Morning Fix: '21 Jump Street' to jump to top. Magic's media empire.
After the coffee. Before staying out of St. Patrick's Day trouble.
The Skinny: It's been about a week and I'm still not adjusting to losing that hour. Maybe some more NCAA basketball will fix me. Friday's headlines include a look at the marketing approach behind "The Hunger Games," a box-office preview of this weekend, Magic Johnson's efforts to build a media empire, and how a new bike lane downtown is annoying producers.
The Daily Dose: The news continues to be bad for "Rock Center," NBC's news magazine anchored by Brian Williams. Although the network's "NBC Nightly News" is the top-rated evening newscast, Williams' popularity is not translating to prime time. This week, the show drew a record-low 2.6 million viewers, finishing behind most broadcast shows as well as some cable programs, including the Fox News show anchored by Bill O'Reilly. In a few weeks, NBC executives will decide the fate of the heavily hyped "Rock Center."
No spoilers here. "The Hunger Games," Lionsgate's film based on the popular book about teenagers engaged in a fight-to-the-death competition, is keeping much of the movie behind wraps in its promotional spots. The $45-million marketing campaign for "The Hunger Games" steers clear of violence and is spoiler-free. Given that the movie is expected to open to more than $100 million, one gets the sense that Lionsgate executives could require viewers to sit through "One for the Money" and they'd still be swimming in cash. More on the Hunger Game-free advertising campaign for "The Hunger Games" from the Los Angeles Times.
Jumping to top spot. Sony Pictures' comedy version of the old Fox TV teen drama "21 Jump Street" is expected to finish on top of the box office this weekend, with a take of $30 million to $35 million. There are no other wide releases this weekend, although "Jeff, Who Lives at Home" and Will Ferrell's Spanish-language "Casa de Mi Padre" will be in limited release. Box-office previews from the Los Angeles Times and Variety. Since you asked, I will be seeing "21 Jump Street," although I am disappointed that Richard Grieco was not given a cameo.
What would Don Draper do? AMC Networks, parent of AMC, the cable channel that is home to "Mad Men," "The Walking Dead" and "Breaking Bad," may have TV critics in the back of their pocket, but Wall Street is another matter. Some analysts were less than thrilled with AMC's fourth-quarter results, which saw a writedown for the failed drama series "Rubicon" and a lower-than-expected profit. More on the numbers from the New York Post. Also, the Wall Street Journal looks at the challenges that the creator of AMC's "The Killing" will have in the show's second season after so many fans were disappointed by the final episode of Season 1.
It's Magic. Former Lakers great Earvin "Magic" Johnson already has proved his business prowess through his real estate investments. Now he's starting to look like a media mogul. He owns several magazines, dabbles in radio and will be chief executive of a new cable network called Aspire. Fortune looks at Johnson's plans to build a media empire.
No "Luck." The abrupt cancellation Wednesday of HBO's gambling drama "Luck," after a third horse died during production, is still a hot topic. Though the tragic deaths of three horses and the resulting negative publicity was certainly the main cause of the show's demise, there were a lot of other issues with "Luck" that had nothing to do with its four-legged actors. Analysis from the New York Times and Los Angeles Times.
Pulling out all the stops. Harvey Weinstein just won't take "R" for an answer. The head of the Weinstein Co. brought some of the people who appear in the production company's new documentary, "Bully," to the nation's capital to plead with Motion Picture Assn. of America chief Christopher Dodd to reverse the R rating the organization slapped on the film. Weinstein says the rating will keep a lot of teens from seeing the movie and that the rating system is out of whack in this case. The MPAA gave the film an R rating because of language. More from the Hollywood Reporter.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Betsy Sharkey on "21 Jump Street." That new bright-green bike lane on Spring Street (where yours truly works) isn't just making drivers crazy, movie and TV producers aren't happy about it either.
-- Joe Flint
Follow me on Twitter. I'm good luck. Twitter.com/JBFlint
Photo: Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill in a scene from "21 Jump Street." Credit: Scott Garfield / Associated Press