I've been searching for the answer to my question for a day or so and haven't found anything that seems to do exactly what I want so I decided to post this question.
Firstly, I consider myself a techie and I have been working with WP for over a year. Right now I have approximately 12 blogs that are on different domains that live in the same server and when it comes time to update them, it is a pain to do so as I have to update each WP install, update each set of plugins, etc.
My question: Is it possible to have 1 WP installation that controls all these different blogs while at the same time giving the blogs the ability to maintain their identities? I have looked at WP MU, but it seems as though that only works if all the blogs are on the same domain (blog1.abc.com, blog2.abc.com, blog3.abc.com) and not on different domains (blog.abc.com, blog.xyz.com, blog.123.com).
I have drawn up a sketch of what I mean in case I am not able to do it through words. Find the diagram here.
Thanks for your help! I look forward to seeing your responses.