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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Broadway's Finest, Tony Award Nominations Announced

2011 Broadway Tony Nomination Lists

Actress Sutton Foster and Joel Grey in ‘Anything Goes’, which picked up nine Tony Award nominations Tuesday.
The nominations for the 2011 Tony Award nominations were announced Tuesday morning, and, as expected, “The Book of Mormon” led the way with 14 nods.
“Mormon” is up against “Sister Act,” “Catch Me If You Can” and “The Scottsboro Boys” for Best Musical. Though “The Scottsboro Boys” had only a short run after transferring from Off-Broadway, the nominations committee embraced it with 12 nominations.
The nominees for best revival of a musical have head-to-head competition in “Anything Goes” and “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” The star of “Anything Goes,” Sutton Foster, is up for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, but the star of “How to Succeed” — Hollywood import Daniel Radcliffe — was snubbed.
Another movie star not nominated: Robin Williams, for his work in “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.” The play did receive three nominations, including one for Arian Moayed as Best Featured Actor in a Play.
One of the most competitive categories of the year is Best Revival of a Play, which is packed with “Arcadia,” “The Importance of Being Earnest,” “The Normal Heart, and “The Merchant of Venice.” Of those plays, one is represented in the category for Best Leading Actress in a Play: Lily Rabe for “Merchant” and three are represented by their stars in the category of Best Actor in a Play: Al Pacino for “Merchant” (up for a total of seven awards); Brian Bedford for “The Importance of Being Earnest”; Joe Mantello for “The Normal Heart.”
Here’s the complete list of nominees (click "read more" below to reveal).

To Tweet or Not to Tweet, Bye Bye DVD, TV ownership on decline, NBC News-channels, "Book of Morman" takes Tony Noms, Shakeup at Universal

Twitter reality check. Twitter is getting lots of attention for its role in coverage of Osama bin Laden's death. But some need to get a grip. Yes, Twitter often serves as something of a wire service. But stories that argue Twitter broke the news are reaching. A former Department of Defense staffer tweeted a rumor he'd heard and acknowledged it as such. A professional news outlet, however one defines that, generally is supposed to show greater restraint. Twitter is a place people go to like the corner bar and the front stoop to gossip, trade insults and discuss events of the day, and news outlets also use it as a platform. We don't need to give it a Pulitzer yet. Before you dismiss me as an old-school hack, think about this. If Keith Urbahn, the former Defense Department staffer who made the initial tweet speculating on Osama bin Laden's death was wrong, no one would say boo. If the New York Times, Los Angeles Times or CNN had done it and been wrong, it'd be a huge embarrassment and firing offense. An on-the-money rant from Ad Age.
It's certanly not because people are reading more! Nielsen, the folks behind TV ratings, say that for the first time in 20 years the number of households owning televisions has declined. The decline is hardly dramatic. The often-criticized ratings company says the percentage of households with television has gone from 98.9% to 96.7% and attributes the drop to poor people who can't afford new television sets and young people who are using their computers as televisions. Details on the research from the New York Times.
Using that logic, investors should flee from cable programmers and distributors as well. The Street says that although Sirius XM stock has risen dramatically in the last 12 months investors should be wary because ultimately the company charges consumers for something -- radio -- that they can get for free. Yes, that's true. But isn't that what cable TV does too? Sirius XM may be risky for a lot of reasons, but with about 20 million subscribers, the company has shown that consumers are willing to pay for radio.
DVD' Going the Way of VHS?  Consumer purchases of newly released DVDs fell precipitously in the first three months of the year -- declines that were not made up by gains in sales of Blu-ray discs or emerging streaming services.  Digital Entertainment Group reported Monday that overall spending on home entertainment fell to $4.2 billion, down 9.8% from the same period a year earlier. Hardest hit were new-movie purchases, which fell 19% for the first quarter compared with a year ago, when four major blockbuster films were released on DVD and Blu-ray disc. 
Physical and digital sales amounted to $2.2 billion for the period, off markedly from $2.7 billion a year ago. Blu-ray disc purchases were up 10% from a year ago, but these sales were not enough to make up for falling DVD sales.

Digital TV is up. Emerging digital services that allow consumers to purchase a movie by way of Apple Inc.'s iTunes store or receive movies on demand were up a total of 8% for the quarter to $614 million.
Local News from NBC/Universal. NBC is launching 24-hour news channels in California, Texas and Florida. The news initiative is part of a commitment NBC and its new majority owner, Comcast Corp., made to the Federal Communications Commission in exchange for approval of their $30-billion merger. Comcast committed to producing an additional 1,000 hours of local news on its NBC stations and another 1,000 hours for its Telemundo stations. The channels will launch this week. 
In California, NBC will use the resources of its TV stations KNBC Los Angeles, KNTV San Francisco and KNSD San Diego as the backbone of the digital channel. KNBC will produce a local newscast for the channel at 7 p.m. The channel will be available only in those three markets, but the focus of the channel will be statewide as well as local.

A Universal exit. Deborah Liebling was ousted as president of production at Universal Pictures just as the studio finally had a huge hit in "Fast Five." She was only in the job for 18 months, and given the long lead time in movie production, one has to wonder how much of the studio's struggles fall on her shoulders and how much was inherited. Analysis from the Hollywood Reporter and Los Angeles Times.
And then there were two. It's looking like a two-team race between the Gores brothers -- Tom's Platinum Equity and Alec's Gores Group -- and billionaire Len Blavatnik's Access Industries for Warner Music Group. The New York Post tracks the action for the third-largest music company. Bidding right now is in the $3-billion neighborhood.
There's a movie in here somewhere. The next James Bond movie will be so full of product placement that it would make even Morgan Spurlock's head spin. According to the Australian, about $45 million will be spent on advertising in the movie.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Mary McNamara on the restraint of the coverage on Osama bin Laden. "Book of Mormon" gets a ton of Tony Award nominations. The music industry tries to jump start the concert business.
-- Joe Flint
Follow me on Twitter. I may not always be upbeat, but I'm not dull either!