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The Morning Fix

Participant Media's new strategy. Olbermann settles with Current.

March 13, 2013|By Joe Flint
  • There's a message in here somewhere.
There's a message in here somewhere. (Participant Media )

After the coffee. Before getting my own smoke signal system.

The Skinny: I like FX's "The Americans," but I'm not sure I like it enough to make the commitment to watch every episode. Tonight could be a deciding factor. Wednesday's headlines include a profile of Participant Media and a sighting of reclusive comedian Dave Chappelle.

Daily Dose: The Outdoor Channel, a small cable network that focuses on hunting and fishing and other manly sports has agreed to merge with Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, an owner and operator of the Denver Nuggets basketball team and Denver's Pepsi Center arena. KSE's bid of about $225 million beat out an approximately $210-million offer from InterMedia Outdoor Holdings, parent of the Sportsman Channel, a rival service. InterMedia will receive a breakup fee of $6.5 million for being left at the altar by Outdoor.

Broadening out. Production company Participant Media is typically associated with films that have a social message, such as the documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" and the movie "The Help." But its latest movie, "Snitch," was an action film starring Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson, and its next movie, "Out of the Dark," is a supernatural thriller. But Participant Media head Jim Berk swears that the company isn't getting away from movies with a message, but rather is just trying to find a more commercial approach to it. The Los Angeles Times on Participant's new approach to get moviegoers to eat their vegetables.

He's available. Colorful commentator Keith Olbermann is a free agent again. The Hollywood Reporter says Olbermann and Current TV have settled their legal battle. Olbermann had sued Current after he was fired from the cable network. The next question is who will take a chance on Olbermann. He has a following but he also has some baggage. (Don't sue me, Keith, we all have baggage). There are rumblings he wants to return to ESPN, where he first made a name for himself.

Mickey's back. Walt Disney Co. is making new cartoon shorts of Mickey Mouse and the gang that will air on the Disney Channel starting in June. The Associated Press on Disney's plan to pump new life into its most iconic character.

At least Dorothy sings in this one. Another "Wizard of Oz"-inspired movie is in the works. Summertime Entertainment is making a 3-D animated musical called "Legends of Oz" and Clarius Entertainment will distribute. The film is to feature the voices of "Glee" star Lea Michele, Jim Belushi and Kelsey Grammer. Variety says the movie picks up where the original left off, with Dorothy returning home only to find her Kansas town in ruins from a tornado.

Maybe they can follow up with a "Maude" reboot. Sony Pictures and producer Scott Rudin are teaming up for a feature film version of the 1970s CBS hit "Good Times." No, this isn't an April Fools Day joke. Deadline Hollywood says unlike the series which was present-day, the movie will be set in 1960s Chicago. Woo hoo, maybe J.J. can get arrested at the Democratic National Convention. Laughs galore!

Like father like son. CNN Chief Jeff Zucker's 14 year-old kid is already following in his father's footsteps. According to the Financial Times, Andrew Zucker is advising a digital video-sharing startup called Waywire, whose co-founder is Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Jeff Zucker was a wunderkind in his youth as well, becoming the youngest executive producer ever of NBC's "Today."

Inside the Los Angeles Times: CNN's Jake Tapper on his new afternoon show. A resurfacing of comedian Dave Chappelle has set of speculation that he is readying a return to full-time work.

Follow me on Twitter and fight the good fight. @JBFlint.

Summertime Entertainment is making "Legends of Oz" and Clarius Entertainment is distributing it. A previous version of this post said Summertime was distributing the movie and that Clarius was producing.

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