Shocker: Fox News has no sense of humor whatsoever.

According to Nikki Finke and her invaluable Deadline Hollywood Daily blog for L.A. Weekly, the Fox News Corporation has fired “Fox 411” freelance columnist Roger Friedman for ostensibly promoting piracy via some comments he made in regards to the already-infamous leaking of an early print of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” onto the internet earlier this week.

Per Ms. Finke’s column

Besides writing a review from watching the purloined print of Wolverine, Friedman posted, “I did find the whole top 10 [movies in theaters], plus TV shows, commercials, videos, everything, all streaming away. It took really less than seconds to start playing it all right onto my computer. I could have downloaded all of it but really, who has the time or the room? Later tonight I may finally catch up with Paul Rudd in ‘I Love You, Man.’ It’s so much easier than going out in the rain!”

I’m told that Fox News’ actions were swift and severe. First, Roger Ailes, who overseas Fox News, deleted the offending post after he was contacted by 20th Century Fox about it. And then Ailes fired Friedman as a freelance Fox News entertainment writer. I hear the move was done with the full support of News Corp. “He promoted piracy. He basically suggested that viewing a stolen film is OK, which is absolutely intolerable. So we fired him,” a source told me Saturday. “Fox News acted promptly on all fronts.”

Are you kidding me? I’m sorry, but this sounds exactly like something *I* would write, in an attempt to be facetious about the ridiculousness of being able to find all of this stuff online. For all I know, Friedman was being completely serious, but given how quickly everyone’s been attempting to bring the perpetrator of the “Wolverine” leakage to justice, I simply can’t imagine that he was.

Nikki’s latest update says, “I did reach Friedman for comment. He emailed back only that he was at the Paul McCartney concert.” So he’s apparently not nearly as concerned about this as I am. But from my perspective, it looks like Fox is just pissed off about one of their internal employees being a dirty rotten scoundrel and is taking it out on anyone they can…which smells like bullshit to me.

  

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Watch NBC’s “Kings,” Or I’ll Shoot This Dog

Last Sunday, I pleaded with you, the readers of Premium Hollywood, to watch the premiere of NBC’s “Kings,” describing it as “an epic drama with the kind of scope that you rarely see on television in series form” and assuring you that “it needs to be a hit right out of the box, lest it be canceled without ever having a chance to build on its concept.”

How did that request pan out?

Well, I think the opening sentence of the Hollywood Reporter’s piece – “NBC’s ‘Kings’ had a devastating premiere Sunday night.” – says it all, doesn’t it? (Actually, the headline did a pretty good job in its own right: “NBC’s ‘Kings’ dethroned in ratings.”) To borrow a line from another great yet under-appreciated series, the facts were these: the premiere of “Kings” drew only 6 million viewers and was the lowest-rated program between 8 and 11 p.m. on a major broadcast network.

The ever-snarky but nonetheless generally well-informed Nikki Finke over at L.A. Weekly‘s Deadline Hollywood Daily wasn’t afraid to lay the blame for the series at the feet of NBC’s long-suffering executive, Ben Silverman:

I’m told NBC Universal spent a whopping $10 million on Sunday’s two-hour opener for ‘Kings’ and another $4 million per episode. That’s a staggering amount of money to lavish on any drama series, especially one that’s a bomb. Nor does Jeff Zucker have anyone to blame but himself for this disaster. Because I hear that Ben Silverman was hands-on. ‘Kings’ was supposed to move into the Thursday 10 PM ‘ER’ slot (once coveted when the network was still Must-See TV) but has now been banished to Sunday at 8 PM where it can’t do any harm since no one is watching NBC that night anyway. This latest failure follows NBC’s derivative restaurant reality series ‘The Chopping Block,’ also receiving a pathetic 4 share in 18-to-49 demos for its debut Wednesday. No wonder Ben has less and less to do with programming — which was why he was hired in the first place — and more and more to do with liaising with advertisers.

Y’know, I’d say, “Ouch,” but it’s not like this is anything even remotely close to the worst thing Ms. Frinke has had to say about Mr. Silverman.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

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Peter Gabriel bows out of the Oscars

Nikke Finke is reporting over at her Deadline Hollywood Daily blog that Peter Gabriel has pulled out of performing “Down to Earth,” his contribution to the “Wall-E” soundtrack, at the Academy Awards because he doesn’t think the nominated songs, their writers, and their performers are getting enough respect during this year’s Oscars telecast.

Why? Because the producers of the show, Larry Mark and Bill Condon, have opted to present the three nominated songs within a medley.

Says Ms. Frinke:

I’m told the producers have slotted 90 seconds in the medley for each song sung by its original performer. But Gabriel said in his letter that he was only being offered 65 seconds for his song. “I don’t feel that is sufficient time to do the song justice, and I have decided to withdraw from performing,” Gabriel informed AMPAS. “I fully respect and look forward to the producers’ right to revamp the show. Even though song writers are small players in the filmmmaking process, they are just as committed and work just as hard as the rest of the team, and I regret that this new version of the ceremony is being created in part at their expense.”

What do ya’ll think? Personally, I don’t blame the guy. They had a chance to have Peter freaking Gabriel sing his Oscar-nominated song, and instead they said, “Can you cut it down a minute five?” If it’d been me, I don’t know that I’d have been nearly as polite with my response.

  

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