The Morning Fix: Is 'Moneyball' money? More woes for Rupert.
After the coffee. Before trying not to think about Bruce Springsteen turning 62 today.
The Skinny: Yes, you read that correctly. Bruce Springsteen is 62 today. Crank up "Glory Days" and try to laugh about it. Friday's headlines include a preview of the weekend box office and whether "Moneyball" will round the bases, an analysis of the slow start for Fox's "The X Factor" and a look at the end of the ABC soap "All My Children."
Play ball! Sony's "Moneyball" about Oakland A's General Manager Billy Beane's approach to building a team stars Brad Pitt and is getting very good reviews. But sports movies in general and baseball movies in particular have a mixed record at the box office and little international appeal. The Los Angeles Times looks at the studio's marketing campaign and whether "Moneyball" can drive it out of the park or will get caught looking at a called strike three.
Baseball, lions, or dolphins. This weekend's box office battle will be between "Money Ball," "Dolphin Tale" and the re-release of Disney's "The Lion King," which finished first last week. It would be pretty embarrassing if an almost 20-year-old film ended up on top two weeks in a row. Previews from the Los Angeles Times and Hollywood Reporter.
Out of tune. The Wednesday premiere of Simon Cowell's musical talent show "The X Factor" drew 12 million viewers, which is far smaller than what most industry observers had been expecting. Fox was spinning that the performance was good enough. While it's true that "The X Factor" did better than what Fox was doing that night a year ago, keep in mind the amount of money being shelled out to Cowell and co-judge Paula Abdul before buying the spin that the network can live with that performance. ABC's "Modern Family," coming off its big Emmy night, actually beat "The X Factor" in the ratings. Analysis from Variety and USA Today. If the night wasn't bad enough for Fox, the Parents Television Council said it would file an indecency complaint at the Federal Communications Commission against the show because one clip showed a contestant dropping his pants.
Better call Saul. Lawyers for victims of phone hacking done by the now-shuttered News Corp. tabloid News of the World are looking to sue the company in the U.S. as well as the U.K., which is where the hacking took place. News Corp., the media giant run by Rupert Murdoch, has apologized for any hacking done by its paper. That's not going to appease investigators overseas or here, where the company is being probed to see if it may have violated the foreign corrupt practices act. Details from Sky News.
Status update. You've probably noticed Facebook's new look and, if you're like me, you hate every time Facebook makes a change that seems more designed to please advertisers than its own users. The latest version is aimed at wooing big media, according to All Things Digital and the Los Angeles Times. As I said on Facebook, the social networking site is becoming too cluttered and too much work, so if you want me, find me on Twitter.
Peace treaty? After years of bickering, the National Football League may finally be near a deal to get its cable network on Time Warner Cable, which is the largest distributor in New York City and Los Angeles. I was afraid of this day. Now I'll never leave my apartment. More from the New York Post.
Don't let the door hit you. Viacom, whose CEO Philippe Dauman warned investors of a softening ad market earlier this week, which led to the stock taking a tumble, is trimming staff. No numbers were available but Ad Week reported the cuts were at cable networks including MTV and VH1.
-- Joe Flint
Follow me on Twitter. It'll make the weekend last longer. Twitter.com/JBFlint