The Morning Fix: Washington tries to find restraints for Comcast-NBC. NBC's Playboy dreams. 'The Tourist' not on a lot of travel itineraries.
After the coffee. Before the Christmas gift scramble starts.
The Skinny: I've only got four more Redskins games to endure this season. Guess that should make me happy. Comcast and NBC's deal is giving regulators a lot to think about. Doesn't look like there is a lot of interest in traveling with "The Tourist" this weekend.
How sausage gets made. The Los Angeles Times looks at the regulatory review of the Comcast-NBC Universal merger which is slowly drawing to a close. The merger, which combines the country's largest cable and broadband operator with a programming giant, presents many challenges for the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department. There is a lot of uncharted territory here for everyone involved and it gives the government an opportunity to impose rules that it might otherwise not be able to on the two companies.
Open for business. Director Guillermo del Toro is launching his own studio that would incorporate movies, the Web, TV shows and video games. “The goal is to create a creative business that fuses together all of those different disciplines,” Mathew Cullen, a partner in the venture dubbed Mirada told the New York Times. "With Mirada we hope to bring all the stuff you need to create an idea or a project under one roof," Del Toro told the Los Angeles Times.
Thanks for the memories. AllianceBernstein is no longer the largest outside shareholder in CBS Corp. The investment firm has cut its stake from about 6% to less than 1%, says Reuters. Interestingly, the sale of the bulk of their stake comes when CBS stock has been on a rebound. Maybe they didn't get good seats for the network's Victoria's Secret TV special.
Protecting your catch phrase. The New York Times has an amusing story about athletes looking to trademark their catch phrases and nicknames. Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis wants to trademark Revis Island, which is how he describes the area of the field he covers. Wonder if Walter Cronkite ever tried to trademark "And that's the way it is."
Another day, another story about OWN. The countdown to the launch of the most important cable network ever -- Oprah Winfrey's OWN -- continues. Business Week checks in with a piece on the risks for her and partner Discovery Communications in launching the network, which debuts New Year's Day. Here's a prediction: There will be initial excitement and tune-in for the channel. Then the numbers will settle down and for awhile critics will carp that it is not enough of this or too much of that. Eventually, Winfrey and Discovery will find a groove and that one show that generates lots of attention.
Will Hef make a cameo? Normally we steer clear of script and pilot deals here because so many end up being a headline and nothing more. But this one from Variety is too good to pass up. NBC is developing a drama set in a Playboy club in the 1960s. Maybe there will be a crossover episode with AMC's "Mad Men" that will have Don Draper trying to woo a client there.
Howard Stern on the phone. Satellite radio personality Howard Stern's new deal with Sirius XM will allow the company to put his show on mobile devices. Stern said he is sticking around for another five years, which would put him at 61 the next time his contract is up. While terms were not announced, speculation on the street is Stern didn't get the $100-million package he previously had for his show, but his new deal will also further lighten his workload, so it may all even out in the wash. Deal coverage from the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and Daily Beast.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: It doesn't look like a lot of people will go on vacation with "The Tourist" this weekend. New York-based cable operator and parent of Madison Square Garden is looking to buy the L.A. Forum. Kenneth Turan was knocked out by "The Fighter."
-- Joe Flint
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