The Morning Fix: Contain Comcast! CNN's year to forget. OWN excitement nears fever pitch.
After the coffee. Before checking the expiration date of everything in the fridge.
The Skinny: When Christmas and New Year's Day fall on a Saturday it doesn't feel like a holiday, just a shorter weekend. My brothers on the editorial page have checked in with their concerns about the Comcast - NBC deal. CNN can't wait for 2010 to be over.
Can't stop Comcast, can only hope to contain Comcast. The Los Angeles Times editorial page weighs in with its take on cable giant Comcast's proposed deal to take control of General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal, parent of NBC and numerous cable networks and co-owner of the online video site Hulu. "The most troubling aspect of the deal is its implication for emerging online alternatives to cable," the paper says, adding that "under Comcast's control, NBC Universal would have a greater incentive to protect the cable TV business than it would on its own." It's critical, the editorial says, that the regulators approving the deal ensure that "Comcast's newly purchased networks and Hulu behave the same way they would if they hadn't been taken over by a cable operator."
Ch-ch-ch-changes. Movies premiering on video-on-demand the same time they hit the theater? Red Box or Blockbuster? To 3-D or not 3-D? These are just some of the issues the movie industry dealt with in 2010 and will continue to struggle over in 2011. Variety offers up its year in review for the film biz.
Keep the Champagne on ice. CNN's woes are almost a non-story at this point, but nonetheless the cable news channel finished 2010 with its lowest prime-time ratings since 1996. It gets worse. The network's highest-rated show was "Larry King Live," which has been retired by the channel. TV Newser looks at CNN's lackluster performance.
OWN bombards media. We're almost 48 hours away from the launch of OWN, the cable network from Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Communications that will give me so much empowerment that I expect by 2012 someone else will be doing this roundup while I put the finishing touches on my first noir novel. Today's OWN story comes from the Associated Press, which looks at the media blitz behind the channel. I must be watching the wrong networks, because all I've seen are posters on bus stops. Meanwhile, the Wrap looks at Winfrey's actual on-air role on the network.
Anything for Oscar. Does news that Natalie Portman is in a relationship with her "Black Swan" choreographer and is now expecting a baby actually help her chances for an Oscar? Seems like a reach to me, but IndieWire writes with a straight face that her pregnancy "creates the perception of a deep personal commitment to her performance — she gave herself over to the role to the extent that it merged with her life." Hmmm, I think every secretary who has an affair with her boss was just given justification.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: If the NFL adds more games, it will also need to add more TV and perhaps another night of games.
-- Joe Flint
Follow me on Twitter and I'll give you the rest of the year off. Twitter.com/JBFlint