The Morning Fix: Upfront done! Extras get help. 'Super 8' ready for super opening. MTV peels off 'Skins.'
After the coffee. Before the June gloom lifts.
The Skinny: I'm starting to think Dallas is going to pull this off, but they better plan on winning Game 6, because I don't see them winning a Game 7 in Miami. Friday's headlines include good news for extras. The upfront advertising market is wrapping up, and MTV canceled its controversial teen drama "Skins."
Fighting extra fees. Extras, the unglorified folks who fill background scenes of movies and television shows, are getting a little love from state and local government. The Los Angeles Times reports that the city attorney's office and the California labor commissioner sent a cease-and-desist letter to Central Casting in Burbank -- the largest company for extras -- ordering it to stop charging people an upfront fee the officials said violated state law. An additional 13 casting companies got warning letters. The move comes as work is getting harder to come by for extras. Notes Richard Verrier, "demand for their services has declined in recent years because of the growing use of computer-generated effects, the proliferation of reality TV shows and budget cuts by film and TV studios."
Upfront all done. The broadcast networks have pretty much wrapped up selling commercial inventory for the fall TV season. Numbers on the final take for all the networks combined are a little vague (vague enough to be right as one of my old editors once quipped) with Advertising Age reporting volume between $8.8 billion and $9.3 billion. The Los Angeles Times puts it at between $8.7 billion and $9.5 billion. The New York Times has its own estimates as well.
Live Nation to become quiet nation? Live Nation, the music empire that owns Ticketmaster and promotes just about every big show out there, is thinking about going private, according to the New York Post. Guess that means it won't have to worry about scoring Springsteen tickets for its biggest shareholders.
Super weekend. Lots of guessing on how well J.J. Abrams "Super 8" will do this weekend. Here's my general rule. If I want to see a movie on the opening weekend, it's going to do well. I will go out on a limb and say more than $30 million. Projections from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.
MTV peels off "Skins." MTV canceled its controversial teen drama "Skins" after just one season. The show, a remake of a British hit, gave the Parents Television Council fits for its graphic portrayal of teen sex and drug use. Many advertisers were pressured to stay away from the program. Details from Deadline Hollywood. The Hollywood Reporter offers up five reasons that MTV pulled the plug, but not one of them is that the show had low ratings. Trust me, if "Skins" was getting a big number, MTV would have weathered the storm and advertisers would have come around.
Where are the real men? Wall Street Journal writer Amy Chozick has gone through the TV shows that will premiere this fall, and observes that men have become wimps. She notes that several comedies "center on lead male characters contemplating their masculinity in a changing world, especially in terms of the successful women who surround them." I too noticed some sort of gender war going on in the new comedies, but more disturbing to me was how little I laughed at any of it.
-- Joe Flint
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