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TVBIZWIRE
May 5, 2016
2:52 pm
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Has Katie Couric Had Enough of Yahoo? (NY Post)

Katie Couric, who has been global news anchor for Yahoo since 2014, appears to be ready to make a move. According to inside sources quoted by The New York Post’s Page Six, the TV news veteran is weighing her options.

The news comes as Yahoo is looking for a buyer. The report cites sources close to Couric saying she will wait to find out who buys the tech firm before deciding her next move.

“Multiple insiders tell Page Six that Couric — along with other talent including Yahoo Style’s Editor-in-Chief Joe Zee and tech writer David Pogue — have had long-standing frustrations because they believe the site makes it difficult for users to find their content,” the story reports. “They also suspect the Silicon Valley firm has skimped on spending on ads that could drive traffic to their content.”

The report notes that Kouric has been missing recently from some high-profile events. “While she sat at Yahoo’s table at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2015, Couric skipped the event this year to attend a conference in Rome,” the story reports. “A source said she taped segments for her day job while there.”

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TVBIZWIRE
May 5, 2016
2:14 pm
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Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon to Play Famous Feuding Actresses in New Ryan Murphy Series (THR)

Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon will play a pair of real-world movie stars who waged a famous feud with each other. The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports that Lange will play Joan Crawford with Sarandon cast as Bette Davis in “Feud,” an anthology series from Ryan Murphy.

The project has received a straight-to-series order from FX, with Alfred Molina, Stanley Tucci, Judy Davis and Dominic Burgess also reportedly on board. Brad Pitt is an executive producer on the project.

“Produced by Fox 21 Television Studios, the eight-episode first season revolves around the legendary rift between Joan Crawford and Bette Davis that occurred during the making of 1962 feature film ‘What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?,” THR reports. “The rivalry between the two stars was paramount to the movie’s popularity at the time. (The movie scored five Oscar nominations, including one for Davis.)”

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TVBIZWIRE
May 5, 2016
12:11 pm
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KFC Rolls Out Edible Chicken-Flavored Nail Polish — Sorry, You Can’t Buy It Here (NPR, TVWeek, KFC)

KFC is taking its “Finger Lickin’ Good” slogan to a new level by marketing edible chicken-flavored nail polish. But NPR reports that the new product, which is available in Original or Hot and Spicy, is being offered only in Hong Kong.

KFC says in a press release that the idea is “to appeal to young consumers’ love of food and fashion.”

The company also says: “Simply apply and dry like regular nail polish and then lick — again and again and again to taste why the world’s favourite chicken is Finger Lickin’ Good.”

KFC notes that the nail polish is “formulated from natural ingredients.”

The following clip is apparently a promotion for the new product, however we feel we should warn you that you may end up wishing you could get back your minute and a half …

TVBIZWIRE
May 5, 2016
11:29 am
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NBC Unveils Plans for ‘Today’ Show’s Natalie Morales (USA Today)

After news broke this week that “Today” show regular Natalie Morales might be leaving the program, NBC confirmed its plans for the morning veteran. Morales’ role will indeed be changing, but it turns out she will still be a part of “Today.”

USA Today reports that Morales, who joined “Today” in 2006, is moving to Los Angeles, where she will become “Today’s” West Coast anchor and will add hosting duties on NBCUniversal’s “Access Hollywood” and “Access Hollywood Live.” Senior VP Noah Oppenheim, the NBC exec in charge of “Today,” detailed plans Wednesday in an email to the show’s staff.

The move comes as “Access” anchor Billy Bush is expected to join “Today.”

In the email, Oppenheim wrote: “As you all know, Natalie has already been spending a lot of time in California, reporting live from special events like the Oscars, Golden Globes and Latin American Music Awards, conducting celebrity interviews and set visits, and spearheading two big series spotlighting women who are leaders in Silicon Valley and Hollywood.  With our show’s increasing focus on West Coast stories, it became clear to me that having a permanent anchor presence in L.A. would be of enormous value.”

Morales, 43, will also continue to play “a prominent role” on “Dateline NBC,” the email notes.

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TVBIZWIRE
May 5, 2016
11:07 am
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Why Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner Stopped Talking to One Another Years Before Nimoy’s Death (About Entertainment)

When “Star Trek” icon Leonard Nimoy died a little more than a year ago, he and William Shatner hadn’t spoken in years, and new details reveal what may have been the cause of their falling-out.

“On the anniversary of Nimoy’s death, Shatner released ‘Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man,'” About Entertainment notes. “The book, co-written with David Fisher, details Nimoy’s life and Shatner’s relationship with Nimoy. In the book, he describes how they met, their struggling relationship, and the bonds they shared. But in the end, it also describes how Nimoy refused to speak to Shatner in the final years of his life.”

The report focuses on a Shatner interview about five years ago with The Daily Mail.

“In 2011, Shatner released a documentary called ‘The Captains,’ where he interviewed actors like Kate Mulgrew and Avery Brooks who played starship captains on the ‘Star Trek’ series,” the story reports. “Apparently, Shatner had asked Nimoy to make an appearance in the documentary. Nimoy refused. Despite that, Shatner’s cameraman filmed Nimoy secretly during a convention appearance to include as footage without Nimoy’s permission. There was never a final argument or blowout over it, but that seemed to have been the last straw. They never spoke again.”

