The Morning Fix: Warner Bros. big year (thanks, 'Hangover')! Fox-TW Cable fight down to the wire. TMZ screws up.
After the coffee. Before betting on who blinks first, Fox or Time Warner Cable.
Down to the wire. There has been a little progress in the Time Warner Cable-News Corp. battle but still no deal that will keep Fox's TV stations on the cable giant after Jan. 1. According to the Wall Street Journal, Time Warner Cable has indicated it is willing to pony up about 20 cents per subscriber for the signals of News Corp.'s Fox TV stations. Fox wants one dollar. Though these battles often result in a lot of hyperbole and ultimately a deal (or contract extension), this one could go the distance. But if it does, they both lose because, odds are, Washington will weigh in, and things could get even uglier for the industry.
Great year. Warner Bros. had a record year at the box office, taking in $3.9 billion and leading all studios. But with a few days left in 2009 (end already!) and "Avatar" going like gangbusters, 20th Century Fox is closing in fast. Variety on the race to finish first.
Oops! Just when celebrity news website TMZ was building credibility for its ahead-of-the-pack coverage of Michael Jackson's death and Tiger Woods' scandals, it made a huge blunder. The website ran a photo it said was President Kennedy cavorting on a yacht with naked women. Problem was, the picture was from an issue of Playboy magazine that came out four years after Kennedy was killed -- and no, it wasn't Kennedy, any Kennedy, on that boat. "This is part of journalism," TMZ's Harvey Levin told the New York Times. Uh-huh. Here's a tip, Harvey. If it looks or sounds too good to be good true, it isn't true. Busting TMZ on the photo was, of course, the Smoking Gun. The good news is, both TMZ and Smoking Gun are owned by Time Warner. Now there's some synergy!
Shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here. The Society of Professional Journalists took NBC News to the woodshed for flying David Goldman and his son back to the U.S. from Brazil for an interview about Goldman's successful custody battle. SPJ said that was tantamount to paying for an interview. NBC said, nuh-uh! Details from Broadcasting & Cable.
A decade to forget. Continuing its review of the decade, today USA Today looks at what has happened in the music industry over the last 10 years. Yeah, I bet that story has a happy ending. Meanwhile, the Hollywood Reporter looks at the 10 biggest goofs in TV. Among them are ABC's decision to pass on "CSI" (d'oh) and Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction. Left out was Fox's "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire" fiasco. Don't tell me we've already moved past Rick Rockwell.
Extra credit. UC Davis has released a study saying that Tiger Woods' woes have cost shareholders of companies affiliated with the golfer as much as $12 billion. Wonder if the formula to figure that out was number of girls divided by tabloid stories multiplied by the closing stock price of each sponsor.
Inside the Los Angeles Times. What box office can mean for an Oscar nomination. Guessing this story doesn't turn out well for the Weinstein Co.'s "Nine." A look at TV's favorite character clichés -- geeks, gays and soccer moms.
-- Joe Flint