The Morning Fix: RIP Steve Jobs. Universal’s VOD heist.


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After the coffee. Before slipping out early for Game 5 of Yankees - Tigers.

The Skinny: My iPod is playing bagpipes this morning. Thursday’s headlines include appreciations of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, Universal Pictures’ big video-on-demand bet and the ongoing fight between the cast of ‘The Simpsons’ and the production company that makes the Fox hit.


Jobs RIP. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, whose vision changed the way we consume media and communicate with each other, died at 56 after a long struggle with cancer. Jobs leaves a legacy that will ‘extend far beyond the products he created or the businesses he built,’ said Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Bob Iger. Obituaries and analyses on the mark Jobs left on the world from the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and New York Times.

VOD heist. Universal Pictures, which happens to be owned by Comcast Corp., the nation’s largest cable operator, will make its upcoming theatrical release ‘Tower Heist’ starring Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller available on video-on-demand in select cities for $59.99. The move is an experiment to see if consumers will shell out big bucks to watch a movie in their home while it is still in the theaters. Naturally, theater owners are less than thrilled with the test. Details from the Los Angeles Times.

Release the hounds. The battle between the cast that provides voices for ‘The Simpsons’ and 20th Century Fox Television, the production company that makes the show for the Fox network, is getting uglier. The cast is griping about all the money Fox and its parent News Corp. have made off ‘The Simpsons’ over two decades. Of course, the cast has done very well too and some producers have already taken pay cuts. The studio says the cost of making the show now exceeds its value to the company and needs to come down to keep the show going. The latest on the back-and-forth from Variety and the Wrap.

Soap star? Jeff Kwatinetz was once a Hollywood hot shot with his own management firm and dreams being a king of deals. Alas, it came crashing down after just a few years, but now he is on the comeback trail, having teamed up with former Disney executive Rich Frank in a company that wants to build an online television network using a couple of soap operas that ABC dropped as its backbone. The New York Times looks at the second act of Kwatinetz.

Closing the gap. ABC’s ‘Good Morning America,’ long the also-ran to NBC’s dominant morning show ‘Today,’ has inched closer over the last several months. The morning shows have become cash cows for the networks at a time when most of their news and entertainment programming struggles to make money. The Wall Street Journal looks at how the race has heated up.

Take a hike. Former super agent Mike Ovitz has resigned from the board of IMG, a sports agency and marketing firm. Ovitz, according to the Wrap, had been involved in a power play to try to take over the powerful company.


Inside the Los Angeles Times: A closer look at the plans for a movie museum. A look at the short life of NBC’s ‘The Playboy Club.’

-- Joe Flint

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