: greediness on the part of the studios.
That is all.