Signs of the Apocalypse Roundup – March 2010 – Week 1
Sarah Palin shopping Alaska reality show
The former Alaska governor is teaming with uber-producer Mark Burnett to shop a reality series about her home state, network sources confirm. Palin and Burnett made the rounds at at least three of the major broadcasters (NBC, ABC and Fox) while in Los Angeles. Palin and her family would be followed on-camera in the show, which one network executive described as “‘Planet Earth’ meets Alaska meets her family,” referring to Discovery’s high-definition nature hit.
Obama to mark ‘Most Wanted’ anniversary
President to discuss show’s impact in its 22-year history
President Barack Obama is going to help TV’s “America’s Most Wanted” mark the milestone broadcast of its 1,000th episode. Obama will be interviewed by the show’s host, John Walsh, on the episode airing 9 p.m. ET Saturday on Fox. The president will discuss the show’s impact in its 22 years as well as his administration’s anti-crime initiatives, including those involving white-collar crime.
Ice dancing reality series planned for ABC
Format would be similar to ‘Dancing with the Stars’
BBC Worldwide Productions is planning an ice dancing reality series for ABC, the production company announced. The “Dancing With the Stars” production company is planning a format that’s very similar to its current ABC hit, with six celebrities paired with professional skaters.
‘Who Do You Think’ watched NBC’s new show?
After a pair of fairly successful series launches this week (and, in the case of “The Tonight Show,” a re-launch), NBC’s midseason efforts had a mixed outcome on Friday night with the debut of “Who Do You Think You Are?” This new reality show (6.9 million viewers, 1.6 preliminary adults 18-49) shows celebrities their ancestral past, with last night’s debut featuring Sarah Jessica Parker learning a relative was accused of witchcraft. A 1.6 demo rating is not a number any network covets for a series premiere, but given the ever-lowering bar for success on Friday nights, “Who Do You Think” was only a tenth of a point behind time-period winner “The Ghost Whisperer”
Brooke Burke to co-host ‘Dancing’
Show alum begins new season March 22
ABC has tapped Brooke Burke as the new “Dancing With the Stars” co-host. The seventh season “Dancing” winner and longtime TV personality has also hosted TV Land’s “She’s Got the Look,” E!’s “Wild On” and CBS’ “Rock Star.”
- History Channel eyeing ‘Pawn Stars’ spinoffs
- ABC books return dates for ‘Wipeout,’ ‘True Beauty’
- NBC re-ups with Miss Universe, USA
Business of the Business
TiVo launching new set-top box
$300 Premiere to feature music, films as well as TV
With new set-top boxes that include the first major overhaul of its iconic user interface, TiVo is pushing Internet videos, music, feature films and other content to the forefront, right alongside traditional TV fare. Its new product line, dubbed TiVo Premiere, also marks the first set-top boxes to be built on an Adobe Flash platform, allowing for easy development of third-party applications.
Movie exhibitors’ stocks seeing big gains
Shares up thanks to 3D films and their premium ticket prices
Shares in exhibition companies have risen sharply since the last Academy Awards. In some cases, one-year gains exceed 100%. Cinemark set a 52-week high, following similar spikes by Regal Entertainment Group and Imax. Carmike Cinemas, which focuses on smaller and midsize markets, hit a 52-week high in late 2009. By contrast, exhibs were trading near 52-week lows last March. Since then, enthusiasm for 3D movies and their premium ticket prices has driven boxoffice to seasonal and annual records, helping to popularize exhibition stocks.
Viacom will sue bloggers who post unauthorized ‘Daily Show’ clips
Hulu announced yesterday that Comedy Central was pulling “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” from the popular video website. The decision will impact the many downstream websites that have relied on Hulu’s embedded player to gain access to these shows. Fox says bloggers are free to use Comedy Central’s embedded player to post clips, but they’ll be restricted to the network’s choices. If the network chooses not to post a particular clip, a viewer would be out-of-bounds to post their own digital copy.
