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The Morning Fix

CW tries to age gracefully. 'American Idol' is idling.

March 26, 2013|By Joe Flint

After the coffee. Before packing matzo for the trip back to Los Angeles.

The Skinny: Because I was celebrating Passover last night, I have no idea what absurd thing happened on Fox's "The Following." No spoilers please. Tuesday's headlines include a couple of profiles of new Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara, a look at the CW Network's new strategy, and the ratings struggles an aging "American Idol" is having this season.

Daily Dose: RBC Capital Markets is predicting that advertisers will cut their spending on broadcast TV by about 2% and increase spending on cable by as much as 6%. In June, the broadcast and cable networks will all start selling advertising for the fall TV season. None of the broadcast networks have much to cheer about this season. Although more people are viewing content on digital platforms, audience measurement issues remain and that, RBC said, will limit the inroads online outlets will make in wooing advertisers away from traditional TV.

Clearasil or denture cream? The CW Network -- a joint venture between CBS and Warner Bros. -- is trying to grow up. Once the network for teen girls, the CW is broadening its programming and trying to attract more men. One reason is that having an older audience will make the network a better fit with its affiliates (including stations owned by Los Angeles Times parent Tribune Co.). The challenge for the CW, though, is trying to get a bigger audience while staying true to its brand as a trendsetter. The Los Angeles Times takes a look at the CW's personality change. 

PHOTOS: 'American Idol' judges through the years

Ready for his closeup. New Warner Bros. Chief Executive Kevin Tsujihara, who earlier this year was tapped to succeed Barry Meyer as the top dog at the studio, is busy trying to figure out the future of the entertainment business. That means lots of meetings about digital strategies and figuring out how to make money off all the new content platforms that have emerged over the last few years. At the same time, he also has to build ties to Hollywood, which means lunch with Clint Eastwood. Oh, and he also has to work the media, which was clearly on last week's to-do list as the Wall Street Journal and Hollywood Reporter chatted with the new boss about his plans.

Here we go again. Looks like the online video site Hulu is on the block again. Controlling co-owners News Corp. and Walt Disney Co. are at odds over strategy, and although one could buy the other out (and probably third owner Comcast Corp.), that seems unlikely. The deep-pocketed private equity firm Guggenheim is said to be kicking the tires. The challenge for any buyer of Hulu is locking up long-term contracts with the program suppliers -- otherwise it's like buying a McDonald's without the rights to the Big Mac or the fries. More on Hulu from Reuters, All Things D and Variety.

New player. Intel wants to be in the pay-TV business. The chipmaker is in talks with big programmers about carrying their networks for a new broadband distribution system. Now don't get all excited thinking that this will somehow mean more choice for consumers or the chance to buy channels on an individual basis. Programmers are not going to do anything to mess up the current system of bundling lots of channels together until they absolutely have to, and if Intel wants in this business, it'll have to play by their rules. Details on Intel's plans from Bloomberg.

Bold prediction. MSNBC President Phil Griffin went into Joe Namath mode in an article in the New Republic and predicted that his cable channel would pass Fox News in the ratings in 2014. Though that's a sexy takeaway from the story, the article was actually a deep profile of Griffin's rise at MSNBC and includes quotes from his former boss and now rival Jeff Zucker as well as Fox News boss Roger Ailes, who is always good for a witty quip. 

The world according to Kent. Turner Broadcasting CEO Phil Kent, who likes talking to the media as much as I like root canals, broke bread with Broadcasting & Cable to discuss Jeff Zucker's early days at CNN, the challenges Fox's new sports channel will create for TBS and TNT, and how best to take advantage of digital platforms without hurting the bottom line.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Fox's hopes that a new panel of judges would pump some life into an aging "American Idol" have been dashed so far this season.

Follow me on Twitter so I can feel rich in friends even if I'm cash poor. @JBFlint.

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