The Morning Fix: Disney and Cablevision draw line in sand. Saving the porn biz. Icahn's not-so-tender offer. Hoffman makes bet on HBO. 'Hurt Locker' backlash?
After the coffee. Before figuring out if there really is a Twitter effect.
Here we go again. Walt Disney Co.'s ABC is in a battle with Cablevision, the New York-based cable operator that serves much of Long Island, Brooklyn and other parts of the tri-state area. Disney wants Cablevision to pay to carry WABC New York and Cablevision is balking. If this all sounds familiar, it's because News Corp. and Time Warner Cable just went through a very similar battle. In that case, a deal was reached and no television signals were dropped. But this standoff might be different. Cablevision, which earlier this year briefly dropped the Food Network and Home and Garden TV, may not be afraid to do that again to Disney. More on the showdown from the New York Post.
Icahn's not-so-tender offer. Investor Carl Icahn made his move on indie studio Lions Gate, filing a tender offer to raise his stake in the company to almost 30% from 18.9%. Icahn said in his filing he's not seeking control of the studio (although this move would make him its largest shareholder), but that he wants a greater say in operations. His filing reveals a lot of dirt about his talks with Lions Gate over the last several weeks, including a Valentine's Day meeting that didn't produce a love match. Details from the Los Angeles Times.
A "The Hurt Locker" backlash? Lots of stories popping up about accuracy in Kathryn Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker," which is up for best picture at this Sunday's Oscars. A secret campaign by rivals, or just a bunch of a reporters looking for dirt? Who knows. Most films take literary license with the truth. Here's a round-up about the flap over the film from the New York Times' Carpetbagger blog that will provide enough links to keep you busy for a few hours.
Dustin Hoffman makes bet. Dustin Hoffman has signed on to star in the pilot for HBO's new drama "Luck" from David Milch ("Deadwood," "NYPD Blue," and, uh, "John from Cincinnati.") The show is about horse racing and gambling. Now, why both the Hollywood Reporter and Variety are saying he is starring in the pilot is confusing to me. Does that mean he's doing one episode or just that HBO hasn't ordered it as a series yet so the trades don't want to get ahead of themselves? Something tells me you don't cast Dustin Hoffman if you don't think your show is getting picked up. Guess we'll have to wait and see.
Shameless attempt to drive traffic. The Wrap offers up five ways to save the porn industry, which like other entertainment businesses is struggling to adapt to the digital world and battle piracy. While no doubt such a story will boost hits on the site, the truth is that adult entertainment has always led the way in exploiting new technology and now it is in the same boat as the rest of the media industry. Really, I'm going to read the article, not just look at the pictures.
Never mind. That story in Monday's New York Times which suggested that CBS may be looking to woo CNN's Anderson Cooper to replace CBS's Katie Couric when her deal is up next year has been dismissed by both networks. Even the paper backed away from its early enthusiasm for the news, which it originally reported in a blog post only to later update that there didn't seem to be much there after all. No links on this one, just passing it on as a public service since we did provide a link (albeit a skeptical one, as I recall) to the story Monday.
-- Joe Flint