The Morning Fix: Meet Jeff Robinov. New fights over 'Mad Men.' Arbitrator named in Charlie Sheen fight.
After the coffee. Before figuring out if I'm too old to become a mogul.
The Skinny: There's trouble on the set of "Mad Men." We have a producer wanting more money and a network wanting to make more money off the show. In other words, it's business as usual. Would you like to be the arbitrator in Charlie Sheen's legal fight against Warner Bros. and Chuck Lorre? It sounds fun, but I bet after two days you'd be scratching the walls trying to escape.
Meet the new boss. He's quiet. He's curt. He's nervous. He's mercurial. He's loyal. He's awkward. Meet Jeff Robinov, new president of Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group. The 52 year-old is gearing up to succeed Alan Horn and have the final say on what movies the studio makes. He's also joined the corporate bake-off to succeed Barry Meyer as chairman of the studio. The Los Angeles Times looks at what makes Robinov tick and how he's wired.
Get Don Draper to close the deal. Just the other week there were stories that a new deal was near that would keep "Mad Men" creator Matt Weiner running the critically acclaimed cable drama for another year or two. That may have been premature. Now talks appear to have broken down. At issue, according to the Daily and Deadline Hollywood, is AMC's desire to squeeze a few more ads into the show and trim some costs by canning some of the cast. Weiner, already very well compensated, is resisting that while at the same time looking for a deal that, if these reports are accurate, would pay him $15 million a year, or more than $1 million per episode. Maybe they can compromise and he can shave a few bucks off his deal and keep some of his cast and AMC won't jam quite so many commercials into the show.
Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it. Wall Street Journal columnist Dennis Berman opines that we could soon see a return to the era of big media mergers marrying content and distribution. Will the Googles, Netflixes, Facebooks and Amazons soon be making plays for so-called traditional media companies? Some might. Others can probably get what they need in terms of content without having to buy the factory. And a few will make huge gambles that go horribly awry.
Who isn't being pitched MySpace? News Corp. has approached Vevo.com, the music video website about merging with it struggling social network site MySpace. News Corp. has made no secret of its desire to unload MySpace, which once ruled the world but now is an afterthought. Details from Bloomberg.
Family struggles. NBC's "Parenthood" is a critical darling but it has yet to break through with big ratings. The Tuesday night drama is hoping to survive its second season and tonight Richard Dreyfus joins the show for several episodes. USA Today looks at the show everyone says they like, but few watch.
Searching for good news. Movie theater owners have gathered in Las Vegas to discuss the state of the industry. It's been a rough three months in the U.S. so much of the talk is how good things are abroad. Not sure how that helps the theater owners here. Variety with an overview of CinemaCon.
Pity this man. Richard Neal, a former judge, is the lucky man who will arbitrate the contract dispute involing fired "Two and a Half Men" star Charlie Sheen and Warner Bros. and show co-creator Chuck Lorre. Of course, there is still the matter of the $100-million lawsuit Sheen filed against Warner Bros., which makes the sitcom for CBS, and Lorre. Sheen's team is trying to stop arbitration and get the fight into the courts. All the latest from the Hollywood Reporter.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Warner Bros. is in talks to buy Flixster, a site where consumers get to play movie critics. Silly me, I thought that was what Twitter and Facebook were for. Patrick Goldstein on Roger Ebert's ability to see into the future.
-- Joe Flint
Follow me on Twitter. I do more with less. Twitter.com/JBFlint