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The Morning Fix: 'Lorax' to live in first place. Britney joining 'X Factor'?

March 9, 2012 |  7:28 am

After the coffee. Before figuring out Rupert Murdoch's birthday gift.

The Skinny: Ignore the rumors. My bosses are not bringing Peyton Manning in for a tryout. You're stuck with me. Friday's headlines include a preview of the weekend box office, Britney Spears near a deal to join "The X Factor," and reviews of HBO's "Game Change" and "John Carter."

Britney Spears may join X Factor
Daily Dose: This Sunday, NBC brings back "Harry's Law," the legal drama starring Kathy Bates that the network likes to pretend doesn't exist. When it premiered last season, "Harry's Law" averaged 11.6 million viewers. Its reward? Getting moved out of its Monday time slot to Wednesday. This season it averaged almost 9 million viewers on Wednesday until getting bumped for Brian Williams' news magazine "Rock Center," which has averaged half that audience. Given how much NBC is struggling, one wonders why it doesn't show "Harry's Law" more love. The main reason is because the "Harry's Law" audience is mostly people over the age of 50, thus making the show unattractive to many advertisers. 

Maybe they should rename it "Jimmy Carter." Universal's "The Lorax," which took in more than $70 million last weekend, will dominate the box office again while Disney's expensive epic "John Carter" is expected to stumble big time. With a budget of more than $250 million, "John Carter" isn't predicted to take in more than $25 million this weekend. The two other new movies -- Eddie Murphy's "A Thousand Words" and Elizabeth Olsen's thriller "Silent House" -- are not likely to do well either. Box office projections from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.

I'm a slave for you. Britney Spears is near a deal to go work for Simon Cowell as a judge on his musical competition show "The X Factor," according to the Hollywood Reporter. "The X Factor," which had a decent but not spectacular first season given all the hype behind it, is revamping the show for its second season this fall.

Another shoe that could drop. The ongoing ethics scandal at News Corp.'s British newspapers could cost the company its stake in BSkyB, the powerful British satellite broadcaster. The Financial Times and Guardian report that British regulators have "stepped up" their probe into whether James Murdoch is fit to serve as chairman of BSkyB. The worst-case scenario would be that Murdoch would have to resign and News Corp. would have to unload its almost 40% stake in the company.

Making the boys hungry. "The Hunger Games" is expected to be a huge hit when it's released later this month. But Lionsgate is taking no chances with the film version of the young adult novels that have been such a hit with girls. Concerned that getting guys to the theater may be hard, the studio is going out of its way to make sure its movie doesn't get branded as another "Twilight." More on the marketing efforts from the Wall Street Journal.

Meet me in Miami. The growth in Spanish prime-time soap operas known as telenovelas has turned out to be big business for Miami. According to the New York Times, there is a boom in telenovela production by Univision and Telemundo "turning Miami into a telenovela Tinseltown." When it comes to determining if a show has a potential star, one top agent in the genre says he tells executives, "If you love an actress, but your nanny doesn’t know who she is, that’s a problem.”

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Betsy Sharkey on "John Carter." Mary McNamara on HBO's "Game Change."

-- Joe Flint

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Photo: Britney Spears. Credit: Tony Avelar/Associated Press