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The Morning Fix: 'Modern Family' has old fight. 'Hobbit' triplets

July 25, 2012|By Joe Flint
  • The cast of "Modern Family" is playing hardball in contract negotiations.
The cast of "Modern Family" is playing hardball in contract… (ABC )

After the coffee. Before seeing if I can get Michael Buffer to tape my voice mail message.

The Skinny: Early this morning MGM made an SEC filing that lays the groundwork for taking the studio public. Keep visiting Company Town for updates. Other headlines include the cast of "Modern Family" playing hardball in contract negotiations, Warner Bros. wants "Hobbit" triplets and a look at all NBC has at stake with the upcoming Olympics.

Daily Dose: When pay cable channel Epix announced a deal with Netflix in 2010, it was widely reported as lasting for five years. But in its earnings announcement Tuesday, Netflix said that its agreement to carry Epix in fact runs “through mid-2013.” What gives? Turns out the two sides are only committed to each other for three years and then have an option to renew for another two years.  Whether they do so might depend on the new partners Epix hooks up with after its exclusivity period with Netflix ends this fall.

Family matters. Several cast members of ABC's hit comedy "Modern Family" filed a suit against 20th Century Fox Television, the studio that makes the show for the network. The suit claims their contracts are illegal, but this is really just the latest move in their effort to get big pay raises. With the show a smash on ABC and poised to make hundreds of millions in reruns, the actors figure the time is right to boost their paychecks. Still, filing a suit is highly unusual and probably won't put the studio in the mood to play nice. Coverage from the Hollywood Reporter, Los Angeles Times and USA Today

Date change? Warner Bros. might push the premiere of its mob movie "Gangster Squad" from Sept. 7 to sometime in 2013, according to Variety. At issue is a particularly violent scene set in a movie theater that now seems insensitive in the wake of the Aurora shooting. The scene will likely be removed as well.

Game, set, match. The Tennis Channel scored a big victory over Comcast. The Federal Communications Commission ruled that the cable giant has to put Tennis Channel in the same package of channels into which it puts its own sports channels NBC Sports Network and Golf Channel. Comcast argued that it already offered better distribution of Tennis Channel than DirecTV and Dish and this move will only raise bills. Details from the Los Angeles Times and Broacasting & Cable.

Can we get one done first? Warner Bros. and director Peter Jackson, which originally were planning on making two "Hobbit" movies, are likely going to try for a trilogy. With no more "Harry Potter" and Batman, getting new franchises is key for the studio. More from the Los Angeles Times.

New business cards. Media executive Peter Liguori has been bit by the private equity bug. A former top executive at Fox and Discovery Communications is going to the Carlyle Group as a consultant. Liguori is also on the board of Yahoo. Additional coverage from the Wall Street Journal.

Inside the Los Angeles Times:  NBC has a lot riding on the Olympics, including whether it can convince viewers to stick with the network after the flame goes out.

Follow me on Twitter and get a front row seat for all the excitement. Twitter.com/JBFlint

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