The Morning Fix: Is Ari Emanuel the next Don Draper? 'Tangled' shines at box office. Anne Hathaway and James Franco as Oscar hosts? RIP Leslie Nielsen.
After the coffee. Before taking a moment to remember all the laughs Leslie Nielsen provided.
The Skinny: Hope everyone had a good holiday weekend. I didn't see any movies, but I did watch all seven episodes of Showtime's "Episodes," which is everything HBO's "The Comeback" wasn't. Disney's "Tangled" had a strong opening weekend against champ "Harry Potter." The producers of the Oscar telecast may go in a very different direction. The New Yorker shows you can write a lengthy piece on sitcom producer Chuck Lorre without ever asking him his thoughts about or even mentioning the woes of his biggest star, "Two and a Half Men'" lead Charlie Sheen.
All "Tangled" up. Walt Disney Co.'s animated "Tangled" took in a surprisingly strong $69 million this past holiday weekend. That was good enough for a second-place finish, only $7 million behind the No. 1 movie: the latest in Warner Bros.' "Harry Potter" series. For "Tangled," a marketing campaign that downplayed the female themes of the cartoon in hopes of wooing a broad family audience and not turning off boys clearly worked. Not having such a hot Thanksgiving weekend were "Love & Other Drugs," "Faster" and "Burlesque." Box-office analysis from the Los Angeles Times and Movie City News.
This could be either be brilliant or a disaster. Deadline Hollywood wakes us up Monday morning with the news that the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has asked James Franco ("127 Hours") and Anne Hathaway to host the Oscars. Hathaway has shown her comic chops both on screen and on "Saturday Night Live," while Franco is fairly versatile. If they do host, I just hope I don't end up cutting off an arm to escape if it goes awry.
Burke's playground. Much of the attention around Comcast's proposed takeover of NBC Universal has focused on how the nation's largest cable and broadband operator will use NBC content to beat back rival distributors and conquer the Internet. Advertising Age, in a lengthy profile of Steve Burke, the Comcast executive who will be over NBC Universal, looks at the clout and potential the new entity will have to reinvent television and Internet advertising.
Chuck's world. The New Yorker gives Chuck Lorre -- who is the sitcom king with three comedies on CBS, including "Two and a Half Men" and "The Big Bang Theory" -- the profile treatment. Interestingly, the seven-page article focuses mostly on "Big Bang" and "Mike & Molly" and barely on "Two and a Half Men," which is Lorre's most enduring success. However, by not zooming in on that hit, writer Tom Bissell can avoid having to talk to Lorre about "Two and a Half Men" star Charlie Sheen, who spends as much time on TMZ's website as he does on the set of the show. In fact, do a search on Sheen in the article and see what you find. Here's a snippet of the New Yorker article (subscription required to read the whole thing), which does provide some amusing stories from Lorre's days with Brett Butler and Cybill Shepherd.
The new Don Draper? AdWeek takes a look at the rising clout of Ari Emanuel and his WME Entertainment agency on Madison Avenue. WME has acquired a couple of brand consulting and marketing firms as part of the push, which comes as traditional agencies look for new revenue streams.
Get your resume out. Sony Corp. is starting to search for a new president, a title currently held by Sony CEO Howard Stringer, who will be 70 in 2012. According to Bloomberg, the move to name a new president would be to lighten Stringer's heavy load and find a possible successor. There are four potential candidates in the mix. I can guarantee that my salary and benefits package will be cheaper if Sony wants to take the company in a different direction.
It was just a lunch, can we move on? A couple of months ago, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes had lunch with then-NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker. They had lunch at Michael's, a popular restaurant in midtown Manhattan. The choice of venue makes it clear the two didn't care if they were seen, but that hasn't stopped people from speculating that Zucker could end up at Time Warner. The New York Post, a few months after this lunch, has decided to weigh in with an article saying the talk at the meal was about the efforts by Time Warner's CNN to land Piers Morgan to replace Larry King, which were dragging on because of his deal with NBC's "America's Got Talent." Do you care yet? Me neither.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Leslie Nielsen, who went from straight man to comic genius, died at the age of 84. We won't call him Shirley. MGM's new board of directors could include former CBS Chief Financial Officer Fred Reynolds and MySpace co-president Jason Hirschhorn.
-- Joe Flint
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