The Morning Fix: Forbes ranks the ladies. ABC News gets grant from Gates Foundation. Paramount’s patient approach to the Oscars.
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After the coffee. Before wondering if it’s too soon to think Yankees repeat.
The Skinny: Today’s headlines include another power list, this time from Forbes. More previews of Discovery’s and Hasbro’s new kids channel. A look at Paramount’s Oscar strategy and some financial aid for ABC News.
Women who can buy us all lunch. Forbes profiles the 100 most powerful women in business, and, like most lists, a lot of the rankings make no sense. Is Oprah Winfrey really more powerful than Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton? Maybe more wealthy, maybe more popular. But more powerful? It was a pretty poor showing for the entertainment industry on this list. Is that due to a lack of powerful female executives in Hollywood or Forbes not being thorough? I’ll argue both. Disney’s Anne Sweeney is the highest-ranking television executive on the list and she doesn’t clock in until No. 69, which seems a little absurd. Sony’s Amy Pascal was No. 87. Not sure why CBS’ Nina Tassler, MTV’s Judy McGrath and Nickelodeon’s Cyma Zarghami didn’t make the cut. Everyone on the Forbes list has a nice picture next to their profile except for one woman. I won’t say who it is, but you probably read her website every day.
Get ready for a new kids’ channel. Discovery’s and Hasbro’s new kids’ TV channel The Hub launches this Sunday. On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times weighed in with a story about the concerns from advocates that the network will be nothing but a shill for Hasbro toys. Now the Wall Street Journal and Boston Globe check in with their preview stories about the new network and the challenges it will face battling Nickelodeon and Disney.
Studio’s Oscar approach. Paramount Pictures is holding back the two movies (‘The Fighter’ and ‘True Grit’) the studio hopes will get Oscar love until the last minute. The Hollywood Reporter looks at the studio’s approach, which differs from the one it took last year with ‘Up in the Air.’
But who has movie rights to ‘Jersey Shore?’ GK Films had the winning bid for feature film rights to the Broadway musical ‘Jersey Boys,’ about the rise of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons. Deadline Hollywood says that book writers Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice will pen the screenplay, and GK Films chief Graham King and his partner Tim Headington will produce.
ABC News makes new friends. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the philanthropy organization the Microsoft founder set up with his wife has struck a deal with ABC News to pony up $1.5 million to fund reporting on Third World healthcare. Of course, the idea of funding for news is raising eyebrows, but ABC News President David Westin dismissed those concerns. ‘It’s essentially like a sole sponsorship,’ Westin said to Daily Variety. ‘We will disclose on the air when any of the money is used.’
What’s in a name? NBC and Microsoft, the parents of MSNBC.com, are talking about changing the site’s name to distance it from the cable news network. While MSNBC used to be co-owned by NBC and Microsoft, it is now completely part of NBC, and its tilt to the left with its commentary shows apparently has folks at the website worried that that could have a negative effect on their traffic. Of course, changing the name of a successful operation is never something to be entered into lightly. If a change is made, MSNBC.com would become part of MSNBC itself. The New York Times on what Microsoft and NBC are thinking.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Sony is considering a 28-day window between when its offers DVDs for sale and when they can be rented on Netflix and will test what happens with that approach with the release of ‘The Karate Kid’ on DVD. Television executives are in Europe for a festival to hawk shows. John Horn on Disney’s ‘Secretariat.’
-- Joe Flint
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