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The Morning Fix

Darth Vader meets Disney in big deal! Rich Ross lands at Shine.

October 31, 2012|By Joe Flint
  • George Lucas with his new friends.
George Lucas with his new friends. (AFP/Getty Images )

After the coffee. Before seeing what Disney will pay for the Morning Fix.

The Skinny: Time Warner Cable better get those deals done with DirecTV and Cox Cable for its new Lakers channel soon. A few more games like Tuesday night's and it will be a tough sell. Wednesday's headlines include Walt Disney Co.'s big deal for Lucas Films; Sony is cutting back on the number of movies it makes and former Disney executive Rich Ross has landed a new gig.

Daily Dose: The ink isn't even dry on the Disney - Lucas Films deal (see below) but one Disney Channel show is already embracing their new "Star Wars" connection. In an incredible coincidence, replicas of R2D2 and C3PO appear in a new episode of "A.N.T. Farm" premiering Friday. The plot revolves around some of the characters being sent on a scavenger hunt that takes them to Skywalker Ranch to try to get an autograph from George Lucas. Now maybe they can get Lucas for a cameo.

May the intellectual property be with you. Walt Disney Co. is shelling out more than $4 billion for Lucas Films, the parent of the "Star Wars" movie franchise. Not only will Disney make new "Star Wars" films, it will also use the property for its theme parks, TV unit and retail outlets. Disney now owns three of the biggest brands in entertainment -- Lucas Films, Pixar and Marvel. Analysis of the big deal from the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

When Sandler leaves, the party's over. Adam Sandler has made most of his movies with Sony Pictures. But his next one is for Paramount. Why? Because Sony is cutting back on the number of movies it wants to make every year. The studio will take swings for the fences with a "Spider-Man" here and there but midsize comedies and dramas may be a tough sell there. More on the strategy from the Los Angeles Times and Hollywood Reporter.

Ross back as boss. Rich Ross, a former high-ranking Walt Disney Co. executive who was forced out as head of the company's movie studio last spring, has resurfaced as chief executive of TV production company Shine America. Shine, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. and run by his daughter Liz, is best known as a reality TV company. However, it wants to make a bigger push into scripted fare and Ross got high marks for his programming chops when he ran Disney Channel. Coverage from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.

No currency? Current TV, the tiny cable channel co-founded by Al Gore, is looking for a buyer but finding that no one is rushing to knock on the door. The problems are that the channel is only in 60 million homes and has low ratings. It bet big on Keith Olbermann and we know how that turned out. Pay TV companies are starting to tighten their programming budgets, which means Current could become a hard sell. Details from the New York Post.

No fact checkers? Last week, Netflix said its new services in Latin America and the U.K. and Ireland led to a 14% increase in the company's content expenses for its overseas operations. Only problem is the company meant to say a 348% increase. Oops. More on the typo from Deadline Hollywood.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Releasing a movie with political overtones around an election can be tricky. Taylor Swift had a well-executed marketing plan for her latest release.

Beat the Christmas rush and follow me on Twitter now. @JBFlint.

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