After the coffee. Before opening a week's worth of mail.
The Skinny: I worked at home last Friday and yesterday so today marks my first time back at the office since before upfront week. I hope I remember where the building is and where to park. Today's roundup includes more coverage of AT&T's proposed purchase of DirecTV. Also, NBCUniversal Chief Executive Steve Burke talks about the network's surprising turnaround. Finally, a long-running lawsuit about the screenplay of "Raging Bull" will continue.
Daily Dose: NBC and its movie studio aren't the only units on a little bit of a roll (see below). NBC's "Nightly News with Brian Williams" added almost 1 million viewers for the week of May 16 and upped its lead in eyeballs over ABC's "World News Tonight" by 4% for the second quarter. "Nightly News" is also the only evening newscast up in the 18-49 demo. Its numbers have improved by 8% while ABC is flat and CBS is down 10%.
Deal drivers. There is actually a clause in AT&T's contract to buy DirecTV that says it can walk away from the purchase if the satellite broadcaster is unable to renew its TV contract with the National Football League. That tells you how important content is to this deal. Meanwhile, some lawmakers are sounding alarm bells about the sale. Expect hearings on Capitol Hill to follow. More on the AT&T-DirecTV deal from the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and New York Post.
On a roll. NBCUniversal boss Steve Burke finds himself in an unusual position these days. His company actually has some stuff to brag about. When Burke took over NBCU a few years ago, a big turnaround was needed. Now, NBC's ratings are up and the network is expected to do well when it sells ad inventory for next season. Universal has a hit in "Neighbors" and cable networks USA and Syfy renewed WWE programming for a lot less than Wall Street thought. Burke talks to the Los Angeles Times about NBCUniversal's performance. Separately, Bob Greenblatt, Burke's pick to run entertainment for NBC, talks to Variety about the network's programming strategy.
You never got me down, Ray. The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Paula Petrella, whose father Frank Petrella wrote a "Raging Bull" screenplay in 1963, in her long-running copyright suit against MGM. A lower court had said that Patrella waited too long to pursue her case. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in the ruling that he law "allows a copyright owner to defer suit until she can estimate whether the litigation is worth the candle." MGM has argued that Petrella's screenplay was not the basis for its classic movie starring Robert De Niro and directed by Martin Scorsese. More on the ruling and what the ongoing case could mean for Hollywood from the Los Angeles Times and Hollywood Reporter.
What went wrong. Fox's "American Idol" fell in the ratings last season faster than Rams quarterback Jim Everett trying to avoid a hit (how's that for a very old analogy?). The network has said there will be fewer hours of "American Idol" next season, which has become a very expensive show. USA Today on why this season tumbled so far.
Follow me on Twitter. It will help you go places. @JBFlint.