As Hollywood prepares for an early weekend 4th-of-July weekend (which we’ll be discussing in a commensurately early box-office preview, maƱana), things are popping. To wit:

* Variety blogger Mike Fleming and Nikki Finke (who is supposedly trying to slow down for just a moment as she retools her site for its new owners and recovers from a virus) are both reporting a major shake-up at Paramount with the loss of a number of gigs for various folks. Just a little more good news for the California economy. As La Finke comments, the timing of this with the “Transformers” sequel windfall might strike some as obnoxious, but that’s show business for you.

* Meanwhile, Finke has also picked up on and “confirmed” a huge sounding Financial Times story about Paramount, Sony, and Fox being in talks to merge their home entertainment divisions. No doubt, this will be spun as a being a case of less-than-meets-the-eye. We’re told it’s mainly about economies-of-scale dealing with the production of DVDs, and that the studios plan to keep their brands entirely separate, which only makes sense. Still, it’s what’s happening below the surface that worries me here.

Personally, I’ll be rooting for the Obama administration’s FTC to be giving this a very thorough once-over, even if the long-awaited ascendancy of Al Franken to the U.S. Senate today underlines the arguably overly close relations between Hollywood and Washington (in both parties, I should add), which I say as a huge and unapologetic Franken fan myself.

Especially with Paramount in the lead, this can’t help but remind those of us of a historical bent of a certain landmark supreme court decision of 1945, which had both very bad and very good long-term effects on the film world. However, in the years since, media consolidation has nevertheless become, in my opinion at least, downright scary, with people like Rupert Murdoch and Sumner Redstone controlling entirely too much of the landscape. I understand the studios need and/or want to save money in this economic climate, but enough is enough.

* The Academy is growing.

* And George Clooney is making a move from Warner Brothers to Sony and all the usual folks have been buzzing about it. The Finke, whose heart always seems to be more with commerce than art, hasn’t been a Clooney lover for a long time because his movies don’t make gazillions. But late-blooming Clooney fan (George had me at his “From Dusk ‘Till Dawn” hello) Adam Rosenberg has a good rundown of the particular projects that will be impacted.

* And finally the biggest and most bittersweet news of all for those in cinephile blogosphere is that David Hudson’s essential “The Daily” is no more. David has been tirelessly rounding up everything cinematic from a serious film lover’s perspective, first for Greencine (think Euro/cinephile Netflix) and then for IFC, since well before I started my own life as a movie blogger and he’s been no small help to me and countless others. However, David promises big, but vague, things to come. I hope he somehow manages something Finkish, but perhaps even better. He’s one of the good people. So long, David, and thanks for all the linkage. (H/t Anne Thompson.)