By Joe Flint
6:51 AM PST, December 13, 2013
After the coffee. Before pretending to do important things today.
The Skinny: Caught a classic episode of "The Sopranos" last night. I think everyone anointing "Breaking Bad" the greatest drama ever needs to revisit Season 1 "The Sopranos." Friday's headlines include the box -office preview and the push by "Saturday Night Live" to add black women to its cast. Also, Aereo wants to duke it out with broadcasters in the Supreme Court.
Daily Dose: At an investor conference Thursday, DirecTV CEO Mike White suggested the satellite broadcaster is exploring the concept of launching its online video service. If this sounds vaguely familiar it means you are one of my regular readers, because I wrote about DirecTV seeking programming rights to launch such a service back in July. Yes, I'm tooting my own horn this morning. It's Friday, I'm allowed.
Weekend forecast is for thick "Smaug." "Frozen" and "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" will be overwhelmed by smog this weekend. Oh wait, it's not smog, it's "Smaug." Box-office forecasters are predicting that "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" will make $80 million this weekend. The first "Hobbit" took in $84.6 million. Also opening is "Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas," which is expected to make close to $30 million. Also opening in limited release is "American Hustle" and "Saving Mr. Banks." Box office previews from the Los Angeles Times and Hollywood Reporter.
Making a change. After getting blasted by critics and his own cast members, "Saturday Night Live" producer Lorne Michaels is making a push to hire some black female comics. The show held auditions this week and is intending to make an addition to the cast early next year. Now if they can just do something about making the show funnier. Michaels talks to the New York Times about the search.
Take them to court! Aereo, the start-up company that distributes local TV station signals via the Internet, said it won't fight efforts by big broadcasters to have the Supreme Court decide whether the service is legal or not. Aereo has already won in lower courts and broadcasters -- including CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox -- fear that the service could undermine the revenue it gets from pay-TV distributors. Of course, the Supreme Court has not yet said if it will hear the case. More on the legal battle from the Los Angeles Times and Broadcasting & Cable.
Everyone has a bill to play. Two different bills looking to change many aspects of the current media landscape were introduced in Congress yesterday. Won't bore you with all the details here, but both bills are seeking to change the relationship between broadcasters and pay-TV distributors. The bills will probably face a long, hard road. Details from TV NewsCheck and the Los Angeles Times.Inside the Los Angeles Times: Steve Zeitchik offers his take on the Golden Globe nominations.
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