The Morning Fix: Sorry Fox, Conan is headed to TBS! FCC wants some spectrum back. Weinsteins creep closer to Miramax. 'Smackdown' headed to -- wait for it -- Syfy
CoCo to cable! Former "Tonight Show" host Conan O'Brien managed to upstage the debut of his own comedy tour Monday with the announcement that he'd return to late night in November on Time Warner's TBS. The five-year deal for an 11 p.m. show with the cable network caught much of the industry off guard. Most assumed Fox would eventually unveil its own deal for O'Brien. Although there was talk of Conan maybe going to cable, TBS was not seen as a likely bidder for his services because A) they have a show at 11 p.m. already and B) TBS had told everyone it was not interested in O'Brien. But as it became increasingly clear that Fox was going to face an uphill battle with its affiliates to reclaim the late-night time period, TBS swooped in and struck a deal. Now Fox is saying it already had decided to pass on O'Brien. Uh-huh. We could go on all day, but then we'd never get out of here so here is some exhaustive coverage from the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Deadline, Wrap, Hollywood Reporter and Variety. To read the spin on the spin, check out Dave Poland's Hot Blog, which, as usual, sort of nails it.
The show must go on. While O'Brien's camp scrambled to put the finishing touches on his deal with TBS, the comedian kicked off his nationwide tour Monday night in Eugene, Ore. More on that from the New York Times, Associated Press, Hollywood Reporter and the Wrap, which had an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at rehearsals.
An offer they can't refuse. It's not too often a government bureaucrat conjures images of Vito Corleone. But Gordon Smith, the head of the National Assn. of Broadcasters, thinks of the Godfather's famous line when talking about FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and his agency's plan to get broadcasters to give back spectrum. It's akin to making an offer they can't refuse, Smith says. The Los Angeles Times on the tussle between the TV industry and the Federal Communications Commission.
Weinsteins inch closer to Miramax. Efforts by supermarket magnate (can you only be a mogul if we're talking media?) Ron Burkle to front Harvey and Bob Weinstein the cash to get Miramax back from Disney might just pay off. Details from the Wrap, which will link despite this sentence from Sharon Waxman: "Though no end date has been given for the Miramax sale, it appears that negotiations are reaching a climax and that a decision may be on the horizon." Climax and horizon in the same sentence? Why not throw in an "at the end of the day" and "to be sure" while we're at it?
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Patrick Goldstein apparently was not a fan of "Date Night," but the movie did provide a nice starting point for a rant on what's wrong with the film biz. WWE's "Smackdown" is moving to Syfy.
-- Joe Flint