The Morning Fix: More ‘Social Network’ bashing. CNN’s ‘Parker Spitzer’ fizzles. Epix pulls plug on epic drama.


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After the coffee. Before deciding if I really miss fall, leaves and color or if that stuff is overrated.

The Skinny: Looks like a slow news day. The New York Times thinks the box office of ‘The Social Network’ could hurt its Oscar chances. The pay-TV channel Epix has no epic original programming in the works. Howie Kurtz, the Washington Post’s longtime media reporter, is going to the Daily Beast. Greg Berlanti has a lot on his plate.


‘The Social Network’ backlash continues. First it was the Daily Beast weighing in with complaints of the portrayal of women in ‘The Social Network’; now, the New York Times checks in with a story asking if the $23 million or so the movie took in during its opening weekend will hurt its Oscar chances. Although a north-of-$20-million opening for an adult drama (subject aside, this is a movie about a legal battle, not about teens and social networking) is very good and its take was in the ballpark of industry estimates, the NYT said the movie’s ‘less than spectacular box office performance in its opening weekend has shifted the playing field — upon which there may now be a brawl.’ All I’ll say is if popularity had anything to do with awards shows, ‘Mad Men’ would never win any Emmys.

No script for success yet. Epix, the pay-TV channel backed by MGM, Lions Gate and Viacom’s Paramount Pictures, pulled the plug on ‘Tough Trade,’ a drama it had been working on for over a year, according to Deadline Hollywood. Though projects often die without seeing the light of day, this one about a Nashville music dynasty, starring Sam Shepard, was to be the first big piece of original programming from the network, which is struggling to get distribution to compete against the more entrenched HBO and Showtime. Epix chief Mark Greenberg says the network remains committed to developing original series but conceded there isn’t anything else in the pipeline at the moment.

This needed research? Nomura Securities analyst Michael Nathanson has released a new study that concludes putting stuff on the Internet for free is a bad idea. In a related story, I’m releasing a study that says going out in the rain with an umbrella will lead to getting drenched. Actually, too often the obvious is ignored by the oblivious. The TV industry, wanting to beat pirates at their own game, created sites such as Hulu to offer content. Unfortunately, the industry started to do it without either subscriber fees or many commercials. ‘Misguided attempts by owners to allow ‘free’ distribution of premium content on the Internet only damages this vital structure,’ wrote Nathanson, who appropriately titled his report ‘The Only Thing to Fear Is … Stupidity Itself.’ More on the report from Variety.

Google is good. At least that’s what Time Warner Inc. Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes thinks. Though many in Hollywood are weary of Google TV, the search engine giant’s initiative to become a distributor and gatekeeper, Bewkes tells the Wall Street Journal that Google TV ‘basically allows more and more people to find their favorite networks.’ For some reason, the line from Exodus ‘there came into Egypt a Pharaoh who did not know’ keeps running through my mind.

Kurtz on new journey. Normally, we don’t zoom in on print, but media reporter Howard Kurtz, who generally focuses on TV news, is leaving his longtime desk at the Washington Post behind for Tina Brown’s Daily Beast website. The Washington Post says it will replace Kurtz, who will continue on his CNN show, ‘Reliable Sources.’ More from the New York Post.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Greg Berlanti is keeping busy with ABC’s ‘No Ordinary Family,’ a movie coming out this weekend and his work writing ‘Green Lantern’ for Warner Bros. CNN’s ‘Parker Spitzer’ didn’t set the ratings on fire in its Monday debut.


-- Joe Flint

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