The Morning Fix: Government says yes to Comcast-NBC! Ready for Sundance?


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After the coffee. Before getting my Team Steven Tyler shirt ready.

The Skinny: ‘American Idol’ returns with new judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez and an industry wondering if they can deliver the big numbers the show had enjoyed with Simon Cowell. What do you think? And while you’re making that prediction, Oscar nominations are less than a week away, so hop on that. And lastly, who should get Regis Philbin’s job?


FCC and DOJ say yes. As expected, the Federal Communications Commission and Justice Department signed off on Comcast’s purchase of NBC Universal. But there are conditions on the deal that the two arms of government hope will prevent Comcast from flexing too much muscle in the content and distribution businesses. As to be expected, some media watchdogs thought the conditions weren’t strong enough, while others griped the deal shouldn’t have been approved at all. The vote at the FCC was 4-1, with Commissioner Michael Copps going against the merger. Next up for Comcast is closing the deal, which should happen at the end of the month. Coverage and analysis from the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, Broadcasting & Cable and Comcast’s home town Philadelphia Inquirer.

Nothing’s a lock. It’s almost Oscar nomination time, and Vulture thinks a few movies that seemed like they were sure things just a few weeks ago are starting to cool. Going against the grain, Vulture says ‘127 Hours’ is no longer a shoo-in for a best picture or best director nomination. IndieWire also has its Oscar nomination predictions ready.

Daytime drama. No, we’re not talking about Regis Philbin’s surprise retirement. Barbara Bloom is exiting as head of daytime at CBS. The news was broken by Daytime Confidential, which also said one of the reasons for her exit was a clash with Julie Chen, the co-host of the network’s ‘The Talk’ and wife of CBS CEO Leslie Moonves. CBS went into defensive mode, blasting that report. Before they call me, let me just say -- I link, you decide. One tip for our friends at Daytime Confidential, though: If you are the one reporting it, stop using the word ‘reportedly’ in your story. Man up and own it.

Growth mode. The Weinstein Co. is going to try its hand at TV again and is tapping Meryl Poster, who worked with Bob and Harvey Weinstein when they ran Miramax, to oversee their small-screen dreams. The Weinsteins have had a mixed record with TV, both at the Weinstein Co. and Miramax before that. More from Deadline Hollywood.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: It’s Sundance time again, when movie executives try to separate the sizzle from the steak. For every ‘The Kids Are All Right,’ there are 10 ‘Burieds.’ ‘American Idol’ is back, but will it be rejuvenated with new judges or fading faster without Simon Cowell?

-- Joe Flint

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