The Morning Fix: Lifetime's messy wardrobe! Wal-Mart wants to work some voodoo on Vudu. Angelina Jolie gets Scarpetta part. Nothing funny about Oscars. Snoop wants to make nice with Brits.
Another Lifetime. With ratings in a tailspin and an expensive bet on "Project Runway" not paying off quite the way it had hoped, Lifetime is bracing for another makeover. The cable channel, which will soon be getting a new president -- its fourth in less than five years -- has always struggled with serving its core Middle America audience and its desire to be a network for hip chicks. A look at Lifetime's struggle to choose between stilettos and sensible shoes from the Los Angeles Times.
Better get some new greeters. Retail giant Wal-Mart is making its play to get entrenched in the digital distribution business. The mega-chain has acquired Vudu, a struggling online movie distribution service for a price tag in the area of $100 million, which seems steep but is a drop in the bucket for Wal-Mart. This field is already competitive, but anytime a juggernaut like Wal-Mart gets involved in something it could be game-changer. Details on the deal and what it may mean from the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and PaidContent.
News Corp. plants flag in Saudi Arabia. Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., as expected, has made a $70-million investment for almost 10% of Rotana, a Saudi Arabian media company. Rotana is owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal (on a side note, I spent three frustrating years at my last job as program planner at the Paley Center unsuccessfully trying to get Bin Talal to do an event for us) and its assets include a TV network and a large library of Arabic films. According to MarketWatch and Reuters (which has quotes from the prince), News Corp. can double its stake in the company in the next 18 months. Alwaleed bin Talal owns a chunk of News Corp.
I'm not a communications lawyer, but I play one on TV. Does the FCC have the standing to investigate a TV show that never aired? While we wait for how far the regulatory agency takes its probe into Fox's quiz show "Our Little Genius," here are some takes on that from the Los Angeles Times and some advice from the Wrap.
Snoop Dogg bitten by U.K. Remember about four years ago when rapper/entertainer Snoop Dogg got in a tiff with British Airways over how many of is rather large entourage could join him in the airline's upscale lounge? Words were exchanged (most of them unprintable), and Snoop was banned from the U.K. Well, turns out the ban is still in effect and Snoop wants it dropped. Apparently the U.K. not only sees Snoop as an entertainer and advertising pitchman, but also as someone who has a rather shady past and character issues (why, in the U.S. that's what's known as a license to print money). The Wall Street Journal has a colorful tale on the spat between the rapper and the Brits.
Nothing funny here. Even with an expanded best picture category, there still appears to be a very high bar when it comes to the Oscars and comedy. Variety looks at reasons why the academy appears to have no sense of humor.
Maybe they should get a burger together. The Hollywood Reporter looks at how controversy is affecting recent releases from Mel Gibson and Roman Polanski. Tip to Gibson: Make sure the little light on the camera and your mike are off before offering your thoughts on an interviewer.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: One of the toughest roles to get cast appears to be finally filled with Angelina Jolie set to play Kay Scarpetta, author Patricia Cornwell's medical examiner. Get ready to rumble as "American Idol" and Winter Olympics enter round three.
-- Joe Flint