The Morning Fix: 'Princess and Frog' croaks to the top. Tiger puts TV in the rough. Retrans battles (yes, this matters). Dashing Brad Grey!
After the coffee. Before figuring out how you can score a Google phone for your boss.
Soft croak for frog. Disney's "The Princess and the Frog" finished No. 1 at the box office, but its take of only $25 million was seen as something of a disappointment. The reviews were strong, however, and before we decide this one has tanked, let's remember that another recent Disney release about Christmas opened soft only to turn into a hit in the weeks that followed. Warner Bros. took the next two spots with "The Blind Side" and Clint Eastwood's "Invictus." Box-office analysis from the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Variety.
Tiger's break puts networks in the rough. Tiger Woods' decision to take a break from golf and, uh, perhaps other activities, may help him eventually to rebuild his image and family (or not), but it definitely will hurt the TV networks that count on him for big bucks. Last weekend's Chevron World Challenge, a tournament that he founded, saw half its audience drift away without Woods playing. The Hollywood Reporter and Associated Press look at how bad a blow Tiger's personal crisis could be for television. Last year, when Woods was hurt, ratings dropped by an average of 50%. CBS has the most golf and the most to lose, followed by ABC and ESPN and Comcast's Golf Channel. In the meantime, USA Today reports that consulting firm Accenture ended its sponsorship relationship (we hope they at least offered some pro bono advice).
Grey's game. So remember that awesome rainbow last Monday afternoon? Apparently it was for Brad Grey, CEO of Paramount Pictures. That rainbow (and the sunshine that came with it) provided an anecdote for the New York Times in their latest piece chronicling the reign of Grey at the studio. He's described as "trim at 51, with a gray-flecked brush cut" and is compared favorably to George Clooney. Grey tells the NYT that his best moves have been cutting the number of movies Paramount makes a year and closing its art-house shop Paramount Vantage. The studio is expected to have a strong fourth quarter thanks to DVD sales from its summer of "Star Trek," "G.I. Joe" and "Transformers" and the continued success of "Paranormal Activity."
Broadcast versus cable. If the over-the-air television industry is to have any hope of future growth, it has to get cable and satellite operators to pay to carry their signals. Or so goes industry logic. Of course, the cable and satellite industry isn't exactly on board with that idea. Now that the nation's largest cable operator, Comcast, is acquiring NBC, will that help or hurt the business? The battle everyone is watching is News Corp.'s Fox versus Time Warner Cable, which keeps getting uglier. The Wall Street Journal weighs in with the latest while Broadcasting & Cable has a thorough look at all the issues including how the battle between broadcast and cable will also pit broadcaster against broadcaster.
Gibson's goodbye. ABC's Charlie Gibson wraps up a pretty short run as anchor of ABC's "World News Tonight" but a long run at the network. Washington Post media columnist Howie Kurtz looks at Gibson's career and Diane Sawyer's challenges in taking his seat.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: In a weak economy, the movie industry is going strong. Box office is up close to 10% this year and attendance has grown 4.5% from 2008. A look at how hard times are driving people back to movies. A look at Pixar's John Lasseter's obsession for detail. Candy Spelling goes reality.
-- Joe Flint