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'Meatballs' reigns. Houston sports channel goes bust. Zalaznick out.

September 30, 2013|By Joe Flint
  • "Don Jon" took in just under $10 million in its opening weekend.
"Don Jon" took in just under $10 million in its opening weekend. (Relativity Media )

After the coffee. Before over-analyzing the end of "Breaking Bad."

The Skinny: I was all set to see "Don Jon" on Sunday but the ArcLight in Hollywood had other plans and canceled the early afternoon screening in the dome. A text or an email might have been nice! At least the Redskins won. Monday's Morning Fix includes the box office recap, a review of the "Breaking Bad" finale and a regional sports network filing for bankruptcy protection.

Daily Dose: Seems that for once most critics and viewers agree that the finale of "Breaking Bad" delivered. It also delivered for AMC. Advertising Age said some spots went for as much as $400,000. Not only did the cable channel boost the rate it charges for advertisements, but it sure seemed like there were more commercial breaks than usual, didn't it?

PHOTOS: Before they were actors on 'Breaking Bad'

It's raining meatballs. The animated family film "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" took in $35 million, more than enough for first place at the box office. However, that was off from the $45 million industry observers had projected, which frankly sounded high to me. The three other new movies -- "Rush," "Baggage Claim" and "Don Jon" all came in around $10 million. Box office recaps from the Los Angeles Times and Movie City News.

Swing and a miss. Regional sports networks are supposed to be cash cows but SportsNet Houston, the network co-owned by cable giant Comcast and the Houston Astros and Rockets has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The problem is that other than Comcast, no other pay-TV distributors were willing to pay the hefty subscriber fees SportsNet was seeking. The three owners are also at odds with each other. More from the Houston Chronicle and Multichannel News.

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Where's the beef? For the past year or so, the media have been giddy with anticipation about new Internet-distributed pay TV systems (known as over the top) from Intel, Sony and others. But so far, getting programmers to commit to sell their content to the would-be cable and satellite rivals has proven more difficult than anticipated. Intel is apparently hitting the brakes for now. Don't like to say I told you, but I told you. The New York Times on the stumbling blocks over the top distribution is facing.

I want to be in pictures. Satellite broadcaster DirecTV has reached an agreement with independent movie producer/distributor A24 to help it fund acquisitions. As part of the pact, A24 movies that DirecTV is involved in will first appear on the satellite service before hitting the theaters. Details from the Wall Street Journal.

Brilliant but canceled. Lauren Zalaznick, the colorful programming executive who was instrumental in making the cable network Bravo into a pop culture hot spot, is leaving NBCUniversal. Zalaznick, who started out as an independent movie producer before moving to TV, fell out of favor at NBCUniversal after Comcast took control of the company from General Electric. Coverage of her exit from the Los Angeles Times and Variety. Also, the New York Post wastes no time speculating where she may end up next.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Mary McNamara on the finale of "Breaking Bad." Also, McNamara's review of the CBS sitcom "We Are Men."

Follow me on Twitter. I cracked 10,000 followers. Now we need to add another zero! @JBFlint.


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