Cannes crime spree! Billy Crystal tries TV. Sen. McCain makes case.
After the coffee. Before figuring out what to do this weekend.
The Skinny: Loyal readers know what a big fan I was of ABC’s “Nashville.” That’s why last night’s season finale was such a disappointment. What was once a cool breeze on a humid night is now just hot air. Thursday’s headlines include reviews of “The Hangover Part III” and NBC’s new comedy “Save Me.” Also, Billy Crystal has agreed to do a sitcom pilot for FX.
Daily Dose: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is taking his case for a la carte programming to the industry. The senator, who is trying to pass legislation that would require the pay-TV industry to sell channels on an individual basis to consumers, penned an opinion piece on the subject in Thursday’s Los Angeles Times. McCain acknowledges he will face a tough battle. “If it were up to my Twitter followers, this bill would already be law. But entrenched interests, including the cable and television programming companies whose bottom lines may be affected by any effort to empower consumers, have made it clear they’re girding for a fight.”
Don’t forget the pepper spray. Attendees of this year’s Cannes Film Festival have more than bad movies to worry about. Crime appears to be on the rise at the prestigious event. Besides thieves stealing $1 million in jewels, there are also more stories of street crime as well. The Los Angeles Times on what’s going on in between all the screenings and parties at Cannes this year.
That’s what friends are for. Former MTV programming chief David Janollari signed a new three-year production deal at Universal Television. While such deals happen every day out here, this one is noteworthy because Universal Television is overseen by NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt, who was Janollari’s production partner for many years. The duo had their own company, whose credits included the HBO drama “Six Feet Under.” Janollari also was a successful executive a Warner Bros. TV where he had a role in the development of “Friends” and “The Drew Carey Show.” More on the deal from the Los Angeles Times and Hollywood Reporter.
Taking more of the pie. Fox, ABC and NBC are going to control more ad inventory in Hulu, the online video site that is owned by the parent companies of those networks. According to Variety, the networks will sell the advertising for 90% of the commercial inventory for shows on Hulu from the current TV season. While Hulu has library product, it is the ability to catch up on shows that just aired that make it popular. The switch comes at a time when Hulu is on the block. It will be interesting to see whether this shift in the ad sales arrangement turns off potential suitors.
Will they find a Honey Boo Boo for the web? Discovery Communications, the cable programming giant whose holdings include Discovery and TLC, is launching an online channel called TestTube that will be free and have original programming. TestTube can serve as a farm team for Discovery’s networks as well as a way to reach younger viewers who may not be watching as much traditional TV. Details on the online effort from the Wall Street Journal.
Animation college. Utah’s Brigham Young University may not be the first thing that comes to one’s mind when thinking about animation. But the Mormon school has become a pipeline to Hollywood. The New York Times looks at how Brigham Young managed to become a minor league team for would-be animators in a lengthy article titled the Dream Academy.
Life imitating art? Billy Crystal has signed on to do a TV pilot with the cable channel FX about an aging comedian who hopes for a comeback by working with a younger and more edgy performer. Although it is just a pilot, odds are FX isn’t going to spend a lot of money to woo Crystal to the small screen and not give the show a chance. FX is known for some pretty dark comedies (“Louie,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) while Crystal has typically favored more light-hearted material. More from USA Today.
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