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The Morning Fix: NBC bets on laughs! 'Avengers' still on top.

May 14, 2012 |  6:53 am

After the coffee. Before the subway to Radio City.

The Skinny: Looks like upfront week will kick off with a humid and rainy day in New York. Monday's headlines include analysis of NBC's fall schedule, a look at how "The Avengers" dominated the weekend box office again, and the long, strange journey "Men in Black 3" took to get to the big screen.

The Avengers showed little sign of slowing downDaily Dose: Once touted as the successor to "Desperate Housewives," ABC's hour-long comedy "GCB," about out-of-control Dallas divas, didn't make the cut for the fall schedule. While its ratings weren't the greatest, shows that have smaller audiences are returning. So why aren't the girls of "GCB" coming back? Ask Madison Avenue. Originally called "Good Christian Bitches" and then "Good Christian Belles," the show's name didn't charm advertisers, who weren't fooled by the acronym. The show proved to be a hot potato for ABC's sales department even without a B or C word in the title. But not all Bs are created equal: The network's "Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23" is still on the schedule. 

Peacock strut. NBC unveiled a fall schedule that features comedies on four nights, including Friday, which will host returning sitcoms "Community" and "Whitney." Among the highly anticipated new shows are sitcoms starring former "Friends" star Matthew Perry and a new drama about firefighters from "Law & Order" creator Dick Wolf. The network will now also air fall and spring versions of its musical talent show "The Voice." Analysis of NBC's new schedule from the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Vulture, Variety, Hollywood Reporter and Deadline Hollywood. Also, the Wall Street Journal profiles Linda Yaccarino, NBC's head of cable ad sales, and New York Times columnist David Carr looks at the challenges the TV industry faces in trying to rope in today's tech-savvy viewer. 

Who has the best shrimp? This week, the broadcast networks present their fall schedules to advertisers in what's known as the upfront. It's called that because after the presentations advertisers buy commercial inventory ahead of the new season. You can generally tell how a network is doing based on what kind of beer and food they have at their party. And if they aren't having a party, well then it's time to advertise on a different network. An overview of the week's festivities from the New York Times.

Still a lot to avenge for. "The Avengers" continued to rule the box office, taking in a $103.2 million in its second weekend. That figure is more than any film has ever made in its second weekend in release. That may be, but I still think "The Hunger Games" was better. The staying power of "The Avengers" was enough to soften the bite of Johnny Depp's "Dark Shadows," his latest collaboration with director Tim Burton. The "Dark Shadows" debut took in $28.8 million. Box office coverage from the Los Angeles Times and Movie City News.

Goal! Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN, looking to build on its international presence, is expected to aggressively bid for soccer rights in Britain. Up for grabs is the Premier Soccer League, at a price tag  north of $3 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. ESPN will have to try to take the ball away from British satellite broadcaster BSkyB, which currently has the rights. Well, if ESPN wins, maybe BSkyB can come here and bid on the NFL. Details from the Wall Street Journal.

Ticking clock? As John Malone's Liberty Media continues to gobble up more stock in satellite radio broadcaster Sirius XM, things may get tough for Chief Executive Mel Karmazin. Liberty currently owns 46% of Sirius, and while the Federal Communications Commission initially rebuffed its application to take control of the company, if it keeps buying stock it seems only a matter of time. Karmazin, who has been trying to resist Malone's aggressive moves, has indicated in the past he's not looking to be a No. 2 executive again. The Street anticipates what may happen next.

Barry's bet. New York magazine takes a look at Barry Diller's plans to revolutionize how the TV signals of the broadcast networks are delivered to the home. The only problem is the broadcast networks don't want this revolution to be televised.

Pour me a stiff one! For decades, advertising for hard liquor was taboo on television. Then cable networks started to carry commercials and now it appears the broadcasters are also loosening up. Advertising Age notes that both ABC and NBC are carrying commercials for the hard stuff in late-night. Frankly, given that the drinking age for beer and liquor is now 21 everywhere, it doesn't seem to make sense that one can advertise all over the place without raising an eyebrow while the other has to hide in the shadows of late-night.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: It was no small feat getting the latest "Men in Black" movie to the big screen.

— Joe Flint

Follow me on Twitter. I'll tweet from the A train! Twitter.com/JBFlint

Photo: "The Avengers." Credit: Zade Rosethal / Disney.

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