The Morning Fix: ABC slices news division! Sheen to rehab. Chernin thinking cable.
After the coffee. Before making some gratuitous Charlie Sheen joke.
No news here. ABC News is making big cuts -- as much as 25% of the network's 1,400-person news division. The move follows similar but smaller cuts at CBS News. ABC News President David Westin said in a memo that the unit "will undergo a fundamental transformation that will ultimately affect every corner of the enterprise." Westin added that the cuts were not mandated by ABC parent Walt Disney Co. While the networks make big cuts in foreign bureaus and elsewhere, we'll be curious to see if star anchors take a pay cut and if their hotel and travel budgets for interviews with wayward celebrities will remain intact. More on this story from the Los Angeles Times and New York Times and TV Newser.
Chernin thinking cable. Former News Corp. President Peter Chernin is assembling a team of business executives and is looking to acquire a cable network. Question is, what exactly is out there for him to get his hands on? Getting money shouldn't be a problem. Details on Chernin's team and possible plans from Meg James in the Los Angeles Times.
No bankruptcy for Blockbuster. Video chain Blockbuster, which is struggling, tells the Wall Street Journal it won't be filing for bankruptcy. The company is trying to restrcuture in the wake of financial challenges and the rapidly changing DVD rental business. But we're not telling you anything you don't already know.
Because there's apparently a shortage of Kennedy bio films. Mike Fleming of Deadline Hollywood reports that Matt Damon is on board to play Robert Kennedy in a New Regency release. Too bad Martin Sheen is too old to play JFK and has too much hair to play Joe Kennedy.
Guess it'll be "One and a Half Men" for awhile. Well, don't say you weren't warned about a gratuitous Charlie Sheen joke coming. The star of the CBS hit "Two and a Half Men" announced he is going to rehab as a preventive measure, and production on the show has been shut down. Sheen, no stranger to hot water, is in trouble for a Christmas Day arrest after his wife called the police and claimed he threatened her with a knife. Obviously not good news for Sheen or CBS or Warner Bros. Details and (over) analysis from Variety, Hollywood Reporter and the Wrap.
Pilot season part II. The Wrap weighs in with its pilot analysis story. It's long and has funny pictures.
The Twitter effect. The New York Times weighs in on how Twitter and other social media outlets may be helping rather than hurting television. This one is ripe for debate. Yes, social media can create an instant water cooler effect, but is it not already preaching to the converted? Having said that (to borrow from "Curb Your Enthusiasm"), I personally have found myself becoming engaged in a TV show in part because of the instant dialog that happens online. And if some of this New York Times story sounds familiar to regular Los Angeles Times readers, it's because we covered much of the same terrain in this story about the Super Bowl's big ratings.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Disney is driving into the Internet game space with World of Cars.
-- Joe Flint