The Morning Fix: MTV has situation on its hands! Icahn wants another lion. Fox drops Dish. Has 'Glee' lost its way?
After the coffee. Before deciding if "The Office" has jumped the shark.
The Skinny. In today's roundup we have a shake-up at MTV where the cable network's entertainment chief, Tony DiSanto, has decided to bolt. CNN's Anderson Cooper is taking a day job as host of his own talk show, a move which, if successful, could be very lucrative but also could close the door on some other options. "The Social Network," Sony's controversial movie about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, opens, but will it attract a lot of friends? Finally, Fox pulled some of its cable channels off satellite broadcaster Dish Network in yet another industry feud over distribution fees.
MTV's got a situation. Tony DiSanto, MTV's top programming executive who has overseen the cable network's ratings turnaround of the last few years (thanks to "Jersey Shore" and other reality shows) is leaving, along with one of his top executives, to create a production company with -- wait for it -- former NBC Entertainment head Ben Silverman's new company, Electus. David Janollari, the former Warner Bros. and WB Network executive who joined MTV earlier this year to oversee a push for more scripted programming, is expected to assume much of DiSanto's responsibilities. While it's a potentially nice promotion, it may also mean that Janollari gets the hassle of having to deal with Sumner Redstone, the chief executive of MTV parent Viacom, who has been pushing the channel to carry a reality show based on the little-known female band the Electric Barbarellas. Have fun with that! Details from Variety and Deadline Hollywood.
Two lions better than one. Carl Icahn, the activist investor trying to takeover Lions Gate Entertainment, is pushing the idea of merging that studio with MGM. He's been buying up MGM's debt to give him more leverage to push a combination of the two entities. Icahn will have to hustle though as MGM has already struck a deal with Spyglass Entertainment co-founders Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum to run the financially challenged studio. The latest from the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times.
Let's see how many 'friends' will see the movie. Sony's "The Social Network" opens this weekend, and the question is how many people will "like" it. The movie, a controversial look at the start of Facebook and the legal battles that ensued, has been getting great reviews, and industry estimates have it taking in close to $30 million. Sony, however, is keeping its expectations a little lower. Other films opening include the horror movie "Case 39" from Paramount, and Relativity's "Let Me In." Box-office projections from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.
Fox drops Dish. News Corp. has pulled the signals of several of its channels from satellite broadcaster Dish Network including FX and 19 regional sports networks. The feud, as usual, is over fees that News Corp. wants Dish to pay for the channels. This spat may just be the warm-up for a few weeks when Dish's deal for Fox's TV stations expires. More on the spat from Multichannel News. Meanwhile, the Daily Beast takes a shot at ranking the 25 most valuable cable networks through financial information from SNL Kagan, an industry consulting firm. Of course, lots of cable channels make a lot of money even with low ratings because the subscription fees cable and satellite distributors pay to carry channels generally are not tied to performance. Now that's a sweet deal.
Happy Friday ... not! Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures has restructured much of its ancillary division that will result in about 50 people losing their jobs. The moves, the studio said, will save it about $10 million. Per the internal memo, "licensing and consumer products will now be merged into Motion Picture Promotions." Coverage from the Wrap.
Dillon wants 'Crash' coverage. Matt Dillon is suing the producers of the Oscar-winning movie "Crash," alleging that he was denied more than $100,000 in profits, according to the Hollywood Reporter. "Crash," the surprise Best Picture winner in 2006, ended up making almost $100 million and has been subject to lots of lawsuits from producers, writers and even directors. At this rate, the legal fees involved in all this litigation could end up topping the box-office take.
Not singing his tune. So much for everyone loving "Glee." In a move that will surely get him lots of angry tweets, the Daily Beast's Jace Lacob has dared to say "Glee" has lost its way in just its second season. His biggest complaints? Musical video scenes and cliched characters trying to pass themselves off as story plots. Personally, I agree with Lacob but since I'm not a teen or in my twenties, my views are usually labeled as ramblings from gramps by the Gleeks.
Comic-Con stays put. Comic-Con, which has gone from a relatively small gathering of comic book freaks to a huge hypefest for Hollywood, is staying in San Diego through 2015. There had been rumblings that the organizers were going to abandon cozy San Diego for bigger confines. Now all the city has to do is hold onto the Chargers. More from the San Diego Union-Tribune.
About time! Fox said it would start a World Series game at the "early" time of 7 p.m. The third game of the series, which barring rain or snow, will be on Saturday, Oct. 30, will start at 7 p.m. instead of after 8 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. Baseball purists have complained for years that the late starts make it tough for kids to watch the game and that ultimately those kids will grow up and not be huge fans of the national pastime. The argument back usually is we need our advertising revenue now. Now figure out ways to speed up the game. Details from Bloomberg.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Anderson Cooper's decision to try his hand at daytime TV limits his other options but also may have thrown a roadblock to Katie Couric. Tony Danza goes back to school. Kenneth Turan on "The Social Network."
-- Joe Flint
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