The Morning Fix: Ticketmaster and Live Nation newlyweds. Viacom and CBS, still broken up. A Simon-Simon-Tommy love triangle.
After the coffee. Before fishing out the umbrella ... again!
Ticketmaster and Live Nation get DOJ green light. The Justice Department approved the controversial merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation, a marriage that brings together the biggest ticketing agency with the largest concert promoter. The new entity, explains the Los Angeles Times and New York Times will be able to book the concerts, sell the tickets and T-shirts and manage the artists. No wonder Bruce Springsteen expressed some concern about the deal. To get the deal approved, Ticketmaster had to spin off two units to AEG and Comcast, respectively.
What was Sumner thinking? The Wall Street Journal's Martin Peers uses the disappointing box-office opening of "Extraordinary Measures," the first movie from CBS Films, to ask that age-old question: Why did Sumner Redstone break up Viacom and CBS again? Even with a pay wall that shows only the first few sentences, I could tell where my old colleague Peers was going with this one!
Simon vs. Simon. Deadline Hollywood has some juicy gossip about "American Idol" creator Simon Fuller and and "X Factor," the show Simon Cowell is launching in the fall of 2010. Seems both shows want former Sony Music bigwig Tommy Mottola (the former Mr. Mariah Carey) to be judge next year. Also, apparently, Ellen DeGeneres and Simon Cowell are already at odds, but that can't really be a surprise, can it?
Buyers' market. The action picked up at Sundance with Lionsgate gobbling up "Buried" for more than $3.2 million and other titles, including "Winter's Bone" and a documentary on Pat Tillman, getting serious looks. Roundups on the action at Park City from Variety and the Wrap. A look at some of the darkness being shopped (lots of smoking, sex and violence) from the Hollywood Reporter and USA Today. One word to critics: Yes, adaptations of noir king Jim Thompson are going to be dark. Read the books before getting shocked by the movies. Just saying.
Expensive torch. NBC Universal parent General Electric Co. is now saying the Olympics could lose as much as $250 million, which is $50 million more than what the network was projecting just a few weeks ago. Maybe manufacturing all that fake snow is driving production costs up. More from Mediaweek.
King of the world again. It's official. Jim Cameron's "Avatar" has passed his last epic, "Titanic," for highest-grossing movie of all time. Of course, keep in mind that that does not take into account inflation of ticket prices. If it did, it'd be a different story. Details from Variety and Hollywood Reporter.
Start kissing up now! Variety reports that Tim Burton will head the jury at Cannes.Inside the Los Angeles Times: Patrick Goldstein on the Oscar race.
-- Joe Flint