The Morning Fix: Al Franken smacks his old bosses! Emmys live, really live. Howard Stern Idol bound? (yeah, we don't buy it either)
After the coffee. Before figuring out how to scam your way into the Super Bowl.
Et tu, Brute? Comcast and NBC Universal CEOs Brian Roberts and Jeff Zucker took a grilling yesterday over their plans to merge the nation's biggest cable and broadband provider with the programming giant on Capitol Hill Thursday. Senators and Congressmen repeatedly pressed the duo on whether their merger would be bad for consumers and competition. The biggest concerns were raised by someone NBC made very rich -- Senator Al Franken (D-Minn). The former "Saturday Night Live" regular-turned-politician dismissed the promises of Roberts and Zucker, saying he didn't trust them and "that is from experience in this business." No word on whether Franken's residuals will be cut. More on the hearings from the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal. The Daily Beast's Kim Masters also has a take on the hearings as well as an amusing story about a "magical" dinner Comcast and NBC Universal brass held in New York earlier this week.
Would be bring Baba Booey with him? This sounds pretty out there, but the New York Post's Page Six is reporting that the producers of Fox's "American Idol" are wooing radio star Howard Stern to replace Simon Cowell next year. Stern, as he often does, has been dropping vague hints about offers he's gotten as he weighs whether to sign a new deal with Sirius XM, the satellite radio service that carries his show. Stern would certainly be a colorful judge but he has no music industry experience and is also very polarizing (not to me, by the way). The risk of Stern, seems to me, is that it could alienate the parents who like to watch "American Idol" with their kids, At the same time, Stern has always been most popular with men 25-54 and Fox wants 18-34 with "American Idol." Nonetheless, we say give him a shot as a guest judge.
Live, really live. NBC, which has the rights to this year's Emmys (and is stuck carrying them at the end of August because of its NFL commitments), wants to run the show live across the country instead of on tape delay on the West Coast. One of the reasons motivating this is how social network sites such as Twitter and Facebook are changing the way people watch TV. I know I stay off Twitter when something is being broadcast on tape delay out here unless I want the show spoiled. Heck, I stay off to avoid "24" spoilers from the East Coast. The Golden Globes ratings went up without a tape delay last month and the Oscars are always live across the nation. Of course, the Grammy ratings went up with a tape delay so who knows what is best approach. The scoop from Broadcasting & Cable.
Crowded stage. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has resolved a potential snafu regarding production credits for "The Hurt Locker" and "The Blind Side." Without going into the arcane rules, there was an issue of who would be able to go up on stage to take a trophy. Details on the arcane issues from Variety.
Now Los Angeles can't even play Los Angeles. It used to be that Hollywood shot everything here even if the movie or TV show was supposed to be set somewhere else. Remember those palm trees that would occasionally pop up in the background of the drama "Thirtysomething," which was supposed to be in Philadelphia. Now, filmmakers aren't even using Los Angeles when the material is set here. The New York Times weighs in on the issue of runaway production, something us Angelinos are already quite familiar with.
AOL looking more like Google. AOL CEO Tim Armstrong has tapped his former Google colleague David Eun to be president of the portal's media division. More from Washington Business Journal.
Sensitivity training time? A sign at NBC's cafeteria in Rockefeller Center regarding Black History Month and that day's menu has caused something of an outrage. We'll let the New York Post take it from there.
Is Kathy Bates available? HBO is moving ahead with its already reported on plans to develop a show about an over-the-top Hollywood blogger, reports the Hollywood Reporter. Hmmm, wonder where they got the inspiration.
-- Joe Flint