The Morning Fix: FCC unveils its proposed Internet rules! Benji’s coming back. Anchors for CBS ‘Early Show’ are toast. Another big day for ‘Winter’s Bone.’


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After the coffee. Before figuring out what exactly the FCC’s net-neutrality order means.

The Skinny: Met Matt LeBlanc on Tuesday night at the Showtime Christmas party. Seemed nice enough. But enough about me. ‘Winter’s Bone’ is on a roll this awards season, but can the grim tale about a daughter’s search for her deadbeat, drug-dealing dad make it all the way to Oscar? The FCC issued proposals on Internet regulation that are sure to garner criticism from all corners. As soon as I understand them, I’ll pass on my sage wisdom.


In the midnight hour. Just as the clock was approaching midnight on Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission announced that it would introduce an order at its next meeting to adopt ‘basic rules of the road to preserve the open Internet as a platform for innovation, investment, competition and free expression.’ The proposed rules, the FCC said, ‘would protect consumers’ and innovators’ right to know basic information about broadband service, right to send and receive lawful Internet traffic, and right to a level playing field, while providing broadband Internet access providers with the flexibility to reasonably manage their networks.’ That’s a mouthful! Cutting through the D.C. speak, this is about the flow of traffic on the Internet, and that’s a big deal for Hollywood. Here are reports from the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal. Expect a big battle from those who think the FCC is going too far and those who think it’s not going far enough.

Not a good morning. CBS overhauled its morning show on Tuesday. Besides Harry Smith, could you name any of the anchors or the weather person on the network’s ‘Early Show’? Didn’t think so. The new anchors will be Chris Wragge and Erica Hill, who currently work on the Saturday version of ‘Early Show.’ CBS’ morning show always has struggled against NBC’s ‘Today’ and ABC’s ‘Good Morning America,’ and if nothing else, the new talent likely will be cheaper. Details from the New York Times.

A new ‘Benji’ in the works. Got a scruffy-looking dog? Well, get him or her to Hollywood to audition to be the next Benji. Variety reports that Brandon Camp, the son of ‘Benji’ creator Joe Camp Jr., is on board for a new movie and that Walden Media, which is linked to 20th Century Fox, will make the film.

Not getting along? The New York Post, which is owned by News Corp., which also owns Fox News, says Eliot Spitzer and Kathleen Parker are not exactly buddies on their new CNN show. She feels he’s hogging all the spotlight. Meanwhile, Fox News may have a rising star in Bret Baier, according to the Wrap.

MGM board update. Ann Mather, the former chief financial officer of Pixar, is expected to join the board of MGM when the struggling studio reemerges from bankruptcy. The company is putting the finishing touches on a nine-member board. Other members are expected to be Fred Reynolds, the former chief financial officer of CBS, and former MySpace President Jason Hirschhorn. The latest on the board planning from the Los Angeles Times.

Is there extra credit for smoking and drinking in class? Northwestern University is offering a class called ‘Consumerism and Social Change in Mad Men America, 1960-1963,’ according to the Chicago Sun Times. That might be intersting, but if the school adds a class inspired by AMC’s zombie show ‘The Walking Dead,’ I’d advise against taking it.


UTA hires a Twitter agent. Yes, you read that right. Deadline Hollywood breaks the news that the talent agency is hiring a social-media agent.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: James Rainey on WikiLeaks. ‘Winter’s Bone’ got seven Spirit Award nods, but Oscar might be a tougher customer. Reseda High School is getting some nice coin from letting MTV shoot ‘Hard Times of RJ Berger’ there.

-- Joe Flint

Follow me on Twitter, but not while you’re driving.