The Morning Fix: New leadership at AMPAS! iPad fight goes to court. NBCUniversal needs to get a clue.
After the coffee. Sorry, I got nothing today.
The Skinny: A shocking elimination in "American Idol" and once again, because I didn't watch, I'm in the dark. There are a few other shockers in the news. An outsider has won the top executive job at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Time Warner Cable and Viacom have taken their silly iPad fight to the courts. Perhaps most shocking, Bravo cancelled the D.C. version of "Real Housewives."
See you in court, bring your iPad. Time Warner Cable and Viacom are turning up the volume in their fight over the iPad. At issue is Time Warner Cable's new app that allows its subscribers to watch live TV on the tablet device in the comfort of their own homes. Many programmers, including Viacom, claim Time Warner Cable's distribution deals for their content don't include streaming rights. Time Warner Cable last week yanked 12 channels in response to complaints but on Thursday filed a request in federal court for a declaratory ruling that its contract with Viacom allows the cable company to stream Viacom's channels, including MTV and Comedy Central. Viacom wasted no time filing for an injunction that seeks a ruling that its contract does not allow for streaming. Viacom also indicated this could all go away if Time Warner Cable was willing to pay for those rights. (Wait, this is all about money?) More on the iPad spat from the Los Angeles Times and New York Times.
And the job of academy president goes to ... Late Thursday night the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences elected Dawn Hudson its new chief executive. Hudson has headed Film Independent, parent of the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival. She will replace Bruce Davis. Bringing in Hudson, an outsider, is a big move for the academy. Analysis from Hollywood website Deadline Hollywood and IndieWire.
What not to see. "Arthur" and "Your Highness" are the two comedies opening this weekend hoping to knock "Hop" from the top spot. I fear that the previews for both are the best scenes in the movies. I'm a fan of Russell Brand and Danny McBride, but in small doses, which is also how most people feel about me. Anyway, box office projections from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.
Tough seats to fill. With Meredith Vieira likely leaving as host of NBC's morning show "Today" this fall and Matt Lauer possibly following her at the end of 2012, competitors may be licking their lips and advertisers could get wary. The New York Post talked to media buyers who expressed concern about the future of the show. Of course, those buyers are also no doubt trying to lower ad rates by doing that. As for potential Lauer replacements, the Post says some are talking about Ryan Seacrest or Billy Bush. Highly unlikely in my opinion, as neither are newsmen. Yes, there is a lot of fluff on morning shows, but those anchors need to also be able to do hard news and be taken seriously. I don't want to hear about war and terror from Seacrest or Bush.
Get a clue. Doing its part to make us all dumber, NBCUniversal is changing the name of its crime channel Sleuth to Cloo. Why Cloo instead of Clue? Well, as TV Guide notes, NBCUniversal could not trademark the word Clue. Yes, we must always let legal rights take precedence over spelling.
Hope for the world. Bravo has canceled the D.C. version of its "Real Housewives" franchise after one season. I'm suddenly proud of one of the places I call home. I'm glad that apparently D.C. doesn't have quite the level of self-obsessed moron necessary to attract viewers. More from Entertainment Weekly.
Lost in space. At the time, outmaneuvering Viacom to snag MySpace was seen as a brilliant move by News Corp. and its CEO Rupert Murdoch. Now it is seen as an example of what happens when old media takes over new media. Reuters takes a lengthy look at what went wrong with the social network site and how much of the blame should be laid on News Corp. as opposed to Facebook. I'm still waiting for the HBO movie.
Summer nights. After a rough 2010 summer, the music industry looks to turn things around this summer. One radical way to boost attendance is, gasp, lowering some ticket prices. That's crazy talk. (I'm doing my part. I'm seeing John Mellencamp tonight. Please play "Check It Out.") A summer music preview from the Wall Street Journal.
-- Joe Flint
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