The Morning Fix: Up and down year for Hollywood. Farrelly Brothers ready to shock again. How media gave Ted Williams his 15 minutes.


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After the coffee. Before figuring out how huge the backlash will be against Cameron Diaz for ‘Bad Teacher.’

The Skinny: I don’t know about you but I’m pretty hyped out on Oscars. In other news, the Farrelly Brothers want to prove they’re still funny, but the trailers for ‘Hall Pass’ are leaving me unconvinced. Would you see a movie about Rupert Murdoch? I prefer watching Mr. Burns on ‘The Simpsons.’


Bad news, good news. Movie ticket sales in 2010 were flat with 2009 at $10.6 billion, according to the Motion Picture Assn. of America’s annual industry report. People are seeing fewer movies and 3-D is boosting totals and perhaps giving a false perception. On the plus side, there is strong growth abroad, particularly in Latin America and the Asia Pacific region. Details from the Los Angeles Times.

It’s all about the franchise. Given that box-office growth in the U.S. may be hard to come by in the years ahead (why go to the theater when it will be out on DVD or on video-on-demand in no time?), the answer from Hollywood is to milk what hits they do have into the ground. I’m just dreading the day reality movies start to emerge. Why not ‘Jersey Shore: The Movie’? The Wall Street Journal on the industry’s long-term strategy.

Oprah talks. With a new cable channel to hype and the end of her daily talk show to promote, Oprah Winfrey is starting to work the press. In the past Winfrey has been very selective about where she grants interviews, but now there are lots of dollars at stake and the rules have changed. No doubt looking to send a message to the industry as much as her fans, Winfrey chats with the Hollywood Reporter about the launch of OWN and its challenges to establish itself.

I’ll wait for the movie. CBS News anchor Katie Couric has written her first book, ‘The Best Advice I Ever Got.’ Hmmm. Wonder if the folks who told her leaving the most powerful morning show for a low-rated evening newscast is among those nuggets of advice included in the book. I am curious as to what advice Alex Rodriguez has. Perhaps he can tell readers the dos and don’ts of being fed by Cameron Diaz, or what mix of ‘roids works best. Couric’s book -- a collection of essays from others -- is the latest in an annoying trend in publishing right up there with oral history books for people too lazy to just write a narrative. More from the New York Times, which in hyping the book says it is being released with ‘no fanfare.’ But hey, the money goes to charity.

Why see the movie when I can watch the real thing? Forbes has come into a script making the rounds about media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his family. Of course, no one has bought it yet, which will no doubt lead to talk that folks are afraid to make a movie that could show Murdoch in a negative light. Perhaps, but another bet might be whether such a movie would really be of any interest to the general population. I don’t know why, but my smell detector is up on this one.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: The Farrelly Brothers are hoping to find their grove again with ‘Hall Pass.’ A look at how the media milked the Ted Williams story for all it was worth.


-- Joe Flint

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