The Morning Fix: 'Hunger Games' to ABC Family. No horseplay on 'Luck.'
After the coffee. Before landing an executive to promote this column. Call me and be the first!
The Skinny: I finally started watching "Southland" on TNT and enjoyed what I saw, which wasn't much given how many commercials were jammed in there. Wednesday's headlines include more trouble with horses on the set of HBO's "Luck," Disney's plans to incorporate Marvel characters into its theme parks, another big deal for ESPN, and ABC Family landing rights to "The Hunger Games."
Daily Dose: The bad economy creeps up as a subplot in two new TV shows. Lifetime's "The Client List" is about a woman who goes to work in a "massage" parlor to make ends meet while CBS' new cop drama "NYC 22" features one character who turns to law enforcement after getting laid off as a newspaper reporter. Too bad I'm too old for the police academy.
Standing in line next to Spider-Man. Walt Disney Co., which bought Marvel Entertainment in 2009, is working on a plan to bring the comic book giant's characters to its theme parks. Of course, Universal owns the rights in perpetuity for its Marvel Super Hero Island attraction featuring many famed characters, so just what Disney has in mind is not clear yet. Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Bob Iger also said at the company's annual meeting that Disney has a plan to hire 1,000 U.S. veterans. Coverage of the annual meeting from the Los Angeles Times and Reuters.
BSkyB next casualty for News Corp.? The never-ending ethics scandal at News Corp.'s British tabloids could affect the company's involvement in British Sky Broadcasting, the satellite giant that News Corp. is a large stakeholder in. James Murdoch, the son of News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, may be pressured to resign as chairman of BSkyB. That's just for starters. If the British government decides that News Corp. is unfit to have any involvement in the broadcaster, the company could have to divest. More from the Evening Standard and Financial Times.
Bottomless wallets. ESPN is near a deal to extend its contract to carry the Big 12 Conference. According to Sports Business Daily, the cable sports empire is going to shell out $1.3 billion for a nine-year extension with the conference. Where does ESPN get all this money? Oh yeah, from cable and satellite subscribers like you and me.
Don't ever take sides against the family again. The family of late "Godfather" author Mario Puzo has sued Paramount Pictures for ownership of the classic movie. That suit is in response to Paramount's suit trying to stop the Puzo heirs from publishing another "Godfather" book. Paramount has argued that the books cheapen the value of the movie franchise. Maybe, but didn't "Godfather III" do that too? Details from the Wall Street Journal.
No horsing around. After the death of a third horse, HBO's gambling drama "Luck" has suspended shooting scenes that feature horses. The show, which was already renewed for a second season despite lackluster ratings, has been filming new episodes at the Santa Anita racetrack. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has already been loudly complaining about the treatment of horses during the shooting of "Luck." More from Bloomberg.
Shrinking window. Fans of CW shows "Gossip Girl" and "The Vampire Diaries" won't have to wait three days anymore to watch them online. The CW, concerned about piracy, is shortening the three-day wait to just eight hours. The network ran some tests and determined that such a small window would not hurt the broadcast ratings of the show. Coverage from Variety.
Getting hungry. "The Hunger Games" hasn't even hit theaters yet, but Disney's ABC Family cable channel has already landed a deal for the basic cable rights to the movie. That means if you're not planning on catching it in theaters and don't have pay cable, Netflix or a DVD player, you'll only have to wait 2 1/2 years to see it on television. Details from Broadcasting & Cable.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: "Walking Dead" producer Gale Anne Hurd makes the case for California to expand its film credit to boost production here.
-- Joe Flint
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Photo: HBO's "Luck." Credit: Gusmano Cesaretti/Associated Press