ITEM! Last Thursday, widely disliked FoxNews.com showbiz columnist Roger Friedman ran a since-removed piece about how he'd found and watched a pirated copy of 20th Century Fox's upcoming Wolverine on-line. Though he praised the film, Friedman's bosses (and much of the Hollywood blogosphere) took exception to a column that seemed not just to tout Wolverine, but to tout the stealing of Wolverine. ("It's so much easier than going out in the rain," Friedman reportedly raved.) Over the weekend, the news broke that News Corp had "terminated" Friedman, and there was much rejoicing. But by Sunday night, Friedman was denying he'd been fired, and the word now is that he'll be meeting with the bosses at Fox News, and will be given a chance to save his job.

ITEM! Veteran Variety editor/reporter/columnist Peter Bart has been "promoted" to "vice president and editorial director" of the long-running Hollywood trade publication: a job that will allow him to continue representing Variety and penning a column, but will effectively remove him from day-to-day decision-making at the paper. A former Paramount executive—and co-host of AMC's Shootout with Peter Guber—Bart has been an outspoken critic of the shoot-from-the-hip style of modern on-line journalism, and though Variety has recently made belated efforts at joining the blogerati, Bart has often used his own on-line column to rail against the new media. Bart's replacement, Tim Gray, is reportedly more internet-friendly, and has been tasked to guide Variety at a time when print media is struggling.

On-line people getting reprimanded, print people getting taken out of positions of responsibility… these are tough times all around. More news as events warrant.