Apr 28, 2017
11:57 am

Report: The Murdochs Are Looking for a Woman to Run Fox News (THR)

The Murdoch family, which controls the Fox News Channel, wants to find a woman to run the channel, according to sources cited in a report today by The Hollywood Reporter.

“Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Rupert Murdoch and his sons James and Lachlan, CEO and co-chairman of Fox News parent 21st Century Fox, have quietly put out feelers for a new head of Fox News,” the story reports. “And the preference, according to two sources familiar with the Murdochs’ thinking, is that the new leader be female.”

THR adds: “The move comes as pressure is building on Bill Shine, a 20-year Fox News veteran whom Rupert Murdoch elevated to co-president, with Jack Abernethy, of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network in the wake of the ouster of founding CEO Roger Ailes last summer. Shine runs the programming arm of the media empire, while Abernethy, also a longtime Fox News executive, runs the business side of the company, including ad sales, finance and distribution.”

The report also notes: “When Murdoch elevated Shine last fall, the move rankled some at Fox News, especially women, who saw Shine as complicit in the sins of the past. When new payouts to women who complained about [Bill] O’Reilly came to light April 1, that unease deepened, said one Fox News source. Shine was said to have been a staunch defender of keeping O’Reilly, with whom he worked for two decades.”

Apr 28, 2017
11:44 am

Heineken Teaches Pepsi a Lesson
(TVWeek, Adweek, Heineken)

A new spot from Heineken is being called the antidote to the recent PR disaster for Pepsi, which tried to show how politcally savvy it was by having Kendall Jenner join a protest and seemingly solve some of the nation’s political problems with a soft drink.

Pepsi wound up apologizing for the ad and pulled it from circulation, but you can read more about it by clicking here.

The new Heineken spot, which you can watch below, wades into similar political waters, but in a much different way and with generally well-received results. The Heineken approach is more personal, more stripped-down, and seemingly more reflective of how people really feel.

Adweek compared the two spots this way: “When Pepsi took on our differences, it brought us production value, storytelling and glamour — all that stuff Pepsi (and Heineken) is good at. So there’s a kind of respect in stripping things down and simply creating an environment that cultivates our natural inclinations — not just to distinguish ourselves but to unify. It feels less like creepy money guys on high, fetishizing what matters to us.”

Here’s the new Heineken spot …

Apr 28, 2017
11:31 am

Conservative Political Analyst Gets MSNBC Show (TVWeek)

A right-leaning political commentator who was part of the George W. Bush administration has a new daily show on MSNBC. The cable channel announced today that Nicolle Wallace will expand her role with NBC News to host a new program airing weekdays from 4-5 p.m. ET.

The show, which will be based in New York, will premiere in May.

Wallace was White House communications director under Bush and worked on his 2004 re-election campaign. In 2008 she was a senior adviser to the McCain-Palin presidential campaign. She’s a previous co-host of “The View” and has been a contributor and guest host on MSNBC and NBC News programs.

In announcing the show today, MSNBC said Wallace “will tackle the latest political developments and conduct interviews with leading newsmakers. MSNBC host and political correspondent Steve Kornacki will continue his presence in the hour, providing in-depth discussion and analysis. The broadcast builds on the momentum of MSNBC dayside (M-F 9am-5pm), which delivered the network’s biggest total viewer audience ever in the first quarter of 2017.”

Wallace will continue to be a frequent contributor to NBC’s “Today” show, where she will provide political analysis and special reports. In recent months she has been presenting the series “In Trump They Trust,” in which she travels the country to interview the voters who elected Donald Trump.

Said Phil Griffin, president of MSNBC: “Nicolle played a huge role for us during the presidential election and through the first 100 days. We’re thrilled she’s stepping into this spot with Steve at her side. Nicolle and Steve both distinguished themselves during the campaign with the smart insights our audience has come to expect.”

Added Wallace: “There’s never been a more exciting or stunning time in American politics, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have a daily conversation with our viewers about every dramatic twist and turn. I’m humbled by all of the opportunities MSNBC and NBC News have given me to report on the 2016 campaign and its ripple effects.”

Nicolle Wallace (NBC News)

Apr 28, 2017
9:57 am

Time Inc. Decides to Stay Independent; Shares Plummet (Deadline)

Time Inc. shares plummeted in pre-market trading this morning after the company said it “will continue to pursue its strategic plan” instead of accepting a sale offer, Deadline.com reports. Shares were off 19% at the time of the report early this morning.

A potential sale of the publishing company had drawn interest from suitors including Meredith Corp. and a group led by Edgar Bronfman Jr.

“But Time’s board says today that after evaluating ‘a number of expressions of interest with the assistance of external advisors’ it will continue its effort to build titles including Time, Fortune, People, Sports Illustrated, and Entertainment Weekly into digital franchises,” Deadline reports.

The report quotes Lead Independent Director John Fahey saying: “The Board has full confidence in Time Inc. President and CEO Rich Battista and the management team to execute on the strategic plan.”

Apr 28, 2017
9:44 am

Obama Scores Another $400,000 Speaking Fee, This Time From A+E Networks (NY Post)

Even as criticism poured in after Barack Obama agreed to a $400,000 fee for a speech to Wall Street bank Cantor Fitzgerald, the former president was at it again.

