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The Morning Fix: 'Despicable Me' is also profitable me! Hulu's pay-for-play plan. HBO hopes reruns of 'True Blood' will have bite. CNN's botched Larry King exit plan.

July 15, 2010 |  7:03 am

After the coffee. Before remembering my mantra.

Free Hulu! Hulu Chief Executive Jason Kilar promises that while the video website has recently launched a pay model, Hulu will always have a free component. Of course, the question is whether the content that will be offered for free will be all that compelling if the content providers decide they no longer want to give it away. Kilar talks to the Los Angeles Times about the direction he sees Hulu going and what he likes to watch when he's in front of the computer.

Being despicable on the cheap. The surprise success of Universal's animated "Despicable Me" may provide a lesson to other studios on how to cut corners without necessarily losing quality. The film, which cost about $70 million, has already taken in more than that in box office. The Wall Street Journal looks at  Illumination Entertainment, the animation outfit headed by producer Chris Meledandri that made "Despicable Me." On a side note, am I the only one who thinks the main character from that film looks a lot like the animated character Michael Jackson portrayed on a famous episode of "The Simpsons"?

Comcast-NBC Universal gets green light in Europe. While the proposed marriage of Comcast and NBC Universal grinds slowly through the Federal Communications Commission and Justice Department, European regulators have given a thumbs-up to the deal. Are they more efficient or not as thorough? Details from The Hill.

Not much respect for King. Deadline Hollywood's Nellie Andreeva looks at how CNN handled (or mishandled) the Larry King succession. It certainly wasn't a pretty picture. King's ratings (and the quality of his show, many critics said) have been in decline for years, yet CNN seemed blind to this. When the network finally did figure out who should replace King (British personality Piers Morgan), the network did not exactly coordinate an exit strategy. Instead, after reports broke overseas, CNN went into denial mode and even though only the most gullible believed them, that doesn't mean CNN's credibility with the business press wasn't damaged.

Hope my debt-holders are as forgiving. The credit holders of foundering movie studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer have again extended the deadline for debt payments to Sept. 15. That's the sixth extension for MGM. Its current deadline was set to expire Wednesday. More from Variety.

Jolie's big payday. Angelina Jolie is pulling in $20 million for "Salt," her spy thriller. The Hollywood Reporter says the actress has transcended gender to become not just a female action star, but an action star with the paycheck to prove it.

Eye on Press. CBS Films, which has released two movies to less than stellar results, has tapped veteran film marketing executive Terry Press to refocus the unit, according to the Wrap. The article does not say if Press has been hired or is merely consulting or what her exact role is at the unit. UPDATE: CBS has sent us word that Press is a consultant.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: HBO wants big bucks for reruns of "True Blood," but buyers should beware as most HBO shows have not performed well in syndication. John Horn on Disney's marketing push behind "The Sorcerer's Apprentice." Cablevision founder Chuck Dolan has an interesting frequent flier plan for his company's executives. 

-- Joe Flint

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