Wednesday, May 4, 2011
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Jackie Cooper, who went from Oscar-nominated child star to TV executive and director while amassing scores of acting credits — including playing Perry White in the four Christopher ReeveSuperman films — has died. He was 88.
Cooper died Tuesday at a convalescent home in Santa Monica. “He just kinda died of old age,” his attorney Roger Licht told Reuters. “He wore out.”
Cooper enjoyed a 60-year acting career. Before Shirley Temple won the world’s hearts, he was the most popular and widely recognized child star of the early 1930s and the first kid to shine in “talkies.” His pug nose, crinkly smile and pouty lip endeared him to a nationwide audience, first as Jackie in Hal Roach’s Our Gang comedies. Cooper was so popular, he was known as “America’s Boy.”
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In an attempt to counter Google's growing influence, Microsoft and Research In Motion have agreed that Bing will become the default search engine on all of RIM's wireless products, most likely by the fourth quarter, the companies said Tuesday at BlackBerry World. In a surprise appearance, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said Bing would be "deeply integrated" into the devices. ClipSyndicate (5/3), Bloomberg (5/3), The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (5/3), ReadWriteWeb.com (5/3)
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Hollywood needs to sell itself, Disney and Starz sue Dish!, "5-0" a Billion Dollar Franchise, Time Warner revenue up, profit down. Charlie Sheen misses Emmy deadline.
"Hawaii Five-0" books 'em for CBS.
Profits, that is.
The sun-drenched remake of "Hawaii Five-O," starring Alex O'Laughlin and Scott Caan, can boast something few first-season scripted TV shows can: It is already on track to turn a profit.
On a conference call with analysts regarding first quarter results Tuesday, CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves said the company will rake in nearly $5 million an episode with the sale of the show's reruns to Time Warner Inc.'s TNT channel, in addition to license fees paid by foreign broadcasters. Foreign revenue, he said, amounts to $2.5 million an episode."This is only 'Hawaii Five-0''s first year and it’s already on its way to being another billion-dollar franchise for us, joining 'NCIS' and 'CSI,' which both remain strong on our network," Moonves says. For SAG members, note that "Hawii 5-0" is yet another television program shooting under an AFTRA contract, providing reduced budgets are profitable for networks and Hollywood.
Program Investment in NBC. Comcast Corp. this year plans to spend $300 million more for television programming to revive the ailing NBC broadcast network and keep the company's cable channels humming. The company is also investing in the launch of regional news and sports networks, to compete with CNN and ESPN. There are rumours that MSNBC may be retooled to be less "progressive" and compete directly against CNN and FOX with multiple political views (an identity crisis of sorts).
Time Warner shoots and scores. Media giant Time Warner Inc., parent of Turner Broadcasting cable channels TNT, TBS, Tru TV as well as HBO and magazine company Time Inc., released its first-quarter results, with net income falling to $651 million from $725 million for the same quarter a year ago. The dip was attributed to rights fees tied to Turner's new deal for the NCAA basketball tournament and a less-than-stellar quarter at Warner Bros. Though the NCAA is costly, it also helped Turner, which had a strong quarter thanks to strong advertising demand for its coverage of the basketball tournament. Early coverage from Bloomberg and Reuters. Separately, Time Warner's Warner Bros. announced it is buying Flixster, the online company whose holdings include Rotten Tomatoes, a popular movie-review site.
Go it alone. Should HBO go away from Time Warner and become its own stand-alone company? That's what prominent media analyst Rich Greenfield is arguing. Forbes takes a look at Greenfield's proposal to spin off the pay-TV channel, which generates $4 billion in revenue and $1.4 billion in profits for Time Warner.
Hollywood needs to learn PR. Hollywood has no problem promoting its films, but needs to do a better job promoting itself. That was the message former U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd delivered in a speech Tuesday just seven weeks into his job as the chief of the Motion Picture Assn. of America. "One thing I've learned over this relatively brief period is that the film industry and profession is pretty good at marketing our products, but there is room for significant improvement in how this industry and profession markets itself," Dodd said speaking before the Media Institute, an Arlington, Va.-based think tank. "I intend to make it a significant part of my tenure as CEO and chair of the Motion Picture Assn. of America to change that impression." In particular, Dodd said the industry needs to do "a much better job of both educating and reminding Americans that this industry is not just a red carpet industry, but more importantly a blue-collar industry," referring to thousands of people who work behind the scenes on productions and are the hardest hit when movies and TV shows are pirated.
Scott's turn. The second worst-kept secret in media circles after Katie Couric's plans to leave CBS was that "60 Minutes" correspondent Scott Pelley would be tapped to succeed her. On Tuesday, CBS made it official. Pelley will try -- as Couric did -- to rejuvenate a third-place newscast at a time when the majority of viewers are getting their news elsewhere. He'll probably do it for a lot less money too. Analysis from the Los Angeles Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal.
Can't we get along? Netflix, the entertainment company that keeps everyone in the cable industry up all night, wants to be friends. "We're small enough that we don't want to incite World War II or World War III with the incumbents," Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said at a Wired magazine conference.
Oh, it's on! Earlier this year, satellite broadcaster Dish Network started giving away the pay-TV channel Starz free to all of its 14 million subscribers. That didn't sit too well with Starz, and on Tuesday the Liberty Media-owned network sued Dish saying the giveaway had violated their contract. Walt Disney Co., which is one of the biggest suppliers of movies to Starz, also sued Dish, claiming the value of its movies were being damaged by the yearlong promotional offering. Although Dish isn't saying why it decided to give Starz away, people familiar with the matter said it is because Starz has a deal with Netflix, which Dish sees as a competitor. The details from the Los Angeles Times.
Not winning. It appears that Charlie Sheen will not be in the running for the best actor in a comedy Emmy Award. TVLine, a TV industry website, says Sheen missed the deadline to submit himself for an award. Too bad, because if he won, that would be the most-watched speech in Emmy history. In the meantime, the new issue of Vanity Fair has a lengthy story about the Sheen debacle.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Scott Collins looks at which TV shows are on the bubble.
-- Joe Flint
Devices Make Communicating Easier—
Or Incomprehensible; Phone Doesn't Swear
This is the voicemail that Dan Sheeran's tailor recently tried to leave him: "Just wanted to let you know that your pants is already done and ready for pickup," the tailor, in accented but clear English, said in the recording. "Ok, then you can pick up your pants at Nordstrom."
This is the message Mr. Sheeran, a 44-year-old technology executive in the Seattle area, got instead: "Just wanted to know that your punches ordered the done in the Dipper pickup. Ok. Then you can pick up the French abortion."
Mr. Sheeran was bewildered. "It sounded like a coded message for a drug deal," he says.
The cause behind the flub is no mystery. The tailor had left the voicemail on Mr. Sheeran's account on Google Voice, a Google Inc. service that automatically transcribes voice messages into text that can be emailed to a mobile phone. Google Voice had mangled the message, leading to Mr. Sheeran's befuddlement.
New technologies meant to make sense of our words are, in some cases, contorting them, with results that are racy, cruel or just plain peculiar. Transcription services have become known for goofing-up voice recordings because of speaker accents and poor phone connections. Meanwhile, many a typist is bedeviled by garbled messages stemming from cramped smartphone keyboards, along with software on the devices intended to automatically correct spelling mistakes.
Click on "read more" below to continue this story form the Wall Street Journal (reproduced for my Com students use only).
This week, explore the sense-able city, hear a powerful story of forgiveness and reconciliation, and learn why we should beware the "filter bubble."