The Morning Fix: Sports rights out of control?


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After the coffee. Before another early flight to D.C.

The Skinny: By the time you read this, I’ll be on a flight to D.C. No, I’m not going to the Redskins home opener, I’m going to my nephew’s bar mitzvah. Mazel tov! In the headlines, a look at sports rights prices, a tide that only knows how to rise. Also, Yahoo tries to figure out its next move and the media try to balance remembering the 9/11 11 attacks without seeming tacky or trivial.


Hike! The National Football League regular season starts tonight in Green Bay. While fans start counting down to February’s Super Bowl, the league and the television networks that carry the games are already thinking about their next contract. Although the current deals still have two seasons to run, the NFL wants to get new deals done by the end of this season. Sports rights fees continue to rise, and the NFL is the leader in squeezing the networks. Who gets stuck in the end? The consumers. Analysis of the sports media landscape from the Los Angeles Times. Separately, the Wall Street Journal looks at whether the NFL is overexposed.

Pop the champagne! Summer movie-ticket sales were up a whole percentage point, according to the National Assn. of Theater Owners. And you thought this was a disappointing movie season. ‘In the midst of 9% unemployment and a continuing weak economy, it is striking that the movie theater industry can continue to grow revenues and admissions,’ the association’s president, John Fithian, told Variety. Additional coverage from the Los Angeles Times.

Think this title will change? NBC is developing a comedy called ‘My Best Friend is a Lesbo.’ Well, the network certainly won’t have a problem coming up with an ad campaign to let viewers know what the show is about. This is, of course, another case of a network jumping on something for its catchy title when we all know the title will change and then it will come down to whether the show is all that funny. Details from Deadline Hollywood. By the way, my sitcom ‘My Cat Hates Me,’ is ready for bidding.

New player in town. Acclaimed director and producer J.J. Abrams has partnered with his former agent, John Fogelman, in a new company called FactoryMade Ventures, which looks to develop content not only for television but digital platforms as well. Like any new venture with big names attached, the company is already being described as a potential game-changer. Analysis from Vulture.

How much is too much? With the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks a few days away, the media are hitting fourth gear in their coverage of that day and how it changed America. But is the level of coverage actually trivializing the event? Networks and publications are all trying to come up with their own niche angle on that tragic day, as if the attacks and their aftermath weren’t enough already. The New York Times looks at the glut of coverage and the pros and cons that come with it. Also, the Daily Beast has a guide to all the TV coverage.

Really, this will work. Brett Ratner and Don Mischer, who are producing next year’s Oscars, promised that Eddie Murphy will deliver the goods as host of the fabled awards show. The decision to tap Murphy, who’s many years removed from his days as the biggest star on the planet and who just happens to be starring in the Ratner-directed movie ‘Tower Heist,’ has raised a lot of eyebrows around town. The duo tell the Hollywood Reporter that there are no plans to saddle Murphy with a cohost. ‘Don’t underestimate a genius,’ Ratner said, adding, ‘Eddie’s not a star by accident.’

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Lots of questions surrounding Yahoo in the wake of CEO Carol Bartz’s exit. A look at how the largely unknown cast of HBO’s ‘Band of Brothers’ has made their mark 10 years after the debut of the massive miniseries about World War II. WWE has a new studio boss.

-- Joe Flint

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