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Morning Media Newsfeed 12.27.12

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Brian's Not Solid on Rock (NY Post / Page Six)
Brian Williams is about to start distancing himself from his struggling NBC news magazine show Rock Center with Brian Williams, sources tell Page Six. The program's failed to perform well, attracting an average of about 3.5 million viewers, but dipping to as low as 2.6 million at one point. FishbowlNY Apparently with low ratings piling up, there is some uncertainty as to whether Rock Center will continue, and Williams wants to save face if the show is canned. HuffPost The report comes after NBC News announced that it was moving Rock Center to Friday nights at 10 p.m. The move did not seem to bode well for the newsmagazine, which has struggled to find an audience since it debuted in 2011. Mediaite Another insider told the Post that "NBC has tried a number of time slots, but none seem to have worked out. It makes sense that Brian will distance himself from the show. He already has a very heavy workload, and it's a nice way to develop new talent."

D.C. Police: Illegal for David Gregory to Show Empty Gun Magazine on Television (Politico)
A Washington Metropolitan Police Department spokesman tells Politico that it was illegal for NBC's David Gregory to show an empty gun magazine on television last Sunday, even if it was empty. The spokesman also said he could not confirm a report by TMZ, the Hollywood gossip site, alleging that a D.C. police official told a member of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives just the opposite, leading Gregory and his team at NBC's Meet the Press to believe he could legally show an empty magazine on television. TMZ An official from the D.C. police told a member of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that David Gregory could display a high capacity magazine on Meet the Press Sunday, TMZ has learned. TVNewser In Washington, D.C. you are not allowed to "possess, sell, or transfer any large capacity ammunition feeding device regardless of whether the device is attached to a firearm." Gregory was interviewing NRA chief Wayne LaPierre on last Sunday's show. Gregory is on previously scheduled vacation and will not be hosting this Sunday's show. DCist However, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) does not have purview over ammunition possession in the District of Columbia. That burden falls to the Metropolitan Police Department. TMZ reported that the ATF did contact D.C. police in turn, who supposedly said the Meet the Press stunt could go on as long as Gregory's magazine was empty. The ATF then called back Meet the Press and gave the long-running public affairs program the go-ahead. But Tuesday night it was reported that the MPD is, in fact, investigating Gregory and Meet the Press for violating D.C. laws prohibiting the possession or purchase of large-capacity ammunition. The Washington Post / Erik Wemple A rule for broadcasters: If you're going to flout the law by flaunting an illegal ammunition magazine on air, make sure that said illegal magazine plays a central role in your programming. By that standard, at least, NBC News did things right on Sunday's episode of Meet the Press.

NBA Christmas Day Ratings Big for ABC and ESPN (USA Today)
If the Christmas Day ratings prove anything, it's that for sports, the day belongs to the NBA. The NBA's five-game Christmas Day schedule delivered big numbers for the NBA on ABC and ESPN, based on Tuesday night ratings according to Nielsen. Yahoo! Sports / Ball Don't Lie So, in a way, the very good TV ratings for Tuesday's games was expected. What wasn't ideal for the league, though, was that ratings went down from last Christmas, when the lockout turned that slate of five games into the season opener. THR / The Live Feed Scoring Christmas night's strongest average among adults 18-49 (2.0 rating), ABC aired Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1.7) after a strong lead-in from NBA overrun (2.6). The network placed second among total viewers with 5.4 million for the night. The Wrap / The Box CBS, airing reruns of NCIS, NCIS: LA and Vegas, was second in the ratings with a 1.3/4 and first in total viewers with 8.1 million. Univision was third in ratings and total viewers with 1.4/4 and 3.5 million. NBC, which aired repeats of Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears A Who and Blake Shelton's Not So Family Christmas, was fourth in ratings and total viewers with a .9/3 and 2.9 million total viewers.

Piers Morgan Sees Support (Sort of) from Anti-Deportation Petitions (TVNewser)
Two new petitions aiming to keep Piers Morgan in the US -- a response to a petition to have him deported -- have popped up on the "We the People" section of WhiteHouse.gov. One created on Christmas Day says Piers Morgan should stay in the US because, "No one in the UK wants him back." (Not true. A woman in Solihull will gladly take him in.) Neither of the new petitions has the same momentum as the one created last Friday calling for Morgan's deportation. Washington Examiner / Gregory Kane On one show (better make that "on at least one show"), Morgan suggested the possibility that the Second Amendment might be repealed. I was about to dismiss Morgan as just some cheeky limey butting his snout into America's internal affairs when it occurred to me: He'd done Second Amendment advocates a favor.

TV's Winners and Losers of 2012 (THR)
The Voice sings on, cable trounces broadcast and CNN has one way to go -- up. Adweek To that end, here's our list of the 10 most debatable (in every sense) shows of the 2012 TV season -- some new, some old, some good, some bad and all eminently angry-making.

