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Morning Media Newsfeed: Journalists Cover Ferguson Grand Jury | Sony Pictures Hacked

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Ferguson Grand Jury Decision: How The Cable Networks Covered It (THR)
White Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson was not indicted in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. The cable networks have been covering the lead-up since Monday afternoon and carried the announcement live. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Nearly every major news organization had reporters on the ground, some with upward of two dozen staffers. High profile anchors like Jake Tapper, Don Lemon and Chris Hayes have also been dispatched to cover the grand jury decision and any resulting turmoil. The major broadcast and cable networks, The Washington Post, The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Huffington Post, Reuters, USA Today, The Daily Caller and BuzzFeed all have reporters on the ground, and some have sent additional photographers and videographers as well. TVNewser As President Obama called for calm, angry protesters tried to flip a police cruiser. Less than an hour after the President’s remarks, that police cruiser was on fire. Police told CNN correspondent Jason Carroll and his crew to leave the scene as live rounds in the cruiser started going off. Mediaite Before St. Louis prosecutor Bob McCulloch announced that there would be no indictment for Wilson in the shooting death of Brown, he spent a few minutes railing against the media for its role in the process leading up to Monday night’s announcement. “The most significant challenge encountered in this investigation has been the 24-hour news cycle and its insatiable appetite for something, for anything to talk about,” he said, “following closely behind with the non-stop rumors on social media.” TVNewser As CNN coverage from Ferguson moved into the 10 p.m. ET hour, Anderson Cooper passed off to Don Lemon, who appeared on camera wearing a gas mask on his forehead. Within moments, canisters of gas were thrown into the streets as police moved in and pushed away crowds of protesters. Chris Cuomo, who was live with gas flowing toward his camera position, threw back to Lemon, who was wearing the mask over his face — gas swirling in the air behind him — and was unable to continue. He asked for water. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos is currently poised to land the first interview with Wilson. TVNewser The announcement came a day after CNN’s Brian Stelter reported a collection of network news anchors had met privately with Wilson. Variety Stephanopoulos prepared to offer a special report on ABC News Monday night. NBC News’ Brian Williams and CBS News’ Scott Pelley anchored special reports covering the announcement.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Aereo Files for Bankruptcy | MSNBC Hires Ex-WH Staffer

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Aereo Files for Bankruptcy (TVSpy)
With a post on the company’s blog Friday morning, Aereo founder and CEO Chet Kanojia announced the company had filed for bankruptcy protection. THR The digital TV service, which broadcast network owners battled in courts for offering access to broadcast TV signals via digital devices, made a voluntary Chapter 11 filing, it said in the statement. “We encountered significant challenges from the incumbent media companies,” said Kanojia in the statement. Mashable Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection is typically expensive and allows for the company to restructure its debt. While filing for bankruptcy does not necessarily mean the end of the business, Kanojia struck a tone in a statement on Aereo’s website that insinuated the company was done. Variety New York-based Aereo had raised about $97 million, from investors including IAC chairman Barry Diller, media investor Gordon Crawford, Himalaya Capital Management, Highland Capital Partners and FirstMark Capital. Earlier this month Aereo laid off a majority of its staff, including employees in New York and Boston. The company said a small executive team of about a dozen people would remain. GigaOM Aereo’s bankruptcy petition shows it owes roughly $2 million to a list of creditors that include Internet companies like Level 3 and Google, as well as several law firms. But the most significant creditors on the list are names like ABC and Fox, the TV networks that are continuing to sue Aereo over copyright infringement. Aereo’s filing simply states “unknown” in the amount owed to the “litigation party” TV stations, which also include PBS, Telemundo and NBC.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Fager to Step Down, Return to 60 Minutes | WaPo, Kindle Partner Up

