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TVBIZWIRE
Aug 4, 2015
9:31 am
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Super-Sized Episode to Cap Jon Stewart’s Run on ‘Daily Show’ — Also, in Case You Missed It Last Night, Here’s a Clip of Amy Schumer’s Appearance on the Show (Mediaite, TheWrap, YouTube)

An expanded installment of Comedy Central’s “Daily Show with Jon Stewart” is on tap for the last night of Stewart’s 16-year run as host of the show.

Mediaite reports that the episode’s content is being kept under wraps, but the channel has blocked out a 52-minute slot in its schedule at 11 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 6.

Stewart is in the midst of a run of special guests during his final week, with Amy Schumer last night, Denis Leary tonight and Louis C.K. scheduled for Wednesday. Thursday’s finale — which is expected to be star-studded — will be preceded by a repeat of the Louis C.K. episode at 10:30.

TheWrap, which first reported the expanded installment, notes: “In addition to the 50-minute-ish send-off, Comedy Central will air an all-day marathon of classic episodes of ‘The Daily Show’ from Stewart’s 16-year history, as well as the original one-hour special, ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: News Your Own Adventure,’ on Thursday.”

Trevor Noah begins his run as “Daily Show” host Sept. 28.

Here’s a clip from Monday’s appearance by Amy Schumer:

TVBIZWIRE
Aug 4, 2015
9:17 am
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Leaving on a High Note — ‘Downton Abbey’ Looks Ahead to the Final Season (TVWeek)

With “Downton Abbey” just days away from wrapping production on what will be its final season, cast members and producers gathered to provide a glimpse of what’s in store — and to look back over the show’s amazing run.

Actors Hugh Bonneville (Robert Crawley), Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith Crawley), Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary Crawley), Joanne Froggatt (Anna Bates), Elizabeth McGovern (Cora Crawley) and Penelope Wilton (Isobel Crawley) took part along with executive producers Rebecca Eaton and Gareth Neame in a panel discussion at the Television Critics Association summer press tour.

Also on hand was TVWeek Open Mic writer Hillary Atkin, who filed a full report on the proceedings. Please click here to read Hillary’s insightful piece.

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TVBIZWIRE
Aug 4, 2015
9:07 am
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Chernin Entertainment Names New President of Television (Deadline)

A veteran TV executive has been named as the new president of television at Chernin Entertainment. Deadline.com reports that former Ryan Murphy Television President Dante Di Loreto has taken the job.

Di Loreto “will oversee the day-to-day development and production for the company in the TV arena. He will report to Jenno Topping, head of Film and Television,” Deadline notes.

Di Loreto left Murphy seven months ago and has been working in the meantime on launching his own company, WatchWorks Entertainment. In eight years with Murphy he was a part of high-profile shows including “Glee” and “American Horror Story.”

Di Loreto succeeds Katherine Pope at Chernin.

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TVBIZWIRE
Aug 4, 2015
8:51 am
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TV Personality Arrested for Alleged Shoplifting (ET)

One of the former stars of a popular reality television show was out on bail after being arrested Sunday for allegedly shoplifting at a Target store. Entertainment Tonight reports that Kim Richards, a familiar face on TV from her appearances on “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” was released Monday afternoon on $5,000 bail.

Richards reportedly spent Sunday night in jail in Van Nuys, Calif., after being placed under citizen’s arrest by a loss-prevention officer at a Target location on Sepulveda Boulevard in Van Nuys.

ET reports that Richards was suspected of stealing a shopping cart full of toys and merchandise valued at $1,000.

“ET has learned that she had three carts full of items, but was only charged for a portion of what she loaded into her vehicle,” ET reports.

The report notes that Richards, 50, has struggled with sobriety and had a previous arrest for alleged public intoxication at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

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TVBIZWIRE
Aug 4, 2015
8:44 am
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When Will Brian Williams Be Back on the Air? Here’s an Update on the Plan (AP)

Brian Williams is nearing the end of his six-month suspension from NBC News, but that doesn’t mean he’s headed right back to the air. The AP reports that it will be at least another month before Williams is expected to appear on camera in his new role at MSNBC.

He was suspended Feb. 10 over inaccuracies in his accounts of incidents including a helicopter flight in Iraq in 2003, and that suspension officially ends next week. Following an internal investigation by NBC News, Williams lost his job as “Nightly News” anchor and was demoted to a job as a breaking news anchor at the cable news channel MSNBC.

“MSNBC hasn’t announced a start date for Williams,” the AP report notes. “The tentative target for his return is for the network’s coverage of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States, scheduled for Sept. 22-27, according to an executive there who spoke on condition of anonymity because plans aren’t fully set.”

Williams is expected to have a role in daytime hours on busy news days at the cable news channel, and won’t be given his own regular time slot, according to the report.

“MSNBC … is in the midst of a makeover driven by poor ratings, jettisoning much of its opinionated daytime programming,” the AP notes. “New NBC News chief Andrew Lack is seeking to turn MSNBC into a breaking news outlet during the day, with assistance from NBC News personalities, and restrict its liberal viewpoint to the evening.”

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TVBIZWIRE
Aug 4, 2015
8:19 am
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Comcast Doubles Internet Speed, Expands Access for Low-Income Consumers (Washington Post)

Comcast is upgrading its low-income Internet service. The Washington Post reports that the company will double download speeds and implement changes aimed at helping senior citizens. The upgrades are launching first in a pilot project in Florida.

