The Morning Fix: Home movies aren't cheap! OWN needs fees. Parker and Spitzer struggling.
After the coffee. Before sending flowers to Jamie McCourt.
The Skinny: Seems about two weeks too early to run "A Charlie Brown Christmas." Maybe ABC can run the Easter special in February. In the news Wednesday, it will only cost you $20,000 to watch a movie at home while it's in the theaters. That's not too bad, right? Also, there's an opening at Netflix.
Hope popcorn comes with it. Want to avoid the hassles of long lines, crowded parking lots and messy bathrooms when you go to the movies? Well, for $20,000 you can sign up to watch movies at home the same day they premiere on the big screen. Oh, and it also costs $500 a movie. If you're still interested, odds are you already have the means to avoid all the hassles of going to the movies already! The Wall Street Journal says Hollywood is lukewarm toward the plans of Prima Cinema Inc., which looks to launch late next year. If they want to set up a test system in my house just to show how it works, I'm game.
What's so great outside the box? Variety columnist Brian Lowry uses ABC's tapping of Ben Sherwood to run its news division to explore "outside-the-box" moves. Sherwood fits the bill because -- even though he used to run the network's "Good Morning America" -- he left TV years ago to become an author and a Web entrepreneur. (By the way, I'm still waiting for someone to really report on just what his Web successes were, but I guess if you want something done, do it yourself.) Lowry wrote: "Out-of-the-box thinkers can bring fresh perspective to problems. Yet they can also prove deficient in the necessary fundamentals -- in football terms, throwing the equivalent of Hail Mary passes when they ought to be devoting some of their time to basic blocking and tackling."
Change you can't believe in ... yet. CNN keeps trying to overhaul its lineup with little results. The latest attempt to reverse declining ratings is "Parker/Spitzer," a political chat show hosted by ex-New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and columnist Kathleen Parker has fallen short so far. Now there is gossip that the two hosts don't get along and that CNN is thinking of making Spitzer a solo act. The New York Times checks in with the network and its biggest work-in-progress until Piers Morgan takes over Larry King's time slot next year.
Three whole dollars? NCR Corp., the company that operates kiosks for Blockbuster Inc., thinks people might shell out more than $1 for a movie and is offering "Inception" and "Knight and Day" for $3. I have a hunch that might work with one of those titles but not the other. Details from the Los Angeles Times.
Paying Oprah's bills. It's another day and time for another story on the Oprah Winfrey Network, which launches New Year's Day. This time, it's the Wall Street Journal looking at the mission of OWN co-parent Discovery Communications in getting cable and satellite pay-TV distributors to pay for the network. See, the channel that OWN is taking over -- Discovery's Health network -- is offered free to most distributors. Those deals aren't up yet, and OWN will have to prove itself before it can start counting on serious subscription fees. Because it won't take much for OWN to beat its predecessor's ratings, this will likely not be Winfrey's biggest challenge.
Must have been time to cash out. Netflix Chief Financial Officer Barry McCarthey is exiting the company. Given that its stock is going through the roof and Hollywood and cable are shaking in their boots, it seems an odd time to leave. Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings said McCarthey has a "personal desire for broader professional opportunities." Wonder how many stock options he had. More on the move from the San Jose Business Journal.
Musical chairs. Barry Weiss, one of the senior music executives at Sony, with oversight of the RCA/Jive labels, is headed to Universal Music, reports the Financial Times. Seems safe to say that that takes Weiss out of the running to replace Sony Music CEO Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, who is set to exit next March.
-- Joe Flint
Follow me on Twitter because I'm not bitter. Twitter.com/JBFlint