Entertainment & Arts

Meet Variety’s new boss. Big Bird says: Keep me out of politics.

After the coffee. Before making a counter offer for Variety.

The Skinny: I’m almost through the Pete Townshend autobiography, so look for my review in the days ahead. Wednesday’s headlines include a look at Jay Penske, the new owner of Variety; a debate over the use of split-screens during the debates; and Big Bird saying: Don’t use me in your political ads.

Daily Dose: The Pac-12 Network was originally only going to carry one USC football game this season (against Cal a few weeks ago), but now it has added the Oct. 20 battle with Colorado. The move is seen as part of an effort to pressure satellite broadcaster DirecTV to carry the channel, which does well in Los Angeles for the obvious reasons.

White knight or dark force? Variety, the fabled Hollywood trade paper that has fallen on hard times, was scooped by Penske Media -- the owner of Nikki Finke’s entertainment industry website Deadline -- for $25 million from Reed Elsevier. Headed by Jay Penske, Penske Media has quickly become a power player in Hollywood journalism. Is buying Variety part of a plan to revitalize the paper and expand his footprint or to remove for good a Deadline rival? Details on Penske and the deal from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.

Split-screen headaches. As Joe Biden and Paul Ryan get ready to debate later this week, a debate about the use of split-screens has cropped up. The networks like the split screen, but candidates hate it because it doesn’t allow them to relax when the other person is answering a question (which is why the networks like it). I personally don’t like the split screen and will likely watch the rest of the debates on PBS, which does not utilize a split-screen. More on the debate from the New York Times.

Leave me out of it. Big Bird doesn’t want to be part of election-year politics. President Obama is using Big Bird in a political spot making fun of Mitt Romney’s desire to stop federal funding of public broadcasting. But Sesame Workshop, which owns the character, has asked the Obama campaign to pull the advertisement. Coverage from the Wall Street Journal, or should I say, this story brought to you by the letters W, S and J. 

Hoping for snow. Most people over the age of 12 prefer a mild winter, but if you are chief executive of the Weather Channel, you just love the white stuff. Last year’s mild winter hurt ratings for the channel. Now, because the Weather Channel can only report on the weather and doesn’t control it, the search is on for other programming that can provide a steady stream of ratings, rain or shine. A look from the New York Post.

Just what we need. Kris Jenner, the mother of Kim, Kourtney and some other Kardashians whose first name begins with the letter K, is in talks to get her own talk show. Broadcasting & Cable says Twentieth Television, the syndication unit of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. is looking to give Kardashian a tryout next summer.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Mary McNamara on ABC’s “Nashville.” Robert Lloyd on NBC’s “Chicago Fire.”

Find out what I’m made of by following me on Twitter. @JBFlint