The Morning Fix: Disney closes Alice's window a little! NBC leasing space. Anne Hathaway talks dirty! Robert Evans goes to Broadway. MySpace still needs cleaning.
Paramount delivers. How's this for a man-bites-dog story. Paramount Pictures, usually a drag on corporate parent Viacom's earnings, was a big driver in the media conglomerate's fourth quarter. Thanks to "Paranormal Activity" and strong DVD sales of "Transformers" and "Star Trek," the studio had its biggest profit in seven years. Viacom also said this morning that it is buying the DreamWorks SKG library from investor George Soros for $400 million. But it was not all good news for Viacom -- its Rock-Band video game franchise continued to struggle. More on Viacom's earnings from the Los Angeles Times.
NBC has space to lease. Retail giant Wal-Mart and consumer products manufacturer P&G are teaming up to make a made-for-TV movie and are buying time from NBC to run it on the Peacock network in prime time in April. The two companies are spending $4.5 million on the family-friendly film and will keep all the ad inventory, according to the Wall Street Journal. Such a deal where a network would basically sell time to advertisers is unusual but not completely unprecedented. Plus, who's going to say no to P&G, one of the biggest advertisers on television? P&G and Wal-Mart could have probably gotten the 10 p.m. hour thrown in for pocket change.
MySpace mess. Another big corporate shakeup at MySpace, News Corp.'s social networking site that's been left in the dust by rival Facebook. Owen Van Natta, the former Facebook big shot who was brought in to try fix the struggling MySpace, is out after less than 10 months on the job. He apparently was clashing with Jon Miller, the News Corp. executive who oversees all the company's digital operations. MySpace, which was once seen as a crown jewel for Rupert Murdoch's media giant, has been struggling for several years. Details from the Los Angeles Times, PaidContent, USA Today, and Financial Times.
Disney shrinks window. Walt Disney Co. is shortening the window from when a movie ends its theatrical run and pops up on DVD for "Alice" to 13 weeks from the usual 17 weeks, per Variety. The issue of windows is a contentious one between theater owners and studios. For more on the topic than you'll ever want to know, he's our story from last December on the battle.
Robert Evans is now a play. First he was a pretty boy, then an actor, then a studio chief, then a producer, then a, well, nevermind, and then a documentary and then a stroke victim. Now the Hollywood legend (somehow even that word seems too small for him) who's had more comebacks then Brett Favre, will be the subject of a play. The New York Times with the effort to bring Evans' story to Broadway play.
I'm still jealous. The Wrap takes a look at the paychecks of media moguls and finds that many took a pay cut last year. Yeah, but they all still made more than I'll ever see in a lifetime. But hey, it's what's inside that counts, right?
Inside the Los Angeles Times: NBC faces a big challenge making the Winter Olympics must-see TV. Ellen DeGeneres' daytime talk show will stay on the NBC stations into 2014. Anne Hathaway talking dirty is just one of the treats in "Valentine's Day."
-- Joe Flint