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Mel Brooks is a Big Fan of Al Jazeera America

MelBrooksAlJazeeraIt’s the kind of spontaneous testimonial that any new outlet dreams of. For The Stream, Al Jazeera America recently dialed up Mel Brooks via satellite from Los Angeles. At one point, the 87-year-old comedy legend took a moment to praise the instrument of his interview:

“Let me say something about Al Jazeera. I’m doing this because when Al Jazeera was first on the air, and I first heard about it, I thought it was probably Arab, Muslim, you know, slanted and maybe a little anti-Semitic, I didn’t know. And then I got to see it on my local station in Santa Monica and it was like a breath of fresh air.”

“It was like the New York Times of [TV] news. It was either MSNBC on the left or FOX on the right. It was giving me the news as earnestly and as honestly as I ever got it, and that’s why I salute Al Jazeera, and that’s why I’m happy to be here doing this even though the money is very small.”

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Cheryl Gould Departs NBC News

Cheryl Gould, a 37-year veteran of NBC News, is leaving the company. Gould — the first female producer of NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw — had been with NBC News since 1977, most recently serving as senior VP.

During her time at NBC News, Gould served as domestic and foreign editor, VP of CNBC, and senior producer of NBC News Overnight, which she helped create. In 1989, Gould won an Emmy Award for Nightly News’ coverage of the Romanian revolution. Her work has been published in The New York Times and Newsweek. She has also served on the Board for the International Women’s Media Foundation.

“We have all benefited from Cheryl’s decades of successes and dedication to NBC News,” wrote Deborah Turness, NBC News’ president, in a memo obtained by Jim Romenesko.

MSG Network Show Returns to Debate ‘Best New York Movies’

For the next two weeks, 11:00 p.m. weeknights, The Lineup: Best NY Movies on MSG will run down a gargantuan group of worthy candidates. On tonight’s debut, the show’s latest panel featuring movie critic Jeffrey Lyons, actor John Leguizamo, filmmakers Ed Burns and Spike Lee join host Fran Healy to evaluate Manhattan-set gangster movies.

MSG Network's "The Lineup"

The first revelation of tonight’s program is that actor Dylan McDermott does a pretty good Marlon Brando/Don Vito Corleone impression. There’s also a good debate about which is better – The Godfather or The Godfather: Part II.

The Lineup: Best NY Movies is the fourth go-round for the Emmy-winning program. The show previously looked at NYC’s best baseball players, baseball deals and sports movies. Here’s the full schedule:

Monday, March 3: Gangster
Tuesday, March 4: Comedy
Wednesday, March 5: Action
Thursday, March 6: Drama (Part 1)
Friday, March 7: Thriller

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Bill O’Reilly: Jay-Z and Kanye West are a ‘Disease’

Bill O’Reilly, the best journalist ever according to Bill O’Reilly, knows why America’s youth is struggling: The dreaded rap music. Speaking to Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to President Obama, O’Reilly said that Jay-Z and Kanye West are a “disease” and simply need to “knock it off.”

“You have to attack the fundamental disease if you want to cure it,” said O’Reilly. “You’re gonna have to get people like Jay-Z, Kanye West — all these gangsta rappers — to knock it off.”

Lord knows that everything Jay has made since the Black Album has been trash and West’s Yeezus was awful, but we don’t exactly want them to stop creating music.

Maybe that’s not what O’Reilly meant. The Fox News host was definitely confused, as both Jay and West hardly qualify as “gangsta rappers.” So maybe O’Reilly was just rambling and tossed out the first two black people he could think of to blame for our nation’s problems. Yeah, that’s probably it.

Fred Armisen Deadpans His Way to Instant Late Night Approval

Without a doubt, the highlight of the first few Late Night with Seth Meyers broadcasts has been the host’s post-monologue banter with band leader Fred Armisen. That’s not to say Meyers is stumbling. Relatively speaking, especially when compared to Conan’s rocky start so many years ago, Stefon’s Significant Other is ably feeling his way around the new territory and scoring a number of solid monologue hits.

