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The Morning Fix: Bad day for Rather. Polanski debate continues. Clooney vs. Clooney. ABC rediscovers the middle.

September 30, 2009 |  7:04 am

After the coffee. Before figuring out who's right in the DirecTV-Comcast feud.

Rather not. The New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division voted 5-0 to dismiss Dan Rather's breach-of-contract suit against CBS, which stemmed from the former news anchor's controversial report about President George W. Bush's military service. CBS says this fight is over while Rather vows to appeal. Details from the Los Angeles Times and New York Times

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Polanski pile-on. The debate (really, should this be a debate?) over the recent arrest of Roman Polanksi, who fled the U.S. 31 years ago rather than face sentencing for unlawful sex with a minor, seems to be dividing Hollywood from, uh, pretty much the rest of the world -- even parts of France. A look at how and why the sides are lining up the way they are. One word of advice to Whoopi Goldberg: You might actually want to read up on the case before spouting off on "The View." Takes from our own Steve Lopez; the New York Times, which goes with the safe "room for debate" approach on its website; and Harvey Weinstein's op-ed in London's the Independent, in which the phrase "so-called crime" actually appears in print next to his name. Also, what has quickly become the definitive piece on the topic by Kate Harding in Salon

Clooney versus Clooney. George Clooney may face tough competition from ... himself. He has two movies set to premiere in the same month -- Paramount's "Up in the Air," which already is generating Oscar buzz, and Overture's dark war comedy, "The Men Who Stare at Goats." The Hollywood Reporter looks at the game of Clooney Chicken and who might swerve first.

Out here in the middle. ABC has rediscovered Middle America with its new sitcom "The Middle," which is set in Indiana and premieres tonight. Our Meg James looks at the show, why the networks abandoned Middle America all those years ago (hint, Madison Avenue) and what's bringing them back.

Criminal Minds II? Another spin-off of a CBS drama? Could it be? It's such a radical idea. Yes, CBS is looking at whether it can duplicate the quiet success of its Wednesday drama "Criminal Minds," according to the Hollywood Reporter. If successful, it would be, by our count, the fifth spin-off on the network's schedule.

Mechanic says industry in need of repair. Former Fox movie-topper-turned-indie-producer Bill Mechanic has some sobering words for the genre in a speech at the Independent Film and Television Production conference. Deadline has a copy of his remarks. 

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Reviews of ABC's "Hank" and "The Middle." Robert Downey Jr. to try on rabbit suit for "Harvey" remake. Stalemate continues in the battle of Versus vs. DirecTV

-- Joe Flint

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