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TVBIZWIRE
May 5, 2016
10:57 am
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Report: CBS Drama Series May Move to Another Network (TheWrap, TVWeek)

Negotiations currently under way surrounding a CBS drama series have raised the possibility that the show might leave the network. TheWrap reports that “Supergirl” could be headed to the CW — a possibility that has been the focus of rumors among the show’s fans for months.

“CBS boss Leslie Moonves is deep in talks with Warner Bros. Television about the fate of its super-expensive comic-book series starring Melissa Benoist, which wrapped up a less-than-superlative first season last month,” the story reports. “The network would like the show to come back, sources close to the series say, but there’s a problem. The roughly $3 million per-episode price tag CBS pays to broadcast ‘Supergirl’ — one of the highest license fees ever for a freshman show — isn’t quite justified by the ratings.”

The talks are at a critical stage with the CBS upfront approaching, the report notes.

“Supergirl’s” premiere back in October delivered 12.96 million total viewers, but the turnout was down to less than half that, 6.11 million, by the time the season finale aired last month. In the key 18-49 demo, the series went from a 3.1 rating for the premiere to a 1.3 for the finale.

The CW, a joint venture of CBS and Warner Bros. that is programmed by Moonves and his team, may be the logical destination for the series. But the story notes that the shift would probably also bring budget cuts.

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TVBIZWIRE
May 5, 2016
10:44 am
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OWN Shocker: Top Executive, Longtime Oprah Confidante, Exits the Network (NY Post, TVWeek)

Staffers at Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network were reportedly blindsided by the news Wednesday that longtime Winfrey confidante and OWN Co-President Sheri Salata is leaving the network.

The New York Post’s Page Six reports that Salata plans to launch her own company, which is described as a “brand innovation agency and content/story platform.”

“A company insider said there was ‘an audible gasp’ after Winfrey announced the move in a companywide meeting at the LA headquarters this week,” the story reports. “We’re told the sudden move left staffers’ heads spinning, and workers began boxing up Salata’s office as soon as the veteran broadcaster and media mogul broke the meeting up.”

Salata has been working with Winfrey for 21 years, including a run as executive producer of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and a role as president of Winfrey’s Harpo Studios. OWN and the Oprah Media Group have reportedly signed on as clients with Salata’s new firm.

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TVBIZWIRE
May 5, 2016
10:31 am
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Huge Staff Cuts in the Works at Discovery (WSJ, TVWeek)

Discovery Communications is reportedly working on implementing wide-ranging staff cuts aimed at cutting more than $120 million annually in staff costs. The company disclosed the plans in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Wednesday, according to media reports.

The company has begun notifying its employees about a voluntary buyout initiative. Discovery noted in the filing that it expects to incur severance and other personnel adjustment expenses between $40 million and $60 million.

The staff cuts, which could include layoffs, are expected to be carried out by the end of the third quarter of this year, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“The company, which owns channels such as its flagship Discovery channel, TLC and Animal Planet, cited cost savings from the cuts as well as better-than-expected advertising sales, as the reason it lifted its 2016 guidance for adjusted earnings per share from low teens to ‘at least high teens’ percentage growth,” WSJ notes.

In an earnings call today with analysts, Discovery Communications Chief Executive David Zaslav said: “We are focused on spending more on growth, in content and direct-to-consumer platforms, while relentlessly driving down cost growth. If it is not going to nourish audiences or help us grow long term, then we are attacking it.”

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TVBIZWIRE
May 5, 2016
9:44 am
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Fox News’ Chief White House Correspondent ‘Taking Some Time Off’ After Tawdry Story Surfaces (AP)

The chief White House correspondent for Fox News Channel is off the air after a story surfaced alleging that he has been having an extramarital affair, the AP reports.

The cable channel issued a statement confirming that Ed Henry, who has been covering the Hillary Clinton campaign, is off the air. “We recently became aware of Ed’s personal issues and he’s taking some time off to work things out,” FNC says in the statement, released Wednesday.

The move follows the publication of a magazine article that alleges Henry has been having an affair with a Las Vegas woman.

“The magazine In Touch Weekly quotes a woman described as a hostess detailing her encounters with Henry, who is married,” the AP reports. “Henry is quoted in the magazine telling a reporter that ‘I don’t know anything about it’ and was not commenting on Wednesday.”

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TVBIZWIRE
May 5, 2016
9:27 am
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Who the Bookies Think Will Win a Trump vs. Clinton Showdown (NY Post)

Bookies have laid odds on who will win the presidential election, even though betting on it is illegal in the U.S. The New York Post reports that the online bookmaker Ladbrokes has Hillary Clinton as the 4-11 favorite, meaning a bet of $11 would win $4.

Donald Trump is a 9-4 underdog.

The odds-on favorite to be Trump’s running mate is John Kasich, who ended his presidential bid Wednesday. Kasich is listed at 4-1, a little ahead of Chris Christie at 6-1.

On the Democratic side, the oddsmakers are leaning toward HUD Secretary Julian Castro at 9-4 as Clinton’s running mate, with both Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 6-1.

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