Mar 22, 2018
4:59 pm

CNN Chief Rips Fox News (AP, TVWeek)

CNN chief Jeff Zucker let his feelings be known about the Fox News Channel today, telling attendees at the Financial Times Future of News conference that Fox News has become a propaganda machine that is “doing an incredible disservice to the country,” the AP reports.

Zucker’s comments came two days after Fox military analyst Ralph Peters offered a similar assessment of Fox News as he explained his reasons for quitting the channel, as we reported previously.

The AP quotes Zucker saying today: “What has happened to that network in the last 18 months, especially the last year, is that it has just turned itself into state-run TV. TASS has nothing on them.”

Former Trump strategist Steve Bannon spoke later at the same conference and countered Zucker’s comments, saying, “You can’t name a more propaganda outfit than CNN.”

Bannon added: “Every night it’s ’hate Trump,’” and questioned why nobody was fired at CNN after the 2016 election results took people by surprise, the AP notes..

would join its prime-time lineup.

Zucker said Fox has “a handful of good journalists but they get lost in the propaganda machine,” and added: “The idea that they are a news channel is really not accurate at all.”

The AP adds: “Zucker’s network has been on the receiving end of withering criticism from Trump during his presidency. He’s repeatedly referred to CNN as ‘fake news’ when he doesn’t like its coverage. Zucker said Trump’s criticisms are not going to stop CNN from doing its job of holding leaders accountable.

“But he said the Trump has created an atmosphere of hostility toward reporters that has spread from the U.S. across the world.”

Zucker is quoted saying of Trump: “He doesn’t even understand the danger he is creating for journalists and the danger he is creating for news organizations.”

Mar 22, 2018
4:44 pm

Is All of This Crazy Weather in Spring Getting You Down? Here’s a Very Short, Fun Video to Make You Smile (YouTube)

If you’re unsure how to react to the crazy weather lately, you’re not alone. Here’s a video showing how one group of people put it to use …

Mar 22, 2018
4:31 pm

ABC News to Launch Daily Podcast Next Week (Variety)

In the ever-deepening dive by traditional media outlets into digital, the latest move finds ABC News launching a daily news podcast.

“Starting March 28, ABC News debuts ‘Start Here,’ a twenty-minute session hosted by Brad Mielke that taps ABC News personnel and offers insight on events shaping the world,” Variety reports. “New episodes will post each weekday at 6 a.m. eastern on Apple Podcasts, TuneIn, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play Music and the ABC News app.”

The report quotes Steve Jones, vice president and general manager of ABC Radio, sayng in an email:  “We’ve got the global resources of ABC News at our disposal so we can tackle each day’s most important and interesting stories. Sometimes, we’ll be making news with our investigative reporting or high-profile interviews. But, always, we will provide depth and context and a unique presentation that is contemporary and interesting.”

Jones added: “Our presentation will be smart without being pretentious.”

Variety notes: “Podcasting has been around for years, but the medium has become more viable as more consumers gain access to mobile devices capable of streaming digital audio or show interest in a new phalanx of connected home devices, such as Amazon’s Alexa, that allow for content to be beamed via broadband to home speakers.”

Mar 22, 2018
4:17 pm

Netflix Teams With New York Times for New Series (Deadline)

Netflix is partnering with The New York Times on a new original series that is inspired by the paper’s long-running column “Diagnosis,” Deadline reports. The medical column is written by Dr. Lisa Sanders.

The documentary series is slated for eight episodes, with Scott Rudin Productions, U.S.-UK production company Lightbox and The New York Times producing.

Deadline reports that, like Sanders’ column, the series “will follow patients with mysterious illnesses and track their journeys to find a diagnosis and, potentially, a cure.”

Sanders will curate each of the cases in the series, which has the working title “Diagnosis.”

Mar 22, 2018
1:51 pm

CBS News Names New Political Director (TVWeek)

CBS News has a new political director, with CBS News President David Rhodes announcing the appointment of Caitlin Conant to the post. Conant, who will continue to be based in Washington, D.C., will begin her new role on Monday, April 9.

Conant will report directly to CBS News Vice President and Washington Bureau Chief Christopher Isham.

