Jan 18, 2017
5:31 pm

More Cuts in Store for New York Times as Internal Report Criticizes Paper for Devoting ‘a large amount of resources to stories that relatively few people read’ (NY Post)

Staff cuts are in the works at The New York Times, along with additional budget cuts as the newspaper continues to struggle to bring its operation into the digital age, according to a report by The New York Post.

“The thickly staffed editing and production departments could feel the brunt of the cuts, Executive Editor Dean Baquet and Managing Editor Joe Kahn wrote in a memo,” The Post reports. “The two discussed the cuts as a sweeping and, at times, harshly critical 35-page ‘2020 Report’ was released. The report, prepared by a team of seven journalists, was focused on how the paper was managing its transition to a more fast-paced digital publication.”

Details about the extent of the anticipated cuts were not released. But the memo said, in part: “There will be budget cuts this year. We will lay out the specifics in the coming weeks and months. We cannot pretend to be immune from financial pressures, but we view this moment as a necessary repositioning of the Times newsroom, not a diminishment …”

Smong the observations included in the “2020 Report” is this one: “For all the progress we have made, we still have not built a digital business large enough on its own to support a newsroom that can fulfill our ambitions. We devote a large amount of resources to stories that relatively few people read.”

Another observation cited by The Post is that while The Times has an “unparalleled reputation for excellence in visual journalism,” too much “of our daily report remains dominated by long strings of text.”

The Post also quotes this ominous passage: “We do not now have the right mix of skills in the newsroom to carry out the ambitious plan for change.”

Jan 18, 2017
4:44 pm

Colbert Goes After Trump’s Approval Rating, Definition of ‘Day One’ (TVWeek, CBS)

CBS late-night host Stephen Colbert mined President-elect Donald Trump for monologue material on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” mocking Trump’s plans for “Day One” of his presidency along with his low approval rating. Colbert also had fun at the expense of Russian leader Vladimir Putin and welcomed a high-profile cameo.

Here’s the clip …

Jan 18, 2017
4:21 pm

James Cameron and Nat Geo Explore the Myth of Atlantis — and Come Up With Something (TVWeek)

A new documentary airing later this month on National Geographic Channel set out to investigate any possible truth behind the myth of the lost city of Atlantis, and while the people behind the program may or may not have solved the Atlantis mystery, they did come up with an important find.

Nat Geo announced that the team working on “Atlantis Rising,” which airs Sunday, Jan. 29, at 9 p.m. (8 p.m. CT), discovered a cache of ancient boat anchors that could rewrite the history of human travel in the Bronze Age.

The project includes Oscar-winning filmmaker James Cameron and three-time Emmy winner Simcha Jacobovici among its executive producers, with a group of archaeologists, scientists and historians on board.

“In the course of the expedition, the investigators discovered six ancient anchors that could date back to the Bronze Age and that together may be the greatest ancient anchor hoard ever found on the Atlantic side of the Strait of Gibraltar,” Nat Geo announced this week.

Said Jacobovici: “These anchors could be 3,500 to 4,000 years old and establish a harbor in the Atlantic, where I didn’t even dare dream to find anchors. It’s easier to find a needle in a haystack than Bronze Age anchors in the Atlantic.”

The network isn’t saying how the team did in its search for Atlantis itself, but notes: “The team used cutting-edge technology and Plato’s ancient writings as a virtual treasure map to lead the way. While many people search for a singular underwater site, ‘Atlantis Rising’ will embark on a journey from Greece to the Atlantic Ocean, exploring multiple locations on air, on land and deep below the sea with the goal to unlock the secrets of this age-old mystery.”

Professor and archaeologist Richard Freund of the University of Hartford, the team leader, commented: “This is the world’s most sophisticated and extensive search ever made.”

Jan 18, 2017
3:17 pm

‘Live With Kelly’ Names Guest Hosts for Week of Jan. 23 (TVWeek)

The morning talk staple “Live with Kelly,” hosted by Kelly Ripa — and without a full-time co-host since the high-profile departure of Michael Strahan last spring — has named its lineup of guest co-hosts for the Week of Jan. 23

Among those taking the seat alongside Ripa during the week will be actor Scott Wolf, who settles in for a three-day stint from Wednesday through Friday. CNN’s Anderson Cooper will return to the rotation for Monday’s show, and actress Bellamy Young will do the honors on Tuesday.

