Monday, August 5, 2013

Cable without cable? CBS and Time Warner Cable still fighting. '2 Guns' finishes first

"Two Guns"
"Two Guns," starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, shot its way to the top of the box office this past weekend.(Universal Pictures )

The Skinny: I guess if you force yourself to watch something long enough sooner or later you'll start to like it a little. That appears to be happening to me with HBO's "Newsroom." Just don't tell anyone. Monday's headlines include coverage of the CBS-Time Warner Cable fight and a recap of the weekend box office. 

Discovery Channel's Shark Week among the most social TV events
Discovery Channel's Shark Week, which began Sunday, entered the top 10 most discussed TV programs on Twitter, according to SocialGuide. This great white shark near Guadalupe Island off the coast of Mexico is among the ocean predators featured. (Andrew Brandy Casagrande / Associated Press)

Discovery's Shark Week fans go into Twitter frenzy.

Discovery Channel's Shark Week has begun to gobble up social media attention, as fin fans turned to Twitter to discuss the first special, "Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives," about a hunt for a killer shark off the coast of South Africa.
Two Shark Week programs broke into the top 10 most talked about TV shows on Twitter for the week of July 29-Aug. 4, according to SocialGuide, which ranks the most social TV programs ranked by activity on the social media site.
The network did plenty to fan the Twitter frenzy, including hosting a Google+ Hangout at the National Aquarium's Blacktip Reef in Baltimore, an exhibit swarming with sharks. YouTube celebrity iJustine joined aquarium experts and "Shark After Dark" host Josh Wolf in hosting Sunday's event, which marks the official start of Shark Week. Discovery Channel also is featuring fan tweets during the telecasts.
The top 10 TV listing of most social shows for the week are:
  1. Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta (VH1), Monday, 736,045 tweets
  2. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (MTV), Sunday, 551,862 tweets
  3. Catfish: The TV Show (MTV), Tuesday, 415,985 tweets
  4. Teen Wolf (MTV), Monday, 344,940 tweets
  5. Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives (Discovery), Sunday, 325,408 tweets
  6. Pretty Little Liars (ABC Family), Tuesday, 282,283 tweets
  7. Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor (BBC America), Sunday, 252,623 tweets
  8. The Bachelorette (ABC), Monday, 187,180 tweets
  9. Hit the Floor (VH1), Monday, 167,105 tweets
  10. Air Jaws: Countdown to Shark Week 2013 (Discovery), Sunday, 152,796 tweets

Daily Dose: Satellite broadcaster DirecTV got some attention for coming out in support of Time Warner Cable in the pay-TV fight against CBS over a new distribution deal.DirecTV may be Time Warner Cable's friend today, but next year when the cable operator starts shopping its new Dodgers channel and asking for big bucks, expect DirecTV to change its tune. 

Time Warner Cable's message to subscribers
Time Warner Cable subscribers in Los Angeles are without CBS because of a contract dispute. (Shane Eichacker / Los Angeles Times)

Blackout! The unthinkable became reality Friday afternoon when the signals of CBS-owned channels including KCBS-TV Channel 2 Los Angeles went dark on Time Warner Cable systems in Los Angeles, New York City, Dallas and elsewhere. The two sides have been unable to come to terms on a new distribution deal and talks broke down Friday and have yet to resume. Besides TV stations owned by CBS, Time Warner Cable has also taken down Showtime. CBS then blocked Time Warner Cable broadband subscribers from accessing the network's content from Both companies appear to let this fight drag on. The latest from the Los Angeles Times and Reuters

Would they call it Weinmax? The Weinstein Co., the movie production company headed by brothers Bob and Harvey Weinsten, have had merger talks with Miramax, the company they founded and later sold. According to Variety, the two companies have had talks recently about merging or forming some sort of strategic business partnership. Since being acquired by Colony Capital,Miramax has primarily been monetizing its library but hasn't created much in the way of new content. The Weinstein brothers, meanwhile, have been eager to get back the company they built and named after their parents, Miriam and Max.  

Bang! "2 Guns," the action movie starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, had enough firepower to take in $27.4 million, which was respectable given the movie's $60-million budget. That was also enough to beat "The Smurfs 2," which took in a disappointing $18.2 million here but did better abroad. Weekend box office recaps from the Los Angeles Times and Hollywood Reporter

DreamWorks Animation's latest movie, 'Turbo,' fared poorly at the domestic box office. (DreamWorks Animation)

Anne Globe resigns as DreamWorks Animation marketing chief.

DreamWorks Animation marketing chief Anne Globe has resigned from her job after 17 years with the Glendale-based studio.
DreamWorks Animation Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg told his staff Monday morning that Globe had "made the decision to leave DreamWorks Animation to start her own consulting business."
Globe held various positions at DreamWorks, overseeing the marketing of feature films, television series and theatrical productions. Calling her a "talented and creative executive," Katzenberg credited Globe for building relationships with such partners as McDonald's, Intel, General Mills and Nickelodeon.
Globe's departure comes in the wake of a rocky period at the box office for DreamWorks. Her contract was up for renewal at the end of the year.
Following the success of the caveman comedy "The Croods,"  DreamWorks shares took a hit in July after the poor debut of the studio's most recent movie "Turbo," which brought in just $21.5 million over its first weekend in release.
Although the company does not expect to take a write-down on the movie, "Turbo" has performed below expectations and marked the second box-office misfire in less than a year for the studio. DreamWorks took an $87-million write-down in February for the holiday movie "Rise of the Guardians."
DreamWorks announced Globe's departure in a regulatory filing. The company also said it will offer $300 million in senior notes that it will use to pay down existing debt, finance possible acquisitions and repurchase shares of common stock.

