Morning Fix: RIP John Calley. Cloudy future for James Murdoch.


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After the coffee. Before spending the day listening to spin.

The Skinny: There is a media investment conference this week that features lots of industry heavyweights. Alas, the press are not invited but we can listen to it on the Internet. Guess they don’t want to feed us! In the headlines, tributes roll in for the late studio chief John Calley and clouds continue to gather over James Murdoch.


RIP. John Calley, a legendary movie executive who oversaw three studios, died at the age of 81. Calley was best known for being a friend to the creative community, which is rarer and rarer in these number-crunching days. Films that Calley played a big part in getting to the big screen included ‘Chariots of Fire,’ ‘A Clockwork Orange’ and my favorite, ‘Dog Day Afternoon.’ He also had his fair share of big-budget disaster flicks including ‘The Towering Inferno.’ Obituaries and appreciations from the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

James at 38. The ongoing investigation into phone hacking at News Corp.’s now-closed News of the World tabloid has put a road block in the plan to have James Murdoch succeed his father, Rupert Murdoch, at the helm of the media giant. James Murdoch, the company’s deputy chief operating officer, is the second son to be considered the likely heir. His older brother, Lachlan, once held that spot, only to leave the company after clashing with other executives. There is also daughter Elisabeth, the only offspring to have a really strong track record in the business when not working at her father’s company. Of course, anyone born with that last name and that father was born on third base so we should never assume that they hit a triple. The Wall Street Journal, which has beefed up its coverage of parent company News Corp. over the last several weeks, looks at how badly James has been tarnished.

Turn the networks back on. Yes, we’re on the verge of a new fall TV season. Are you excited for a remake of ‘Charlie’s Angels.’ Are you going to turn down the lights to watch ‘The Playboy Club.’ Are you just in love with that adorable Zooey Deschanel? Like Gordon Gekko in ‘Wall Street,’ I only go with one new show a day. I have not decided what I will add to the permanent roster. Here is some analysis of NBC’s schedule from Vulture and the Wrap and an overview of all the networks from Deadline Hollywood.

Time for a make-good. The Hollywood Reporter says a top sales executive at Viacom’s MTV Networks was let go for allegedly taking kickbacks from clients. The executive, contacted by the paper, said it should be ‘very, very careful’ about reporting the allegations. I don’t know if THR was careful, but the picture of the guy looks nice.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Robert Lloyd reviews new NBC comedies ‘Up All Night’ and ‘Free Agents.’ Patrick Goldstein on John Calley.

-- Joe Flint

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