Oct 24, 2016
8:57 am

Tom Hayden, Famed 1960s Anti-Vietnam War Activist and Former Husband of Jane Fonda, Dies (NY Times)

Longtime political activist and former lawmaker Tom Hayden, who rose from the counterculture movement of the late ’60s to become a California state legislator and an important player in progressive politics, has died.

The New York Times reports that Hayden, who was married to Jane Fonda from 1973-1990, died Sunday at 76. He had reportedly been dealing with heart problems, and fell ill back in July while he was at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

“During the racial unrest and antiwar protests of the ’60s and early ’70s, Mr. Hayden was one of the nation’s most visible radicals,” The Times reports. “He was a founder of Students for a Democratic Society, a defendant in the Chicago Seven trial after riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, and a peace activist who married Jane Fonda, went to Hanoi and escorted American prisoners of war home from Vietnam.”

The report adds: “As a civil rights worker, he was beaten in Mississippi and jailed in Georgia. In his cell he began writing what became the Port Huron Statement, the political manifesto of S.D.S. and the New Left that envisioned an alliance of college students in a peaceful crusade to overcome what it called repressive government, corporate greed and racism. Its aim was to create a multiracial, egalitarian society.”

Hayden and Fonda traveled across Vietnam in 1974, as the war was nearing its final stages, conducting interviews with witnesses to the war and producing a controversial documentary, “Introduction to the Enemy.”

“Later, with the war over and the idealisms of the ’60s fading, Mr. Hayden settled into a new life as a family man, writer and mainstream politician,” The Times reports. “In 1976, he ran for the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate from California, declaring, ‘The radicalism of the 1960s is fast becoming the common sense of the 1970s.’ He lost to the incumbent, Senator John V. Tunney.”

He was elected to the California Legislature in 1982, serving as an assemblyman for a decade and then as a state senator from 1993 to 2000.

Oct 24, 2016
8:07 am

Drew Barrymore Talk Show Has Key Station Group Lined Up (TVNewsCheck)

Nothing has been signed yet, but a new syndicated talk show starring Drew Barrymore is reportedly close to a deal with Hearst Television to carry the show on many of its stations. The project is in the works at Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution.

“Multiple sources say Hearst Television has agreed, or is close to agreeing, to carry the syndicated Drew Barrymore vehicle on ‘a large number’ of its stations,” TVNewsCheck reports. “While a syndicated weekday talk show headlined by Barrymore has been talked about for months, it has now moved closer to reality since WBDTD is out there pitching it, sources tell TVNewsCheck.”

Hearst wasn’t commenting, but the report notes: “Hearst’s interest in a Barrymore talk show could stem from her long association with Hearst as a celebrity who has been covered by — and appeared on covers of — the company’s women’s magazines, one source speculated. In addition to acting in movies, Barrymore, 41, runs her own cosmetics company, Flower Beauty.”

hearst television

Oct 24, 2016
7:58 am

Shakeup at MTV: Network President Headed Out (Deadline)

The president of MTV is stepping down from the position, with network owner Viacom Inc. expected to announce a successor later today. In an exclusive, Nellie Andreeva reports on Deadline.com that Sean Atkins is out after a little more than a year on the job.

“I’ve learned that Atkins opted to leave when Viacom Music and Entertainment Group president Doug Herzog, to whom he reports, informed Atkins of a plan to bring in an executive over him,” Andreeva reports. “Atkins, who will stay on as a consultant through January advising on the transition, announced his surprising departure in a note to his staff this morning.”

Speculating about a possible replacement, Andreeva calls Chris McCarthy a “logical choice.”

“No one is commenting, but Chris McCarthy has been a rising star at the company with a string of promotions over the past year, most recently to president of VH1 and Logo, after orchestrating a ratings turnaround at MTV sibling VH1 in a short period of time,” the report notes.


Oct 24, 2016
7:42 am

How Tom Hanks Helped Boost ‘SNL’ to Eight-Year Highs — Watch These Fun Clips (TVWeek, NBC)

NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” has been on a roll this season, and the latest installment appeared to get a bump from Tom Hanks — both in the ratings and creatively.

Hanks participated in numerous skits, including appearing as debate moderator Chris Wallace in a cold open parodying the third Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump debate. (You can watch the skit below.)

NBC announced that the broadcast delivered season highs in households and adults 18-49, based on Nielsen late-night metered-market data — the show’s best results for an October program in eight years.

The show, which had Lady Gaga as musical guest along with Hanks as guest host, generated a 6.1 rating, 15 share in “live plus same day” household results from the 56 local markets metered by Nielsen Media Research and a 3.0/14 in adults 18-49 in the 25 markets with local people meters.

“These are the show’s highest ratings so far this season, topping the previous highs set with the season premiere on Oct. 1 (5.8/15 in metered-market households, 2.7/14 in 18-49 in the local people meters),” NBC announced. “For an October edition, they’re the highest ‘Saturday Night Live’ overnights since Oct. 25, 2008 (7.1/16 in metered-market households, 4.0 rating in 18-49 in the local people meters with host Jon Hamm and musical guest Coldplay).”

Here’s the cold open …

Hanks also took part in a memorable installment of “Black Jeopardy!” Here’s the clip …

Oct 24, 2016
7:22 am

Real Trolls Swing Shovels: ‘SNL’s’ Leslie Jones Goes Off on Her Hackers — Watch the Video (TVWeek, NBC)

“Saturday Night Live” cast member Leslie Jones, who was victimized by a vicious hack in August, took to the “Weekend Update” desk on Saturday’s installment of the NBC sketch show to respond to her hackers — a response that regular viewers have been awaiting since the season premiere.

