The Morning Fix: Earnings week! More Oscars! What will Katie do? Ben and Liz together again.
And the Oscar for best analysis goes to ... : Although in today's 24-hour news cycle the Oscar nominations already seem like yesterday's news, there is still a lot to discuss and debate. The expansion of the best picture category to 10 movies didn't really help the comedy genre get its foot in the door. Who cares that best director nominees Kathryn Bigelow ("The Hurt Locker") and James Cameron ("Avatar") were once married? (Dave Poland at Hot Blog doesn't.) How much does it matter that Bigelow is only the fourth woman to be nominated for best director or that Lee Daniels ("Push") is only the second African American director nominated? Will TV ratings be up? And why was "I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell" snubbed? Analysis on what it all means from the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Variety and Hollywood Reporter.
Got $700 million sitting around? That's apparently how much the Walt Disney Co. wants for Miramax, the once-famous indie founded by Bob and Harvey Weinstein that has since fallen on hard times and is no longer a priority at Disney. The Los Angeles Times looks at the asset and who out there might be able to scratch up the coin for all those old Tarantino and Paltrow films (dibs on "The Pallbearer"). The Wrap, meanwhile, reports for about the dozenth time that Bob and Harvey Weinstein, who now run the Weinstein Co. (not quite as snappy a name, is it?), really want their old company back. There's just the matter of getting the money for it. Oh wait, the Wrap says some hedge-fund dude with $44 billion -- whose name the Web pub couldn't find out -- is ready to help.
Trust but verify. NBC affiliates want it in writing that they won't get the shaft should Comcast succeed in its deal to take control of General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal. In testimony submitted to the House Subcommittee on Communications and a bunch of other stuff, NBC affiliate board Chairman Michael Fiorile said affiliates worry that Comcast will take the good stuff off of NBC and put it on cable. Details from the Los Angeles Times (yes, a lot of links for the home team, but hey we were working hard yesterday) and Broadcasting & Cable. The hearing itself takes place Thursday morning, with another one held by the Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee following in the afternoon. We'll expect a surge in C-Span ratings. Meanwhile, Comcast also reported fourth-quarter earnings Wednesday morning and boosted its profits and added more subscribers. Bloomberg with early analysis.
Time Warner swings to profit. A content-only Time Warner Co. announced its fourth-quarter earnings early Wednesday morning (well, early for me, anyway) and reported a profit of $627 million, thanks to HBO and its Turner Broadcasting unit. Time Warner had lost more than $16 billion (yes, that's billion) a year ago because of write-downs on its cable systems (since spun off), AOL (since spun off) and publishing (still there). A little more from the Wall Street Journal and Associated Press. The company also raised its dividend.
Thank you, Roger Ailes. Fox News was the big driver at media giant News Corp. as the company reported second-quarter revenues of almost $8.7 billion, a 10% gain. Most of the money that "Avatar" is making for News Corp. will show up in the next few quarters (so don't let those stories about "Avatar" having a lot to do with this quarter's success in some other big papers fool you). DVD sales also provided a big boost, and even the struggling Fox TV stations made some gains. More from the Los Angeles Times.
Together again. NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker may have stopped believing in Ben Silverman, but Elisabeth Murdoch never did. Murdoch and Silverman, who have long had ties, are in bed together again (figuratively, of course). Murdoch's company, Shine, will partner with Silverman's Electus to distribute his content abroad. Variety has more on the reunion.
Contract time again? The New York Post weighs in with what will likely be the first of many "will Katie Couric stay at CBS News when her contract is up next year" stories. And if she does, will she take a pay cut from her salary, which has been reported to be between $13 million and $15 million. Frankly, we're more curious about the photo our favorite tabloid used of Couric (from Harper's Bazaar), which shows her standing on two TV sets in shoes that might be more appropriate if she were next to a pole.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Rupert Murdoch needs to be sold on Conan O'Brien. How the studios will try to take advantage of their Oscar nominations. Mary McNamara on the season premiere of ABC's "Lost."
-- Joe Flint