The Morning Fix: Brooks out at News Corp. as scrutiny grows! Harry Potter's final run. Emmy analysis.
After the coffee. Before throwing my hat into the ring for Rebekah Brooks' job.
The Skinny: I did my best to fill this post with stories about News Corp. and the phone-hacking scandal that is tearing through the company. There is other news out there including the release of the last Harry Potter movie and analysis of Thursday's Emmy nominations. Have a good weekend and steer clear of driving near the you-know-what.
Freeze, FBI! The phone-hacking scandal that is tearing through the U.K. operations of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., has hit this side of the Atlantic. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has launched a probe to see if the claims that News Corp. tried to hack into the voicemails of Sept. 11 victims hold water. On Thursday, Murdoch talked with the Wall Street Journal and said his company has only made minor mistakes in handling this crisis. Think of that scene in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" when the Black Knight says it's just a "flesh wound" after losing both his arms in a duel. On Friday morning, embattled News International chief Rebekah Brooks finally announced her resignation using the "I've become a distraction" strategy. The question is whether the exit of Brooks will ease the scrutiny of News Corp. and the actions of its now-shuttered News of the World tabloid, or bring more heat because regulators, politicians and rivals smell blood in the water. My hunch, look for Les Hinton, who previously held Brooks' post and now is over the Wall Street Journal to get his time in the spotlight. The latest news from the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and the Guardian. Also, some analysis on News Corp.'s new problems in America from the Los Angeles Times and an interesting piece from Columbia Journalism Review that challenges the Mirror's Sept. 11 hacking story that caused this latest fire for Murdoch's company. Also, the Hollywood Reporter with a piece on the one top News Corp. executive to perhaps come out ahead in all this -- Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey.
Potterville. The final movie of the Harry Potter saga has been released and Warner Bros. is gearing up to count its money on the one hand and figure out if it can ever duplicate that success with another franchise. Lots of looks this week at how Warner Bros. turned the Potter books into a cash cow and what the exit of the Potter movies will mean to the studio's bottom line. Now for the kicker, do you know I've never read one Potter book or seen one movie? How many people can say that? Stories on the Potter phenomenon from the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal.
Popcorn weekend! If you can't go anywhere far because of the 405, maybe you'll go to the movies instead. There has been lots of talk that "Carmageddon" will hurt box office, but might it help? Think about it -- if people are staying in their own neighborhoods for the weekend, they'll need something to do. I'm hoping to get to "Horrible Bosses" or "Bad Teacher." Box-office previews from Variety and Hollywood Reporter. Also, a look at the new Winnie the Pooh movie from the New York Times.
Judging Simon. After becoming a star in the U.S. for telling people whether they can hold a tune or not on Fox's "American Idol," it is Simon Cowell's turn to sweat as frontman of "The X Factor," another talent show premiering this fall. "This better bloody work or I am in huge trouble," Cowell told the Wall Street Journal, which offers up a look at the new show and the heat that is on Cowell.
Make it a Blockbuster night. While Netflix continues to deal with subscribers reacting negatively to the company's decision to hike its movie-rental prices big-time, Blockbuster is trying to snag customers to its own DVD rental service. Of course, Blockbuster doesn't have a streaming service yet, but that is expected to change in the near future under new owner Dish Network. More from Bloomberg and Deadline Hollywood.
-- Joe Flint
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