The Morning Fix: Goodbye, Army; GE's Vivendi question; new ways to measure advertising; U.S. Open not so open; cue the Hobbits!
Before the coffee. After saying goodbye to "good morning."
End of an era. Legendary Variety columnist Army Archerd, who began every column with a cheerful "good morning," died Tuesday at the age of 87. While Archerd, who retired from daily duty four years ago, was part of a generation of kinder and gentler gossip reporters, he could be tough and take a stand when he felt the need and did so without being hostile or tawdry. Remembrances from Variety and Los Angeles Times.
Parlor game. With Vivendi's option to renew or sell its 20% stake in General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal coming due later this fall, speculation is starting on whether GE will buy the stake, look for a new partner or even consider selling all of NBC Universal. That last scenario has been repeatedly denied by GE CEO Jeff Immelt. Broadcasting & Cable's Claire Atkinson takes a look at GE's cards and the chatter.
Cue the Hobbits! Warner Bros. settled its ugly legal battle with the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien over profit participation from the three "Lord of the Rings" movies that were released by New Line. The settlement clears the way for production to start on two Hobbit movies with Peter Jackson producing, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Doesn't add up. Veteran Hollywood scribe Kim Masters of The Daily Beast offers her take on the summer box office and how to separate fact from fiction.
Does scratching yourself mean you like an ad? A Boston-based research firm is studying the physical movements of couch potatoes to determine whether how one watches TV holds clues in whether advertising is having an effect, reports The Boston Globe. Innerscope Research is having its guinea pigs wear specially outfitted T-shirts and vests that measure sweating, breathing and heart rate, among other things, to determine if there is a correlation between the body and commercials.
Finding the ball. Having trouble keeping up with the U.S. Open? It probably doesn't help that the event is now on CBS and two cable networks (one with small distribution) instead of CBS and USA. The New York Times' sports and media ace Richard Sandomir explains what's going on behind the scenes and how viewers are being left in the lurch.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Ben Fritz takes a look at the phenomenon of "Worlds of Warcraft" and how for some it's more than a game, it's their life. Disney CEO Bob Iger show's his lighter side when he moderated an industry luncheon. Inside the Toronto Film Festival. Fox's heavily anticipated "Glee" premieres tonight and Maria Elena Fernandez has a profile of one of the show's breakout talents.
-- Joe Flint