The Morning Fix: UltraViolet is ultra disappointment. Rome joins CBS
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After the coffee. Before figuring out how to soundproof my apartment.
The Skinny: I’m still a little groggy. I live next to a big apartment complex and thought I was going to have to call the police early (very early) this morning on the screaming couple who chose to air their disputes on the balcony overlooking my humble abode. Tuesday’s headlines include a juicy story about how Charlotte Church, the singer at Rupert Murdoch’s wedding to Wendi Deng, is suing News Corp. for phone hacking. Also a recap of the broadcasters’ battle with the FCC on Tuesday at the Supreme Court, and sports personality Jim Rome bolts ESPN for CBS.
Scheduling change. Last week, Fox Broadcasting’s longtime scheduling chief Preston Beckman announced his plans to step back to an advisory role later this year. Now word is surfacing that onetime Beckman protege Dan Harrison is likely heading to Fox to take the scheduling gig. Currently a senior vice president at CBS, Harrison worked under Beckman at NBC in the late 1990s.
Ultra annoying. Hollywood has been hoping its new online movie distribution system UltraViolet would rejuvenate sagging home entertainment sales. Unfortunately, many consumers are finding the experience of trying to buy movies on the site to be more hassle than it is worth. ‘The best way to describe the launch is we built this great house, it had an incredible foundation, and in our excitement to move in there was some finished carpentry that still needed to be done,’ explained Sony Pictures Chief Technology Officer Mitch Singer. More on the industry’s early struggles with UltraViolet and what’s at stake from the Los Angeles Times.
Keeping it clean. The broadcast industry tried to make the case to the Supreme Court that the Federal Communications Commission’s rules prohibiting indecent programming need to go. Alas, it appears the high court wasn’t in the mood to hear it and seemed to indicate that it was not interested in tossing the FCC’s ability to regulate broadcast content. If the rules stay in place, it will be a blow to broadcasters that already think they are at a disadvantage to unregulated cable television. A decision is expected in late spring. Coverage from the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Broadcasting & Cable.
Does she want her gift back too? Charlotte Church, who performed at the 1999 wedding of News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng, is singing a different tune now. She is the latest to file suit against the mogul’s company claiming her cellphone was hacked by News Corp.'s now-closed News of the World tabloid. Details from Bloomberg. If you still can’t get enough coverage of the News of the World ethics scandal, Vanity Fair has a probing profile of Rebekah Brooks, the former head of News Corp.'s British publishing unit, who is one of the key players in the drama.
Coming to a big screen near you. ABC is taking the unusual step of screening its new drama ‘The River’ in movie theaters before its television premiere. The networks are all trying new methods to build buzz for shows before they make their debut, including making episodes available online first. Fears of harming the broadcast version by offering it on other platforms first have yet to materialize. More on ABC’s bet from the Wall Street Journal.
Rome is moving. Sports radio motor mouth Jim Rome is severing his ties to ESPN where he had his own show -- ‘Rome is Burning’ -- for many years. CBS, in a move to bolster its sports presence, has signed Rome to host shows not only on its pay cable channel Showtime, but also its CBS Sports Network, a cable channel that has been primarily focused on college sports. More on Rome’s new gig from Variety, and speculation on why he might have made the move from Deadspin.
-- Joe Flint
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