Morning Fix: News Corp. runs afoul of FCC. Watching child actors.
After the coffee. Before pointing to Jamie Moyer when people say I'm getting old.
The Skinny: The NFL schedule was announced last night, so for one brief moment I can look and fantasize that the Redskins will have a winning season. Wednesday's headlines include a push for tough background checks for those who work with child actors, News Corp. finding itself in violation of FCC ownership rules, and Universal planning a movie version of "The Rockford Files."
Daily Dose: Ratings for NBC News' TV magazine "Rock Center" are pretty bad, but anchor Brian Williams can still hold his head high at home, at least for now. Last week's "Rock Center" did manage to get better ratings than HBO's heavily hyped "Girls," whose cast includes Williams' daughter Allison. Even though "Rock Center" is on NBC and available in over 100 million homes, while HBO is only in 30 million homes, it was a close race. In fact, among female viewers age 18-34, "Rock Center" had 141,000 viewers while "Girls" averaged 114,000. Odds are "Girls" will get a second season from HBO. It seems unlikely NBC will offer that to "Rock Center."
Fighting back. Former child stars Corey Feldman and Todd Bridges are pushing for more oversight of child actors. The two are speaking publicly about their personal experiences of being molested while working in the entertainment industry, trying to help push the California Legislature to pass a bill that would require background checks for talent managers, photographers and others who work unsupervised with child actors. In 2006, a similar bill failed to get enough support to pass through the state Senate. "Without these types of precautions, Hollywood will continue to attract pedophiles with an unmonitored playing field to commit their inhumane acts," Bridges told the Los Angeles Times.
Oops. Media giant News Corp. said it is suspending the voting rights of some of its foreign shareholders because the company discovered that the level of foreign ownership of News Corp. stock had risen to 36%. That put the company in violation of Federal Communications Commission rules, which allow a company that owns TV stations here to have foreign ownership of no more than 25%. News Corp. said the suspension will continue until the foreign-ownership percentage is in compliance with FCC rules. More from the News Corp.-owned Wall Street Journal.
Gold watch time? Gordie Crawford, senior vice president of Capital Research and Management Co. and a prominent media investor, may be retiring. Crawford, considered to be a sharp observer of the media industry and tight with many top executives, will step back at the end of the year, Reuters said.
Who will play Angel? Normally, the Morning Fix doesn't link to stories about movie projects. But Universal is making a movie version of one of my favorite shows -- "The Rockford Files." According to Deadline Hollywood, the studio is going to remake the 70's classic with Vince Vaughn reprising the role made famous by James Garner. This is distressing to me, but I will reserve judgment until I see the final project. One suggestion: Either Seth Rogen or John C. Reilly for the part of Angel.
Score settling. Former NBC Entertainment chief Warren Littlefield's oral history about the network's glory days in the 1990s is coming out, and Brian Lowry of Variety has a review. Lowry notes -- as the Los Angeles Times did as well -- that the book takes a lot of shots at Littlefield's former boss, Don Ohlmeyer. Also missing is anything about late night, even though Littlefield had a major role in the drama that led to Jay Leno replacing Johnny Carson and David Letterman heading to CBS.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Patrick Goldstein on whether the folks who rate movies are going soft on weed. Tom Petty's stolen guitars were recovered. Having seen Petty, I can tell you the dude changes guitars after every song. Frankly, it's very annoying.
-- Joe Flint
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Photo: Todd Bridges. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times