After the coffee. Before waiting for Xbox One to change my world.
The Skinny: I may be in the minority, but I’m not looking for more interaction with my TV. I spend my days interacting and it is mostly a frustrating experience. I don’t want to be second-guessed when I get home at night too. Wednesday’s headlines include stories Microsoft’s latest version of the Xbox and layoffs at ESPN.
Daily Dose: Once again there is talk that the National Football League is considering adding more games to its season. The question is whether it will be two more regular-season games or two more playoff games. If the NFL decides to expand its postseason, it may open a window to increase TV fees from rights holders interested in the games.
X marks the spot. Microsoft unveiled Xbox One, its newest console that it hopes will revolutionize television-watching. One feature lets users switch channels just by talking to the TV. Of course, that will probably lead to a lot of people accidentally changing channels when they yell about something they just saw that annoyed them. Xbox One will also have its own exclusive programming, a series based on its own Halo game that Steven Spielberg is involved in making. While Xbox One will have many toys, owners will still need a pay-TV subscription to take advantage of all it has to offer. In other words, it is not an over-the-top provider. Coverage of Xbox One from the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Wired.
Abuse of power? The Obama administration’s push to stop leaks led the Justice Department to probe communications by the Associated Press and Fox News. Those revelations have led many journalists to cry foul and accuse the administration of putting Richard Nixon to shame when it comes to trying to muffle the media. Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank writes, “To treat a reporter as a criminal for doing his job — seeking out information the government doesn’t want made public — deprives Americans of the First Amendment freedom on which all other constitutional rights are based.”
Idols for “Idol.” Fox is still keeping quiet about who may judge “American Idol” next season, but that isn’t stopping speculation about what the show will look like. Vulture says one idea under consideration is having past winners of “American Idol” as judges. Jennifer Hudson and Kelly Clarkson have both had contact with the show, Vulture said. Hmmm. I see this is as a good idea for an episode or two but I’m not sure about an entire season, although I agree that the big star judges have fallen flat as of late.
Does this mean fewer Tebow stories? Walt Disney Co.'s cost-cutting efforts finally hit ESPN, its cable sports empire. This week ESPN started laying off staffers. While ESPN isn’t saying how many people are getting a pink slip, the number is said to be between 300 and 400 of its roughly 7,000 employees. ESPN continues to spend heavily on sports rights. Most recently it snagged the U.S. Open for $75 million a year. More from Deadspin and the Los Angeles Times.
No pressure. Box-office revenue is down for the year, which means Hollywood will be counting on summer blockbusters more than ever. The Hollywood Reporter looks at what each studio has coming out and whose career may rise or fall over the next two months.
Never say never. Sony Corp. Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai said the consumer electronics giant would consider spinning off part of its entertainment arm. Sony is under pressure from the hedge fund Third Point, which owns 6% of Sony stock, to do just that. Sony stock has risen since Third Point’s pitch to Sony went public last week. Details from Reuters.
Follow me on Twitter. There are worse ways to spend the day. @JBFlint.