The Morning Fix: Pity the writers of ‘A-Team.’ 3-D commercials are coming too. More exits at OWN

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After the coffee. Before deciding what movie not to see this weekend.

Keep those funny glasses on during the commercials! Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN has persuaded three advertisers -- Procter & Gamble, Sony Corp. and its sister production company Pixar -- to make 3-D commercials for the Friday debut of the sports cable powerhouse’s new channel. ESPN 3-D, which will open with coverage of the World Cup, is available in about 50 million homes, but the number of consumers with 3-D television sets is minuscule. The Wall Street Journal’s advertising ace, Suzanne Vranica, says producing such spots can easily cost more than $1 million. It won’t be an easy sell. ‘There will be a high hurdle to get 3-D commercials through in a period of time when advertisers are increasingly scrutinizing’ the production side of the ad business, Brad DeHart, practice leader of marketing services at ICG Commerce, told the WSJ. Meanwhile, Sony unveiled some of its 3-D TV plans. More on that from Variety.

I pity the writers. 20th Century Fox’s ‘The A-Team’ had 11 writers over the course of its development. That’s right, it took almost a dozen people to make a script based on an old TV show known more for its explosives than its explosive dialogue. Anyway, in the end only three writers are getting credit. Deadline Hollywood has the back story on the messy making of a movie and who should take the blame. Of course, if it’s a hit, then the system worked!

Wait until this weekend. Time magazine’s Richard Corliss weighs in with his take on the box office drought, which seems unlikely to improve this weekend. Best observation from him: ‘The joke is that Hollywood has become so sequel-dependent, it has forgotten how to make new hits.’


Don’t answer that phone! It’s probably Jerry Brown or Meg Whitman calling. With the race for governor set (and it looks better than most of the summer movies), Variety says the two candidates are lining up their Hollywood backers and hope to be lining their campaign coffers. Brown, no stranger to Hollywood (or anyone for that matter) counts Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg in his camp. Whitman has Terry Semel and Harry Sloan in her corner.

Covering up the spill. Media trying to cover the Gulf Coast oil spill are hitting road blocks. The New York Times says that not only is BP making access for journalists and photographers tough, but local and federal government isn’t helping much either.

ABC wraps up upfront. ABC became the latest network to finish selling advertising for the fall television season. Although folks close to the network were touting taking in $2.4 billion, that figure covers not only prime time, but late night, news, daytime, etc. Advertising Age and the Los Angeles Times note that with ratings being down at ABC last season and the network selling more ad inventory than it did in the 2009 market, ABC may not have as much to boast about as is being spun.

More exits at OWN. The well-regarded Liz Dolan, a former Nike executive who was a big hire for the Oprah Winfrey Network is the latest to exit the channel that has seen too many changes in its leadership ranks to keep up with. Oh, and it hired a few more programming people. Anyone want to take bets on the over/under on how long they’ll last? More on the hires and less on the exits from the Hollywood Reporter.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: New Producer’s Guild President Mark Gordon talks credits.'Tropic Thunder’ producer Les Grossman may be a great, but a whole movie about him? Monday’s Comcast-NBC hearing offered many lessons, most of them wrong.

-- Joe Flint

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