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The Morning Fix: Big reception expected for 'Inception.' Google storms D.C. Networks likely to get racier

Before a moment of silence for my coffee maker, which just died.

Big reception for "Inception." Warner Bros.' thriller "Inception" is expected to finish first at the box office this weekend while Disney's "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" may struggle. If "Inception" does well, look for a slew of stories about how Hollywood will now start taking risks. Of course, in this case risks are making movies that don't have a number in them after the title. Your box office preview from the Los Angeles Times.

Cover your eyes! Now that the Federal Communications Commission's rules regarding indecent content are in limbo, look for prime-time programming on the broadcast networks to get even more racy. Over the last few years, the broadcasters have gotten a lot looser already, but, predicts the Hollywood Reporter, you haven't seen anything yet.

NBCU profits up. General Electric Co. reported second-quarter results Friday morning and said operating profits at its NBC Universal unit improved by 13% to $607 million. Revenues were up 5% to $3.7 billion. Details from Variety.

Google takes D.C. Politico takes a look at how Google has become a powerful lobbying presence. Chief Executive Eric Schmidt, a native of the D.C. area, is often roaming Capitol Hill, the FCC's offices and the White House. The article notes that four former Google staffers have influential positions in D.C. They include Andrew McLaughlin, a former chief of Google's global public policy who now is White House deputy chief technology officer for Internet policy.

StarCraft II prepares for liftoff. Activision Blizzard's StarCraft II, the long-awaited sequel to the more than 10-year-old StarCraft, goes on sale July 27 and is expected to sell millions of units. It better. The game cost more than $100 million to develop, according to the Wall Street Journal, which takes a look at the new PC game and what it could mean for the slumping video game industry. Sales of game software were off more than 6%, says the WSJ, citing industry research outfit NPD Group.

Justice delayed. Not a shock that the hastily thrown together "Law & Order: LA" is delaying production. So far, only part has been cast. Deadline Hollywood says the series, which is supposed to be on NBC this fall, will start shooting Aug. 2. NBC has already had to delay one fall series -- the romantic comedy "Love Bites" -- because of behind-the-scenes changes. Not saying that will be the case here, but am saying don't be surprised if it is.

Soap suds. Ratings are down for most soap operas, and the genre is on the slow road to extinction. But advertisers hope the daytime serials stick around because the quality is often better than the talk shows and game shows that are popping up in their place. The Wrap surveys the daytime landscape. 

Poor reviews for Live Nation show. On Thursday, Live Nation Entertainment held an investors conference at, appropriately enough, New York's legendary Irving Plaza club. This was one show that the ticket and concert giant hopes has no encore. After talking about how tough the summer tour business has been, its stock dropped by 10%. The New York Post looks at Live Nation's stage dive.

No easy layup. Tensions are brewing between NBA players and the league over a new collective bargaining agreement. Commissioner David Stern has predicted losses in the neighborhood of $400 million, but that figure isn't washing with Billy Hunter, the players association's executive director. The current pact expires next summer. More from the Associated Press

Mad hype! The "Mad Men" marketing machine is starting to hit full swing. The show, about advertising men in the 1960s struggling to deal with a changing culture, returns for its fourth season July 25 and billboards, posters and articles are everywhere. I like "Mad Men," but the praise can be a tad overwhelming. I sometimes get the feeling that creator Matt Weiner could write a scene in which Jon Hamm's Don Draper drinks coffee and smokes in silence for ten minutes and the critics would rave that it was a bold statement about one man's struggle to understand his world. Anyway, here's a sneak peak from USA Today

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Kenneth Turan's review of "Inception." 

-- Joe Flint

Follow me on Twitter and I won't spoil "Inception" for you: twitter.com/JBFlint

 
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