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'Identity Thief' to steal top spot. An Oscar list to die for!

February 08, 2013|By Joe Flint
  • "Identity Thief" is expected to steal the top spot at the box office.
"Identity Thief" is expected to steal the top spot at the box… (Universal Pictures )

After the coffee. Before seeing who took my Grammy Award tickets.

The Skinny: Hope my East Coast peeps find shelter from the snowstorm. Friday's headlines include a preview of the weekend box office, how NBC fell so fast and a look at the jockeying that goes on when it comes to getting on the Oscars memorial list.

Daily Dose: File this one under the category of "needs to get outside more." A guy in West Los Angeles took out an ad on Craigslist looking for someone to talk to about the new Netflix political drama "House of Cards." "Lets meet in a neutral place and talk. I'll buy the coffee," the writer says, adding, "I'm a man, 30, and really into TV (obviously)." Watch him meet his wife this way and their story gets them into the New York Times wedding announcements. 

Box office theft. "Identity Thief," a buddy comedy starring Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman, is expected to take the top spot at the box office this weekend. The movie, which stars McCarthy as a hustler and Bateman as one of her victims, should take in about $25 million. Of course, if the East Coast gets blitzed by snow that could lower attendance. The only other new wide-release this weekend is the dark drama "Side Effects" from director Steven Soderbergh about a woman whose therapy goes off the rails, which is expected to take in about $12 million. My hunch is that I've seen everything funny in "Identity Thief" in the trailer so maybe I'll try to catch "Side Effects." Box office previews from the Los Angeles Times and Hollywood Reporter.

A quick collapse. In the fall, there was lots of talk about how NBC was making a comeback. "The Voice" was going strong and the new drama "Revolution" was getting solid numbers. Oh, and "Sunday Night Football" was the most-watched show. But most industry veterans knew once football and "The Voice" were gone, a rude awakening was coming. Now it's happened. New shows "Do No Harm," "Deception" and "1600 Penn" have all tanked as did the return of "Smash." Vulture looks at NBC's woes and wonders if this is just the new normal for the Peacock network.

Spreading the word. Producer Mark Burnett, who's best known for reality fare such as "Survivor" and "The Apprentice," has been working hard to promote the miniseries "The Bible" to Christian organizations. "The Bible," which premieres at the end of March on the History channel, is getting talked up by Joel Osteen and Rick Warren, both of whom have mega-flocks. A look at Burnett's barnstorming efforts from Variety.

Go West. Cable operator Charter Communications has bought cable systems serving Colorado, Utah and Wyoming from  Cablevision Systems Corp. for a price of $1.6 billion. Charter's new chief executive Tom Rutledge is familiar with the systems as he purchased them for Cablevision when he was a top executive there. More on the deal from Bloomberg.

A list to die for. Every year, the Oscar awards acknowledges the deaths of big movie stars and industry players. But getting on that list can be as hard as being let into a trendy nightclub. We all know that big names such as Ernest Borgnine, Charles Durning and screenwriter Nora Ephron are slam dunks. Then there are the industry insiders and lesser-known actors vying for inclusion. The New York Times tries to lift the veil on the making of the memorial list.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Betsy Sharkey on "Identity Thief" and Kenneth Turan on "Side Effects."

Follow me on Twitter. I'll help you survive without football. @JBFlint.

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