The Morning Fix: G4 on the block! Legendary Pictures headed to China. RIP Leonard Stern.
After the coffee. Before finally seeing if "Terra Nova" will be worth the hype.
The Skinny: I don't care whether "Super 8" has stars or not and I don't need a Twitter campaign to go see it. Just putting that out there. Thursday's headlines include Comcast looking to unload its struggling G4 cable channel, Legendary Pictures wants to make movies in China and the FCC has noticed that local TV news is pretty weak.
Please, pretty please. Do you respond better to yelling or to gentle prodding? That's the debate raging through the music industry. Web Sheriff, a London-based outfit that tries to stop music piracy, goes with the kid-glove approach. "We would kindly ask you not to post pirated copies of 'Born This Way' on your site," Web Sheriff told consumers who bought Lady Gaga's latest. The warning added that "the label, management and artist would greatly appreciate your cooperation.... Thank you for respecting the artist's and label's wishes." Founded by John Giacobbi, Web Sheriff's approach is a huge shift from the "get off my lawn" tactics most in the industry prefer. The Los Angeles Times looks at how the kinder, gentler approach is working.
No more G4? Comcast is shopping G4, its low-rated cable network built around the video game culture, people familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal. These people, who happen to be familiar with the matter, said that Ultimate Fighting Championship, the outfit that puts on those no-holds-barred bouts, is interested in taking control of the network. The talks, some of the people familiar with the matter said, are serious. Other people who also happen to be familiar with the matter said it is still too early to determine how this will all play out. In a side note, people familiar with the matter said that the phrase "people familiar with the matter" should probably only be used once in a story that runs 11 paragraphs, not four times. Another person familiar with the matter cracked that "people familiar with the matter" often stands for corporate communications executives at the companies being written about.
Shocking news. The Federal Communications Commission is releasing a report Thursday that says the amount and quality of local reporting has declined over the last several years. In particular, state and local government coverage has been greatly reduced, meaning there is less of a system of checks and balances. Of course, anyone who has watched their local news for the last 25 years could have told you that. More on the report from the New York Times and the Associated Press. By the way, the report was once called "The Future of Media" but apparently that didn't test well with focus groups and the new name is the much sexier "The Technology & Information Needs of Communities." Yeah, that will get people talking.
Legendary journey. Legendary Pictures, the folks behind "The Hangover" franchise, are going to produce movies in China through a joint venture with Huayi Brothers Media Corp., a publicly traded entertainment conglomerate in China. China has tight restrictions on how many foreign films it allows in the country every year, but if a movie is made in China, that's a different story. Clever! More from the Los Angeles Times and Deadline Hollywood.
Tattoo this! Warner Bros. may alter the Mike Tyson-style tattoo on the character played by Ed Helms in "The Hangover 2" for the DVD release of the comedy hit, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Remember, while a court ruled that Warner Bros. could release the movie as scheduled despite a copyright suit brought on by the tattoo artist who did Tyson's face, it didn't say that the inkster didn't have a case and the dispute is still going on.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Legendary sitcom writer and "Mad Libs" co-creator Leonard Stern died at the age of 88. John Horn on the marketing of J.J. Abrams' "Super 8" and Kenneth Turan with a review. One of Rupert Murdoch's top aides, News Corp. General Counsel Lon Jacobs, is leaving the company.
-- Joe Flint
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