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The Morning Fix: Financial firms and the FCC; Universal cutting back; serial drama challenges; regulating big screens

September 18, 2009 |  7:55 am

After the coffee. Before watching the Ernie Anastos chicken clip on YouTube again.

Banks and hedge funds could cause headaches in D.C. As many big broadcasters and newspaper publishers struggle to emerge from bankruptcy, a new wrinkle could be banks and hedge funds becoming owners and potentially running afoul of FCC rules, reports the Wall Street Journal. For example, JPMorgan could end up an owner in Los Angeles Times parent Tribune, and it already has a stake in Journal Register Co. and could end up with a piece of Freedom Communications. There is overlap in media properties with all three companies in certain cities, which would need to be cleared with the FCC.

CTlogosmall Get Ron Meyer on the phone. Universal Pictures is pulling the plug on development until next year, according to Variety. The paper says the studio has "put the word out that it will not spend money for the rest of the year."

Sony hopes 'Meatballs' has muscle. "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" is Sony Pictures' latest effort to become a force in animation. So far the studio's efforts have been mixed, says the Los Angeles Times, and management has started to take a more hands-on approach to the genre.

No easy layups. It used to be that rival networks would pull back against the Emmys and air reruns or movies. That is no longer the case. Besides going head to head with football, the Emmys will also square off against a new episode of "Mad Men" (which is expected to clean up in awards this Sunday) as well as HBO's premiere of "Curb Your Enthusiasm," notes Variety.  Meanwhile, host Neil Patrick Harris is faced with making up for last year's universally panned telecast, says the Hollywood Reporter.

Are you ready for some football? CBS has already sold 70% of the commercial inventory for this season's Super Bowl, says Advertising Age. Spots are going for $2.5 million to $3 million. At this time last year, NBC had sold about 80% of the game. Yes, Anheuser-Busch has already bought its commercial time in the game.

Tune in next week when ... ABC's "FlashForward" hopes to join "Lost" and "24" as one of the few serial dramas to work in the age of the procedural show that wraps everything up neatly in an hour. The plus side for serials is if they work, the audience is very loyal and the downside is the shows don't repeat very well. A look inside "FlashForward" from the Wall Street Journal

From TMZ to Bonnie. TMZ's Will Lee, one of the website's big editors, is leaving to become executive editor of, reports PaidContent. It’s one of the first hires for the website, which is overseen by former Us magazine editor Bonnie Fuller and is a sister site to Nikki Finke’ Deadline.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Better buy that big TV soon as the state wants to regulate energy-guzzling big-screen televisions. Variety is looking to put up a pay wall while the future of the Hollywood Reporter's print edition is subject to rumors. 

-- Joe Flint

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