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The Morning Fix: Justice probes cable. Networks wrap up upfronts.

June 13, 2012|By Joe Flint
  • The CBS sitcom "2 Broke Girls" got a lot of love from advertisers at upfronts.
The CBS sitcom "2 Broke Girls" got a lot of love from advertisers… (CBS )

After the coffee. Before watching "Goodfellas" again.

The Skinny: The first time I went to a concert as a teen they searched you for any illegal recording equipment that could be used for bootlegs. When I saw Van Halen on Saturday the whole audience was recording the show on their phones. My, how times change. Wednesday's headlines include the Justice Department probing the cable industry, the broadcast networks wrapping up ad sales for the fall season and a review of TNT's new version of "Dallas."

Daily Dose: Since very few TV networks are taking ads from Dish Network these days because of its new commercial skipping feature known as the AutoHop, the satellite broadcaster is now pitching the device on radio. In one ad it advises listeners on how to get rid of commercials in other media. With newspapers, Dish says, "chase your paperboy off your lawn with a baseball bat." For the Internet, Dish advises "locate your router and begin punching it ... you can't go too far when it comes to skipping ads" Unless, it seems, if the ad is from Dish itself. 

Going once, going twice. CBS and ABC have joined the CW in wrapping up selling their commercial inventory for the fall television season. CBS took in about $2.6 billion while ABC raked in $2.4 billion. NBC and Fox are still wrapping up their deal-making. Overall the numbers will be down compared with a year ago. A look at the so-called upfront market from the Los Angeles Times and Advertising Age.

Fishing expedition. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Justice Department is looking into whether cable companies are trying to stifle competition from online content providers. The probe appears to be in the early stages and -- judging from the story -- is very wide-ranging. Issues such as data caps and programming agreements may go under the microscope. Ultimately it appears the DOJ is curious as to whether the traditional media industry's desire to protect its current business model with regards to new platforms is anticompetitive.

That's our Charlie. Charlie Sheen is cranking up the hype machine for his upcoming FX sitcom "Anger Management." The troubled actor, who was fired from CBS's "Two and a Half Men" last year and is known for his substance abuse issues and run-ins with the law, is wooing the press with his tales of hard living and still seems fairly unrepentant. As for his new employer? Hey, buyer beware. “They knew what they were getting. And they know it’s not always going to be smooth sailing," Sheen told the New York Times.

High budget Silver and away! Remember a while back when Disney was concerned about the budget for its movie version of "The Lone Ranger" (starring Johnny Depp) and made cuts to it to keep costs at $215 million or so? Well, the Hollywood Reporter says the budget is back up over $250 million (which Disney disputes). I just want to know why Depp -- who is playing Tonto -- wears makeup that makes him look like a member of Insane Clown Posse more than a sidekick to a legendary lawman.

Burning the candle at both ends. Yahoo, which already has a partnership with ABC News, is now teaming up with cable channel CNBC to share their business news resources and content on each other's platforms. More on the pact from Yahoo.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Robert Lloyd is a big fan of TNT's reboot of the classic TV series "Dallas." If you haven't upgraded to digital cable yet it may be time because analog is going away. There's a lot of drama on television, but less and less of it is shot in Los Angeles.

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