The Morning Fix: ‘Real Housewives’ mess. A&F has a situation.

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After the coffee. Before figuring out if watching ‘Breaking Bad’ is giving me nightmares.

The Skinny: I’ve been catching up on ‘Breaking Bad.’ It is intense and may have been a factor in the dark and violent dream I had last night. I’ll save the rest for the shrink. In the headlines, a death shines an unflattering light on reality TV, CNN’s Anderson Cooper is not lighting it up in his new time slot and Ron Howard and Brian Grazer are not giving up on ‘The Dark Tower.’

A little too real. The apparent suicide of the husband of one of the wives on the Bravo show ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ has once again turned the spotlight on reality television and whether the genre puts undue stress and unrealistic expectations on participants. The age-old question: Does reality TV make people crazy or do only crazy people want to be on reality shows? The Los Angeles Times looks at whether the cameras were merely gasoline added to a fire or played the role of arsonist.

Get ready to rumble. News Corp.'s Fox Sports is expected to announce a big deal with the UFC, the folks behind Ultimate Fighting. According to Sports Business Journal, Fox Sports will shell out north of $90 million a year for fights that will air not only on the Fox network, but also the FX cable channel. UFC bouts currently run on Viacom’s Spike and Comcast’s Versus will move to Fox properties. The UFC’s deal with Fox also likely scuttles any talks between Comcast and UFC about selling the fight outfit to the cable channel G4.


Will ‘Dark Tower’ rise again? Ron Howard and Brian Grazer are not giving up on making a movie based on Stephen King’s ‘The Dark Tower.’ Earlier this year, Universal Pictures pulled the plug on the project but Grazer tells the New York Post the duo are eagerly looking for new financing to get the project off the ground.

Reverse product placement. Abercrombie and Fitch apparently doesn’t think Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino of MTV’s reality hit ‘Jersey Shore’ is a good role model. The clothes company is offering to pay him to not wear its products on the show, according to the Wall Street Journal. Hmmm. I’ve only been to an Abercrombie and Fitch store once or twice, but given the overwhelming smell of cologne that hits you when you walk through the door and the models showing off their abs, I’d say The Situation actually represents the clientele quite nicely.

Where’s Eliot? CNN’s Anderson Cooper has gotten off to a less-than-stellar start in his new time slot. Cooper’s show was moved from 10 p.m. to 8 p.m. to replace Eliot Spitzer’s canceled political chat show. But Cooper’s numbers were off from what Spitzer averaged in his last quarter on the air. On the plus side, Cooper is doing better than the various anchors CNN had in the slot between the time Spitzer left and Cooper started. More on the numbers from the New York Times.

It’s never too early. The Oscars are still several months away, but Deadline Hollywood looks at the early contenders for the gold and whether they will still be in the running come next year. By the way, my piece on the 2013 Super Bowl will be up later today.

So touchy! Fox Business Network decided to have some fun at rival CNBC’s expense. Fox Business bought some ads on Time Warner Cable’s New York system that ran on CNBC poking fun at the channel for not programming live on the weekend during the financial crisis. Time Warner Cable later pulled the ad, saying, according to the New York Daily News, that the content was inappropriate. More likely is that CNBC parent NBCUniversal reminded Time Warner Cable how much its various companies spend on ad dollars on cable.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Elisabeth Murdoch pocketed more than $200 million for selling her production company Shine to father Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Public TV station KCET has a new partner to make programming now that it’s not part of PBS.

-- Joe Flint

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