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Morning Media Newsfeed: Gore Sues Al Jazeera | MTP Pays Tribute to Gregory

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Al Gore Sues Al Jazeera Over $500 Million Current TV Deal (Bloomberg)
Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore has sued Al Jazeera, claiming the satellite news provider owned by the Qatari royal family owes him and a partner $65 million from a deal to buy his network, Current TV. TVNewser “Our outside counsel is reviewing the complaint,” an Al Jazeera spokesperson said. “We think it relates to a commercial dispute between former shareholders of Current Media and Al Jazeera America. We may have further comment once they’ve fully reviewed everything.” Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Gore and business partner Joel Hyatt, the co-founders of Current Media, say that Al Jazeera has unlawfully refused to turn over tens of millions of dollars currently located in an escrow account. That money is owed to Current Media shareholders per the terms of the $500-million merger agreement made in January 2013, the plaintiffs say. New York Post Gore, 66, was set to personally pocket an estimated $100 million on the sale of his 20 percent stake in the network, which he helped found in 2004. Mediaite In a statement, Gore’s lawyer said, “Al Jazeera America wants to give itself a discount on the purchase price that was agreed to nearly two years ago. We are asking the court to order Al Jazeera America to stop wrongfully withholding the escrow funds that belong to Current’s former shareholders.” It should be noted that last year, Gore himself was sued for the sale of Current TV.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Gregory Out, Todd in at MTP | Journalists Face Backlash in MO

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It’s Official: Chuck Todd Named Host of Meet The Press (TVNewser)
As expected, NBC News has announced that Chuck Todd will be the next moderator of Meet The Press. CNNMoney The announcement confirmed widespread speculation that David Gregory, the moderator of the Sunday morning public affairs program for the past six years, would be replaced by Todd, the NBC News political director. FishbowlDC Turness also confirmed that after 20 years with NBC News, Gregory bids farewell, which he announced earlier in the day on Twitter. Todd will take reigns of the program on Sept. 7. Andrea Mitchell will moderate this weekend. FishbowlDC Gregory tweeted, “I leave NBC as I came – humbled and grateful. I love journalism and serving as moderator of MTP was the highest honor there is.” TVNewser Gregory, who joined NBC News in 1995, has hosted Meet The Press for six years, since the death of Tim Russert in 2008. During Gregory’s tenure, the show slipped in the ratings, first losing ground to CBS’ Face The Nation, and, more recently, frequently placing third behind FTN and ABC’s This Week. No word yet on what is next for Gregory, who was recently spotted meeting with CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: AP Journalist Killed in Gaza | Williams 20/20 Special Draws 7.2 Million

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AP Video Journalist, Freelance Translator Killed in Gaza (FishbowlNY)
Simone Camilli and Ali Shehda Abu Afash — an Associated Press video journalist and a freelance translator, respectively — were killed in Gaza Wednesday while covering the conflict there. TVNewser Camilli, an Italian national, and Abu Afash, his Palestinian translator, were killed after ordnance left over from fighting in Gaza exploded. Following the news, AP president Gary Pruitt sent a note to the AP’s global staff about the dangers of their work. Associated Press / The Big Story Police said three police engineers also were killed. Four people, including AP photographer Hatem Moussa, were badly injured. Moussa told a colleague that they were filming the scene when an initial explosion went off. He said he was hit by shrapnel and began to run when there was a second blast, which knocked him out. He woke up in a hospital and later underwent surgery. NYT Camilli, 35, a video journalist based in Beirut, Lebanon, who started as an intern at The AP in 2005, was the first international journalist killed in the latest Gaza conflict. Abu Afash, 36, helped train local journalists through the Doha Center for Media Freedom and worked regularly with visiting foreign correspondents. BBC News The incident happened in the town of Beit Lahiya, in the north of the Gaza Strip. It came hours before a three-day ceasefire agreed between Israel and the Palestinians was due to expire. Some 2,000 people have died since the fighting in Gaza began on July 8. Those killed include more than 1,900 Palestinians, mostly civilians, according to the UN.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Chopper Crash Injures NYT Reporter | Tribune Media Profits Up

