The Morning Fix: MySpace cleans house! Oren Aviv lands at Fox. Do CBS and Warner Bros. want an intervention on Charlie Sheen?
After the coffee. Before figuring out how to bask in the glamour of journalism without losing touch with the common people.
The Skinny: I can report that no one gets out of a bathroom faster than Steven Tyler. The Aerosmith lead singer and new judge on "American Idol" tore through the restroom of the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena like a hurricane after meeting with the media along with Jennifer Lopez to discuss the new season.
Empty space. After weeks of speculation, News Corp. is going ahead with plans to slash the ranks of social network MySpace by 500 people. That is almost 50% of its staff, and the move certainly seems to put a dark cloud over the site's long-term viability and makes clear that it will be sold. News Corp. bought MySpace for $580 million in 2005 when the company was red-hot. Then Facebook came along and the rest is history. Coverage from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, PaidContent and Los Angeles Times.
It's the messenger, not the message. 20th Century Fox has hired Oren Aviv as its new chief marketing officer. The studio had a few flops recently, including "Gulliver's Travels," "Love and Other Drugs" and -- I know it's hard to believe -- "Marmaduke." Aviv, who used to head production at Walt Disney Studios, said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times that the industry needs to rethink how it hypes its product. "The audience is very different than it was a year ago or five, and we can't stand pat on the tried and true," he said. Silly me, I thought you had to make good movies.
They care, they really care. According to Deadline Hollywood, CBS and Warner Bros. are very concerned about Charlie Sheen, star of the top sitcom "Two and a Half Men." Sheen, whose partying antics are legendary, is a cash cow for the network and Warner Bros, which makes the show. However, there are worries about his health. One problem, though, is that for all the news Sheen makes in the tabloids, he shows up to work and does his job. Furthermore, it's not as if the network or producers can argue that his bad-boy image hurts the show because, well, he plays a bad boy on the show. Deadline does not say if Sheen has any sort of morals clause or drug-test clause in his contract. I'm guessing he probably had the leverage to avoid those or water them down in his last deal.
Big bucks for "Big Bang." While CBS and Warner Bros. fret over the future of the star of "Two and a Half Men," the two are near a deal to keep another show -- "The Big Bang Theory" -- on for three more years. The new agreement, according to Variety, would put the license fee that CBS pays for the show at between $4 million and $4.5 million. Both "Two and a Half Men" and "The Big Bang Theory" are from producer Chuck Lorre. Let's hope he doesn't have big holiday parties. We'd hate to see Sheen be a bad influence on all those nice boys on "The Big Bang Theory."
Football equals dollars. Sports Business Journal looks at the talks between ESPN and the NFL to renew their current contract at a price tag of close to $2 billion a year. For that, ESPN must be getting a playoff game or flex scheduling right? Well, no. What about being the exclusive cable home to football, besides the NFL Network. Uh, not exactly. What about getting the same ability as NBC to pick a better game to carry late in the season? Probably not. It's all about the big demand ESPN has for the NFL's supply.
-- Joe Flint
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