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'Butler' likely to beat 'Mortal'; ESPN ditches PBS collaboration

August 23, 2013|By Ryan Faughnder
  • A scene from "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones."
A scene from "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones." (Rafy / Associated Press )

After the coffee. Before catching up with Affleck-as-Batman tweets. 

The Skinny: This weekend I'm headed to KCON, the K-pop convention here in Los Angeles, which should be quite an energetic scene. Today, I'll be bracing myself while listening to Neko Case's new album, streaming at NPR. Today's headlines include ESPN's exit from "Frontline's" documentary and our box office preview.

Daily Dose: Discovery is calling for submissions. Discovery Channel U.S. and Discovery Networks International have launched a new $500,000 fund to invest in its next big programs from producers around the world. The companies said they're looking for ideas as ambitious as "Planet Earth" and "North America," as well as events in the Nik Wallenda vein.  

"Frontline," denied: ESPN has pulled out of PBS' "Frontline" documentary on the NFL's concussion problem. The sports network is taking its name, logo and credit from the upcoming film "League of Denial," after having already collaborated with PBS on reports for ESPN's "Outside the Lines" program on the Web. The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times explain. 

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No match for Oprah: It looks like Lee Daniels' "The Butler" will win the box office for the second weekend in a row, topping "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" teen fantasy flick that may get $14 million through Sunday -- certainly no "Hunger Games" or "Twilight Saga." For fans of British comedy, like me, there's "The World's End." The Los Angeles Times and the Hollywood Reporter serve up the details.   

Meet TWC's top negotiator: Melinda Witmer entered the media industry as a lawyer for HBO. Now, as Time Warner Cable's top video exec, she's developed a reputation for treating the negotiating table like a trial courtroom. She told the Wall Street Journal that she's willing to go on live CBS TV to publicly negotiate fees. Sounds perfect for Showtime. 

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Kenneth Turan reviews Wong Kar-wai's martial arts movie "The Grandmaster" and Destin Daniel Cretton's "Short Term 12," about young people living in the foster care system.  

Follow me on Twitter. I'm trying to relearn that "Gangnam Style" dance. @rfaughnder


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