The Morning Fix: Tebow is TV magic. Amanpour out at ABC's 'This Week'?
After the coffee. Before waiting for Time Warner Cable to tell me what wire got unplugged from my TV.
The Skinny: The days get shorter and the weeks get longer. I can't quite figure it out. Friday's headlines include a look at the media's obsession with Tim Tebow, a preview of the weekend box office and a battle over anti-piracy bills.
Will "Hung" hang around? HBO’s comedy “Hung,” starring Thomas Jane as a well-endowed, middle-aged school teacher who finds a second career as a male gigolo, may not have the staying power to get to a fourth season. While the show has a loyal following -- including this reporter -- ratings have never been huge for “Hung." However, HBO hasn't been shy about keeping low-rated shows on if it believes in the product. The real issue for "Hung" is that the pay cable channel has at least five new shows waiting in the wings, including the David Milch horse-racing drama “Luck,” “Veep” starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and a new show about cable news from Aaron Sorkin. The real estate crunch at HBO has many wondering if Jane’s character Ray Drecker may have serviced his last client.
Tebow TV. There may be arguments about his passing ability and his openness about his faith, but no one can question Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow's ratings prowess. Networks are fighting with each other to get Bronco games and ESPN and sports radio can't stop talking about him. A look at Tebow mania from the Los Angeles Times.
Staying home for New Years. This weekend's box office battle is between "New Years Eve," another Garry Marshall-directed comedy that doesn't have a cast as much as it has 100 cameos, and Jonah Hill's "The Sitter," which looks like a remake of "Adventures in Babysitting" with Hill in the Elisabeth Shue role. Hmmm. Guess I should thank Hollywood for making sure I stay away from the theater and get my Christmas shopping done. Box office previews from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.
How a bill doesn't become a law. The debate over how best to fight piracy is getting uglier. A new anti-piracy bill from Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) got a thumbs down from Hollywood. The Motion Picture Assn. of America says the new bill is too soft when it comes to shutting down foreign websites that house pirated material. Issa and Wyden offered the bill as an alternative to the Hollywood-backed Stop Online Piracy Act in the House and the Protect IP Act in the Senate, which have been heavily criticized by Silicon Valley giants including Google and Facebook. Details from the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and the Hill.
Where there's a fight, there's spin. Talent agency ICM, which is in the midst of a management fight, has retained public relations spin guru Mike Sitrick to advise it, says the Hollywood Reporter. This is the career to get into folks. Sitrick will go in and say the obvious (in this case "shut up") and walk away with six figures. I don't say that out of anger, but envy. It's great work if you can get it.
Teaming up. Redbox, the folks who own those kiosks you can rent movies at, is partnering with Verizon on a streaming service, according to TechCrunch. The new service will be aimed at variety of digital platforms, but cable television is not one of them. This is an Internet play, not an on-demand cable service, per TechCrunch.
Job opening? The New York Post says ABC News is considering replacing Christiane Amanpour as host of its Sunday morning political talk show "This Week." Growing up, I loved "This Week" and the chemistry between the late David Brinkley and Sam Donaldson, George Will and Cokie Roberts. Nowadays, "This Week" seems to be more focused about what celebrity it can land for ratings rather than intellectual talk about the issues of the day. Last Sunday it had Angelina Jolie and before that Matt Damon. Can't each network have at least one news show that's not dumbed down? None of that is on Amanpour, though, as the push for more celebrities no doubt comes from producers. ABC told the Post that “Christiane is an incredibly valuable member of ABC News team.” Note, they didn't say she was staying with the show.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Kenneth Turan on "Tinker Tailor Solider Spy" and Betsy Sharkey on "Young Adult." The Dodgers got the green light from bankruptcy court to cut a new cable TV deal, over the objections of Fox Sports, which will appeal.
-- Joe Flint
Follow me on Twitter. Watch me fight the power. Twitter.com/JBFlint
Photo: Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times.