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Hammer time at NBCUniversal! Liberty wants Virgin Media.

February 05, 2013|By Joe Flint
  • The Oscar nominees gather for lunch.
The Oscar nominees gather for lunch. (AFP/Getty Images )

After the coffee. Before figuring out what to do without football. 

The Skinny: Last year I watched every episode of NBC's "Smash" (no, I didn't lose a bet) so I feel obliged to give the Season 2 premiere tonight a shot. Tuesday's headlines include a big shake-up at NBCUniversal; Liberty Global wants Virgin Media and a review of "Smash." Also, Hollywood celebrates itself with a lunch and a party. In other words, it was a typical day.

Daily Dose: ABC Entertainment head Paul Lee is determined to make John Leguizamo a TV star. The network is going ahead with a comedy pilot starring Leguizamo as a Bronx native trying to adjust to life in Manhattan. It's the third pilot the network has tried with the comedian in the last year. Last spring, it tried a "Sanford and Son"-like sitcom called "Kings of Van Nuys" that was passed around town with a warning to watch at one's own risk. I did and quickly regretted it. 

Hammer time! Comcast's NBCUniversal has handed the keys to much of its cable operations to Bonnie Hammer. Credited with turning USA Network into a force, Hammer had been sharing oversight of NBCU's entertainment channels with Lauren Zalaznick. Now Hammer, who had oversight of USA and E!, gets control of Bravo and Oxygen while Zalanick moves to a digital position. Also, Joe Uva, a former Univision executive, will run NBCU's Telemundo, another piece of turf that previously belonged to Zalaznick. More on the shifts from the Los Angeles Times and New York Post.

Touchdown! CBS' broadcast of the Ravens' Super Bowl win averaged an audience of 108.4 million viewers, according to Nielsen. While that number is nothing to be ashamed of it wasn't a record. Given that the game started as a blowout and had a 35-minute power outage that stopped play, in my book that rating is solid. However, the late finish did hurt CBS' special episode of the drama "Elementary," which only drew 20 million viewers. A look at the numbers from the Associated Press and Los Angeles Times and a critique of the broadcast from Sports Illustrated.

Eyeing Virgin? Media mogul John Malone's Liberty Global is circling Virgin Media, Britain's second-largest pay TV operator behind News Corp.'s British Sky Broadcasting. The Financial Times says Liberty, which has flirted with Virgin before, is working on a $20-billion deal to acquire the company. If Liberty succeeds, Malone would be competing once again head-to-head with Murdoch.

Where was my invite? On Monday, all the Oscar nominees gathered for their traditional lunch to celebrate, uh, themselves. Is it me or does this seem like the longest Oscar season ever? And we still have more than three weeks to go before the show! Here's what you missed at lunch from USA Today. The Hollywood Reporter also had its own big Oscar bash last night and again I wasn't invited. That's OK. See if I invite any of them to my house to watch the show and eat some wings.

Ballot box or TV box. Fox News personality Geraldo Rivera says he is pondering a run for the U.S. Senate representing New Jersey. Before we discuss what we'd all do if he won (I'd take New Jersey off my list of states I used to proudly call home), Fox News has to decide how serious he is and whether it should part ways with him. Fox News doesn't want to be seen as giving a political candidate free TV time and endorsing his effort. The New York Times on how Fox News is monitoring the Geraldo situation. 

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Robert Lloyd on the return of NBC's "Smash."

Follow me on Twitter so I can get a franchise tag. @JBFlint.

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