As we reported back in August, nude photos of Jones were released in the hack, in which a hacker also posted racist images and abusive language directed at Jones. The FBI was reportedly investigating the incident.

Here’s what Jones had to say about it on Saturday’s show …

Oct 23, 2016
8:56 pm

Must Read No. 1: Making Sense of AT&T’s $85 Billion Bid for Time Warner (NY Times)

Jeffrey Bewkes, now the chief executive of Time Warner, “once described his company’s colossal failure of a merger with AOL” this way: “You had a lot of people saying you should’ve combined a donkey with a rabbit and gotten a flying unicorn.” So writes Andrew Ross Sorkin in The New York Times. At the time Bewkes was running Time Warner’s HBO unit.

So why did Bewkes and his board, over the weekend, approve an $85 billion bid from AT&T?

Writes Sorkin, “The worry among consumer groups and rivals, of course, is that for AT&T to make the deal work strategically and financially — the company is paying a 35 percent premium to Time Warner’s stock price before news of the deal broke last week — it is going to use Time Warner’s content as a weapon against its rivals by raising the price that they pay for carriage of channels such as HBO and CNN, while integrating those same channels into new AT&T offerings at lower prices.

“Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s chief executive, dismissed that notion in an interview on Sunday, calling it ‘illogical’ and saying he wants to ‘dispel’ such an idea. He insisted he has no intention to limit Time Warner’s content on rival systems and that ‘it doesn’t make business sense’ to restrict the distribution of Time Warner programming.”

To read more details about this story, including why AT&T thinks the deal does make sense, please click here, which will take you to Sorkin’s article.





Oct 23, 2016
8:45 pm

Another Must Read: Will the Ghost of AOL Haunt the Time Warner-AT&T Deal? Culture Clash Too? (Recode)

Writes Recode’s Kara Swisher: “You could write books on what went wrong [with AOL’s merger with Time Warner in 2000] — and I did — which raises the question of what Time Warner now thinks will go right in the deal it just struck with telecom giant AT&T to be taken out for $85 billion.”

Over the weekend Swisher asked Steve Case, who ran AOL back in 2000, what he thinks of the just announced AT&T deal.

Here, says Swisher, was Case’s full email response:

“While back in 2000, some didn’t believe in the internet and/or didn’t believe in convergence, of course those concepts now seem obvious. So it’s not surprising to me that we are again seeing attempts to marry communications and content. I just hope the merged company will have the kind of culture that will enable it to drive synergies and create value.

“As I explained in ‘The Third Wave,’ and as we discussed on your podcast, the idea of the AOL/Time Warner merger made sense, both strategically and, at least for AOL, financially. What was flawed was the execution. But, as Thomas Edison said more than a century ago, vision without execution is hallucination. And execution is all about the right people focused on the right priorities, working together in the right way.

“Maybe I should send a copy of my book to the boards and senior teams at both companies?”

Thus despite possible regulatory hurdles, one wonders, in the words of the late great Yogi Berra, if the disparate cultures of AT&T and the Time Warner companies won’t lead to “Dejà vu all over again.”

We recommend you read all of Swisher’s column, which you can find if you click here.



Oct 23, 2016
8:30 pm

Must Read No. 3: Here’s the Argument Explaining Why It Makes No Sense for AT&T (or Even Apple, for That Matter) to Own Time Warner (Recode)

“Too bad the [$85 billion AT&T/Time Warner] deal doesn’t make much sense,” writes Edmund Lee on the Recode website.

He continues, “Here’s why: A company that owns pipes, whether over the air or through the ground, doesn’t actually benefit from owning the content flowing through those pipes.

“Time Warner, which owns HBO, CNN, Warner Bros. and a lot of sports rights via Turner, loses its value if it can’t sell its content to every possible distributor, including AT&T’s main rivals, such as Comcast and Verizon.”

While, in a nutshell, that’s Lee’s argument, we urge you to click here, which will take you to his original article, where you can read all the details of his thesis.



Oct 21, 2016
2:47 pm

Massive Cyber-Attack Hits Major Websites (USA Today, TVWeek)

Websites including Netflix, Amazon, Twitter, Spotify, Tumblr and Reddit were hit with a massive cyber-attack today, with USA Today reporting that the attack was coming in “multiple waves.”

The attack made it impossible at times for users on the East Coast to access many sites.

“The cause was a large-scale distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) against New Hampshire-based Internet performance company Dyn,” USA Today reports. “The attacks made it difficult for users to access many popular sites beginning at 7:10 a.m. ET and continued throughout the day.”

Kyle York, Dyn’s chief strategy officer, talked about the attack this afternoon on a conference call with reporters, saying: “It’s a very smart attack. We start to mitigate, they react. It keeps on happening every time. We’re learning, though.”

USA Today adds: “The attacks used Mirai, an easy-to-use program that allows even unskilled hackers to take over online devices and use them to launch distributed denial of service, or DDoS attacks. Malware from phishing emails can infect a computer or home network, then spread to everything on it, taking over DVRs, cable set-top boxes, routers and even Internet-connected cameras used by stores and businesses for surveillance.”

Other sites that have been impacted by the attack, according to media reports, include HBO Now, news sites such as the BBC, CNN and The New York Times, Yelp, Pinterest, NHL.com, GitHub, Paypal and Soundcloud.

Oct 21, 2016
2:07 pm

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Roast Each Other at the Annual Al Smith Dinner — Here’s the Video (Fox 10 Phoenix)

The two major party presidential candidates traded in their usual stump speeches for comedy material at the annual Al Smith Dinner, seizing on the opportunity to take broad swipes at each other — including occasionally going too far, according to some observers.

Here’s what Clinton had to say …

And Trump’s speech …

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