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The Morning Fix: 'Rango' does well but box-office slump continues! Glenn Beck on the ropes at Fox News?

March 7, 2011 |  7:19 am

After the coffee. Before deciding if I should give NBC's "The Event" another chance tonight.

The Skinny: I saw "The Adjustment Bureau" over the weekend. The hats look great, but save your money. Looking through my roundup I seem to be a little cynical. Must be the headache I woke up with this morning. Anyway, we've got box office, Charlie Sheen and lots of other goodies for you.

Box-office blues. Paramount's "Rango," which took in $38 million, and Universal's "The Adjustment Bureau," which pulled in $20.9 million. Solid openings for both, but neither was strong enough to reverse what so far is a disappointing 2011 for Hollywood. Ticket sales for the weekend were down 31% compared with the same weekend last year. So far this year, box-office receipts are down 21%. Box-office analysis from the Los Angeles Times and Movie City News

Can't you just leave me alone? Advancements in technology are giving distributors and advertisers even more power to tailor advertising to individuals. As if it's not annoying enough when you pop into Facebook and see that some companies have been snooping at your Web activity in an effort to pitch you stuff, soon it will become the norm on television. Just imagine the fun when you have friends over to watch TV and they wonder why there seem to be a lot of ads for erectile dysfunction drugs on. Don't laugh, it's possible. More on the next frontier in the loss of privacy from the Wall Street Journal.

Just admit there is no rhyme or reason to development season. Every spring the broadcast networks order dozens and dozens of pilots for the fall TV season. And every spring reporters are stuck trying to find grand themes to what is ordered. Now it's the Wall Street Journal's turn to do a development story. Its hook is that this year the network's are embracing "higher concepts," whatever that means. We get really deep and insightful quotes like this one from Fox exec Terrance Carter, who tells us the "landscape is more competitive than ever." Wow, really? ABC's Suzanne Patmore-Gibbs said the network is "looking for something that would break through the clutter." Does that mean last year's strategy was to make shows that would get lost in the clutter?

So much for attraction rather than promotion. One of the hallmarks of the recovery community is attraction vs. promotion. In other words, don't go beating someone over the head about getting sober or blab to the world about your own recovery. Be a model of sobriety and carry a message gently. Tom Arnold decided to chuck that approach for a story about, who else, Charlie Sheen in the New York Times. Arnold and others talk about the dilemma faced by those who want Sheen to clean up because the actor is surrounded by lots of people who won't tell him what he doesn't want to hear. Duh! They are called yes men. Arnold tells an anecdote about going to someone close to Sheen to try to get help for the actor only to be rebuffed because that person didn't want to rock the money boat that is "Two and a Half Men." Of course, Arnold stopped short of actually saying who it was was, so what's the point? Don't be a pretend whistle-blower.

Making amends? Variety's Cynthia Littleton thinks Charlie Sheen is, in his own way, trying to make peace with CBS and Warner Bros. Noting that Sheen's webcast (kudos to Littleton for watching the whole thing; I bailed after 10 minutes) did not feature the usual rage toward his bosses, she speculates that this was "calculated to portray him as the charming rogue, possibly in an effort to convince the honchos at Warner Bros. and CBS that he's not too nutso to be employed on 'Two and a Half Men' for a ninth season." Part of me likes to think that there is no coming back from where Sheen took this fight. Another part of me says it's showbiz, folks, and anything can happen.

The Howard Beale of the 21st century is running out of steam. No, we don't mean Charlie Sheen. Glenn Beck, who a year ago was riding high, has seen his Fox News ratings drop steadily. The relationship between the TV personality and the network, never super-strong, has reached a low point and there is even talk that when Beck's deal is up at the end of the year he may not be renewed. New York Times columnist David Carr riffs on why the romance is on the ropes. Crain's New York says Beck isn't the only Fox News big shot to see his ratings shrink lately.

Are you ready for some football? The Hollywood Reporter profiles Casey Wasserman, grandson of legendary Hollywood mogul Lew Wasserman and a growing force in sports who is helping lead efforts to get an NFL team in Los Angeles. Wasserman's favorite team growing up was the Browns. Of course, the Browns dumped Cleveland for Baltimore. It is likely that if we get a team it will be because someone else got dumped.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Geoff Boucher on "Rango," "Cowboys & Aliens" and the new old wild west. Lifetime's top programmer exits as the network tries to remake itself.

-- Joe Flint

Follow me on Twitter. I have a feeling it's going to be a long week and you'll need the comic relief. twitter.com/JBFlint

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