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The Morning Fix: Horn at the helm. 'Snow White' ready to rule.

June 01, 2012|By Joe Flint
  • "Snow White and the Huntsman" is expected to finish first this weekend.
"Snow White and the Huntsman" is expected to finish first this… (Universal Pictures )

After the coffee. Before deciding which pilots to watch first.

The Skinny: I've got a lot of pilots to try to get through this weekend. Lets hope some of them are good. Friday's headlines include Alan Horn's return to active duty as head of Disney's movie unit, a preview of the weekend box office and a settlement in the "Call of Duty" lawsuit.

Daily Dose: History's "Hatfield & McCoys'" huge numbers can be attributed to a strong cast (Kevin Costner, Bill Paxton), strong marketing and good scheduling. But one other thing History did to hook viewers into the three-part miniseries early was go light on the commercial breaks. It opened with almost 40 uninterrupted minutes and only had six breaks in the first two hours, instead of the typical eight.

Tooting their Horn. Walt Disney Co. has tapped Alan Horn to head its movie division. Horn, who's been around awhile, used to be president of Warner Bros. Entertainment, where he was instrumental in developing the "Harry Potter" franchise, and before that was a co-founder of movie and television production company Castle Rock. The hiring of Horn is seen as Disney's effort to bring an elder statesman in to stabilize its movie studio, which struggled under previous president Rich Ross, who was pushed out earlier this year. More from the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

Snow in June. "Snow White and the Huntsman," the latest take on the classic tale, is expected to be the fairest of them all at the box office this weekend. Industry insiders are projecting that it will open with between $40 million and $45 million. However, Universal, the studio behind the movie, is going lower, predicting the movie will take in at most $35 million. Either way, it should easily top "Mirror, Mirror," another version of "Snow White" that came out earlier this year and landed with a thud. Weekend previews from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.

Deal reached. Those looking for courtroom drama in the case of video game maker Activision and the co-creators of its "Call of Duty" franchise and more than three dozen developers were disappointed as the two sides settled the case Thursday. While terms were not disclosed, the settlement was seen as good news for Activision in part because the case was a distraction and threatened to reveal some embarrassing material. One analyst pegged the settlement at around $140 million. Coverage from the Los Angeles Times.

Getting serious. Satellite radio broadcaster Sirius XM and Liberty Media, its largest shareholder, are in negotiations that could result in Liberty spinning off its stake to its shareholders. Liberty had previously indicated that it was interested in taking control of Sirius. That did did not please Sirius chief executive Mel Karmazin, who has expressed concern about Liberty not giving shareholders maximum value. Details on the talks from the Wall Street Journal.

You've got some explaining to do. Phil Kent, the chief executive of Turner Broadcasting, told Wall Street analysts he is "very unhappy" with CNN's prime-time ratings performance, which has been a bigger disappointment than Facebook stock. No one is asking, but I think CNN should go back to basics and embrace an all-news radio approach. No high-priced anchors, no political talk. Just straight news from around the globe done in a compelling fashion. Yes, I'm available. More on Kent's remarks from Broadcasting & Cable.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Betsy Sharkey on "Snow White and the Huntsman."

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