December 2013

The Best-Performing Stocks in the U.S. This Year: The Top Three Are Tesla, Best Buy and This Distributor-Provider of TV Shows and Movies

According to the Wall Street Journal, the best performing stock in the U.S. in 2013 was Tesla, the electric-car manufacturer, up 346%.

No. 3 was retailer Best Buy, up 239%.

And taking the silver trophy was Netflix, up 296%.

In the No. 4 and No. 5 positions, respectively, were Twitter, up 145%, and Herbalife, up 138%.

About Netflix, the story says, "The streaming video provider did little wrong in 2013. Shares surged 296%, making Netflix the top performer in the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100. Booming subscriber growth and an increase in original programing were key drivers of the stock’s move back above $300.

"In its latest quarterly report, Netflix made $32 million. Yet for now, Wall Street doesn’t appear too concerned about the company’s slim profits, so long as it keeps generating growth and continues stockpiling high-quality content, such as Emmy winner 'House of Cards' and 'Orange Is the New Black.'

"In October, billionaire investor Carl Icahn sold more than half his stake in Netflix for about $1 billion. He originally invested in the company at $58 a share in 2012, but after Netflix’s share price more than quintupled, he said it was 'time to take some chips off the table.' "

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Tim Tebow Hired ... as a TV Football Analyst

"Former Florida quarterback and Heisman winner Tim Tebow has been hired as a college football analyst for the SEC Network launching in August 2014," announced ESPN, which runs the SEC Network.

The announcement continues, "Through a multi-year agreement, Tebow’s primary role will be as an analyst for 'SEC Nation,' the network’s traveling pregame show that will originate from a different SEC campus each week beginning August 28, 2014. In the months leading up to launch and after, he will contribute to a variety of ESPN platforms including 'SportsCenter,' ESPN Radio, and the network’s Heisman Trophy coverage, offering in-depth perspective as a legendary Southeastern Conference player."

The announcement adds, "On Monday, Jan. 6, Tebow will make his first appearance as an ESPN analyst during pregame coverage of the 2013 VIZIO BCS National Championship. He will contribute to the 9 a.m. ET edition of 'SportsCenter,' 'College Football Live' (3 p.m.) and 'College GameDay Built by The Home Depot' (7 p.m.). He will also be part of studio coverage for the new College Football Playoff (semifinals and championship game), which begins next season. Tebow is the first college football analyst hired for the SEC Network. He joins a commentating roster that includes Joe Tessitore, host of 'SEC Nation,' and Paul Finebaum, host of 'The Paul Finebaum' radio show."

In the announcemnet Tebow said, "I am so excited that ESPN has given me this incredible opportunity. When I was six years old I fell in love with the game of football and while I continue to pursue my dream of playing quarterback in the NFL, this is an amazing opportunity to be a part of the unparalleled passion of college football and the SEC."

Tebow also sent out that statement in a series of tweets this afternoon, Monday, Dec. 30, 2013.

Sports Illustrated, in its coverage of the announcement, wrote, "Tebow, 26, set SEC conference records for rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns in a season with Florida in 2007, his Heisman Trophy-winning year.

"He spent three seasons in the NFL, throwing 17 touchdowns with a passing rating of 75.3 and was cut by the New England Patriots at the end of training camp this past summer."

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What's Disappearing From Your Netflix Queue on Jan. 1?

You may want to clear your calendar for today and tomorrow and get busy catching up on Netflix -- before it's too late. A slew of movies and television shows are set to expire from the online streaming service Jan. 1, including “Titanic” and the soap opera “Dark Shadows,” reports New York Magazine.

“For a while, it was also possible to find out what was expiring, information that was valuable to the Netflix user who maybe wanted to watch something before it disappeared from his or her Instant Queue (which is now called ‘My List’),” the story notes.

The report adds: “Earlier this year, Netflix removed the ability to easily find out in bulk what titles were expiring from its library, which means that users on Reddit and other sites have picked up the slack."

Some of these titles may reappear after a few months or even hours, because of the “vagaries” of Netflix’s contracts, the story notes.

