The Morning Fix: OWN's debut numbers solid. Lions Gate thinks Icahn's up to something. Cowell declares himself a Pepsi drinker
After the coffee. Before getting through all the junk that piled up on your desk for the past two weeks.
The Skinny: Don't you hate those first few weeks of a new year when your gym is suddenly super-crowded with people whose resolution was to get in shape? Fortunately, in two weeks it will be back to normal. The early numbers for OWN are in, and like the early reviews, they are mostly positive. And in a few weeks, like those early reviews, they won't mean much. We've also got more prediction pieces for you.
Early results. OWN, the Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Communications-backed cable channel that is taking over the world, launched with solid numbers. Of course, given all the hype it would have been more surprising if the channel had tanked. The real test will be how OWN is doing a month or two from now. A look at the ratings from the Hollywood Reporter. As for the content, Vulture wonders if the lack of conflict on some of OWN's shows is such a good thing.
Don't hold us to any of these. The Los Angeles Times took a survey of the media landscape to make its predictions for 2011. To borrow from William Goldman, "nobody knows nothing." I don't want to spoil our article by giving it away here, so click on the link and then you can tell us in 12 months how we did.
The Pepsi generation. Simon Cowell has come out and declared himself a Pepsi man. The former top judge on "American Idol," who launches his own musical talent show "The X Factor" this fall, has made the soft drink an official sponsor of the show. Of course, for years Simon sat on the set of "American Idol" with a cup of Coke in front of him. Given his physique, my hunch is that there was water in that cup and there will be water in whatever Pepsi prop is in front of him on "The X Factor." The fizzy details on the deal from the New York Times.
Show me the secret documents. Lions Gate may have beaten back investor Carl Icahn's effort to take over the studio, but they know they are not done with him yet. Last week, Lions Gate asked a court to determine if Icahn be forced to reveal details about any agreement he has with the creditors of MGM having to do with a potential merger between the two studios. More from the Wall Street Journal.
New gig for McGurk. Chris McGurk, who was bumped out as head of Overture Films last year, has landed a new job as president of Cinedigm Digital Cinema, a company that, among other things, converts movie theaters to digital and is responsible for delivering all those annoying commercials you have to sit through before a movie starts. The latest on McGurk from Deadline Hollywood and Variety.
Closed doors? Ramin Setoodeh, a writer who last year took heat for saying Sean Hayes was too gay to play it straight, did a piece in the Daily Beast suggesting that gay actors are often shut out from gay roles. It is hard to debate that a lot of straight actors like to take a shot at playing gay and perhaps Hollywood prefers that, figuring it will be less threatening to the movie-going public.
-- Joe Flint
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