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Friday, July 1, 2011

Transforming a 4th of July Weekend, Cutting the Cord, Google proposes to Hulu, Myspace unloaded by Newscorp, Olbermann keeps on ticking,

The Transformers Weekend. With kids off, fireworks on people's minds and families and dates at the forefront the favored frontrunner for the weekend is the latest "Transformers." "Larry Crowne" may draw an adult and date crowd, but it is time for the kids to dominate. "Cars 2" should do well but most Hollywood types think it is a long term product sales vehicle with "legs" and not a firecracker weekend release fast out of the gate starter.
Google Inc. is in preliminary talks to buy online video pioneer Hulu, people familiar with the situation said.
Hulu has begun meeting with potential buyers including Google, Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc. to drum up interest in a sale, said these people, who requested anonymity because the discussions are confidential.
The presentations to the potential suitors are a first step as Hulu's owners weigh whether to sell the site after having received an overture from Yahoo.
Mark Halperin pulls a Jeff Spicoli. MSNBC on Thursday suspended indefinitely Mark Halperin, the Time magazine editor who often appears on the cable news channel as an analyst, after he described President Obama the same way "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" character Jeff Spicoli described Mr. Hand. Like Mr. Hand, Obama and MSNBC were not amused. Now in some cases, suspended indefinitely means a couple of days in the corner. However, this time it might mean, "See ya, wouldn't wanna be ya." Coverage from the Los Angeles TimesNew York TimesDaily Beast andWashington Post. Interestingly, President Obama was due to be at the home of a high-level Comcast executive for a fund-raiser Thursday night. Comcast, of course, is the parent of MSNBC.
Olbermann's show tweets MSNBC viewers to gain subscribers. Search for MSNBC on Twitter and you know what comes up at the top of the page? A tweet promoting Keith Olbermann's new show on Current TV.
OlbermannThe clever folks at Current TV bought an ad on Twitter that puts a promotional tweet for Olbermann's "Countdown" on the top of any search on the site for "MSNBC." Given that on Thursday MSNBC made national news itself when Time magazine's Mark Halperin called President Obama a bad word on its "Morning Joe" program, Olbermann's show is no doubt getting a ton of publicity. The tweet is not from Olbermann's personal Twitter feed but fromCountdownKO, a feed Current TV set up to hype the show.
The tweets range from plugging what is on upcoming shows to telling people how to find Current TV on their cable and satellite distributor.

Staying put. Media giants eagerly eyeing Scripps Networks Interactive, parent of Home & Garden Television and majority owner of the Food Network, will have to wait as the owners have quietly decided that now is not the time to sell and instead will launch a stock buyback to gobble up some shares that are coming available from a Scripps family trust. Details from the Wall Street Journal.
Pass revoked. MoviePass, an AOL initiative that sought to allow consumers to buy a monthly pass to any movie at a price of $50, bit the dust before it ever got off the ground. Part of the problem appears to have been never coordinating with theater chains who objected strongly to the idea of an outsider setting movie prices. Details on the debacle from Variety, the Wrap and Deadline Hollywood.
From Rupert to Justin. Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. finally unloaded fading social networking site Myspace to a marketing company called Specific Media for $35 million. Among those who will try to fix Myspace is singer/actor Justin Timberlake, who will have a stake in the company and offer guidance on how to make it cool again. News Corp. bought Myspace for almost $600 million in 2005. But while the site was hot then, it cooled quickly as News Corp. failed to find a direction to broaden it at the same time Facebook emerged to challenge and subsequently destroy it. More on Myspace's fate from the Los Angeles TimesWall Street Journal and TechCrunch.

Falco soars. Randy Falco, a former top executive at NBC, has been promoted to chief executive just a few months after joining Spanish-language broadcaster Univision. Falco is replacing Joe Uva, who was pushed out earlier this year. Coverage from the Los Angeles Times and Hollywood Reporter.
What, me worry? A new study says the cable industry doesn't have anything to fear about consumers cutting the cord and getting their entertainment elsewhere. Why are visions of Kevin Bacon in "Animal House" telling a violent crowd to "remain calm!" and "all is well!" running through my head. More from the Philadelphia Inquirer, the home paper of Comcast, the nation's largest cable company and industry trade Multichannel News.
John Horn on the tough weekend Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts are facing.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Kenneth Turan on "Larry Crowne." A look at how Justin Timberlake got involved with Myspace. 
-- Joe Flint from LA Times Company Town wrote most but not all of the above.
From LA Times Company Town and other sources. Click here to go to Company Town.