The Morning Fix: 'NYPD Blue' not indecent after all. Comcast's iPad play. ABC pumps up rates for Oscars.
After the coffee. Before thinking maybe it's time to cutback on the coffee. Sorry, my writer took the morning off.
The Skinny: Every day I get up and link to stories about the future of media while listening to the radio. Oh the irony. Of course, I do listen to the radio on my computer so I guess I'm cool. Remember when Charlotte Ross put her rear on the line for "NYPD Blue"? Well, the FCC's indecency fine over that 2003 broadcast was tossed.
Turn off the TV, turn on the iPad. Comcast announced Wednesday morning that its customers will soon be able to watch live TV on their iPads or other Android devices when they're at home. Of course, you may wonder why you would do that if you already have a TV at home. But hey, now you can take the iPad with you to the bathroom and leave the newspaper.
Weinstein Co. looks to Starz. The Weinstein Co. is acquiring a 25% stake in Starz Media, the home-entertainment division of John Malone's Liberty Media Corp. The pact, per the Los Angeles Times, includes a five-year distribution deal under which Starz's Anchor Bay Entertainment will release new Weinstein Co. films on DVD and Starz Digital Media will handle online downloads and streaming. The Wrap uses the deal as a hook piece suggesting says the Weinstein Co. has got its mojo back.
Not so blue after all. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York tossed a $1.4-million indecency fine the FCC had slapped on ABC and many of its affiliates for a 2003 episode of "NYPD Blue." In the episode, actress Charlotte Ross, who was playing Dennis Franz's love interest, was seen naked from the back. The Second Circuit was the same court that last year said the FCC's enforcement of its indecency rules was vague and chilling to speech. Just for the heck of it, I looked at the clip in question. It seemed a little gratuitous. Coverage of the lack of coverage of the rear of Ross from the Los Angeles Times and Broadcasting & Cable.
Oscar getting more expensive. ABC, which will broadcast the Oscars at the end of next month, is looking for about $1.7 million for a 30-second commercial, according to Advertising Age. The price tag is an increase over what ABC sought last year but is not a record price. That remains the $1.82 million per commercial Ad Age says the show got in 2008. Last year, more than 40 million watched the Oscars.
Hard to get happy after that one. "An onslaught of digital technologies has laid waste to traditional media," declares the Wall Street Journal in a piece previewing what's ahead for media and telecommunications in 2010. The big challenge, as we all know, is "how will TV networks and cable companies make up for the cash they will lose if viewers 'cut the cord' and look for shows on the Web?" One assumes that the same people who put shows on TV are the same ones who put them on the Web (except the pirates, of course) and they will somehow find a way to make consumers pay. After all, why would anyone make people pay to get content on one platform and give it away in another? Oh, wait a minute. Never mind.
OWN already paying off. You didn't think we'd let a day go by without a story about the Oprah Winfrey Network did you? Discovery Communications, Winfrey's partner in OWN, is anticipating the channel turning a profit in its first year. Details from the New York Times.
If your agent is asking for money, find a new agent. TMZ reports that former "Baywatch" star David Charvet is suing his former agent, claiming that he has yet to get back a six-figure loan.
-- Joe Flint
Follow me on Twitter. I'm totally safe for work. Twitter.com/JBFlint