Some of the expiring movies are “Being John Malkovich,” “Braveheart” and “Top Gun,” while expiring television shows include “The Kids in the Hall” and “Saturday Night Live: The 2000s."

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Popular Morning Show Anchor Comes Out as Gay

A veteran anchor on a top morning show has publicly disclosed that she is gay. The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports that Robin Roberts of ABC's “Good Morning America” made the revelation, thanking her “long time girlfriend, Amber” in a year-end note that reflected on her health issues and recovery,

Roberts, who posted the note on Facebook, wrote, “I am grateful for my entire family, my long time girlfriend, Amber, and friends as we prepare to celebrate a glorious new year together.”

The mention was the first time Roberts had disclosed her relationship, the story notes.

ABC News, in a statement released after Roberts posted her note, said, “We love Robin and Amber, who we have all known for a long time. We were so touched by her Facebook message today and so thankful for all the loving support she has in her life."

Roberts was on a medical leave earlier this year for a bone marrow transplant, returning to “GMA” in September. She recently signed a new deal with ABC News.

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TVWeek New Year's Holiday Schedule This Week

TVWeek will be closed tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013 through Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014, for the New Year's holiday and will not publish our regular newsletters on those days.

The next regularly scheduled issue of TVWeek will be this coming Friday, Jan. 3, 2014.

Starting Monday, Jan 6, 2014, we will resume our regular publication schedule.

As always, we will keep you informed inbetween through our TVWeek EXTRA alerts.

From our family to yours, we wish you the very best during the holidays!

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GLAAD Condemns A&E's 'Duck Dynasty' About-Face

GLAAD isn’t pleased with the decision by A&E to bring back “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson after he made anti-gay remarks to GQ magazine, reports the Los Angeles Times’ Show Tracker.

"Phil Robertson should look African American and gay people in the eyes and hear about the hurtful impact of praising Jim Crow laws and comparing gay people to terrorists," GLAAD said in a statement. "If dialogue with Phil is not part of next steps then A+E has chosen profits over African American and gay people -- especially its employees and viewers."

GLAAD’s condemnation of Robertson’s comments helped spur his suspension in the first place, the story notes.

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Drama Series Ends Its Run -- and Hardly Any Viewers Show Up

A broadcast series that has been airing for four seasons ended its run late last week -- and hardly anyone showed up, based on Nielsen Media Research figures.

"CW’s 'Nikita' carried out its last mission with few witnesses: The spy show’s finale had 805,000 viewers," TheWrap.com reports. "'Nikita' scored a .2 rating in the key 18-49 demographic, low even by CW standards. The network targets a more youthful demographic than its more established rivals."

The drama series aired its finale Friday night at 9 p.m., going up against mostly repeat programming on the big four broadcast networks. Winning the hour was a "Shark Tank" rerun on ABC, with a 1.2 average in the 18-49 demo.

“The low finale numbers for the Maggie Q drama help explain why it was canceled, after four seasons,” the report adds. “The rating was in line with the show’s average this season, though the show was up slightly in total viewers.”

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Multiple Emmy-Winning TV Editing Pioneer Dies

A veteran television editor who worked on a string of popular series and was a pioneer of a major editing system has died. Deadline.com reports that former TV repairman Marco Zappia died Dec. 22 in Ventura, Calif. He was 76.

Zappia received 15 Primetime Emmy nominations for his editing work, including five for his work on "Home Improvement." He won Emmys in 1971 for "Hee Haw" and in 1981 for the special "Christmas in the Holy Land."

Zappia, who started out owning a TV repair shop, joined CBS in 1968 as an engineer in the videotape department. His first editing job was on CBS’s “Hee Haw,” which earned him his first Emmy. It was also CBS’s first-ever win for editing.

He later edited many TV specials and series, including "All in the Family" and “Maude.” He had prolific sitcom credits in the 1990s, working on “Who’s the Boss?,” “Boy Meets World” and “Dinosaurs,” among others.

