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The Morning Fix: Big day for News Corp., Hollywood embraces Bible

October 21, 2011 |  7:25 am

After the coffee. Before the News Corp. annual meeting.

The Skinny: It's not an all-News Corp. Morning Fix, it just looks like one. Off to cover its annual meeting. If I can, I'll tweet it for you. In the headlines, previews of the News Corp. shareholder gathering and a battle between the media giant and satellite broadcaster DirecTV. Also, Hollywood embraces politics and the Bible. Uh-oh.

Showdown. News Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch will face shareholders for the first time since the News of the World phone hacking scandal tore through the media conglomerate. Angry shareholders are expected to demand greater independence from the company's board of directors and there is even a push to get Murdoch and his sons James and Lachlan off the board. That said, with 40% of the controlling stock in Murdoch's hands, griping may be all the dissatisfied shareholders can do. Still should be a good show. Previews from the Los Angeles Times and New York Times.

Here we go again. More than two dozen News Corp.-owned cable networks may disappear from satellite broadcaster DirecTV if the two sides are unable to reach a new distribution agreement before Nov. 1. Among the channels whose contracts are up are FX, National Geographic Channel and more than 19 sports channels including Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket here in Los Angeles. Not part of this negotiation are the Fox broadcast network and Fox News. Such contract disputes are increasingly common, but this one has a twist as News Corp. President Chase Carey used to run DirecTV. Details from the Los Angeles Times and Broadcasting & Cable.

Goal! Sports Business Journal said on Friday that Fox emerged as the surprise winner for U.S. television rights for the World Cup in 2018 and 2022. Walt Disney's ESPN and Comcast's NBC were both bidding as well and since ESPN had been home already, the assumption was it would hold onto the event. Maybe Fox Sports chief David Hill will kick soccer balls to shareholders at Friday's annual meeting.

Scary numbers. Paramount's "Paranormal 3" is expected to scare up a lot of money at the box office this weekend. Industry forecasters think the movie could take as much as $45 million this weekend. The other big releases this weekend include Rowan Atkinson's "Johnny English Reborn" and yet another version of "The Three Musketeers." In other words, I'll be at home watching football and the World Series and carving my pumpkin. Box office previews from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.

Get the vote out. Hollywood is embracing politics on the screen on top of its usual behind-the-scenes meddling. The New York Times looks at the slew of movies with political themes coming out over the next year. Maybe a presidential election will help boost political movies, but usually it is not a subject that motivates people to race to the box office. Don't we go to movies to escape the rest of the world?

The good book. Politics isn't the only thing Hollywood is obsessed with these days. The Hollywood Reporter says the Bible is serving as source material for several movies and television shows.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Betsy Sharkey on "Martha Marcy May Marlene."  Mary McNamara on the Starz big city drama "Boss." If you're seeing "Paranormal 3" you probably don't care what the critics say anyway, but here's a review.

-- Joe Flint

Follow me on Twitter. I make this look easy. Twitter.com/JBFlint

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