"The Bourne Legacy" didn't take in as much over the weekend as everyone thought. And it wasn't alone. (Universal Pictures / August 14, 2012)
Correcting the record. Monday's box-office reports had "The Bourne Legacy" taking in just over $40 million in its debut weekend. But that was a little wishful thinking on Hollywood's part. Updated numbers show that the Jeremy Renner thriller actually made about $38 million. Other top movies, including the comedy "The Campaign," lowered their numbers too as the end of the Olympics took a bigger bite than had been anticipated. Details from Variety.
The Skinny: This is not a paid spot but I have to give a shout out to Custom Auto Craft for getting a nasty scratch out of my car. They ruined my excuse to be grumpy all week. Tuesday's headlines include Paramount's less-is-more strategy to making movies, CNN's efforts to backtrack from a report that it wants to get into the reality business, and another big spat between a broadcaster and distributor.
Daily Dose: Fox Sports typically provides a lot of programming to regional sports networks owned by cable giant Comcast Corp. But the two sides no longer have a deal and now shows that Fox syndicates -- including Dan Patrick's popular sports talk program -- are not available in Comcast homes. It is unclear whether talks will resume or if Comcast has decided to go in a different direction.
Members of Mexico's soccer team celebrate the gold medal against Brazil at the 2012 London Olympics on Saturday. The game was the most-watched Olympics event in Telemundo's history. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / August 13, 2012)
Saturday's highly anticipated men's soccer championship final, in which Mexico defeated Brazil, drew 3.6 million viewers -- a new record for an Olympics audience on Telemundo. The game, which attracted more viewers than programming on any other TV station in Los Angeles Saturday morning, also produced Telemundo's highest weekend day ratings for a soccer match.
"God bless soccer," sportscaster Andrés Cantor said as he began calling Saturday's match at the iconic Wembley Stadium.
Overall, Telemundo's viewership was up 42% compared with the company's Spanish-language coverage of the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Telemundo's coverage highlighted Latino athletes and soccer, boxing, basketball and swimming events.
The London Olympics captured the honor of being the most-watched event in U.S. television history with more than 219 million viewers, NBCUniversal said Monday. The company dedicated six television networks, including NBC, MSNBC, NBC Sports Network, Bravo and Telemundo, to its coverage.
NBC's Bob Costas, shown with the U.S. women's gymnastics team, and the rest of the network get to feel like winners again. (NBC / August 13, 2012)
The smart money was wrong.
Instead, NBC executives will leave London smiling. At worst, NBC and its parent, Comcast Corp., will break even on the games and may even make a tiny profit. NBC averaged 31.1 million viewers for the 17 nights of coverage it aired and overall almost 220 million people watched some of the games.
That huge audience also became a platform for NBC to promote its fall shows and even get some sampling for a few of them. In addition, the games boosted its morning show "Today," which is struggling to put some distance between itself and ABC's "Good Morning America."
No, a big audience for the Olympics does not mean NBC will suddenly be the most popular network when the fall season starts. Just because 30 million people saw a promo for a show, that doesn't mean they'll all tune in like lap dogs when it debuts a month later.
NBC made the mistake of cutting the final cerimonies before the finale and then calling the finale an all too brief "after party", alienating viewers and perhaps runing them against the shows they were promoting during the hour long break.
But NBC needed to at least show it still has a pulse and the Olympics did that. For almost three weeks, the network got a reminder of what it is like to be watched. After years of bad ratings, the brass there gets to feel like a winner again. Hopefully that enthusiasm won't fade when the Olympic torch is put back in the closet.
If NBC's new shows are tanking in mid-October, there will be lots of stories about how the Olympics ended up being a bust. That won't be fair or accurate. It's not on the Olympics to save NBC. The Games and the ratings achieved gave NBC a chance to promote its new shows to America. If America skips them, that's the fault of the programming team, not the sports guys.
Comcast had expected to lose money on the Summer Olympics. That it didn't means it already gets a medal. It will also no doubt make it feel better about the $4.4 billion it agreed to shell out for the U.S. TV rights to the next four Olympic Games from 2014 to 2020.
Though it first became clear last month that the state-owned China Film Group intended to open the two superhero films on the same day, Warner Bros. had been lobbying to delay the release of its "Dark Knight Rises" until September. That effort failed, as both movies have now been officially dated for Aug. 27.
To continue reading click on More.
"Titanic 3-D" will be the first movie to play in Myanmar in more than a decade as 20th Century Fox has struck a deal to release the film in the Southeast Asian nation that is slowly opening to the world.
Fox said Monday that it has struck a deal with Mingalar Co., a local importer that operates eight single-screen theaters, to open "Titanic 3-D" on Aug. 17 in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.
While it's not clear exactly when the last American movie was seen in Myanmar, Fox said in a statement the wait has been "decades." To continue reading this story click on More..
An owner of the National Enquirer's parent company is now the leading bidder for Hollywood trade paper Variety. (Variety website / August 13, 2012)
A late entrant in the sales process being run by Variety corporate parent Reed Elsevier, Avenue had bid more than $40 million, according to a person close to the process who was not authorized to speak publicly.
Avenue invests primarily in "distressed and undervalued assets," according to its website, and has $12 billion worth of holdings.
