Can ‘The Purge’ surge? CW finishes upfront sales.

‘The Purge’
Can “The Purge,” starring Ethan Hawke, stand out against the big boys of summer?
(Universal Pictures)

After the coffee. Before figuring out how to come back as a house cat in my next life.

The Skinny: I now am one of those people who no longer has a home phone. It feels a little weird even though I never used it and didn’t even know the number. Will cord-cutting be next? Thursday’s headlines include a look at how Universal is launching its new movie “The Purge,” Fox taps an old hand to oversee “American Idol” and “The X Factor,” and the CW wraps up its upfront sales.

Daily Dose: CBS is nearing the end of its distribution deal with Time Warner Cable. Although Fox had a loud showdown with Time Warner Cable a few years back, so far things are quiet between these two. CBS has seldom had to go to the mattresses in negotiations with pay TV distributors. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.

David vs. a bunch of Goliaths. “The Purge,” a low-budget thriller starring Ethan Hawke, will square off against the big boys of summer when it opens this week. The movie, which cost just more than $3 million and is about a lawless night and the effect it has on one family, is usually the type of film that would be released during a less busy time. But Universal Pictures believes “The Purge” can sneak up on the competition and steal some summer box office loot. The Los Angeles Times on whether there will be a box office surge for “The Purge.”


PHOTOS: Hollywood backlot moments

Vacation time. The CW Network said it has wrapped up selling commercial inventory for the fall TV season. The network, a joint-venture between CBS and Time Warner, took in more than $400 million in ad sales and saw increases in the rates of between 5% to 6%. The CW became the first broadcast network to finish selling. Typically, networks try to unload between 75% and 85% in what is known as the upfront market and the rest is kept to sell during the season and to provide additional commercials to advertisers in case of a ratings shortfall. CBS, NBC and ABC are still haggling over price inceases while Fox is also trying to wrap up its negotiations. More from the Los Angeles Times and Advertising Age.

Oops. When then CIA-director Leon Panetta was making remarks that revealed some secret details of the raid to kill Osama bin Laden, he was unaware that screenwriter Mark Boal, who was working on the script for the movie “Zero Dark Thirty,” was in the audience. There has been concern from some lawmakers about the folks behind “Zero Dark Thirty” getting access to information they shouldn’t have had. Guess no one checked the guest list for Panetta’s speech. Details from the Wall Street Journal

Will Terry Bradshaw be a judge? David Hill, a colorful senior News Corp. programming executive who for years ran its sports unit, has been given oversight over “American Idol” and “The X Factor,” Fox’s two singing talent shows. Hill was responsible for Fox’s yellow line in its football coverage that tells viewers where the first down line is and its glowing hockey puck when the network used to carry the NHL. More on Hill’s new gig from the Wrap. Hill’s expertise in live television was one reason he was tapped. He also used to run Fox Broadcasting so he won’t be a total fish out of water here.


PHOTOS: The billion dollar box office club

Teaming up. The Chernin Group is in talks with AT&T to partner on a bid for the online video site Hulu, according to All Things Digital. By teaming up, the Chernin Group could be a little more aggressive in going after Hulu. Other bidders include Time Warner Cable, Yahoo and DirecTV. The Chernin Group is run by Peter Chernin, the former News Corp. executive who helped develop Hulu.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: The bumpy transition from TV to the Web continues for soap operas “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” as production has been halted because of a labor dispute. Entertainment and marketing executive Sandy Grushow is joining the board of the Weather Co., parent of the Weather Channel, which is looking to expand its original programming efforts for the network and Web.

Follow me on Twitter. When I get mad, I usually have a good reason. @JBFlint.

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