The Morning Fix: Fox News vs. Obama! Why rent when you can buy? Goodbye casting couch. Chernin’s multi-tasking.


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After the coffee. Before figuring out why your DVR cuts off the last 20 seconds of ‘The Office.’

Does he use Rupert’s jet to go to Philadelphia? Former News Corp. President and Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin’s emergence as a consultant for cable giant Comcast Corp. in its efforts to buy a controlling stake in NBC Universal is raising eyebrows. For starters, there is the irony of Chernin leaving one family-run company because he knew he’d never get to the top only to find himself consulting for another one. Then there’s that lucrative production deal he has with News Corp. that provides him with a lot of perks (including said jet). While he doesn’t appear to be in violation of his deal, it certainly is an unusual situation (and remember Chernin’s first two big hires for his new company were from NBC Universal. Hmmm. Analysis from Meg James in today’s Los Angeles Times.


Ailes vs. Obama The tension (oh, who are we kidding, it’s way beyond tension) between Fox News and the White House continues to escalate. A recent meeting between Fox News CEO Roger Ailes and Obama lieutenant David Axelrod did not smooth things out and now there is open hostility. The White House even tried to exclude Fox News from a routine briefing with a Treasury Department official but the other news networks wouldn’t play ball on that one. Details and background from Jim Rutenberg, former media reporter turned DC political ace and avid surfer in today’s New York Times.

That’ll save money on casting couches. Fox is doing away with in-person tests for actors trying out for shows. Instead it will go with taped auditions it gets from production companies. Fox casting chief Marcia Shulman told the Hollywood Reporter that the current way in which ‘three actors wait nervously in the hallway, staring at each other and talking on the phone with their agents whether or not to sign the contract’ isn’t working. ‘Sometimes we can’t cast the right lead for a show because they had a bad moment. Casting is more than 50% of the success of a show, so after spending all that money, why have we been going through that crazy process for so long?’

Now the real fun can start. He may have been in financial straits before his death, but now Michael Jackson is worth big bucks. As the concert rehearsal film ‘This Is It’ gets ready for its opening, the tug-of-war over Jackson’s money is starting. Fortune looks at Jackson’s financial roller-coaster ride.

Gold in the old. CBS, long chastised for having an older audience than their rival networks, is also the only one really on a roll these days, and more advertisers are recognizing that the world is bigger than adults 18-49. Of course, I’m still in that highly coveted demo if anyone was wondering. A story to hang on Leslie Moonves’ wall from Business Week.

Twitter tales. As if Michael’s Restaurant in New York (where media heavyweights go to be seen; why I don’t know because frankly the food is not that good) wasn’t annoying enough, now they are tweeting the arrivals of big media bosses and journalists, which at least saves the phone call to the New York Post’s Page Six, which is where you’ll find this story, of course.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Why rent when you can buy? That’s what the movie industry is starting to think when it comes to the DVD business. Studios are weighing offering titles for sale first and waiting a few weeks before opening a rental window. Yeah, that’ll make people happy. Mary McNamara on USA’s new drama ‘White Collar.’


-- Joe Flint

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