After the coffee. Before ABC's press tour day.
The Skinny: I was a little bummed (and even teary) by the finale of "24" last night. I'd tell you why but then I'd have to type SPOILER ALERT, so instead I'll just wait till everyone watches it. Check back here in a year. Today's roundup includes comedian Rob Schneider's attempt to self-finance his own sitcom. Also, the NBA wants a big increase in rights fees in its next TV deal.
Daily Dose: Dana Walden and Gary Newman, the heads of 20th Century Fox Television who are over Fox Broadcasting as well, are not totally abandoning the network's new strategy of getting away from pilot season, those frantic months in early spring when all the networks scramble for scripts, writers and actors for new shows. Kevin Reilly, who exited as head of entertainment of Fox two months ago, made a lot of noise about getting out of pilot season to a year-round and less frenzied development cycle. People close to Walden and Newman say the duo agrees in principle with what Reilly was trying to accomplish. Don't expect them to be as vocal about it, though.
A big bet. Comedian Rob Schneider is not kidding about self-financing his own sitcom. The former "Saturday Night Live" star is spending millions on "Real Rob," an hour-long comedy that he hopes to sell to a cable network or streaming service. Schneider is making eight episodes of the show, which also stars his wife, Patricia. His agents advised against the move but Schneider wanted total control, and that was worth more to him than taking his chances by getting into bed with a network or studio. Schneider talks about his spec sitcom with the Los Angeles Times.
Three-point shot. The National Basketball Assn. is the next big sports league looking to jack up its TV rights. Although its current deal with Disney's ESPN and Time Warner's TNT still has one more season to go, talks have been underway for some time and will heat up in the coming months. No surprise that like the National Football League and Major League Baseball, the NBA will seek significant increases from the current deal. If ESPN and TNT can't get deals done, Fox Sports 1 and NBC Sports Network are waiting in the wings. And, as usual, whoever gets the NBA will increase their fees to distributors who will pass the costs on to us. More from the Wall Street Journal.
Into China. Lionsgate, the movie and television production company ("Hunger Games," "Mad Men"), has formed a partnership with Alibaba Group Holding to stream its content into China. Alibaba has taken ownership stakes in some of the major online video providers in China. More on the deal from Bloomberg.
Real life interferes. Two TV shows that are shooting in Israel, FX's "Tyrant" and USA's "Dig," have stopped shooting there temporarily amid the latest fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. "Dig" is taking a break while "Tyrant," which recently premiered, has relocated to Turkey to do some production there, according to USA Today.
Goal! A huge audience in the U.S. watched Germany beat Argentina Sunday in the World Cup (I wasn't one of them as I was working). More than 26 million tuned in for Germany's 1-0 win. This does not include all the people in the office who watched online. The U.S. games earlier in the tournament had bigger audiences, but these are still giant numbers and set a high bar for Fox and Telemundo, which have the rights to the 2018 World Cup. Reuters and the Los Angeles Times on the numbers.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Robert Lloyd on El Rey Network's new drama "Matador." A look at how Nielsen and Facebook are teaming up to track television viewing. Meet the man who says he invented the celebrity selfie.
Follow me on Twitter. I'm quite a lively tweeter. @JBFlint.
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