The Morning Fix: Box office is up (thanks, 'Alice')! Will Icahn raise his bid? Fox keeping mum on Conan with affiliates.
After the coffee. Before figuring out why traffic has been so light lately.
Box office boom. Box office is up almost 10% so far this year, reports Variety. Most of that is because of two 3-D movies -- "Avatar" and "Alice in Wonderland." The domestic take from Jan. 1 through last weekend is 2.4 billion. Admissions are also up 7%. And yet the only movie I've seen in the last two weeks was "Greenberg" and sadly I was disappointed.
Icahn's next move. Now that the board of Lions Gate has rejected Carl Icahn's $6-per-share hostile takeover, what is next? The Daily Beast's Peter Lauria weighs in with a piece that notes how hard it can be to shake Icahn once he has set his sights on your company. Lauria's story speculates that Icahn may bump his bid to as much as $9 per share. That'll make things more interesting.
If Conan's coming, someone better tell the Fox affiliates. While all of Hollywood and New York are waiting breathlessly for Fox to announce a late-night TV show with Conan O'Brien, the network has not yet talked about it seriously with its affiliates. Broadcasting & Cable caught up with Brian Brady, chairman of the Fox affiliates board who said Conan does not seem to be on the "front burner" right now. Of course, all that could change next month when Fox meets with its affiliates at the National Assn. of Broadcasters conference.
Too little, too late? The U.S. Court of Appeals has tossed longstanding government regulations that banned ownership of a TV station and a newspaper in the same market. Many companies already have such combinations (including Tribune, which publishes the L.A. Times). The Federal Communications Commission is reviewing its media ownership rules, so it might either go along with the court or make a case for keeping the rules alive. Not really sure there are that many companies looking to combine newspapers with television any more. It'd kind of be like combining the horse with the buggy. More from the Associated Press.
Will Hula Hoop be suing too? NBC Universal, one of the partners in Hulu, the online video site also owned by News Corp. and Walt Disney Co., was hit by a lawsuit by a Canadian company called Hulavision. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Hulavision executives claim they met with NBC Universal before the creation of Hulu to develop such a service and are suing, saying NBC stole its trademark and trade secrets. NBC said in a statement that the suit was without merit.
CNN tastes glory again, ever so briefly. No surprise that cable news ratings were up Sunday and Sunday night because of the healthcare vote. No surprise that Fox News dominated as usual. But there was one brief, shining moment for CNN when its last hour of coverage on Sunday night, which was after the vote was completed, finished first in viewers. The New York Times has the details.
Oh hell no! We normally don't make a habit of linking to reviews, but this one of the CW's new reality show "Fly Girls" from Mike Hale in the New York Times was too good to pass up. All I know is I fly Virgin all the time and my flight crew does not look like these girls. In fact, it's usually an all-male crew ... not that there's anything wrong with that.
-- Joe Flint