We thought it was a pretty stark shift in tactics, but a good scoop for the L.A. Times: Fox would be getting into the Christian film business, producing six family movies a year and releasing them in theaters.
Except for one thing: They're not.
Here's the line that got the L.A. Times into so much trouble: "The home entertainment division of Rupert Murdoch's movie studio plans to produce as many as a dozen films a year under a banner called FoxFaith."
It turns out, as panicked call from a Fox spokesman to yours truly would illustrate, Fox isn't producing any such films. He noted that The New York Times reported (correctly), the half dozen Christian-oriented films "will be released nationally in theaters by an independent distributor working with Fox."
In other words, Fox isn't making any of these movies. They're just distributing them on home video.
Not exactly the seismic paradigm shift of this morning's L.A. Times' front page.
So, the question ought be asked: Why isn't Fox producing the films, if the evangelical marketplace is so ready to receive the Hollywood gospel?
It's "a home-video initiative, and that's not what we do," said Steve Feldstein, a spokesman for FoxFaith, and in any event, Fox's other film production divisions are "working at capacity."
The unspoken reason?
Most of the Christian films available for acquisition theatrically are either (a) cheesy cringe-fests or (b) have the production values of a Seymour Butts flick. Regardless of which category they fall into, 99% of the Christian films in the marketplace would likely cost more to market theatrically than they could ever make back in theaters.
Moreover, financing, marketing and distributing Christian films in theaters would be far too risky a proposition for Fox, because on a good day, evangelicals still need to be dynamited out of their homes to go to the movies.
Of course, none of the above is anything that Fox wants to say for the record on the day of their announced engagement to the Christian evangelicals of Red States --or as it's pronounced in the heartland, 'Merica.
Conclusion: Relax. Hollywood is still the Gomorrah you've come to know and love.
So, if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to "Skating with Celebrities" that's been on my TiVo since February. Now that's family entertainment.