The Morning Fix: James Murdoch moves closer to the throne! Inside the ‘Mad Men’ fight. Bewkes gets big payday.


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After the coffee. Before applying to take over as executive producer of ‘Mad Men.’

The Skinny: I’ve decided to change my last name to Murdoch and pass myself off as an illegitimate son who’s ready for his share of the empire. Think it will work? Wednesday’s roundup includes Hollywood’s startling discovery that bad movies lead to bad box office, and the ongoing fight between ‘Mad Men’ creator Matt Weiner and his bosses at AMC and Lionsgate.


Oh, that’s the problem. A gathering of movie industry executives and theater operators meeting in Las Vegas reached a consensus. Bad movies apparently hurt box office. Who knew? ‘So far there is just nothing terribly compelling about what we’re delivering as an industry,’ Sony Pictures Entertainment chief Michael Lynton said. Box office attendance is down 20% in the U.S. and Canada so far this year. While it’s true the quality of the product is down, rising costs don’t help and neither do the short windows between when a movie hits a theater and when it is available on DVD and video-on-demand. Just saying. More on the CinemaCon conference from the Los Angeles Times.

Didn’t see this coming. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. announced early Wednesday morning that James Murdoch will become the company’s deputy chief operating officer as well as chairman and CEO of its international operations. Murdoch will relocate from the U.K. to New York. He will continue to report to Chase Carey, the deputy chairman of News Corp. James Murdoch is seen by many to be the leading candidate to one day succeed his father at the top of News Corp. Don’t count out Elisabeth though. Early analysis from the Los Angeles Times.

Shocking! One might think that a large corporation appearing to dodge paying federal taxes would merit some attention. But NBC News skipped the story last week of how General Electric, its minority owner, seemed to avoid paying Uncle Sam. The Washington Post takes them to task. It’s a fair criticism but the story does not say if CBS and ABC covered the story. I’m guessing they didn’t. Does that mean all the networks are in the pockets of corporate giants? Maybe. But it also might mean that they don’t have the skills or storytelling ability to make the story compelling without sexy video. That’s the really sad part.

Nice work if you can get it. Time Warner Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes had a 2010 compensation package worth $26.3 million, according to the media giant’s proxy statement. That’s a 34% jump from what Bewkes took in 2009. More to make you jealous from Bloomberg.

There goes the neighborhood. Talent agencies UTA and WME are both eying the same spot for new digs. The Hollywood Reporter says both have looked at space around the Pacific Design Center. Other media companies kicking the tires there include DirecTV and Telemundo.

Does this mean more annoying ‘to the cloud’ ads? Amazon has launched its own ‘cloud’ service, beating Apple and Google to the punch. This is a little out of my league, so I will just quote from Los Angeles Times colleague Alex Pham’s story: ‘The service, called Amazon Cloud Player, lets users upload their music to an Amazon server and play songs from any Web browser or by using an application on mobile phones or tablets that use Google’s Android operating system.’ Additional coverage from the Wall Street Journal.


What’s the message? Variety’s Brian Lowry looks at concerns about the portrayal of women in Warner Bros. ‘Sucker Punch’ and compares it to reality shows like the ones that fill Bravo day and night which he notes can do as much damage to feminism as a leather miniskirt.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: A look at the contract dispute between the network and studio behind ‘Mad Men’ and the show’s creator Matt Weiner. James Rainey on fake TV news.

-- Joe Flint

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