The Skinny: I hate that because of DVRs and video-on-demand I'm not supposed to talk about the plot twists on last night's episode of "24." I'll just say they fooled me. I should have known better. Today's roundup includes a feud between Hallmark Channel parent Crown Media and some of its shareholders. Also, phone-hacking verdicts are in and Rebekah Brooks got a pass.
Daily Dose: Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), chairman and ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, respectively, wrote the Federal Communications Commission and the Dept. of Justice about concerns raised during a hearing on Comcast's proposed takeover of Time Warner Cable. "The Comcast/TWC transaction has the potential to alter the competitive landscape for products that are very important to consumers," the pair wrote. A transaction that could impede competition "merits attention." The two senators did not take an official position on the deal.
Not a Hallmark moment. Investors in Crown Media, parent company of Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel, should be feeling good. Ratings are up at the channels, cash flow is growing and the stock has almost doubled in the last 18 months. Instead, minority shareholders are upset with Crown and its majority shareholder Hallmark Cards because they believe the company won't be able to reach its full potential under current management. They are also worried that Hallmark may try to cut a sweetheart deal to buy the rest of Crown. The Los Angeles Times on the divide between Crown's independent shareholders and Hallmark.
Verdicts are in. Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson was found guilty of phone hacking, but his predecessor, Rebekah Brooks, who was also charged with hacking, making payoffs to officials and obstruction of justice, walked. Coulson, who went on to become spokesperson for British Prime Minister David Cameron, is looking at jail time. The hacking scandal which led to the arrests of Coulson and Brooks put a dark cloud over media mogul Rupert Murdoch's British tabloids and led to the closure of News of the World. Murdoch's son James Murdoch was also heavily criticized for a lack of accountability while he managed the British newspaper unit. More on the verdicts from the Los Angeles Times and the Guardian.
Goal! The U.S. may have broken hearts by tying with Portugal, but the game also was a turning point for soccer here in the States in terms of ratings. More than 18 million people watched Sunday's World Cup match on ESPN, making it the most-watched game here ever. Throw in Univision's audience and about 25 million people tuned in (bigger than the NBA finals and World Series). And then there's all the folks who were in bars that didn't get measured. No doubt soccer is growing and social media also makes everyone want to get in on the action. A look at the numbers from the New York Times and Los Angeles Times.
Not so fast. On Monday, the New York Times wrote that besides Time Warner, Walt Disney Co. and 21st Century Fox were also interested in making a big deal with Vice Media. But the Hollywood Reporter says Disney has no interest in trying to take a stake in Vice and that Fox is content to stick to its 5% piece of Vice. You mean someone might be trying to start a bidding war to raise the price of their company? I'm shocked.
Product placement gone awry. Pangu Plaza, a luxury hotel in Beijing, cut a deal for product placement with Paramount Pictures in the latest "Transformers" movie. But when management screened the film they were less than happy with the result and lawsuits were threatened which could have delayed the movie's debut in China. Paramount had to scramble to make peace with hotel brass, says the Los Angeles Times.
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