The Morning Fix: Spin firm flap! Time Warner-Fox battle may hit FCC. Weed means R for 'It's Complicated'
PR meltdown. The merger of Hollywood public relation giants PMK/HBH and BNC (no, we're not spelling out their names) has created a massive ripple effect as high-powered flacks hit the road to open their own shops. Since both companies have the same parent company, media and advertising giant Interpublic, the move is clearly about cost-cutting and consolidation. Still, it also marks the end of PMK, which was once the most powerful spin shop in Hollywood, and it's got everyone buzzing. Because this story has lots of ego, intrigue and backstabbing, it's no surprise that Deadline Hollywood has been leading the way in breaking news on it. Here's some more coverage from the Wrap too.
Time Warner Cable hits Fox at FCC. The battle between Time Warner Cable and News Corp.'s Fox got a little uglier this week. The cable giant, in a regulatory filing, accused Fox of violating Federal Communications Commission rules when it comes to negotiating fees for distributors to carry its broadcast signals. Specifically, Time Warner Cable says Fox is interfering in negotiations that its affiliates (that they don't own) are conducting with cable operators. That could be a big no-no. This one is a little complex for a blurb, but worth reading because this is a battle that is going to get bigger and spread to other media giants over the next year. The scoop from Broadcasting & Cable.
Define rebound? It was hardly a pop-open-the-bubbly forecast, but three major advertising firms are predicting growth next year. Of course, two of those firms, Group M and ZenithOptimedia (yes, that's one word), said the growth in the U.S. will be less than 1%. A real recovery, Group M said, may not take place until 2012, which also happens to be an election and Olympic year. Details on the predictions from the New York Times.
Russian invasion. ABC has a deal to try to develop Russia's top game show (insert lame joke about standing in line for prizes or drinking vodka here). The program, "What? Where? When?," which has been on for 35 years there, is a comical quiz show. The Hollywood Reporter on all the paperwork and visas it is taking to try to get a version of the show on here.
Variety tries pay. Figuring that if people pay to get their content in one form, why not charge them to get it in another, Variety is starting to move much of its online content behind a pay wall. It used to be that way, but a few years ago the trade paper, like much of the media, made the ill-fated decision that traffic was more important than money. Now it will try to get the toothpaste back in the tube. Details on how it will work (for free) from Variety.
Are they high? The MPAA has given "It's Complicated" an R rating because it has a pot-smoking scene that features no bad consequences for the users (not even a binge-eating moment after?). The adult rating may hurt Universal's marketing plan, although, having seen the previews of the Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin comedy, I'd think most of the target audience is adult and not kids or families. Nonetheless, it reminds one of the debate over a similar scene in the teen flick "Clueless" all those years ago. The dope on the R rating from the Los Angeles Times.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: New Mexico is putting $10 million into a Santa Fe-based movie and TV studio. John Horn on Fox Searchlight's "Crazy Heart," which almost ended up on a dust heap and is now a hot property.
-- Joe Flint