The Morning Fix: 'Hunger Game' questions. The Mel & Joe Show.
After the coffee. Before seeing if they'll let me direct the sequel to 'The Hunger Games.'
The Skinny: Thursday's headlines include questions over the future of "The Hunger Games" franchise, an ugly fight between Mel Gibson and Joe Eszterhas, and Axl Rose announcing he's going to be a no-show during Guns N' Roses' induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Daily Dose: ABC's decision to keep the daytime soap "General Hospital" around for another year and cancel its new talk show "The Revolution" (see below) means soap fans won't be able to blame Katie Couric for the demise of the long-running daytime drama. Couric, whose new daytime talk show debuts this fall, was at risk of being seen as the bad guy if ABC had canceled the soap. While the low ratings "The Revolution" has been getting probably made the decision easier, it also wouldn't be too smart to risk Couric alienating a daytime audience she'll be counting on to help her show.
Ross loss. The news that Gary Ross won't direct the sequel to "The Hunger Games" is still the talk of the town. Ross has said the production schedule Lionsgate has set for "Catching Fire" is unworkable. While franchises such as "Harry Potter" and "Twilight" have worked with multiple directors, investors are a little worried that what seemed like a sure thing is now in doubt. Analysis from the Los Angeles Times.
The Mel and Joe show. Warner Bros. has put on hold a movie about Judah Maccabee, the hero of Hanukkah, after writer Joe Eszterhas and producer Mel Gibson started exchanging nasty letters that -- duh -- wound up on various Hollywood blogs. To me, the stunning thing isn't that Eszterhas and Gibson's partnership has gone up flames, but that Warner Bros. would get into bed with these two in the first place. Coverage from the Wrap and Deadline Hollywood.
Coming soon to a court near you. According to the Daily Beast, attorney Mark Lewis -- who has represented some of the victims of phone hacking by News Corp.'s British tabloids -- is promising to bring suits on behalf of people who say their phones were hacked in America. So far, the scandal has remained overseas but if it hits our shores, it could open up a whole new can of worms for Rupert Murdoch's media giant.
Not dead yet. ABC said its long-running soap "General Hospital" will be back next season. The show had been in jeopardy because a lot of ABC stations need to make room on their afternoon schedule for Katie Couric's talk show that debuts this September. Instead, the network pulled the plug on its struggling talk show "The Revolution." "General Hospital" dodged a bullet, but ABC will certainly reload the gun and shoot again. More from the Hollywood Reporter.
Mole caught. Earlier this week, the gossip and snark site Gawker started running posts from an anonymous Fox News staffer. Of course, it took all of about one day for Fox News to figure out who it was and another to suspend him. "I am a weasel, a traitor, a sell-out and every bad word you can throw at me," Joe Moto, who works for Bill O'Reilly's show, wrote on Gawker on Wednesday. Moto, who Fox fired Wednesday night, probably shouldn't have used a work computer to send material to Gawker. What will be interesting is whether Fox News digs in to try to determine whether Moto has been leaking to Gawker for years. Additional coverage from Mediaite.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: John Horn on the upcoming busy weekend at the box office. Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose says he'll skip the induction of the original band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
-- Joe Flint
Follow me on Twitter. One day I'll be famous. Twitter.com/JBFlint
Photo: Mel Gibson. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times.
For the record: This post was updated to reflect that Fox News said it has fired Joe Moto.