The Morning Fix: Jay Leno tells his side. Jeff Zucker’s selective media tour continues. ‘Avatar’ does too well in China. Simon Cowell’s new deal.

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After the coffee. Before Jimmy Fallon weighs in on this whole NBC mess.

Leno’s turn. Jay Leno took to the airwaves last night to offer his version of what’s happening at NBC. He told the story of how six years ago NBC executives told him they were taking the show away from him in five years to give to Conan O’Brien even though Leno was No. 1 and remained No. 1 when it came time to make the switch. He wanted to leave the network after he finished with ‘The Tonight Show’ and O’Brien took over, but NBC came up with their prime-time plan, which he was skeptical about. When the network took the prime-time show away, Leno again wanted out of his contract, and again they told him they didn’t want to lose him. ‘How valuable can I be? You’ve fired me twice,’ Leno said on the show. More from the Los Angeles Times and a critique from the pro-Conan folks at the Wrap. Curious about one thing, does Leno’s saying he would retire from ‘The Tonight Show’ to make room for O’Brien mean he was supposed to retire from life too?


Zucker’s turn. Jeff Zucker’s limited media tour continued with a stop at Charlie Rose last night to discuss NBC’s prime time and late night troubles. Zucker, who skipped out on the chance to address all the media earlier this month at the TV press tour, has been selectively doling out interviews here and there. We’re still waiting for our turn. Reuters on his appearance with Charlie Rose.

‘Avatar’ vs. ‘The Hurt Locker.’ USA Today looks at the race for best picture between ex-spouses Jim Cameron (‘Avatar’) and Kathryn Bigelow (‘The Hurt Locker’). Despite ‘Avatar’s’ big night at the Golden Globes, there is still a sense that anything could happen on Oscar night.

Sony and Simon. Sony Music will unveil a five-year deal with ‘American Idol’ judge Simon Cowell. The deal overhauls the previous arrangement between Sony and Cowell. Sony will become a partner in Cowell’s new company. Like anything to do with anyone named Simon who is involved in a music reality show, there’s lots of intrigue and complications behind the scenes so we’ll let the Financial Times tell you the rest.

Xbox and Disney talk deal. Xbox, the gaming service that wants to be a cable operator, is in talks with Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN about offering content from the sports empire on a pay-per-view-type basis. Xbox, which already has a deal with Netflix, told the New York Times that it had 20 million members of Xbox Live that can access content online. That’s almost as big as Comcast Corp.

MGM: Round 2. MGM will start the second round of bidding for the troubled studio even though it didn’t look like Round 1 brought the big bids it was looking to get. Anyone who wants to join me in making a run at the Lion, send cash. More from Variety and Hollywood Reporter.

The Moonves touch. When the plot of Harrison Ford’s new movie ‘Extreme Measures’ got tangled, it was CBS CEO Leslie Moonves who got involved to play editor. For Moonves, who loves casting shows and the creative process, it was nothing new. The New York Times looks at how CBS is trying the same formula for movies that worked for it in television -- big names and broad themes.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: ‘Avatar’ was pulled from more than 1,600 screens in China. Apparently, the movie is doing to well there and hurting China’s own movies. Box office roundup from the long (but not long enough) weekend. Patrick Goldstein offers Conan O’Brien advice.

-- Joe Flint

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