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The Morning Fix: 'Apes' rise! 'Wives' leave. Rupert's tormentor.

August 8, 2011 |  7:33 am

After the coffee. Before returning to the office after a week away.

The Skinny: After a week spent at the Beverly Hilton, it's back to the office today. Oh well, every good junket must come to an end. The headlines include the surprising strength of "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" over the weekend, the end of "Desperate Housewives," and celebrations of Lucille Ball's 100th birthday.

Strong apes. "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" climbed to the top of the box office, taking in $54 million, according to 20th Century Fox, which distributed the movie from Hollywood big shot Peter Chernin's media company. Coming in second was "The Smurfs" with $21 million, followed by "Cowboys & Aliens," which took in $15.7 million. The big disappointment of the weekend was Universal's "The Change-Up" starring Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman, which took in only $13.5 million. Box-office coverage from the Los Angeles Times and Movie City News.

Wisteria Lane being closed. Walt Disney Co.'s ABC met the media on Sunday to preview its new schedule and say goodbye to one of its staples as the upcoming season will mark the last for its long-running prime-time soap "Desperate Housewives." More from USA Today, Variety and the Hollywood Reporter.

Care for a spot of tea? Starz, the Liberty Media-owned pay-TV channel that is usually an afterthought to Time Warner's HBO and CBS' Showtime, is hoping it can class up the joint with a co-production deal with the British Broadcasting Corp. The two have agreed to pursue co-productions, with the BBC contributing between 30% and 40% of the budget and getting international rights. More on the partnership from the Wall Street Journal.

Rupert's tormentor. Deadline Hollywood chats up Nick Davies, the reporter for Britain's Guardian who has broken the bulk of the big stories regarding phone hacking that went on at the News of the World, the tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Separately, Liz Murdoch, daughter of the mogul and a prominent media executive in her own right, will not be joining the board of News Corp. as expected after all. There is a News Corp. board meeting Tuesday in Los Angeles. I'm working on infiltrating the catering staff to gain access. More water, Mr. Murdoch?

Imitation is the sincerest form of television. Advertising Age tries to explain why we have so many reality shows about pawn shops. One word: Lazy!

Inside the Los Angeles Times: An appreciation of Lucille Ball, who would have been 100 this month. The television industry has a new love for Texas. 

-- Joe Flint`

Follow me on Twitter. I'm the best thing about the redesign. Twitter.com/JBFlint

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