The Morning Fix: NBC's Mark Lazarus ready for Olympic moment? 'X-Men' poised for first place. 'The Tourist' was a hit?
After the coffee. Before pulling a Miami Heat and ending the day early.
The Skinny: I won't turn off a game with time left in the fourth quarter for the rest of the NBA championship! In the headlines: A look at NBC's new sports chief Mark Lazarus. Fox's latest "X-Men" is poised to open in first place. The NFL inches closer to peace with its players.
Olympic moment. When he was a kid, Mark Lazarus got to go to the Olympics. Now he's off to Switzerland to lead NBC's efforts to hold on to the rights to the games. Lazarus, a former president at Turner Broadcasting, faces the task of trying to succeed the legendary Dick Ebersol as head of NBC Sports. Lazarus grew up in the business and those who have worked for him and negotiated against him think he's up for the task. A look at Lazarus from the Los Angeles Times. Keeping the Olympics will be no small task as News Corp.'s Fox and Disney's ESPN and ABC will bid aggressively. However, no one wants to overpay, as NBC did last time around. More on next week's bidding process from the Wall Street Journal.
Fox sells out. Fox Broadcasting says it sold 80% of its commercial inventory for the 2011-12 TV season. The other 20% are held on and used for either make-goods or to sell during the season, hopefully at higher prices. Although Fox increased its rates by 10% and took in almost $2 billion, some rival networks -- particularly CBS -- are grumbling that Fox should have held out more dough. Analysis from the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
Traveling well. So "The Tourist," which was the butt of jokes at the Golden Globes and considered to be a major bomb, has found an audience abroad. The Hollywood Reporter says the Johnny Depp-Angelina Jolie thriller took in over $210 million in international box office. Its biggest market overseas was Japan, followed by China. Let's hope no one gets an idea that this means there should be a sequel.
Government approved. The Producers Guild of America wants a green light from the Justice Department before going ahead with its plans for a logo for end credits that indicate that the Guild has signed off on the producer credits in a movie. The move for a mark is driven by the PGA's idea that people who didn't actually produce shouldn't get credit. Those crazy kids! More from Variety.
Progress, not perfection. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith, the chief negotiator for the players, met in Chicago this week and apparently made some headway on a new deal that could end the lockout and the threat to this fall's football season. The NFL's hopes, according to the New York Times, is to have a deal done by early July at the latest. Good, because I don't want to have to wait around to see how the Redskins screw up this year. If you have DirecTV's Sunday Ticket football package, fear not, Broadcasting & Cable says the satellite broadcaster has let subscribers know they won't be on the hook to pay for the package until the labor dispute is resolved. How nice of them to not charge customers for something they won't be getting.
Done deal. News Corp. is inching closer to approval of its deal from regulators to take total control of British Sky Broadcasting, according to the Financial Times. The acquisition will end up taking a year if not more to get closed.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Disney plans to overhaul its website to make it a pipeline for its content. The latest "X-Men" movie should open in first place this weekend, but the franchise's take is expected to be the lowest of all entries. Betsy Sharkey on Mike Mills' "Beginners."
-- Joe Flint
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