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The Morning Fix: Schappert out; News Corp. down; Sorkin fibs?

August 09, 2012|By Ben Fritz
  • Aaron Sorkin may have been less than honest when talking to journalists about his show "Newsroom," Vulture reports.
Aaron Sorkin may have been less than honest when talking to journalists… (John Schearer )

After the coffee. Before trashing my fan art of Ben Affleck as The Flash.

The Skinny: The U.S. men's volleyball team lost in the Olympic quarterfinals to Italy, which means the women have to keep winning or else the only sport I care about will be off the air again for another four years. I know, I'm not exactly regular Morning Fixer Joe Flint when it comes to excitement about throwing and hitting balls. Well in media news today, we've got News Corp. earnings, more troubles at Zynga, and an incredibly brief flirtation of Ben Affleck with "Justice League."

The Daily Dose: Sony decided to open its adult comedy "Hope Springs" on Wednesday, presumably to get ahead of "The Bourne Legacy" and "The Campaign," but the 50-plus set didn't exactly rush out. The Meryl Streep-Tommy Lee Jones vehicle grossed an estimated $2.2 million on its first day, meaning it's going to need a slow but steady run driven by good word-of-mouth to become a hit. This, as evidenced by past August hits such as "The Help" and "Julie & Julia," is very possible when aiming at more "mature" audiences.

News hurts News Corp: News Corp.'s beleaguered publishing business dinged its bottom line last quarter, as a $2.9-billion write-down on that operation, including a $57-million charge related to the bribery scandal in the U.K., led to a $1.6-billion loss for the conglomerate. Television continued to do well, but the film studio had a tough quarter. Details from the Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg.

Schapp-out: As briefly red-hot social game company Zynga continues to face financial problems, its chief operating officer John Schappert has left after just 16 months on the job. The former Electronic Arts and Microsoft executive appears to have been shown the door by CEO Mark Pincus. Coverage in the Wall Street Journal and L.A. Times.

WWWMD? (What Would Will McAvoy Do?): Turns out when you write a show that pontificates about journalistic values, you don't look so good when you try to obfuscate in front of journalists. Vulture did some digging and discovered that when "Newsroom" creator Aaron Sorkin told reporters at this summer's "press tour" that it wasn't true he had fired most of the show's writing staff, he "painted a picture far from representative of what actually happened."

Nine exciting hours: At 12:10 p.m., Variety posted a story saying Warner Bros. wanted Ben Affleck to direct and possibly co-star in its planned "Justice League" movie after Chris Nolan declined overtures to produce it. Then at 9:07, Deadline reported that the only problem is Affleck doesn't want to do it. Luckily, though, nine hours was plenty of time to whip up tons of critical analysis of how Affleck would do on Twitter and fan blogs.

Grab your tissue box: Rare is the TV star who can command more than $125,000 per episode in today's Hollywood, reports TV Guide in a new survey of stars' salaries. But of course all bets are off on huge hit shows such as "Modern Family." Among the highest paid stars are Mark Harmon, Ashton Kutcher and David Letterman. But the biggest surprise to me is that Judge Judy makes $45 million per year!

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Haim Saban is producing a new Saturday morning kids programming block for the CW, including a WWE show for the wee set. A California Assembly committee has voted to maintain the state's production tax credits. As his movie career heats up, Jason Sudeikis may leave "Saturday Night Live."

Follow me on Twitter @benfritz because I won't be doing the Morning Fix again for a while and you know you'll miss all this.

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