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The Morning Fix: Thumbs-up for 'Avengers,' Viacom profit up

After the coffee. Before what is hopefully the last visit to the dentist for a while. 

The Skinny: Was having a Twitter debate over whether "Mad Men" is better than "The Sopranos." Here's how I know "The Sopranos" is better. Years from now I don't think I'll be going on YouTube to look at "Mad Men" clips the way I do with "The Sopranos." Thursday's headlines include a rave review for "The Avengers," Viacom's profits are way up, Bloomberg won a legal fight against Comcast and CNN's rating woes continue.

The Avengers will be huge
Daily Dose: Want to learn how to get coffee, kiss butt and be quiet while being yelled at? Well, now there is a boot camp for aspiring production assistants. That's right, for a mere $145 the Quixote boot camp will teach you the "basic dos and don'ts while on set." Here's a link to the Groupon coupon (of course) for this once in a lifetime opportunity.

You can run but you can't hide. We don't normally lead off with movie reviews at the Morning Fix, but with so much attention being focused on "The Avengers," it seems appropriate. In the Los Angeles Times, critic Kenneth Turan says "The Avengers" is a "behemoth of a movie" that is " smartly thought out and executed with verve and precision." How good is it? Turan says viewers may not even notice that the movie runs almost 2 1/2 hours. Guess I know what I'm doing this Saturday.

Give Cartman a raise! Viacom, the entertainment giant whose holdings include cable channels MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and BET as well as movie studio Paramount Pictures, released its second quarter results early Thursday morning and said profits jumped 56% to $585 million. The gains were attributed to an increase in subscription fees at its cable networks and a strong  quarter from Paramount Pictures. Early analysis from Bloomberg and Reuters. The Wall Street Journal also weighs in on Nickelodeon's ratings woes.

Bloomberg beats Comcast. The Federal Communications Commission decided in favor of Bloomberg TV in its bitter fight with Comcast Corp. over channel positioning. At issue was where Bloomberg TV was placed on Comcast cable systems in relation to where Comcast-owned CNBC and MSNBC were located. Comcast will appeal the decision. Details from the Los Angeles Times and Multichannel News.

Bad news. CNN's ratings hit a new low in April. The cable news channel continues to struggle against opinion-oriented rivals Fox News and MSNBC in prime time. One of CNN's problems has been its inability to create shows that will attract viewers when there isn't a breaking news story happening. Of course, CNN still remains very healthy from a financial standpoint. More from the New York Times.

There's an opening at Disney's movie unit. Former Disney Chief Executive Michael Eisner wants to launch his own movie and television production company. According to CNBC, Eisner is looking to raise about $800 million to get the venture off the ground and will put $20 million of his own money into the start-up. Guess the job as head of Disney Studios, succeeding Rich Ross, doesn't hold much appeal.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: A look at Zynga Chief Operating Officer John Schappert's strategy to keep the social network gaming company on top. The movie "Marigold Hotel" is going after an audience Hollywood usually ignores -- seniors.

-- Joe Flint

Follow me on Twitter. It's where all the twits are. Twitter.com/JBFlint

Photo: "The Avengers." Credit: Marvel.

 
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