Morning Fix: 'John Carter' blame game. Rebekah Brooks arrested.
After the coffee. Before finding out why I wasn't invited to the "Hunger Games" premiere!
The Skinny: Every day I delete tons of emails and every day I'm told I'm over my limit. I have the answer. Stop emailing me! Tuesday's headlines include Rebekah Brooks' second arrest in the phone-hacking scandal at News Corp., second-guessing about what went wrong with Disney's "John Carter" and a recap of the wacky "Desperate Housewives" trial.
Daily Dose: Normally, when an action movie opens to $30 million at the box office, cable networks are lining up to buy the rights to it. But when that movie is Walt Disney Co.'s "John Carter," it's a different story. Don't look for TNT, FX, USA and the other usual suspects to whip out their checkbooks this week to buy the rights. Disney will likely have to find a way to package "John Carter" with some more successful films as part of a group deal.
"John Carter" blame game. With Disney's "John Carter" turning into the 21st century's "Ishtar," there is lots of finger-pointing going on in Hollywood over who should take the heat for putting this turkey in the oven. In this case, it seems like it was a team effort. Although a previous administration initially greenlighted the movie, the current team at Walt Disney Studios had two years to turn the project into something and didn't. Perhaps the plug should have been pulled, but the movie was a passion project for a very important director. The back story from the Los Angeles Times.
Not the best way to start the day. Rebekah Brooks, the former News Corp. executive who used to oversee the company's British newspapers, was arrested Tuesday on charges of obstruction of justice. This is the second time Brooks has been arrested in connection with the British government's probe into phone hacking and other ethical lapses at News Corp.'s British tabloids. Brooks' husband was also arrested as part of the investigation. Early coverage from Sky News, The Guardian and the New York Times.
Gathering Intel. Everyone thinks they can find a better way to offer cable television. The latest to throw its hat in the ring, according to the Wall Street Journal, is computer giant Intel, which has been meeting with programmers to discuss building a system that would deliver content via the Internet. The problem is that no matter the delivery system, the cost of content is the challenge. Intel, according to the WSJ, has been talking about offering fewer channels. But programmers won't likely play ball with that. Disney, Viacom, News Corp., NBCUniversal and Discovery own lots of channels and generally don't let distributors cherry-pick the ones they want. If they do that for Intel, every other cable and satellite operator will be knocking on the door demanding the same treatment.
Never too early to start campaigning. The 2012 Oscars are still fresh in our brains, but that's not stopping some from already trying to figure out who will have the edge for next year's show. USA Today looks at the very early front-runners, a list that includes Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" and Leonardo DiCaprio's "The Great Gatsby." Even Bill Murray could be in the running with his portrayal of Franklin Roosevelt in "Hyde Park on Hudson."
"Hunger Games" goes on diet. Lionsgate had to snip seven seconds from "The Hunger Games" in order to get a rating in Britain that would allow more pre-teens to see the movie, which does have some violence in it. The U.S. version was not required to make any cuts for its PG-13 rating. Details from Variety.
Hallmark moment? After striking out with Martha Stewart, the Hallmark Channel is going back to its roots by offering more feel-good movies and family-friendly reruns. However, fixing programming is only half the battle for Hallmark and its parent, Crown Media. Crown stock has languished for several years, leading to some pretty unhappy shareholders. A look at Hallmark's plans to revitalize itself from the Los Angeles Times.
-- Joe Flint
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Photo: Rebekah Brooks. Credit: Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images