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Jeff Fager Stepping Down as Chairman of CBS News, Returns Full Time to 60 Minutes (TVNewser)
Jeff Fager is leaving his role as chairman of CBS News and turning his “full attention” to 60 Minutes. FishbowlDC Fager served as CBS News’ chairman for four years, and had worked as the executive producer of 60 Minutes for seven years before that. THR / The Live Feed Fager has also extended his current contract as executive producer through 2019. As for a replacement, president David Rhodes now assumes sole leadership of CBS News. Fager assumed the role of chairman at a pivotal time for CBS, on the eve of Katie Couric’s exit from the CBS Evening News. June of 2011 saw current anchor, and longtime 60 Minutes correspondent, Scott Pelley, assume the role of lead anchor for the nightly news telecast. NYT CBS cast the moves as an orderly transition that was set in motion four years ago when Leslie Moonves, the CBS chief executive, asked Fager to take over supervision of the news division while remaining as executive producer of 60 Minutes. In his own memo, Fager said of Rhodes, “I hired him almost four years ago with this moment in mind, and he has exceeded all expectations.” Capital New York Fager’s dual roles as chairman of CBS News and E.P. of 60 Minutes did lead to some controversy. Last year, a flawed report about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya led to an internal investigation and the suspension of Lara Logan, who has since returned to the network.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: NBC Cancels Cosby Project | Today Firings Rumor ‘Wrong — Period’

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Cosby’s New NBC Show Is No Longer in Development (HuffPost)
NBC has confirmed to HuffPost Entertainment that a planned sitcom project with Bill Cosby is no longer in development. The network had no further comment on the matter. THR / The Live Feed NBC handed out a script plus significant penalty for the comedy earlier this year, tapping Rules of Engagement alum Mike Sikowitz and Mike O’Malley (Shameless) to write and produce the comedy. O’Malley was eyed for a co-starring role on the comedy, which NBC Entertainment topper Bob Greenblatt envisioned for a summer or fall 2015 debut. Deadline The Cosby NBC multi-camera comedy project, executive produced by The Cosby Show’s Tom Werner, would’ve had Cosby starring as Jonathan Franklin, a patriarch of a multigenerational family who shares his many years of wit, wisdom and experience to help his daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren navigate their complicated modern lives. In light of the slew of rape accusations, it would’ve probably been hard for viewers to accept Cosby as a lovable family man and for NBC to sell the project to advertisers. The Associated Press / The Big Story A TV Land spokesperson said reruns of The Cosby Show will stop airing immediately for an indefinite time. The Cosby Show also was to have been part of a Thanksgiving sitcom marathon. PRNewser Both NBC and Netflix, who decided that it would be best to postpone the planned launch of its comedy special Bill Cosby 77, which had been planned to go live the day after Thanksgiving, have clearly made their respective decisions with their brands in mind. The allegations show no sign of going away anytime soon. In fact, the talk about them seems to be escalating the more we hear from the alleged victims and others surrounding the issue. FishbowlNY It started this week with a Vice article by Tracie Egan Morrissey, who excerpted passages about Cosby from former supermodel Janice Dickinson’s 2002 autobiography No Lifeguard on Duty. It quickly escalated with Dickinson shockingly filling in the blanks in an exclusive interview with Entertainment Tonight co-host Kevin Frazier. While the additional, shared details were immediately dismissed by Cosby attorney Marty Singer as “a defamatory fabrication,” some earlier legal wrangling with Cosby apparently kept these allegations from surfacing well before 2004 accuser Andrea Constand filed suit. TVNewser CNN’s Don Lemon has issued an on-air apology for remarks he made during Tuesday night’s interview with Cosby accuser Joan Tarshis. Lemon, who is a victim of sexual abuse himself, caused a social media uproar by telling Tarshis, “there are ways not to perform oral sex if you didn’t want to do it.”

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Netflix Ups Global Expansion | Turner, CBS Prep for Dish Blackout

