The Morning Fix: Goodbye, Holden Caulfield. Conan O'Brien's big exit. Jay Leno on 'Oprah.' Lady Gaga reshaping music industry.
After the coffee. Before digging out that old copy of "Catcher in the Rye."
If you really want to hear about it. J.D. Salinger, the reclusive author famous for "Catcher in the Rye," died at 91. His book, which still sells a quarter-million copies a year, became a must-read for every disenfranchised preppie teen. Before there was "Gossip Girl," there was Holden Caulfield. Salinger held on to his words as closely as he did his privacy, and Hollywood was never able to ruin "Catcher in the Rye" or "Franny and Zooey." Apparently that will continue to be the case after his death. Here are obituaries and appreciations from the New York Times and Los Angeles Times. The Financial Times looks at how Salinger held tightly to his work, and his agent promises that will continue to be the case.
Going out with a bang. Conan O'Brien easily beat CBS' David Letterman in his last week as host of NBC's "The Tonight Show," averaging 5.3 million viewers for the week. His finale last Friday drew over 10 million viewers, reports the Los Angeles Times. Alas, we're guessing that since this was not a finale NBC that saw coming months or years in advance, the network wasn't able to capitalize on it by selling lots of advertising at an inflated rate. In the meantime, Jay Leno's rehab tour continued with a visit to Oprah Winfrey's show Thursday. No dancing on the couch for him. An analysis of that little visit from the Chicago Tribune while the Wrap has posted a full transcript for your enjoyment.
The kids are alright and the money's not bad either. Focus Features is shelling out almost $5 million for distribution rights to "The Kids Are Alright," a comedy starring Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as a lesbian couple whose kids hunt down their sperm-donor father. The deal, reports Variety, capped a week of sales at at Sundance. The Hollywood Reporter's Kirk Honeycutt weighs in with an overview of this year's festival and whether it was more hype than hope.
Gaga for Lady Gaga. The Wall Street Journal looks at how Lady Gaga's success is reshaping the music business. The 23-year-old sensation, who will be one of the highlights of the Grammy Awards (although frankly we're getting tired of duets with Elton John, which is what is expected this Sunday), has not only had huge sales, but is a success on every platform out there. Is she the road map to the industry's future? Maybe, but I still like Cartman's version of "Poker Face" better.
Olympic research effort. NBC is launching a massive research effort on Olympic viewing habits that will try to track, among other things, how people use new media to compliment old media. Ultimately, the hope is to find ways to translate all this into dollars, which wouldn't be a bad idea since NBC is expected to lose $250 million on the Games themselves. Details on NBC's attempt at a Gold Medal in media research from AdAge.Neil Patrick Harris gets into 'The Tube.' The star of CBS' hit show "How I Met Your Mother" and recent host of both the Emmy and Tony awards, is trying his hand at game show host. He's flying to London to tape a pilot for a U.S. version of the British hit game show "The Cube," reports the Wrap. CBS may be interested in the show.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Comcast makes its case for the NBC Universal deal to the FCC. Meanwhile, legendary producer Marcy Carsey, whose company made some big hits for NBC back in the day, is on the board of one of the deal's biggest critics. Betsy Sharkey on "Fish Tank."
-- Joe Flint