The Morning Fix: Diller exiting Live Nation Entertainment! Obama bashes Fox News. 3-D Star Wars!

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After the coffee. Before deciding whether to suspend my Facebook account after seeing ‘The Social Network.’

Buh bye. Mogul Barry Diller is stepping down as chairman of Live Nation Entertainment, the behemoth that was born out of the controversial merger of TicketMaster and concert promotion giant Live Nation. The departure apparently was due to clashes between Diller and Irving Azoff, the executive chairman of Live Nation Entertainment (Hmm, a chairman and an executive chairman? Now why would that lead to problems?), and Michael Rapino, the chief executive of the entity over who was running the show. Diller’s departure comes a few months after Live Nation Entertainment held a meeting with investors that became such a debacle the company’s shares were dropping during the get-together. Details from the Hollywood Reporter, which broke the news, and Bloomberg, which quoted Diller as saying he had always planned to step down after the two companies finished their merger.

There go those good seats at the White House Correspondents Dinner. President Obama was critical of News Corp.'s Fox News Channel in an interview with Rolling Stone, telling the magazine that the network’s point of view is ‘ultimately destructive for the long-term growth of a country that has a vibrant middle class and is competitive in the world.” This is not the first time that there have been clashes between the White House and Fox News and, going out on a limb here, probably won’t be the last.

Horse racing is next to Godliness? Walt Disney Co., borrowing a page from Warner Bros., is marketing ‘Secretariat’ to Christians much the same way Sandra Bullock’s ‘The Blind Side’ was pitched to the so-called faith-based audience. The Hollywood Reporter looks at how Disney is going beyond billboards and television shows to find audiences that may embrace the family story behind the legendary horse.


Web worries. As regulators and lawmakers continue to probe Comcast’s deal to take control of NBC Universal, Variety reports that one area getting emphasis is what the deal will mean to the online video world. Will the Justice Department try to put pressure on Comcast to agree to make its online video content available to broadband competitors or buy arguments that the marketplace is too new for rules.

Anything to sell glasses. 20th Century Fox is planning to release the entire ‘Star Wars’ saga in 3-D starting in two years. According to The Hollywood Reporter and Variety, ‘The Phantom Menace’ would be the first of the franchise to get 3-D treatment and after that, each movie would be released in order on an annual basis.

See you in court. Big broadcasters including CBS, Fox and NBC have filed a copyright infringement suit against Ivi TV, a company that is offering television shows online, much to the chagrin of big media. Ivi, according to Broadcasting & Cable, is arguing that it is the equivalent of an online cable provider when it comes to copyright law, but not a cable system, which means it wouldn’t have to pay to offer the programming. That’s what’s known as the ‘having your cake and eating it too’ defense. ‘This is a predictable move by big media to try and stifle innovation and technology,’ Ivi TV chief executive Todd Weaver said in response to the suit, per the magazine.

‘Lone Star’ spin. One of the challenges of the Internet age is deciphering what is news and what isn’t. With the number of outlets covering the business seemingly growing every day and reporters tweeting about anything and everything, anything can seem huge. That may be the case with Fox’s decision to cancel ‘Lone Star,’ its drama about a con man juggling two wives, after just two episodes. Yes, it is unusual that a show gets killed that fast, but it is not unheard of and its ratings were really bad. But that critics loved it and that it was a favorite of the head of the network has led to far too much analysis for why a show that few were watching didn’t work. Sometimes shows don’t work. It happens. Get over it. It’s not going to dramatically alter the business. OK, I’m done. Here’s some ‘Lone Star’ analysis from Vulture.

Inside the Los Angeles Times:Law & Order’ comes to Los Angeles. Trent Reznor is making music for Hollywood. Second chances can come from strange places: West Los Angeles is teaching the basics about the film business to low-income students who can’t afford film school but want a shot at working behind the scenes in Hollywood.

-- Joe Flint

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