The Morning Fix: 'Hunger Games' may set record. Encore for 'Smash.'
After the coffee. Before figuring out what I'm watching versus what I'm recording on Sunday night.
The Skinny:I think "Mad Men" is back this Sunday but I'm not sure. I wish there was just a little bit of promotion from AMC about it and a little more attention to the show from the media. Yes, that's sarcasm. Friday's headlines include a look at how big "The Hunger Games" will be this weekend and a scandal at one of the nation's biggest broadcasters. Also, there is a rise in work for little people.
The Daily Dose:With religious broadcaster Trinity Broadcasting Network, one of the country's biggest owners of local television stations, embroiled in scandal (see below), it will be interesting to see if there's any fallout from the government. The Federal Communications Commission wants local broadcasters to give up some of their airwaves to boost cellphones and new digital devices. If the accusations of fraud against TBN pan out, then in theory the FCC could try to reclaim their spectrum and have it auctioned or sold to wireless companies.
TBN future TBD.Trinity Broadcasting Network, a religious broadcaster that owns more than 20 television stations around the country, has been accused of fraud by a former executive and relative of TBN co-founder Paul Crouch. Brittany Koper, who held senior positions at the Southern California-based broadcaster and is a granddaughter of Crouch, filed a lawsuit in Orange Country Superior Court accusing TBN brass of illegal financing schemes and using funds for personal purposes. Details on the suit from the Los Angeles Times.
Big weekend. Industry experts are predicting that "The Hunger Games" could take in between $125 million and $150 million this weekend. If it does meet those expectations, that would give "The Hunger Games" the biggest debut for a non-sequel movie ever. Hey, if I have a ticket, that should tell you all you need to know about how well this movie will do. Box office previews from the Los Angeles Times and Variety. Playing devil's advocate, Advertising Age columnist Seraj Bharwani predicts that "The Hunger Games" will take in only $80 million. Let's ask Monday if he had to eat those words.
Curtain call.NBC announced Thursday that it was bringing back "Smash," its musical drama about the making of a Broadway play about Marilyn Monroe. What NBC didn't say is that the show's creator, Theresa Rebeck, would not be the show runner next season. There has been concern that some of the plots in "Smash" focus too much on arcane details of interest only to theater geeks (and many of those, including my significant other, feel the show gets it wrong as much as it gets it right) and that the program needs to broaden if it wants to be more than a niche show. More on the shakeup from Deadline Hollywood.
Third time's the charm? "Hangover" director Todd Phillips is planning one more sequel to the hit movie. The Hollywood Reporter quotes Phillips saying, “We're going to surprise a lot of people with the final chapter we have planned." Maybe he means that this one will actually be funny, unlike the second "Hangover" movie.
Big jobs for little people. The Wall Street Journal looks at the growing use of little people in movies (the upcoming "Mirror) and television (HBO's "Game of Thrones" and "Life's Too Short") and how Hollywood has made gains to steer clear of cheap jokes, stereotypes and a certain "M" word that is particularly offensive.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Robert Lloyd on the return of "Mad Men."
-- Joe Flint
Follow me on Twitter, I'm not afraid to say there's too much hype for "Mad Men." Twitter.com/JBFlint
Photo: Megan Hilty and Will Chase in the NBC musical drama "Smash. Credit: NBC