The Morning Fix: Crystal back. Stern judge? ‘Early Show’ revamp.


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After the coffee. Before wondering when my Oscar screener of ‘Jack and Jill’ will show up.

The Skinny: I’m still a little groggy from being up 22 straight hours so go easy on me. Friday’s headlines include the return of Billy Crystal to the Oscars, Howard Stern in talks to join NBC’s ‘America’s Got Talent,’ previews of the weekend box office and a look at the rise of graphic violence on television.


Get out the Crystal. Can anyone really say they’re surprised that Billy Crystal will host the Oscars again? When director Brett Ratner stepped aside after his public speaking tour went awry and Eddie Murphy bailed as host with him, what other choice was there for the academy and new producer Brian Grazer? Still, the academy had the right idea in trying once again to shake up the awards show. Perhaps next time though they’ll experiment with less toxic elements. The latest on the Oscars from the Los Angeles Times, Deadline Hollywood and the New York Post, with a look at what all the changes mean for the marketing for the show.

What about Baba Booey? Radio personality Howard Stern, once the Federal Communications Commission’s public enemy No. 1, is in talks to take over for Piers Morgan as a judge on the NBC musical talent show ‘America’s Got Talent.’ Stern has made no secret of his desire to be a judge on a talent show and promoted himself to succeed Simon Cowell when he left Fox’s ‘American Idol.’ Here’s the thing, and I say this as a Stern fan, the young audience that NBC wants aren’t Stern’s core audience. A pioneer and innovator, the nearly 60-year-old Stern is no longer a bad boy to teens and twentysomethings. At the same time, he’s still polarizing to some advertisers and older viewers. I’m not sure that the initial publicity boost the show will get with Stern will really pay off in the long run. It’s kind of like having Eddie Murphy host the Oscars. More from the Wall Street Journal.

Their own morning fix. As expected, CBS is bringing new personalities for its long-struggling morning program ‘The Early Show.’ Joining are PBS’ Charlie Rose (who also has done work for CBS News over the years) and Gayle King, who currently has a show on her BFF Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network. While it’s hardly the sexiest pairing in the world, it is another step in CBS’ efforts to make its morning show more news-driven and less tabloid, lifestyle and celebrity-obsessed than its rivals. Details from the New York Times.

Staying put? Sony Chief Executive Howard Stringer, whose future with the entertainment and consumer electronics giant has been a subject of speculation (primarily by the New York Post), said he is not going anywhere. ‘I am up for this fight,’ Reuters quotes Stringer as saying at a recent event.

Immortal weekend. The 3-D epic adventure ‘Immortals’ is expected to take the top spot at the box office this weekend, beating out Adam Sandler’s latest comedy ‘Jack and Jill’ and ‘J. Edgar,’ the Clint Eastwood-directed biopic of the legendary FBI director starring Leonardo DiCaprio. As for me, I’m more likely to see ‘J. Edgar’ or even ‘Jack and Jill’ before I hit ‘Immortals.’ Box office previews from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Greg Braxton on the new levels of violence on television.The back story of a new documentary on Michael Jackson’s doctor Conrad Murray has raised a lot of eyebrows. A recap of James Murdoch’s big day before Parliament. Thanks to its cable and theme parks, Disney’s net income jumped 30%.


-- Joe Flint

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