MORNING ROUNDUP: 'Inception' to Rent for $3-a-Night at Blockbuster Kiosks
Plus: Universal and Sony execs could swap companies, Kathleen Parker downplays tension with Eliot Spitzer on flailing CNN show and an American Idol favorite tries her hand at acting.
- NCR Corp., which operates DVD rental kiosks for Blockbuster, is trying out premium pricing in select markets, the Los Angeles Times reports. Inception and Knight & Day will rent for $2.99 the first night and $1-a-night thereafter -- instead of the typical $1-a-night fee -- in 900 kiosks in Atlanta, Miami, Phoenix, and San Francisco. Six major Hollywood studios -- including Fox and Inception distributor Warner Bros. -- have said that $1 rentals undercut more profitable DVD sales, and have negotiated deals that mandate a rental delay. Redbox will continue to charge $1-a-night.
- Universal Music Group CEO Doug Morris, who is planning to step down from the job at the end of the year, has been talking to Sony Corp. CEO Howard Stringer about taking over Sony Music from Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, who is expected to retire early next year, the New York Post reports. Morris has agreed to stay on board at Universal as chairman through his contract that runs through January 2013 after he steps down from the CEO run. On Tuesday, it emerged that Barry Weiss, head of Sony Music's RCA/Jive division, who was considered a candidate for the top job at Sony Music, is moving in the opposite direction - to Universal Music.
- Two months after its launch, ratings for CNN’s 8pm talk show Parker Spitzer are stagnant, there have been backstage tensions, and some have speculated that the news network could make Spitzer the sole host, the New York Times summarized Wednesday. But executives and the co-hosts in interviews with the Times ruled out a Parker departure and argued that the show is starting to find its footing. “It’s absolutely a work in progress,” Parker told the paper and denied any plans to bow out, highlighting that she recently signed a two-year lease in New York after moving from Washington, D.C. And Spitzer told the Times: “We’re creating something that I believe in. I have every confidence that it will be very successful."
- American Idol fan favorite Brooke White, who placed fifth on the seventh season, will star in an upcoming TV movie called Change of Plans, the Associated Press reports. White will play lead Sally Danville, a singer/songwriter who ends up with custody of a friend's four children after an accident. Phylicia Rashad also stars, and Idol judge Randy Jackson will make a cameo. White has no prior acting experience.