The Morning Fix: Disney wants more testosterone in its cartoons! Next big media fight: Time Warner Cable and Disney. MGM bidding heads into next round. Syndicators not laughing about idea of Conan in late night. Yes, we have more Oscar analysis
After the coffee. Before realizing it really is baseball time again.
What's next, Cinderfella? Worried that boys won't see its next big animated film, Walt Disney Co. has changed the name of the movie from "Rapunzel" to "Tangled" and has added a dashing male character to the Brothers Grimm classic fairy tale about Rapunzel, a girl with really long hair trapped in a tower (OK, that's probably not the most accurate description but I, uh, never read the story). Disney's move comes after it was shocked to learn that boys didn't want to race off to the movie theater to see "The Princess and the Frog." More on how Disney's gone boy crazy when it comes to animation from our two ace reporters Dawn Chmielewski and Claudia Eller in the Los Angeles Times.
MGM bidding moves forward. The Hollywood Reporter has an update on the MGM bidding, which advances another round in 10 days. Among the six companies seriously kicking the tires are Time Warner, Liberty Media, Lions Gate and Summit Entertainment. Big surprise that Time Warner is seen as having the best show. If the current group of owners don't get the close to $2 billion they're looking for, a pre-packaged bankruptcy might be the next step.
Get your tickets now. The next big battle between a cable company and a programmer will be in the summer when ABC's deal with Time Warner Cable expires. Already some quiet rumbling between the two companies is going on. Walt Disney Co.'s ABC is just coming out of a bruising fight with Cablevision that saw the signal of WABC New York pulled for almost a day before being restored. Bloomberg and the Washington Post have early previews. And if you want a recap of the ABC-Cablevision fight, here's some analysis from the Los Angeles Times.
Conan's not funny to TV syndicators. Nervously waiting to see if Fox decides to try to go into late night with Conan O'Brien are the television studios and syndicators that currently make a lot of money selling sitcom reruns to the Fox TV stations in late night. If O'Brien were to return to late night on Fox, it would take away a lot of valuable real estate. Broadcasting & Cable's syndication ace Paige Albiniak has a timely look at what's at stake here.
Kind of like the Yankees without a full-time first baseman. In another cost-cutting move, Variety let go its well-regarded movie critic Todd McCarthy yesterday after 31 years with the industry paper. Also gone is theater critic David Rooney. Variety said it would use freelancers for its film and television reviews. Many in the industry were shocked that Variety would make such a move. Roger Ebert, for one was not pleased. He tweeted that he was canceling his subscription. "He was my reason to read the paper. RIP, schmucks," Ebert said. Our Patrick Goldstein on the move and what it says about the future of critics in general.
-- Joe Flint