The Morning Fix: Can't contain 'Contagion.' RIP Cliff Robertson.
After the coffee. Before signing Rex Grossman to my fantasy team.
The Skinny: The death of actor Cliff Robertson makes me want to reread "Indecent Exposure," the book about what happened when Robertson learned that a studio chief had signed the star's name to a bogus check. It's a must for anyone working or covering this industry. In the headlines, "Contagion" takes the top spot at the box office, cable operators are griping about ESPN and Anderson Cooper's daytime show starts this week.
Can't contain "Contagion." "The Help" was finally knocked out of the top spot at the box office as "Contagion," the ensemble thriller about an the spread of an epidemic scored $23.1 million in its debut weekend. "The Warrior," a family drama revolving around mixed martial arts which got decent reviews, was punished by consumers, taking in only $5.6 million. Still, that was a gold mine compared with "Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star," which took in only $1.5 million. Heck, I've seen garage sales draw better attendance. Box-office coverage from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.
Too pricey! The grumbling from cable and satellite operators against ESPN for signing a new deal to hold on to the NFL at an average price tag of $1.9 billion a season is starting. The new deal, which most industry observers expect will lead to ESPN charging its distributors even more to carry the channel, got bashed by a trade association representing smaller cable operators. Of course, eventually those costs increases get passed on to us. Coverage from Broadcasting & Cable and the New York Post.
Anderson's new gig. CNN's Anderson Cooper starts his new gig as a daytime TV host this week. Cooper, who always seems somewhat guarded on the cable news channel, will have to open his life up to viewers and learn to cater to a different audience from the small one that tunes into him on CNN. He has had some experience pinch hitting for Regis Philbin on "Regis and Kelly," but hosting your own show an hour every day is not as easy as it looks. A preview of Cooper's show from the New York Times.
Change of heart. Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder (who also owns Dick Clark Productions) has dropped a defamation suit against the City Paper, an alternative paper in D.C. that ran a scathing (and hilarious) attack of Snyder last November. Although Snyder's vast resources would have made a fight very painful to the small City Paper, the odds of his wining seemed about as good as the Redskins making the Super Bowl this year. I'm a Skins fan so it hurt me to type that sentence. More on Snyder's decision from the Washington Post.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: No locks for Oscar nominations have emerged out of the Toronto Film Festival yet. The always under-appreciated Cliff Robertson died at the age of 88. A report from the Charlie Sheen roast.
-- Joe Flint
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