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The Morning Fix: 'New Year's Eve' fizzles! Time Warner woos Endemol

December 12, 2011 |  7:42 am

After the coffee. Before finding out what Tim Tebow eats and ordering that for breakfast.

The Skinny:Morning Fix readers may have noticed that the last two weeks have featured a recent addition -- a lead off item with no links or attribution. No, I'm not getting forgetful. Those unlinked items -- an experiment at first -- are extra little tidbits for Morning Fix readers. Some are serious, some are amusing. Think of it as your daily dose and if you have anything you feel is worth a dose, email me at Joe.Flint@LATimes.com. Monday's headlines include a look at the weekend box office, a new offer for Endemol from Time Warner and the return of NBC's "Fear Factor."

NEW YEARS EVE MOVIE FLOPS
Get tough.News Corp. should be grateful that Federal Communications Commissioner Michael Copps is leaving the regulatory agency at the end of the month. Copps has never shied from criticizing the lack of public service from the media giants that control the nation's airwaves. The probe into a phone hacking scandal at News Corp.'s now-closed British tabloid News of the World should raise eyebrows here, Copps said in an interview. "You have to pass a good character test to be a steward of the public airwaves and if they have failed then it is up to the commission to take a vote and see if they want to take away that license."

No big hangover here. "New Year's Eve," the cameo-filled romantic comedy from director Garry Marshall, couldn't fill Times Square -- much less the nation's movie theaters. The movie took in a soft $13.7 million in its debut weekend. Coming in second was Jonah Hill's "The Sitter," which collected $10 million. The lack of interest in the new releases made last weekend the slowest of the year at the box office and the worst performance by Hollywood since September, 2008. Recaps from the Los Angeles Times and Variety. Meanwhile, The Wrap looks at the Christmas box office crunch.

The lion in winter. One result of the ethics scandal that has rocked media giant News Corp. is that its Chairman and Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch no longer strikes fear in the hearts of British lawmakers, according to Macleans. "The big impact of the phone hacking allegations wasn’t that they made News Corp. seem evil and unscrupulous; that was the reputation the company had already, and one that Murdoch seemed to take delight in creating. But the fallout from the scandal made him look weak for the first time ever," wrote Jaime Weinman.

Pop a cold one, just don't sip it. Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, already one of the biggest sponsors of televised sports, is taking it a step further by creating its own sports show of sorts. "Bud United Presents: The Big Time" will air on ABC and feature amateur athletes competing for prizes. According to The Wall Street Journal, the brewing giant "hopes the show will help to revive Bud, whose U.S. sales have slumped for 22 straight years, and which risks being surpassed by Coors Light as the country's No. 2 beer." Here's a prediction: It won't.

Not giving up.Time Warner Inc. has revised its bid for reality and game show production giant Endemol. While the offer is still $1.4 billion, now the deal is all cash, according to the New York Post. Endemol, which is in the midst of restructuring its heavy debt load, has resisted Time Warner's wooing.

Ball hogs.NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke, who gave the green light along with his Comcast bosses for the network's big Olympics renewal deal, topped the Sports Business Journal annual list of the most powerful media executives in sports. Also in the top 10 are Fox Sports Chairman David Hill and new ESPN President John Skipper.

Back and grosser than ever.NBC's "Fear Factor, one of the original gross-out reality shows in which contestants would eat bugs or sit with snakes, returns this week and promises to be even more disgusting than before. Want to get me to watch it? Make NBC's programming team participate. A preview of the return of "Fear Factor" from the New York Times.

Design flop.Sony and Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios are pulling the plug on the talk show hosted by interior designer Nate Berkus. The show, which premiered in September 2010, is another blow for Winfrey, whose OWN cable channel is also struggling. More from Broadcasting & Cable.

Hope first prize isn't an iPad. Steve Jobs, the great late co-founder of Apple, was named media person of the year by I Want Media, an industry news site. I didn't ask for the results, but I'm sure I was right up there in the final tally of votes.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Mary McNamara on HBO's new gambling drama "Luck." A look at some of the risks for Ryan Seacrest if he went to work at NBC's "Today." Talent agency ICM has agreed to a management buyout that will keep the peace between the firm's top brass.

-- Joe Flint

Follow me on Twitter. It's your ticket to big laughs. Twitter.com/JBFlint

Photo: Michelle Pfeiffer and Zac Efforn in "New Year's Eve." Credit: Warner Bros.

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