By Joe Flint
9:38 AM CST, December 28, 2012
After the coffee. Before figuring out where this year went.
The Skinny: We made it through this week in one piece. Now we just have to get through next week until things start to return to normal. Friday's headlines include a preview of the weekend box office, a profile of the pay channel Starz and another change in the works on Fox's "The X Factor."
Daily Dose: Democratic Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts has thrown his hat in the ring for John Kerry's Senate seat, which will open up should the Kerry be confirmed as secretary of State. Markey is a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and former chairman of the telecommunications subcommittee and would leave a big seat to fill there. On a separate note, Thursday's Daily Dose item about DirecTV increasing its rates should have thanked TVPredictions.com for first spotting the news.
New orbit. Pay-TV channel Starz will be one to watch in 2013. Liberty Media is spinning it off into a standalone public company. Normally that is a reason to pop the bubbly. But Starz also has challenges. In a few years it will no longer carry new movies from Walt Disney Co. and its efforts to build a strong lineup of original programming has proven to be a challenge. A look at Starz from the Los Angeles Times.
Misery loves company. "Les Misérables," the movie musical adaptation of the hit Broadway play, is expected to ruin the weekend for lots of guys who will be dragged to the movie theater to see it by their wives and girlfriends. Box office projections have "Les Misérables" finishing first this weekend and taking in about $35 million. It's already made $30 million since its Christmas opening. "Django Unchained" is expected to rustle up about $30 million for itself. Box office previews from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.
The new calendar. If you are encouraged by all the serious films at the box office lately and think it bodes well for 2013, think again. It's just the way Hollywood schedules movies now. The first nine months of the year are for big budget schlock while the last three are when the studios trot out their more high-minded movies in advance of awards season. The Wall Street Journal on the three-month movie season.
Not one more time for Britney? Us Magazine reports that singer Britney Spears will be let go as a judge on the Fox talent show "The X Factor." "They paid all that for her to say 'amazing' and offer half-claps," the magazine quotes an "insider" saying. If true, Spears would join a growing list of former "X Factor" judges that includes Paula Abdul and L.A. Reid.
The British are coming! Time Warner Cable has been making a lot of headlines for its threats to drop low-rated channels. But it is also adding some new networks, too, including BBC World Service. The agreement will boost distribution of the BBC news channel to 25 million homes here. More from the New York Times.
E-mess? The Hollywood Reporter says the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' attempt to allow its members to vote for the Oscars online isn't running smoothly. The article quotes an Academy spokesperson saying the big issue is members who are "forgetting or misusing passwords." In other words, Academy members are just like us!
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Steven Zeitchik offers some advice to director Judd Apatow whose latest movie "This is 40" disappointed at the box office.
End 2012 on a high note and follow me on Twitter. @JBFlint.