The Morning Fix: Murdoch drama. RIP Edie Wasserman. UFC to Fox

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After the coffee. Before a sweaty day in D.C.

The Skinny: It’s sad when at 8 a.m. I already feel the day slipping away! Headlines include box office previews, more drama at News Corp., Fox’s deal for Ultimate Fighting and an obituary for Edie Wasserman.


‘Conan’ to battle cleaning ladies. This weekend’s big box office battle will feature a remake of ‘Conan the Barbarian’ versus the civil rights era drama ‘The Help.’ ‘Conan’ may have the muscle, but ‘The Help’ has the ladies and may clean up at the box office this weekend. Projections from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.

Change of heart. Just a few years ago, Fox Sports Chairman David Hill called mixed martial arts fighting ‘abhorrent’ and his No. 2 Ed Goren said the company didn’t ‘need the money that badly’ when asked about carrying the sport. Now, in a deal Fox described as one of the biggest in company history, Hill & Co. are embracing the sport with a new TV rights package for Ultimate Fighting Championship matches. Hill conceded that his views on the sport had evolved over the years. Coverage from USA Today, New York Times and Los Angeles Times.

As the Murdochs turn. The phone hacking scandal that took down News Corp.'s News of the World tabloid shows no sign of slowing down. Arrests of former staffers at the paper continue and the cloud around James Murdoch, son of News Corp. Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch and the executive who has had oversight over the British paper continues to darken. Now Reuters reports that there is gossip inside News Corp. that the younger Murdoch may exit, which was strongly denied by the company. The story is an everything but the kitchen sink piece that throws out numerous scenarios ranging from him leaving and coming back to nothing changing at all. That way, know matter what happens, something in it will be right. Meanwhile Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator who helped hack into voice mails for News of the World, is now suing because the company stopped paying his legal bills. More on that from Business Week.

How classy of them. The Hollywood Reporter says that Bravo will delay the premiere of the new season of ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ by at least a week in the wake of the apparent suicide of Russell Armstrong, whose wife, Taylor, is a regular on the show. The woes of the marriage were a component of the show and Armstrong’s death has cast an unflattering light on the reality genre.

Wasn’t this a ‘Seinfeld’ episode? Some actors in New York are getting extra work portraying sick people for medical students trying to learn how to diagnose symptoms. The Wall Street Journal did a front page story on the trend earlier this week. Of course, fans of ‘Seinfeld’ will remember a classic in which Kramer does the exact same thing and gets frustrated when he gets typecast as a gonorrhea patient.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Edie Wasserman, wife and confidante of the late legendary Hollywood mogul Lew Wasserman, died at the age of 95. Mary McNamara on what the apparent suicide of Russell Armstrong says about reality TV.

-- Joe Flint

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