Imax, Netflix shares take a tumble
Drops due in part to concerns about competitive pressures
Recently trading at decade highs, Imax fell 10% to $12.86, while Netflix dipped 2% to $67.55. Imax investors may have been spooked by a research note from Merriman Curhan Ford analyst Eric Wold, who reiterated a “sell” recommendation based on AMC Entertainment’s intent to expand the number of non-Imax giant-screen auditoriums in its domestic circuit. Netflix has had a remarkable run since going public eight years ago, with its shares trading near an all-time high of late. The stock rose 260% during the past six months. But the trio of analysts suggested that Netflix shares have risen too high in light of competitive threats from the Internet delivery of feature films.
RealNetworks ordered to pay in DVD lawsuit
The MPAA won its legal battle over a disc-copying product
The MPAA on Wednesday declared victory in its legal battle with Internet software company RealNetworks over a DVD-copying product. Under terms approved in federal court, RealNetworks also will abandon its claims against the studios and pay $4.5 million to reimburse them for legal fees and costs incurred in litigation. The resolution includes a permanent injunction by U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel, barring RealNetworks from manufacturing or marketing RealDVD or any similar product.
- Media firms starting to pay dividends again; Companies rewarding investors
- TiVo destroys Dish in latest patent ruling
Planet of the Odd
Sarah Polley pulls name from ‘The Heart’
Director says Oscar short might market brand of margarine
“In December 2009, I made a film to be aired during the Academy Awards that I believed was to promote the Heart and Stroke Foundation,” Polley said in a statement. “I have since learned that my film is also being used to promote a product. Regretfully, I am forced to remove my name from the film and disassociate myself from it. I have never actively promoted any corporate brand, and cannot do so now.”
Zanuck: ‘George Lucas is the Thomas Edison of our time’
“He’s the only person with the exception of Sam Goldwyn who literally put his own money in; Sam financed and owned 100% of all those great pictures he made, and no one else has ever done that, not like he did. George put it back into ILM and Skywalker Ranch and THX sound. He put it into the greatest equipment, all of it up-to-date… He’s the only one who ever gave back to the industry in terms of the technology investment. And I guess James Cameron, now, but that’s on a different scale. He’s really been an innovator like nobody else. He’s the Thomas Edison of our time,” says producer Richard D. Zanuck.
The Mad Hatter prevails! Author Frank Beddor sizes up an icon
Bestselling author Frank Beddor knows the landscape of Wonderland as the creator of the “Looking Glass Wars” series of novels and the “Hatter M” graphic novels. Today, as Disney basks in the glow of a $210-million opening weekend of Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland,” Beddor considers the pop-culture persistence of the Mad Hatter.
The story behind Oscar’s “Kanye moment”
We talk to the two filmmakers whose personal fight became one of the ceremony’s weirdest moments Video
Bigelow vs. Cameron? Streep vs. Bullock? Forget it. The most riveting face-off during Sunday’s Oscar ceremony came early: When producer Elinor Burkett wrestled the microphone away from director-producer Roger Ross Williams after their film, “Music by Prudence,” won for best documentary short.
19 arrested for trespassing during Oscars ceremony
Los Angeles police arrested 19 people on suspicion of trespassing at the Kodak Theatre during the Academy Awards ceremony, officials said Monday. Those arrested Sunday included two men from Texas who jumped a barricade outside the event and nine students “on holiday” who used fake MTV credentials to gain access to the red carpet. Also arrested was a Berkeley man in his late 60s who was intoxicated and wearing “a sparkly getup,” a police report said. Another half-dozen people were arrested after the ceremony as the theater was being cleaned, LAPD officials said.
Bits and Pieces
The Fine Print
This is by no means meant to be a comprehensive roundup of the entire weeks’ news. All stories are chosen by me for no other reason than that they got my attention and might capture yours. If something you think is more important chime in on the feedback; we’d love to hear comments and have a conversation about it.
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