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Morning Media Newsfeed: Comcast, TWC to Merge | GMA Beats Today | Soledad, Google Team Up

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Time Warner Cable to Merge With Comcast Corporation (Comcast)
Comcast Corporation and Time Warner Cable Thursday announced that their Boards of Directors have approved a definitive agreement for Time Warner Cable to merge with Comcast. The agreement is a friendly, stock-for-stock transaction in which Comcast will acquire 100 percent of Time Warner Cable’s 284.9 million shares outstanding for shares of CMCSA amounting to approximately $45.2 billion in equity value. NYT / DealBook For Comcast, which completed its acquisition of NBC Universal, the television and movie powerhouse, from General Electric less than a year ago, the latest deal would be its second big act to radically reshape the media landscape in the United States. And the merger is almost certain to bring to an end a protracted takeover battle that Charter Communications has been waging for Time Warner Cable. CNNMoney The two companies expect the merger to receive government approval and take effect by the end of the year, but regulators are likely to take a close look at the potential impact on consumers. Through the consolidation of Time Warner Cable, Comcast would be the dominant provider of television channels and Internet connections in roughly one in three American homes, a total unmatched by any other distributor. Re/code So here’s the big idea that’s supposed to get the deal approved in the coming months: It’s OK for a giant cable company to buy another giant cable company, because cable companies don’t compete. For instance: I live in Brooklyn, and I’m a Time Warner Cable customer. In theory, I could also get TV from the satellite guys, and also from Verizon. But I can’t get TV from Comcast, because the cable guys work in specific territories, carved out by local regulators, and they don’t overlap. GigaOM And when you start to peel the onion and start looking at their average monthly revenues of the combined companies, you start to see why the game is all about broadband. According to UBS estimates, the combined company could see its consumer data-only revenues go from $17 billion at end of 2013 to about $23 billion by end of 2018. Voice revenues go from about $6 billion at the end of 2013 to $6.6 billion at end of 2018.

GMA Beats Today Despite Sochi Olympics Broadcast (NY Post)
Bob Costas isn’t the only NBC face with red eyes. The peacock network’s Today show broadcast from Sochi got trounced by ABC’s Good Morning America on Tuesday. It is believed that it is the first time Today was beaten in the overall ratings during an Olympics. NBC has carried every summer and winter Olympics since 2000. TVNewser Compared to the same day during the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, GMA has slashed the gap with Today by 151 percent in total viewers and 122 percent in the demo. During the 2010 Games, Today — which at the time was the dominant morning show — made significant gains on GMA from Day 1 to Day 2 of the Olympics. Capital New York The chairman of NBC Sports, Mark Lazarus, remains adamant that timeshifting and subsequently cutting down the Sochi Olympic opening ceremonies was a good idea. “I continue to believe, having now been in the stadium to watch Opening Ceremonies and watching it on television, that historical, cultural context and relevance make it a more enjoyable and informative experience,” Lazarus told reporters in a conference call. Despite that, he says he expects the 2016 Opening Ceremony will air live in primetime, owing to it being in Brazil, just an hour ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time.

Soledad O’Brien Teams up With Google (HuffPost)
Soledad O’Brien’s production company is teaming up with Google as she prepares for her first speaking tour, the former CNN host told the Huffington Post Wednesday. Google will expand O’Brien’s Starfish Media Group using Google+’s Hangouts, Google Apps for Business and by creating a YouTube channel to allow the company to reach a broader audience. The search giant will also sponsor the “Soledad O’Brien Presents Black in America” speaking tour beginning Feb. 17, where she will travel to college campuses and art centers in five cities to engage a larger audience in conversations about social change.

New York Times Magazine Editor Search Nears End (Capital New York)
The hunt for the next editor of The New York Times Magazine is entering the home stretch, Capital has learned. Sources familiar with the process said the search has been narrowed down to a handful of internal and external candidates and that a decision is expected in a matter of weeks. These candidates have been in “serious discussions” recently, sources said, including one-on-one dinners and lunches with Times managing editor Dean Baquet, who is overseeing the search along with Deborah Needleman, the editor of sister title T.

Journalists Share Pictures of an Empty Atlanta (Poynter / MediaWire)
On Jan. 29, Zoë Schlanger wrote about the storm that hit Atlanta for Newsweek and how the city looked like something from The Walking Dead. Images from that piece were full of abandoned cars. And on Jan. 30, Ian Bogost wrote a story for The Atlantic about how shows like The Walking Dead prepare people for catastrophic events. But maybe it was what happened in late January that really helped prepare people in Atlanta for the ice that’s settled in and the ice that’s on its way now.

John Oliver’s New HBO Show Gets A Title, Premiere Date (Mediaite)
HBO just made it official. Last Week Tonight With John Oliver will premiere Sunday, April 27 at 11 p.m. ET. John Oliver, who served for seven years as a correspondent for The Daily Show before he filled in for Jon Stewart as host last summer, will host the weekly, half-hour show on HBO. Tim Carvell, who recently served as head-writer for The Daily Show, will join Oliver as showrunner for the new series. He will be joined by executive producers James Taylor and Jon Thoday as well as producer Liz Stanton.

