The Skinny: The government may shut down but the Morning Fix is here for you. Caught up with "The Good Wife" premiere. I like the show but could do without its "Ally McBeal" moments. I don't have enough space here to complain about "Homeland." Tuesday's headlines include the box office recap, a review of the "Breaking Bad" finale, a regional sports network filing for bankruptcy protection, a look at the early days of the fall TV season, and Hillary Rodham Clinton projects at CNN and NBC are DOA. I was all set to see "Don Jon" on Sunday but the ArcLight in Hollywood had other plans and canceled the early afternoon screening in the dome. A text or an email might have been nice! At least the Redskins won. Seems that for once most critics and viewers agree that the finale of "Breaking Bad" delivered. It also delivered for AMCAdvertising Age said some spots went for as much as $400,000. Not only did the cable channel boost the rate it charges for advertisements, but it sure seemed like there were more commercial breaks than usual, didn't it?



Daily Dose: Satellite broadcaster Dish Networks and Walt Disney Co. have extended contract negotiations on a new distribution deal. Dish's deals to carry Disney networks including ESPN and ABC Family as well asABC-owned TV stations was set to expire last night. The extension was described as short term, but since neither side has resorted to attack ads the way CBS and Time Warner Cable did, the hope is that a deal can be reached without a blackout. Dish has over 14-million subscribers.

"The Blacklist"
NBC's "The Blacklist" starring James Spader got off to a strong start. (NBC)
And they're off! The fall TV season is officially underway (except at the CW, which doesn't premiere new shows until later this week) and ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC all have something to brag about. Each has managed to launch at least one new series. Of course, each also has at least one disappointment. Given that more viewers are recording shows to watch later, making judgment calls based on the next-day ratings may soon be a fool's game. A look at the new TV season from the Los Angeles Times.

Lauren Zalaznick
Lauren Zalaznick. (Derick E. Hingle / Bloomberg News / September 27, 2013)

Brilliant but canceled. Lauren Zalaznick, the colorful programming executive who was instrumental in making the cable network Bravo into a pop culture hot spot, is leaving NBCUniversal. Zalaznick, who started out as an independent movie producer before moving to TV, fell out of favor at NBCUniversal after Comcast took control of the company from General Electric. Coverage of her exit from the Los Angeles Times and Variety. Also, the New York Post wastes no time speculating where she may end up next.

"Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2" was the No. 1 film at the box office this weekend, beating "Rush," "Don Jon" and "Baggage Claim"
A scene from "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2," which was the No. 1 film at the box office this weekend. (Sony Pictures Animation)

It's raining meatballs.
 The animated family film "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" took in $35 million, more than enough for first place at the box office. However, that was off from the $45 million industry observers had projected, which frankly sounded high to me. The three other new movies -- "Rush," "Baggage Claim" and "Don Jon" all came in around $10 million. Box office recaps from theLos Angeles Times and Movie City News.

Wait for the books. The government isn't the only thing shut down. Two big projects about former first lady and potential presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton have also been shut down. On Monday, NBC said it wasn't going forward with announced plans for a miniseries about Clinton starring Diane Lane, and CNN pulled the plug on a documentary after the director said he wasn't going forward because the Clintons were shutting down his access to people. More from the Huffington Post and New York Times.

"Gravity"
Sandra Bullock stars in "Gravity," a forthcoming Warner Bros. picture. (Handout / MCT)
Let's make movies! Warner Bros. has signed a film-financing deal with RatPac-Dune Entertainment LLC, a new entity created by Dune Entertainment's Steven Mnuchin and RatPac Entertainment, which finances movies for Brett Ratner. The agreement is worth about $450 million and will kick off with "Gravity," which opens this weekend. The RatPac-Dune deal will help fill the void left by the departure of longtime partner Legendary Entertainment, which left the studio for Universal Pictures. Details from the Los Angeles Times and Variety

Where's the beef? For the past year or so, the media have been giddy with anticipation about new Internet-distributed pay TV systems (known as over the top) from Intel, Sony and others. But so far, getting programmers to commit to sell their content to the would-be cable and satellite rivals has proven more difficult than anticipated. Intel is apparently hitting the brakes for now. Don't like to say I told you, but I told you. The New York Times on the stumbling blocks over the top distribution is facing.



How good was "Bad"? Because even the Morning Fix isn't above trying to ride the "Breaking Bad"train, here's the Hollywood Reporter on where the AMC series ranks among the all-time greats, hitting 10.3 million viewers for a cable network finale, and more if you add future Newflix views. However, I won't be hunting down extras and interviewing them about their thoughts on the finale and then sending out breaking alerts.


And they call themselves a news organization. Anyone who's spent more than five minutes in a newsroom (or 30 seconds if you are near my desk) knows that reporters like to swear. But swearing is a no-no at Al Jazeera America, according to the New York Post. Maybe they can put up swear jars and use the money to help buy better distribution deals with cable and satellite operators.

