The Morning Fix: ‘Simpsons’ salary snafu. Myspace’s new look.


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After the coffee. Before figuring out how FX’s ‘American Horror’ will perform.

The Skinny: I hope ESPN uses Hank Williams Jr.’s ill-fated appearance on Fox News as a reason to finally come up with a new intro for ‘Monday Night Football.’ Tuesday’s headlines include a salary dispute on ‘The Simpsons,’ a look at Myspace’s new look and Google’s plans for YouTube to go pro.


New song. Myspace, the once red-hot social networking site that became an afterthought to Facebook, wants to return to its music roots. The new bosses at Specific Media and ‘creative partner’ Justin Timberlake pitched their makeover plans for the site to advertisers at Radio City Music Hall on Monday. But once a site loses its cool, a comeback may be a pipe dream. More on Myspace’s rejuvenation plans from the Los Angeles Times. First thing I would do if I were them is go back to a capital ‘S’ on Space in Myspace.

New player. For years, YouTube has talked about getting high-grade original content on the online video site. Looks like parent Google is finally ready to put its money where YouTube’s mouth is with a budget north of $100 million to blow on content. The Wall Street Journal reports that among the folks and companies lining up for their check include legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk and big media giants Warner Bros. and News Corp. One of two things will happen. Either YouTube will do what no one else has managed and make TV-quality online content and build a platform that can rival the status quo or a lot of companies are going to line their pockets and it will flop. Guess what I think will happen.

Don’t have a cow, man. The actors who provide the main voices on Fox’s long-running animated hit ‘The Simpsons’ are being asked to take a big pay cut, according to the Daily Beast. The article also says in return for the cut, the cast wants a tiny piece of the back end. Contract disputes between actors and producers are commonplace and odds are this will ultimately get resolved. Even after some two decades, ‘The Simpsons’ continues to generate big bucks in repeats and when the show goes off the air, it will be poised to make even more than it currently does.

Oops. An interesting legal battle is going on over a goof in Tommy Lee Jones’ contract for his role in ‘No Country For Old Men’ that paid the actor a lot more than Paramount Pictures intended. According to the New York Times, Jones got his money out of the goof (thank you lawyer Martin Singer) and now Paramount wants to recoup the cost from investors in the film. How about just hiring better lawyers and proofreaders?

Oops II. Last week’s season premiere of The CW’s ‘Gossip Girl’ included heavy product placement for Hewlett-Packard’s TouchPad. Only problem is that HP has kind of backed off the TouchPad. It is the risk of product placement, notes Advertising Age. Companies cut a deal to get their product good exposure and by the time it airs it turns out the product is already a disappointment. A product placement mishap is nothing compared to the big goof on last week’s ‘Gossip Girl,’ which was a wide shot of New York City that included the World Trade Center. No, it wasn’t a flashback episode, it was the use of old stock footage.

Oops III. When a longtime DirecTV subscriber moved to a place that already had a deal with Comcast, he wanted to cancel his subscription to the satellite broadcaster. Alas, it was easier said than done and once again shows the problems when policy trumps common sense. More from the Chicago Tribune.


Poaching season. The newsmagazine that NBC News anchor Brian Williams is starring in has hired away several ’60 Minutes’ producers, much to the chagrin of CBS, says the New York Post. Longtime CBS News producer Rome Hartman is the one running the new NBC show, so it is really not a surprise that he would look to his old place of work for staffers.

Glenn who? The departure of Glenn Beck from the 5 p.m. slot on Fox News has actually been a boost to the bottom line as advertisers that steered clear of the controversial personality’s show are now buying time to be on ‘The Five.’ Fox News has decided to stick with ‘The Five’ for awhile, reports the Associated Press.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Rhapsody is buying Napster from Best Buy. Don’t hold your breath for an ‘Arrested Development’ movie.

-- Joe Flint

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