After the coffee. Before sending a check to Detroit.
The Skinny: Although I consider D.C. home, I was actually born and spent my early youth drinking pop (what you folks call soda) in Detroit and am saddened by Motor City's filing for bankruptcy. At least according to Google Maps, my childhood home is still standing. Friday's headlines include the weekend box office preview, reality guru Mike Darnell finds a new home, and CBS and Time Warner Cable take shots at each other.
Daily Dose: As CBS and Time Warner Cable bicker over a new distribution contract (see below), it is still unclear what will happen with Showtime if a new contract is not reached and CBS-owned TV stations come off of the cable operator's systems. Showtime is also owned by CBS and may become a pawn in the fight. Neither side will officially say if Showtime will or won't come down next week when the CBS stations could go dark if a new pact is not reached.
Horror show. "The Conjuring," a low-budget horror film from Warner Bros., is expected to scare off the rest of the competition this weekend with a take in the $30-million range. The real horror show will be "R.I.P.D.," the Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds 3-D thriller that is expected to be DOA. Also opening is DreamWorks Animation's "Turbo," which may struggle to hit fifth gear. Box office previews from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.
Showdown! Fights between programmers and distributors have pretty much become "dog bites man" stories, but one worth watching is brewing between CBS and Time Warner Cable. On Thursday, talks between the two companies broke down and each prepared ad campaigns critical of the other. At issue is the price CBS wants Time Warner Cable to pay to carry the network's local TV stations. If no agreement or extension on the current deal is agreed upon, CBS-owned stations could come off of Time Warner Cable systems in Los Angeles, New York and elsewhere. More from the Los Angeles Times.
Big job. Mike Darnell, the former reality guru at Fox who left the network in May, has landed a new job at Warner Bros. Darnell will be president of unscripted and alternative television. Darnell will have a lot of turf at Warner Bros. as he has been given oversight of both Telepictures, which makes daytime TV shows including "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," and Warner Horizon, which produces unscripted hits "The Voice" and "The Bachelor." As a result of Darnell's arrival, Hilary Estey McLoughlin, the well-regarded head of Telepictures, is exiting and will become a producer on the Warner lot. Details on Darnell's move from the Hollywood Reporter and Los Angeles Times.
Not going away. No apparently doesn't mean no for Charter Communications, the cable operator that is partially owned by cable mogul John Malone's Liberty Media. According to Bloomberg, Charter has retained investment bank Goldman Sachs to advise it on making a play for Time Warner Cable, a much bigger operator that earlier this year rebuffed overtures from Charter.
Fighting back. SeaWorld is taking issue with "Blackfish," a new documentary that is very critical of the practices at the water parks. SeaWorld has hired a powerful Hollywood public relations firm and is reaching out to movie critics and reporters to tell its side of the story. The move could have the opposite effect of attracting more attention to the movie but SeaWorld is willing to take that risk. The New York Times dives into the story.
Follow me on Twitter. What else have you got going on anyway? @JBFlint.