After the coffee. Before prepping for two weeks of non-stop Super Bowl hype.
The Skinny: Monday's headlines include News Corp.'s plans to launch a Spanish network in the U.S., a look at the weekend box office, a story about RLTV, a cable channel aimed at people over the age of 50 and a piece from Advertising Age about how ABC's "Modern Family" balances content vs. commerce when it comes to product placement.
The Daily Dose: With the New York Giants set to battle the New England Patriots in almost two weeks, NBC couldn't have asked for an easier Super Bowl to promote. Not only did the contenders play in a nail-biter during the regular season, they squared off in perhaps the most memorable Super Bowl ever four years ago when the Giants topped the then undefeated Patriots in a stunning upset. Last year's Super Bowl drew a record 111 million viewers: Don't be surprised if this year's tops that mark.
Senior moment. RLTV, a cable channel founded by John Erickson, who made his fortune building retirement communities, hopes to convince Hollywood and Madison Avenue that the over-50 audience is worth reaching. The network, currently in 15 million homes, hopes to double its reach in the next 12 months and has attracted some familiar faces to go in front of the camera including Joan Lunden, Deborah Norville and Florence Henderson. But persuading big cable operators and advertisers to support the channel is no easy sell. A look at RLTV from the Los Angeles Times.
Caliente! News Corp. announced early Monday that it is teaming up with Colombian broadcaster RCN to launch Mundo Fox, a Spanish broadcast network in the U.S. that will compete against Univision and Telemundo. The announcement, made at the National Assn. of Television Program Executives conference in Miami, said the channel should debut this fall. Details on the new channel from the News Corp.-owned Wall Street Journal, which broke the story.
Unbeatable. Sony's "Underworld: Awakening," the fourth installment of a franchise I was unaware of until three days ago, finished at the top of the box office with $25.4 million. "Red Tails," a historical film about the Tuskeegee Airmen, delivered a stronger-than-expected $19.1 million. "Haywire," which I thought would do better, took in only $9 million. Coverage from the Los Angeles Times and Movie City News.
Man behind the moustache. With the last name Murdoch a little bit tarnished, News Corp. President and Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey, known for his handlebar moustache and his no-nonsense approach to deals, has risen even higher in stature at the Rupert Murdoch-controlled media empire. The New York Times looks at Carey. The Los Angeles Times last year profiled Carey and his "everyone pays" revenue strategy.
A fine line between clever and silly. ABC's "Modern Family" is on the top of every advertiser's list when it comes to product placement. But the show's producers are very selective about the companies they do business with and how products are incorporated into the show. The fear is being seen as a shill, a perception currently plaguing CBS's "Hawaii Five-O," which took heat last week for an over-the-top placement for the Subway sandwich chain. Advertising Age examines what it takes to make the cut and get your product in the hands of the cast of "Modern Family."
Report card. Steve Burke is wrapping up his first year as chief executive of Comcast's NBCUniversal. The New York Post gives him a report card that pretty much reads incomplete and questions whether Universal Studios stays in the portfolio. My question: Where would it go?
Inside the Los Angeles Times: A look at the unappreciated work of Hollywood makeup artists.
-- Joe Flint
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Photo: The Giants and Patriots battling in the 2008 Super Bowl. Credit: Charlie Riedel/Associated Press