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Reality TV is dangerous work! 'Texas Chainsaw' massacres 'Hobbit.'

January 07, 2013|By Joe Flint
  • "Texas Chainsaw 3D" carved up the competition at the box office this past weekend.
"Texas Chainsaw 3D" carved up the competition at the box office… (Lionsgate )

After the coffee. Before getting over the Redskins' loss to Seattle.

The Skinny: Nice to have new episodes of "The Good Wife" back on CBS. It helped me salvage a depressing Sunday of football. Monday's headlines include a look at the dangers of working on reality shows, a recap of the weekend box office, a big exit at Hulu and a new look for an old TV show.

Daily Dose: HBO has renewed its deal for movies from Universal Pictures through 2022. The new agreement should pour lots of cold water on the idea that Universal's parent Comcast Corp. would try to buy HBO rival Starz, which is being spun-off by Liberty Media into a public company later this month. If Comcast had interest in Starz, it likely wouldn't sign a 10-year exclusive deal with HBO for Universal movies.

Dangerous work. Reality shows that focus on adventure often put their crews in dangerous and even life-threatening situations. A combination of low budgets, cutting corners, producers in over their heads and networks wanting more risk-taking to drive ratings is leading to increased injuries during productions. Many of these shows are non-union, which is also a point of contention for those working behind the scenes. More on the hazards of reality television from the Los Angeles Times. 

'Texas Chainsaw' massacre. Last week, the predictions were that "The Hobbit" would again finish first at the box office and "Texas Chainsaw 3D" would fail to make the cut. Guess what? "Texas Chainsaw 3D" took in $23 million, almost $10 million more than expected. That was enough to put it over the top and leave the competition cowering. The only other major new movie, "Promised Land," was out of gas right out of the box, taking in just $4.3 million. Weekend box office recaps from the Los Angeles Times and Movie City News.

Old media, new money. Traditional media companies such as Viacom, News Corp., Comcast and Time Warner are supposed to be the dinosaurs of the 21st century. But someone forgot to tell Wall Street, as the stocks of many big media companies had strong years. Fears of new technology making old platforms obsolete have yet to pan out (except for newspapers, sniff). The New York Times on why people are still betting on big media.

Take the money and run. Jason Kilar, the head of the online video site Hulu, said on Friday he was leaving his post early this year. Under Kilar, Hulu grew into a viable (although not profitable) platform. But with three bosses in News Corp., Walt Disney Co. and Comcast, figuring out what direction to take the company has given Kilar many sleepless nights. He won't leave empty-handed. Not only did he get a big check when Providence Equity sold its stake in Hulu, he also got a nice 2011 bonus. More on his exit from the Los Angeles Times and New York Post.

Maybe it will be Snow White and the Six Dwarfs? Walt Disney Co. is getting ready for some layoffs. Reuters reports that Disney has started a cost-cutting review which will likely lead to staff reductions in 2013 across the entire company. Disney has been spending heavily to improve its theme parks and buy sports content for its ESPN empire and has also made some big acquisitions  in recent years, including Marvel and Lucasfilm.

Suggestion-box success. When Pixar releases "Monsters University" this June, one of the previews will be a six-minute short from the animation studio called "The Blue Umbrella." The short, about a blue umbrella that has the hots for a red umbrella, has an interesting back story as it was conceived by a Saschka Unseld, a Pixar technician who took his idea all the way up the food chain to studio chief John Lasseter. The Wall Street Journal on Unseld's perseverance.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Omg! Entertainment news magazine "The Insider" is getting a complete overhaul and a new name. Robert Lloyd on the new NBC drama "Deception."

Follow me on Twitter. It will help me recover from Sunday's Redskins game. @JBFlint.

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