The Morning Fix: Charlie Sheen out, Ashton Kutcher in! 'Bridesmaids' ready to rumble. Weinstein Co. storms Cannes.
After the coffee. Before the outrageously early flight to New York.
The Skinny: I am a fan of "Two and a Half Men," and while I understand why Charlie had to go, I'm a little skeptical about Ashton Kutcher joining the show. But I will give it a chance. This is an abbreviated roundup as I'm heading out of town for upfronts. Besides Ashton Kutcher news, there is some bad blood between Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures over a deal for the next "Batman" movie. Harvey Weinstein is making noise at Cannes and "Bridesmaids" will try to topple "Thor."
Get ready for that Demi Moore appearance. I'm not sure how you go from Hugh Grant to Ashton Kutcher, but that's what happened regarding who will fill the hole on the CBS hit "Two and a Half Men." Warner Bros., which produces the show, has signed Kutcher as the new star. He'll be faced with trying to make fans forget Charlie Sheen, who was fired earlier this year. Obviously Kutcher won't be playing Sheen's part. A new one will be created for him. The story was broken by Paige Albiniak of Broadcasting & Cable.
All eyes on the Peacock. On Monday, NBC will unveil its first fall schedule since cable giant Comcast took over the network. Comcast hired Showtime progamming chief Bob Greenblatt to try to turn around struggling NBC. The Los Angeles Times looks at what went wrong and what lies ahead. Sadly, one big concern for NBC is whether "Apprentice" host Donald Trump will run for president. More on that situation from the New York Post.
Holy contract dispute! The partnership between Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures has hit a bump in the road over the next "Batman" movie. Legendary was a 50/50 partner with Warner Bros. on "The Dark Knight," which topped over $1 billion in worldwide box office. This time around, according to the Los Angeles Times, Warner Bros. wants more than 50% on the next Batman movie.
Here we go again. Harvey Weinstein is storming through the Cannes Film Festival, talking brash and making big bets. In other words, same old Harvey. The Weinstein Co. bought "The Artist," a black-and-white silent movie set in the 1920s. “Hate us or love us, we take on what people say won’t work and make it work anyway,” Weinstein told the New York Times. The Weinstein Co. also snagged the rights to "The Iron Lady," featuring Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher, according to Deadline Hollywood, the enertainment industry website.
Don't forget Miramax. Also looking to make an impression at Canne is the Weinsteins' old company Miramax. Variety reports that the new owners and executives are hosting a big shindig to let the world know they're ready for business. "We're still figuring out the strategy, but we want to get the word out that it's going to be more than just exploiting the library," Miramax CEO Mike Lang said.
I'm shocked to find gambling going on here! The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Facebook hired a public relations firm to plant negative stories about Google. Of course, PR people often spin negative stories against rivals, but the idea is to not get caught doing it. Interestingly, Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg used to be a senior executive at Google. You'd think with all the knowledge she has on Google, Facebook could have handled the attack on the search engine giant in house. For more on Sandberg, here's a profile from the new issue of Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: "Bridesmaids" will try to take on "Thor" this weekend at the box office. Disney will cough up $3 million to settle a complaint from the Federal Trade Commission that the company's kids website Playdom violated privacy rules for children. Music sharing site LimeWire will shell out $105 million to settle legal fights with two record labels.
-- Joe Flint
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