The Morning Fix: What’s the deal with Regis? Hollywood loves Super Bowl. MTV’s ‘Skins’ too racy?


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After the coffee. Before the rush to judgment about the ratings for ‘American Idol.’

The Skinny: Some juicy stuff for you today, including a story about NBC executive Jeff Gaspin’s bathroom and Regis Philbin’s dropping his agent of three decades one day after saying he was quitting ‘Live with Regis and Kelly.’ Oh, and some Sundance previews and ‘American Idol’ reviews and analysis.


Toilet tales! ‘The Wrap’s Sharon Waxman has a juicy tale about NBC Universal TV chief Jeff Gaspin, who will be leaving at the end of the month when Comcast Corp. officially takes control of the company. According to Waxman, one reason Comcast’s No. 2 executive Steve Burke (who will be in charge of NBC Universal) got turned off to the idea of keeping Gaspin was because he’d heard the NBC executive had spent $200,000 building a private toilet for his office because he didn’t want to use the common bathroom. (I just hope the article’s illustration isn’t accurate.) Comcast has a reputation of being frugal and free of Hollywood excess. According to TV Newser, Burke will sit for an interview with NBC news anchor Brian Williams on the eve of the deal’s closing at a company town hall, so maybe a brave staffer can ask him about Toiletgate.

All you need to know about Sundance. Yes, it’s that time of year again where the movie industry heads to Park City, Utah, to gobble up indie films. There are some new things to be aware of this year, including an opening night that features five screenings instead of the usual one, and one less theater. This year, 117 features made the cut from almost 4,000 submissions. Hopefully the excess eating and drinking and partying that goes on there won’t get in the way of actually buying movies that we might want to see. Previews from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.

That’s one expensive preview. The big Hollywood studios have gobbled up a bunch of ad spots in and around the Super Bowl to promote upcoming movies. According to Variety, there will be at least 13 spots for movies, up from eight last year. With spots for this year’s game, which is on Fox, running at north of $3 million, that’s a big gamble for what, I’m sure, are some pretty bad movies. Some of the spots are for summer releases, which seems a little silly given that no one remembers the ads three days after the game is over.

What’s up with Regis? First Regis Philbin abruptly announces he’s quitting his day job as co-host of the morning show ‘Live with Regis and Kelly.’ Now he’s fired his agent of 30 years and is going to WME. Philbin, 79, has said he’s not retiring but wants to pursue new opportunities. Meanwhile, there are whispers that perhaps Disney was looking to cut Philbin’s salary, and that it played a part in his decision to leave the morning show. His now-ex-agent Jim Griffin said money wasn’t the issue. Of course, Griffin also didn’t know why Philbin dumped him. This whole thing smells weird. More from Deadline Hollywood and the Los Angeles Times.

They should have thought of this before they started shooting. MTV’s new drama ‘Skins’ about wild teens has already made a splash in the ratings. But now some folks at the cable channel are worried that the show’s frank depictions of kids, sex and drugs could run afoul of child pornography laws, according to the New York Times. The problem is that some of cast members are under age 18. Of course, if all the kids were over 18, but just looked really young and were portraying really young characters, that wouldn’t be a problem, which, frankly, seems odd.

‘American Idol’ is back. Are you? On Wednesday night, ‘American Idol’ returned to the air with new judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez. Early reviews for the duo were strong, but will viewers miss Simon Cowell, and does increased competition against the aging giant mean smaller ratings? Vulture has its analysis on what factors will determine the show’s success this season.


Inside the Los Angeles Times: Lionsgate has hired away MGM TV executive Jim Packer. Disney has closed Propaganda, its Canadian video game studio. Mary McNamara on the new ‘American Idol.’

-- Joe Flint

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