"Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" hopes to find box-office… (David Appleby / Paramount…)
After the coffee. Before figuring out if my life is Ground Hog day.
The Skinny: It's supposed to rain all weekend. I'll enjoy it at night and hate it during the day. Friday's headlines include a preview of the weekend box office, a new director for "Star Wars" and a big hire at CNN.
Daily Dose: Time Warner Cable and the Dodgers were hoping to have their big TV deal wrapped up by now and it could still be done by Friday. The holdup appears to be Major League Baseball's scrutiny of the deal and what it will mean for revenue sharing. As a public relations move, the Dodgers may also keep a couple dozen games on free television.
Gretel's got a gun! Don't those billboards for "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters" look like Gretel's packing some serious heat? Way to destroy an innocent childhood memory for me, Hollywood. Industry insiders predict the movie will make $30 million while the studio behind it -- Paramount Pictures -- is doing the lowered-expectations thing and telling people they'll be happy with $20 million. Either way, "Hansel and Gretel" is expected to top the other two new movies -- the Jason Statham thriller "Parker" and the comedy "Movie 43." If I wasn't so jammed up this weekend I'd probably see "Parker." Box-office previews from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.
May the Force be with you. J.J. Abrams, who already pumped new life into the "Star Trek" franchise, has signed on to direct a new "Star Wars" movie that will be made by Walt Disney Co., which bought Lucasfilms last year. According to the Wrap, which broke the story, Ben Affleck was also in the running for the highly coveted gig.
Big get. CNN has wooed ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols, one of the first big moves since Jeff Zucker took over running the news channel. Nichols will also see duty for Turner's other cable channels including TNT, which carries the NBA. More on the hire from USA Today.
What's next? Hollywood is infatuated with getting its product into China. But is China gearing up to own a piece of Hollywood? The Hollywood Reporter (how many times can I write the word Hollywood in this item?) looks at whether China may be planning a big play here.
We can take a joke. General Electric Co., which was often the butt of jokes on the NBC sitcom "30 Rock," will show it has a sense of humor about it by creating a special ad praising the program for its final episode. G.E. is a minority owner of NBC. Advertising Age on the unusual salute.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: A look at who the big acts will be at Coachella this year. Betsy Sharkey on "Parker."
Follow me on Twitter and try to figure me out. @JBFlint.