The Morning Fix: Lions Gate finds a friend in Televisa! Toronto’s ‘it’ girl. Will Sirius XM listeners stay if Howard Stern leaves? Is Joaquin Phoenix ready for more work?


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After the coffee. Before deciding whether I should pull a Joaquin Phoenix at work.

¿Donde es Carl Icahn? Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., the movie and television company that has been engaged in a nasty hostile takeover fight with investor Carl Icahn, is teaming up with Televisa, the Mexican media conglomerate, to launch Pantelion Films, which will make a couple of movies a year targeting Hispanic viewers in the United States. Details from the New York Times. On another note, the Latino population is growing tremendously. Two weeks ago, Univision managed to beat all the English-language broadcast networks in the 18-49 demographic. And no, this all has nothing to do with Icahn, I just wanted to have some fun with my headline.


Extreme makeover. The New York Post tries to connect the dots on several recent departures at Walt Disney Co.’s ABC network including that of ABC News President David Westin, who said he would be leaving at the end of the year, and Mike Benson, a senior marketing executive who resigned last week. The Post says this is the handiwork of Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger, who is coming up on five years as chief and has been wanting to make over the network. That may be partly true. Westin’s departure is likely tied to overall frustration ABC brass has with news, which has endured many cuts over the last few years. However, Benson is part of the domino effect from Steve McPherson’s departure as head of ABC Entertainment. McPherson’s exit has not been attributed to his track record overseeing prime-time programming or clashes over programming with Iger. Furthermore, Iger was in charge of ABC before he became chief of Disney, so he could have, and in many cases already has, remade the unit. Update: ABC and Disney didn’t think too much of this piece. Kevin Brockman a spokesman for Disney and ABC said in a statement to the Morning Fix that ‘the New York Post story is unequivocally untrue.”

Toronto’s ‘it’ girl. The Hollywood Reporter says Andrea Riseborough, a young actress who is in three films being showcased at the Toronto Film Festival, is poised to break out. Of course, being on a roll has its drawbacks. She’s spending so much time running from red carpet to red carpet that she said she ‘may have to schedule pee breaks if they haven’t been scheduled in.’

Let’s make a deal. Reuters reports that cable operators Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications have had discussions about swapping some of their systems and possibly forming a bigger alliance down the road. The swaps discussed are primarily for systems in Southern California where both Time Warner Cable and Cox are the primary cable operators.

Make your picks. Over the next week there will be lots of fall TV preview pieces. The Wrap weighs in with its take on the broadcast networks and what shows look good and what doesn’t. I didn’t read the whole thing, but what I did read made me wonder whether I watched the same pilots as their author. Oh well, viewers will decide for themselves soon enough.

Life without Stern. As radio personality Howard Stern plays Hamlet and tries to figure out whether he will keep doing his morning show for Sirius XM, his departure may not be a huge blow for the satellite radio company. An analyst tells Business Week that should Stern decide not to return to terrestrial radio, it would free up money for the company to lure new talent. While Stern may not be adding many new listeners at this point, what the analyst may not be giving enough credence to is how many subscribers might walk with Stern.

My ad aired where? Every time there is something controversial on television, the first thing reporters usually do is call advertisers to get their thoughts and the first response is usually dismay that a commercial for their product ran in such a racy show and that they knew nothing about it. Are they lying? No, usually they’re just lazy. Most companies don’t actually know where the commercials they are spending millions of dollars on actually run. Advertising Age tells us how it works and why in this day and age that old excuse of advertisers is starting to wear thin.


Filling in the missing link. Ed Adler, the former corporate communications chief of Time Warner Inc., has landed his next gig as a senior partner at MediaLink, the well-known advertising and marketing consulting company headed by Michael Kassan, the Madison Avenue veteran. Adler will focus on advising companies attempting to transition to digital media. I guess that means he’s consulting everyone. More on Adler’s new gig from Bloomberg.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: The jury is still out on whether Joaquin Phoenix was putting on an act or for real during the last year in which he made numerous bizarre appearances that seemed to indicate he was on the edge of a breakdown, but his team is fielding offers. Patrick Goldstein on ‘The Social Network.’

-- Joe Flint

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