“Caitlin’s background in national politics and her experience here at CBS News give her the strengths and perspectives to be a superb political director — we are all very excited that she will be leading our political coverage as we head into what will certainly be a fascinating and challenging political cycle,” said Isham.

Conant is currently Executive Director of Communications for CBS News in Washington, managing communications and media relations for the Washington, D.C., Bureau and its correspondents. She worked closely with then-“Face the Nation” moderator John Dickerson and currently works with “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan and executive producer Mary Hager on editorial planning and strategic branding.

Conant serves as the principal spokesperson on political, polling and press access matters, and works on political and Capitol Hill outreach for the Washington Bureau. Conant also helped plan and execute CBS News’ earned media strategy during the 2016 election cycle.

“After nearly a decade on Capitol Hill and presidential and Senate campaigns, I joined CBS News and the world of media,” said Conant. “Nearly two years later, CBS News feels like home. I am honored and humbled to take on this new role, and am eager to continue to work with my colleagues here as we prepare to cover the critical midterms and the exciting election season to come.”

Conant has been with CBS News since May 2016. She previously spent eight years working in the U.S. Senate and on various political campaigns. Conant most recently worked for Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) presidential campaign, where she directed regional press and surrogate communications. Prior to that, she served as communications director for Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio). Conant also served as a communications advisor for Joni Ernst’s (R-Iowa) U.S. Senate campaign; press secretary for Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.); deputy press secretary for Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s (R-Minn.) presidential campaign, and legislative correspondent for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). Conant, a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, got her start in politics right after college while working for McCain’s presidential campaign in 2008.

Caitlin Conant

Mar 22, 2018
1:44 pm

Seth Rogen Brings Out Some of Comedy’s Big Guns — But He Has to Go It Alone for the Announcement (TVWeek, Netflix)

Seth Rogen took a creative approach to introducing the lineup of comedy A-listers scheduled to appear in his upcoming Netflix comedy special, “Seth Rogen’s Hilarity for Charity.” You can see the results in the clip below.

The guest list includes Tiffany Haddish, Sarah Silverman, Michelle Wolf, John Mulaney, James Corden,The Muppets, Post Malone, Nick Kroll, Kumail Nanjiani, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Che and Craig Robinson & The Nasty Delicious.

The special, Seth and Lauren Rogen’s sixth annual Hilarity for Charity event, will film this Saturday, March 24, at the Hollywood Palladium. This marks the first time the event is being broadcast — it will stream globally on Netflix.

“We started the Los Angeles variety show six years ago in order to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s, a disease that has touched so many families including my own. Our goal is to educate a younger audience and ultimately create the next generation of advocates for the cause,” said HFC co-founder Lauren Miller Rogen. “I am so thrilled to be able to share this year’s show with an even larger audience through our partnership with Netflix and are proud to have them as a partner.”

Here’s the clip …

Mar 22, 2018
1:31 pm

Byron Allen Buys The Weather Channel (Deadline)

Byron Allen has just acquired a basic cable channel. The media entrepreneur expanded his media holdings with the purchase of The Weather Channel through his company Allen Media, Deadline reports.

The company acquired the Weather Group, parent company of The Weather Channel TV network and Local Now streaming service, from The Blackstone Group, Bain Capital and Comcast/NBCUniversal, Deadline reports. The price was not disclosed, but Deadline cites sources saying it was about $300 million.

Allen, the founder, chairman and CEO of Entertainment Studios, said in a statement: “The Weather Channel is one of the most trusted and extremely important cable networks, with information vitally important to the safety and protection of our lives. We welcome The Weather Channel, which has been seen in American households for nearly four decades, to our cable television networks division. The acquisition of The Weather Channel is strategic, as we begin our process of investing billions of dollars over the next five years to acquire some of the best media assets around the world.”

Deadline adds: “Allen, a comedian-turned-entrepreneur, has been growing his Entertainment Studios, which became the largest independent producer of first-run syndicated programming. In 2009, Allen launched six 24-hour HD television networks: Pets.TV, Comedy.TV, Recipe.TV, Cars.TV, ES.TV, and MyDestination.TV.”

