The Morning Fix: Tom Cruise's pay cut (we bet Les Grossman wouldn't stand for this)! Bigelow does TV, well it is HBO. '24' production shut down. VD (that's short for 'Valentine's Day,' you sickos) rules box office.
Before the coffee. After longing for your old job where today is a holiday!
Tom Cruise's next mission. Although it's hard to fathom that someone getting between $20 million and $25 million to make a movie is a taking a pay cut, that is indeed the case for Tom Cruise. In the next version of Paramount's "Mission Impossible," Cruise will not get his usual first dollar cut of the box office gross. Although it's been a while since Cruise drove a movie to the top of the box office, this is not just about his recent big screen track record. Claudia Eller of the Los Angeles Times reports that "Mission Impossible" producer J.J. Abrams, who is in the opposite of a slump, also didn't get a first dollar cut. Look for studios to try to make this the norm. Although we understand why Cruise wants to return to the safety of another "Mission Impossible" movie, we'd rather have seen him bring back his Les Grossman character from "Tropic Thunder."
No surprise here. "Valentine's Day" will be at the top of the box office when the holiday weekend wraps up (wait, three-day weekend? No one told me!). Even though reviews were not spectacular, apparently having the title "Valentine's Day" and an opening weekend during Valentine's Day is all it took to take in about $52 million from Friday through Sunday. Can't wait to see what Hollywood has in store for us on Arbor Day. More box office analysis from Variety.
Olympic flame burning bright for NBC. Through the first two days of coverage, ratings for the Winter Olympics on NBC have been solid. Variety reports that the two-night average for NBC is 30 million viewers, more than 30% higher than Torino and the biggest audience for the Winter Games since Lillehammer. The real test will come when the Games face off against Fox's "American Idol." Of course, if you are not on your couch, you can even catch some action from an airplane. PaidContent's Staci Kramer gives us the lowdown on tuning in to the Winter Games via an iPhone app.
Local TV on the go. No form of television has suffered more than local TV stations over the last 10 years. Whether it's a weak economy cutting into ad dollars, networks demanding money in return for programming and their ad inventory (it used to be other way around), exclusive programming becoming anything but that, it is local TV whose future has the biggest question mark. That's why the industry is betting that getting the stations' signals onto mobile devices will lead to a turnaround or a " renaissance for over-the-air broadcast TV," as National Assn. of Broadcasters spokesman (and my former colleague at Variety years ago) Dennis Wharton told the New York Times. Of course, that also means stations will have to invest in local content that is compelling and can't be found elsewhere.
Well, after all, it's not TV. Oscar-nominated director Kathryn Bigelow ("The Hurt Locker") has signed on to direct "The Miraculous Year," a drama pilot for HBO. Written by John Logan, "The Miraculous Year" is about an erratic Broadway producer and his family, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Bigelow is no stranger to television; her previous credits include NBC's great "Homicide" and ABC's short-lived "Karen Sisco," which starred one of my favorites -- Carla Gugino.
More bubble stories. Last week brought us three different stories on which television shows are "on the bubble" (that's industry lingo for shows whose future is unclear). Now Entertainment Weekly scribe Michael Ausiello weighs in with an easy-to-read list. It's so much better without all those words getting in the way.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Production on "24" will be briefly shut down so star Keifer Sutherland can have surgery. No word on whether this is related to his being stabbed by Renee in last week's episode. Move over Julia Roberts, your niece Emma is grabbing her share of the spotlight.
-- Joe Flint