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Netflix to Expand to Australia, New Zealand (THR)
Netflix is continuing its march worldwide, unveiling plans on Tuesday to expand to Australia and New Zealand. The streaming service said that it will expand to those countries in March 2015. Variety Pricing for a subscription to Netflix in the countries will be announced “at a later date.” In a press release, Netflix said the Australia and New Zealand collection will include upcoming original series Marco Polo, animated BoJack Horseman and kids titles including DreamWorks Animation’s All Hail King Julien. Movies and TV shows will be available in high definition and in 4K where possible. GigaOM The launch will bring the number of countries Netflix is available in to more than 50 and the announcement is not unexpected: Netflix CFO David Wells said earlier this month that the company plans a “sizeable expansion” for 2015 and Netflix has reportedly been preparing to enter Australia by hiring local agencies for a launch campaign. WSJ He said over the next three to five years, Netflix believes it is possible to generate 50 percent of its revenues from countries outside the U.S., up from about 28 percent now. Assuming that Netflix signs up 10 percent of broadband households outside the U.S., Wells says, it is possible for the company to have about 50 million to 60 million non-U.S. subscribers or even more. The company had 14.4 million international paying customers at the end of the third quarter, compared with 36.3 million U.S. customers. Deadline The initiative positions Netflix for an interesting fight: Only about 30 percent of Australian households subscribe to pay TV, far less than in the U.S. and even less than in the U.K., where about half subscribe. Australia’s leading distributor, Foxtel, expected to see some competition from streaming services and recently halved the price of its basic service.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Horowitz Out at NBC News | Charles Champlin Dies at 88

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Jamie Horowitz Out at NBC News (TVNewser)
Jamie Horowitz, the recently-hired SVP and GM of the Today show, is no longer with NBC News. A source tells us Horowitz and his boss, NBC News president Deborah Turness, were not seeing eye to eye, leading to Horowitz’s departure from the network late Monday. THR / The Live Feed Originally set to join the network in December, Horowitz started taking meetings at Today in September, overseeing the network’s flagship morning show. Variety “He’s a talented producer and executive, but, together, he and I have come to the conclusion that this is not the right fit,” Turness said in a memo to staffers. In the wake of Horowitz’ departure, Turness said, she will continue working closely with Don Nash, the executive producer of Today, and Jen Brown, the vice president and general manager of Today.com. She expects to find a new general manager of Today, she said. Deadline Hollywood In August, NBC agreed to let Bill Wolff, VP primetime programs at MSNBC and executive producer of The Rachel Maddow Show, out of his contract to move to ABC, in order to get that parent company to allow top ESPN programmer Horowitz take the helm at Today. Before joining ESPN, Horowitz worked at NBC Sports; he started his TV career as an NBC Olympics researcher. Turness came to the network from the U.K. in August 2013 to help turn around the news division’s once-dominant but now struggling franchises. NYT Early reports of new turbulence at Today were especially upsetting for NBC News because the show is the news division’s biggest profit center, and NBC has been touting a comeback in the ratings for the show, which has trailed ABC’s Good Morning America since Today lost a seemingly impregnable lead in the morning ratings in 2012. Turness has been portrayed as embattled in some reports, and Horowitz’s name surfaced quickly as a possible successor, despite his short tenure and the fact that he has no network news background.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: DWA, Hasbro Merger Talks End | The Onion Exploring Sale

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DreamWorks Animation, Hasbro End Merger Talks (THR)
Hasbro has called off merger negotiations with DreamWorks Animation, sources say. The deal chatter, which became public on Wednesday, appears to have been derailed in part by the performance of Hasbro’s stock and potentially the high price sought by DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg. WSJ News last week that the toy maker was in early acquisition talks with the film studio drove the two companies’ stocks in opposite directions. Hasbro investors sent the toy company’s share price down more than 4 percent on Thursday and nearly 2 percent on Friday, when they settled at $54.02 on Nasdaq. Adweek DreamWorks reportedly wanted $30 per share, a relatively steep incline for stock trading at roughly $22. NYT / DealBook Also playing a role was a negative private reaction by the Walt Disney Company, which comprises roughly 30 percent of Hasbro’s business through licenses for Star Wars, Marvel characters, Frozen and the Disney Princesses toy line. Variety Neither side has officially commented on why the talks fell apart, nor the potential of a deal. Hasbro follows recent conversations DWA has had to sell the toon studio. In September, it discussed such a sale with Japanese tech giant SoftBank, that also ended just days later.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Amazon, Hachette End Dispute | CNN Picks Up Three Originals

