The Morning Fix: World Cup mania! Cuban invasion! Teamsters back Comcast. Guilds fear Bergstein.
After the coffee. Before trying to figure out this World Cup thing.
Cuban invasion. Internet billionaire turned sports mogul and Hollywood investor Mark Cuban said he would likely tender his shares in Lions Gate to investor Carl Icahn, who is trying to take over the indie studio and has offered $7 per share. Cuban owns 5.3% of Lions Gate and Icahn owns 19.4%. So far, 4% of Lions Gate shareholders have agreed to tender Icahn their shares to him. When Icahn's stake gets over 20%, it triggers a technical default of Lions Gate's $340-million revolving credit facility with JPMorgan Chase & Co. More on the latest in the Lions Gate drama from the Los Angeles Times.
Goal! It's World Cup time again. That means it's time for the rest of the world to try yet again to make soccer big in the U.S. Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN and News Corp.'s Fox Sports are also making big bets on the world's game. Reuters looks at what is at stake for the two media giants. On the advertising side, get ready to have Coca-Cola and Nike commercials rammed down your throat. Bloomberg on the World Cup marketing blitz. On a lighter note, the New York Times looks at the challenges refs have figuring out who's cursing during the games. With teams from around the globe playing, officials have to learn how to say bull you-know-what in 17 different languages. Meanwhile, Hollywood has to figure out how to promote movies around the globe and not get lost in World Cup hype, which is fodder for the Hollywood Reporter.
Minority report. While many of the new fall television shows have diverse casts, what is hard to find on broadcast television (or most of cable for that matter) are shows specifically about one group. There may be many black actors on TV, but not many black-themed shows. Fox and later UPN and the WB (which since merged to become the CW) built themselves up on comedies aimed at African Americans, but then dropped that genre. There are lots of reasons (or excuses) for this, including the development of niche channels which broadcasters use as a way to let them off the hook when it comes to making a program that specifically targets a minority audience. The Wrap takes a look at the racial landscape of prime time TV.
Guild gripes. The Screen Actors Guild and the Writers Guild of America are worried that Disney may sell Miramax to a group fronted by David Bergstein, says the New York Times. This shouldn't be too much of a surprise, given that Bergstein's financial track record includes bankruptcies with the guilds as creditors. Bergstein told the NYT that the concerns of the guild were off base because he wasn't the one producing the movies. “My organization basically is a lender,” Bergstein told the paper.
Upfront is up and done. The broadcast networks have wrapped up selling ad time for the fall TV season. The dollar volume is up from last year because the networks sold more inventory than they did last year. All the networks saw their ratings drop last season, which means advertisers have to buy more commercials to reach the same viewers they did a year ago. That means that, using industry terms, the cost-per-thousand (what it costs to reach 1,000 viewers) is up. Confused yet? Here's some attempts at explaining the annual mating dance (yes, there's that cliche phrase again) between advertisers and networks from Advertising Age. Los Angeles Times
Look for the union label. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (no Meadowlands jokes, please) has offered its support to the Comcast-NBC Universal merger. In letters to the Federal Communications Commission, members from California and Nevada and Local 399, which represents 5,000 workers in Hollywood, made the case for why they are for the merger. You got a problem with that? Anyway, here is a link to one of their letters.
Summer of dreams. DreamWorks has six films in production this summer, making good use of that new financing from India's Reliance. Variety looks at what is in the works and the strategy behind what is the third version of DreamWorks or DreamWorks III.
E3 takes over by 3-D. The E3 electronics show kicks off next week and Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony are among the companies betting on 3-D to give the video game business a much-needed shot in the arm. The Wall Street Journal offers a preview of E3
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Kenneth Turan doesn't give an A to the A-Team while Betsey Sharkey tries to find some kicks in the new "Karate Kid." Tom Petty sings the blues. The box office preview from Ben Fritz.
-- Joe Flint
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