I want to be in pictures. Satellite broadcaster DirecTV has reached an agreement with independent movie producer/distributor A24 to help it fund acquisitions. As part of the pact, A24 movies that DirecTV is involved in will first appear on the satellite service before hitting the theaters. Details from the Wall Street Journal.

Swing and a miss. What if no one watched the Astro's play on TV?  Regional sports networks are supposed to be cash cows but SportsNet Houston, the network co-owned by cable giant Comcast and the Houston Astros and Rockets has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The problem is that other than Comcast, no other pay-TV distributors were willing to pay the hefty subscriber fees SportsNet was seeking. The three owners are also at odds with each other. More from the Houston Chronicle and Multichannel News.


'Breaking Bad' finale
Bryan Cranston as Walter White in the series finale of "Breaking Bad." (Ursula Coyote / AMC March 19, 2013)

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Mary McNamara on the finale of "Breaking Bad." Also, McNamara's review of the CBS sitcom "We Are Men." A.C. Lyles a longtime producer on the Paramount lot and a link to old Hollywood, died at the age of 95. YouTube is launching its own music video awards show.

'We Are Men'
Jerry O'Connell, left, Kal Penn, Chris Smith and Tony Shalhoub in "We Are Men." (Sonja Flemming / CBS / September 30, 2013)

Upcoming LifeRaft Live Stream Events
[1] The Film/TV/Theater Crossover Part Two -  Directors, Oct. 7
[2] Health Insurance & Affordable Health Care Act for Performers, Oct. 10
[3] Series Retrospective with Breaking Bad & Dexter, Oct. 29
[4] 2013 Artios Award Nominees: Big Budget Features, Oct. 30

[1] The Film/TV/Theater Crossover Part Two - Directors, Oct. 7

The SAG Foundation's Liferaft program, in partnership with the Los Angeles Stage Alliance and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation, is thrilled to present an exciting three-part series of panels populated by industry professionals who work both in film, television and theater. In this panel, directors will discuss their work in these fields, how they balance their work flow, and what they notice in actors who thrive in all three mediums.

Monday, Oct. 7, 2013
7 p.m. PT / 9 p.m. CT / 10 p.m. ET

Meet the Panelists:
Paul Lazarus
Tom Moore
Oz Scott
Moderator - Terence McFarland, CEO of LA Stage Alliance

To watch by live stream you DO NOT have to log into our website.
Just go to 
http://www.sagfoundation.org/livestream.
Email questions to 
LiveStream@sagfoundation.org or tweet to #SAGF.
Video will be archived immediately after the event at http://youtube.com/sagfoundation.

[2] Health Insurance & Affordable Health Care Act for Performers, Oct. 10

The biggest changes in health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act began October 1st. At that time, people can start signing up for coverage in new state health exchanges. Representatives from SAG Pension and Health and AFTRA Health and Retirement, as well as the Actors Fund, will discuss how one qualifies for health coverage, an overview of the various health plan benefits and how the uninsured can gain the required coverage by the 2014 deadline.

Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013
7 p.m. PT / 9 p.m. CT / 10 p.m. ET

Meet the Panelists:
Amanda Bernard - SAG-Producers Pension and Health
Daniel Kitowski - Dir. of Health Services, The Actors Fund
Karen Ortolani - AFTRA Health and Retirement Funds

To watch by live stream you DO NOT have to log into our website.
Just go to 
http://www.sagfoundation.org/livestream.
Email questions to 
LiveStream@sagfoundation.org or tweet to #SAGF.
Video will be archived immediately after the event at http://youtube.com/sagfoundation.

[3] Series Retrospective with Breaking Bad & Dexter, Oct. 29
As Breaking Bad and Dexter both conclude at the end of September, the SAG Foundation celebrates by hosting a panel with the casting directors from both shows. It will be a great time to reflect over the past seasons and talk about the joys, challenges and triumphs of casting these popular shows.

Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013
7 p.m. PT / 9 p.m. CT / 10 p.m. ET

Meet the Panelists:
Sharon Bialy - Casting Director, Breaking Bad
Shawn Dawson - Casting Director, Dexter
Sherry Thomas - Casting Director, Breaking Bad
Moderator - Jenelle Riley, Features Editor for Variety

To watch by live stream you DO NOT have to log into our website.
Just go to 
http://www.sagfoundation.org/livestream.
Email questions to 
LiveStream@sagfoundation.org or tweet to #SAGF.
Video will be archived immediately after the event at http://youtube.com/sagfoundation.

[4] 2013 Artios Award Nominees: Big Budget Features, Oct. 30

Wednesday Oct. 30, 2013
7 p.m. PT / 9 p.m. CT / 10 p.m. ET

Meet the Panelists:
Denise Chamian
Lora Kennedy
John Papsidera

To watch by live stream you DO NOT have to log into our website.
Just go to 
http://www.sagfoundation.org/livestream.
Email questions to 
LiveStream@sagfoundation.org or tweet to #SAGF.
Video will be archived immediately after the event at http://youtube.com/sagfoundation.
Follow me on Twitter. The government may shut down but I won't. @JBFlint.