The Morning Fix: ‘Potter’ rules box office and ABC Family. Networks caught in stream war. Clock ticking on Howard Stern.


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After the coffee. Before wondering if I should be embarrassed about wanting to hear some Huey Lewis & the News today.

The Skinny: Here’s to a short week with no hassles. Hope I didn’t just jinx it. Shocking results at the box office as the new ‘Harry Potter’ went straight to the top. If you’re a first-time reader of our little roundup, that was sarcasm. In other news, Disney’s got a new video game with a Mickey Mouse that may be a little unrecognizable. Fox is overhauling its schedule. Oh and apparently Mel Gibson is having image issues.


Potter’s world. No surprise here. The latest Harry Potter movie, ‘The Deathly Hallows -- Part 1,’ opened to $125.1 million in North America and $205 million around the globe for a total opening-weekend take of $330 million. The audience for the Warner Bros. flick is getting a little older as the fans who grew up with the franchise hit young adulthood. Meanwhile, ‘Unstoppable’ had a solid second weekend, and ‘The Next Three Days’ had a disappointing previous three days. If you own a cable network and are thinking, gee, I should buy the rights to Part 1 of ‘The Deathly Hallows,’ you’re too late. Walt Disney Co.’s ABC Family already scooped up both Parts 1 and 2. The cost will likely be more than $30 million for Part 1. Generally, the formula is 10% or so of domestic box office with a cap, but the cap on a ‘Harry Potter’ movie is likely a lot higher than that of a typical film. Box-office analysis from the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Box Office Mojo, Movie City News and Variety.

Lay off my stream! The broadcast networks are going after two websites that have been streaming their feeds over the Internet. This is not the first time a company has tried to do this and won’t be the last. In this case, Ivi doesn’t think the rules that stop cable and satellite companies from doing the same thing without permission from broadcasters apply to them. The track record of the broadcasters in court in these fights is pretty good. Details on the spats from the Wall Street Journal.

Job opening. Kyle McSlarrow, president of the National Cable & Telecommunications Assn., said on Friday he was resigning as the cable industry’s top Washington lobbyist. McSlarrow got mostly high marks from cable operators, and he may be looking for a job with one of them. Though the job pays seven figures, it also comes with long hours and annoying bosses. In other words, it’s like every job but with a better expense account. The NCTA gig is the second major industry gig open in the nation’s capital. The Motion Picture Assn. of America still hasn’t found a new CEO. Guess tickets to Redskins games don’t have quite the pull they once did. Coverage of McSlarrow’s departure from Broadcasting & Cable.

Mad Mel. The New York Times goes into scandal mode with a preview of the upcoming Family Court fight between Mel Gibson and Oksana Grigorieva over child support. The issue is what this will do to Gibson’s career. I thought that had pretty much been decided. That said, if in five years Gibson’s getting an Oscar and being interviewed by Barbara Walters, that won’t surprise me either. If he can make a studio money, his antics will be ignored. In a related story, Capri Anderson, the, uh, guest of Charlie Sheen during the TV star’s last adventure, is expected to a file a suit against the actor as soon as this week, according to the New York Post.

Adios, Baba Booey? Radio personality Howard Stern’s deal with satellite radio broadcaster Sirius XM expires in just a few weeks. Is the King of All Media really prepared to end his reign? The latest from Stern’s top lackey, Gary Dell’Abate, who is promoting a new autobiography, from radio news site FMQB.

Get discovered. Remember when you could get discovered having a milkshake at the drugstore? Now, websites are popping up where people can send in audition reels. I know, isn’t that YouTube? Well, these are sites backed by Hollywood players. Paula Abdul is fronting one site, and Sony is behind another one. I pity the person who is going to have to watch all these clips. More on Abdul’s effort from the Hollywood Reporter; Deadline Hollywood posted the press release on Sony’s new casting couch.


Inside the Los Angeles Times: Apparently Mickey Mouse has a dark side and it’s exposed in a new Disney video game. Fox is overhauling its schedule and putting ‘American Idol’ on Thursday. Hollywood gives slain publicist Ronni Chasen an appropriate send-off.

-- Joe Flint

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