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'Oz' still great and powerful. Leno and Greenblatt feud over jokes.

March 18, 2013|By Joe Flint
  • "Oz the Great and Powerful" still had juice in its second weekend.
"Oz the Great and Powerful" still had juice in its second weekend. (Walt Disney )

After the coffee. Before pretending I know something about March Madness.

The Skinny: I watched the season finale of HBO's "Girls" last night. Who knew that all these 21st century women needed to be happy were the men who weren't making them happy at the start of season one? At least that was my takeaway. Monday's headlines include a recap of the weekend box office and a review of the new A&E drama "Bates Motel."

Daily Dose: It's no secret that "Mad Men" creator Matt Weiner hates spoilers about his acclaimed drama. In the letter to critics that accompanied the drama's new season he may have taken it to new levels with a request that critics avoid commenting on the offices of the ad agency. What's next? Please don't reveal whether Pete's hairline has receded further or whether Don has changed his brand of cigarettes?

Still great and powerful. "Oz the Great and Powerful" (That's the title, not "Oz: The Great and Powerful." The folks at Disney are sensitive about that.) dominated the box office for the second weekend in a row with a take of $42.2 million. Coming in second was "The Call," a thriller starring Halle Berry, which made $17.1 million while "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" took in a disappointing $10.3 million. "Spring Breakers" performed well in limited release. Box office recaps from the Los Angeles Times and Movie City News.

Doing away with the flat fee. In the typical contract between a programmer such as ESPN and a pay-TV distributor such as Time Warner Cable, the distributor pays a flat fee to carry the channel. But Verizon FiOS wants to change that model. According to the Wall Street Journal, Verizon is pitching a system in which channels are paid in part based on ratings. Although that's how advertisers pay for commercials, such a move in the distribution business would be met with tremendous resistance because it would potentially take a big bite out of revenues. Don't hold your breath.

Can't take a joke. NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt can't find the humor in his network's prime-time woes and doesn't want anyone else using it for laughs either. After "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno made some cracks about how bad NBC was doing, Greenblatt fired off an angry email and then the two exchanged messages. Given that Leno is still the most-watched late night host (and has outlasted too many network presidents to name), maybe he's not the guy to go after right now. More on the tension between Leno and Greenblatt from the New York Times.

Taking it to the hoop. The Super Bowl may charge the most for commercials, but the NCAA basketball tournament rakes in the most money of all sports broadcasts. Of course, the Super Bowl is one game while the NCAA tournament has dozens of them. Last year, March Madness took in over $1 billion in ad dollars and this year that number is likely to go up. More from USA Today.

Questionable coverage? CNN's reporting Sunday on the guilty verdicts in the heavily covered rape trial in Steubenville, Ohio, raised a lot of eyebrows. Many viewers and critics thought the network seemed to be overly sympathetic to the defendants and not the victim in its early coverage of the verdicts. I watched and also felt that CNN's reporting on the verdict seemed to be treating the guilty more like victims of a drunk driving accident. Scrutiny from Gawker.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Mary McNamara on A&E's new "Psycho"-inspired drama "Bates Motel." "Mad Men" star Elisabeth Moss finds life outside of Madison Avenue in "Top of the Lake."

Follow me on Twitter and help me keep everyone honest. @JBFlint.

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