Before the coffee. After getting through this Comcast hearing.
The Skinny: I'm up even earlier than usual Thursday morning to get this column done fast so I can watch the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal (see below). Fortunately, there was plenty of news Wednesday to fill this column including NBC's new Olympics TV deal, DirecTV tapping Goldman Sachs to advise it on a possible sale to AT&T, and a look at Fox's prime time ups and downs heading into upfront week.
Daily Dose: The House Judiciary Committee will take its shot at scrutinizing Comcast's proposed deal to buy Time Warner Cable this morning. While the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the sale last month was fairly mellow (except for Sen. Al Franken's [D-Minn.] sparring with Comcast executive David Cohen), this one could be more lively. The panel seems stacked with witnesses against the deal. Here's a sneak peak.
Keeping the torch lighted. Comcast's NBC is making a bet that the Olympics will be immune to a rapidly changing media landscape with a deal for all the Olympics between 2021 to 2032 at a price of $7.65 billion plus another $100 million bonus to promote the 2016, 2018 and 2020 games. Talks between the International Olympic Committee, Comcast and NBC on the new deal started last fall and concluded earlier this week. So loyal to NBC is the IOC that it didn't even solicit bids from ESPN or Fox. More on the deal from the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Philadelphia Inquirer.
Call the bankers! DirecTV still isn't commenting on reports that AT&T has expressed interest in buying the satellite broadcaster but it has retained investment bank Goldman Sachs to advise it, according to the Wall Street Journal. Oh, DirecTV declined to comment on that story too. If a deal does come together, there will likely be a lot of red flags raised by media watchdogs who are concerned about consolidation among pay-TV distributors.
Outfoxed? Fox has many holes to fill on its schedule. The network is coming off a season with only a few successes ("Sleepy Hollow," "Brooklyn 99") and several disappointments ("Dads," "Rake" and "Almost Human"). Also, the talent show "American Idol" is now a mere mortal. Next week, Fox will unveil its 2014-15 lineup to advertisers. Among the new shows Fox has high hopes for are the drama "Gotham," which is a prequel of sorts to "Batman," and the comedy "Mulaney," starring comedian John Mulaney and Martin Short. Vulture looks at Fox's challenges heading into upfront week.
Better find a sitter this summer. Families looking to Hollywood to provide entertainment for thier kids this summer may be in for a disappointment. Variety reports that this summer will have fewer kids' movies. Of particular concern for movie theater owners is that Pixar does not have a summer release.
What's next, a celebrity host? Thursday night's NFL draft will go a little more Hollywood this year with "Modern Family" star Ty Burrell representing the St. Louis Rams when it makes its first-round pick. The draft has already gone from a weekend daytime affair to a multiple-night prime-time extravaganza. The Hollywood Reporteron Burrell's role with the Rams.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Having the most-watched Super Bowl ever (despite a blowout) and popular cable channels led to strong third-quarter results for 21st Century Fox.
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