After the coffee. Before getting ready for baseball season.
The Skinny: My morning ritual of doing this column while listening to the Dan Patrick show has been disrupted because Patrick is off covering the Olympics for NBC. The guest hosts don’t do it for me. Today’s roundup includes CBS getting more NFL football and final farewells to Jay Leno. Also, NBC pulls the Michael J. Fox show from its schedule.
Daily Dose: The Weather Channel isn’t quite ready to throw in the towel in its fight with satellite broadcaster DirecTV. On Thursday, it took out ads in several major newspapers, including USA Today and the Wall Street Journal, blasting DirecTV -- which recently dropped the channel -- for raising rates on its customers and charging hefty cancellation fees for anyone who might want to drop their service because they can’t get the channel anymore. But it doesn’t seem like DirecTV will be blinking anytime soon. It has indicated that there has not been much backlash from its decision not to sign a new deal for the Weather Channel.
A bigger bang. The strong just got stronger. CBS, already the most-watched network in prime time, struck a one-year deal with the NFL for an eight-game package of Thursday prime-time football games this fall. The network beat out NBC and Fox even though its offer of about $275 million was said not to be the highest bid. The NFL Network, which was home to these games, wasn’t totally thrown under the bus. It will simulcast the CBS games and continue to have eight exclusive games. Although the deal is for one season, the league has an option on a second year, and if the numbers are big, the expectation is that this package is there to stay. News and analysis from the Los Angeles Times and New York Times.
Farewell. Jay Leno ends his long run as king of late night on Thursday. Never loved by the critics, Leno nevertheless has kept NBC’s “Tonight Show” on top for more than two decades, and even survived an attempt by his own network to replace him. Leno will continue to do comedy gigs but for now at least is indicating that he doesn’t have a desire to find another TV job. Jimmy Fallon will take over for Leno after NBC’s Olympic coverage ends in a couple of weeks. Leno sendoffs from the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, USA Today and Variety.
Outfoxed. NBC’s big bet for the fall season -- a sitcom starring Michael J. Fox -- has been pulled from the Thursday schedule. The show had disappointing ratings practically out of the gate and although NBC hasn’t officially canceled “The Michael J. Fox Show,” benching it is the next closest thing. Fox’s show isn’t the only high profile Thursday comedy that flopped for NBC. “Sean Saves the World,” starring Sean Hayes, also tanked. Does this mean NBC has learned its lesson with regards to recycling old sitcom stars? Well, it’s developing a new comedy with Bill Cosby. More on the Fox move from Vulture and the Hollywood Reporter.
Big numbers. Perhaps tired of hearing about how huge and game-changing Netflix is, HBO parent Time Warner has officially started detailing the pay channel’s performance in its financial reports. Though never shy about saying how profitable HBO was (all you had to do was ask), this is the first time the information has actually been released publicly. As expected, HBO is far more profitable than Netflix. To be sure though, the latter still has a lot of room to grow. More from the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: 21st Century Fox had a tough quarter because of weak movies and disappointing ratings for “The X Factor.”
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