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The Morning Fix: 'Avengers' cruises. Harmon out at 'Community.'

May 21, 2012|By Joe Flint
  • NBC's "Community" is losing its creative muse as executive producer Dan Harmon is leaving the show.
NBC's "Community" is losing its creative muse as executive… (Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles…)

After the coffee. Before figuring out the Boston subway system.

The Skinny: I'm in Boston for the cable industry's big convention and, of course, it is supposed to rain! I'm also bummed the hotel doesn't offer free Wi-Fi. I'll make Marriott a deal. They can skip the complimentary USA Today and Wall Street Journal in return for free Wi-Fi. Monday's headlines include a look at the weekend box office, which was again dominated by "The Avengers," how Comcast's Universal Studios theme parks are making gains, and more drama behind the scenes of NBC's comedy"Community."

Daily Dose: A few months ago, there were big headlines about Fox Sports wanting to launch a national cable channel to compete with Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN. Not getting as big a headline was the dismissal of those stories  by Corp. President Chase Carey. OnNews Corp.'s recent earnings call, Carey pretty much dismissed the idea and said the reports were "a bit overblown" and that Fox doesn't have any plans on the front burner for such a service.

So much for a high-seas battle. "The Avengers" continued to dominate the box office, easily beating "Battleship" and "The Dictator." "The Avengers" took in just over $55 million while "Battleship" made only $25.3 million. I honestly thought "Battleship" was a clunker from Day 1 but then I got worried that maybe I wasn't in the right demographic. Glad I'm not losing my touch. "Battleship" star Taylor Kitsch, whose last movie was Disney's "John Carter," might want to get a new agent. Also struggling was the female-skewing comedy "What to Expect When You're Expecting," which took in $10.5 million. Box office coverage from the Los Angeles Times and Movie City News.

'Community' news. Dan Harmon, the creator of NBC's "Community," which has a small but very loyal audience, was fired as the show's executive producer Friday by Sony, the producer of the comedy. The move came just days after NBC said it was bringing the show back for another 13 episodes in the fall. Hmmm. Do you think NBC only agreed to bring it back if Harmon, who got into a nasty fight with "Community" co-star Chevy Chase and who has a reputation for being difficult to work with, was taken off the show? I wonder. Here's what Harmon said about his exit on his blog (the title of which may not be safe for work) and here are takes from Vulture and the Hollywood Reporter.

Which has shorter lines and cleaner bathrooms? Is Comcast Corp.'s Universal Studios theme parks gearing up to take a shot at Walt Disney Co.'s empire of rides? While Disney has eight parks and a big lead, the New York Times notes that "Universal is starting to look a lot less puny." A big part of Universal's gains are from its investment in rides based on the "Harry Potter" franchise. All I know is that one of the reasons I don't have kids is because of a fear of standing in long lines under the hot sun in a theme park. The other reasons are best left for me and my team of therapists. 

There's something about Wanda. As had been expected, Chinese movie theater owner Dalian Wanda Group has struck a deal to buy AMC Entertainment Inc. for $2.6 billion. AMC is America's second-largest movie theater chain and has more than 5,000 screens. "This transaction will help make Wanda a truly global cinema owner, with theaters and technology that enhance the movie going experience for audiences in the world's two largest markets," said Wang Jianlin, Wanda's chairman and president. More from the Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg

Hulu hopes to jump through new hoop. Having already established itself as a library for television shows, the online video site is hoping that this summer it can prove that it can sustain original programming. Next month, Hulu, whose owners include News Corp., Walt Disney Co. and Comcast Corp., is launching three original series and has also acquired rights to seven shows never seen before in the United States. But will Hulu attract enough eyeballs to make the economics of original content work? The Wall Street Journal looks at Hulu's next step.

Good night, House. Fox's long-running drama "House" ends its run Monday night. "House" proved that Fox could launch an adult drama that didn't require lots of explosions. The show, about a brilliant but moody doctor battling a nasty pill habit, went on to become a hit around the globe. USA Today looks at the surprising success of "House."

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Megan Ellison, daughter of Silicon Valley billionaire Larry Ellison, is making her own mark in Hollywood.

Follow me on Twitter for all your cable convention news! Twitter.com/JBFlint

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