The Morning Fix: Murdoch gets foamed! NFL near deal. PGA throws awards season into lurch.
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After the coffee. Before seeing if a studio has signed Wendi Murdoch to be the new Wonder Woman.
The Skinny: Were you glued to your television watching the Murdochs appear before Parliament? The ratings will be out later today so we’ll see if the media’s version of the Casey Anthony trial generated much interest with the masses. While the headlines may start to die down, now the real work will begin in the probe into the phone hacking habits of News Corp.'s News of the World and we’ll see what it means for the company brass. Elsewhere, the NFL is near a new deal and Comic-Con is coming.
Send in the clowns. News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch and his son James appeared before Parliament Tuesday to tell British lawmakers what they didn’t know and when they didn’t know it, and why it wasn’t a big deal that they didn’t know anything about the News of the World’s nasty habit of hacking into phones of people they were covering. It didn’t look like anyone was buying their spin. The two spent hours trying to dodge verbal blows and -- in the case of Rupert -- a physical one. The hearing took a surreal turn when a spectator managed to douse the 80 year-old mogul with foam. Son James jumped up to defend but it was Wendi ‘Crouching Tiger’ Murdoch who really showed some moxie in going after her husband’s attacker. News Corp. Deputy General Counsel Janet Nova also did a good job of shielding the boss but some others sitting near the chief (and we won’t name names) could have responded faster. They better hope the boss doesn’t review the video; otherwise he might wondering about their loyalty. The latest news and analysis from the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Guardian. The Guardian has also posted the House of Commons report on the hacking scandal for your reading pleasure.
Hike! It is looking more like there will be a professional football season after all. The National Football League is inching closer to a deal with its players that, if completed soon, would not put any of the 2011-12 season in jeopardy. This is good news for the television networks that count on football’s big ratings to promote the rest of their lineups. It is potentially bad news to Washington Redskins fans like me who were hoping to be spared another season of misery. The latest from the Los Angeles Times.
Maybe it should be Corporal America. ‘Captain America’ is ‘remarkably flat,’ says Variety in its review of the big-budget summer comic book adventure. ‘As Marvel heroes go, Captain America must be the most vanilla of the lot,’ the review says, adding that he ‘lacks the inner turmoil that DC Comics’ Batman brought to the genre’ and is a ‘bit too handy with a shield.’
Awards conundrum. The decision of the Producers Guild of America to stick with nominating 10 movies for best picture -- even though the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is now going with a voting approach that will nominate between five and ten films -- could make a mess of awards season, says the Hollywood Reporter. In the grand scheme of things this seems a relatively minor worry, but, hey, we work and cover Hollywood, so I guess we have to pretend to care about this too.
Pass. Bloomberg says Microsoft Corp. is taking a pass at buying Hulu, the online video site that parent companies News Corp. and Walt Disney Co. are trying to unload. Comcast is also a parent, but more of a silent partner that is required by the government to go along with what the other two do as part of the conditions it accepted to acquire control of NBCUniversal.
Will he take David Caruso with him? Anthony Zuiker, the creator of CBS’s ‘CSI’ franchise, has signed a deal to make TV shows for Disney. This is noteworthy because it was Disney that passed on ‘CSI,’ which was first developed for its ABC network. The show, of course, went on to become a hit on CBS and lead to two spin-offs. While one can’t say with certainty whether the same thing would have happened if ‘CSI’ had stayed on ABC, the move was considered a huge blunder at the time. Details from Vulture.
-- Joe Flint
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