The Morning Fix: Time Warner Cable and Fox trade blows! 'Avatar' estimates. Icahn eyes Take-Two. Tellem's new gig.
After the coffee. Before deciding if you actually exist if you can't tweet about yourself.
And in this corner... The battle between media giants News Corp. and Time Warner Cable Inc. took another bad turn this week. The two companies are bickering over fees that News Corp.'s Fox TV stations want Time Warner Cable to pay in order to carry their stations. Time Warner Cable has already launched a marketing campaign warning consumers that programmers are trying to gouge them. Now News Corp. is firing back with its own ads warning viewers that some of their favorite Fox shows such as "The Simpsons" and "American Idol" could disappear if Time Warner Cable doesn't pay a fair price. The latest on the fight from the Wall Street Journal, which is owned by, oh yeah, News Corp.
'Avatar' estimates. James Cameron's "Avatar" has gotten great reviews, but will that translate to a big box office? The 20th Century Fox release could take in $230 million worldwide, with $80 million coming from the U.S. and Canada. Fox is, naturally, looking to downplay such bold predictions. Forecasts from the Los Angeles Times, and an interview with Cameron from the Hollywood Reporter.
Tellem takes new roll. Nancy Tellem, who had overseen most of the entertainment operations for CBS Corp. and has been a top lieutenant to CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves for 20 years, is exiting her day-to-day job to become a senior advisor to him. This role basically makes her the Tom Hagen to Moonves' Vito Corleone (we use "The Godfather" reference because it's one of Moonves' favorite films.) Tellem won't be replaced and her direct reports, CBS Network programming boss Nina Tassler and production chief Dave Stapf, will now report straight to Moonves. Coverage on Tellem's next gig from the Los Angeles Times and Deadline Hollywood, and an interview with Tellem from the Wrap.
Carell's next gig. "The Office" star Steve Carell is on board for a romantic drama to be made by Warner Bros. and written by Dan Fogelman. While we wouldn't normally highlight this sort of thing here, this deal is noteworthy because Fogelman's script sold for $2 million against $2.5 million, making it one of the biggest script sales of the year. Details from Variety.
Sawyer's soft launch. Diane Sawyer takes over anchoring ABC's "World News Tonight" on Monday but don't look for her to talk much about the challenge's she'll face or how she thinks she'll fare. ABC News is taking a quiet approach to her transition from mornings to evenings. A look at her new job from USA Today.
Firestone rolls into baseball. Tire manufacturer Firestone normally spends its bucks on auto racing, but now it is laying down its treads on baseball with a big deal to sponsor the All-Star game, according to the New York Times. For baseball, which endured a tough year at the gate, the deal sends a signal that it can still drive sponsors to the stadium.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Carl Icahn is gobbling up the stock of video-game maker Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., publisher of the Grand Theft Auto video games. Should Chief Executive Strauss Zelnick be worried? Disneyland takes another crack at a robotic Abraham Lincoln. And here's an analysis of the SAG nominations.
-- Joe Flint