The Morning Fix: Vivendi's next move. Obama vs. Fox. Independent analysis. 'Paranormal Activity' is high!
After the coffee. Before deciding if "Paranormal Activity" was scary or just hokey.
Holding the cards. While NBC Universal and Comcast continue their mating dance, all eyes are on Vivendi, the French conglomerate that can make it all happen or make it go away, depending on what it decides to do with its 20% stake in NBC. The Los Angeles Times looks at what is motivating Vivendi and whether when all is said and done, the company may just keep things as they are. Vivendi is holding a board meeting Wednesday, so let the fun begin.
Malone in the mix? An analyst at Gimme Credit (yes, that's the actual name of the firm) says Liberty Media chief John Malone could also be a potential bidder on NBC Universal. Of course, in the same report the analyst says the odds of that happening are extremely low. That didn't stop Bloomberg from smacking a headline on a story that says, "Liberty Media May Bid for NBC Universal, Analyst Says." Bloomberg also tells us that Jeff Zucker could keep his gig at top of NBC U after a Comcast deal, according to three people. Unless those three people are GE Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt and Comcast toppers Brian Roberts and Steve Burke, I'm not so sure I'd be going out on a limb. God forbid we let a deal happen first before declaring what the management strategy will be. I mean where's the fun in that?
Debating Leno ... again. As Jay Leno enters his fifth week (seems longer, doesn't it?), the New York Times looks at whether the show is good for NBC or bad. Ratings have fallen off dramatically since its premiere, but that was to be expected. Of course, NBC is not helping Leno much in terms of lead-ins. Until it goes up against reruns and we can see if in fact Leno is an alternative, it may be too soon to judge NBC one way or another. That won't stop us from doing more articles.
Chernin is going old school. Peter Chernin's new production company's (does it have a name yet?) first big home-grown film project will be retelling the story of Moses in "300 style," according to Variety. Hope the fact that everyone knowing how the story ends doesn't hurt the box office.
Independent analysis. Dave Poland's Hot Blog looks at so-called dependent independents or specialty film divisions at the majors and the picture is bleak.
Gloves are off. The Obama administration is going after Fox News, with a spokesperson telling the New York Times that "We don't need to pretend that this is the way legitimate news organizations behave." Fox's Michael Clemente, a senior vice president of news, responded that "perhaps the energy would be better spent on the critical issues that voters are worried about." Fox News topper Roger Ailes met with Obama trouble-shooter David Axelrod last month, and we can see that worked out well.The Twitter effect. More and more personalities are using Twitter to communicate with the masses There is good and bad in that. While it cuts out the middle man (usually annoying and uptight publicists), it can also get people into hot water when they give that internal censor a few minutes off. The Los Angeles Times weighs in on how Twitter is changing the pop culture landscape. Meanwhile, if you are wondering who to follow on Twitter for entertainment news, gossip and rants, the Wrap provides a handy list (yes, I'm on it, can't wait to tell mom). Conversely, Miley Cyrus says she's quitting Twitter.
Good script at Scripps. Scripps Networks Interactive has quietly built up a strong portfolio of cable networks. Broadcasting & Cable looks at whether it might be next to go if we are in fact about to enter a new round of media consolidation. Chief Executive Ken Lowe insists the company is not for sale.
Oprah's mile-high club? A flight attendant is suing Oprah Winfrey, claiming she was fired for allegedly having sex on the talk-show queen's private jet, a charge the flight attendant denies. Details from the Chicago Sun-Times.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: "Couples Retreat" drew lots of tourists and "Paranormal Activity" set a record at the box office. Uncertainty over the fate of West Hollywood's Book Soup. More of Robert Hilburn's days with John Lennon.
-- Joe Flint