The Morning Fix: 'Red' is hot. Oscar is staying put. IMDB turns 20!
After the coffee. Before trying to figure out why "Cougar Town" doesn't do better in the ratings.
The Skinny: The Yankees in six against Texas is my prediction, but more on that later. Making headlines is "Red," which could be a surprise winner this weekend. The Oscars aren't moving just yet. An FCC commissioner has a novel idea for handling indecency.
Experience counts: "Red" -- the action movie with the over-the-hill-gang cast that was passed over by just about every studio except Summit Entertainment -- could end up opening at the top of the box office. As usual, the reason other studios were nervous about it had to do with the age of the cast -- which includes Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren -- and whether its stars could still draw. In television, I understand the obsession with younger viewers. The reason networks covet them is advertisers think they are more likely than older viewers to be susceptible to advertising. But what difference does it make to a movie studio who shells out ten bucks to see a movie. Yeah, I know teens and young adults have more time on their hands (no kids) to rush out and see movies than their parents and grandparents. But does that mean you close the door on a potentially huge audience, just because it may not rush out on opening weekend? And if a movie is good, some kids will actually go see it even if the leads are, uh, older. Well, these studio chiefs are smarter than I am, so who am I to question their logic. But my colleague John Horn can and does in the Los Angeles Times. USA Today also weighs in with a look at geezer cinema.
Staying put. After flirting with the idea of moving the Oscars to January ahead of most of the other awards shows, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has decided to stay put in 2012. Apparently, the idea couldn't get enough support at the academy. According to the Hollywood Reporter, moving the show was just "too dramatic." Really, moving an awards show to a slot where it would no longer be an afterthought is too dramatic? We're not talking about moving Thanksgiving, for crying out loud. It's an awards show!
Clean your own room! Republican Federal Communications Commissioner Robert McDowell has quietly floated the idea that broadcasters come up with their own set of standards on indecency, according to Communications Daily (subscription required). The idea from McDowell comes as the FCC's own indecency rules have suffered some serious setbacks in the courts lately. However, broadcasters apparently are not jumping on board to make their own rules, especially when eventually there may have no legal requirement to play by any rules at all.
You mean I shouldn't trust Bono with my investments? The Wrap looks at some high-profile venture capital firms that are as well known in some cases for whose name is on the door as for their investor acumen. The shocking discovery: Although having a big name makes for good cocktail conversation, it doesn't always lead to big returns.
Good news, bad news. Sirius XM Radio, the satellite radio broadcaster that is home to Howard Stern (for now anyway), saw its subscriber numbers grow by more than 300,000 in its third quarter. That's a big gain from the number of new subscribers who joined in the same quarter a year ago. The bad news is that, according to the Wall Street Journal, several states, including Ohio, Arizona, Connecticut and Tennessee, as well as the District of Columbia, are probing the company's handling of canceled subscriptions and the automatic-renewal process.
Compelling viewing. The rescue of the miners in Chile gave the cable news channels a big ratings boost. Even CNN, which earlier this week had its worst numbers in more than 10 years, had reason to crow. The Baltimore Sun looks at the ratings. In the meantime, there is already a race among news magazines to book the miners, and TV programmers and movie companies will be looking to make their own version of the dramatic story. The Telegraph says the miners are already trying to figure out how to navigate amid all the attention and decide what's the best financial play. My advice is to strike while the iron is hot.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: IMDB is turning 20, and its founder, Col Needham, talks about the success of Hollywood's most crucial database and website. NBC Universal and Google are ending their ad partnership. I always loved watching "Dragnet" and hearing Joe Friday say, "We were working the day watch out of Culver City." Now Culver City is looking to give tax breaks to encourage production there.
-- Joe Flint
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