Friday, September 6, 2013

'Riddick' to roll this weekend; broadcasters get some good news. CBS shows dinosaurs still scary. '50 Shades' casting backlash!

After the coffee. Before getting the ratings for the Broncos win.  

150 years as a state...Happy Birthday California!

The Skinny: Boy did 5773 just fly by or what? Yes, I had to look that one up. Summer may be ending but much of the industry seems to still be on vacation. It is a pretty light edition Wednesday. We've got more analysis of the CBS-Time Warner Cable deal and what it says about the media business. Also, stories on the launch of the new cable channel FXX and a preview of the Toronto Film Festival. Given that I am sweating as I write this, it seems too early for football. We'll see how the rest of America felt when the Nielsen numbers come in. Friday's headlines include the weekend box office preview and coverage of a big legal win for broadcasters. Also, the latest on Nikki Finke's fight with her owner Jay Penske.

X marks the spot. FXX, the spinoff cable channel from FX, officially launched on Monday. It didn't take much effort for the new network to top the ratings that the previous occupant of that real estate -- Fox Soccer -- was receiving. Deadline Hollywood and AdWeek on FXX's first day performance.

Network TV Drama Drain - H 2013

Drama drought? With Netflix and cable networks such as HBO, FX and AMC becoming the place to go for compelling drama, fewer pitches for new shows are being made for broadcast networks. Cable and digital platforms can offer not only more creative freedom, but less pressure to score massive ratings out of the gate. The Hollywood Reporter looks at the lack of drama pitches for broadcasters.

Daily Dose: Who says cable companies aren't nice guys? Time Warner Cable is offering its subscribers who lost CBS programing for a month one free movie, which is a value of $5.99. Of course, the subscriber has to do some work and redeem a credit code to avoid a charge. How about instead of one movie, a whole weekend of free on-demand movies with no paperwork necessary? And by the way, I haven't gotten my free movie notice yet.

Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers
Football played a big part in getting Time Warner Cable to agree to a deal with CBS. (AFP / Getty Images)

Dinosaur power. In the age of cable, Netflix and Hulu, broadcast networks are often viewed as dinosaurs struggling to survive digital meteor storms. But the fight between CBS and Time Warner Cable over a new distribution deal showed why the Tyrannosaurus rex is still pretty scary, especially to a big cable operator. What we hope are some final thoughts on the CBS-Time Warner Cable retransmission consent fight of 2013 from the Los Angeles TimesReutersHollywood Reporter and Variety.

Baltimore Ravens v Denver Broncos
Running back Montee Ball, No. 28 of the Denver Broncos, rushes against the Baltimore Ravens. (Dustin Bradford / Getty Images / September 5, 2013)

Proof of the Power. Pro football is back, and Thursday night's kickoff game between the Denver Broncos and the Baltimore Ravensscored a big victory for NBC. 
According to early numbers from Nielsen, the game drew a rating of 10 in prime time among advertiser-desired 18-49-year-olds. That's an increase of about 15% from preliminary ratings for last year's first game on NBC.
That contest on Sept 5, 2012, between the Dallas Cowboysand the New York Giants scored a rating of 8.7 in the early numbers and had some serious competition: Bill Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention.
During the 8:30-11 p.m. time period, the telecast drew more than 24.8 million viewers. NBC's average viewership for the night easily beat the other networks, with 23.2 million people tuning in. 
The early nationwide numbers from Nielsen are not adjusted for time zones and typically underestimate NFL telecasts. More reliable national ratings won't be released until Friday afternoon. 
In metered markets, which are time zone-adjusted, NBC drew a rating of 14.9 from 8 to 11 p.m.
The game, in which the Broncos won 49-27, was delayed because of weather. NBC's coverage of the contest, which ran from 9:15 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., generated a rating of 16.2 in metered-market households. 
On CBS, "Big Brother" surged 40% in total viewership to 7.07 million compared with last week. Its rating among 18-49-year-olds increased 33% to a 2.4 for the live elimination in which two contestants were sent home.
ABC's cop show "Rookie Blue" increased its key demographic rating by 11% to a 1.0.
Fox was showing all reruns. 

Daily Dose 2: With Jennifer Lopez back on "American Idol," it might be time to re-read "Elimination Night," the roman a clef about the talent show that was published earlier this year. The book, whose author remains anonymous but clearly worked on the Fox hit, features memorable fiction versions of Steven Tyler and Lopez that -- if only half true -- will make you cringe. 

