The Morning Fix: Jamie Oliver taken off menu! NFL pumps up the volume. Simon who?
After the coffee. Before deciding whether it's the Super Bowl or "The Roommate" this Sunday.
The Skinny: I'm still not sure why Green Bay is the favorite against Pittsburgh this Sunday unless folks think they are better suited for the artificial turf in Dallas. It is a fun Friday with L.A. schools nervous about crusading TV nutritionist Jamie Oliver, the NFL gearing up for what could be its biggest Sunday ever and Charlie Sheen getting the itch ... to come back to work.
Oliver taken off the menu. Worried about not being able to swallow what might be served, the Los Angeles Unified School District pulled the plug on ABC's reality show "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution." For those unfamiliar with the show, the British Oliver visits schools to see what kind of food they are serving kids and isn't shy about criticizing. "They fail to see me as a positive, and they fail to see the TV as an incredible way to spread the word, to inspire people, to inform parents, to see other teachers doing pioneering things," Oliver said in a speech Wednesday. More on the stomach rumblings from the Los Angeles Times.
Simon who? Wednesday night's edition of Fox's "American Idol" drew 24.9 million viewers, more than what the same episode a year ago averaged. That marks the first time that an edition of "American Idol" without Simon Cowell topped one of his episodes. Perhaps everyone who thought the show would slide completely off the map without him (and I might be one of them) needs to reassess a little. Details on the numbers from Bloomberg.
Slow weekend. While everyone waits around until Sunday night (afternoon out here) for the Super Bowl, one thing they probably won't be doing is heading off to the multiplex. Anyone who wants to go see "The Roommate," do yourself a favor and rent "Single White Female" instead. Box office preview from Variety and the Los Angeles Times.
Making it a super Sunday. Over the last several years, the NFL has taken several steps -- some subtle, some not -- to increase the audience, and it's paid off big time. For example, ratings for women have grown over 20% over the last five years. The Super Bowl is always the top-rated event every year, but over the last five years the numbers have grown each year and a record audience is probable this Sunday. The NFL has also greatly improved the way it schedules games during the season and gotten its TV partners to work together. The Los Angeles Times on how the NFL has built its popularity through wooing women, linking itself to patriotism and creating a dream factory through parity. On the money side, CNBC looks at how much Fox is poised to rake in with commercials.
Maybe if you won a few games. Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskins who is not too popular with Redskins fans who have endured a decade of futility under his leadership, is suing D.C.'s City Paper for a scathing article it wrote on Snyder last November. The suit was filed in New York, which was probably smart since finding a sympathetic jury in D.C. might be a challenge. Snyder, who also owns Dick Clark Productions, retained Hollywood hot shot lawyer Patti Glaser to handle the suit. More from the Washington Post.
Good references. Financier David Bergstein danced around Miramax when it was in play, and now some of his cronies have landed at the production company. The Hollywood Reporter continues its aggressive coverage of Bergstein, who has certainly become something of a controversial figure.
Speed rehab. Charlie Sheen, star of the hit CBS sitcom "Two and a Half Men" is already jonesing to return to work. Word is he wants to be done with whatever form of rehab he is involved in and back on set by the end of the month. More on Sheen -- because we never get tired of this -- from the Associated Press.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Lots of sticking points between the TV networks and the TV academy over a new TV deal for the Emmy Awards. The NFL may be celebrating this weekend, but labor unrest threatens next season. Brian Williams and Katie Couric bolted out of Egypt pretty fast raising questions over the wisdom of sending them in the first place.
-- Joe Flint
Follow me on Twitter. I'm a playa hater. twitter.com/JBFlint