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The Morning Fix: Late-night economics. Overture tries to make one. NATPE underway, minus the glitz. Move over Moses, Jobs has his own tablet!

January 25, 2010 |  7:45 am

After the coffee. Before the trip to NATPE.

Late-night economics. For all the ink spilled over NBC's late-night mess over the last few weeks, one would think that the daypart is a money machine. Alas, it's not. Declining ratings and ad revenue are cutting into what was once a cash cow for the networks. The Los Angeles Times looks at the shifting after-hours TV landscape while the New York Times weighs in with a piece on Conan O'Brien's struggles to lure young viewers. 

CTlogosmall Making an Overture. Lots of talk about Overture, the Liberty Media-owned indie production company that may be looking to go its own way. Variety reports that toppers Chris McGurk and Danny Rosett are exploring buying out the company, which has had a so-so track record. The Hollywood Reporter checked in on Overture on Friday when rumors of its future started percolating.

Jobs to come down from Mountain. Later this week, Apple chief Steve Jobs is expected to unveil his much-anticipated tablet. As the Los Angeles Times noted, not since Moses introduced his tablet has there been so much hype surrounding an event. The New York Times' David Carr looks at how Apple gets so much buzz without uttering a word.

Not so extraordinary. CBS Films' "Extraordinary Measures" was a lot like "The Blind Side" except for the part about being a hit. Box-office analysis from Los Angeles Times, Deadline Hollywood and Dave Poland's Hot Blog. Oh, and "Avatar" still finished first.

Weinstein Co.'s nine lives. Deadline Hollywood is reporting that the Weinstein Co. may once again stave off danger regarding its financial situation. Since the company is privately held, figuring out fact from fiction is always a challenge. All we know is their last few movies have not done well, and a few others are still sitting on the shelf. Most recently, we reported the company dumped "Hurricane Season" at video stores.

NATPE underway. The National Assn. of TV Program Executives conference -- where local stations search for the next Oprah Winfrey -- kicks off in Las Vegas today. Though hardly the mega-gathering of industry leaders it once was, and the partying and deal-making has been dialed way down, it is still where the industry gathers to try to figure out what will be the latest big hit. I miss the era of three days at NATPE followed by three weeks at Betty Ford. Previews from the Hollywood Reporter and Broadcasting & Cable.

Howard Stern's next move. Howard Stern's contract with satellite radio's Sirius XM is in its final year, and now there's speculation he might consider coming back to FM radio. Business Week says Clear Channel is interested in Stern, which would be ironic since Stern was in an ugly legal battle with the radio giant before he left broadcast for satellite.

RIP Jim Quello. One of the more colorful characters I came across when I covered the Federal Communications Commission was Jim Quello. A longtime commissioner who rose briefly to chairman, Quello was a plain-speaking everyman who appreciated risque humor and understood the broadcasting business. He even had a soft spot for Howard Stern at a time when the FCC was hitting the shock jock with all sorts of fines for indecency. An appreciation of the late World War II vet from Broadcasting & Cable's John Eggerton.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Mel Gibson quit smoking. That's just one of the interesting things in Geoff Boucher's profile of the actor's efforts get out from the shadows.

-- Joe Flint

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