The Morning Fix: Oprah to be CEO of OWN! Netflix raises prices! R.I.P. Sherwood Schwartz.
After the coffee. Before wondering if I'll remember who won the All-Star game two days from now.
The Skinny: I always preferred Mary Ann to Ginger, but not Jan to Marsha. R.I.P. Sherwood Schwartz, who created two of the most successful comedy hits ever. In other news, Oprah Winfrey is taking the reins of her cable network, OWN, and Netflix is raising is prices big time.
Ouch! Netflix subscribers are about to get a punch in the wallet. The movie subscription service is upping its prices by as much as 60% a month. Gone is the $9.99 plan that allowed customers to watch an unlimited number of movies online and rent one DVD at a time. Now subscribers who want that package will have to pay $15.98 a month. Although this won't win Netflix any customer service awards, the Hollywood studios that sell their content to Netflix are smiling because they know this means Netflix knows the cost of content is going way up. Coverage from the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and New York Post.
If you want something done right. Oprah Winfrey has found the perfect CEO for her OWN cable network: Oprah Winfrey. That's right, after going through several presidents and/or chief executives, Winfrey has decided to take the title herself at OWN, the cable channel she launched in partnership with Discovery Communications. OWN, which launched Jan. 1, has struggled in the ratings and had been searching for a new head after former MTV chief Christina Norman was forced out. Winfrey's move will no doubt reassure Wall Street and advertisers about her commitment to the network. The announcement from Discovery and Winfrey came early Wednesday. More from the Wall Street Journal, which got the scoop.
Another day, another drama. As its stock price continues to suffer from the fallout from the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, News Corp. on Tuesday announced an upping of its stock buyback plan to $5 billion in an effort to stop the bleeding. In the meantime, British lawmakers want News Corp. Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch to come clean about everything (for some reason the Jack Nicholson "you can't handle the truth" scene from "A Few Good Men" is running through my head), and lawmakers once cozy with the media giant are trying to distance themselves from the mess. The latest from the New York Times and the Hollywood Reporter, which jumped on the "what will this mess do to Murdoch heir James Murdoch's ambitions of one day running the media giant" bandwagon. Reuters also has an interesting article on how News Corp. has actually collected refunds on its taxes from the U.S. government.
Is there a lawyer in the house? The Hollywood Reporter has come out with its list of the top 100 entertainment attorneys. In other words, THR legal reporter Matthew Belloni has just published his source list! We kid our friend Matthew, who gets lots of juicy lawsuit scoops. I'd tell you who was on top of the list, but THR makes you click something like 300 different pages to get to it and I just don't care that much.
Can "Moneyball" round the bases? Variety takes a look at the challenges Sony will face in making its movie version of the bestselling book "Moneyball" into a hit. The movie has had lots of behind-the-scenes drama almost from the moment the studio landed rights to Michael Lewis' book about how the Oakland A's built a hot team without blowing through billions of dollars.
Will Carmageddon slow Harry Potter? The Wrap looks at what this weekend's closure of a big chunk of the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles could mean for box office. I know I'm staying home!
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Electronic Arts is buying PopCap Games, the maker of Bejewled, in a deal valued at $1.3 billion. An appreciation of "Brady Bunch" and "Gilligan's Island" creator Sherwood Schwartz, who died at the age of 94.
-- Joe Flint
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