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Will 'Man of Steel' fly high? Al Jazeera details U.S. news plans.

June 11, 2013|By Joe Flint
  • Warner Bros. is betting on "Man of Steel" to be super at the box office.
Warner Bros. is betting on "Man of Steel" to be super at the box… (Warner Bros. )

After the coffee. Before preparing to moderate a panel of sports execs.

The Skinny: Among the things I have to do today is moderate a panel of regional sports executives from Fox, Time Warner Cable and NBCUniversal. Send your questions my way. And yes, I'll ask about rising rights fees. Tuesday's headlines include a look at "Man of Steel," the big summer movie from Warner Bros. If you are interested in receiving an email alert when the Morning Fix is live, please send me a note.

Daily Dose: Al Jazeera America, the U.S. version of Al Jazeera which launches this summer (see item below) is doing one thing that will most definitely be a hit with American viewers regardless of their perception of the network. It will have fewer commercials. Al Jazeera brass said the channel will carry half the amount of commercials on other cable news networks. That alone could make it a favorite among TV watchers.

No pressure. These days, making a hit movie isn't enough for Hollywood. It's all about creating franchises. Few have done a better job at that lately than Warner Bros. with "Harry Potter," "The Dark Knight" and "The Hangover." Now Warner Bros. is turning to an old hero -- Superman -- to be its new franchise. The studio's "Man of Steel," which cost over $200 million to make, opens this weekend and is projected to take in at least $90 million. The Los Angeles Times takes a look at "Man of Steel" and what success could mean for Warner Bros.

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A man short? This fall, NBCUniversal will convert G4, its cable network aimed at men into the video game lifestyle, into Esquire, or as I prefer to call it, Bravo for men. The network, inspired by the magazine of the same name, will cater to the upscale man. But is there really a market for that? Variety reporter Brian Steinberg questions the logic of the move. "Other dude-TV entries, while sustainable, aren’t necessarily setting the world on fire," he writes. Indeed, Spike TV recently announced a new slate of programming aimed to broaden its audience beyond the beer-chugging set.

Just the facts. Al Jazeera America, the news channel that the Qatar-based media company is launching in late summer, plans to steer clear of political debates and celebrity worship and instead will focus on hard news and documentaries. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Ehab Al Shihabi, executive director of international operations for Al Jazeera Media Network, said the channel will "elevate the mainstream voice." So far, Al Jazeera America has agreements with distributors for 50 million homes. Its white whale remains Time Warner Cable, the biggest distributor in New York and Los Angeles. Al Shihabi said talks with Time Warner Cable are "very encouraging." 

Not so dumb. Warner Bros. has decided to drop plans to make a "Dumb and Dumber" sequel, says the Hollywood Reporter. One of the surprise hits of the 1990s, stars Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels had agreed to reprise their roles for a follow-up film. But Warner Bros. apparently got cold feet. Can't blame them given that its been almost 20 years since the first movie and Carrey has lost his power at the box office.

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He's back. Dan Harmon, the outspoken creator of the NBC sitcom "Community," who was bounced from his own show in 2012, is back in charge. "Community," which has a small but loyal following, is returning to NBC for what will likely be its last season. More on Harmon's return from New York Times.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: "American Idol" has hired a new executive producer. Time Warner Cable has increased the number of LA Wi-Fi hot spots, so get out of the office with your tablet and enjoy the day.

Follow me on Twitter. I'm fighting for you. @JBFlint.


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