The Morning Fix: ‘Idol’ takes ratings hit! Career advice for De Niro. Haim Saban’s next play (no, it doesn’t involve leather ceilings)

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Before the coffee. After remembering the simple joy of a glass of orange juice.
Buyer beware. Ratings for Fox’s death star, ‘American Idol,’ have come back down to earth. Variety reports that Tuesday’s numbers were the show’s lowest since its first season back in 2002. Look, ‘American Idol’ is still the biggest show out there and, as Forbes notes, brings in a ton of ad revenue. But clearly it is on the other side of the hill, and with Simon Cowell leaving after this season, it is only going to get tougher. Although Fox can milk it for at least a few more years, it’s no wonder Robert Sillerman’s CKX, a co-owner of the show, is looking for potential buyers. How long until we have a daytime syndication version of ‘Idol’? Actually, that’s not a bad idea.

Bet on ‘Iron Man 2.’ Oh wait, I still can’t bet on box-office futures. Well, if I could, I wonder if it would be worth it to short ‘Iron Man 2.’ Anyway, the sequel is set to break some records this weekend, and Anne Thompson at IndieWire looks at the projections and how the first weekend in May went from being a dumping ground for clunkers to a major event for the Hollywood studios.

There’s a pony in here somewhere. CBS reported a first-quarter loss of $26.2-million earnings, but revenues jumped 12% to $3.53 billion. Local ad sales improved at the company’s TV and radio stations, and of course having the Super Bowl didn’t hurt. CBS didn’t say much about reports of talks with CNN about sharing news resources, perhaps because there wasn’t anything to say. For more on the numbers, here’s the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, the latter of which uses earnings as a way in to talk about the network’s prime-time development slate. Bloomberg, meanwhile, does some analysis on CBS CEO Leslie Moonves’ $43-million compensation and argues that he might be a tad overpaid.

Brand builder. Media mogul Haim Saban wants to become a brand mogul too. He’s putting up $500 million and starting a new company aimed at acquiring brands in the fashion, entertainment and celebrity worlds à la Iconix, the company that owns London Fog, Candies and, more recently, the rights to the old ‘Peanuts’ comic strip. Still seems like a risky business to me, but if Haim wants, the Morning Fix brand is available for a price. Just don’t load me down with too many morals clauses in the deal. More from the Los Angeles Times.


Really, it’s a good thing. Comcast filed a couple more really long reports at the Federal Communications Commission defending its proposed takeover of NBC Universal. One of its reports addresses the growing Internet video marketplace. Bloomberg read the documents (I only skimmed them. Not to get all Barry Zuckerkorn on everyone, but it was a really thick filing) and reports, big surprise, that Comcast says it has no incentive to stop other companies from getting access to its content for the Web. We’re pretty sure that consumer activists and would-be Internet content distributors will find that one hard to swallow. Meanwhile, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is expected to unveil a new plan to regulate broadband. Details on that from the Associated Press.

Newsweek on the block. Another media icon may be on its last legs. The Washington Post says it is putting Newsweek up for sale. Lots of Web types will no doubt claim that it is further proof of how mainstream media has become irrelevant. I say let’s wait 10 years and see how well our fragmented media landscape does covering the world. That’s covering the world, not ranting about the world. More on Newsweek and a potential sale from the New York Times.

What’s cooking? Deadline Hollywood’s Nellie Andreeva breaks that CBS has ordered a pilot for a cooking game show featuring Emeril Lagasse. (What’s it called, ‘Baste This’?) It will compete with a remake of the game show ‘Pyramid’ and a talk show from Julie Chen (otherwise known as Mrs. Leslie Moonves, CEO of CBS) for the open time slot on CBS’ daytime schedule. Hmmm, wonder which show will win the bake-off.

You talking to me? The Hollywood Reporter offers some career advice to Robert De Niro. My two cents: Don’t do a ‘Midnight Run’ sequel. It was perfect so don’t mess it up.

Inside the Los Angeles Times. John Lippman on Nicole LaPorte’s detailed (perhaps too detailed) account of the rise and fall of DreamWorks. Kenneth Turan on ‘Iron Man 2.’ Former ‘Daily Show’ and ‘Late Late Show’ host Craig Kilborn is looking to make a comeback. Jordan Hoffner sheds some light on Ben Silverman’s Electus.
-- Joe Flint

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