A scene from "The Croods." (Dreamworks Animation / August 1, 2013)

It's been a good week for entertainment and cable companies.
Shares of DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., CBS Corp. and Time Warner Cable Inc. rose Thursday after those companies reported strong quarterly earnings. 
Glendale-based DreamWorks Animation jumped 8.8% to $26.95 at the close of trading in New York Thursday. New York-based CBS increased 3.9% to $54.88. New York company Time Warner Cable rose 3.2% to $117.68. 
Comcast, the Philadelphia cable giant that owns NBCUniversal, rose 1.7% to $45.84, after surging 5.5% Wednesday.
Sony Corp., the Tokyo-based consumer electronics and media giant, reported Wednesday that it returned to profitability for its first fiscal quarter. Its stock gained 4.4% to $21.96. 
Dreamworks Animation on Wednesday reported net income of $22.2 million, or $0.26 a share, on revenue of $213.4 million during the quarter ended June 30. That beat analyst expectations of 20 cents a share. 
The studio's profits were boosted by the animated caveman movie "The Croods," which has taken in $584 million worldwide. The comedy contributed $71.8 million of revenue to the quarter. 
Less successful was the studio's most recent release, "Turbo,"about a garden snail who wants to win the Indy 500. The company's executives said the film will ultimately turn a profit.  
CBS' earnings climbed to $472 million, or 76 cents a share, compared to $427 million, or 65 cents a share, for the year-earlier period. Those numbers beats analysts' estimates of 72 cents a share. It was the company's biggest ever quarterly profit. 
Wall Street analysts have been especially pleased with the performance of the TV thriller "Under the Dome," which has drawn unusually high ratings for a summer drama.
Time Warner Cable on Thursday reported second-quarter earnings that surpassed analyst estimates even as the company lost subscribers.
Comcast reported earnings before the market opened Wednesday. Its second-quarter profit rose 29% with the help of NBCUniversal $6 billion in revenue, the company said. 
Satellite television giant DirecTV did not fare so well. The El Segundo company on Thursday reported worse than expected second-quarter earnings on its loss of subscribers in the U.S. 
Shares of DirecTV fell 1.3% to $62. 
The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average, the major stock indices, both advanced for the day. 

David Levy
David Levy at his office in New York. (Jennifer S. Altman / For The Times / May 25, 2010)

Turner Broadcasting promotes David Levy to president.

The management shakeup continues at Time Warner Inc.'s Turner Broadcasting unit. 
Turner Broadcasting System Inc. on Monday promoted David Levy to president to oversee channels including TBS andTNT. He had been president of sales, distribution and sports for Turner. 
The promotion comes a few weeks after Time Warner Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes picked John Martin as Turner's new chief executive when current CEO Phil Kent steps down in 2014. Levy had been a potential candidate for that post.
Levy will oversee domestic entertainment, animation and young-adults networks and business portfolios for the cable unit as well as continuing to oversee sports and advertising. In addition to TBS and TNT, Levy will be in charge of the company's Turner Classic Movies, TruTV, Cartoon Network,Boomerang and Adult Swim.
The new role for Levy will essentially add a layer to Turner management once Martin takes over. Interestingly, while Turner and Kent are based in Atlanta, Martin and Levy are New York-based. The appointment of Martin has some speculating that Turner's Atlanta operation may shrink in the coming years as more key executives are located elsewhere. 

European Pressphoto Agency
Media-shy CEO James Dolan in 2009. He says Cablevision may eventually focus on broadband.

Cable without cable? Jim Dolan, chief executive of New York-based pay-TV distributorCablevision Systems, said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that he could envision a day when his company gets out of the video business to focus solely on broadband. Dolan cited new technologies and old business models as the main factors making selling TV packages less desirable. 

Coming back? Jennifer Lopez is near a deal to return as a judge on Fox's "American Idol" next season, reports Deadline Hollywood. She would join Keith Urban and a still-unnamed third judge. While Lopez brings familiarity with the show, her arrival also pretty much ends the idea of having some previous "American Idol" winners return as judges.

Clark Gregg, Brett Dalton, and Chloe Bennet in a scene from "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.." (Justin Lubin / ABC)

Inside the Los Angeles Times: ABC is banking on "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." to turn its fortunes around this fall. After Seth MacFarlane's raunchy turn as Oscar host, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tapped Ellen DeGeneres as the next host for a softer touch.

 Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres hosted the 79th Academy Awards in 2007. (Al Seib, Los Angeles Times / February 25, 2007)

Follow me on Twitter for all the latest CBS-Time Warner Cable news. @JBFlint.

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