 Blip's mobile and Web technology
YouTube personalities Lloyd Ahlquist (EpicLLOYD), left, and Peter Shukoff (Nice Peter), the creators of "Epic Rap Battles of History," will seek to take advantage of Blip's mobile and Web technology. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times / February22, 2013)

The digital media company Maker Studios has acquired Blip, a company best known for its technology for distributing original Web series.
The Culver City studio behind such YouTube personalities as Lloyd Ahlquist (EpicLLOYD) and Peter Shukoff (Nice Peter), the creators of "Epic Rap Battles of History"; Kassem G and the Shaytards will seek to take advantage of Blip's mobile and Web technology.
Blip's software pushes Web content to smartphones, tablets and Microsoft's Xbox game console.  It also makes a software used by video creators. Its partners include Rooster Teeth and My Damn Channel.
"Blip's content partnerships and technology platforms are a great complement to Maker," Maker Studios Executive Chairman Ynon Kreiz said in a statement.
Members of Blip's executive team will assume new roles at Maker. Chief Financial Officer Max Smith will assume the same role at Maker and Jason Krebs, Blip's president of sales and marketing, will lead the studio's sales efforts. Blip's chief technical officer, Jeff O'Connell, will join as senior vice president of technology. Blip Chief Executive Kelly Day will remain as an advisor.
The companies announced an agreement in principle recently, after reports of a likely pairing began circulating.  Deal terms were not disclosed, although AllThingsD reported the price tag to be less than $10 million.
Maker raised $36 million late last year in a financing round led by Time Warner Investments. At the time, it said it would use the capital to continue growing its operations. The digital studio attracts more than 4 billion online views a month through its network of 60,000 YouTube channels.
"For our production partners, this represents a great opportunity to tap into Maker's unparalleled resources," Day said in a statement.

  • Carry On... Up the Khybera late 1960's satire that has meaning today, in Iraq, Afthanistan, India and on the issue of playing western gods in the Middle East.

  • Putting out the fires. Fireman's Fund Insurance Co. has been Hollywood's go-to insurer since before movies had sound. The Novato, Calif. company is celebrating more than 100 years of making it easier for producers, directors and bean counters to sleep at night. The Los Angeles Times on Fireman's Fund.

    Toronto time. The Toronto Film Festival is getting underway. It's another sign that summer explosion season is over and hopefully a return to more thoughtful movies is coming as we enter the fall and later awards season. USA Today with a preview.

    "Riddick" to roll. Vin Diesel's "Riddick" will have the advantage of facing no other major new competition this weekend at the box office on what will be a slow weekend. The third chapter of the franchise is projected to take in north of $20 million and could top $30 million, which will be more than enough to score first place. This despite the fact that the previous two "Riddick" movies have been so-so performers. If "Riddick" doesn't rock your boat there are some indie movies open too, including "Salinger," a documentary on late reclusive author J.D. Salinger. Weekend box office previews from the Los Angeles Times and Hollywood Reporter.

    Get over it. The news that Charlie Hunnam and Dakota Johnson have been cast as the leads in the movie version of "Fifty Shades of Grey" has hardcore fans of the book furious. Thanks to the Internet, everyone can now play casting director and critic at the same time. Variety looks at the backlash. As for me, I didn't read the book and I already saw "Secretary" so I'm kind of over this.

    Score one for the broadcasters. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that FilmOn, a company that streams broadcast signals via the Internet, violates the Copyright Act. That is a big win for broadcasters who are fighting such services. The ruling by the District Court contradicts a ruling by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York that found that Aereo, a similar service, is legal. Coverage from Bloomberg and the New York Times.

    New directions. MSNBC is giving actor and Capital One pitchman Alec Baldwin a weekly talk show. Baldwin, who was rumored as a potential candidate for a late-night slot on NBC, will cast a wide net with regards to interview subjects. More on his show from the Associated PressFox News, meanwhile, is adding a new lifestyle show hosted by Carol Alt, whom fans of the Howard Stern show will recall was often the subject of a debate over whether she was a super model or just a model. More on her weekend show from Variety.


    Columnist Nikki Finke says she wants to buy back from Jay Penske, pictured, who also owns Variety, a rival Hollywood publication.

    Can't they just get along? The drama between Hollywood reporter Nikki Finke and Jay Penske, who owns the Deadline Hollywood site she founded, continues. Finke finally went on the record to the Wall Street Journal to say what everyone has known for months, which is that she wants to get ownership of her site back or start a new one. Among the reasons why is because she's mad that Penske didn't give her a role at Variety, which acquired after buying Deadline.

    Vin Diesel reprises his role as the antihero Riddick in "Riddick." (Universal Pictures / September 6, 2013)

    Inside the Los Angeles Times: Michael Phillips on "Riddick." News Corp. sold its community newspapers unit, which included the Stockton Record.  The Tennis Channel suffers another blow in its fight against Comcast

    Tennis Channel
    The Tennis Channel lost an important ruling in its legal match against cable giant Comcast Corp. Above, David Ferrer of Spain, right, returns a shot to Richard Gasquet of France during the quarterfinals of the 2013 U.S. Open tennis tournament Wednesday in New York. (Julio Cortez / Associated Press / September 4, 2013)

    Inside the Los Angeles Times: 
    Follow me on Twitter for a rocking 5774. @JBFlint.
    Follow me on Twitter for and watch me have breakdowns tweeting about the Redskins. @JBFlint.

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