Not so fortunate is the Late Night set. We’re not sure why Meyers’ desk is so small, or if the NBC production design team realized that the arch above the curtain when camera-framed during the monologue would make it look like Meyers’ head is glued to the top of the structure. Hopefully, in time, these elements will be smoothed out.

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Today Show Hosts Get Photoshopped

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Here’s what happens when experts at Cosmopolitan add the magic of photoshop to the cast of the Today show. The changes we immediately noticed? Matt Lauer became less bald, Al Roker grew a few inches, and Savannah Guthrie had her chest uh, enlarged. But there were plenty more.

Below is a diagram of all the changes made. Jezebel would be fake furious!

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Disney to Film Marvel Series For Netflix in NY

iger cuomoDisney has announced the upcoming Marvel series for Netflix will film primarily in New York, representing the largest film or television production project commitment in the state’s history.

Speaking at a press conference with Governor Andrew Cuomo this morning, Disney CEO Bob Iger said New York was “aggressive” in pursuing the company’s business — and that authenticity was very important to the project. The series will focus on Marvel’s “flawed heroes of Hell’s Kitchen”: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist.

“It’s very, very important for us to be in New York,” Iger said from ABC’s studios in Times Square.

The series will begin filming this summer and will debut on Netflix in 2015. The finished product will include nearly 60 episodes and is expected to create at least 3,000 jobs in New York, including 400 full time jobs, according to a statement from Disney and New York State. The Wall Street Journal reports the deal includes incentives worth about $4 million.

Last year, Netflix and Disney inked a distribution deal that gives Netflix exclusive rights to Walt Disney Studios movies, including titles from Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, Disneynature and Lucasfilm.

Ronan Farrow Racks Up Three Quick Strikes

RonanFarrowDaily[The following is a transcript from the FishbowlNY play-by-play booth.]

“Now batting… Ronan Farrow, the handsome young son of Mia Farrow and Frank Sinatra. Check that… Our statistician has just informed us that contrary to information circulated earlier, Ronan is in fact the son of Farrow and Woody Allen. Our apologies.”

“OK; Farrow steps into the national media box. Here’s the first pitch and, whoosh! Farrow swings for the fences and misses. Ratings for his Monday MSNBC debut averaged just 46,000 viewers.”

“Farrow is back in the box… for a called strike two! We’re not sure about that one; it looked a little outside. According the the Daily News, this unproven celebrity farm system prospect “doesn’t yet pop off the screen with the kind of distinctive personality that sets the likes of Bill O’Reilly, Rachel Maddow or Anderson Cooper apart.”"

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NBC Hires Anna Wintour’s Daughter

[Anna Wintour, mother of Bee Shaffer]

Bee Shaffer, the 26-year-old daughter of Anna Wintour, has a new gig: She’s a segment producer for Late Night, hosted by Seth Meyers. The move had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Shaffer’s mom is one of the most powerful women in media.

According to one of Shaffer’s friends, Shaffer didn’t get the job because her mom — Wintour — has about 937 friends in high places.

Rather, Shaffer got picked up by NBC because she can tell time. “She’s so punctual,” the friend told The New York Post. “She and I were both 30 minutes early for a business dinner, and the rest of the crew was an hour and a half late.”

Shaffer — daughter of Wintour, Vogue’s editor-in-chief since 1988 — moved from LA to New York in October of last year. She (Wintour’s daughter) currently lives in Chelsea.

Savannah Guthrie Helps Seth Meyers Prepare for ‘Worst Guests’

The media blitz for Seth Meyers has included a THR cover story, weekend coverage in the New York Times and down-the-hall air time this morning on Today. Tonight, it’s finally time for the affable Weekend Update anchor to show his Studio 8G stuff.

Today co-host Savannah Guthrie wins the award for most practical bit of pre-show conversation. In the clip above, she pretends to be a nightmare Late Night guest so as to help Meyers see how he might deal with a Joaquin Phoenix-Letterman scenario.

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