Independence at 10 o’clock

Two indepedent items mentioned in today’s StudioBrief that I found interesting simply by their juxtaposition. First, from the film news:

Finally, My Big Fat Greek Wedding showed it still could surprise after 37 weeks. The film earned $2.8 million on just 951 screens for an average of $2,903 per screen — 89 percent more than it earned a week earlier — to lift its domestic gross to $222,517,469.

And from television:

In the latest example of corporate synergy in the Viacom empire, the company’s CBS affiliate in Seattle will begin producing a nightly newscast for its UPN affiliate in the same city. The 10:00 p.m. newscast being produced for the Cox-owned UPN station, KSTW, will employ the same anchors and sets used at 11:00 for the newscast produced for Viacom-owned KIRO. … KSTW General Manager Gary Wordlaw commented, “We’re very pleased to be able to bring Seattle TV viewers a local news alternative at 10:00 p.m.”

On the one hand, we have a $5m film, developed outside the studio system and ranking as the #5 film of 2002 (and within $5m of the #4, Signs.) On the other, we have a corporation working to keep down costs by eliminating any discernible difference between news on two networks in one market.

Mr. Wordlaw and his masters are delusional if they truly think the same sets, with the same newscasters, from the same corporate owner, represents any real “alternative.” When will we see the indie nightly news?

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