The Morning Fix: 'Lorax' debuts. Aereo sued. WWE unchanneled?
After the coffee. Before finally getting a new muffler.
The Skinny: Friday's headlines include a preview of the weekend box office, a legal battle over a new service promising to stream broadcast television, Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone's busy life and how the WWE's plans for a cable channel seem to have taken a fall.
Daily Dose. In what will likely turn out to be a case of "do what I say, not what I do," Time Warner Cable Chief Executive Glenn Britt again lamented the rising costs of programming and how consumers suffer in the end. “A lot of the people who are living paycheck-to-paycheck want our product, but simply can’t afford it," Britt said at an investor conference. Of course, Time Warner Cable will soon be hitting Los Angeles consumers with a new sports network that will carry the Los Angeles Lakers and that could end up with the Dodgers as well. Maybe Britt will back up his words and give customers the option to subscribe to it instead of making everyone pay.
"The Lorax" to clean up. Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax," about an environmentally conscious creature, is expected to sweep the competition out of the way at the box office this weekend. The 3-D movie is expected to take in about $50 million. Also opening is the low-budget teen comedy "Project X," which is poised to take in $20 million. I'd like to see that but I don't want to ruin the demographics for Warner Bros. Box office previews from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.
That was quick. Aereo, a start-up backed by mogul Barry Diller that streams broadcast TV signals over the Internet, is due to launch in New York in a few weeks, but Thursday it was hit with lawsuits from CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC, Univision, PBS and some local broadcasters. The suits were expected as the networks generally don't take kindly to people trying to stream their signals without permission. Details from the Los Angeles Times and Paid Content.
Does he have better things to do? Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone is skipping the company's annual meeting in New York next week. It's the first time in recent memory that the 88-year-old media mogul has skipped a shareholder gathering. The company said the decision wasn't health-related. Details from the Wall Street Journal. Redstone does have his priorities in order. While he'll miss the meeting, he will be present later in March when he gets a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, reported the Los Angeles Times.
A bone to pick. Walt Disney Co. is battling with Institutional Shareholder Services, a proxy advisory firm. At issue is Disney's decision to name its chief executive, Bob Iger, the company's chairman as well. ISS says Disney is reneging on a promise to have independent board leadership. Disney countered that it never made such a commitment. More from the New York Times and Los Angeles Times.
Pinned down. WWE, the folks behind professional wrestling, has for years talked about launching its own cable network. But the New York Post reports those plans are "on the ropes." WWE, the Post said, wanted to have a channel launched by this spring.
The boss is back. Bruce Springsteen's latest CD, "Wrecking Ball," hits stores next week. Normally we steer clear of music reviews, but it is Friday and I'm still something of a Springsteen fan, so here's the USA Today take on the new release.
-- Joe Flint
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Photo: "The Lorax." Credit: MCT