The Morning Fix: Analyzing Comcast. Call of Duty delivers! Icahn at it again.
After the coffee. Before buying up those last spots at the Super Bowl.
Analyzing Comcast. Wall Street Journal columnist Holman Jenkins weighs in on Comcast's plans to take over NBC Universal. Though he's quick to buy the spin on why Leno at 10 p.m. makes sense (uh, so far programming for margins isn't exactly improving margins), there are other astute observations about the future of content and the bets the cable giant is making to try to stay in the game. Bottom line for Comcast investors? Buyer beware.
Call of Duty answers call. The video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II has posted a record-setting $550 million in sales. The game cost about $40 million to $50 million to produce. The Los Angeles Times looks at the economics of the game in comparison to the movie biz.
Bonds but not James. Investor and shareholder activist Carl Icahn has been gobbling up MGM bonds, according to the industry website Deadline. Is it part of a play to take over the studio? Does he want his son, Brett, to run it? Can MGM be saved? Is it worth saving? Do you now feel like you're about to be told to tune in tomorrow, same bat time, same bat channel, for the answers?
CBS teams with Sony. CBS' film division, which is gearing up for its first release, has struck a deal to have Sony Pictures distribute its movies abroad. The deal, which kicks off with the January release of "Extraordinary Measures" with Harrison Ford runs for three years, according to Variety. CBS started the studio after it split from Viacom and it needs some movies for its Showtime pay cable channel.
King of TV. Movie producer Graham King' GK Films has launched a TV arm and has tapped Lionsgate TV's Craig Cegielski to oversee it, per the Hollywood Reporter. GK-TV said it will produce and distribute its product without teaming up with a big studio.
Super sellout near. Advertising Age reports that CBS only has six to 12 -- out of 62 -- Super Bowl commercials left to unload. Ratings for the NFL are very strong this year. Besides the usual suspects -- Budweiser, Pepsi -- other advertisers thinking of buying include General Motors and FedEx.
ESPN renews Gruden. Although John Gruden's first year in the booth won't make anyone remember John Madden, ESPN has extended former head coach Gruden's deal to be one of its "Monday Night Football" analysts. The New York Times sports business reporter Rich Sandomir notes that Gruden needs to step up his game and be more critical if he wants to make a mark. In other words, stop saying that Eric Mangini is a "heck of a coach."
-- Joe Flint