Morning Fix: Seacrest and Cuban launch AXS! SOPA opera heats up.
After the coffee. Before seeing how "American Idol" did.
The Skinny: I've got a ton of midseason shows collecting dust that I need to get through this weekend. Otherwise, how can I make fun of them? Thursday's stories include a new cable channel being launched by Ryan Seacrest and Mark Cuban, News Corp. settling more phone hacking cases, the continuing drama over proposed anti-piracy legislation and a shameful example of product placement. Now enjoy that Starbucks!
The Daily Dose: How many producers of the Fox comedy "New Girl" does it take to sit on a panel about making hit TV shows? It takes three. That's two more than the other shows with producers on a panel discussion being held Thursday by the Hollywood Radio Television Society luncheon. While "Two Broke Girls," "Justified" and "Walking Dead" each will have one producer field questions from the moderator, "Rescue Me" co-creator Peter Tolan, "New Girl" finagled three seats and thus 50% of the panel. So is this a case of egos out of control? HRTS executive director Dave Ferrara tried to downplay the unusual situation, saying "it felt like since we had the space and the three were so closely involved with the creation of the show that it would be an interesting take on it." But we understand the three will have to share one microphone.
Seacrest in! Ryan Seacrest, Mark Cuban, concert promotion giant AEG and talent shop Creative Artists Agency are partnering on a new cable channel that will focus on covering the world of pop culture and entertainment. Think of what E! and MTV used to be with the added element of being live most of the time. The channel will be called AXS. No, it's not supposed to sound like a body spray. It means "access." Although Seacrest is an investor, he will not have an on-air role on the channel, and the partners stressed this will not be the Ryan Seacrest channel. Details from the Los Angeles Times and Hollywood Reporter.
SOPA opera. The fight over the Stop Online Piracy Act continues to rage with lots of websites going dark to protest a bill they feel will stifle speech and innovation on the Internet. Hollywood, meanwhile, has seen its hopes of getting SOPA through Congress fade as the White House has voiced its concerns about the proposed legislation. The Wall Street Journal on Hollywood's challenge on the bill and the Los Angeles Times on how President Obama could face a backlash from his entertainment industry supporters.
Get out the checkbook! Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. will cough up big bucks to settle some 36 claims of phone hacking against the media giant's now-closed News of the World tabloid and its other gossip rag, the Sun. Among those settling with the company are actor Jude Law and soccer star Ashley Cole. More from the Associated Press.
Tacky! I don't watch CBS's "Hawaii Five-0", but the New York Times does and they spotted this over-the-top bit of product placement from Subway, the sandwich chain. Hope the writers at least got a piece of the coin for having to sell out in such a big way.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Nicole Sperling on Tilda Swinton's dark movie "We Need to Talk About Kevin."
-- Joe Flint
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Photo: Ryan Seacrest. Credit: Matt Sayles / Associated Press