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NYT Correspondent Injured in Iraq Helicopter Crash (TVNewser)
New York Times reporter Alissa Rubin was injured when the relief helicopter she was traveling in crashed Tuesday, killing the pilot. The helicopter was on a mission to aid Yazidi refugees in Iraq. FishbowlNY According to crash survivors, the helicopter went down shortly after takeoff. The cause of the incident has yet to be confirmed. NYT Rubin, 56, the Times’ Paris bureau chief and a longtime war correspondent, apparently suffered a concussion, at least one broken wrist and possibly some broken ribs but was conscious. Adam Ferguson, 35, a freelance photographer working for the Times who was accompanying Rubin, said via cellphone text that he suffered a sore jaw and some minor bumps. HuffPost Rubin has a long history of war reporting. She was the bureau chief for the Times in both Baghdad and Kabul before transferring to Paris. Time Iraqi parliamentarian Vian Dakhil was among the survivors of the crash. Dakhil garnered international attention for her impassioned pleas on the floor of Iraq’s parliament to deliver aide to tens of thousands of Yazidis, a religious minority that fled into the mountains as ISIS fighters advanced northward into the Kurdish region of Iraq. A Kurdish official told the Times that the cause of the crash appeared to have been an accident and that no ISIS fighters were seen in the area at the time.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Todd Eyed for MTP | LA Times Names Publisher, CEO

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Meet The Press Reportedly Plans to Announce New Moderator Soon, Chuck Todd The Favorite (Politico / Playbook)
Chuck Todd, a political obsessive and rabid sports fan, is the likely successor to David Gregory as moderator of Meet The Press, with the change expected to be announced in coming weeks, according to top political sources. TVNewser Meet The Press has slipped to third among the Sunday public affairs shows. Todd is currently NBC’s chief White House correspondent and political director, as well as the anchor of the 9 a.m. Daily Rundown on MSNBC. FishbowlDC The New York Post’s Page Six first reported in late July that Gregory may soon be replaced. The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove later wrote in a follow-up piece that, “In multiple conversations that I had with people inside and outside NBC after the item appeared, it was taken as a given that Gregory is toast.” TVNewser Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace appeared on MediaBuzz to give his thoughts on the rumors and the influence of Sunday shows today. “I think it’s lousy,” Wallace said about how NBC News is treating Gregory amid rumors of his imminent ousting. FishbowlDC “I think they either ought to say he’s our guy, we’re sticking by him, or they ought to get rid of him, but they shouldn’t put him in this limbo,” said Wallace.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Amazon Halts Disney Titles | Brady’s Death Ruled A Homicide

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Amazon Halts Some Disney Movie Preorders (WSJ)
Amazon.com Inc. has halted preorders for some DVDs and Blu-ray discs from media giant Walt Disney Co., including popular titles such as Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in an apparent contract dispute. CNET However, preorders of digital versions on Amazon Instant Video are still available. The situation is reminiscent of an apparent dispute between Amazon and Warner Home Video in which preorders of discs for The Lego Movie, Transcendence, and 300: Rise of an Empire vanished from the site earlier this summer. Amazon hasn’t publicly commented on that situation, but it’s thought that the move is intended to apply pressure on Warner to gain greater margin on each sale. Time Amazon has been engaged in an increasingly acrimonious dispute with Hachette over eBook pricing, with Amazon restricting the sale of Hachette books until the two parties arrive at terms. More than 900 authors, including Malcolm Gladwell and Stephen King, have signed an open letter criticizing Amazon’s policies. Amazon hasn’t yet publicly commented on the apparent dispute with Disney. Variety Disney, on its U.S. homevideo site, is directing customers to Walmart and Best Buy for pre-orders of Maleficent and other upcoming releases. Muppets Most Wanted also is available for pre-order from Target. Deadline Hollywood Discussions will be continuing between Amazon and Disney throughout the week to try to resolve the pricing issue.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Bloomberg Cancels Hunt | CNN Politics Makes Cuts

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Bloomberg Media Makes Cuts in Three Cities, Cancels Political Capital (TVNewser)
Bloomberg Media made cuts in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and New York City Thursday. FishbowlDC Bloomberg announced several layoffs in its D.C. bureau, relocating a few TV production positions to New York, where its daily politics show with Mark Halperin and John Heilemann — slated to launch in October — will be produced. Amid news of the layoffs, Bloomberg spokeswoman Amanda Cowie shared the following statement: ”Our TV operation — in the U.S. and around the world — is growing in size. We are changing how, and where, the TV operation is run.” NYT Some political and finance reporters were dismissed and the company will move some European television production jobs to London. It will also close its small television bureau in Los Angeles and focus its resources on San Francisco. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Bloomberg Media has decided to cancel its weekly political talk show, Political Capital With Al Hunt. Hunt will continue to write his weekly column for Bloomberg View, the site’s opinion vertical. Several print staff will also be laid off. Staffers will have the option to apply for other jobs at the company. TheWrap “We will continue to expand our Washington coverage. We’re launching a new politics platform — including for the first time a daily political show — expanding initiatives like First Word DC, investing in financial crimes reporting and the changes are a part of the overall new structure being put into place,” Cowie said.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Fox, Time Warner Issue Earnings | Coulson Charged With Perjury

