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The Morning Fix

'Croods,' 'Olympus' rise at box office. CBS eyes TV Guide Network.

March 25, 2013|By Joe Flint
  • A scene from "Olympus Has Fallen."
A scene from "Olympus Has Fallen." (Film District )

After the coffee. Before the matzo ball soup.

The Skinny: I'm in D.C. for Passover, and it snowed here. So much for seeing some cherry blossoms, lunching at an outdoor cafe near the Capitol and taking a nice long jog. Monday's headlines include a recap of the box office and yet another story on the struggles of NBC's "Today."

Daily Dose: NBC, which suffered through a brutal winter, is hoping for a spring renewal starting Monday night with the return of "The Voice" and the network's drama "Revolution," which delivered solid numbers in its fall debut. But will fans of "The Voice" embrace the two new judges, Shakira and Usher, who are stepping in while Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green take a break? And has the long break NBC gave "Revolution" squandered any momentum the show may have had in the fall? And you thought Passover had a lot of questions. 

"Olympus" has risen. As expected, "The Croods" finished first at the box office this past weekend, with a take of almost $45 million. The big surprise was the strength of the action movie "Olympus Has Fallen," which made $30.5 million. "Olympus Has Fallen," starring Gerard Butler, was expected to make only $20 million. I guess the industry experts didn't realize how many people would pay to see the White House blown up. "Admission," the romantic comedy starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd, made only $6.4 million. Good luck trying to get into graduate school with that test score. Box-office recaps from the Los Angeles Times and Movie City News.

The dance begins. With less than two months before the broadcast networks present their fall schedules to advertisers, there is already talk on Madison Avenue that more money will float to cable and the Internet during this year's upfront market. Called the upfront because the majority of TV commercial time is sold in advance of the new season, this year's figures for CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox may be flat or down compared with last year's take of more than $9 billion. An early preview from the Wall Street Journal.

Eyeing the Guide. CBS is in talks to acquire a 50% stake in the TV Guide Network from One Equity Partners for about $100 million. The other 50% is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment. TV Guide Network is in about 80 million homes but has very small ratings. For CBS, it is a low-risk investment in a network with  a wide reach. More from Deadline Hollywood and the Los Angeles Times

Is this a morning show or a soap opera? NBC's efforts to do damage control at struggling morning show "Today" continue with a lengthy behind-the-scenes story from New York magazine, which got access to host Matt Lauer, executive producer Don Nash and Alexandra Wallace, the NBC News executive with oversight of the program. The story hasn't changed. NBC goofed by putting Ann Curry in as cohost, then goofed even worse by removing her in a heartless fashion that made her a martyr and Lauer a villain. This article is just longer with more adjectives.

Not a happy camper. Super-agent Ari Emanuel wasn't happy with a relatively softball story the NBC News program "Rock Center" did on the family as part of publicity campaign for his brother Ezekiel's book, "Brothers Emanuel: A Memoir of an American Family." The New York Post says Ari Emanuel, known for his hot temper, fired off a letter criticizing how Brian Williams handled the interview of the three Emanuel brothers (the other is Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel) and even got in NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke's face about it during a recent taping of "Saturday Night Live" the two attended. The lesson for NBC is no puff piece goes unpunished. 

Inside the Los Angeles Times: BET is revamping its hit drama "The Game."

Follow me on Twitter for the answers to the four questions. @JBFlint.

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