After the coffee. Before deciding between "Godzilla" and "Neighbors."
The Skinny: The heat wave here appears to have broken but the strong winds have also pushed the smoke from all the wildfires into my neighborhood. I almost have to shut the windows, it is so smokey in here. Friday's headlines include the weekend box office preview, reaction to the FCC's proposed Net neutrality rules and a look at Barbara Walters' impact on TV news.
Daily Dose: WWE stock is down about 50% Friday morning after the company said its hit shows "Raw" and "Smackdown" were staying on NBCUniversal's USA and Syfy channels. So isn't that supposed to be good news? Not when WWE made noise in February about how it was shopping the shows to other networks and thought it would get big rights fee increases. There were no takers. NBCU is paying more for the shows, WWE said, but not nearly what analysts were anticipating. "Investors are left with a feeling that this company constantly 'overpromises' and 'underdelivers,'" said Bradley Safalow of PAA Research.
It's his world. "Godzilla" is expected to destroy everything in its path this weekend. Industry observers expect the movie to take in $70 million and if it does, get ready for a sequel. Hope they make a Monster Zero movie, he was always my favorite. The other big wide-release movie opening this weekend is the family friendly "Million Dollar Arm" starring Jon Hamm as a sports agent who goes to India in search of a pitcher. Box office previews from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.
There is no neutrality on this issue. On Thursday, the FCC released its proposed open Internet rules while protests went on outside the regulatory agency. Specifically, the FCC is pushing rules that would allow broadband providers to cut deals with content companies for better traffic flow. Half the world wants stricter regulation of the Internet and fears allowing such deals willl let big broadband providers play God with content providers. The other half says any regulation will destroy Internet innovation. More from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Los Angeles Times.
Big deal. 21st Century Fox and private equity firm Apollo Global Management have a tentative agreement to create a TV production giant. Apollo controls Core Media and Endemol, which are leaders in unscripted programming; 21st Century Fox will throw Shine Group, which makes both scripted and unscripted fare, into the venture. Lots of details to be worked out so don't be surprised if this takes awhile to come together or in fact falls apart. More from the Los Angeles Times, which broke the deal. Yes, I'm tooting my own horn. It's Friday so why not.
Growing up. The CW Network, which is still seen as a little brother to big boys Fox and CBS, is coming off a pretty decent season and is making big bets for the fall. Still focusing on dramas aimed at teens and young adults, this fall's new shows include "Jane the Virgin" (that title seems self-explanatory) and "The Flash." More on their lineup and strategy from the Los Angeles Times. Meanwhile Peter Liguori, chief executive of Tribune Co., which is the biggest owner of CW affiliates (and the Los Angeles Times) has some concerns about the network's strategy, per remarks he made at an investors conference. More on that from Deadline Hollywood. Separately, NBCU's cable properties also presented new shows to advertisers. More on that from the Hollywood Reporter.
Goodbye and good luck. Barbara Walters, the queen of the big-get interviews, is finally retiring from ABC News. She went out with a bang, scoring V. Stiviano, the woman who took down Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Of course, that's a long way away from Fidel Castro or even Monica Lewinsky but hey, times have changed. The New York Times and Los Angeles Times look at Walters' impact and how the value of the get has gone downhill in the social media/TMZ era we live in.