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The Morning Fix

James Murdoch rising again; new team at HBO; slow box office.

September 21, 2012|By Joe Flint
  • Things may be looking up for James Murdoch.
Things may be looking up for James Murdoch. (Getty Images )

After the coffee. Before getting the tuxedo cleaned for the Emmy Awards.

The Skinny: Everyone ready for Emmy weekend? I think we should all wear name tags. That way I don't have to pretend to know your name and you can avoid me entirely. Friday's stories include a new gig for James Murdoch, an executive restructuring at HBO and a preview of the weekend box office.

Daily Dose: The move to give James Murdoch more oversight over News Corp.'s Fox TV operations (see below) has to be done delicately. There are already media watchdog groups lining up to try to get the Federal Communications Commission to take away Fox's broadcast licenses because of the ethics scandal at the media giant's British newspaper unit which Murdoch used to run. While Murdoch is not expected to have any involvement over the TV stations, just the perception will be enough to give fuel to critics of the  media conglomerate.

The son also rises. James Murdoch, son of News Corp. chief executive Rupert Murdoch and the odds-on-favorite to succeed him down the road, is expected to oversee much of the media giant's U.S. television operations, including Fox Broadcasting and several cable channels. However, he likely would not get involved with Fox News or Fox's TV stations, both of which report to Roger Ailes. The young Murdoch's reputation has been tarnished by his management of News International and its newspapers, which is caught up in an ethics scandal. But he clearly still has the support of the one man who matters -- his father. Coverage from the Financial Times, Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal

Scary weekend. It looks like another lackluster weekend at the box office. The horror film "House at the End of the Street" is expected to scare up enough sales to finish in the top spot. Also opening is Clint Eastwood's "Trouble with the Curve" and box office watchers are wondering if Eastwood's recent performance with the chair at the Republican convention will impact the movie's take. Also opening is "Dredd 3D" and the police drama "End of Watch." None are expected to take in over $20 million. Of course, last week the experts had the 3-D reissue of "Finding Nemo" making more than $30 million and that was way off, so take everything you read with a big grain of salt. Previews of the weekend box office from the Los Angeles Times and Hollywood Reporter.

Meet the new boss. HBO chief executive Bill Nelson is retiring at the end of the year and will be succeeded by Richard Plepler. Nelson, who preferred to remain behind the scenes and let his lieutenants shine, has been with HBO for almost 30 years. Plepler, who started at HBO in communications, now has a title commensurate with his influence. He is also very close to Time Warner chief executive and former HBO chairman Jeff Bewkes. Getting a new title as well is Eric Kessler, who becomes chief operating officer. More from the New York Times and Los Angeles Times.

Fact or fiction. TLC's reality show "Breaking Amish," about a group of Amish kids who leave their community to experience the outside world, may not be as real as promoted. What's next, Honey Boo Boo is really a dwarf or battery-operated doll? Details from Variety.

Get your votes in. The Emmy Awards are this Sunday. Will "Modern Family" and "Mad Men" clean up again or will we have some upsets? Maybe "Homeland" will take best drama. Perhaps "Girls" will shock the world and take best comedy. Maybe host Jimmy Kimmel will melt down on stage. Or maybe the same old shows and actors will win and Kimmel will be lame and I'll turn the channel to the Patriots-Ravens game. A look at the Emmys from USA Today.

 Inside the Los Angeles Times: Betsy Sharkey on "End of Watch." Kenneth Turan on "Trouble with the Curve."

Follow me on Twitter. Why? Because I said so. @JBFlint.

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