The Morning Fix: Breaking China’s wall. Disney not marveled. Free Slingbox!


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After the coffee. Before wondering if D.C. will get hit with a mudslide next.

The Skinny: I got out of D.C. just one day before the earthquake. That’s unusual for me. I was in New York during on September 11 and both the 1977 and 2003 blackouts. Lived here during the Northridge quake. Was a kid in Detroit during the riots and was in D.C. when Reagan was shot. In other words, I’m the Zelig of calamities! Today’s headlines including Hollywood’s push in China, the latest mess in the News Corp. ethics scandal and an appreciation of the great late songwriter Jerry Leiber.


Chipping at the wall. Frustrated at the difficulty of getting American-made films into China, filmmakers are trying to find ways around that country’s quota limiting the number of films from the rest of the world. Many are forming co-production deals with Chinese companies. ‘There’s no reason we should have Chinese films and American films anymore. There should be global films,’ said Relativity Media CEO Ryan Kavanaugh of his studio’s Chinese joint venture. More on how Hollywood is trying to crack China’s wall from the Los Angeles Times.

Not so marvelous. Walt Disney Co. brought the hammer down at Marvel Pictures, sacking the marketing department. Disney will now handle the marketing of Marvel’s movies. The timing is interesting because Marvel’s films actually performed decently this summer. However, the next slate of movies will be distributed by new owner Disney, not Paramount, which had been releasing Marvel’s films. Details on the shakeup from Deadline Hollywood.

Where’s my free Slingbox? Time Warner Cable, the dominant multichannel video program distributor in the Los Angeles area, is offering its subscribers a free Slingbox, a device that allows users to watch their TVs via the Internet. Oh, the catch is that you have to sign up for a new version of broadband from the cable operator. Throw in free Showtime too and I might do it. More on the offer from the New York Times.

Did they not check this out when they hired him? There is a new outrage in the ethics scandal tearing through News Corp. This time, the issue is whether British Prime Minister David Cameron knew that News Corp. continued to pay Andy Coulson after he left the media giant’s now-closed News of the World tabloid to become Cameron’s communications director. Coulson, who was arrested last month as part of the hacking scandal investigation, also kept using his News Corp. car service. While big exit packages are not newsworthy, when one takes one on the way to a job of great political influence, it can appear to be a conflict of interest. Details from the BBC.

Great, now I can hear ‘toldja’ when I get in a taxi. Broadcaster ION Television is teaming up with PMC, the parent company of Hollywood entertainment trade sites Deadline Hollywood and TVLine, to launch an entertainment news service. Besides putting content on ION’s TV stations, it will also create programming for elevators and taxicabs. Yes, you may get on an elevator and hear the soothing voice of Nikki Finke telling you in her kind and gentle manner the day’s entertainment news. This story is so big it didn’t even break on Deadline. Instead it landed in the Wall Street Journal.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: An appreciation of song writer Jerry Leiber. James Rainey on the coverage of Libya.


-- Joe Flint

Follow me on Twitter. I’m an L.A. veteran of earthquakes.