After the coffee. Before deciding on a Chinese restaurant for Christmas.
The Skinny: Another disappointing Sunday spent watching the Redskins blow a game. Fortunately, I've been reading the Johnny Carson biography by his former lawyer Henry Bushkin, which is proving a wonderful distraction to my team's woes. It's a great read. Monday's headlines include a recap of the weekend box office, critiques of "60 Minutes" and "Saturday Night Live." Also more on "Duck Dynasty" and PR executive Justine Sacco's inflammatory tweet.
Daily Dose: With Christmas around the corner, what better place to be than Jerusalem? That's what production company Endemol may be thinking. It's acquired a 33% stake in Reshet, a large Israeli broadcaster. The two will work on shows for Reshet that Endemol will then sell around the globe.
'Smaug' beats Burgundy. "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" beat back a challenge from "Anchorman 2" to stay in first place at the box office over the weekend. "Smaug" took in $31.5 million while "Anchorman 2" made $26.8 million. To be fair, it's not like "Anchorman 2" had a big publicity campaign behind it. A lot of people may not have been unaware that a sequel had been made. "American Hustle" also opened wide and took in almost $20 million. Weekend Box office coverage from the Los Angeles Times and Movie City News.
Time to reset the clock? "60 Minutes" has been taking a beating lately. First the venerable CBS news magazine had to apologize for a story about the Benghazi attack that proved false. Then it was blasted for story about Amazon that seemed more like a wet kiss than journalism. Now the show is taking heat for a piece it did on the National Security Agency that was seen as too soft. New York Times columnist David Carr on "60 Minutes."
Good to go. The Federal Communications Commission approved some big TV deals last Friday. Given the green light were a merger between Gannett and Belo and Tribune Co.'s acquisition of Local TV Holdings. Both deals were criticized by media watchdogs who fear consolidation among local TV stations will reduce diversity, particularly in local markets. More from the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times, the latter of which is owned by Tribune Co.
Rebuilding year. NBC's "Saturday Night Live" added many new cast members this season to make up for the departures of Bill Hader, Fred Armisen and Kristen Wiig. As usual, some think the show has lost its edge. I've always found the show -- like any 90-minute, mostly live television sketch show that's been on for almost 40 years -- to be hit and miss. But, hey, if it was so easy, everyone would be doing it. This past Saturday's episode with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake had some good moments because both have no problem with musical numbers. The Washington Post looks at this season of "SNL."
Merry Christmas, here's your pink slip. Cuts may be coming to NBC News. According to the New York Post, new NBC News chief Deborah Turness is looking to trim costs, which could include reducing the staff in Washington. There is even gossip about the future of "Meet the Press" and its host David Gregory. Getting rid of "Meet the Press" seems unlikely, but ratings have dropped so perhaps a shakeup behind the scenes is in order. NBC News isn't the only unit of the media giant in reduction mode. There have been quiet cuts at many other NBCUniversal as of late.
"Fast and Furious" continues. "Fast and Furious 7," which lost its co-star Paul Walker to a car crash last month, will be released in April 2015, according to star Vin Diesel. Universal Pictures put the brakes on the movie franchise's latest chapter after Walker's death. Details from the Hollywood Reporter.
A cautionary tweet tale. On Friday, Justine Sacco was a relatively obscure public relations executive for media mogul Barry Diller's IAC. Then she fired off a bad-taste tweet about AIDS and South Africa heard around the world and by Sunday she was out of job and a global pariah. Sacco, who was born in South Africa, subsequently apologized but at that point the damage was done. More on the tweet and swift reaction from Twitter and elsewhere from the Los Angeles Times and some deeper thoughts on the debacle from Variety.