The Morning Fix: More McPherson drama at ABC! Swinging Sumner Redstone. Icahn takes one on the chin. ESPN playing soft with LeBron?


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After the coffee. Before figuring out how to do this thing faster.

ABC Aftermath. With much of the television industry still reeling from the abrupt exit of ABC’s entertainment chief, Steve McPherson, attention naturally turned to the overall health of Walt Disney Co.’s broadcast network as well as other possible reasons for the shakeup. Stories lurking in the background have proved difficult for journalists to get the old who, what, where, when and why pinned down. Some put vague suggestions in their coverage about personnel issues, while others went to town using anonymous sources. Then there are those who link to other stories that they may not be totally comfortable reporting themselves. Finally, we have your morning aggregator figuring out how to do this delicate dance at 5 a.m. Late Wednesday, McPherson’s lawyer issued a vague denial-of-wrong-doing statement that seems to have opened the door for the dirt to fly. For a straight business story, here’s the Los Angeles Times analysis of ABC’s health and McPherson’s track record. For a sense of what McPherson’s lawyer was responding to, here’s some coverage from the Hollywood Reporter, Variety and Deadline Hollywood.


What Paul Lee has to look forward to. ABC Family chief Paul Lee is the likely new head of ABC Entertainment. One of his first challenges will be getting up to speed about a bunch of shows he had nothing to do with but that he will inherit from McPherson. Lee has gotten raves for his stint as head of ABC Family, a once also-ran cable network that now has a strong lineup of original shows aimed at the tween and young-adult audience but not so hip that families steer clear. Weighing in on Lee are the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal.

Swinging Sumner. Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp. Chairman Sumner Redstone, already the subject of numerous stories over his interest in an all-female band getting a reality show on MTV and his generosity in giving stock to one of the members of said band, apparently has another young female friend working at the company. The Daily Beast’s Peter Lauria, who broke the first Redstone story, has the tale of Redstone and club girl Rohini Singh, who landed an entry-level gig at Showtime. Meanwhile, the Hollywood Reporter hunted down Christine Peters, another Redstone friend who has had a production deal at Viacom’s Paramount, to get her thoughts on all this. Hollywood is starting to make Detroit look pretty good.

Icahn takes one on the chin. Carl Icahn suffered a setback in his effort to take over movie and television studio Lions Gate. The investor had filed a couple of lawsuits to force Lions Gate to stop with a plan that would reduce Icahn’s holdings in the company and make his takeover plans even more difficult. For the latest on the Lions Gate saga, here’s the Los Angeles Times.

ESPN playing favorites? Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN, which was heavily criticized for its special about basketball star LeBron James’ decision to leave Cleveland for Miami, now is getting heat for taking a story about the James’ nightlife off its website. The New York Observer reports that a story about a night James had in Vegas was yanked. ESPN told the Observer that the story was pulled because it was ‘published accidentally.’

It’s not TV, it’s HBO. Rupert Murdoch’s BSkyB, his British satellite broadcaster, has acquired the rights to pay cable channel HBO’s entire library, according to the Guardian. Shows in the deal include ‘The Sopranos,’ ‘The Wire’ and the new mob drama ‘Boardwalk Empire,’ which makes its debut in late September.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Jeff Sagansky, who has run networks and studios, is now Mr. Digital Media Investor. CBS defends putting newscaster Julie Chen, who is also wife of CBS President Leslie Moonves, in a third show. The network also says it wants more gays on its shows and names some of the new undercover bosses for next season, a list that includes DirecTV CEO Mike White. Zac Efron is all grown up.


-- Joe Flint

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