The Morning Fix: Stern stays with Sirius! Disney makes nice with Netflix. Zucker farewell tour continues.


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After the coffee. Before trying to broker a peace accord between my mom and her cable company.

The Skinny: Was there really ever any doubt? Howard Stern is staying with Sirius XM for five more years. The FCC wants to wade into the tensions between broadcasters and cable operators. Oh, and now you can take the kids to see ‘Blue Valentine.’


Stern stays. The king of all media will rule the Sirius XM satellite empire for five more years. Although there was speculation that Howard Stern might take his morning show elsewhere, most media insiders thought a new contract with Sirius XM, which is run by Stern’s longtime ally Mel Karmazin, was likely. Stern who turns 57, broke the news on his morning show Thursday. He didn’t talk details though. His current contract, which expires at the end of the year, was valued at $100 million annually. Keep in mind, though, that that also covers the cost of producing the show. Early coverage from CNN Money and some analysis of the Stern contract situation from yours truly and how it is very similar to what Derek Jeter faced with the Yankees, from yours truly. Although this was posted Thursday before he signed a deal, the points it makes are still relevant.

Disney and Netflix team up. Walt Disney Co., which often is the first to make big deals with new platforms (remember they were the first to get into bed with Steve Jobs and Apple), has partnered with Netflix to offer ABC and Disney content on its streaming service. The one-year deal, which is valued at between $150 million and $200 million, is the latest coup for Netflix, which is seen as a huge threat to cable and satellite pay-TV distributors. ‘As Hollywood looks for new ways to monetize content, there’s one guy standing around in a red shirt handing out checks,’’ said Richard Greenfield, a media analyst for BTIG, on Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. Analysis from Los Angeles Times and the New York Post, which says this deal also puts more pressure on Hulu to rethink its approach. Disney, of course, is also a partner in Hulu.

It’s Google’s fault. Taylor Hackford, the well-known director who is also president of the Directors Guild of America, said Google plays a part in promoting piracy of Hollywood product. Speaking at an industry conference, Hackford said, ‘Google is making money through [its] search engine with these sites.... We’ve got to be able to say [to Google], ‘You are facilitating illegal activity.’’ More from Variety.

I’m from the government and I’m here to help. Tired of spats between cable and satellite companies and TV networks that often leave consumers in the lurch, the Federal Communications Commission said it was stepping in. While it remains unclear what role the agency can play in these disputes -- which have grown more common over the last year -- a senior FCC official said of the battles that, as when elephants fight, ‘it is the grass that suffers.’ Details from the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Bloomberg.

And bad mistakes, I’ve made a few. Outgoing NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker’s farewell tour continued this week with a stop Wednesday at the UBS media conference. Zucker again expressed regret at the poor performance of NBC on his watch (remember that whole Jay Leno at 10 p.m. thing?) and floated the idea of joining a private equity firm. Zucker has said he is leaving NBC Universal after Comcast closes on its deal to take control of the company. That could happen early next year. Broadcasting & Cable has coverage.

Maybe he didn’t have the tennis shoes. Neil Ashe, the head of CBS Interactive who succeeded the sneakers-loving Quincy Smith, is leaving his post sometime next year. Ashe, who came over to CBS when the company acquired CNET, told All Things D that ‘it was time for a breath of fresh air for me.”


Inside the Los Angeles Times: The MPAA changed its minds and took away the NC-17 rating from ‘Blue Valentine’ and gave it an R instead. John Horn on the marketing challenges for Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie’s ‘The Tourist.’ Frankly, I still don’t know what that movie is supposed to be about, but she looks great.

-- Joe Flint

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