“Zappia also contributed to the development of the multi-cam Avid Editing System, which he was the first to use to edit a multi-cam sitcom while on ‘Home Improvement,’” the story notes. “Earlier this year he published his memoir ‘Smartest Guy in the Room’ detailing his career in entertainment.”

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What Were the Five Most Embarrassing TV News Moments of 2013?

The television news industry had its high points in 2013, from coverage of the death of Nelson Mandela to the U.S. government shutdown, but it also had its share of embarrassing moments, writes Scott Collins in the Los Angeles Times.

Chief among them was “Today” host Matt Lauer’s decision to dress up as Pamela Anderson's "Baywatch" character, C.J. Parker, for Halloween.

“After his reputation got beat up in the Ann Curry debacle, the 'Today' host didn't need this. But hey, he did it to himself. No one made him don a blond wig and a red one-piece,” Collins writes.

The second most embarrassing moment was the apology from “60 Minutes” for its Benghazi report. “Whoops. CBS's news magazine had a superb track record for accuracy -- until this year,” Collins writes, adding that correspondent Lara Logan’s apology “wasn't good enough -- CBS ended up handing Logan and her producer a suspension.”

The third-place event was the fake town crier who announced the royal baby, with CNN explaining that the “town crier” was a traditional role in England before the Internet age.

“Left unexplained was that the man -- one Tony Appleton -- had no official role or connection to Buckingham Palace and merely does his crier act for corporate events and the like," Collins writes. "In other words, he was promoting himself -- and fooling the entire media world to boot. Hear ye, hear ye, that was well-played!”

No. 4 : Megyn Kelly’s “Santa Claus race war,” in which the Fox News host informed viewers that Santa Claus is white. “Kelly later explained that the segment was supposed to be ‘tongue in cheek.’ If so, the whole situation showed why news networks should leave the funny stuff to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert,” Collins notes.

No. 5: KTVU-TV’s “whopper” of a mistake, when it reported bogus names (“Captain Sum Ting Wong”) for the crew members on Asiana flight 214, which had crashed. “Whether you found the gaffe offensive or funny, it ended up having serious consequences," Collins notes. "KTVU fired three producers deemed responsible for the incident, and Asiana threatened to sue the station (although it later dropped the suit)."

matt lauer as pam anderson.pngMatt Lauer as Pamela Anderson

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How ESPN -- With More Than $6 Billion in Annual Subscriber Fees -- Receives Hundreds of Millions in Tax Breaks

ESPN is “hardly needy,” given that it brings in about $6 billion a year in subscriber fees alone, but still has received about $260 million in tax breaks and credits from the state of Connecticut over the past 12 years, reports The New York Times.

“That includes $84.7 million in development tax credits because of a film and digital media program, as well as savings of about $15 million a year since the network successfully lobbied the state for a tax code change in 2000,” the story reports.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy believes that “any business with ESPN is good business,” the article adds. “After all, ESPN is Connecticut’s most celebrated brand and a homegrown success story, employing more than 4,000 workers in the state."

While other major corporations, such as General Motors in Michigan, have received generous tax breaks from their home states, ESPN’s case has “been met with frustration by some political opponents of the Connecticut governor, who say the state’s resources would be better spent elsewhere,” The Times reports.

The report adds: “The critics say incentives should be redirected to smaller companies that are more in need than ESPN, which accounts for nearly half the operating profit of Disney, its corporate parent. They also say ESPN, sitting on 123 acres in central Connecticut, is hardly a risk to move elsewhere."

Gov. Malloy told The Times that ESPN is helping attract other sports media jobs to the state, pointing to NBC Sports recently opening new headquarters there.

“I don’t want to imagine Connecticut without ESPN,” Malloy told the publication. “We want ESPN to have the biggest possible footprint in Connecticut, and we want them spending their dollars in Connecticut instead of any other state.”

An ESPN spokesman said that the media company has proved to be a “growth engine” for central Connecticut’s economic development, adding that the company has consistently added jobs.

ESPN, which has spent about $1 billion constructing buildings in and around Bristol since 2000, is the 25th-largest employer in the state.

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