The Morning Fix: Leno rocks; Parsons to Providence; Senate smackdown; FCC still after CBS; Not a Blockbuster night
Leno's strong start. Day One was a win for NBC and Jay Leno. The former host of the "Tonight Show" drew over 18 million viewers in his prime time premiere Monday night. Of course, the competition was light and about 60% of his audience was over the age of 50 -- not that there is anything wrong with that, but advertisers pay a premium to reach younger viewers. Analysis and overkill from Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Variety.
Parsons to Providence. Former Time Warner Chairman and CEO and current Chairman of Citigroup Dick Parsons is joining Providence Equity as a senior advisor, according to the New York Times. Providence Equity, which is headed by Jonathan Nelson, has investments in struggling movie studio MGM and Latino broadcasting giant Univision. It is also a stakeholder in Hulu, the online video site whose other owners include News Corp., NBC Universal and Walt Disney Co.
Dry ink. At the Goldman Sachs media conference in New York, News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, one of the few moguls still spending money on newspapers, said in 20 years there will be no papers left as electronic reading devices such as Kindle become mainstream. "Then we're going to have no paper, no printing plants, no unions ... it's going to be great," Murdoch said, reports the Financial Times.
Senate race smackdown! World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. CEO Linda McMahon is throwing her hat in the political ring, announcing that she will leave her position to run against Democrat Christopher Dodd in the 2010 Connecticut Senate race. McMahon, a Republican, has deep pockets and could become a threat. The Los Angeles Times notes the move comes after the WWE has been softening its image and cutting back on the raunch. Even Obama, Clinton and McCain went on "Smackdown" in search of votes during the 2008 race.
Emmy makeover. After years of sliding ratings, CBS and Emmy producers are looking to shake up the awards show, which airs Sunday. Part of the challenge is that many of the nominated shows, such as AMC's "Mad Men," don't have big followings that will bring mainstream audiences to the telecast. "Familiarity does make a difference in terms of viewers tuning in," producer Don Mischer tells USA Today.
Wonder what they'll pay the writers? Arianna Huffington, founder of the popular blog The Huffington Post, is getting into the sitcom business with a deal to executive produce a political comedy on ABC, says the Hollywood Reporter. Of course, "Murphy Brown" and "The West Wing" aside, political shows don't have the greatest track record.
Still? It's been five years, but the Federal Communications Commission is not giving up on Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show. Broadcasting & Cable reports that the commission filed a brief in its appeal to punish CBS for the telecast stating that the network "had access to video delay technology" and hence its violation of decency standards was "willful."
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Where are our manners? Robin Abcarian looks at the rash of public outbursts and asks what has happened to decorum. Not a Blockbuster night as the video chain is closing 960 stores.
-- Joe Flint