After the coffee. Before making this heat wave end.
The Skinny: I caught up on "Mad Men" last night. Sunday's episode would have been great if not for that boring Betty and Bobby story. After awhile I just fast-forwarded whenever Betty showed up on screen. According to Twitter, I was not alone. Friday's headlines include more on AT&T's approach to DirecTV. Also, a new "Spider-Man" movie swings into theaters.
Daily Dose: I am asked by Dodger fans every day what is going on with the Dodgers' SportsNet LA channel. Everyone wants to know if Time Warner Cable, which is distributing the network, is near deals with other pay-TV providers, including DirecTV. All I can tell you after covering the cable industry's big convention is that there are talks but no progress. Interestingly, most distributors who are not carrying the channel say they are not getting as many screaming calls as they expected. Instead, many are mad at the Dodgers for selling distribution rights with such a heavy price tag.
Dialing Direct. Although a deal is no certainty and talks are very preliminary, news that telecommunications giant AT&T has expressed interest in satellite broadcaster DirecTV had everyone buzzing Thursday. AT&T's approach came after Comcast announced its plans to buy Time Warner Cable, a deal which many figured would lead to another round of industry consolidation. If an AT&T - DirecTV sale happens, don't be surprised if a) other companies get the urge to merge and b) media watchdogs and consumer activists protest. More on AT&T and DirecTV from the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today.
Casting a web. "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" is expected to cast a big web over the box office this weekend. Industry experts think the sequel to the 2012 remake of the 2002 movie's 2004 sequel (you like that?) could make more than $95 million. Of course, no one wants to predict a $100-million opening because if it comes in at less than than that, 'Spider-Man' will be seen as having been squashed. Box office previews from the Los Angeles Times and Variety. Separately, the Wall Street Journal looks at Sony Pictures Co-Chairman Amy Pascal, an old-school movie boss who still tends to go with her gut over market research and group-think.
Punching above its weight. Netflix loves picking fights. It makes cracks about Time Warner's HBO, which dwarfs Netflix in terms of profits. It cuts a deal with Comcast to help its content flow through the cable giant's broadband networks then complains that it is being extorted. Now it is trying to derail Comcast's deal to acquire Time Warner Cable. Its efforts are getting a lot of attention from the media, and some lawmakers and regulators, but it isn't encouraging other companies from taking on Comcast. Is Netflix a David taking on a Goliath or is it trying to manipulate a situation to its own advantage? The New York Times on Netflix's fighting style.
Betting lines. In just over a week, the broadcast networks will unveil their fall schedules to advertisers. That means everyone starts playing guessing games on what pilots will be picked for the new lineups. I'm too old and tired to keep up with the day-to-day buzz on what's hot and what's not, which is usually based on what projects your agent source is handling. Here's the Hollywood Reporter on 10 pilots likely to make the cut.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Viacom's purchase of Britain's Channel 5 represents a strategic shift for the media giant.
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