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The Morning Fix: Sinclair and Dish battle. Paramount goes fishing.

August 14, 2012|By Joe Flint
  • "The Bourne Legacy" didn't take in as much over the weekend as everyone thought. And it wasn't alone.
"The Bourne Legacy" didn't take in as much over the weekend… (Universal Pictures )

After the coffee. Before deciding whether I need to stop watching HBO's 'The Newsroom' for my own sanity.

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.

Gone fishing. Summer is when Hollywood studios typically roll out their big guns and battle for box-office supremacy. But Paramount Pictures doesn't roll that way. Instead, the fabled studio is in the midst of what the Los Angeles Times describes as a "three-month intermission." For Paramount it is part of an overall strategy to make fewer movies and take fewer risks. "If you're making 20 movies a year, you basically need to greenlight a movie every two weeks," said Adam Goodman, who oversees Paramount's production and development. "I don't know how you can find a movie you love every two weeks."

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.

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."

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.

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