After the coffee. Before the first of many trips to Pasadena.
The Skinny: The winter version of the Television Critics Assn. press tour kicks off today in Pasadena. Are you as excited as I am? Actually, it's not so bad (good schmoozing and free food) and I love racing up and down the 110 Freeway (hope no traffic cops are reading this). Today's roundup includes Vince McMahon's plans for a WWE network. Also, Viacom and CBS chief talks business and pleasure and a review of IFC's miniseries parody "The Spoils of Babylon."
Daily Dose: The WWE's decision to launch an Internet-distributed network (see below) will leave cable and satellite operators with a tough decision. Do they continue to partner with WWE on pay-per-view events even though said events will also be on the new network? None were talking on the record Wednesday, but WWE chief Vince McMahon is hoping they'll figure that even though the new online network will likely take a bite out of pay-per-view, it is still found money for distributors.
A new move. Wrestling kingpin Vince McMahon is going over the top. No, that's not some move he'll be showing off at a pay-per-view event, it's how the WWE will distribute its new network that will debut next month. Rather than launch a traditional channel distributed by cable and satellite operators, WWE's channel will be streamed over the Internet (known as over-the-top, or OTT) at a cost of $9.99 per month for subscribers. It's a big gamble and if successful, could lead to more OTT channels. Details on the WWE's network from the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and Associated Press.
Have to admire his spunk. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, 90 year-old Viacom and CBS Chairman Sumner Redstone finally acknowledges he may not be around forever. Of course, he only did that after saying multiple times before that he has no plans to die. He also talked a little bit about succession at his media empire and why he's friends again with Tom Cruise. And, of course, he has a much younger girlfriend. Then again, at his age any girlfriend would likely be much younger.
The right stock. The gradual overhaul at 20th Century Fox continues with the hiring of former Sony Pictures marketing chief Marc Weinstock to handle hype for the movie studio. Weinstock will report to Paul Hanneman and Tomas Jegeus, who themselves were recently named co-presidents of worldwide theatrical marketing and distribution. More on the hire and its significance from Variety.
Burning questions. Television's second season is underway. The networks are back in original episodes and starting to premiere new shows as well. That means it's time for burning questions. Among the topics TV Guide attempts to address is what Jay Leno will do after his "Tonight Show" gig ends and whether USA Network can finally find success with original sitcoms.
Show some restraint. The Sundance Film Festival gets going next week and movie executives will have their checkbooks out looking for the next indie hit. New York Times critic Manohla Dargis asks for a little restraint. "No matter how exciting Sundance will be this year, no matter how aesthetically electrifying, innovative and entertaining the selections, it’s hard to see how American independent cinema can sustain itself if it continues to focus on consumption rather than curation," she says, adding, "there are, bluntly, too many lackluster, forgettable and just plain bad movies pouring into theaters, distracting the entertainment media and, more important, overwhelming the audience."
Follow me on Twitter. I've got all the right moves. @JBFlint.
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