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The Morning Fix: 'Glee' photo outrage! NPR cans Juan Williams. Comcast-NBC gets caught up in Cablevision-Fox fight. Should GQ have asked Albrecht about that e-mail?

October 21, 2010 |  7:54 am

After the coffee. Before wondering if the sun will come out tomorrow.

The Skinny: A raunchy photo spread of some "Glee" cast members in GQ has Katie Couric and others up in arms. Starz chief Chris Albrecht's confessions about drinking have some rethinking an e-mail incident a few months ago. The Comcast-NBC merger is getting dragged into the fight between Fox and Cablevision.

At least they weren't singing in the shower. A racy pictorial with the stars of Fox's high school musical hit, "Glee," is causing quite the outrage. Although the stars of the show -- including Lea Michele -- are all over the age of 18, they are dressed in character as high schoolers and basically look like an ad for cheerleaders gone bad. While the show often deals with teen sex and other issues and is loaded with innuendo, it is ultimately about singing and nerd empowerment (did I really just write "nerd empowerment"?) and has something of a wholesome image, by today's standards anyway. Although it isn't quite the same as when legendary anchor Walter Cronkite editorialized against the Vietnam War, CBS' Katie Couric criticized the photo shoot, as did the Parents TV Council. GQ stood by it, noting the age of the actors. Of course, the folks at the magazine are intentionally avoiding the fact that the issue isn't the age of the cast members, but that they're dressed like high school tramps posing for Hustler. One cast member has already said the photos "do not represent who I am." More on the fuss from CBS News, Los Angeles Times, Hollywood Reporter and the Wall Street Journal.

Can't they just give him a lifetime achievement award? Two production companies -- 20th Century Fox and Anchor Bay Films -- are both trying to land Michael Douglas an Oscar nomination. The films are 20th's "Wall Street" sequel and Anchor Bay's "Solitary Man." The challenge, according to the New York Times, is not only marketing him for the nominations but doing it in such a way that does not seem to be trying to play on Douglas' recently disclosed battle with cancer. Apparently 20th is going to lobby for a best supporting actor nomination for Douglas, leaving Anchor Bay to go after the best actor nomination. My advice: He deserves a nod for "Solitary Man," which was great, and we should all just forget the blemish that the sequel to "Wall Street" put on the original.

Caught in the crossfire. Fox's television stations remain off of Cablevision Systems Corp.'s cable systems in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, and the ugliness of the fight is giving new ammunition to advocacy groups and competitors concerned about the proposed merger between Comcast Corp. and NBC Universal. What does one have to do with the other? Well, because Fox briefly blocked (foolishly, but legally) Cablevision subscribers access to its websites, media watchdogs warn that strict conditions need to be put on Comcast to ensure that it doesn't engage in similar behavior. More on the effort to try to tie the Fox-Cablevision fight to the Comcast-NBC deal from Broadcasting & Cable and the Wrap.

Opening the door. A few days ago, we linked to a riveting GQ profile of Starz's Chris Albrecht in which the former HBO head talks candidly about being fired from that job after being arrested for a fight with his girlfriend and revelations of a violent incident years earlier at HBO involving a female colleague with whom he'd become personally involved. Although Albrecht said he once stopped drinking for over a decade, he later decided that booze wasn't a problem, his thinking was. The former colleague he assaulted called him "delusional." The Wrap's Sharon Waxman does a summary of the article as a way to get in a nugget of information that she indicates she has been sitting on. Remember a few months ago, when the Los Angeles Times broke how Albrecht accidentally sent an e-mail about canning two top executives to the entire company? Well, Waxman says Albrecht was doing the equivalent of "drunk dialing" when he sent that e-mail. Whether or not the GQ article gets Albrecht in hot water with his bosses at Liberty Media, the lesson is -- alcoholic or not -- that it's probably not the smartest idea to drink while doing interviews.

Williams gets walking papers. National Public Radio commentator Juan Williams was fired for remarks he made about Muslims on Bill O'Reilly's program on the Fox News Channel. Williams, talking with O'Reilly about the latter's remarks on ABC's "The View" about the role of Muslims in the 9/11 attacks, took issue with Muslims in America who wear, in his words, "Muslim garb." Said Williams: "But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous." The part that I'm guessing got him in such hot water is that he said he feels particularly nervous when he sees them on planes. The network said Williams' remarks "were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR." Details on the firing of Williams from the Washington Post, where he toiled for many years.

Hobbits on the move. Though movie unions have finally given a green light to the Warner Bros. production of Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit," the movie may still end up being shot somewhere other than Jackson's New Zealand. Said Jackson per Variety: "Next week, Warners is coming down to New Zealand to make arrangements to move the production offshore. It appears we now cannot make films in our own country -- even when substantial financing is available."

In other news, sun comes out somewhere today (just not here). Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is running for mayor of Chicago. His brother Ari is a big-shot agent here. So, in a big surprise, a bunch of left-leaning Hollywood players -- Ari Emanuel, Peter Chernin and Haim Saban among them -- are putting on a fund-raiser for Rahm's run. Details from Deadline Hollywood.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: John Horn on "Paranormal Activity 2." Édgar Ramírez makes a killer impression. Netflix is experimenting with online-only subscriptions.

-- Joe Flint

Follow me on twitter ... please. Twitter.com/JBFlint

 

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