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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Disney puts pause on big budget movies. e-books Gain Movie Deals. Woman writers in TV. NBC gears up Olympics hype! CNN ratings tumble. American Idol on the slide. Olympic Hype.

Phillip Phillips will find out Wednesday night if he will win "American Idol."

'American Idol' ratings: Easy win -- on a queasy downward slide

"American Idol" continued to suffer a ratings drop as it headed into its season finale Wednesday night and prepared to crown either Phillip Phillips or Jessica Sanchez the winner.

According to preliminary ratings, the Tuesday night episode of the Fox show drew 14.3 million viewers. That was enough for an easy win, and the show also was first in the advertiser-coveted demographic of adults ages 18 to 49.

"American Idol's" overall numbers, however, are inching downward. Last season, "American Idol" averaged almost 25 million viewers; this season is typically attracting around 19 million. To continue reading in the Los Angeles Times click on More..

After the coffee. Before getting out of wet Boston.

The Skinny: After almost two weeks on the road, I'm finally heading back home Wednesday night. Just don't tell me it's raining in Los Angeles. Wednesday's headlines include NBC's plans to hype the online component to its Olympics coverage, Disney hitting pause on a pricey movie, and CNN's ratings troubles.

Daily Dose: While the National Cable & Telecommunications Assn.'s annual cable show has gotten smaller over the years because of industry consolidation, just about every major programmer still has a booth on the convention floor and there are still a few stars hyping their shows. One notable absence this year is Viacom, owner of some of the biggest cable channels around -- including MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central. The company has no presence on the floor and if it has executives here, they are doing a good job of keeping a low profile.

Pulling the plug. Walt Disney Co. has hit the pause button on its action movie "Order of the Seven." The film, which was to start production later this summer, is being given a second look because of its budget, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The film was to star Saoirse Ronan and was a retelling of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" with a little bit of martial arts thrown in. 

Piers Morgan
CNN's Piers Morgan has low ratings, just like the network as a whole. (CNN / May 23, 2012)

Going for the gold. With the Summer Olympics in London just a few months away, NBC is planning a marketing blitz to not only promote the games but to hype just how much of the event will be available live online and how consumers can watch. The trick for sports fans is that they need to be subscribers to a cable or satellite service in order to access the games and to join the so-called TV Everywhere initiative. The challenge for NBC is getting cable operators to start promoting TV Everywhere. Some are more aggressive than others. I've had Time Warner Cable for three years and I don't recall getting any information about TV Everywhere. More on NBC's online distribution plans from the Los Angeles Times.

His own man. Sirius XM Radio Chief Executive Mel Karmazin told shareholders he fought large shareholder Liberty Media's attempt to take control of the satellite radio broadcaster because he doesn't play well with others. At the Sirius XM annual meeting, Karmazin told shareholders, "I don't want to be responsible for somebody else making a decision," according to the Wall Street Journal. Liberty, which is headed by mogul John Malone, owns over 40% of Liberty stock. Karmazin also had a blunt assessment of Sirius XM's stock performance. "Our stock sucks," he said.

RealD founders Michael V. Lewis, left, and Josh Greer inside a theater at the company's Beverly Hills headquarters.

RealD signs deal with China's Bona Film Group

Beverly Hills-based RealD Inc. is further expanding its presence in China.

The 3-D equipment supplier said Wednesday it had a signed a deal to install 100 3-D screens for the Bona Film Group's theater circuit in China.  Bona, a leading film distributor in China, plans to install RealD 3-D systems at each of the company's 11 theater locations.

"3-D technology gives moviegoers a more immersive visual experience, which takes the movie business to a new level,'' said Don Yu, chairman and CEO of Bona Film Group. "Bona strives for the highest industry standard, both in movie production and exhibition. To continue reading in the Los Angeles times click on More...

Keeping score. Deadline Hollywood looks at how female writers fared this pilot season. The site said about 32% of all pilots were written or co-written by women. Among the big networks, ABC had the highest percentage while CBS had the lowest. Of course, CBS also ordered fewer pilots than ABC.

Parity for ebooks. Just because you download them to a Kindle or iPad instead of buying a hardcover doesn't make them any less valuable to Hollywood. Variety says in some cases ebooks are getting hardcover and paperback movie rights deals.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Kenneth Turan on director Walter Salles' hard journey turning Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" into a movie.

 Follow me on Twitter. We've made it this far.

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

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