Showbiz Sandbox 25: Mr. Television Grades Freshman TV Shows (and Leno Flunks)

Mr. Television himself is our guest this week, which means we talk a lot about TV. Marc Berman is the senior television editor at MediaWeek and creator/editor of The Programming Insider, a daily online bible focused on all things television that reaches more than 50,000 readers per day. He even has a daily companion podcast to catch you up on all the latest television news.

But first, “Where the Wild Things Are” and “Paranormal Activity” win box office kudos this week, earning the number 1 and number 3 spots, respectively (sandwiching “Law Abiding Citizen,” at number two, as if anyone cares).

Motion Picture Association of America chief Dan Glickman will step down as Hollywood’s top lobbyist next year. He claims that at the ripe old age of 65, it’s time for him to “move on back into the world of either academia, public service, or non profits….This is a very difficult job. From the outside world, this job has the perception of being very glamorous. People think Angelina Jolie goes home with me every night. It hasn’t happened yet.” Poor Dan. Maybe we know someone who knows someone who can work the Angelina thing out for him before he steps down next September. 

Meanwhile, things are looking better for the home video business. The Digital Entertainment Group reported that rental revenue rose 9.9% in the third quarter. Digital distribution, which includes online downloads and streaming as well as cable video-on-demand, rose 18%, down slightly from 21% in the first six months.

Things are not looking good however for Hollywood and social media. It seems that studios and networks are finally learning about this thing called the social networking. Apparently it’s this mass distribution tool that everyone uses to talk about movies and celebrities. And guess what? Word of mouth – like whether a movie is great or totally stinks – travels fast via Twitter and Facebook. But it’s not just the regular folk who are on Twitter. So are celebrities, and they’re getting themselves into trouble either arguing amongst themselves or revealing plot points from their TV series. Studios like Disney and Dreamworks are hoping to rein them in by adding specific “no-tweeting” clauses in their contracts.

Marc Berman helps us review all the freshman television series that premiered this fall, giving grades to each of them based on their ratings and veiwership. Marc believes Jay Leno has killed NBC and fills us in on the importance of including DVR viewings in ratings. And someone might want to get Marc a barf bucket before we ask him about Jon and Kate Gosselin…

Lastly, after our quick visit with Big Deal/Big Whoop news stories, we cover some Inside Baseball. This week, we mock. . . we mean discuss, Disney CEO Bob Iger who gave a keynote address at a business and entertainment conference sponsored by the USC Gould School of Law and the Beverly Hills Bar Association. Is a studio chief a creative leader or a brand manager? You decide.

MPAA’s Glickman To Exit Amid Grumbling He Never Did Fill Valenti’s Shoes,0,1921253.story

Accelerating Rentals Prop Up Shrinking Home Entertainment Biz In Third Quarter

Movie Studios Open Their Ears to Online Buzz

Hollywood cracking down on Celebrities using social media

Demi Versus Perez? See Twitter,0,3914013,full.story

The Programming Insider: Freshman Series Roundup

Debate Over Effects Of Leno’s Show

Jay Leno’s New Time Slot Wreaks Havoc For NBC Affiliates,0,1421138.story

TLC Files Suit Against Jon Gosselin For Contract Violation

Later Viewings of Shows on DVRs Brighten Ratings

Shows with the youngest audiences

Music Subsciption services

U2 To Live Stream Rose Bowl Concert

Nicolas Cage Sues Former Business Manager

Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger Outlines Role of Modern Studio Chief