The Morning Fix: Disney's insider trading mess! SOAPnet out of suds. New boss at Hollywood Reporter
After the coffee. Before trying to get Lee DeWyze's awful version of "Beautiful Day" out of my head.
Is this the plot for "Wall Street 3"? An assistant to a top Disney executive and her boyfriend hatched up a crazy plan to sell inside information about the company to hedge funds, according to the Justice Department. Bonnie Jean Hoxie was hoping to trade access she gained working for Zenia Mucha, the head of corporate communications for Disney, for ... a Stella McCartney handbag from Neiman Marcus. OK, she and her boyfriend wanted money too. This well-thought-out plot blew up in their faces with an FBI arrest. More on Hoxie and her boyfriend and their not-too-bright idea from the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal.
Turn off the soap, kids are home. In other Disney news, the company is pulling the plug on its 10-year-old cable network SOAPnet and in its place will launch Disney Junior, yet another channel aimed at preschoolers. First lesson on the channel? Trying to trade inside information you get from working for powerful people is bad. Seriously, the channel enters a crowded marketplace, trying to compete with Nickelodeon's Nick Jr. and PBS Sprout. On the other hand, Disney has a way of just ramming these things down everyone's throat. Details on Disney Junior from the New York Times.
Business will be booming. Over the next couple of weeks, the broadcast networks will start selling ad time for the fall TV season. Many are anticipating a stronger market than in previous years. However, before you get all excited, keep in mind that although more money might be spent now for the fall season in what is known as the upfront market, that does not mean that overall spending on broadcast TV will go up. Anyway, the Wall Street Journal offers its preview of the mating dance between buyers and sellers. By the way, mating dance has become the most overused term to describe the upfront, and I will admit I'm guilty of it too. Can we come up with something new, like the annual polka between buyers and sellers? Ad Age, meanwhile, tells us that an improved economy means classier advertisers on this year's Super Bowl. Good, because I thought last year's 900-number chat-line spots were way over the top.
King's reign is over. The gradual decline of Larry King is picking up momentum. The CNN talk-show host has seen his ratings dip for years, and some might say that he is not exactly the most engaged interviewer these days. Also, while his rivals on Fox and MSNBC try to interview political news-makers, King often focuses on celebrities and crime stories. Those are, of course, easier to do and require less homework. Anyway, sooner or later CNN has to make a change at 9 p.m., but the network won't even discuss the idea. The New York Times looks at King's and CNN's woes.
Fuggedaboutit. HBO has taken issue with CBS hyping the link that two executive producers of its new drama "Blue Blood" have to the pay cable channel's classic mob drama, "The Sopranos." It's not that the producers didn't spend many years on the show and even won some Emmys, it's that they may not have the best relationship anymore with David Chase, who created "The Sopranos." CBS is backing off the promos, according to Vulture.
The Wrap doesn't like white people. OK, maybe that's an overstatement, but the entertainment website, whose biggest backer is Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz (does it get any whiter?), goes to that old race chestnut and takes issue with both the stars of the summer movie season and recent winners of "American Idol."
Inside the Los Angeles Times: The Hollywood Reporter has tapped former Us Weekly editor Janice Min as its new chief. Turner Broadcasting sales chief David Levy thinks Conan O'Brien and the NCAA will translate to big ad dollars. Hard to disagree. Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) wants some tough conditions on the Comcast--NBC Universal deal.
-- Joe Flint
Just click here and let the magic begin: twitter.com/JBFlint