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The Morning Fix: Shake-up at NBCU; `Idol' chat; `G-Force' rocks; Upfront moving;

July 27, 2009 |  7:47 am

After the coffee. Before figuring out who does what at NBC Universal

CTlogosmall Shake-up at NBC Universal this morning: NBC Entertainment chief Ben Silverman, whose two-year run at the network was filled with gossip and intrigue, is leaving to start a new multimedia company with mogul Barry Diller, who is chairman of IAC\Interactive Corp. Jeff Gaspin will become the top TV executive at NBC. Early reports from the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times

Meanwhile elsewhere at NBCU. Lots of speculation about NBC Universal's future today. The New York Post again weighs in with a story about Vivendi working on a long shot deal to team up with video gamer Activision to take over the media conglomerate. (Vivendi has a 20% stake in NBCU). If nothing else, the rehashed story gave the paper a chance to run a glam shot of "The Office" star Jenna Fischer.

And finally on the Universal Lot ... Is Universal Pictures' disappointing summer mean heads are going to soon roll? The Wrap says studio heads Marc Shmuger and David Linde jobs may be in jeopardy, especially if Judd Apatow's serious (and really long) comedy "Funny People" doesn't draw a crowd.

Holding back for scatter. The networks are not the only ones contemplating holding back a big chunk of advertising inventory for the fall TV season if they can't get the prices they want. The Wall Street Journal reports that Hewlett-Packard, which last year spent $70 million on TV, is betting that the prices being offered now will come down further in the fall. While that might be good for them, it also means the company is not banking on a turnaround anytime soon.

Idol chat. Fox is near a deal to extend "American Idol" linchpin Simon Cowell's deal with the hit show for another few seasons, reports the Los Angeles Times. Paula Abdul's talks are dragging.

Hackford heads DGA. Taylor Hackford was chosen to succeed Michael Apted as head of the Director's Guild of America. Variety, Hollywood Reporter.

In today's Los Angeles Times: "G-Force" surprises with strong weekend. Bids for part of Viacom Chairman's Sumner Redstone's movie chain National Amusement are due this week putting the spotlight on the mogul's debt load and if he'll have to sell other assets says Meg James and Claudia Eller. Who was hot at Comic-Con.

-- Joe Flint
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