The Morning Fix: Cannes lineup unveiled! Discovery to launch network for guys with cash. Sony and MGM seal 'Bond' deal.
After the coffee. Before figuring out if there is any truth to Charlie Sheen's latest ramblings about talks of him returning to "Two and a Half Men."
The Skinny: This has been one long short week. Does that make sense? Spent three days in Las Vegas and it already feels like I was never there. While I was there, Fox and its affiliates had a big gripe session. While I was away, Sony and MGM struck a new deal for some more James Bond movies. In other news, Discovery is launching a network for rich people. Doesn't that make you feel good?
Shaken, not stirred. MGM and Sony struck a deal to partner on two new James Bond movies. The two studios may also cofinance five other movies over the next five years. The first Bond movie is set for release in 2012. Analysis from the Los Angeles Times and Deadline Hollywood.
Dinosaur delay. About a year ago, Fox touted an ambitious drama called "Terra Nova" at its annual programming presentation to advertisers. I mumbled to my seatmate my doubts about whether this expensive show about a group of people who go back in time in an effort to save humanity only to bump into dinosaurs would ever see the light of day. Initially planned for midseason, "Terra Nova" was then bumped to May and has now been pushed to the fall. The show, whose producers include Steven Spielberg and Peter Chernin, has had numerous delays, lots of staff changes and, generally speaking, more drama behind the screen than in front of the camera. The Hollywood Reporter takes a look at the fate of "Terra Nova." Before those folks from Fox call, I do expect that at some point a program called "Terra Nova" will appear on my TV screen. I'm just not sure if it will be a series premiere or a lovely three-hour TV movie following the NFC championship game next January.
Pay to play. Fox affiliates are angry, but willing to pay the network a big chunk of their retransmission consent money to remain partners with the network. At the National Assn. of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas earlier this week, the network and affiliates had a gripe session. Here's how it went: Fox affiliates complained that the network was being greedy in demanding so much of the money they get from cable and satellite operators in return for carrying their channels, and the network stood its ground. Most affiliates have signed letters of intent agreeing to the new deals. Fox wants the new revenue stream for rising programming costs and as a hedge against a potentially shrinking ad pool. Coverage and analysis from the Los Angeles Times, Broadcasting & Cable and TVNewsCheck.
Book your flight. The Cannes Film Festival unveiled its 2011 lineup early Thursday morning. Early analysis from Variety and the Wrap. Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" is the only film from an American director in the running. If you were wondering, Jodie Foster's "The Beaver" starring Mel Gibson will screen outside the competition.
Call it the resentment network. Discovery Communications is launching a new network called "Velocity" that the Associated Press says is a channel for "rich guys and their toys" and is aimed at people making $150,000 annually. Discovery CEO David Zaslav is quoted in the story saying, "We just felt like this was a space missing in the marketplace." Given that Zaslav's 2010 pay package was valued at more than $40 million, I guess Velocity will be too downscale for him.
-- Joe Flint
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