The Morning Fix: Box office bust. Longer Super Bowl ads coming.
After the coffee. Before figuring how many resolutions I already broke.
The Skinny: Did you miss me? The vacation I took already seems like a distant memory. Tuesday's headlines include a last look at Hollywood's disappointing 2011 and how advertisers are planning for longer commercials during the Super Bowl. Oh, and we have no articles about News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch joining Twitter. After all, his publications didn't write about me when I joined.
Will this be a case of do as I say, not as I do? The new year started on a bad note for New York City sports fans as the cable sports channel MSG was dropped from Time Warner Cable homes in a dispute over a new deal for the channel. Time Warner Cable President Glenn Britt recently told the Wall Street Journal that the rising cost of sports means that cable operators should put those channels on a separate tier. So does that mean that Time Warner Cable's new Los Angeles sports network that will carry the Lakers next season won't be jammed down our throats? Uh, no. But Time Warner Cable says the channel will be reasonably priced. We'll see.
A year to forget. Santa Claus knew what you weren't doing last year. You weren't going to movies. Last year, Hollywood endured a 4% decline in attendance. Paramount Pictures Chairman Brad Grey told the Los Angeles Times that it is not a dwindling appetite for movies that is hurting box office. "There's an audience for everything -- it's going to be about how we make up for lower sales at the box office and with DVDs through digital distribution," he said. Of course, one could argue it is Hollywood's obsession with these new platforms, coupled with rising ticket prices, keeping people away from the multiplex. Why go see it in the theater if you can stream it four months later? As for last weekend at the box office, Tom Cruise's latest "Mission: Impossible" finished first, with $38.3 million. The Wrap also tries to tell us what's wrong with the box office.
Just what we needed. Next month's Super Bowl will feature several commercials that will run longer than the usual 30 seconds. "You're going to see the art form of storytelling take on a greater role in the Super Bowl," Seth Winter, NBC Sports Group's senior vice president, told Advertising Age. So far, the only advertiser to confirm a longer commercial is Volkswagen, which last year scored a hit with its Darth Vader spot.
When I grow up, I want to be just like him! Fortune has seen the future of media, and its name is Ryan Seacrest! Writer Daniel Roberts says today's media landscape was made for the host of "American Idol" and producer of shows including "Keeping up with the Kardashians." "It is a world in which Seacrest is sure to thrive: His ubiquity ensures that the Seacrest personal brand will reach a big swath of consumers," he wrote. That's true, but one could also look at Seacrest and say that he's trying to gut our culture one Kardashian at a time.
Crisis or opportunity? Public relations executives are rarely the subject of profiles, in part because we in the media feel little need to glorify the gatekeepers to the execs we need access to. But the New York Times takes a look at Laurie Goldberg, the head of spin for the cable network TLC. Over the last few years, TLC has had several shows, including "Jon & Kate Plus 8," "All-American Muslim," "Sister Wives" and "Sarah Palin's Alaska," that have generated a lot of controversy. Of course, one could argue that having programs that generate lots of media attention makes a PR person's job easy even if the hours are long. Most networks would kill to have morning shows and People magazine chasing their talent like they chased Kate Gosselin. Now, the head of PR for struggling NBC or Oprah Winfrey's OWN, there's a thankless job.
A sports channel without sports. Versus is no more. The Comcast Corp.-owned cable sports channel is now officially NBC Sports Network. The only problem is it doesn't really have a heck of a lot of sports. USA Today looks at what's on the channel and, more important, what's not.
Here we go. Awards season is hitting fourth gear. Here's a look from Deadline Hollywood at the race for the best actor Oscar, which the industry trade site says is between George Clooney and Brad Pitt, and whether Meryl Streep can win another best actress statue.
Something's coming, something good. Apple has an announcement coming! We don't know what the announcement will be or how it will radically alter your life, but rest assured it will be some sort of device you didn't even know you needed that will change the way you view the universe. Could it be that iToilet I've been dreaming about? All Things Digital tries to figure out what Apple has in the works.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Radio Caracas TV, the Venezuelan media giant that was stripped of its television channels by President Hugo Chavez, is turning to Hollywood to find new fortunes. Better not try to pitch Sean Penn. Israeli television shows are starting to serve as a farm team for Hollywood.
-- Joe Flint
Follow me on Twitter. It's the only way to get through 2012 in one piece. Twitter.com/JBFlint
Photo: A scene from "Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol." Credit: David James / Associated Press