The Morning Fix: Paramount to upgrade! 'Avatar' the ride.
After the coffee. Before posting my resume on Facebook.
The Skinny: I'm betting "New Girl" will get off to a good start in the ratings. Wednesday's headlines include Disney's big bet on "Avatar" attractions for its theme parks and Facebook's search for a Hollywood friend.
Riding "Avatar." Walt Disney Co. struck a deal to create rides and other attractions at its theme parks based on the 20th Century Fox hit movie "Avatar." James Cameron, who directed the massive hit, will be very involved in crafting the attractions, which are set to debut in Orlando in five years at a cost of about $500 million. Details on the deal and its significance to Disney from the Los Angeles Times.
What's it pay? Facebook is looking for an executive to build relationships with the entertainment industry as it tries to move past social networking and into being a digital platform. Personally, I've often wondered if Facebook could enter the subscription TV business. Heck, it certainly has a base of potential customers. Of course, I also think Facebook could charge five bucks a month for such a service and a big chunk of its members (including me) would pay it. It's still cheaper than letters and phone calls. More on what Facebook is after from Reuters.
Charlie who? Ashton Kutcher's debut on "Two and a Half Men" drew roughly 28 million viewers on Monday. Of course, a big audience for episode one was expected. The real question is how many will stick around in week two. Personally, I would have moved the scene where we first see Kutcher to the end of the episode so people would have a reason to tune in next week. It's called a cliffhanger. Sheen also had a good night as his roast on Comedy Central had big ratings. Not doing so well was NBC's heavily hyped drama "The Playboy Club," which generated about as much heat as a copy of Playboy does these days. NBC News anchor Brian Williams had better get that news magazine he's working on ready because there could be a hole for it real soon. A ratings report from Variety.
Couldn't they have just called? The Justice Department has sent Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. a letter seeking information about accusations that the media giant's now-closed News of the World tabloid had made payments to police in Britain in return for information. The U.S. government wants to know if any of News Corp.'s legal troubles abroad could be violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. More from Bloomberg. Prediction: News Corp. will be hit with some sort of fine by the U.S. government when all this over.
Slicing the pie. Despite shrinking audiences, commercial time on television continues to be expensive. This may seem like some deep dark mystery, but it is pretty simple to explain. The thinner you slice a pie, the more valuable the big pieces of pie become. Got it? Good. Still confused? Well here's a Wall Street Journal story on what's basically Advertising 101.
Leak plugged? Al Jazeera news director Wadah Khanfar's resignation had to do with disclosures by WikiLeaks that he had altered coverage of the Iraq war after getting some pressure by the United States, according to the New York Times.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Paramount Pictures is planning a $700-million upgrade to its Hollywood lot. A props shop that specializes in death and its related industries finds business is booming. Fox's "The X Factor" premieres Wednesday night and Mary McNamara has a review.
-- Joe Flint
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