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Last week’s chart-topper Mary J. Blige and Jamie Foxx will battle it out for the #1 spot on this week’s HITS countdown... a nip-and-tuck horse race until the end, which will see both flirting with the 100,000 sales mark.

MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACKING

Just to Get You Started, We Give You A Wake-Up Call with Blige vs. Foxx, West Wing R.I.P., Twentysomethings Prefer Alternative Media, Labels vs. Satellite Radio, Jobs a Hollywood Mogul, Etc.
Kobe freakin' Bryant. That's all. Amazing. 81 points.

Football was a buzz-kill this weekend, with two runaway games that were each over by the half, so now’s the time to start talking up the less-than-scintillating Steelers-Seahawks match-up, or the Anti Two Jakes, as slingers Roethlisberger and Hassselbeck lead their respective teams into the Super Bowl for the first time. One thing you have to say is that Pittsburgh and Seattle are the two best teams by far at this time of the year, which is the most important thing if you're looking for championships. That said, I make Pittsburgh an early 4-point favorite, but give Seattle an excellent chance if it buys some time for its QB and creates some holes for its MVP running back, Shaun Alexander.

Last week’s chart-topper Mary J. Blige and Jamie Foxx will battle it out for the #1 spot on this week’s HITS countdown (which can be viewed from start to finish on our building album tally). Should be a nip-and-tuck horse race until the end, which will see both flirting with the 100,000 sales mark. New releases this week include Yellowcard (Capitol), P.O.D. (Atlantic), Rosanne Cash (Capitol), 2006 Grammy Nominees (Sony BMG), Cat Power (Matador), Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis (Team Love). DVDs on the shelves include The Fog, the Jody Foster-starring Flight Plan and Roman Polanski’s Oliver Twist.

Meanwhile, NBC announced this weekend  it is pulling the plug on two of its more successful series, The West Wing and Will & Grace, at the conclusion of the current season and shifting the time and day on a number of other shows, like The Apprentice, Las Vegas and Law & Order. NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly is looking to use the Winter Olympics to introduce the new line-up. In addition, he’s ordered 22 more episodes of the splendid My Name Is Earl and The Office, his two Thursday night comedy hits.

Twentysomethings (who are considered Millennials for those born between 1980 and 2000) prefer alternative media, and are getting tougher to reach for advertisers trying to put together an effective marketing plan without the old media standbys.  Sounds like an Onion bit, doesn’t it? Instead, it’s an in-depth study in yesterday’s N.Y. Times.

The N.Y. Post’s Tim Arango reports that the record companies and the satellite radio industry have reached a cease-fire in their copyright infringement war. The labels will temporarily refrain from suing Sirius over its portable device that allows users to record and store songs, which label execs insist is infringement. XM has not yet brought their version to the market, so talks have just begun between the satellite company and the RIAA.

Reports out of Hollywood are that Disney's pending deal for Pixar—which will be announced imminently—will give Apple honcho Steve Jobs both a board seat and the largest individual stock position in Disney. His 51% stake in Pixar dwarfs his Apple position, and could even give him a leg up on the top slot at the Magic Kingdom. That’s a lot of iPods, folks. To afford the purchase of Pixar, Disney is prepared to unload its ABC Radio unit to Citadel Broadcasting, the nation's fifth-largest radio broadcaster, for nearly $3 billion. The company received bids from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Entercom Communications last week, but has entered into exclusive negotiations with Citadel. A deal could be reached within the next two weeks, though if talks break down, another bidder could be chosen.

The hottest film in Sundance is the work of a pair of veteran music video directors making their feature debut. Little Miss Sunshine, a black comedy starring Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Alan Arkin and 40-Year-Old Virgin star Steve Carell, was sold to Fox Searchlight for nearly $10.5 million, beating the previous Sundance record holders Happy, Texas (which was acquired for $10.25 million). The film is written and directed by first-time filmmakers, but longtime music vid helmers, Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton, who got their start on Miles Copeland's MTV magazine show The Cutting Edge way back when. Screenwriter Michael Arndt is also a newcomer. Fox News' Roger Friedman reports "the plot could best be described as a combination of National Lampoon's Summer Vacation meets Jon Benet Ramsey."

Vampires sucked the blood out of the weekend movie box office. Underworld: Evolution bowed with $27.6 million in ticket sales. Hoodwinked, last week's top earner, finished second with $11 million, while Glory Road and Last Holiday finished third and fourth, with $9.1 million apiece. Golden Globe winner Brokeback Mountain was fifth with a major box office bump, earning $7.5 million, a 35% increase over the previous week, bringing its total to date to $42.1 million. Guess it just can't quit you...

 

 

REVENUE CHART:
RAINING CATS & DOGS
Starring Doja Cat, Nipper and Ms. Larry David (5/13a)
RECORDING ACADEMY LOCKS IN HARVEY MASON JR. AS CEO
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. (5/14a)
TIME TRAVELING
WITH CLIVE (UPDATE)
Beam us up, Uncle Clive. (5/13a)
ROCK HALL INDUCTEES:
NEW & OVERDUE
Todd gets in. Finally. (5/13a)
KG's HOT ALT SUMMER
She also reviews the best outdoor Bluetooth speakers. (5/13a)
RHYTHM, BLUES AND THE FUTURE
The musical tapestry we know as R&B.
WHO'S NEXT?
Predicting the next big catalog deal.
JUST THE VAX, MA'AM
Once we all get vaccinated, how long before we can party?
WORLDWIDE GROOVE
How is globalization bringing far-flung territories into the musical mainstream?
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