Entertainment Industry

Category: Watchmen

The Morning Fix: Oscar working on timing. Hasbro and Discovery not toying around. `Superman' has its director.

After the coffee. Before yet another flight to New York.

The Skinny: Discovery's and Hasbro's new kids channel doesn't premiere until Sunday, but the critics are already pouncing. Can't Google everyone with Google TV. "Superman" has its next director. The FCC wants more dirt from Comcast and NBC Universal as part of its review

Oscars on the move. The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences wants to move the annual Oscar Awards telecasts from its current home of the end of February or early March to January or early February. The motivation is to make the Oscars one of the first awards shows instead of the last so there is less chance of awards-show fatigue impacting the telecast's ratings. The challenge is finding a new home that won't get run over by football. Huh? That's right, football. See, the NFL wants to expand its regular season to 18 games (that's a debate for another day) and if (when) that happens, it will mean the Super Bowl and probably some of the playoffs will get pushed well into February. That means the Oscar folks (and host network ABC) have to find a home where they won't bump up against all that football hype on rival networks and still get ahead of other shows. The scoop from the Los Angeles Times.

Not toying around. On Sunday, Discovery and Hasbro will launch "The Hub," a new cable channel aimed primarily at kids age 6-11. Not only will it face tough competition from entrenched channels such as Viacom's Nickelodeon and Disney's Disney Channel and Disney XD, it will also be scrutinized by media watchdogs. That's because there are concerns that Hasbro will try to make the network into nothing but ads for its toys. The channel's boss, respected kids TV executive Margaret Loesch, says that won't be the case and that only about 20% of Hub shows are based on Hasbro products. But will that be enough to silence the critics? More on The Hub from the Los Angeles Times.

Google this! Google, the search engine that wants to become the connector between the Internet and the television, unveiled its content partners, but the list was more notable for who wasn't on it. While several cable networks, including CNBC, HBO and Turner Broadcasting are on board, the big broadcast networks are steering clear of Google -- for now anyway. To get Google TV, at least in its early incarnation, you'll need either a Sony high-definition TV set, a Blu-ray player or a special set-top box. In other words, it may take a little while for this thing to take off. More on Google's small-screen dreams from the New York Times.

Peace accord. Mexican broadcaster Grupo Televisa is shelling out $130 million for a 5% stake in Univision and an additional $1.07 billion in convertible debt that translates into 30% of Univision's shares, according to the Wall Street Journal. Besides giving Univision a much needed infusion, it ends years of acrimony between the two media giants.

And the backlash begins. Although many critics are worshiping "The Social Network" and already talking about how many Oscar nominations it should get, gripes about the portrayal of women in the movie are starting to surface. Missing from the movie, says Rebecca Davis O'Brien in the Daily Beast, are women who aren't "doting groupies, vengeful sluts, or dumpy, feminist killjoys." 

He's baaack! Former NBC Enertainment chief Ben Silverman is back to doing what he does best -- making new versions of successful shows. He's near a deal to make a sitcom for ABC based on an old Latin American comedy called "I Hate This Place." Not sure what's more ironic, that ABC -- whose old entertainment chief Steve McPherson loathed Silverman -- will be home for the show or that Deadline Hollywood, which relished in Silverman's downfall at NBC, was where the story was leaked.

Super Director. Zack Snyder, whose credits include "300" and "Watchmen," has been tapped to direct the latest version of "Superman" for Warner Bros. and Legend Pictures. Chris Nolan will produce. Deadline Hollywood on the choice and what Snyder's thoughts are about taking on the franchise.

Where's mine? The Wrap makes the shocking discovery that even in a field as challenged as journalism, there are some people pulling down huge salaries. Next you'll tell me there are hockey players making big bucks too. The hook for the story is that Michael Ausiello, an Entertainment Weekly writer best known for his television casting scoops, is launching his own website, backed by the owners of Deadline Hollywood. Hey, if someone wants to pay top dollar for content, you'll get no complaints from me.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Thomas Tull, the chairman of Legendary Pictures, is buying out his original investors and has new partners in Fortress Investment Group and Fidelity. The Federal Communications Commission wants more inside information from Comcast and NBC Universal as part of its review of their pending merger. 

-- Joe Flint

Follow me on Twitter and I'll tweet you something special. Twitter.com/JBFlint

Miramax talks expected to extend through the weekend [Updated]

Exclusive negotiations between the Walt Disney Co. and Bob and Harvey Weinstein, who are backed by supermarket magnate Ron Burkle, over the potential acquisition of Miramax Films are expected to stretch through the weekend, people with knowledge of the discussions said.HarVEY1014b0nc

Meanwhile, competing bidders Alec and Tom Gores are awaiting the outcome and keeping their bid on the table for the moment, according to a person familiar with the situation. A third bid, from an offshore corporation being advised by beleaguered financier David Bergstein, also remains in the wings.

Disney hopes to wrap up a deal with the Weinsteins by next week, said a person close to the situation. Although the Weinsteins, who founded Miramax in 1979 and sold it to Disney in 1993, remain highly motivated to win back the specialty label, the negotiations still could break down.

Even though there's pressure to sweeten the deal, a person close to Burkle says the investor won't overpay for the asset. Burkle, who brings the money to the contemplated purchase through his investment firm, the Yucaipa Companies, doesn't have the same emotional attachment to Miramax as do the Weinstein brothers, said one person who knows him. To Burkle, it's an investment that is expected to generate a good return, and not, as it is for the Weinsteins, a bid to reclaim the company.

The Burkle-led bid, which was $600 million for the 600-film library, however, is expected to rise to $625 million with the addition of Miramax's remaining unreleased films, which include the animated "Gnomeo and Juliet" and "The Switch," a romantic comedy starring Jennifer Aniston about a 40-year-old woman who uses a turkey baster to become pregnant.

Updated 6 p.m.: A person familiar with the deal said some, but not all, of the unreleased films will be included in the sale.

Under the arrangement being discussed, Miramax's new owners would pay the marketing and distribution costs of releasing the movies and stand to reap most of the box-office revenue -- after paying Disney a 10% distribution fee.

-- Dawn C. Chmielewski and Claudia Eller

Photo: Movie industry executive Harvey Weinstein attends the Broadway opening of "The Addams Family" at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. Credit: Jemal Countess / Getty Images

'Watchmen' trailer will roll with 'The Dark Knight'

Watchmenposter"The Dark Knight" is getting some pretty intense ramp-up, and the fan excitement for the Christopher Nolan Batman film is intense. But wait, there’s more: I’m told that the first trailer for Zach Snyder’s "Watchmen," due in theaters next March, will be greeting comics fans who are already arriving in the theaters geeked-up. How is this for fitting confluence: Nolan’s film borrows its name and good deal of its grim spirit from "The Dark Knight Returns," Frank Miller’s 1986 graphic novel masterpiece, which changed the ambition and tone of comics. And of course, 1986 was also the year that Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons brought the world "Watchmen," the most ambitious epic ever told in comics. Nice to see that it only took Hollywood a little more than two decades to put two classics together again.

-- Geoff Boucher

Image: Dave Gibbons / DC Comics


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