After the coffee. Before checking my brackets!
The Skinny: I'm feeling a little better today but am not at 100%. But I'm here for you as always. Friday's roundup includes the weekend box office forecast and my story on the Dodger channel's struggle to get distribution. Also, Netflix is mad at Comcast, and Time Warner Chief Executive Rob Marcus is about to become the most popular member of his family thanks to his exit package.
Daily Dose: Time Warner Cable is beating the drum for SportsNet LA, the new Dodger-owned channel that is carrying the majority of the team's games (see below). But the cable company, which is handling distribution for the Dodgers, may want to check its records before it sends out email blasts encouraging people to call their distributor and demand the network. I'm a Time Warner Cable customer but I got an email from them that indicates they think I'm a Dish Network subscriber. Sorry guys, I won't be calling Dish on your behalf.
Out at home! The Dodgers will start to defend their National League West title Saturday, but the majority of Los Angeles fans will have to break out their radios to catch the action. SportsNet LA, the team's new network that Time Warner Cable distributes, doesn't have distribution deals with the bulk of area pay-TV providers including DirecTV, Dish, Charter, Cox and FiOS. Fans are getting restless and annoyed at the team and Time Warner Cable, reports the Los Angeles Times.
No diversions for "Divergent." Looks like Lionsgate may have another monster teen hit this weekend with "Divergent," which is projected to make north of $50 million. Although there have been a fair amount of negative reviews, the young audience will probably decide for itself. Now if they agree with reviewers, word-of-mouth could hurt Week 2. Also opening (and where you'll find me on Saturday) is "Muppets Most Wanted." Expectations are that Kermit and the gang will pull in $25 million. Box office previews from the Los Angeles Times and Hollywood Reporter.
Big payday. Time Warner Cable Chief Executive Rob Marcus won't leave the company empty-handed after it's acquired by Comcast Corp. According to a SEC filing, Marcus will get an exit package valued at about $80 million including $20.5 million in cash. Marcus took over as CEO in January and last month agreed to sell the company. Can I get a deal like that? Details from Bloomberg and New York Times.
Making his case. Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings apparently is a little bitter about the deal his company cut to pay Comcast for smoother Internet transmissions. In a blog post, Hastings said Internet Service Providers should provide so-called peer-to-peer connections free and to not do so is a violation of the principles of an open Internet or net neutrality. Comcast disagrees that peering has any relation to net neutrality. Hastings timed his blast at Comcast just as the government gets set to review the cable giant's deal to acquire Time Warner Cable. Stories from the Wall Street Journal and Re/Code.
Big deal. Media General and LIN Media have agreed to merge in a deal valued at $1.6 billion. The combined company will own more than 70 stations and will become the second largest broadcaster in terms of number of stations behind Sinclair Broadcast Group. The deal is the latest example of consolidation among local broadcasters and will likely have media watchdogs crying foul. Reuters and the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Media General is based in Richmond, Va.).
No more Discovery. John Hendricks, chairman and founder of Discovery Networks, said he would retire from that post and the media giant's board of directors in May. Hendricks was in academia when he decided in the 1980s to try to start an educational channel that would focus on science and nature. The empire got built, but along the way became much more mainstream and is now home to lots of reality fare that is a long way from Hendricks' vision. More from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.
A comeback for "The Comeback?" Remember the HBO comedy "The Comeback" starring Lisa Kudrow as a sitcom star struggling to have a second act? It struggled in the ratings but had some critical acclaim. Deadline Hollywood says HBO is considering making new episodes of the show. "The Comeback" was one of those shows that was a little uncomfortable to watch but it did grow on me eventually, though I'm not sure the world has been screaming out for more episodes.
Follow me on Twitter and watch your life get better. Not sure what it does for my life. @JBFlint.