The Morning Fix: SAG-AFTRA protest. Reading Reed Hastings.
After the coffee. Before making sure this cough doesn't become a cold.
The Skinny: ABC's "Modern Family" on Wednesday night once again showed how a potentially sensitive subplot -- this time the loss of a daughter's virginity -- can be handled with grace and humor. Still, have to wonder how comfortable ABC brass was with that story line. Headlines include a shake-up at Paramount's animation unit, the revolt of Ed Asner and other actors against the proposed merger of SAG and AFTRA, and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings talks about his company's rough 2011.
Daily Dose: Fans of ABC's General Hospital" may have reason to be optimistic that the soap will live for another season. That's because "General Hospital" is easily beating ABC's new chat show, "The Revolution," in viewers and in key female demographics. ABC has to make a decision which show to keep before this fall when Katie Couric's new talk show premieres on ABC-owned stations. If ABC goes by the numbers, then "General Hospital" can certainly make the case to live another year. However, the network has made clear it does not believe in the long-term future of soaps, so don't be shocked if it scraps both "General Hospital" and "The Revolution" in favor of something else.
That was fast. David Stainton is exiting as president of Paramount's animation unit only four months after taking the job. No explanation other than personal reasons was given for the abrupt resignation and the move has raised questions about the studio's long-term animation strategy. Coverage from the Los Angeles Times and New York Post.
Reading Reed. Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings is trying to move past 2011, the year the company managed to alienate its customer base and send investors fleeing. Vanity Fair chats with the media-shy Hastings who at least keeps things in perspective. "Our issues were ones that were unfortunate business judgments, not of morality or ethics or scandal,” he said.
We're gonna break it after all. Former "Mary Tyler Moore" co-stars Ed Asner and Valerie Harper are working on a new project: breaking up the merger between actor unions SAG and AFTRA. Other actors trying to put the brakes on the combination include Martin Sheen and Ed Harris. More from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.
Making the wrong enemies. Cherie Blair, wife for former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, has sued News Corp. alleging that her voicemails were hacked by a private investigator who had worked for the media giant's now-shuttered News of the World tabloid. Tony Blair and News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch became BFFs during the former's tenure. Blair is even a godfather to one of Murdoch's young daughters. At this point, it might be easier if everyone in London who doesn't think News Corp. hacked their phones stepped forward. It could be a smaller list. More on Blair's suit from Bloomberg.
Big potential. While new cable channels from Magic Johnson and Sean Combs got all the attention earlier this week, cable giant Comcast Corp. is also going to a Spanish-language entertainment channel from director Robert Rodriguez. Earlier this year, Fox announced its plans for a Spanish-language channel and Univision often scores ratings on par with English-language networks. USA Today looks at the Latino audience and its growing clout on the media landscape.
No fun. On Wednesday, the Hollywood Reporter said Sacha Baron Cohen was planning to attend this Sunday's Oscars dressed in the costume and makeup he wears in his upcoming comedy "The Dictator." It didn't take too long for Deadline Hollywood to report that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences threatened to pull Cohen's tickets if he tried the stunt. Whether Cohen really wanted to wear the costume or just wanted a little attention for his movie remains to be seen. The Academy on the other hand showed themselves to be a little uptight. After all, it's not as if the telecast has to show Cohen in the crowd if he wore the outfit.
-- Joe Flint
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Photo: Ed Asner. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times.