The Morning Fix: ‘Contraband’ on top. Sykes to Clear Channel.

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After the coffee. Before getting my cat his semiannual crew cut.

The Skinny: I feel rested after that long holiday weekend. Oh wait, I didn’t get Monday off. I’m tired. Tuesday’s headlines include a look at the legal battle over the Golden Globes, weekend box office results, a new hire at Clear Channel and a report that TV Guide Channel may be for sale.


The Daily Dose: National Geographic, which last week unveiled plans for two new series, is opening up an office in Los Angeles as part of its plan to build closer ties to the programming community here and boost its content pipeline. So if you have ideas that both showcase the beauty of our world and have the action feel of a good episode of ‘Cops,’ start getting your pitch together.

Is there a Golden Globe for best legal fight? Now that the Golden Globe Awards are finally over, the legal fight over the television future of the Hollywood institution can start. Next week, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. (HFPA), which created and owns the Golden Globes, is scheduled to go to trial against Dick Clark Productions (DCP), which produces the show, over a TV contract DCP signed with NBC. HFPA said DCP overstepped its role in the partnership by cutting the deal without prior approval. A preview of the battle from the Los Angeles Times.

‘Contraband’ no fake at box office. Mark Wahlberg’s new thriller ‘Contraband’ took the top spot at the box office over the holiday weekend. The movie took in almost $30 million, making it Wahlberg’s biggest debut. Coming in second was the 3-D reissue of ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ which made $23.5 million. ‘Joyful Noise’ took in just S13.8 million. ‘The Devil Inside,’ which was No. 1 last week, fell off 76% in its second weekend. Box-office coverage from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.

3-D for adults. Baz Luhrmann, the director of ‘Moulin Rouge,’ is taking a big gamble by putting his movie version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ in 3-D. So far the technology has primarily been used for action and animated movies, not sophisticated adult dramas. Still, Warner Bros. is liking what it’s seeing so far. “You were immersed in the lifestyle of Gatsby,” Dan Fellman, head of domestic distribution for the studio, told the New York Times. “You were in his world, moving from room to room.”

Reunited. Radio giant Clear Channel has tapped John Sykes, a former head of cable channel VH1 and CBS Radio, as president of a new entertainment unit. The move is part of Clear Channel’s push to expand beyond the AM-FM dial into television, digital and live events. The move also reunites Sykes with Bob Pittman, the chief executive of Clear Channel parent CC Media Holdings. The two worked together on the formation of MTV. The scoop from the Los Angeles Times.

Call the lawyers. Remember when Netflix stock was flying high then took a tumble after the entertainment company announced a new pricing plan for renting movies that had subscribers screaming? Well, now an investor group charges Netflix that hid negative trends about its subscription business as well as the state of relations with the companies it gets content from. Details from the Hollywood Reporter.


For sale? Now that production companies Lions Gate and Summit have finally announced their merger, it may be time for each to clean out their closets before moving in with each other. In the case of Lions Gate that could mean unloading the little-watched TV Guide cable channel. The New York Post reports that Lions Gate has already retained an investment bank to shop the network.

Bench-clearing brawl. Many big cable networks, including ESPN, are cutting deals with cable and satellite operators that also include online distribution. Consumers will be able to watch cable programming content online provided they are subscribers to a multichannel video program distributor (MVPD). It’s known in the industry as TV Everywhere. However, Major League Baseball offers consumers access to its content online without the necessity of an MVPD subscription. Such a delivery system is known as over-the-top and it is the biggest fear of MVPDs. Now a battle is brewing among the MVPDs, other sports networks who are embracing the TV Everywhere concept, and Major League Baseball. More on the spat from Sports Business Journal.

Believe the hype ... please. Zynga Inc., maker of the popular social networking game FarmVille, has been battling the perception that it is another over-hyped online company. Chief Executive Mark Pincus defends Zynga in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: James Rainey looks at how some companies -- including Wikipedia -- are trying to fight anti-piracy legislation.

-- Joe Flint

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