Here’s the lineup announced today:

Monday, January 23 – Broadcaster ANDERSON COOPER

Tuesday, January 24 – Actress BELLAMY YOUNG

Wednesday, January 25 – Actor SCOTT WOLF

Thursday, January 26 – Actor SCOTT WOLF

Friday, January 27 – Actor SCOTT WOLF

Jan 18, 2017
2:57 pm

‘The View’ vs. ‘The Talk’: One Side Is Claiming Total Victory (TVWeek)

ABC’s “The View” and CBS’s “The Talk” might be thought of as natural enemies — two daytime talk staples on rival broadcast networks, each hosted by panels made up of about five women, competing for eyeballs in the crowded and lucrative daytime talk universe.

It’s only natural, then, that whichever one comes out on top might crow about it, and this week that honor goes to “The View.” ABC sent out a press release today breaking down the Nielsen figures for the week of Jan. 9 and declaring in its headline: “ABC’s ‘The View’ leads ‘The Talk’ across the board.”

The numbers tend to back up that claim, with “The View” leading “The Talk” for the week in key demos, based on Nielsen Live+Same Day data. “The View” leads in total viewers, 3.115 million to 2.817 million; women 25-54, 590,000 (1.0 rating) to 505,000 (0.8); and women 18-49, 424,000 (0.7 rating) to 356,000 (0.6).

Of course, CBS’s “The Talk” might still be considered an upstart in the genre, having been on the air only since 2010. In contrast, “The View” pretty much created the female-focused broadcast daytime talk panel genre and got off to a big head start, launching all the way back in 1997.

The announcement notes that the show was pre-empted for breaking news on Wednesday, Jan. 11, with its figures for the week based on the other four days.

The ABC show appears to be on the upswing, with season-to-date gains in all three metrics along with an upward trend week by week. For the week of Jan. 9 the show had its largest overall audience in nearly two years, according to the ABC announcement.

The show was up for the third consecutive week in total viewers and women 25-54 (3.115 million total viewers vs. 3.045 million the previous week; and 590,000 women 25-54 vs. 570,000). The number of total viewers was the show’s largest since the week of Feb. 23, 2015.

Season to date, “The View” is posting gains across the board vs. a year ago — up 12% in total viewers, 5% in women 25-54 and 4% in women 18-49. And season to date, “The View” leads “The Talk” in the three key metrics: “The View” leads by 6% in total viewers (2.896 million vs. 2.739 million), 10% in women 25-54 (540,000 vs. 490,000) and 19% in women 18-49 (407,000 vs. 341,000).

Jan 18, 2017
12:51 pm

NBC Brings Back 16-Time Emmy Winner ‘Will & Grace’ (TVWeek, NBC)

NBC announced today that it will bring back one of its most successful sitcoms of all time, “Will & Grace.” The network will air 10 new episodes of the show during the 2017-2018 season.

The revival will reunite all four of the main stars of the original program, Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally. Additionally, series creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan are on board as showrunners and executive producers, and James Burrows, who directed every episode of the show during its initial eight-year run, will be back to direct and executive produce.

The show originally ran from 1998-2006, chalking up 16 Emmys, including at least one apiece for each of its four main stars. “Will & Grace” was the top-rated sitcom in the key 18-49 demo for much of its run.

Please click here for additional details in the full announcement from NBC.

Jan 18, 2017
11:44 am

Hot New Series Gets Two-Year Renewal (TVWeek, NBC)

The new broadcast series that is being called the fall season’s best-reviewed and highest-rated new show, NBC’s “This Is Us,” has been picked up by the network for two additional seasons.

NBC reports that 72 million total viewers have watched the first 10 episodes across all platforms. The new seasons of the Tuesday night drama will each have a minimum of 18 episodes, the network announced.

“So far this season, ‘This Is Us’ originals are averaging a 4.6 rating in adults 18-49 and 14.6 million viewers overall in ‘live plus seven day’ results from Nielsen Media Research, making it the #1 new show of the season in 18-49 and television’s #4 entertainment series in that key demographic,” NBC says in its announcement.

