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The Morning Fix: NBC gears up Olympics hype! CNN ratings tumble.

May 23, 2012|By Joe Flint
  • CNN's Piers Morgan has low ratings, just like the network as a whole.
CNN's Piers Morgan has low ratings, just like the network as a whole. (CNN )

After the coffee. Before getting out of wet Boston.

The Skinny: After almost two weeks on the road, I'm finally heading back home Wednesday night. Just don't tell me it's raining in Los Angeles. Wednesday's headlines include NBC's plans to hype the online component to its Olympics coverage, Disney hitting pause on a pricey movie, andCNN's ratings troubles.

Daily Dose: While the National Cable & Telecommunications Assn.'s annual cable show has gotten smaller over the years because of industry consolidation, just about every major programmer still has a booth on the convention floor and there are still a few stars hyping their shows. One notable absence this year is Viacom, owner of some of the biggest cable channels around -- including MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central. The company has no presence on the floor and if it has executives here, they are doing a good job of keeping a low profile.

Going for the gold. With the Summer Olympics in London just a few months away, NBC is planning a marketing blitz to not only promote the games but to hype just how much of the event will be available live online and how consumers can watch. The trick for sports fans is that they need to be subscribers to a cable or satellite service in order to access the games and to join the so-called TV Everywhere initiative. The challenge for NBC is getting cable operators to start promoting TV Everywhere. Some are more aggressive than others. I've had Time Warner Cable for three years and I don't recall getting any information about TV Everywhere. More on NBC's online distribution plans from the Los Angeles Times.

His own man. Sirius XM Radio Chief Executive Mel Karmazin told shareholders he fought large shareholder Liberty Media's attempt to take control of the satellite radio broadcaster because of concern over whether shareholders would get maximum value for their stock. Of course, Karmazin has also made no secret of the fact that he also likes having the final say on how things are done. At the Sirius XM annual meeting, Karmazin told shareholders, "I don't want to be responsible for somebody else making a decision," according to the Wall Street Journal. Liberty, which is headed by mogul John Malone, owns over 40% of Liberty stock. Karmazin also had a blunt assessment of Sirius XM's stock performance. "Our stock sucks," he said. NOTE: The Wall Street Journal has since clarifed this story to say that while Karmazin didn't want to report to a majority shareholder, that was not the reason he has resisted Liberty's takeover efforts. Rather it was because of concern that Liberty would not be paying a premium for Sirius stock and thus a takeover would not be beneficial for all Sirius shareholders. Our recap has also been clarified.

Pulling the plug. Walt Disney Co. has hit the pause button on its action movie "Order of the Seven." The film, which was to start production later this summer, is being given a second look because of its budget, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The film was to star Saoirse Ronan and was a retelling of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" with a little bit of martial arts thrown in. 

Where'd everybody go? Another week, another ratings low for Time Warner's CNN. Last week, the cable news channel averaged less than 400,000 viewers in prime time, its worst performance in more than 20 years. Given the way media has changed in that time, such comparisons are hardly apple-to-apple, as cable penetration was much smaller then. In other words, those numbers are worse than they sound -- if that's possible. CNN prime time host Piers Morgan is scheduled to interview Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes Wednesday morning at the cable show. He'd better hope Bewkes doesn't ask him why his ratings are so low. More on CNN's tough week from the New York Times.

Keeping score. Deadline Hollywood looks at how female writers fared this pilot season. The site said about 32% of all pilots were written or co-written by women. Among the big networks, ABC had the highest percentage while CBS had the lowest. Of course, CBS also ordered fewer pilots than ABC.

Parity for ebooks. Just because you download them to a Kindle or iPad instead of buying a hardcover doesn't make them any less valuable to Hollywood. Variety says in some cases ebooks are getting hardcover and paperback movie rights deals.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Kenneth Turan on director Walter Salles' hard journey turning Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" into a movie.

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