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The Morning Fix

Daily Variety ends boffo run. Malone buys into Charter.

March 19, 2013|By Joe Flint
  • Tom Cruise is looking to another old TV show for a movie.
Tom Cruise is looking to another old TV show for a movie. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)

After the coffee. Before finding out who took my "Mad Men" screener.

The Skinny: I'm on the fence with Fox's "The Following," which is so grim it is sometimes hard to watch. That said, the cast is terrific. Tuesday's headlines include stories on the end of Daily Variety, a big deal for media mogul John Malone, Tom Cruise may have a new movie, and Hollywood's race to blow up the White House. 

Daily Dose: Daily Variety, which published its final print edition Tuesday (see below), not only has informed Hollywood about what's happening in the executive suites and the studio back lot since 1933, but also has served as a training ground for journalists. Reporters from Variety are now covering the entertainment industry for the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and USA Today. That's a pretty good track record. 

Boffo run. It is the end of an era for Hollywood as Daily Variety published its last issue Tuesday morning. Daily Variety, which once employed yours truly, is how the industry has started its day for almost 80 years. Although the print issue is folding, the parent company has revamped its website and is overhauling the weekly edition of Variety, which will relaunch next week. A look at Daily Variety's remarkable run and the news outlet's plans for the future from the Los Angeles Times.

He's back. John Malone's Liberty Media has struck a deal to acquire 27% of cable operator Charter Communications for $2.62 billion. As part of the purchase, Liberty will get four seats on Charter's board. With 4.2 million subscribers, Charter is one of the biggest pay-TV distirbutors in the country but is dwarfed by Comcast, DirecTV, Dish and Time Warner Cable. For Malone, the deal marks the first time he'll have a stake in a cable operator here since he sold his own company in the 1990s. More on the pact from the Wall Street Journal.

It's a long road. Every time I think I procrastinate too much I look at the movie industry and feel better about myself. It's not unusual for a film to take years or even a decade to go from an idea to a finished piece of work. The latest example is "World War Z," a movie about zombies that was initially developed seven years ago. Fortunately for Paramount, the studio behind the Brad Pitt movie, zombies have since become very hot. The New York Times on why it takes some movies a long time to get off the ground.

Not so fast. Those anticipating buying stock in MGM may have to wait a little longer. While there has been lots of speculation that the studio behind “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and the James Bond movie “Skyfall” is gearing up for an initial public offering, Variety says "not so fast." Instead, the company may opt for a private placement to raise about $500 million. 

Maybe next he'll star in a "Mannix" reboot. Tom Cruise is again looking to a 1960s TV series to jump start his career. According to Deadline Hollywood, Cruise is in talks to star in director Guy Ritchie's version of "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." Cruise, of course, had a hit franchise with "Mission Impossible."

Inside the Los Angeles Times:  Hollywood loves to blow things up and now two new movies have the White House in its sights! To really see how popular HBO's "Girls" is you need to look at all the numbers. Santa Monica-based ad agency Rubin Postaer & Associates lost a big chunk of its Honda account. 

Follow me on Twitter. I tweet. You decide. @JBFlint.

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