Said Jennifer Salke, President, NBC Entertainment: “We all got our wish that this is a hit show. ‘This Is Us’ is as good as anything we’ve ever had, we’re thrilled to renew it for two seasons and there’s no doubt it will have a long life on NBC. On behalf of everyone at NBC, we’re grateful for the artistry of the cast, crew, and producers assembled by our gifted creator, Dan Fogelman. In a world where there are literally hundreds of television dramas, we’re proud to have one of the very best that is also one of the highest-rated.”

Please click here for additional details in the full NBC announcement.

Jan 18, 2017
11:01 am

Reality Personality Seriously Injured in Car Crash (People, TVWeek, Instagram)

One of the young stars of a cable TV reality show is said to be recovering from a serious car crash that took place Monday. People reports that 19-year-old Savannah Chrisley, who appears along with other members of her family on the USA Network series “Chrisley Knows Best,” suffered broken vertebrae in the collision.

Chrisley described the incident in a post on Instagram, writing: “I got in a car accident early Monday morning because my floor mat had gotten stuck behind my pedals so I looked down for a brief second to try and get it out of the way and then I realized that I was headed straight towards the guardrails….I tried to over correct but it didn’t help. As soon as I hit the guardrail my airbags came out and because of the airbags and seatbelt the injuries weren’t near as bad as they could have been.”

She also wrote: “But what I do remember is going in and out of consciousness screaming for help and cars just continued to pass. It felt like I had been laying there for at least twenty minutes begging for help. And then a man stopped and ran over to me and got the police my way…so thank you to the amazing man that stopped and helped me as everyone else was passing. I have no idea who you are but thank you…I could never repay you for your act of kindness.”

Chrisley also had a message for her fans — and her critics. She wrote in the Instagram post: “Also…to all of you hurtful people that are saying that I deserved it and got what was coming for me…you need Jesus and I’ll help by praying for you. And to all of those who are being supportive…I thank you very much. It means the world.”

She said the broken vertebrae have caused numbness in her hands and fingers along with pain throughout her neck, back and shoulders, and noted that she will take time to recover not just physically but also spiritually and mentally.

Instagram post from Savannah Chrisley

Jan 18, 2017
10:57 am

Did the NFL Put a Gag Order on Lady Gaga? What She Reportedly Won’t Be Allowed to Talk About During Super Bowl (ET)

The NFL is denying a report that it ordered Super Bowl halftime performer Lady Gaga to refrain from talking about Donald Trump during her appearance at the big game.

The denial follows a report by ET quoting a source close to the halftime show saying: “Lady Gaga was told by the NFL that she cannot say anything or bring anything up about the election, or mention Donald Trump.”

A rep for the NFL denied the report, calling it “nonsense from people trying to stir up controversy where there is none.”

In a statement, the NFL said: “The Super Bowl is a time when people really come together. Lady Gaga is focused on putting together an amazing show for fans and we love working with her on it; we aren’t going to be distracted by this.”

ET notes: “Gaga’s personal opinions on the election have hardly been a mystery. The 30-year-old pop star had been a prominent supporter of Hillary Clinton and was photographed holding a ‘Love Trumps Hate’ sign outside New York’s Trump Tower following the election results.”

Jan 18, 2017
10:51 am

Media Acquisition Creates Nation’s Second-Largest TV Station Group (TVNewsCheck, TVWeek)

A large media acquisition that closed Tuesday creates the second-largest TV station group in the country. TVNewsCheck reports that Nexstar Broadcasting Group closed its $4.6 billion acquisition of Media General just six days after the FCC approved the deal.

The merged company will be known as Nexstar Media Group.

“The deal swells Nexstar’s portfolio to 171 full-power stations in 100 markets covering nearly 39% of TV homes. The new stations include 15 in the top 50 markets,” TVNewsCheck reports. “Those numbers would be higher, except that Nexstar had to spin off 13 stations for $548 million to comply with FCC ownership limits.”

Nexstar CEO Perry Sook commented: “Our acquisition of Media General marks a significant milestone in Nexstar’s 20-year history of growth, which has been predicated on our unwavering commitment to deliver exceptional service to the local communities where we operate and value to our shareholders.

“Financially, the transaction is expected to more than double our [annual revenue to $2.3 billion] and adjusted EBITDA, and Nexstar Media Group expects to generate average annual free cash flow in the 2016-17 cycle of approximately $565 million.”

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