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Good News for ABC, or Just Bad News for NBC?

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The network-news world is quaking: ABC's World News Tonight, with Charles Gibson, is overtaking Brian Williams on NBC's Nightly News in the ratings after years and years of NBC domination. While New York has had our issues with ole Charlie, the achievement is nevertheless impressive. And NBC, for its part, is responding the way TV networks tend to respond: It's firing longtime Nightly executive producer John Reiss. But infinitely more fascinating than Reiss's imminent canning is the way Gibson is catching up. While NBC's evening-news audience hemorrhaged over half a million viewers in 2006, ABC's audience grew by a mere 60,000. In other words, WNT isn't really luring eyeballs away from Nightly. It's just that people are abandoning the format in droves, and 2006, while a fine year for ABC, was a particular crappy one at 30 Rock. So celebrate while you can in Disney world; no doubt your viewers are disappearing next. (Does Katie even have any left to lose?) Meantime, pass the Geritol. NBC May Oust Evening News Executive [NYT] Earlier: Charles in Charge [NYM]

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Attacks, Affairs, and VFW Fundraisers

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• A Westchester married couple who live on the Clintons' cul-de-sac were ambushed and shot on their way to their Chappaqua home Saturday night. Both remain in the hospital. Suspects abound; the husband, Carlos Perez-Olivo, is a high-profile lawyer recently disbarred amid accusations of incompetence. [amNY] • The Post breaks out the dollar sign for "McLaughlin's 'Lavi$hed' Lady," about a spa operator whom married assemblyman and labor leader Brian McLaughlin reportedly romanced. Add this to the already epic list of his malfeasances, which, we'll never tire of reminding you, included stealing from the Little League. [NYP] • In a Coen brothers movie come to life, four masked gunmen held up a poker fund-raiser at a VFW hall in Franklin Square, Long Island, and took the game's pot. The robbers also helped themselves to the guests' wallets and cell phones. They'd even, evidently, cased the joint before. [WNBC] • In media-on-media news, we'll note the Daily News' Stanley Crouch telling young black men to grow up. Filming a "popular program for black youths," the columnist found himself "surrounded by black men, ages 18 to 35, and I was appalled. As a father with a daughter nearly 30 years old who has never been close to marrying anyone, I was once more struck by what my offspring describes as 'a lack of suitable men.'" [NYDN] • And in a bit of media-on-media-on-media news, TVNewser comes in for its big New York Times close-up, executed along the usual narrative lines of "OMG kid with blog" and "Isn't this what the Web was invented for." To its credit, the Times also gets a great quote from the game Brian Williams, who compares the blogger to The King of Comedy's Rupert Pupkin. [NYT]

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