“The $10-a-month program, Internet Essentials, will be getting a free speed bump from 5 megabits per second to 10 Mbps, which is fast enough to support multiple video streams simultaneously,” The Post reports. “That’s good news for poorer Americans who increasingly rely on the Web to do homework, find jobs and use government services.”

Eligibility for the Internet Essentials program is being expanded, making it easier for families to qualify. The program has historically been targeted at low-income families with children.

The West Palm Beach pilot project “will give older Americans — who, according to the Pew Research Center, remain disproportionately unconnected from the Web — access to Internet Essentials, too,” The Post notes.

An estimated 500,000 households have signed up for Internet Essentials, the report notes.

comcast internet essentials

TVBIZWIRE
Aug 4, 2015
8:07 am
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Report: Newsmag Receives Time-Slot Downgrade in Key Market (TheWrap)

A staple of TV entertainment news has received a major-market downgrade. TheWrap.com reports that the daytime newsmagazine “Access Hollywood Live” is getting a time-slot downgrade on Los Angeles station KNBC-TV, where it will move from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m..

The “Access Hollywood” spinoff is anchored by Billy Bush and Kit Hoover.

TheWrap reports that the show, which launched in 2010, has struggled in the ratings for the past couple of years, “prompting NBC-owned stations in Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and San Diego to drop the show in the 2014-15 season.”

The shift in L.A. follows time-slot moves for the show by New York station WNBC-TV, the report adds.

“New York’s WNBC downgraded the show in 2013 to 2 p.m. ET and then returned it to its 11 a.m. slot this season,” TheWrap reports. “Same-day airings of ‘Access Hollywood Live’ on E! also failed to resonate with viewers two summers ago and [the show] was removed from its sibling cable network after just a month.”

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TVBIZWIRE
Aug 4, 2015
7:31 am
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Cable TV Group Sees Surge in Profits (WSJ)

One of the major cable TV channel groups reported a spike in second-quarter profits. The Wall Street Journal reports that Scripps Networks Interactive Inc., the owner of HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel, Great American Country, DIY Network and other cable channels, posted a 26% increase in second-quarter earnings on higher ad revenue and fees paid by cable providers.

“The Knoxville, Tenn.-based company, like other cable-television-channel firms, has faced challenges from rivals such as Netflix and a growing number of ‘cord-cutters’ as more people watch video online and on mobile devices,” WSJ notes.

Scripps has been working on expanding its overseas footprint, launching HGTV in Asia and Food Network in Brazil and recently acquiring a controlling stake in Polish TV operator TVN.

“In the latest quarter, advertising revenue grew 1.4% to $496.9 million. Affiliate fees, which are paid by cable providers and other distributors, improved 8.5% to $203.4 million,” WSJ reports. “Overall, Scripps reported a profit of $193.7 million, or $1.49 a share, up from $153.8 million, or $1.07 a share, a year earlier. Excluding items such restructuring charges and acquisition-related impacts, per-share earnings rose to $1.47 from $1.14. Revenue increased 3.4% to $732.1 million.”

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TVBIZWIRE
Aug 3, 2015
3:27 pm
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Sling TV Targets NBC After Stations Refuse to Run Ads (Here’s the Video) (YouTube, Sling TV)

Dish’s Sling TV service is ratcheting up the pressure on NBC after network-owned stations reportedly refused to air ads for the service.

Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch appears in a new clip introducing the company’s ads, where he aims his comments squarely at NBC and its owner Comcast, making the point that stations owned by ABC, CBS and Fox are airing the ads. Lynch has also noted that independent NBC affiliates are running the ads, while NBC-owned stations in San Diego, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., have rejected them.

Lynch discusses the situation in a blog post, calling NBC owner Comcast “the standard bearer for ‘Old TV’ in the U.S.” One of the ads at the center of the campaign characterizes traditional TV providers as schoolyard bullies.

“Here’s the irony,” Lynch writes. “The refusal to air our campaign endorses the ads’ central truth: there are traditional pay-TV players that just don’t get it.”

Here’s what Lynch and Sling TV are saying, with the introductory video featuring Lynch followed by the schoolyard bully spot:

TVBIZWIRE
Aug 3, 2015
3:17 pm
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Publication That Has Been Covering the Media for Almost 40 Years Shuts Down (USA Today)

A media watchdog publication that has been in business since 1977 is shutting down. USA Today reports that American Journalism Review said it has run out of money and will shutter its online operation.

AJR, produced by the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, shut down its print version in 2013, but continued with online publishing.

Said Lucy Dalglish, dean of the college: “Unfortunately, we are unable to provide the resources needed to keep AJR the vibrant, innovative online publication it deserves to be.”

In a statement, the university said the publication’s online archives will continue to be available, while new content will no longer be produced.

“AJR was known for covering the changing media landscape since its inception in 1977, featuring profiles of news organizations and providing guidance and commentary on how journalists can better use technology or cover controversial issues,” USA Today notes. “Its coverage was closely followed in the media business, along with competitors like Poynter and Columbia Journalism Review, according to a detailed autobiography of the publication.”

The print publication originated as the Washington Journalism Review.

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