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The Morning Fix

Natalie Portman is money! DirecTV raising rates. Brian Roberts sells!

December 27, 2012|By Joe Flint
  • Natalie Portman is usually on target.
Natalie Portman is usually on target. (Universal Pictures )

After the coffee. Before watching some more midseason pilots.

The Skinny: I'm doing my best to find some news for you folks but it is pretty slow out there. Of course, most of you aren't reading me this week anyway because you're having fun! I'm not bitter though. Really! Today's headlines include some looks back at the year in entertainment and profiles of "Zero Dark Thirty" director Kathryn Bigelow and "Les Mis" star Anne Hathaway.

Daily Dose: DirecTV put a lump of coal in the stockings of its subscribers. The satellite broadcaster notified customers in a letter that its programming costs in 2013 will jump by 8% and that 4.5% of that increase will be passed on to them. Earlier this year, DirecTV launched a monthly sports tax of $3 for many of its new customers who want to receive local sports networks.

The year in awesome. It was a good year for superheroes at the box office. Whether it was "The Avengers" or "The Dark Knight" or even James Bond, people flocked to the big screen. On the small screen, "The Walking Dead" and "Game of Thrones" continued to take creative risks that most shows would be scared of doing. The Los Angeles Times looks at the big hits of the year.

Keep it about the work. "Zero Dark Thirty" director Kathryn Bigelow gets lots of attention but she'd rather it focus on what she's putting on the screen as opposed to her life off the set or relationship with screenwriter Mark Boal. “One does long for the day when it’s only about the work,” the director said in an interview with the New York Times. I can relate. I just want to talk about my reporting and everyone is always up in my business about my personal life or what message I'm sending in my tweets. 

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. In its year-end look at the media industry, Variety opines that 2012 was supposed to the year of media disruptors. Instead, by year's end the traditional distribution and content system remained in place and even stronger. Writes Andrew Wallenstein: "If anything, the content companies demonstrated an increasing savvy in capitalizing on digital challengers. And what little damage the old guard sustained on new platforms seemed more self-inflicted than the result of any outside threat."

Money in the bank. It is the season of lists and now Forbes comes out with its "Best Actors for the Buck" list. On top are Natalie Portman and Kristen Stewart. I won't argue with Portman but until Stewart is in a smash that doesn't have the word "Twilight" in the title I'm withholding judgment. Too many times these lists don't distinguish between an actor fortunate enough to be part of a huge franchise and an actor who put butts in the seat for even a mediocre movie.

Walking around money. Comcast Chief Executive Brian Roberts sold over 300,000 shares of the media giant's stock and pocketed about $11.6 million. Was Christmas more expensive than anticipated or is Roberts just selling in before the tax rate on capital gains goes up in 2013? More on the sale from the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Anne Hathaway had a career year in 2012 (who even remembers that Oscar hosting gig?) but still feels there are more mountains to climb.

Follow me on Twitter before the 2013 price increase kicks in!  @JBFlint.

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