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The Morning Fix: Bad boys in the office! 'ET' host Mary Hart makes her own news. 'American Idol' overhaul continues.

August 5, 2010 |  8:11 am

After the coffee. Before wishing earnings week would end already.

Sumner's smiling. Media mogul Sumner Redstone's Viacom Inc., parent of cable networks MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central as well as Paramount Pictures, released its second-quarter earnings early Thursday morning and reported profits of $420 million. That's a 52% improvement over the second quarter of 2009, and most of the gains are from increased advertising on the company's cable networks. Revenues for Viacom were flat at about $3.3 billion. Revenues from Viacom's movie unit were off 10% as the strength of "Iron Man 2" was not enough to offset a 43% decline in home-entertainment revenue. Early numbers from Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.

New faces behind the scenes of 'American Idol.' While deals drag on for Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler to become judges on Fox's "American Idol," former executive producer Nigel Lythgoe has sealed his deal to return to the hit talent show, and legendary music producer Jimmy Iovine also is expected to have a big role on the show. Of course, Iovine works for Universal Music Group, which is now the label of choice for "American Idol." More on the latest changes on "American Idol" from the Los Angeles Times, USA Today and Variety, which chatted with Lythgoe, who again expressed his love for Paula Abdul and called Randy Jackson a "barnacle," but in a good way.

Boys will be boys. The Hollywood Reporter tries to pull back from the weeds and look at the trees (if not quite the forest) in a piece looking at the slew of recent stories about bad behavior by Hollywood executives and stars. When you get past the tabloid headline and opening paragraphs, Hollywood Reporter legal ace Matthew Belloni does a good job trying to explain the legal issues surrounding how companies deal with or don't deal with allegations of harassment or creating a hostile work environment. Too often such cases end not with punishment, but with a check in an envelope to one person ahd a slap on the wrist for another.

Eat pray love and shop. Sony's "Eat Pray Love," starring Julia Roberts, is getting a marketing and promotional push from Home Shopping Network. The cable channel is hawking spices and teas from India and clothing and cookware from Italy, locales where much of the movie takes place. The Wall Street Journal looks at the tie-in and whether it will help the chick flick at the box office.

Comcast blasted ... again. The Coalition for Competition in Media, a hastily put-together group that is protesting cable giant Comcast's proposed merger with NBC Universal, is encouraging states where Comcast has cable systems and NBC owns TV stations to fight the deal. "There is simply no precedent in U.S. media history for a single company to combine so much of both distribution and content," said the letter, which was sent to attorneys general in five states, including California, New York and Florida. Details from the Hill.

End of an era. Mary Hart will step down as host of "Entertainment Tonight" after next season, the show's 30th. No word on who will replace Hart, who became a star in her own right presenting the latest entertainment news and gossip. It would be fun to look at a show from 30 years ago and compare it with one now just to see how it went from sweet to sensationalistic. The New York Post appears to have had the scoop, which the show confirmed.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Oni Press, the comic-book publisher for the underdog, is behind Universal's Michael Cera film "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" and its publisher Joe Nozemack talks about life as an indie comic-book company. John Horn on how "Middle Men," a movie about the origins of the Internet porn business, is marketing itself.

-- Joe Flint

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