The Morning Fix: Showtime shuffle! Box-office trading blow. Would you like fries with M. Night Shyamalan?
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After the coffee. Before a moment of sadness over Detroit closing two parks I played in as a kid.
See ya, Showtime. Bob Greenblatt, the head of pay cable channel Showtime, is making his exit. Greenblatt, a veteran of Fox and his own production company, oversaw Showtime’s emergence as a programming force with original series such as ‘Nurse Jackie,’ ‘Dexter’ and ‘Californication.’ In line to take the Showtime gig is another respected executive: David Nevins who stepped down as head of Imagine TV ('24,’ ‘Friday Night Lights,’ Arrested Development,’ ‘Parenthood’) Thursday. As for Greenblatt, his name has been bandied about for a big job at NBC after its merger deal with Comcast closes, but we’ll just have to see about that. Deadline Hollywood broke the news about Nevins leaving Imagine. Variety broke the news about Greenblatt leaving and Nevins likely succeeding him. And I link to the Los Angeles Times as well because, well, I’m a homer.
A new Night. Director M. Night Shyamalan, who hit his first couple of movies out of the park (‘The Sixth Sense,’ ‘Unbreakable’) before hitting a slump (‘The Happening’) is back with ‘The Last Airbender.’ But this time he’s got some backup from some unusual sources -- Nickelodeon and McDonald’s. The movie is based on a Nickelodeon cartoon and is a step away from his supernatural stuff. ‘For the last 10 years, I’ve been working in a cottage industry of the supernatural,’ said Shyamalan. ‘And I’ve always had my eye on doing a franchise,’ he told Claudia Eller of the Los Angeles Times.
Put a hold on box-office futures trading. The House-Senate conference committee hammering out the bill on financial reform that was approved Thursday night included a ban on the creation of a box-office futures trading market. This likely puts a fork in the plans of the two companies behind the plans for an exchange, although one says the fight will go on. Details from the Hollywood Reporter and the Wrap.
Hit the pause button. Apparently NBC Universal and Comcast are having a hard time getting their paperwork together. The Federal Communications Commission is complaining that neither answered all the questions the agency sent the two companies as part of its review of the merger deal. Comcast said its issues were ‘technical.’ No word what NBC Universal’s issues were. The FCC said it would resume its review as soon as it gets more info. Broadcasting & Cable has the story.
Watching Hulu on a PlayStation. Yes, it could become a reality! Bloomberg reports that Sony Corp. is putting the finishing touches on a deal in which its users could access Hulu via the PlayStation network. Obviously, getting into the video game consoles could mean a bigger audience for Hulu and create yet another option for people wanting content but don’t want cable. But I’m a little jaded about all the Hulu coverage when its own future has lots of questions. (What will Comcast do with NBC’s stake after their deal closes and will the pay model work?) The Wall Street Journal updates Hulu’s pay plans.
A different Current. The Hollywood Reporter takes a probing look at Current TV, the news and public affairs cable network started by Al Gore that originally was going to subsist primarily on user contributions. Last year, after efforts to either sell (no takers, not even Google, says THR) or go public stalled out, former MTV executive Mark Rosenthal was brought in as chief executive, and he’s now reaching out for help from his old pals, including Brian Graden, the former MTV programmer who is consulting Current. On the business side, Current’s next big challenge is renewing its distribution deal with Time Warner Cable, the nation’s second-largest cable operator. Fortunately for Current, Comcast, the country’s biggest cable operator, has a stake in it.
More of the same. The Daily Beast’s Rachel Sklar says the country may be getting more diverse but cable news isn’t.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Dave Smith may know more about Disney than anyone named Disney. The Weinstein Co. may have taken care of some debt headaches, but is the short-term fix enough for the art house to turn around? Looks like another big weekend for ‘Toy Story 3.’
-- Joe Flint
Now with 70% more sarcasm. Follow me on Twitter: Twitter.com/JBFlint