Barbara Walters with Syrian President Bashar Assad. (Associated Press )
After the coffee. Before making sure to catch the next Venus transit in 2117.
The Skinny: Why do the midseason comedies always look better than what has been scheduled for the fall? Shouldn't it be the other way around? Wednesday's headlines include a look at who won the California tax credit lottery, a new deal from Clear Channel that could change the relationship between radio and performers and an "oops" moment for ABC's Barbara Walters.
Daily Dose: Jim Paratore, the veteran television executive who played a key role in the development of Ellen DeGeneres' talk show as well as the creation of TMZ, died last week of a heart attack. He will be remembered Friday with a viewing held at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood. There will also be an invitation-only celebration of Paratore's life later that evening, hosted by Warner Bros.
Lottery winners. California announced the 28 movies and TV shows that will receive tax credits from the state. Television shows accounted for a dozen of the 28 winners, including ABC's drama "Body of Proof" and MTV's "Teen Wolf." Both of those shows had previously shot outside of California but will now relocate here. Overall, the state offers $100 million in tax credits. More on the winners and losers from the Los Angeles Times.
How the sausage gets made. ABC's Barbara Walters has apologized for trying to pull strings at Columbia University and CNN to help an aide to Syrian President Bashar Assad, whom she had interviewed for the network late last year. It was not exactly a quid-pro-quo as the aide -- Sheherazad Jaafari, whose father is Syria's U.N. ambassador -- did not reach out to Walters until after the interview. Still, it did not put Walters in a good light and showed how it is often connections and not skills that get people up the ladder faster. Coverage from the Telegraph and New York Times.
New deal. Clear Channel, the nation's largest radio broadcaster has agreed to pay royalties to performers on the Big Machine music label (Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw) when their songs are played on the radio. In the past, songwriters and music publishers collected royalties but not artists (unless the artist was the songwriter too, obviously). Artists and labels have been trying for years to get royalty payments for radio play. The industry has resisted, saying the promotional value of radio play is compensation enough. This has become an issue again because the music industry has had success striking similar deals with Internet radio broadcasters. Clear Channel streams content from its radio stations online and has been pushing those efforts heavily. Details on what this means for the music and radio industries from the Wall Street Journal.
Second chances. Normally, when a network passes on a pilot, the odds of it finding a new life somewhere else are about as likely as a New Jersey Devils comeback against the Kings. But this year, it is looking like some rejects are finding new life. Deadline Hollywood reports that "Super Fun Night," a comedy pilot Warner Bros. made for CBS starring Rebel Wilson ("Bridesmaids"), is near a deal to get picked up by ABC. Other rejected pilots that may be born again include "Rebounding," which Fox passed on but cable channel USA is looking at, and "Devious Maids," which Lifetime is interested in after ABC said no thanks.
Billion-dollar club. Reflecting the growing clout of the international market, 20th Century Fox has grossed more than $1 billion this year from overseas box office and we're not even through June yet. Walt Disney Co. and Warner Bros. have already made over $1 billion in international box office, too. More from Variety.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Get ready for virtual Elvis.
Follow me on Twitter. We'll both feel better. twitter.com/JBFlint