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Friday, April 27, 2012

Break-up at Warner Brothers. Disney Interactive Origional Series for Moms. "The Five Year Itch". Superhero Summer starts.A most unusual Pirate. Should broadcasters report their on-line political advertising revenue and sourcess?

Ali wentworth

Photo left: Ali Wentworth, shown at the 39th Annual Chaplin Award gala in New York City, is host of the Disney Web series "Daily Shot."  Credit: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

From the LA Times Company Town Blog, click here for the latest entertainment news.

Just in time for Mothers Day. Disney Interactive Media Group has unveiled original Web series targeting an influential demographic -- moms.
Margie Gilmore, vice president of online originals, told a group of media buyers gathered for a Digital Content NewFront presentation Thursday at SoHo House that the shows strive to remain true to the Walt Disney Co.'s heritage of storytelling -- while offering an honest, open and authentic voice that some within the company found "a little uncomfortable."

"There's not a lot of pixie dust in the world of parenting," Gilmore said. "We have to strike a balance between being Disney and being relevant and real."

The new digital shows build on Disney's considerable portfolio of assets targeting moms, including Babble Media, with its extensive roster of mommy bloggers dispensing parenting advice, and iParenting Media, which operates a network of websites geared to parents.

One series, "Moms of," features interviews with the mothers of accomplished athletes, musicians, inventors and teachers. One vignette Disney screened focused on 2009 Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, whose mother, Shonda Ingram, advises, "As mothers we don't have all the answers ... you just have to keep fighting and working hard to raise your child."

Other shows, "That's Fresh" and "Thinking Up," fall into the self-help category -- leavened with humor. The cooking show is hosted by Chef Helen Cavallo, who describes herself as "50% Italian, 50% Colombian and I'm 100% New York." Each episode features one fresh ingredient that can be prepared in multiple ways.

"Moms are looking for answers. 'What's for dinner?' 'How can I feed my kids in healthy ways, in the time that I have?'" said Gilmore, who was an executive producer for Food Network. "We're working with the irresistible Helen Cavallo. ... She's so funny and so warm, and she's the kind of person the kids won't look away from, and the moms won't look away from."

Television personality and author of "Courtney's Creative Adventurers," Courtney Watkins, hosts "Thinking Up" -- which provides imaginative children's activities, drawing from her eclectic background as a teacher of kindergarten and art and a designer of jewelry, murals and greeting cards. "Courtney is like no one else I've ever met -- an embodiment in how to be a creative adventurer with and for your kids," Gilmore said. "She's a mom who can so easily access what it means to be 8 or 9 years old."

As with other media companies, Disney indulged in a bit of celebrity sizzle: comedian Ali Wentworth filmed an episode of "Daily Shot" -- a show mixing news, celebrity gossip and topical issues sprinkled with wit -- at SoHo House, instead of its typical setting at her kitchen table.

"As you can see, we're not in my kitchen," Wentworth joked in her opening. "I'm here with a bunch of really really close friends, some family, some in-laws. ..."

The Skinny: I've decided soy sauce is to vegetables what ketchup is to meat. Friday's headlines include a weekend box-office preview, a partner in Hulu wanting to cash out, and a look at a most unusual movie pirate. Also, a big break-up at Warner Bros. and a review of "The Five-Year Engagement."

Daily Dose: Later this morning the FCC will vote on whether to require broadcasters to put detailed financial information about politicians' advertising on the Web. The broadcasters have been lobbying hard to keep the actual costs of their commercials out of view. It appears they will lose that fight. However, the FCC will throw broadcasters a bone and agree to review, a little way down the road, whether putting specific unit rates for commercials on the Web had negative ramifications for their bottom line.

Five-Year Engagement
Photo: "The Five-Year Engagement." Credit: Glen Wilson / Universal Pictures 

Start throwing rice. The road to the altar should be paved with box-office gold for the Jason Segel comedy "The Five-Year Engagement." The movie is expected to take the top spot this weekend with between $18 million and $20 million in sales. Also opening this weekend are the horror movie "The Raven," the action flick "Safe" and the 3-D family film "The Pirates! Band of Misfits." I can't explain it, but there's something about the marketing for "A Five-Year Engagement" that makes it seem like it has been sitting on the shelf for a while. Box office previews from the Los Angeles Times and Hollywood Reporter.

Time to sell. Private investing firm Providence Equity Partners is looking to cash out of Hulu, the online video platform co-owned by News Corp., Walt Disney Co. and Comcast Corp. Providence had invested $100 million in Hulu and is taking away about twice that, according to Bloomberg. Earlier this week Providence invested $200 million in former News Corp. President Peter Chernin's media company Chernin Group. That seems to be more than a coincidence. Additional coverage from the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal.

The break-up. Warner Bros. and mega-producer Joel Silver are parting ways after a quarter-century together, according to Deadline Hollywood. Silver's deal will not be renewed by the studio when it expires later this year. Clashes between Silver, who's known for his temper, and Warner Bros. apparently finally reached the point of no return.

The face of piracy. Meet Hyman Strachman, a 92-year-old World War II vet who spends much of his time making bootlegs of Hollywood hits and sending them to soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. The New York Times profiles Strachman, who by his estimate has sent hundreds of thousands of pirated DVDs to the troops for free. Although what he is doing is illegal, Hollywood has not come down on Strachman yet. My public relations advice to the movie industry is to tell him to stop, and then start doing his work for him.

Superhero summer. "The Avengers," "Batman" and "Spider-Man" are just some of the big-budget superhero blockbusters coming out this summer. USA Today looks at Hollywood's big bets for the months ahead. I just want to know who came up with "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter."

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Disney has its hands full figuring out how it will fill Rich Ross's position as head of its movie studio. Betsy Sharkey on "The Five-Year Engagement."

-- Joe Flint

Follow me on Twitter. I'm a No. 1 pick.

From the LA Times Company Town Blog, click here for the latest entertainment news. 

1 comment:

Cameron Rand com101 4044 said...

I saw the five year engagment and I recomend it for everyone. It was absolutly hilarious, but at the same time it brings yourself to so many different emotions.