If it succeeds in purchasing Variety, Avenue probably would merge the back-end operations of the financially troubled 107-year-old trade newspaper with American Media, according to the New York Post, which first reported the news.
Along with the Enquirer, American Media's publications include Men's Fitness, Shape, Radar Online, and Star.
American Media is co-owned by Avenue along with other former bondholders including Angelo Gordon & Co.
Billionaire supermarket magnate Ron Burkle had been considered the leading candidate to purchase Variety by insiders. However, he has recently fallen behind other interested parties, the knowledgeable person said.
Another top bidder is Penske Media, the owner of online Hollywood trade outlet Deadline.com. Penske is being backed by private equity firm Shamrock Capital Advisors.
It remains to be seen whether Avenue is able to close a deal for Variety, which has seen its financial state deteriorate amid declining advertising and increased competition online.
If not, both Burkle and the Penske/Shamrock team remain in the wings.
A spokesman for Avenue Capital did not respond to a request for comment.
Reality? Us? Never! On Monday, the New York Post reported that CNN was considering reality programs to boost its sinking ratings. But CNN, which declined to comment for that story, is now singing a different tune. The cable network told the New York Times that it is not going to start looking for the next version of the Kardashians. But it will seek out "documentary"-type shows. I see a debate soon about what's documentary and what's reality.
Showdown. Satellite broadcaster Dish Network and Sinclair Broadcast Group, one of the nation's most powerful TV station owners, are in tense negotiations that are not going well. Sinclair owns over 70 TV stations and is trying to sign a new distribution deal to keep the stations in Dish's 14 million homes. The current pact is set to expire Wednesday. Dish says Sinclair wants too much money. If Sinclair's stations do come off of Dish dishes, it will be bad news for the broadcast networks that are affiliated with Sinclair too. More on the spat from MediaPost.
No Nobel Prize for NBC. A group of Nobel Peace laureates have written NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt to complain about the network's new reality show "Stars Earn Stripes," in which D-level celebrities (Nick Lachey, Todd Palin) learn how to blow things up. According to Reuters, the letter writers told NBC, "It is our belief that this program pays homage to no one anywhere and continues and expands on an inglorious tradition of glorifying war and armed violence." The network replied that "Stars Earn Stripes" is "not a glorification of war but a glorification of service."
CBS CEO Leslie Moonves is taking a look at Dick Clark Productions. (Bloomberg)
Now he may get his chance.
CBS has emerged as the latest suitor for Dick Clark Productions (DCP), which holds the television rights to the Golden Globes as part of its partnership with the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., the owner of the Globes. Other DCP properties include "So You Think You Can Dance," the American Music Awards and "New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest."
The rights to the Golden Globes is DCP's biggest asset. It's also its biggest headache. DCP's partnership with the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. on the Globes is about as stable as Kristen Stewart's love life.
In April, Dick Clark Productions beat back in federal court the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.'s efforts to get back the TV rights to the Globes. However, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. is appealing the judge's decision.
During the trial, Moonves testified that he was interested in getting the Globes for CBS and was willing to pay an average fee of $25 million. Under NBC's deal for the Globes, the license fee averages out to about $21.5 million. CBS declined to comment on its interest in DCP, which was first reported by Reuters. However, two people close to the situation confirmed the company is taking a look.
If CBS were to land DCP, it's first task would be to undo the terms of the production company's rather bizarre agreement with the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. The terms of the pact between the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. and DCP call for the production company to maintain the rights to the Golden Globes in perpetuity as long as the program is under contract to NBC.
A scene from "The Beatles: Rock Band," developed by Harmonix. (Viacom Inc. / MTV Games)
The setback is just the latest in a series for Viacom, whose ambitious foray into music video games has resulted in massive losses and acrimonious litigation. The ruling, from a Delaware Court of Chancery judge, was first reported Monday by The Hollywood Reporter.
The lawsuit stemmed from Viacom's refusal to pay Harmonix bonus payments based on the performance of the "Rock Band" game franchise, which sold more than 10 million units but, nevertheless, lost money because of the high cost of creating the instruments needed to play the games. Viacom sold Harmonix in 2010 for a mere $50 for tax purposes, but realized a $50-million tax benefit from the transaction. The lawsuit went into private arbitration last year, and Viacom was ordered in December to pay $383 million. It paid $84 million, but appealed the remaining $299 million in the Delaware Court of Chancery. Viacom lost the appeal.
Viacom, in a statement, hinted that the show wasn't quite over.
"We are disappointed in the court's decision, and are evaluating our options for the next steps of this process," the company said.
Still, the New York media company, which also owns the cable channels MTV, VH1, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, among other properties, already set aside $383 million for the adverse ruling during its fourth quarter ended Dec. 31.
New sound? Legendary New York radio station WOR-AM may be in for a format change. WOR, home of Big Apple institution John Gambling, has recently been acquired by Clear Channel, the nation's largest owner of radio stations. Clear Channel will probably look to shake things up at WOR, which has faced tough competition over the last few years. The New York Post chats with Clear Channel about what may be in the works for WOR.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Patrick Goldstein on the disconnect between Hollywood power players who embrace politicians in real life while mocking them on the screen.
Follow me on Twitter. I'm irresistible. Twitter.com/JBFlint