Mar 22, 2018
1:27 pm

Massive Layoffs Coming After Time Inc. Acquisition by Meredith (NY Post)

It was coming since Meredith Corp. acquired Time Inc. in January, and Meredith just made it official: The company will cut 1,800 jobs, The New York Post reports — almost 26% of the 7,000 Time Inc. employees who became a part of Meredith when the $2.8 billion deal closed on Jan. 31.

“The level of cuts is deeper than earlier reports but not a surprise,” The Post reports.

“In addition, the company formally acknowledged that Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Money are on the block,” the report adds. “The cutbacks unveiled Wednesday do not include the hundreds of people on those four titles who will soon be divested.”

“The layoff figures also don’t include close to 1,000 people who worked on Time Inc. UK, which was sold on Monday — meaning the full level of the people jettisoned in the merger amounts to about 3,000 people, sources estimate,” The Post reports.


Mar 22, 2018
10:41 am

Bill O’Reilly Hit With Lawsuit (TMZ)

Former Fox News fixture Bill O’Reilly, who left the channel last year, was sued for defamation by a former co-worker, TMZ reports.

“Former Fox News anchor Laurie Dhue is suing Bill for comments he made after Fox News paid settlements to 5 women … including Laurie, who reportedly got over $1 million,” TMZ reports. “In her suit, Laurie takes umbrage with Bill’s statement that he was fired over ‘completely unfounded claims.'”

The report adds: “Further, she says his claim, during a Matt Lauer interview, that he ‘never mistreated anyone on [his] watch in 42 years’ is not only a lie … it’s also damaging her career. As she puts it, no one’s going to hire a journalist who’s been labeled a liar.”

The report notes that Rachel Bernstein, a former junior producer at Fox, filed a similar suit against O’Reilly in December.

Mar 22, 2018
10:29 am

CBS Rolls Out Full Schedule for Its 2017-18 Season Finales (TVWeek)

CBS released the full schedule of its season finales to wrap up the 2017-2018 prime-time season, with “Scorpion’s” fourth-season finale set to kick things off on Monday, April 16.

Here’s the full schedule:

Monday, April 16

10:00-11:00 PM          SCORPION (4th Season Finale)

Wednesday, April 18

9:00-11:00 PM            CRIMINAL MINDS (2-Hour 13th Season Finale)

Friday, May 4

8:00-9:00 PM              MACGYVER (2nd Season Finale)

Monday, May 7

8:00-8:30 PM              KEVIN CAN WAIT (2nd Season Finale)

Tuesday, May 8

9:00-10:00 PM            BULL (2nd Season Finale)

Thursday, May 10

8:00-8:30 PM              THE BIG BANG THEORY (11th Season Finale)

8:30-9:00 PM              YOUNG SHELDON (1st Season Finale)

9:00-10:00 PM            MOM (1-Hour 5th Season Finale)

Friday, May 11

10:00-11:00 PM          BLUE BLOODS (8th Season Finale)

Monday, May 14

9:00-9:30 PM              SUPERIOR DONUTS (2nd Season Finale)

Tuesday, May 15

9:00-11:00 PM            NCIS: NEW ORLEANS (2-Hour 4th Season Finale)

Wednesday, May 16

9:00-10:00 PM            SEAL TEAM (1st Season Finale)

Thursday, May 17

9:00-10:00 PM            LIFE IN PIECES (1-Hour 3rd Season Finale)

10:00-11:00 PM          S.W.A.T. (1st Season Finale)

Friday, May 18

9:00-10:00 PM            HAWAII FIVE-0 (8th Season Finale)

Sunday, May 20

8:00-10:00 PM            NCIS: LOS ANGELES (2-Hour 9th Season Finale)

10:00-11:00 PM          MADAM SECRETARY (4th Season Finale)

Monday, May 21

8:30-9:00 PM              MAN WITH A PLAN (2nd Season Finale)

9:30-10:00 PM            LIVING BIBLICALLY (1st Season Finale)

Tuesday, May 22

8:00-9:00 PM              NCIS (15th Season Finale)

Wednesday, May 23

8:00-10:00 PM            SURVIVOR (36th Season Finale)

10:00-11:00 PM          SURVIVOR LIVE REUNION SHOW

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