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The Morning Fix

Media investor Gordy Crawford signs off. Hulu owners bicker.

December 21, 2012|By Joe Flint
  • "This is 40" will face heavy competition at the box office this weekend.
"This is 40" will face heavy competition at the box office this… (Universal Pictures )

After the coffee. Before seeing if the Mayans are right and this is my last Morning Fix ever.

The Skinny: So far, I'm still here. Check back with me later in the day. Friday's headlines include the holiday weekend box office preview, a profile of media investor Gordy Crawford, some division among the owners of Hulu, and reviews of "This is 40" and "On the Road." Also, News Corp. details financial information on its publishing unit in advance of spinoff and CNN hires ABC's Jake Tapper.

Daily Dose: Gordy Crawford, the prominent media investor who is retiring after 41 years in the business (see below), won't leave the industry completely. Crawford, who is close to Lions Gate Vice Chairman Michael Burns, is expected to be nominated to join the movie and television production company's board of directors.

What will you see on Christmas? A lot of people will spend the next few days opening gifts and hanging with family. But after you don't get what you want and you tire of your mom's digs at you, you'll need a movie to see. Once again, "The Hobbit" is expected to top the box office. The jury is out on whether Tom Cruise's "Jack Reacher" will pack a punch and if Judd Apatow's "This is 40" will leave them rolling in the aisles. I'm Jewish, so I'll be eating Chinese food and I'm hoping to catch "Zero Dark Thirty," which is in limited release. If things go really bad, I'll see "The Guilt Trip." Don't envy me too much! Box office previews from the Los Angeles Times and Hollywood Reporter.

Mr. Inside. For more than four decades, Capital Group's Gordy Crawford has been the entertainment industry's most influential media investor. Capitol has held big stakes in just about every media company at one time or another and Crawford is considered something of a sage. Now he's retiring and will focus on, among other things, trying to improve local journalism. Crawford chats with the Los Angeles Times about his career and what's next.

What to do? The two controlling partners in the online video site Hulu -- News Corp. and Walt Disney Co. -- have a philosophical difference on how the company should be positioned for the future. According to the Wall Street Journal, News Corp. thinks Hulu needs to focus its efforts on building its subscription business while Disney is more interested in its free service. All this comes as Hulu, which is not a money-maker, is asking for more funds to acquire product.

Wait, publishing's not a growth industry? News Corp. detailed the business operations of its publishing holdings in advance of the media giant splitting those assets off into a separate standalone property. To borrow from "Arrested Development" lawyer Barry Zuckerhorn, it's a really thick document. But Bloomberg took a quick look, and lets just say 2012 was a tough year for News Corp.'s publishing unit.

Jake tapped by CNN. ABC News White House correspondent Jake Tapper has been hired away by CNN to host an afternoon show and serve as the cable channel's top Washington correspondent. Although the talks pre-dated news that Jeff Zucker was joining CNN as president, Tapper indicated that hire played a part in his decision. More on the move from the New York Times.

On the move. Rob Wiesenthal, one of the top strategic executives at Sony Corp., is headed to Warner Music Group as chief operating officer. The New York Post says the move is in advance of a run at acquiring the Parlophone label and other parts of EMI.

An a-ha moment. Around this time, people start thinking about the changes they want to make in the new year. For Oprah Winfrey, that means getting new advisors. Deadline Hollywood reports that Winfrey has left Creative Artists Agency, which has represented her for many years. Guessing lots of other shops will be lining up for Winfrey even if her cable network OWN is not the huge success people were expecting.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Betsy Sharkey on "This is 40" and Kenneth Turan on "On the Road."

Follow me on Twitter. I'm open on Christmas. @JBFlint.

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