After the coffee. Before figuring out why 2014 is dragging.
The Skinny: Apparently the first Monday after Jan. 1 is the most depressing day of the year. I actually was in a good mood yesterday. Go figure. Maybe I'm just grateful not to be at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Tuesday's headlines include a look at the growth of digital sales of TV and movies. Also, Michael Bay's flame-out at CES and a new show about youth football has the NFL throwing a flag.
Daily Dose: This weekend, Fox will carry two early NFL playoff games and CBS will have two late games. That's unusual as typically each network would have one of each. The late games are more desirable because there are more viewers and they lead into prime time. According to a person with knowledge of the matter, CBS has the late games because they feature big-name quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady and the NFL wanted maximum exposure. Fox was OK with this because it got to hold on to this past Sunday's Packers-49ers game, which NBC had wanted.
Digital dollars. The bigwigs of the media and technology industries are gathering this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to look at new toys and discuss the best ways to capitalize on changing media consumption habits. One bit of good news is the rise of digital sales for movies and television shows. Last year, sales topped $1 billion for the first time. Me, I still like to actually hold a box, but I'm rapidly approaching "get off of my lawn" age. More on the growth of digital from the Los Angeles Times.
Lady Jane. Director Jane Campion will head the jury for the 67th Cannes Film Festival in May. She is the only female director to have taken home the festival’s famed Palme d’ Or grand prize, for “The Piano” in 1993. Great, now I'll have a naked Harvey Keitel in my head all day. Variety on Campion's appointment.
Cat got your tongue? So far, the biggest news out of the Consumer Electronics Show is something that didn't happen. Director Michael Bay, known for big-budget and special-effects-driven films including the "Transformers" franchise, was there to a plug a new television from Samsung. Instead, he froze when there were teleprompter issues and stormed off the stage. This wasn't even meant to be a speech but rather a Q&A session with a Samsung executive. In other words, we're not talking Gettysburg Address here. The story and, of course, video from the Hollywood Reporter.
Throwing a flag. The National Football League is less than thrilled with promotional spots hyping "Friday Night Tykes," a new unscripted show from the Esquire Network about a youth football league in Texas. The clips feature coaches berating kids under the age of 10, and are filled with lots of brutal helmet-to-helmet collisions. "The trailer is definitely troubling to watch," an NFL spokesman told the Los Angeles Times. The Esquire Network is owned by NBCUniversal, whose NBC network carries NFL games. The network might learn just how seriously the NFL takes anything that could potentially damage its reputation.
Exclusive membership. It's kind of sad that in 2014 the hiring of a black woman by NBC's "Saturday Night Live" is national news. The show and executive producer Lorne Michaels have taken heat the past few months over criticisms of a lack of diversity in its cast, and on Monday comedian Sasheer Zamata was announced as a new cast member. Normally, Michaels marches to the beat of his own drummer, but this time there was even some internal grumbling by black cast members Kenan Thompson and Jay Pharaoh about having to get into drag and play black women. Well, at least NBC got the hiring in before Martin Luther King Day. Details from the Associated Press.
It was a beautiful day. U2 was honored at the Palm Springs International Film Festival last Saturday, just one of the many intriguing elements to this quirky gathering of Hollywood glitterati. If you couldn't make it, here are recaps from the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times.