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Liz Murdoch! 'Millionaire' verdict. Michigan's Hollywood problem.

The Morning Fix

December 04, 2012|By Joe Flint
  • Elisabeth and Rupert Murdoch.
Elisabeth and Rupert Murdoch. (Getty Images )

After the coffee. Before tormenting Giants fans about the Redskins win.

The Skinny: Today's Morning Fix is 80% News Corp.-related. That wasn't intentional, it just sometimes works out that way. Stories include a probing profile of Elisabeth Murdoch, Roger Ailes' efforts to convince David Petraeus to run for president and how Hollywood took Michigan for a ride. 

Daily Dose: Sunday's midseason finale of "The Walking Dead" scored a bigger rating among adults 18-to-49 than any broadcast network show this season. Overall, the episode averaged 10.5-million viewers. The interesting thing is that if the gore and blood were reduced just a little, it'd be fine for broadcast TV. I am a big fan of "The Walking Dead" but do think it needs to tone down the violence. It no longer shocks, it just numbs.

Don't read all about it. Buried at the bottom of the press release News Corp. put out detailing its plans to split the media giant in two was the news that the Daily, best described as a newspaper made exclusively for tablet devices, was being shut down. The Daily was a bold experiment, but ultimately the only time people talked about it was in discussions about how no one was reading it. Perhaps it was ahead of its time or maybe it showed that it is a lot easier to translate an old brand to new platforms than it is to build a new brand from scratch. Analysis from the Los Angeles Times, Reuters, All Things Digital and Capital New York

Disney loses "Millionaire" appeal. Walt Disney Co. lost an appeal in a long-running legal battle over profits from the game show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire." Celador International, the British production company that created the show, won $269.4 million in damages over Disney's accounting practices and $50 million in prejudgment interest. More on the decision and reaction from both sides from the Los Angeles Times and Hollywood Reporter

Cleveland rocks! The spending spree by News Corp.'s Fox Sports continues. Fresh from buying a 49% stake in the New York Yankees-owned YES Network, the company is now near a deal to buy the TV rights for the Cleveland Indians, which owns SportsTime Ohio. Fox Sports is also trying to close a deal for TV rights to the Dodgers, a deal that will cost several billion dollars. More on the Cleveland deal from Sports Business Journal and — in case you missed it — a look from the Los Angeles Times at what all these big TV contracts mean for consumers.

Be careful what you wish for. Several years ago Michigan made a full-court press to Hollywood to woo more production to the Great Lake State. Lots of tax credits to movies were issued and a studio was even built in beleaguered Pontiac. But the script for this story turned out to have lots of flaws. The New York Times looks at Michigan's missteps with Hollywood.

The daughter also rises. Elisabeth Murdoch, daughter of News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, has a really big house (she doesn't know how many rooms it has) and her husband — powerful media strategist (i.e. publicist) Matthew Freud — can cook and drives a Jaguar really fast. The couple got together in true Hollywood fashion — they were cheating with each other on their spouses. All those salacious details and more in a New Yorker profile that suggests Elisabeth — who is in as many ways unlike her father as she is like him —  is a potential contender for the News Corp throne.

Tough talk. Time Warner Cable Chief Executive Glenn Britt is again complaining about having to pay for networks that few watch. He tells investors that networks are not delivering the viewers are in for a "different kind of conversation" when their contracts are up. Of course, part of the problem is that the companies that own the networks few watch also own the ones many watch and they use that leverage to package them all together. More on Britt's laying down the gauntlet from the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg

Who would have been first lady? Washington Post scoopmeister Bob Woodward reports that in 2011 Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes had the network's national security reporter Kathleen T. McFarland suggest to David Petraeus that he should consider a run for president. At the time Petraeus was still in command of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. 

Inside the Los Angeles Times: "Zero Dark Thirty" is off to a fast start this awards season. Some thoughts about what went wrong with Brad Pitt's "Killing Them Softly."

Follow me on Twitter or be left behind. @JBFlint.

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