The Morning Fix: Loving ‘Modern Family.’ MGM keeps head down. Labor pains brewing. Comcast and NBC endure marathon hearing.
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After the coffee. Before remembering rain beats snow.
Final four? While the financially troubled MGM awaits to learn of its future and who its next owner might be, staffers there are just trying to focus on the four movies it is releasing over the next 12 months, including the offbeat comedy ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ starring John Cusack, which debuts March 26. ‘We’re just keeping our heads down and focusing on marketing our movies and getting them ready for release,’ Mike Vollman, head of marketing for MGM/United Artists tells the Los Angeles Times. I’m guessing a lot of Los Angeles Times and its parent Tribune Co. staffers can identify with MGM’s situation. Just to keep you up to date on the MGM bidding process, here’s the latest from Bloomberg.
‘Modern Family’ not so modern after all. The Wall Street Journal sends a well-deserved valentine to ABC’s ‘Modern Family,’ the freshman comedy that has found critical acclaim and some ratings success. The story notes that although on the surface the sitcom seems edgy with its gay characters and one couple featuring a much older man and his hot Latina wife, the reality is that it has the core values of classic family sitcoms. One other thing of note in the story, the WSJ found a professor from Syracuse University to quote who wasn’t Robert Thompson. That alone may make the piece Pulitzer-worthy!
Rupert’s reign. The newest trend in journalism is to write an article about an article in the works at another publication. You get to speculate on all the things that article might say without doing much real reporting. Apparently, New York magazine has a big story in the works about internal battles at Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Gawker offers a sneak preview. If the site is on the mark, the article will probe deeper into infighting at the company between various divisions as well as in the executive suite and the family dinner table. We’re guessing there will be a lot about Fox News chief Roger Ailes, who recently came under attack from Murdoch’s son-in-law Matthew Freud. Oh and more about how much clout Rupert’s wife, Wendi, has.
Labor pains. Next summer could be a long one for the industry as four major labor unions -- SAG, WGA, DGA and AFTRA -- all have contracts expiring. The Wrap looks at the battlefield.
Don’t give it all to Howard Stern. Satellite broadcaster Sirius XM Radio posted its first profit since the merger in the fourth quarter of 2000. Chief Executive Mel Karmazin said he expected auto sales to be on the rise and thought that would help further boost subscriptions this year, reports Reuters. Top priority for Karmazin remains signing Howard Stern to a new deal. More on that from the Street.
Geekfest on the go. Is Comic-Con, the convention for fan-boy freaks, outgrowing its San Diego roots? Variety on what cities are offering to be the new home for the only convention that gets kids out of their parents’ basements.
Comcast and NBC Universal take second beating on the Hill. Comcast’s Brian Roberts and NBC Universal’s Jeff Zucker endured a five-hour hearing by the House Judiciary Committee where they were grilled on everything from media consolidation to potential layoffs as a result of their merger to the wardrobes of Telemundo’s female news anchors. Clearly some members of the committee like to use the platform to get all their thoughts about the media industry out there. A summary from Broadcasting & Cable. My favorite moment was watching Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) put Zucker on the spot over diversity.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Jay Leno returns to NBC’s late night on Monday. Scott Collins looks at NBC’s next headache: Who will succeed Leno now? Could ‘The Crazies’ pull off an upset this weekend at the box office?
-- Joe Flint