The Morning Fix: Another day of Conan and Jay. ‘Avatar’ backlash (no, really)! Sex on TV! Sundance time.
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After the coffee. Before wondering how Jack Bauer would handle the Conan negotiations.
Are we done yet? Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin divided up the world in less time than it’s taking NBC to part ways with ‘Tonight Show’ host Conan O’Brien. The latest haggling is over how to compensate O’Brien’s staff, many of whom moved out to Los Angeles from New York. (For what it’s worth, I always thought that the minute NBC announced Jay Leno at 10 p.m., O’Brien should have stayed in New York). In the meantime, another skirmish broke out when O’Brien’s manager basically likened the writers and producers on the show to those who have lost their jobs in the auto industry and elsewhere. That might have been a stretch, and it didn’t sit well with NBC, who then reminded the press that it was O’Brien who chose to leave his show. We’ll just wait for NBC Sports boss Dick Ebersol to jump back in the fray. The latest from the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and the Wrap.
Gearing up for Leno. NBC will have a heck of a promotional challenge on its hands with its decision to put Jay Leno back on at 11:30. Fair or not, he has taken a beating in the press for opting not to go gentle into that good night when Conan O’Brien took over ‘The Tonight Show.’ Variety takes a look at the rehab job the network and Leno are facing. The New York Observer (that’s the cool-looking orange newspaper in NYC that is now edited by Kyle Pope, one of my former editors at the WSJ) looks at how Leno’s nice-guy image is taking a beating.
Meanwhile, at Fox. News Corp. and Fox executives are crunching numbers to figure out if making a run at Conan O’Brien is worth it. The network’s affiliates will be a hard sell, and a lot of programming contracts would have to be written off. Today, the Wall Street Journal looks at the hurdles Fox would face. And to be snarky (oh what the heck, this is downright obnoxious), we’ll note that we already looked at those hurdles several times in the last two weeks, most notably here, here, and, oh, here.
Sundance kicking off. One place where hopefully there will be no talk about NBC late night is in Park City, Utah, where the Sundance film festival is getting underway and everyone will be looking for the next ‘Precious.’ Previews from the Hollywood Reporter and Los Angeles Times.
500 Days of Spider-Man? Marc Webb, the director of the bittersweet romantic comedy '(500) Days of Summer’ has been tapped to take over the next edition of Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man franchise. The latest chapter hit the skids recently when director Sam Raimi and star Tobey Maguire bailed. More from Variety.
Super spot. Every year, some group tries to buy an ad in the Super Bowl they know will be rejected, and then they use the rejection to promote their cause. Last year, it was PETA; a few years earlier it was MoveOn.org. This year, however, Focus on the Family, a Christian organization that has taken an anti-abortion stance, got its ad approved on CBS. AdAge gives us the back story.
Here it comes. The New York Times weighs in with a story about the backlash against Jim Cameron’s hit ‘Avatar.’
Lock up the kids! USA Today looks at the increase in sex on television (is there ever a decrease?).
-- Joe Flint