The Morning Fix: CW hurting, Hulu causing headaches, upfront will be downfront
After the coffee. Before the Sig alert.
Google to the rescue? Washington Post media columnist Howard Kurtz says his boss Don Graham, chief executive of The Washington Post Co. and Google chief Eric Schmidt have had talks about ways to collaborate on presenting news online. Details are sketchy and Kurtz himself seemed to go out of his way not to hype the news as it was way down in the tenth paragraph of his Monday column.
In its debut commercial that ran during the Super Bowl, Hulu, the online video site, is described by Alec Baldwin as an "evil plot to destroy the world." For some in the television business, that's not too far from the truth. The Los Angeles Times warns that the site's huge success, "could undercut the financial underpinnings of the industry."
The CW heads into upfront with a shrinking audience and a high profile pilot on shaky ground, says USA Today. On the plus side, the rumors that its parents CBS and Time Warner were considering pulling the plug have faded and it has found a niche audience of women 18-34. "How that gets monetized, everyone will figure out in the next few years," CW president Dawn Ostroff said.
Get out of MySpace! As expected with a new regime in charge, MySpace has begun cutting staff. Tech Crunch says as many as 45 people were let go last week. Move comes only a few weeks after Owen Van Natta took over the social network site, which needs a jump start if it is going to keep pace with Facebook.
With a week to go before upfronts, agents and studios are busy spinning that they have the hot pilots and everything else is tanking. Variety tries to figure out whose holding real cards and whose bluffing.Whatever they pick better be good because broadcast upfront, where advertising time for the fall season is sold, could be off by as much as 20%. The biggest drop since 2001. Don't be surprised if some networks hold back more time in hopes of making more in the scatter market. Advertising Age
Patrick Goldstein suggests that Judd Apatow may want to trim his new comedy "Funny People" from 150 minutes to something a little more manageable. "Victory goes to the hare, not the turtle," he warns.
-- Joe Flint