The Morning Fix: Fox stays mum on ‘Idol.’ CBS and Comcast break bread. Icahn’s offer rejected by Lions Gate board. Discovery CEO Zaslav buys Conan’s New York pad.
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After the coffee. Before deciding if $25 million for an apartment is just a tad excessive.
Comcast and CBS are BFFs. Well, maybe the nation’s biggest cable operator and the nation’s most-watched broadcaster aren’t best friends forever, but Comcast Corp. and CBS won’t be battling each other for the next decade or so. Comcast and CBS signed a distribution deal that covers not only the CBS television stations, but also its cable networks, including Showtime. Comcast will also get access to CBS shows for its broadband platforms. While terms were not disclosed, analysts put the price tag for the CBS stations at 50 cents per subscriber, with steady increases over the length of the 10-year deal. CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves has said his goal is for CBS to generate north of $250 million annually in subscription revenue within the next few years. More from the Los Angeles Times and New York Times. CBS, a Hulu holdout, is also inching closer to putting some of its content there, according to Reuters.
No vote yet on next ‘American Idol’ judge. Fox executives met with the press Monday morning to tell them they would not be telling them about who the next judges would be on ‘American Idol.’ If you haven’t heard, lead judge Simon Cowell needs to be replaced, as does Ellen DeGeneres, who announced last week she was leaving. Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler are close to new deals and Kara DioGuardi is not expected to be back. Randy Jackson will likely survive. Fox might want to consider Cloris Leachman. She put on quite the show talking to reporters Monday about Fox’s new sitcom ‘Raising Hope’ and seems to want to steal some of her former ‘Mary Tyler Moore’ co-star Betty White’s thunder. Details --well actually, news on the lack of details -- from the Los Angeles Times and Vulture.
Pay cuts at News Corp. The top brass at Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. are taking base pay cuts as part of a restructuring of the company’s executive compensation plan. Bloomberg says the media giant, which owns Fox and the Wall Street Journal, is going to transition to a more performance-based system. Chase Carey, the president and chief operating officer, will see his base pay cut in half to about $4 million a year. I think I could get by on that.
But can he cook an omelet? IndieWire’s Anne Thompson assesses Steve Carell’s career, which thanks to ‘Dinner for Schmucks’ is on a roll. About the only bad thing she can find is that sometimes comedians get red hot for a little bit and then fade away like Robin Williams and Eddie Murphy. However, Carell has already shown he can do some drama and has leading man potential. Now if he can just find someone to replace him on NBC’s ‘The Office.’
3-D backlash grows. While there will be more than 60 3-D movies coming out in the next two years, the New York Times notes that a few prominent directors, including Jon Favreau and J.J. Abrams, have expressed some reluctance about Hollywood’s rush to shoot everything in the format.
Lions Gate board shoots down Icahn’s offer. Investor Carl Icahn’s hostile takeover effort of movie and television production company Lions Gate hit another bump in the road as the company’s board of director’s voted down his $6.50 per-share offer for the company. Icahn and Lions Gate have been battling back and forth for what seems like forever. The latest from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.
Discovery announces stock buyback; CEO Zaslav gets new digs. Discovery Communications, the cable programming giant that owns Discovery and TLC, announced second-quarter net income of $106 million, down 40%. Revenue was up 11% to $963 million. Net income was down, in part because in the second quarter a year ago, Discovery had a gain from the sale of 50% of its Discovery Kids channel to Hasbro. Discovery also announced a $1-billion stock buyback plan. In other Discovery News, its chief executive, David Zaslav, is shelling out $25 million for Conan O’Brien’s old apartment on Central Park West in New York City, according to the New York Times. No word if the Jay Leno and Jeff Zucker punching bags come with the pad.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Atari, one of the original kings of video games, is attempting a comeback. Patrick Goldstein on why older moviegoers aren’t embracing ‘Inception.’ Self-help guru Tony Robbins hopes to give NBC’s summer lineup some help.
-- Joe Flint
Follow me on Twitter. I tell it like it is. Twitter.com/JBFlint