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The Morning Fix: Whitman and Brown pour it on. Lions Gate sues Icahn. Redbox wants to get its kiosks onto the Web

October 29, 2010 |  8:04 am

After the coffee. Before figuring how many years until I can take the subway to work.

The Skinny: Anyone got a copy of the Keith Richards book they can loan me? We may be getting annoyed, but our local TV stations are raking it in, thanks to Meg Whitman's and Jerry Brown's ads. Already forgotten how Conan O'Brien lost his job? Well, Bill Carter's new tome on late night is about to hit stores. Happy Halloween, people.

Wait, there's an election Tuesday? Change that dial all you want, there's still no way to shake the barrage of ads from Meg Whitman, Jerry Brown, Carly Fiorina and Barbara Boxer. While that's bad news for all of us, it's great news for local TV and radio stations. After the 2008 election, there was lots of talk about the role the Internet will play in future campaigns, and while it definitely does have a big role, local TV is still king. The Los Angeles Times looks at how the $3 billion being spent on political advertising across the country is being doled out among various platforms and what it says about the media landscape.

Nothing says 'I love you' like a lawsuit. As if there wasn't enough drama in the MGM and Lions Gate sagas, now another lawsuit can be added to the mix. Although Lions Gate and its biggest shareholder, Carl Icahn, at times bickered over the logic of a merger with MGM, at the same time Icahn has been trying to take over Lions Gate while also buying MGM debt. Lions Gate is now suing Icahn, arguing that “recent developments have revealed that Icahn was playing a double game ... while publicly denouncing a merger with MGM as foolish and MGM itself as a dinosaur with a decaying library, Icahn was buying up MGM’s privately traded debt.” The latest twist from Bloomberg and the Los Angeles Times.

Can't remember what happened 10 months ago in late night? Coming out just in time for Conan O'Brien's debut on TBS is New York Times scribe Bill Carter's new book "The War for Late Night," a recap on what, uh, just happened. It's also Carter's sequel to his fine book "The Late Shift," about the battle between Jay Leno and David Letterman to succeed Johnny Carson back in the early 1990s. The only difference is that the media world has changed a lot then, and while "The Late Shift" had a lot of inside dirt and drama that was news to everyone but the most hardcore industry insiders, this time around the soap opera played out on TV and in the media. But we're sure there are at least a few fresh tidbits in Carter's tome for TV geeks. An excerpt is in the new issue of Vanity Fair.

Keep D.C. out of it. The New York Times editorial page weighs in on the feud between News Corp.'s Fox and Cablevision Systems Inc., which has kept the New York and Philadelphia Fox stations off Cablevision of 3 million Cablevision homes for almost three weeks. While Cablevision has been demanding that Washington, particularly the Federal Communications Commission, get involved and try to get Fox to put its channels back on while the two negotiate a deal, the Gray Lady says lawmakers "must not put a thumb on the scale." That's a sentiment that -- no surprise here -- CBS chief Leslie Moonves echoed at a conference hosted by Broadcasting & Cable/Multichannel News in New York on Thursday.

Wonder if he fainted making the movie. Danny Boyle, director of "127 Hours," which stars James Franco as the hiker who got trapped by a rock and had to cut off his arm to live, talks with USA Today about making the movie and what he has in the works. So far, several people have fainted during screenings of the film, which may not be a good marketing hook for Fox Searchlight.

Cutting through the box office. It's Halloween weekend and that means time for a "Saw" movie. But will "Saw 3D" cut through "Paranormal 2?" Box office previews from Variety and the Los Angeles Times.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Redbox is launching its digital strategy but still hasn't figured out how to get those big kiosks online. Patrick Goldstein on James Cameron's deal to make more "Avatar" movies. Mary McNamara on AMC's "The Walking Dead."

-- Joe Flint

Follow me on Twitter because it will brighten your day. Twitter.com/JBFlint

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