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The Morning Fix: Eddie for Oscar? 'The Help' still boss.

September 6, 2011 |  7:43 am

After the coffee. Before deciding whether Eddie Murphy hosting the Oscars is a stroke of genius or an act of desperation.

The Skinny: Hope everyone had a good long weekend. I want one more day. We have a super-size roundup today that includes box-office coverage, a look at the race for the top job at the Writers Guild of America West and a look at "Rescue Me" as the first drama built around Sept. 11 ends its run.

No hard labor for "The Help." The Labor Day weekend typically marks the end of the summer movie season and, as has been the case for the last few years, Hollywood went out with a whimper, not a bang. The three new movies opening -- "The Debt," "Apollo 18" and "Shark Night 3D" -- didn't set the world on fire. Staying on top was "The Help," which took in $19 million. Box-office analysis from the Los Angeles Times and Variety. Also a look at the summer box office overall from the New York Times and a harsh critique of that story from Movie City News.

Party of One. Chris Keyser, a co-creator of Fox's "Party of Five," has emerged as a serious dark-horse candidate in the race for the top spot at the Writers Guild of America West. Keyser is currently neck and neck with Patrick Verrone, the former two-term guild president who helmed it during the 2007-08 writers strike. More on the race and what it means for Hollywood from the Los Angeles Times.

Was Andrew Dice Clay not available? The hottest rumor of the weekend was that Eddie Murphy had emerged as the leading candidate to host the Oscars. At first I threw water on my face and turned on the TV to make sure I hadn't gone back in time to 1986. No, it is still 2011. Murphy, who is far removed from his hey day as one of the hottest performers in the world, is certainly capable but I'm not quite sure who he would appeal to and wonder if he'll be paired up with anyone. Coverage from Deadline Hollywood.

What did Rupert Murdoch not know and when did he not know it? The probe into phone hacking at News Corp.'s now closed News of the World tabloid continues this week with another hearing in Parliament. A former News Corp. lawyer said at the Tuesday hearing that he did not think Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of the media giant, had been fully briefed on the ethics scandal when he made his appearance before Parliament earlier this summer. Coverage from the Wall Street Journal.

My offer is in the mail. There are five first-round bidders for Hulu, the popular video site owned by News Corp., Walt Disney Co. and Comcast Corp. Among those making a play are Amazon, Yahoo, Google and satellite broadcaster Dish Network. The latest from Bloomberg.

Super spots. NBC has just about sold out its commercial inventory for next February's Super Bowl. The network sought to get $3.5 million per-30 second spot, which would be a record. However, an NBC executive told Ad Week that advertisers could get commercials cheaper if they bought ad time elsewhere on the network's schedule.

Tax code revolt. Former Disney lobbyist Preston Padden penned an op-ed in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call advocating overhauling of the deferral tax loophole. "It rewards companies for moving property and jobs overseas, and it is unfair to corporations that keep jobs in the United States and then must shoulder a disproportionate share of the cost of government," Padden wrote, citing General Electric Co. as an example of the problems with the code. 

Hard-hitting story. Katie Couric will make her debut for ABC on Tuesday's edition of "Nightline." Her piece? An interview with actress Sarah Jessica Parker, who has a new movie coming out. Is this the kind of tough stuff that CBS was keeping her from doing? Kidding! The piece no doubt will be used to showcase Couric's ability to snag celebrities as ABC parent Walt Disney Co. starts to sell her afternoon talk show, which is set to debut next fall. Details from the Hollywood Reporter.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Hollywood fights to keep its tax credit for California productions. Mary McNamara on the return of "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." "Rescue Me" gets ready to end its run. John Horn on the Telluride Film Festival.

-- Joe Flint

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