The Morning Fix: Time Warner's strong start! News Corp. readies pay wall. Pilot chatter in full bloom.
Before the coffee. After taking a moment to mourn Ernie Harwell and your own childhood.
Time Warner on a roll. Time Warner profit rose almost 10% to $725 million in the first quarter, compared to the same period a year ago. Thank strong ad sales at many of its cable networks, including TBS and TNT (but not the struggling CNN) and the movies "The Blind Side" and "Sherlock Holmes." Revenue was up 5.4% to $6.32 billion. More on the early morning news from Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.
Rupert's results. News Corp. reported its third-quarter results Tuesday, with "Avatar" helping to drive the media conglomerate's revenue to $8.8 billion, a 19% gain from a year ago. However, its net earnings of $839 million were down almost 70% from $2.7 billion a year ago because the prior year's quarter included a one-time gain of $1.2 billion from a sale. I could use a one-time gain like that. News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch also said he'd be unveiling the company's pay wall strategy in the next few weeks. More on that from the Los Angeles Times.
CNN and CBS talking? New York magazine
reports that Time Warner's CNN and CBS News have been in advanced
discussions about partnering on news-gathering operations. (That's
funny, I thought most TV news just gathered what they found in that
day's newspapers.) CNN has flirted in the past with ABC News and CBS
about such a venture but talks never go anywhere for a variety of
reasons, including ego (who would take the lead) and union issues. The New York Times
followed up with its own story saying it had confirmed the talks. Lest
anyone think us folks at the Los Angeles Times are punting on this one,
we did some digging too and as far as we can tell at least for now
there is more smoke than fire here.
Decision time. The networks have just started their official screenings of pilots to determine what shows will be on their fall schedules. This means every day some agent will call some reporter and say they know what the hot shows are (and those shows usually correspond to said agent's clients). We will get breathless reports, some accurate, many not. We will get gems like this one from Deadline Hollywood which tells us that the ABC drama "187 Detroit" is "hot" but hasn't screened yet. That's right, it's hot, but it actually hasn't been screened yet. You know what? I got a hot story. My editors haven't actually read it yet, but it is soooo hot! Before the agents representing the show runners of the show call me, let me say I'm sure its awesome. Then there's the buzz on ABC's "True Blue," which Deadline says some execs think is "cold" but others say "it's getting some heat." Talk about CYA!
Why not just get Jerry Lewis to host it? The finale of ABC's
"Lost" is rapidly approaching telethon level. ABC is looking to run a 2
1/2-hour finale of the show from 9 to 11:30 p.m. I'm sure the 8-9 p.m,
hour will also have something to do with "Lost." I guess now is
probably not the time to admit that I have yet to watch an episode.
More on the mega-finale from the Wrap.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: The average ticket price for a movie jumped 8% in the first quarter of last year to almost $8 (jeez, I can't remember the last time I paid only $8 for a movie). California's tax credit is actually keeping some movie production in state.
-- Joe Flint