The Morning Fix: No Snookies allowed! Zynga's empire growing. Fox sets pace in upfront market.
After the coffee. Before remembering it's Wednesday, not Tuesday.
The Skinny: TNT's "Men of a Certain Age" returns tonight. It's a good show. Give it some love. OK, enough with the free advertising. In the day's headlines: Fox's strategy in selling its ad inventory for the fall TV season is annoying rival networks. A stake in Relativity may be for sale or it may not. Italy is not exactly bursting with pride that MTV's "Jersey Shore" is filming there.
Foxy maneuvering. Now that the networks have previewed their fall lineups to advertisers, it's time to sell the commercials. Fox is again first out of the gate. While the network is securing increases north of 10% in what advertisers pay to reach viewers, there is grumbling that the network should have held out for more. "The network appears to be following a strategy it established last year: Take smaller price increases in favor of securing a larger volume of overall dollars before rival networks can move along further in their own negotiations," says Advertising Age. NBC, meanwhile, is looking for big increases that seem to ignore the network's poor performance this past season.
It's all relative. I don't try to pretend to have any knowledge about producer Ryan Kavanaugh and his company Relativity or their business dealings. As long as he keeps his helicopter out of my neighborhood, I'm happy. But man, he sure can stir people up. On Tuesday, the Wrap breathlessly reported that Relativity was going to sell the stake in the company held by Elliott Associates to JPMorgan for $700 million. Deadline Hollywood quickly fired back that Kavanaugh was perhaps "having a nervous breakdown" and that the Elliott stake is not for sale and that the journalist that reported otherwise was "naive." Trying to sort it all out is the Hollywood Reporter. Who says people don't like soap operas anymore?
Go back to Jersey! Apparently there is a situation going on in Italy. The cast of MTV's "Jersey Shore" is not being shown a lot of love by Italy. The show, which is taping its new season in Florence, is being met with disdain by officials and locals, according to the Wall Street Journal. "One of the town's chic eateries has posted a 'No Grazie, Jersey Shore' sign outside its door, instructing cast members to stay away," the WSJ said, adding that Florence's Mayor Matteo Renzi has promised he "won't be scared" by Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino.
Batten down the hatches! The recent attack on PBS by hackers not happy with a story on the nonprofit network's news magazine "Frontline" about WikiLeaks has other media companies worried about being vulnerable to similar attacks. "This is what repressive governments do ... they try to shut the presses," "Frontline" executive producer David Fanning told the New York Times.
Conspiracy theory. On Tuesday, Comcast announced a plan to provide low-cost broadband services to poor neighborhoods in Chicago. That the cable giant chose Chicago, whose new mayor used to be chief of staff for the president of the United States, whose administration approved the cable giant's deal to take control of NBCUniversal, wasn't lost on the New York Post, which has something to say about it.
Going for the gold. Next week, Comcast's NBC, Disney's ABC and ESPN and News Corp.'s Fox will head off to Switzerland to make bids for the 2014 and 2016 Olympics. Variety says the fact that Disney chief Bob Iger and Comcast topper Brian Roberts are going show how serious these companies take the Olympics. Maybe. Or perhaps they're going to make sure their underlings don't negotiate with their hearts instead of the heads.
Shocking news! A new book -- "Primetime Propaganda" -- states that Hollywood has a liberal bias. Not sure what the news is here, but the Hollywood Reporter takes a look at the book and even has video clips of some of the producers interviewed that seem to confirm that yes, sometimes there is a greater agenda beyond getting laughs and ratings.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Zynga is building an empire of social gamers. Lions Gate released its financial results and showed better revenues thanks to a stronger slate of movies, but bigger losses as well. The film industry is worried about what the closing of a bunch of state parks will mean for making movies.
-- Joe Flint
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