After the coffee. Before scrutinizing the Oscar nominations.
The Skinny: I got my copy of the new Roger Ailes biography “The Loudest Voice in the Room” and did what any media reporter does when a new book comes out on someone they have covered. I plowed through the footnotes until I found my name. Now I can take my time reading it and deciding whether it is fair and balanced. Today’s headlines include a look at the Oscar nominations and a profile of Amy Pascal.
Daily Dose: Media watchdog Public Knowledge just made a hire with some bite. Gene Kimmelman, a former Justice Department antitrust chief counsel and well-known consumer advocate has been named Public Knowledge’s new president and chief executive. He succeeds Gigi Sohn, who left Public Knowledge to take a senior role in the administration of new Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler.
Get your pool picks ready. The Oscar nominations came out early this morning and, as expected, “American Hustle,” “Wolf of Wall Street” and “12 Years a Slave” dominated all the major categories. I have only glanced at the nominations but didn’t see any huge surprises. As for who got snubbed, Emma Thompson for “Saving Mr. Banks” leaps out. I was pleasantly surprised to see Sally Hawkins get a well-deserved Best Supporting Actress nomination for “Blue Jasmine.” Be great if Jennifer Lawrence (“American Hustle”) and June Squibb (“Nebraska”) split the vote and Hawkins slips through. Early takes on the nominations from the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Variety and Hollywood Reporter.
Amazing Amy. There’s been plenty of heat on Sony Pictures in the last 12 months. Investor Daniel Loeb has been making noise about management at Sony’s entertainment operations and the summer was not one to remember thanks to the bombs “After Earth” and “White House Down.” But awards season has been very kind to Sony thanks to “American Hustle” and “Captain Phillips.” Now Sony Pictures Entertainment Co-Chair Amy Pascal may have the wind at her back as we head into 2014. A look at Pascal’s leadership from the Los Angeles Times.
Pass interference? The NFL is to bring a new TV partner in for a Thursday package of games but apparently isn’t totally willing to throw its own NFL Network -- current home of Thursday football -- under the bus. According to Sports Business Journal, the NFL has indicated it would like to simulcast Thursday games on its own network as well as sell a bunch of them to someone else. Have to think that’s a non-starter to potential bidders. Also, my take on the NFL’s Thursday strategy and what some of the challenges are.
Here we go again. Charter Communications, which earlier this week made public its rejected offer to buy Time Warner Cable in an effort to persuade TWC shareholders to get behind the bid, is again reaching out to Comcast to partner on a deal, according to Reuters. Comcast has kept mum on Time Warner Cable but it is no secret that there are some TWC properties it covets in New York and perhaps Los Angeles. Still, a Comcast presence may increase regulatory scrutiny on any proposed deal.
Long live the bundle. Will a federal appeals court’s decision to toss the Federal Communications Commission’s open Internet rules make the web more like cable TV when it comes to how content is packaged and sold? That’s the fear of Wall Street Journal columnist Farhad Manjoo. The elimination of so-called net neutrality, he writes, “sets up a business model similar to that of cable, in which entertainment companies and cable providers enter into intense negotiations to determine the various tiers of your cable line-up. In other words, we’re witnessing the cableization of the Internet." Complicated stuff. I’ll cut to the chase. Sounds like we’ll be spending more money for the Internet.
Call someone else. AT&T is pulling out of being a sponsor of Fox’s “American Idol,” a role it has had for a dozen years. “American Idol,” which had its season debut last night, has once again shaken up its roster of judges in an attempt to slow a ratings decline and battle increased competition from similar shows elsewhere, including NBC’s “The Voice.” More on AT&T’s decision from Variety.
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