The Morning Fix: ‘Mad Men’ hype hits full speed. Netflix going cable?

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After the coffee. Before figuring out where Peyton Manning is going.

The Skinny: My landlord put in very bright lights outside my door and driveway. Now it looks like daylight in the middle of the night. I feel like I live in Alaska. Wednesday’s headlines include a look at Hollywood’s favorite shoe store, Netflix’s plans to go cable and a profile of ‘Mad Men’ creator Matt Weiner just in time for the show’s new season.


Daily Dose: Now that Fox has pulled the plug on ‘Terra Nova,’ speculation will start on what other big bets for the 2011-12 TV season won’t make it to 2013. ABC’s ‘Pan Am’ already has pretty much been grounded. Its midseason show ‘The River’ did not open like gangbusters. At CBS, the drama ‘A Gifted Man’ is going to have to beat the odds to return for Year 2. At NBC, the news magazine ‘Rock Center’ is likely to be on the bubble. ‘Smash’ is not a huge hit, but its numbers have picked up in the last two weeks, so don’t be surprised if it somehow survives.

If the shoe fits. When Hollywood needs a special pair of shoes it turns to Willie’s Shoe Service, an industry institution that has been making custom footwear since the 1950s. Among the current TV shows that have gone to Willie’s are “Mad Men,” “Modern Family” and “Glee.’ Willie’s is also working on the shoes for Steven Spielberg’s upcoming ‘Lincoln.’ The Los Angeles Times looks at Willie’s and its owner, Raul Ojeda.

Keep your enemies closer. Remember when Netflix was the big threat to the cable industry? Well, now the entertainment streaming service wants to be BFFs with cable operators. According to Reuters, Netflix -- which is now starting to offer original content along with the movies and TV shows it buys -- wants to be distributed by cable operators as a video-on-demand option. One challenge for Netflix, Reuters notes, is that the bulk of its current programming deals would likely have to be renegotiated to give the streaming company rights to offer itself via cable.

Crowded playing field. It looks like Amazon will be joining Hulu, Netflix and YouTube in the original programming game. According to Fortune, Amazon has tapped an executive to oversee original production for Amazon, which already has a digital service and the Kindle to offer content. My question is whether the economics are there to support all this original content. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reports that Google is creating its own entertainment hub called ‘Google Play,’ which is bascially an attempt by the search engine giant to build its own iTunes.

Hype machine hits full speed. At the end of the month, AMC’s critical darling, ‘Mad Men,’ returns and the promotion machine is going full blast. The show, not even the most popular on AMC (‘The Walking Dead’ gets that honor), is starting to rank up there with HBO’s ‘The Sopranos’ in terms of critical obsession. Everything from how Don Draper holds his cup of coffee to whether Peggy’s hair is up or down gets scrutinized. Personally, I enjoy the show but not all the hoopla around it. But for those of you who can’t get enough, here’s a lengthy profile on ‘Mad Men’ creator Matt Weiner from the New York Times.

Too nice? One of the guilty pleasures of watching ‘American Idol’ was seeing Simon Cowell tear down some cocky kid who thought she was the second coming of Etta James. Now though, Fox’s ‘American Idol’ and NBC’s ‘The Voice’ seem to find ways to accentuate the positive about even the most unpromising talent. USA Today critic Robert Bianco on how both shows are failing with the killing-them-with-kindness approach.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: An appreciation of Mary Poppins songwriter Robert Sherman, who died at the age of 86. Some more thoughts on the demise of ‘Terra Nova.’

-- Joe Flint

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