Morning Fix: Kids and Hollywood hustles! Janet Jackson on ‘X Factor’?


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After the coffee. Before figuring out if I have Monday off.

The Skinny: This sure seemed like a long week! Who do I talk to about that? Friday’s headlines include a cautionary tale about kids trying to break into Hollywood, a preview of the weekend box office and how a New York City politician is putting pressure on Time Warner Cable and the MSG channel to end their feud so subscribers can watch Knicks games and see new star Jeremy Lin.


The Daily Dose: For 15 years, Fox was the home of the NAACP’s Image Awards show. Tonight, the show jumps to NBC. What gives? Well, when Comcast was in the midst of trying to get government approval for its deal to buy NBCUniversal, it went out of its way to get the support of minority-advocacy groups, including the NAACP, to back its merger. One of Comcast’s promises was that it would bring more diversity to the screen. That apparently included picking up some TV shows such as the Image Awards. The price tag was about $1.5 million, one insider said, which was more than Fox was paying. NBC also snagged the ALMA awards, the show put on by the National Council of La Raza, a Latino advocacy organization. Craig Robinson, NBC’s chief diversity officer, said this was not a case of a quid pro quo but rather part of the network’s push to be ‘even more committed than ever to diversity.’

My kid’s going to be a star! Lots of parents hope their child will be the next Hailee Steinfeld. But the road to child stardom is often filled with hustlers promising big dreams, for a big price, who don’t deliver anything other than heartbreak. The Los Angeles Times takes a look at the hard lessons some parents have learned when it comes to kids and Hollywood.

‘Ghost’ to haunt box office. Nicolas Cage’s ‘Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance’ is expected to scorch the competition and drive away with the top slot at the box office this weekend. The other big opening -- Reese Witherspoon’s ‘This Means War’ -- isn’t expected to generate much heat. Among the returning movies, ‘The Vow’ and ‘Safe House’ will battle it out for second place. Box-office previews from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.

Which way to Madison Avenue? Every spring, broadcast and cable networks promote their programming to advertisers in advance of the fall TV season. It is a ritual almost as old as television itself. Now Silicon Valley wants to crash the party. The Wall Street Journal reports that YouTube, Hulu and other online sites are going to start making their own presentations to try to woo some ad dollars away from the big boys. Having covered the promotional events for some years, my advice would be: Bring lots of booze and lots of shrimp! The WSJ also looks at some of the programming the folks up in Northern California are working on.

Is the timing right for this? Given all the problems at its British newspapers, one would think that News Corp. and its chairman, Rupert Murdoch, would be a little wary about expanding in that business. But that’s why Rupert is Rupert. Apparently he wants to launch a Sunday version of the Sun tabloid. This is the same Sun tabloid at which several staffers were recently arrested on charges of paying off police and other officials for stories. More on Murdoch’s plans from the Guardian.

Just make sure to keep your top on! The Hollywood Reporter says Janet Jackson is in preliminary discussions about joining Fox’s ‘The X Factor,’ the musical talent show from former ‘American Idol’ judge Simon Cowell. ‘The X Factor’ posted solid but not spectacular numbers in its first season and is overhauling itself for the second season.


Time to kiss and make up. Are you caught up in the Jeremy Lin story? The Knicks forward has come out of nowhere to lift up the team and capture a nation’s attention. But millions of Time Warner Cable subscribers in New York City have not been able to enjoy ‘Linsanity’ because the cable channel that carries the Knicks -- MSG -- has been off its systems for months because of a contract dispute. Now Christine Quinn, speaker of the New York City Council and a likely mayoral candidate, is looking to score some points off the feud by ordering the two companies back to the negotiating table or they’ll face the music from her. More on Quinn’s publicity ploy from the New York Post.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: MSNBC’s Ed Schultz is on a roll. Curt Schilling has gone from throwing fast balls to developing video games.

-- Joe Flint

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