Monday, May 2, 2011
The Skinny: Do yourself a favor and buy a newspaper today and throw it in your closet. It will have more meaning 25 years from now than a screen grab of some blog aggregator. A slow weekend until Sunday night. Then media scrambled to cover the Bin Laden news. Then some media scrambled away as quickly as possible and back to entertainment programming. At the box office, "Fast Five" blows away the competition.
You Tube Filmmakers. YouTube identified 45 users, among thousands of entrants, to participate in a pair of programs designed to support original content creation. YouTube says some 36 hours of video are uploaded every minute, driving billions of views every year. To keep YouTube as a launching pad for new talent, it has begun this program of funding, education and promotions.
Racing to the top. Universal's "Fast Five" cruised to first place at the box office, taking in $83.6 million in the U.S. No, that's not a typo! Part of me wants to attribute the huge opening numbers to people going to see the car chase/heist flick as a goof on a weekend when there wasn't much else playing at the multiplex. If you think you had a bad prom, that was nothing compared to Disney's "Prom," which took in only $5 million in its opening weekend. The long-awaited sequel to "Hoodwinked" also flopped. Box office coverage from the Los Angeles Times, Variety and New York Times. Here's a summer preview from USA Today.
Peace at last. After years of back-and-forth in the courts, Dish Network on Monday said it has settled its legal differences with TiVo for $500 million. TiVo had sued Dish over patent violations having to do with the digital video recorder the satellite broadcaster offered to its customers. Paying off TiVo removes what had been a big headache for Dish, which last month acquired the assets of ailing video store chain Blockbuster and plans to use its still-strong brand in part to boost its own digital operations. Details on the settlement from Bloomberg.
Curry gets chair. Ann Curry, the longtime newswoman on NBC's "Today" show, is getting bumped up to co-anchor. She will succeed Meredith Vieira, who is leaving next month to spend more time with her family and ailing husband. "Today" remains on top of the ratings, and with co-host Matt Lauer expected to be on board until at least the end of 2012, the show has plenty of time to establish Curry. Details from the New York Times.
Hope they can carry a tune after all that. MTV is finally putting on "The Electric Barbarellas," a reality show about an all-female band that was championed by none other than Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone. The involvement of the almost 90 year-old Viacom chief in a show about an all-girl band was first broken by then-Daily Beast writer Peter Lauria, whose coverage of all this irritated Redstone to no end. Let's hope Lauria is having a good chuckle today. Details on the show fromVariety.
NFL latest to push iPad access. The NFL Network, the league's cable channel that could be pretty dull if the labor dispute isn't solved by this summer, is talking with distributors about offering the network on iPads and other tablet devices. NFL Network is the latest programmer to want to put itself on iPads. The challenge is reworking deals with distributors so they don't risk losing subscribers. In other words, the cable guys have to be the gatekeeper to iPad access. More from the Wall Street Journal.
King of all agents takes partner. Don Buchwald, best known as the longtime agent of radio personality Howard Stern, is merging his firm with Fortitude, a Los Angeles talent shop. Stern is not Buchwald's only client, even if it does seem that way. According to Deadline Hollywood, which broke the news, other Buchwald clients include Kathleen Turner, Ralph Macchio and Shannen Doherty. That must be one heck of a holiday party.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Mary McNamara on the coverage of the death of Osama bin Laden.
-- Joe Flint