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The Morning Fix: Liguori leaves Discovery! Ratner quits Oscars!

November 9, 2011 |  7:11 am

After the coffee. Before remembering imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

The Skinny. Just a reminder to readers that while there are many roundups of media stories, there is only one Morning Fix. Wednesday's headlines include Peter Liguori's departure from Discovery, Brett Ratner's resignation as producer of the Oscars and a new round of consolidation in the television station business. Also, on Wednesday there will be a nationwide test of the emergency broadcasting system at 11 a.m. so don't freak out. More on that from our Money & Company blog.

Discovering the door. Discovery Communications Chief Operating Officer Peter Liguori is leaving the cable programming giant at the end of the year, the company announced Wednesday morning. This comes about two years after he took the job. Liguori, who previously held senior positions at News Corp.'s FX and Fox Broadcasting, had been unhappy at Discovery for some time, people close to the situation said. While there, he got stuck with the dirty job of trying to manage Discovery's assorted partnerships, including OWN -- the cable network the company started with Oprah Winfrey that has struggled to build an audience. Discovery is not planning to replace him.

Backstage drama. After making a joke about rehearsing that included an anti-gay slur, director Brett Ratner has stepped down as producer of next year's Oscar awards. Although Ratner had apologized and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences said it wanted to move on, the heat over the crack did not die down. Of course, Ratner also didn't help himself by going on Howard Stern's radio show and engaging in a raunchy conversation. The next question is whether Oscar host Eddie Murphy -- who was a package deal with Ratner -- will stick around or go too. More from the Los Angeles Times, Hollywood Reporter, Variety and Deadline Hollywood.

Merger mania. There has been a new round of consolidation in the  local television industry, spearheaded by Baltimore-based Sinclair Broadcast Group, one of the nation's largest operators of TV stations.The local TV station business has struggled in the last few years. However, the development of new revenue streams for stations in the form of retransmission consent fees from cable and satellite operators and anticipation over big ad dollars from politicians next year, has heated up the industry. Details from the New York Times.

Stunning discovery. The key audience for television programming has always been women and many of those women are in fact also mothers. Apparently though this fact escaped Viacom's Nickelodeon, which spent months doing research on what anyone whose covered television for three days learns in 20 minutes. It is launching a new programming block from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. aimed at mothers on its Nick Jr. channel. Fortunately for Nickelodeon, The Wall Street Journal found all this fascinating. Sorry, guess I'm feeling particularly snarky today.

The world according to Ryan. Relativity Media's Ryan Kavanaugh says there is than box office performance when it comes to judging a movie. He better be right given that every move Hollywood makes with regards to when movies go to DVD or video-on-demand seems designed to reduce box office. Variety on Kavanaugh. 

Passing? Endemol, the reality show production giant, is likely to pass on a $1.4-billion offer for the company from Time Warner Inc., according to the Financial Times. The offer, made last week, came as Endemol tries to restructure its debt. Endemol is keeping silent for now on whether it will say thanks, but no thanks to Time Warner.

We can.Having beaten back investor Carl Icahn's effort to take over Lions Gate, the movie and television production company now has to show investors it is prepared to grow. Bloomberg looks at Lions Gate and what's ahead.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Kenneth Turan on "J. Edgar."

-- Joe Flint

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