Scarborough Won’t Rule Out 2016 (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said Wednesday that he hasn’t closed the door on a 2016 presidential bid. Asked by radio host Hugh Hewitt if he had ruled out running for president, Scarborough said he “won’t rule anything out” and later added, “we’ll see what happens.” Though Scarborough has floated the idea before, his name wasn’t on anyone’s shortlist until Bill Kristol, the founder of The Weekly Standard, dropped his name in a recent survey for Politico Magazine.

Daily Mail Rips Off Yahoo! News Story, Then Updates With ‘Credit’ (Poynter / MediaWire)
The (U.K.) Daily Mail lifted several paragraphs from a Yahoo! News account of a speech by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. It later updated the story with a credit to Yahoo!. The Yahoo! story, written by Chris Moody, was published at approximately 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, while the unbylined Daily Mail piece was published at 6:01 p.m. on Tuesday and updated at 12:23 p.m. Wednesday. While several sections paraphrased Moody’s story, several were outright rips.

NBC Hopes Jimmy Fallon Brings Younger Viewers to Tonight (NYT)
In 2004, as Jimmy Fallon was leaving Saturday Night Live after a six-year run creating sketch characters and sharing the “Weekend Update” desk with Tina Fey, Lorne Michaels floated an idea. Michaels, Fallon’s patron at SNL and the show’s executive producer, had a hunch that this comedian’s future did not lie in Hollywood and movies, which he wanted to pursue, but on a traditional late-night talk show. “I always thought that was the best use of his talents,” Michaels said. “There are very few people who can do that job. I always say there are a hundred U.S. senators and eight people with their own show.” That instinct has paid off for both men.

Shake-up at People Continues With Exit of Mag’s No. 2 Editor (NY Post)
People magazine has lost another top editor. Deputy editor Peter Castro, once rumored to be the running for the top job, announced Wednesday he is leaving the Time Inc. title after 26 years. During his decades at Time Inc., Castro also served as the top editor of People en Espanol for 15 months before returning to People, where he would run the magazine whenever immediate boss Larry Hackett was absent.

Horacio Silva Joins Departures (WWD / Memo Pad)
The Time Inc.-owned Departures has nabbed former T Magazine online director Horacio Silva as its fashion and style director. The role is a newly created one for Departures, and it underscores the magazine’s commitment to folding more fashion coverage into its pages — not to mention more luxury advertising.

TV News Outlets Rethink Push Into Latino Market (Capital New York)
For TV networks, Latinos were supposed to be The Next Big Thing. As the fastest-growing demographic in the U.S., seemingly every outlet decided to put a stake in the ground, to varying success. CNN shuttered CNN Latino earlier this month. NBC folded its Latino news into the new NBCNews.com after shutting down NBCLatino.com last year. In a jab at both networks, Fox News Wednesday said that its digital Latino product, Fox News Latino, will be expanding video production.

David Zaslav, John Sykes, Susan Spencer And The Dish on What Bill Clinton Did Last Night (FishbowlNY / Lunch)
It turns out the third time was the charm for my long-delayed lunch with Woman’s Day editor-in-chief Susan Spencer. Having been kept away from Michael’s first by the onset of the polar vortex and then, a few weeks later, by the snowstorm of the week, we finally managed to meet at 55th and Fifth Wednesday. Perfect timing, after all, because Susan was still buzzing about The 11th Annual Woman’s Day Red Dress Awards held Tuesday night at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall.

The Crisis at WBAI (Capital New York)
On Monday, WBAI-FM interim program director Bob Hennelly met two twenty-somethings who wanted to intern at his community radio station. It was the same day he expected he’d be fired. “Talk about going two directions at the same time,” said Hennelly, who reported for New York NPR affiliate WNYC for a decade before beginning at WBAI in December. It was a homecoming for Hennelly, 58, who learned the broadcasting trade at WBAI when he couldn’t afford graduate school. But the warm fuzzies quickly wore off.

The Wolf of Sesame Street: Revealing The Secret Corruption Inside PBS’ News Division (PandoDaily)
On Dec. 18, the Public Broadcasting Service’s flagship station WNET issued a press release announcing the launch of a new two-year news series entitled The Pension Peril. The series, promoting cuts to public employee pensions, is airing on hundreds of PBS outlets all over the nation. It has been presented as objective news on major PBS programs including the PBS News Hour. However, neither the WNET press release nor the broadcasted segments explicitly disclosed who is financing the series. Pando has exclusively confirmed that The Pension Peril is secretly funded by former Enron trader John Arnold, a billionaire political powerbroker who is actively trying to shape the very pension policy that the series claims to be dispassionately covering.

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