The Morning Fix: Comcast hands out the goodies but cuts peacock's duties! Will Jeff and Katie reunite? Charlie Sheen ... need we say more?
After the coffee. Before heading off to Dallas for Super Bowl week! Well, I can dream, can't I?
The Skinny: Got to hand it to the folks at "30 Rock," they managed to make a joke about General Electric not controlling NBC Universal anymore in Thursday night's episode, the very day that Comcast held company-wide meetings to introduce themselves. Elsewhere, Charlie Sheen
Gift bags! Comcast hosted town hall meetings to welcome their new NBC Universal employees around the country, and came bearing gifts. NBC Universal staffers got 25 shares of Comcast stock, while Comcast folks got passes to Universal theme parks. Not sure who got the better deal there. One of Comcast's first moves was to take NBC's peacock logo off the stationary. But before you start crying about the peacock getting plucked, it still has its day job as NBC's on-air logo! The Los Angeles Times looks at the culture shock that may come from Comcast's takeover and whether Universal Studios chief Ron Meyer will be on the hot seat. Additional coverage from the Associated Press and Variety.
Reunited? Jeff Zucker finishes up as CEO of NBC Universal on Friday, and already talk is heating up that he wants to woo Katie Couric away from CBS News to try her hand at a daily talk show that he would oversee. The New York Post says it has three sources saying Zucker is working big-time on wooing Couric, who he used to oversee at NBC's "Today." My money's on Couric staying put at CBS. After all, the network just made this very nice video of everyone there, including CBS CEO Leslie Moonves singing to her on her birthday. If that doesn't say we love you, what does?
Briefcase full of blues. Charlie Sheen went to the hospital early Thursday morning. While his spokesman -- who I hope gets a big paycheck -- said he was suffering from stomach pains and possibly a hernia, TMZ (who else?), said he was rushed to the hospital after a night with porn stars and party favors. Because Sheen's hit CBS sitcom, "Two and a Half Men," was on hiatus, he didn't miss any work. And because the show was on hiatus, CBS and Warner Bros., which produces the show, could once again play ostrich. Here's the thing: The fear of the producers and network is that if they shut the show down until Sheen gets it together, he could sue because technically he's doing his job and honoring his contract. I say, let him sue. He'll lose in the court of public opinion (and probably with a jury as well), and if, God forbid, something tragic happens to Sheen or someone with him, the folks behind the show will be blasted for enabling him all this time and could be vulnerable to lawsuits themselves.
Getting clean and singing about it. Sometimes rehab can be a good career move (are you listening, Charlie Sheen?). The Wall Street Journal looks at musicians who cleaned up their bodies and minds and cleaned up with critics and in sales. Of course, for everyone who did that, there's one -- hello, Keith Richards -- who manages to keep cranking it out while still living to extremes.
Stop the presses! Vanity Fair will not be running an article probing the problems at the Motion Picture and Television Fund's long-term care facility. The Wrap reports that the article, which was supposed to be in the magazine's Hollywood issue that hits newsstands next week, is being held. It's the second article planned for the edition that was pulled, the first being a piece on -- yawn -- the battles between the Hollywood Reporter, Deadline Hollywood and the Wrap. With that one, perhaps Vanity Fair realized that it's sometimes good to have articles that more than 20 people will care to read.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Ben Fritz has the preview of the box office for this weekend.
-- Joe Flint
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