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The Morning Fix: Burkle makes moves! Fox News' Ailes gets bigger.

January 6, 2012 |  8:21 am

After the coffee. Before the first of many drives to Pasadena for the television press tour.

The Skinny: I was watching new episodes of "Beavis & Butt-head" last night. Is it just me or have they gotten a little smarter the second time around? Maybe I've just gotten dumber. Friday's headlines include stories on billionaire Ron Burkle's growing fascination with the entertainment industry, a box office preview, a dip in NFL ratings, a profile of Fox News chief Roger Ailes and some tough news for Netflix. Oh, and Chelsea Clinton's stint at NBC News may be shorter than expected. 

Fox News chief Roger Ailes is going strong
No assignment for duty yet. Fans of crime writer Richard Price will have to wait a little longer for "The 2-2," a new police drama he is working on for CBS. The show, which also counts Robert DeNiro among its producers, was supposed to come on at midseason, but the network has not yet scheduled it and is not holding a session for it during its press tour session next week.

Busy day for Burkle. Billionaire Ron Burkle, who made his fortune in supermarkets and likes to dabble in entertainment, bought a music booking agency and invested in movie production company Relativity Media. While terms of the deals were not disclosed, the stake he bought in Relativity, the company headed by flashy Ryan Kavanaugh, had been valued at $150 million. The music firm he bought -- Artists Group International -- books concerts for oldie but goodies Billy Joel and Rod Stewart as well as Metellica and Linkin Park. More on Burkle's bets from the Los Angeles Times.

An impossible mission? This weekend's box office battle is between big-budget Tom Cruise thriller "Mission Impossible -- Ghost Protocol" and new arrival "The Devil Inside," a low-budget horror movie that is expected to open strong on what is traditionally a slow weekend. I know I'll be watching NFL playoffs. Box office previews from the Los Angeles Times, Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

Reaching. Fans of Lee Child's mysteries featuring tough guy investigator Jack Reacher (including me) were more than a little surprised that Tom Cruise was tapped to play him when a movie based on one of the books finally made it to the big screen. The Wall Street Journal looks at why it took so long to get a Reacher movie made and the controversy among fans over the choice of Cruise to portray him.

Playing hardball. Looking to make life just a little difficult for its rival Netflix, HBO said it will no longer sell the entertainment company DVDs of its original TV shows and movies. HBO already doesn't make the content it owns available for streaming on Netflix, but it used to provide the company with DVDs to rent to its customers via mail. HBO, which has launched its own streaming service for all its content, has made no secret that it sees no reason to do anything to help Netflix, especially now that the rental company makes its own original content as well. Details from the New York Times. Separately, All Things Digital reports that Time Warner's Warner Bros. is going to make customers of Netflix, Redbox and Blockbuster wait longer to rent new titles.

Maybe we're not as ready for some football as we thought. Late last year, ESPN, CBS, NBC and Fox all signed billion-dollar deals deals to keep NFL football on their channels through the next several years. While football still gets big numbers, in the regular season that just ended, overall ratings were down about 2%. Among the networks, Fox was flat, while everyone else saw dips. ESPN saw the biggest drop -- almost 10% -- for its "Monday Night Football" franchise. Not too surprising given that many of the cable channel's games this year were not exactly thrilling matchups. More football number crunching from Broadcasting & Cable.

Roger Dodger. Michael Wolff, author of "The Man Who Owns the News," an authorized biography of News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch that the mogul later regretted participating in, empties his notebook for GQ on Roger Ailes, the Fox News chief. Ailes, per Wolff, has been a lightning rod for controversy both inside and outside News Corp. but has managed to survive and rise within the conglomerate, especially in the wake of the recent phone hacking scandal, which has sidelined Murdoch heir apparent James Murdoch. 

Already gone? Remember all that press NBC News got for hiring Chelsea Clinton as a correspondent? Well, the New York Post says her stint may already be coming to an end. Page Six, the tabloid's gossip column, reports that Clinton's contract was only for three months, and although she has two more pieces in the works for the network's news shows, including anchor Brian Williams' new magazine show "Rock Center," after that she'll do a slow fade from the network. An NBC News spokeswoman denied the story to the Post. We'll link to it anyway because a lot of times those sharp folks at Page Six are on the  money.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: A look at the fine line between clever and stupid when it comes to tweeting.

-- Joe Flint

Follow me on Twitter. I'll keep you straight on all the TV press tour spin. Twitter.com/JBFlint

Photo: Fox News chief Roger Ailes. Credit: Jennifer S. Altman / For The Times.

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