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The Morning Fix: History makes history. USS Iowa invades L.A.

May 30, 2012|By Joe Flint
  • Bill Paxton in "The Hatfields and the McCoys."
Bill Paxton in "The Hatfields and the McCoys." (History Channel )

After the coffee. Before making sure that AARP mailer was sent to the wrong address.

The Skinny: Wednesday's headlines include a look at Hollywood's newest neighbor -- the battleship USS Iowa. Also, CNN's latest efforts to get something cooking and the surprising popularity of History Channel's "The Hatfields & the McCoys" miniseries.

Daily Dose: The success of History Channel's "The Hatfields & the McCoys" miniseries (see below) should make the broadcast networks rethink their resistance to the genre. The broadcast networks got out of the miniseries business because of cost and a diminishing rerun value, but the success of "The Hatfields & the McCoys" shows that these programs -- if well made -- can still get numbers any network would love to have as well as serving as a great promotional platform. 

Welcome to Hollywood. The battleship Iowa, which did service in World War II and once carried Franklin Roosevelt to a summit with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin, is now parked at the Port of Los Angeles and open for business. Already location managers are calling to see about using the ship for shoots. More on the Iowa and whether it will need an agent from the Los Angeles Times.

Big ratings. The first episode of History Channel's miniseries "The Hatfields & the McCoys" starring Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton drew 13.9 million viewers, a huge number for a non-sports program on a commercial cable network. In fact that number is better than most shows that air on NBC. The most-watched non-sports event on cable remains Disney Channel's movie "High School Musical 2," which averaged more than 17 million viewers. More on the performance of "Hatfields & McCoys" from Bloomberg.

What's cooking? In its latest effort to jump start ratings, cable news channel CNN has hired famous chief Anthony Bourdain to host a Sunday night show about cooking and travel. Bourdain is no stranger to television, having starred in shows for the Food Network and Travel Channel (as well as being the inspiration for the short-lived and underappreciated Fox sitcom "Kitchen Confidential," based on his book of that name and starring a then-unknown Bradley Cooper). The hiring of Bourdain by a news network will no doubt again have people wondering whether CNN is just throwing pasta at the wall hoping something sticks. More on the move from the Associated Press.

Unstoppable. Although it got knocked out of the top spot by "Men in Black 3," "The Avengers" is still raking in the bucks and making a dent in the history books. Right now, the film is the fourth highest-grossing movie of all time, behind "The Dark Knight," "Titanic" and "Avatar." While director Jim Cameron's "Avatar" and "Titanic" may be safe, "The Dark Knight" is looking over its shoulder. More on "The Avengers" performance from USA Today.

Ignore at your peril. NBC canceled "Harry's Law" and CBS said it was discontinuing its Jesse Stone TV movie franchise. Both drew respectable audiences for their respective networks but most of those viewers were over the age of 50. But is television becoming too obsessed with reaching younger viewers, especially when so many of them are now sponging off their parents anyway or struggling to pay back college loans and thus lacking lots of walking around money to splurge on new cars and gadgets? Variety looks at whether the networks are being short-sighted in their obsession to drink from the fountain of youth.

Comeback? Arsenio Hall, who had a solid run as a late-night TV host in the 1990s, is near a deal for a comeback. Broadcasting & Cable reports CBS and Tribune are partnering on a production and distribution deal for Hall for a new show that would air on local TV stations.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: The Los Angeles Kings are in the Stanley Cup Final, but fans will have to make do without their favorite home team announcer, as well as having to figure out which channel NBC will be airing games on. Veteran television executive Jim Paratore, who was instrumental in the creation of talk shows for Ellen DeGeneres and Rosie O'Donnell, died at the age of 58.

Follow me on Twitter. It's the smart move. Twitter.com/JBFlint

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