Oxygen Orders Babies' Mamas Special (B&C)
Oxygen Media has announced production on a new one-hour special, All My Babies' Mamas (working title), about the complicated lives of a man, his children and those children's mothers. The special is from executive producers Liz Gateley and Tony DiSanto, formerly of MTV, who will produce through their company DiGa Vision. Deadline Hollywood Slated to premiere next spring, the special chronicles the complicated lives of one man, his children's mamas, and their army of children, capturing the highs and lows of this extreme "blended family" as they navigate their financially and emotionally connected lives. Forbes / Julia Bricklin Yikes. But not surprising, given that Oxygen is the home to such fare as My Shopping Addiction, The Bad Girls Club, and every possible incarnation of Tori Spelling and her husband. Oxygen's mission statement is to rewrite "the rulebook for women's media by changing how the world sees entertainment from a young woman's point of view," through a vast array of "unconventional and original content," including The Glee Project, Best Ink and I'm Having Their Baby.

Landmark 700th Issue Brings New, 'Superior' Spider-Man (USA Today)
After 50 years of Peter Parker as Spider-Man, his archest of nemeses is taking over as Marvel Comics' most iconic superhero. Out Wednesday, the landmark Amazing Spider-Man No. 700 features a final battle between the mind-swapped Parker and Dr. Otto Octavius -- aka the evil Doctor Octopus -- resulting in the hero suffering a possibly permanent defeat and Doc Ock standing victorious in the mind and body of Spider-Man. CNN The just-released Amazing Spider-Man No. 700 marks the end of one of the most popular comic book series of all time after 50 years. All parties involved maintain that the changes are quite permanent, and next month, the saga begins anew with the release of The Superior Spider-Man No. 1, with the Doc, Otto Octavius, stepping into the Spidey suit.

National Audit Office to Examine BBC Pay-Offs (BBC News)
The National Audit Office is to investigate BBC severance packages in the light of the departure of director general George Entwistle. It asked the BBC if it could specifically examine Entwistle's pay-off and report to MPs. But the BBC responded that a broader look of severance packages was more appropriate as the NAO cannot carry out "incident" studies.

Flirting with Disaster: Where Do You Draw the Line Between Activism and Journalism -- and Between Flirting and 'Cultivating Sources'? (CJR / #Realtalk)
When it comes to advocacy or PR you're doing on the side, the safest thing is to create the strongest wall you can between your consulting work and your journalistic work. But I get that's not realistic -- or even ideal -- for many people, myself included. I run a site called Lady Journos! that explicitly seeks to address the gender byline gap. But I also write about women and media. Am I "compromised"? By old-media standards, yes.

Publishing: The Road Ahead (TechCrunch)
With the closing of Spin magazine's print edition alongside the failure of the print edition of Newsweek (not to mention the shuttering of countless newspapers and magazines around the world) you'd be hard-pressed to say that publishing -- particularly in the news space -- is doing well. Add in the merger of Penguin and Random House -- a Napster-esque move designed to stave off the vagaries of a non-collusive market -- and you've got an even bleaker picture.

The Best Viral Videos of 2012 (Or Seven of Them, Anyway) (Forbes / Mixed Media)
Among other things, 2012 was the year when the gotta-see-it YouTube sensation became more than just a way of killing time on your lunch hour. In the past 12 months, viral videos have launched companies, musical careers and even international movements (or at least one short-lived but notable one).

New York's Oldest Weekly Says Goodbye to Print (The Business Review)
The Ballston Journal -- the oldest weekly newspaper in New York state -- published its last print edition Dec. 21. Angela McFarland, who purchased the 214-year-old publication from The Hearst Corp. in 2009, said increasing production costs, shifts in readership and declining advertising revenue all played a part in her decision to convert to a digital-only format.

Young Fantasy Authors Enter World of Self-Publishing with Nimpentoad (Wired / Geek Dad)
There is this point in the development of children where for a moment you no longer want them to stay young and innocent, but you want them to grow up just a little bit. This point is when they have begun to read a bit, are showing an interest in your interests, but most of your favorite sci-fi and fantasy worlds are still out of reach. So, you look for things to bridge that gap, to maintain an interest so they can easily transition from The Hobbit to The Silmarillion. The problem is that the fantasy and sci-fi materials for that transition age are few and far between. This was the problem facing Henry Herz. So, he wrote his own fantasy children's book.

Best-Selling eBooks of 2012 (Digital Book World)
It was the year of erotic romance and young adult when it comes to eBook sales. The top six best-selling eBooks of 2012 are all part of the Fifty Shades and Hunger Games trilogies. One interesting thing about these two trilogies as top sellers is that one is all about sex and discretely for adults and the other awkwardly avoids mentions of sex and was directed toward a younger audience. GalleyCat For the second time this year, Jessica Sorensen has topped our Self Published Bestsellers List with another new adult novel.

Tasting Fame Again, Tweet by Tweet (NYT)
If the social Web is what made Internet phenoms like Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber famous in the first place, it's also giving Sally Jessy Raphael and others who have veered into the Hollywood hinterlands a much-welcomed second wind -- or, at the very least, a medium by which to rebrand and reintroduce themselves.

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