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The Morning Fix: Upfronts end (phew)! 'Avengers' vs. 'Battleship'

May 18, 2012|By Joe Flint
  • "Battleship" may need to call in an airstrike if it hopes to sink "The Avengers" at the box office.
"Battleship" may need to call in an airstrike if it hopes to sink… (Universal Pictures )

After the coffee. Before canceling my Facebook account until I get in on the IPO.

The Skinny: Running around Manhattan for a week has left yours truly with no voice. I didn't lose it from laughing at all the comedy clips the networks showed to advertisers, it was the weather. Friday's headlines include a look back at upfront week, a preview of this weekend's box office, Comcast's move to expand broadband data caps and a senator wants to put some heat on News Corp.

Daily Dose: "Cult," a new drama from the CW about a serial killer, had to endure a more difficult than usual path from pitch to TV show. "Cult" spent six years trying to get made. Originally developed by the now-defunct WB, it was put on the back burner after that network merged with the CW. Then it kicked around there for a while until the option on the project expired and ABC gobbled it up. It gathered more dust at ABC and by the time it became free again, the CW had new leadership and the programming team was able to rescue "Cult." It's been ordered for midseason and the clips played well with advertisers.

They came, they pitched, they left. Upfront week -- which is when the broadcast networks pitch their fall shows to advertisers -- ended Thursday with the CW putting on an impressive display. Overall, advertisers seemed pleased with much of what they saw, but there are still concerns about NBC and questions about Fox's "American Idol" and "The X Factor." There are also increased fears about the mixed blessings of new technology. On the one hand, it's easier than ever for consumers to record shows and watch them on their schedule, which can be a good thing. The bad thing is that skipping commercials is also getting easier. A look back at the week that was from the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Variety

Rough waters ahead. This weekend at the box office "Battleship" will attempt to sink the record-setting "The Avengers." However, box-office analysts think it will be "Battleship" that ends up getting torpedoed by "Avengers." Also out there is "The Dictator" from Sacha Baron Cohen, which opened a few days earlier. Looking to attract the female audience is the pregnancy comedy "What to Expect When You're Expecting." Those who have seen the sonogram are not thrilled with what's coming and the movie is not expected to make much of a dent at the box office. Previews of the upcoming weekend from the Los Angeles Times and Hollywood Reporter.

More room to roam. Comcast is raising the caps on data usage for its broadband customers. While the cable giant said there was no connection, the move comes after grumbling from Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings about Comcast's Xfinity TV service on the Xbox 360. The issue with that service is that it lets subscribers stream television shows and movies, differently than other services on the video game console. Content from Netflix and other providers counts against the data limits, but Xfinity video does not. While that is still the case, now Comcast has increased the caps elsewhere. It's complex stuff so think of it as that amp in the movie Spinal Tap that goes to 11. More from the Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg.

Still unforgettable? CBS canceled the drama "Unforgettable," about a woman whose ability to remember every day of her life with incredible clarity makes her an ideal crime stopper. Even though most viewers couldn't remember to watch "Unforgettable," Deadline Hollywood said cable networks TNT and Lifetime are interested in perhaps rescuing the show from the trash heap.

Keeping the pressure on. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) grilled members of the Federal Communications Commission this week about what the regulatory agency is doing to determine whether media giant News Corp., subject of an ethics scandal in Britain, has misbehaved in the United States. The answer was essentially that they are not doing anything yet. I've covered the FCC on and off for over 20 years and the best way I can think to describe how it operates is to compare it to a fire department that may smell smoke and see fire but doesn't respond until someone calls it in. It is a reactive agency. More on Lautenberg's concerns from the Hill.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Scott Collins looks at the comedy glut coming to TV in the fall. She worked hard for the money. An appreciation of Donna Summer.

Follow me on Twitter so I don't feel like I'm doing all this in vain. Twitter.com/JBFlint

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