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Hachette, Amazon Establish New Multi-Year Contract (GalleyCat)
Hachette Book Group and Amazon have established a new multi-year agreement. The two companies have been locked in a dispute since April. THR The companies have reached a new agreement covering eBook and print sales in the U.S. The two were reportedly in a standoff over eBook revenues, with the online retailer reportedly delaying shipments, reducing discounts and preventing people from preordering Hachette titles. Mashable The dispute began when Amazon stopped taking preorders for Hachette titles. Since that time, the two have dialed up the rhetoric, with Hachette authors Malcolm Gladwell and James Patterson criticizing Amazon, while the online retailer charged that Hachette was “stonewalling” about making a deal. WSJ Neither side claimed victory and it may be that both Hachette and Amazon made concessions in the end. Under the new eBook agreement, which will take effect in early 2015, Hachette will set the prices of its consumer titles. The companies said Hachette will get better terms when it “delivers lower prices for readers.” Amazon said on Thursday it has resumed treating Hachette titles as it did before the dispute. NYT The conflict, which played out in increasingly contentious forums as the year progressed, left wounds too deep for true celebration Thursday. Amazon has been cast as a bully in publications across the ideological spectrum, and a large group of authors is calling for it to be investigated on antitrust grounds. Its sales were hit by the dispute, analysts said. Amazon’s supporters publicly questioned the need for Hachette, the fourth largest publisher, to exist in an era when anyone can publish themselves digitally, an accusation Hachette was reluctant to respond to. And even if Amazon got less in the deal than it originally wanted, it still controls nearly half the book trade, an unprecedented level for one retailer. And the dispute showed it is not afraid to use its power to discourage sales.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: YouTube Launches Paid Music Service | FNC Special Tops Tuesday

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YouTube Music Streaming Service Launches in Beta (SocialTimes)
YouTube music has faced some challenges lately; the company lost its product manager over the summer and had disagreements with indie music labels. While news of its music offering leaked in August, Google didn’t want to launch the new service until it reached a deal with indie labels. In a bid to compete with streaming services like Pandora and Spotify, Google is finally rolling out YouTube Music Key in invitation-only beta. Re/code The company is overhauling the free version of its Android app, and next week it’ll start inviting some of its users to try a new subscription feature, which it’s building into its Android and iOS apps. GigaOM For early adopters, it will cost $7.99 per month with the first six months free, and eventually it will cost $9.99 per month, the same price as Spotify Premium. YouTube Music Key’s banner feature is that it gives subscribers the ability to listen to music without ads, as well as run YouTube as a background app on mobile devices, allowing users to listen to YouTube videos while playing a game or locking their home screen. THR With the monthly fee, users also receive access to a Google Play Music subscription, which offers more than 30 million songs and playlists for streaming. Beginning Wednesday, YouTube is also rolling out new music features for free, ad-supported music video viewing. YouTube also plans to make it easier to find an artist’s discography through their official music videos and other songs uploaded to the streamer, so a user can play a full album straight through. NYT With its new service, YouTube hopes to reform its reputation in the music industry as a phenomenal free site to promote songs, but one that pays a pittance in royalties. As YouTube pushes into paid content, other online music outlets — under considerable pressure from the recording industry — are being forced to defend or change their business models to better compensate artists.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Fox News Tops Election Week | Yahoo! Buys BrightRoll

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Fox News Channel No. 1 for Election Week 2014 (TVNewser)
Midterm elections translated to a big victory for Fox News Channel. FNC marked its highest-rated week of 2014 in both total day and primetime (Monday to Friday). Variety Its average around-the-clock viewership of 1.43 million — its highest for any week of 2014 — put it ahead of runners-up ESPN and Nickelodeon, both of which drew 1.28 million. This is the first time since the week of the Boston Marathon bombings that FNC has been No. 1 on cable in total day. Deadline Hollywood In primetime, FNC finished the week in second place among total viewers, behind ESPN. CNN and MSNBC ranked No. 25 and No. 24, respectively, in total day among cable networks, and No. 26 and No. 24, respectively, in primetime. TVNewser The return to Standard Time and the midterm elections combined to give all three network newscasts week-to-week gains. NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams also retook the lead in the adult 25-54 demo, which ABC’s World News Tonight With David Muir had owned for the last 11 weeks. Deadline Hollywood In the demo, Williams’ newscast clocked 2.19 million viewers to Muir’s 2.18 million; CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley drew 1.84 million demo viewers. NBC’s newscast also led among viewers of all ages: 9.45 million to ABC’s 8.76 million and CBS’ 7.25 million.

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