After the coffee. Before the ESPN and ABC upfronts.
The Skinny: I got through the day without any pizza. Let's see if I can make it two in a row. Tuesday's headlines include Fox's new TV schedule for next season. Also, a hedge fund manager is pressuring Sony to split its entertainment assets from the rest of the consumer electronics giant. If you are interested in receiving an email alert when the Morning Fix is live, please send me a note.
Daily Dose: Scott Sassa, the former president of Hearst Entertainment & Syndication who exited his job earlier this year after racy text messages between him and a young woman were sent to his bosses and leaked to the media, has landed a new gig. Sassa was named vice chairman of the El Rey Network, a new cable channel being launched by director Robert Rodriguez later this year. “Scott is a dynamic, seasoned leader in television who has produced results at every stop he’s made, and he’s an innovator who understands the digital future,” Rodriguez said.
Making big bets. After a season that saw its ratings tumble by 20%, Fox is rolling out some big names both in front and behind the camera, including J.J. Abrams, Seth MacFarlane, Greg Kinnear and Matt Dillon, for the next TV season. However, the network is still keeping mum on what new names will be on its two talent shows -- "American Idol" and "The X Factor." Coverage and analysis of Fox's upfront presentation from the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and Hollywood Reporter.
Splitting Sony? Daniel Loeb, a hedge fund manager, wants Sony to spin off its entertainment assets from the rest of the consumer electronic giant, according to the New York Times. Loeb's fund has become one of Sony's largest shareholders, and he was instrumental in the recent shakeup at Yahoo that saw Google's Marissa Mayer join that company as chief executive. The future of Sony's entertainment arm has often been the subject of speculation. CBS has made no secret of its interest in the Japanese giant's movie and TV assets.
More for less. This week, as you are aware, the broadcast networks are presenting their fall schedules to advertisers. Then, in the coming weeks, the sales executives will go out and ask those advertisers to pay more this year than they did last year even though ratings are actually down at most networks. How's that work? Well, the networks argue that even though their audience is shrinking, they still have the biggest piece of the pie and because the viewing universe is more fragmented than ever that makes their commercial inventory even more valuable. Does your head hurt yet? If not, here's a story about it and whether this is the year that reality hits the networks from the Los Angeles Times.
U.S. Open may jump net to cable. ESPN is near a deal to acquire the rights to the U.S. Open tennis tournament, one of the sport's marquee events. The deal would include the semifinals and finals currently held by CBS. According to Sports Business Journal, ESPN would pay $60 million a year for the event, which also appears on the Tennis Channel. ESPN is gobbling up lots of sports to hold off new competition from Fox Sports. The willingness of ESPN and other cable sports outlets to spend heavily is why so many sports are migrating from broadcast to cable.
I'll be toxic. Normally, the Morning Fix stays away from stories about movie or TV projects because so many end up never getting off the ground. But every now and then one pops up that just demands coverage. Such is the case today as Variety reports that Arnold Schwarzenegger is in "talks" (which is somewhere between conversations and negotiations in Hollywood-speak) to star in a remake of "The Toxic Avenger." Unfortunately, the story says Ahnold wouldn't play the Avenger but rather a different lead role. Hopefully, someone will come to his or her senses on that before a contract is signed.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Before there was Dr. Drew there was Dr. Joyce Brothers who died Monday at the age of 85. Star Trek geeks can now understand Klingon with a new translator service from Microsoft's Bing search engine. Next they can move out of their parents' basement.
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