The Morning Fix: CW beefs up ad loads online. MGM bidders get smaller! Amanpour's big paycheck.
Lions Gate won't roar at MGM. Lions Gate, the little indie studio under siege from activist investor Carl Icahn, said it was pulling out of the bidding for MGM. Lions Gate had bid between $1.3 billion and $1.4 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. That leaves Time Warner and billionaire investor Len Blavatik's Access Industries as the remaining bidders. The Los Angeles Times notes that MGM, which was put up for sale in November, could likely opt for a restructuring or stand-alone plan rather instead of a sale.
Just what is Sarah Palin's Alaska? As expected, TLC (which used to stand for The Learning Channel back in the day) got the Sarah Palin reality, oops we mean documentary, show. Details are vague beyond that the show will run eight episodes and that Mark Burnett and she will talk about Alaska. There are lots of stories on this one so we flipped a coin and decided to link to the New York Times. Our prediction: You will see her family in that show. On a side note, you know Palin's lawyer -- D.C. insider Bob Burnett -- must be powerful if the gray lady gives him credit for the deal at the end of their story much like the trades do with agents. Or the NYT just forgot that they don't have to do that. If you want a little more humor with your Palin coverage, here's Lisa DeMoraes' take in the Washington Post.
More like television every day. The CW network -- our favorite guilty pleasure channel ("Gossip Girl," "Lux," "Fly Girls") -- is doubling the number of commercials it carries in the online versions of its television shows, per the Wall Street Journal. Typically, most shows that are streamed on the Web have only a handful of commercials but clearly that is going to change soon. Media buyers do not pay the same to advertise on the Web as they do on TV and CW wants to boost its revenue from streaming. TV Everywhere, the streaming service that will allow consumers to watch cable shows online provided they already subscribe to a distribution service, has also indicated it will likely have the same commercial load. In other words, enjoy the limited commercial interruption you've been getting watching content online because those days are numbered.
Is NBC back? Well, no. Are there a few -- literally a few -- tiny bright spots that be seeds for growth? Yes. The Wrap notes that Jerry Seinfeld's "The Marriage Ref," which has not exactly been garnering great critical reviews, has OK numbers, and "Parenthood" showed a little growth in its third week. We think it is a little too soon to declare that NBC is coming back. Let's see what they show us in May and how it does in the fall and then we'll know something.
Life of Reilly. Fox Broadcasting has renewed entertainment chief Kevin Reilly's contract for another three years. This was a hardly a surprise. Fox has been doing well under Reilly and while he does have a relatively new boss in Peter Rice, the latter has lots of turf to oversee and there have been no signs (public anyway) of the two not playing nice together. Details from Deadline Hollywood.
Big payday. The New York Post says Christiane Amanpour is going to pull down $2 million a year to host ABC's Sunday news program, "This Week." While that pales in comparison to Diane Sawyer's deal for "World News Tonight," it comes at a time when the network is gutting staff. So Christiane, if you get some cold stares at the coffee machine, don't take it personally.
Inside baseball. Lots of back-and-forth between Deadline Hollywood, the Hollywood Reporter and the Wrap over who may have been offered what job at what price with, wait a minute, a house in Malibu? If you haven't been following this one (and no one would blame you for that), Dave Poland's Hot Blog has -- as usual -- a pretty sharp take on the whole thing.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: "Snabba Cash," a Swedish noir thriller, may attract a lot of cash here for a remake. Betsey Sharkey on "How to Train Your Dragon." Meanwhile the box office for the movie may not be as high as the studio would like.
-- Joe Flint