“Obama made another $400,000 on Thursday when he appeared at the A+E Networks advertising upfront at The Pierre Hotel,” The New York Post reports. “He was interviewed over 90 minutes at the Midtown Manhattan event by presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin in front of the cable network’s advertisers.”

“At the A+E event, Obama got a standing ovation when he entered the room,” The Post reports. “Asked about what he missed most about the White House, he said it was sitting on the Truman Balcony on summer nights and gazing at the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, a source in attendance said.”

A+E chief Nancy Dubuc hosted the event, organized by A+E Networks’ History Channel and billed as a History Makers lunch.

The report notes that Obama “told the crowd that in his three months out of office, he has not yet been behind the wheel of a car and he’s learning how to use the coffee machine in the Obamas’ new home in Washington, DC.”

Apr 28, 2017
9:31 am

ABC’s ‘Gong Show’ Revival Names Host (TVWeek)

ABC’s new reboot of the offbeat talent competition “The Gong Show” will be hosted by Tommy Maitland, a comedian who is a bit of a legend in his native U.K. but not exactly a household name in the U.S.

ABC announced the casting today. The show, executive produced by Will Arnett, premieres Thursday, June 22.

Maitland, 72, is coming out of retirement to host the show.

“When Will Arnett came to me and asked me to host ‘The Gong Show,’ I said, ‘I’m honoured at the request, but I’m retired,’” Maitland said in the announcement. “Then he told me how much I was being paid, in U.S. dollars, and I said, ‘I’m still honoured, but no longer retired.’”

Please click here for more about Maitland and details about the show in the ABC announcement.

Apr 28, 2017
9:07 am

‘Vampire Chronicles’ TV Series in the Works (TVWeek)

The Anne Rice book series “The Vampire Chronicles,” which has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, has been optioned for a TV series by Paramount Television and Anonymous Content, the companies announced today.

The deal covers rights to 11 books from the series.

“Christopher Rice, four-time New York Times Bestselling author and recipient of the Lambda Literary Award, will pen the series and serve as executive producer alongside Anne Rice, and Anonymous Content’s David Kanter and Steve Golin,” the companies announced.

Said Amy Powell, president of Paramount TV: “It is undeniable that Anne Rice has created the paradigm against which all vampire stories are measured. The rich and vast world she has created with ‘The Vampire Chronicles’ is unmatched and sophisticated with ’90s gothic undertones that will be perfectly suited to captivate audiences. The series is full of compelling characters led by Lestat, arguably one of the greatest original characters, literary or otherwise. We are thrilled to collaborate with Anne, Christopher and the team at Anonymous Content on this epic series.”

Please click here for additional details.

Apr 28, 2017
9:01 am

Drama Series Renewed (TVWeek, Twitter)

A period drama that bowed earlier this year has been picked up for a second season. Amazon took to Twitter today to formally announce the renewal for the Christina Ricci series “Z: The Beginning of Everything.”

The show’s first season, 10 episodes, rolled out on Jan. 27. Along with Ricci, the series stars David Hoflin and David Strathairn.

Set in the 1920s, the show follows the exploits of socialite Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, played by Ricci, and her husband, F. Scott Fitzgerald (Hoflin).

Here’s Amazon’s Twitter announcement …

Apr 28, 2017
8:41 am

Post Office Creates a First-of-Its-Kind Stamp in Honor of an Event This Summer (TVWeek)

The U.S. Postal Service is breaking new ground with a stamp that will be released in conjunction with this summer’s total solar eclipse. The stamp will feature the image of a blacked-out sun that transforms into an image of the moon when the stamp is touched.

The Postal Service says the stamp, which will be released soon, will be the first to employ something called thermochromic ink. For more about the science behind it, please click here.

The eclipse, which will occur on Aug. 21, is said to be the first total eclipse of the sun that will be visible on the U.S. mainland since 1979. It will traverse the entire country for the first time since 1918.

The total solar eclipse provides the only chance to see the sun’s corona without specialized instruments.

Click here to read the full announcement from the U.S. Postal Service, and to see a map of the path the total eclipse will take across the U.S.

Total Solar Eclipse stamp (U.S. Postal Service)

Apr 28, 2017
7:47 am

High-Profile Writer Plans True Crime Book About Aaron Hernandez (AP, TVWeek)

The writer who has topped the Forbes list of highest-paid authors for three years running has his sights set on a book about Aaron Hernandez, the former NFL star who was found dead in prison last week as he served time on a murder conviction.

The AP reports that James Patterson plans a true crim book about Hernandez.

“Little, Brown and Co. told The Associated Press on Thursday that Patterson’s book, not yet titled, is scheduled for early 2018,” the AP reports. “. Patterson is also putting together a collection of true crime stories in partnership with Investigation Discovery, to come out on the TV network and in print next January.”

The report adds: “Patterson, one of the world’s most popular and prolific novelists, said in a statement that he was ‘stunned’ by Hernandez’s death and wanted to know ‘what went wrong.’ He’s donating a portion of his author proceeds to education and reading initiatives.”

Patterson, best known for his series of novels about fictional psychologist Alex Cross, reportedly earned $95 million from his writing projects last year.

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