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Monday, July 11, 2011

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FOX-Newscorp faces international shame. Who will hulu? Comic Con becomes Hollywood Marketing Clone.


From the LA Times Company Town (click here for the latest industry news).


The Skinny: Looks like another week dominated by the phone-hacking scandal that is threatening News Corp.'s desire to buy a big British media firm and has created potentially irreparable damage to the company. At the box office, "Horrible Bosses" fired up viewers.
Apparently we all hate our bosses. New Line's "Horrible Bosses" was the hot new movie of the weekend, taking in almost $30 million and easily beating Sony's "The Zookeeper" for top comedy. "The Zookeeper" took in only a so-so $21 million. Staying on top of the heap at the box office was the latest "Transformers," which made $47 million this weekend and has gobbled up $261 million in the U.S. and Canada since its opening. Box-office analysis from the Los Angeles TimesDeadline Hollywood, and Movie City News.

As the world turns. Sunday marked the last day of publishing for News Corp.'s News of the World, Rupert Murdoch's tabloid that was brought down by revelations that the paper had been hacking into voice mails of not only celebrities and the royal family, but random crime and terrorism victims. That may not be enough to dash News Corp.'s aspirations of acquiring the 60% of British Sky Broadcasting it doesn't already own, but the deal, which was on the verge of being green-lighted by British regulators, is receiving renewed scrutiny and could yet be a casualty of hackergate. In the meantime, Murdoch and son James -- his current heir apparent -- continue to protect top executives who presided over the troubled paper when the hacking took place. 
Monday, embers from the scandal touched down in the U.S.  A group of institutional investors led by Amalgamated Bank in New York revised a lawsuit filed earlier this year against News Corp. to include claims of "improper conduct" at high levels of the media company.  Amalgamated Bank, which is leading the legal effort on behalf of several investment funds, first sued News Corp. in March in a Delaware court after Murdoch agreed to spend $675 million to buy daughter Elisabeth Murdoch's British television production company, Shine Group. 
The bank has been asserting that the 80-year-old media mogul operates News Corp. "as his own private fiefdom with little or no effective oversight from the board." 
On Monday, Amalgamated amended its complaint to fold in accusations stemming from the News of the World scandal. 
The latest from the BBC and the New York Times. Meanwhile, media columnist Howard Kurtz weighs in with a Washington Post Op-Ed article about some of the British-like practices of the U.S. media.
Tire-kicking time. Want to buy Hulu? It's being shopped by its media-giant parents Walt Disney Co. and News Corp. Comcast, the other majority owner of the online video site, is a silent partner as a result of conditions on the cable giant's acquisition of NBCUniversal. The Wall Street Journal has a quick article on who may be looking at Hulu, but what's most interesting is that Netflix apparently won't be a suitor.
Point, Tennis Channel. The Federal Communications Commission's enforcement bureau has told a judge at the agency that it agrees with the Tennis Channel in its dispute with Comcast Corp., according to Multichannel News. At issue is whether Comcast favored sports channels it owns versus the Tennis Channel when it came to distributing the network to consumers. The FCC's recommendation does not mean the Tennis Channel has won, but it is the agency's view on the spat that the judge will take into consideration, along with other arguments, in reaching a decision.
Buyer beware. Comic-Con, the geek fanboy convention that has turned into just another marketing vehicle for Hollywood, kicks off in a few weeks, and Variety offers up a preview and a look at who's skipping this year's event. Movie premiers and previews, stars, product marketing mania...
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Mary McNamara on how new platforms have brought new meaning to the word "spoiler." Premium video-on-demand isn't generating a lot of demand yet.