MOUSE SWALLOWS FOX. In one of the biggest entertainment biz deals ever, Disney has a deal to buy a big part of 21st Century Fox.
■ … in what The New York Times calls Fox overlord Rupert Murdoch’s “King Lear” moment.
■ The deal would finally put Marvel’s Spider-Man, X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises in the same cinematic universe with the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D.
■ But it may be even more about Fox’s small-screen series, like Futurama and Buffy.
■ … because it would give Disney control of Hulu and massive clout in competition with Netflix.
■ … which has been remarkably quiet as the FCC (updating coverage) prepared to vote this morning on a plan to gut internet neutrality rules—proceedings you can see on the web here.
‘NO MORE HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICTS, NO MORE ELEMENTARY DISTRICTS.’ At least one Illinois gubernatorial candidate is calling for unifying some of the state’s many units of school government.
■ Winners have been named in the lottery for coveted top spots on the ballot in next year’s primary.
LEGAL POT FOR COOK COUNTY? Voters get their say on that question in March—but it’ll be just an advisory referendum.
■ Chicago’s legendary Billy Goat Tavern is changing its beers on draft for the first time in 20 years.
CTA FARE HIKE. The plan to charge a quarter more per ride effective Jan. 7 is all but a done deal.
■ … with a budget approved over watchdog groups’ objections.
■ And don’t think you can dodge the increase by hopping on a horse-drawn carriage.
JERK OUT. A Texas Republican congressman under investigation for reprehensible conduct—including calling staffers “f**ktards”—says he won’t seek reelection.
■ Doug Jones’ historic win in Alabama’s Senate race will make President Trump’s work a lot tougher.
■ Trump’s withdrawn his judicial nomination of a man who described transgender children as evidence of “Satan’s plan.”
■ The Tribune’s Steve Chapman: Trump is “warming his hands on a fire that may eventually engulf him.”
■ A Democratic congresswoman is walking back her suggestion some women’s clothing choices are an “invitation” to harassment.
■ Former Vice President Joe Biden tells Teen Vogue he owes an apology to Anita Hill, who in 1991 alleged sexual harassment by then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.
ANCHORED. Iconic Chicago TV journalist Bill Kurtis has finally married his longtime partner, Donna La Pietra. (Photo: Kurman Communications, Inc.)
■ From last month: Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! host Peter Sagal relates a challenge Kurtis confronted as the show’s announcer (at about 48:30 in this audio).
■ Husband-and-wife team Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano have been cut from WLS-AM’s lineup to make room for live transmission in Chicago of gasbag Rush Limbaugh’s show.
■ … As we approach the end of the worst year on record for journalistic freedom around the world.
AWKWARD MOMENT. Mayor Emanuel joked yesterday that his “second wife” turned thumbs down on a presidential bid.
■ He’s been weirdly denying White House speculation for years—as he did in this news conference more than six years ago.