The Morning Fix: Comcast goes after Netflix.
After the coffee. Before figuring out how to combine Jeremy Lin and Netflix into the same story to boost Web traffic.
The Skinny: Wednesday's headlines include Comcast's plans to go after Netflix, a legal battle between Paramount Pictures and the estate of "Godfather" author Mario Puzo, critical look at NBC's "Smash" and concerns over Disney's new movie "John Carter."
Daily Dose: NBC's Brian Williams has the top-rated evening newscast but his prime-time show -- which airs Wednesday night -- continues to struggle. Last week's edition of "Rock Center" drew fewer than 3 million viewers and the show has topped 5 million viewers only three times. By comparison, Bill O'Reilly's Fox News show,which is in fewer homes, almost beat "Rock Center" last week. Hmmm. That might explain why "Saturday Night Live" had O'Reilly on in a skit last week instead of Williams, who often pops up there or on the comedy "30 Rock." Just kidding.
Netflix in their sights. Cable giant Comcast is going after Netflix with its own subscription streaming service. Comcast, parent of NBC and Universal Studios, will not only offer its own content online to subscribers but also programming from other studios. For now, Xfinity Streampix will only be available to people who have Comcast as their cable provider. But down the road Comcast could offer it to customers outside of its cable footprint. Details and analysis from the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Variety.
Get Carter. The knives are out for Walt Disney Co.'s new movie "John Carter." The big-budget science fiction film, which premiers next month, is already being compared in some circles to "Waterworld" and "Ishtar," two of the most notorious movie flops ever. The Daily Beast looks what it is calling a "quarter-billion-dollar movie fiasco."
Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in. Paramount Pictures, the studio behind "The Godfather" canon of movies, is at odds with the family of Mario Puzo, author of the book that inspired three movies about a fictional New York mafia family. Paramount has sued the estate for green-lighting new books about the Corleone family. Paramount says any new books will tarnish the film franchise. I'm not sure Paramount didn't already do that itself with "The Godfather: Part III." More on the legal spat from Reuters.
What's wrong with 'Smash'? Ratings for NBC's much-hyped musical drama "Smash" fell again in week three. Variety's Andy Wallenstein offers an insightful critique of the show's creative missteps. In short: less about the producers and more about the talent. Having watched all three episodes, I tend to agree. Also, give the show an opening with real credits and theme songs. If ever a show needed more than a three-second title card it's "Smash."
Can't hurt ratings. Sacha Baron Cohen wants to liven up the Oscars by showing up in his costume from his upcoming comedy "The Dictator," according to the Hollywood Reporter. Cohen has pulled big stunts at awards shows before -- most famously when he fell from the sky onto Eminem's lap during the MTV Awards.
-- Joe Flint
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Photo: Al Pacino in "The Godfather: Part II." Credit: Paramount Pictures.