After the coffee. Before a much-needed three-day weekend!
The Skinny: As you Angelenos drive into work today and gripe about traffic, be grateful you don't live in D.C. The traffic here makes Los Angeles look like a paradise. But we do have a football team! I'm looking forward to being back home this weekend. Friday's headlines include the box office preview, a new partner for CBS and a review of "Safe Haven."
Daily Dose: Now that the cable channel has struck a deal with CBS for more content (see below), its next step is finding a way to reach more viewers. AXS is in fewer than 50 million homes, and without a broad reach, strong ratings and big advertising dollars will be tough to land. CBS could help a little with that, but people familiar with the partnership said it is just about programming.
A good weekend to die hard. The holiday box office will be dominated by the latest Bruce Willis "Die Hard" movie. "A Good Day to Die Hard," which from the ads I've seen looks like it's full of the usual senseless mayhem, is expected to generate north of $50 million. That will put plenty of distance between it and "Safe Haven," a romance film that should take in about $25 million. Neither is expected to get Oscar nominations for best screenplay. Also opening is "Beautiful Creatures," which may make a splash with teen girls. I'm hoping to spend my weekend catching up on TV. Box office previews from the Los Angeles Times and Hollywood Reporter.
Getting Access to AXS. CBS has taken a minority stake in the the fledgling cable channel AXS. As part of the deal, CBS will also provide some content to the channel, whose other backers include entertainment giant AEG, talent agency CAA, Ryan Seacrest and entrepreneur Mark Cuban, who serves as the channel's chief executive. AXS (formerly HDNet) wants to be a CNN for the entertainment and music industry. CBS can provide it with content tied to several big-ticket events, including the Grammys and the Academy of Country Music Awards. More on the partnership from the Los Angeles Times.
New life. With many of NBC's new shows tanking, the conventional wisdom that the drama "Parenthood" and the critical darling "Community" were on their last legs is starting to change. Even though neither has ever been a mega-hit, as Variety notes, both look like "ER" compared to the rest of the network's schedule and could provide some much-needed stability next season.
So much for bigger is better. Once envisioned as the media company of the future, with assets in the Web (AOL), distribution (Time Warner Cable), music (Warner Music), magazines (Time Inc.), TV (HBO and Turner Broadcasting) and Hollywood (Warner Bros.), Time Warner now thinks small. Long gone are AOL Warner Music and the cable systems. Heading out the door next will be much of its magazine unit. The Wall Street Journal looks at the new Time Warner. The New York Times rhapsodizes on the demise of the once-powerful Time Inc.
Speaking truth to power. Hollywood talks a lot about being concerned about the effect that sex and violence in movies and TV shows can have on the culture. But one former network executive says that talking is for show only and never actually about the shows. Jim McKairnes, who spent many years at CBS, shines a light on what goes on behind closed doors in this opinion piece for the DeForest Times-Tribune.Inside the Los Angeles Times: Betsy Sharkey on "Safe Haven." Universal Music agrees to sell Sanctuary Records.
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