Tom Cruise may be reaching in "Jack Reacher." (Paramount Pictures )
After the coffee. Before figuring out if I can get out of town next week.
The Skinny: I'm almost over this annoying cold that has hampered me for over a week. So don't cough around me. Thursday's stories include a look at whether Tom Cruise is big enough to pull off "Jack Reacher", and three senators criticize "Zero Dark Thirty."
Daily Dose: Fox Business News is wrapping up its best year ever while CNBC will be happy when 2012 is over. Although CNBC is still dominates among viewers and adults 25-54, it is down 14% and 15% respectively in those key categories. Fox Business, meanwhile, is up 2% in viewers and 17% in 25-54. Fox Business sent out its Christmas card to media earlier this week poking fun at CNBC, noting that its hosts Andrew Ross Sorkin "might cry" and Larry Kudlow "should pout."
Cruise control? Tom Cruise's "Jack Reacher" may be the actor's biggest challenge. Playing Jack Reacher, the fictional hero of Lee Child's books, Cruise is hardly the ideal choice. Reacher is blond and tall and beefy. Cruise isn't. Then there's the other issue of whether Cruise's personal life now overwhelms anything he does on the screen. If I were advising Cruise, I'd suggest strong supporting roles along the lines of what he did in "Magnolia" and more cameos along the lines of "Tropic Thunder." Of course, he doesn't need my advice. A look at the challenges Cruise's "Jack Reacher" will face from the Los Angeles Times.
Everyone's a critic. "Zero Dark Thirty," the Sony movie about the mission to catch Osama bin Laden, is getting critical raves. It's also getting heat from some politicians. On Wednesday, three U.S. senators -- John McCain, Carl Levin and Dianne Feinstein -- sent a letter to Sony critical of torture scenes in the film and called "Zero Dark Thirty" factually inaccurate. Details on the flap from the New York Times and The Hill.
Christmas coal. A lot of small cable networks are worried that this won't be a Merry Christmas. Time Warner Cable already said it is dropping Ovation. Now Verizon Fios said it will stop carrying four low-rated cable networks. Part of the reason is that the channels don't deliver big numbers. But another factor is the rising cost for networks that carry sports and the need for distributors to save pennies everywhere they can. Coverage from the Los Angeles Times and New York Post.
A new chapter. Video game publisher THQ filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Wednesday. The move comes after years of creative and business missteps that drove the once-successful company into the ground. Private equity firm Clearlake Capital Group has made a $60-million bid for the assets. More on THQ's latest woes from the Los Angeles Times and Reuters.
Shine a mirror on media. There has rightly been a lot of talk about guns and gun control in the wake of the Newtown shooting. But does our violent culture in general need an examination as well? And if so, what about the role movies, television and video games play in desensitizing us to violence? Entertainment Weekly columnist Mark Harris weighs in.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: A sneak peak at the holiday weekend box office.
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