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Fox, Time Warner Deliver Dueling Earnings Reports, Both Positive (NYT)
How dead is the Fox-Time Warner deal? So dead that Rupert Murdoch hopped on his company’s quarterly earnings call on Wednesday to drive home the point that his giant media company, 21st Century Fox, really is walking away. The collapse of the deal, which would have been the biggest media merger in a decade, set the stage for a day of dueling earnings reports and analyst conference calls on Wednesday, as both Fox and Time Warner sought to reassure investors that they were going to be just fine without each other. Capital New York “This is our resolute decision, which is why we formally withdrew our acquisition offer,” Murdoch said, citing Time Warner’s decision not to negotiate, the response from Fox’s board of directors, along with Fox’s stock price, which Murdoch said is “severely undervalued.” Variety Film and cable programming gains powered 21st Century Fox to strong earnings and revenue gains in the fiscal fourth quarter, despite a big decline at the Fox network from the collapse of American Idol. Fox reported revenue of $8.42 billion, a 17 percent gain over the year-ago quarter powered by stronger contributions from the film division. Operating income climbed 17 percent to $1.77 billion. THR During the regular session Wednesday, shares of 21st Century Fox rose 3 percent and another 4 percent after the closing bell. Shares of Time Warner, meantime, were crushed because of the failed merger attempt, falling 13 percent in regular trading Wednesday. HuffPost / AP Time Warner Inc. said Wednesday that its second-quarter net income rose 10 percent on strong results from its HBO and Turner properties. New York-based Time Warner, which owns TV channels like HBO and TBS as well as Warner Bros. studios, said profit increased to $850 million, or 95 cents per share, from $771 million, or 81 cents per share, in the same quarter a year earlier.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Murdoch Withdraws Time Warner Bid | New Leaker Emerges

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After Pushback, Murdoch Abandons Fox’s Pursuit of Time Warner (NYT / DealBook)
At 4:07 p.m. Tuesday, the chief executive of Time Warner Inc., Jeffrey L. Bewkes, received an unexpected email. “On behalf of our board and senior management team, I am writing to inform you that we are withdrawing our offer to acquire Time Warner, effective immediately. Sincerely, Rupert Murdoch.” A hand-delivered letter bearing the same message arrived soon after. TVNewser In short, Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox withdrew its bid for Time Warner, CNN’s parent company. FishbowlNY Early last month, word leaked that Murdoch’s bid of $80 billion was rejected, which raised speculation that he’d try everything in his power to make it happen. Instead, the opposite has occurred. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Subsequent reports speculated that Murdoch, dogged in his pursuit of an acquisition, would consider upping the offer by as much as $13.5 billion. Had such a deal gone through, it would have merged the country’s top-two cable providers, giving Murdoch control of several top-rated cable networks, including TNT, Fox News, TBS and Cartoon Network. WSJ Fox cited both Time Warner’s unwillingness to “engage with us” and a sharp drop in Fox’s stock price which made a deal “unattractive to Fox shareholders.” Fox’s stock had fallen about 11 percent since news broke last month that it had made a takeover offer for Time Warner, valued at $85 a share.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Tribune Rebrands | Gannett to Split, Buy Cars.com

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Tribune Gets New Name Ahead of Split (TVSpy)
Tribune Company began operating under a new, but similar, name Monday: Tribune Media Company. The rebranding came as the broadcasting and publishing divisions of the 167-year-old company split. TVNewser Tribune Media Company includes Tribune Broadcasting, WGN America, Tribune Studios, Tribune Digital Ventures and Tribune Real Estate. Variety The overhaul comes with a new logo and corporate website. Tribune has labored under the cloud of bankruptcy and plunging ad revenues for years, leading to its fissure into two companies. Tribune’s papers, which include the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, will begin trading Tuesday as a new company, Tribune Publishing. It will be listed under the symbol TPUB on the New York Stock Exchange. It has been saddled with $350 million in debt and faces a cloudy future as revenues and readership of newspapers continue to decline. THR Tribune Media CEO Peter Liguori has said the separation will allow investors to put money into either the broadcast or print assets of Tribune, or both. The spinoff is mindful of the split of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and 21st Century Fox. USA Today Tribune’s shareholders receive a quarter of a share of Tribune Publishing’s common stock for each Tribune share they own. After years of management turmoil and dealing with heavy debt, Tribune, based in Chicago, emerged from a four-year bankruptcy process in early 2013 with the intent to focus on broadcasting. In July 2013, Tribune announced early plans to spin off the publishing unit that would operate on its own without affecting the financial performance of its other, more profitable businesses.

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