Click here to receive Mediabistro’s Morning Media Newsfeed via email.
2014 Ratings: Fox News No. 1 for 49th Consecutive Quarter (TVNewser)
Fox News finishes its 49th consecutive quarter and 147th consecutive month as the top-rated cable news network, besting the competition in both total day and primetime during the first quarter of 2014. In addition to delivering cable news’ top 14 programs in total viewers and top seven programs in the adults 25-54 demographic, Fox News was the only cable news network to grow compared to the year-ago quarter. Despite a strong March for CNN, MSNBC held on to the second-place spot among the cable news networks in both total day and primetime. HuffPost The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 was one of the biggest stories of the month, and CNN — whose obsessive coverage of the plane has brought it both ratings victories and repeated criticism — reaped the rewards in March. The network beat MSNBC in weekday primetime in the demo at the end of the quarter, averaging 240,000 viewers in the 25-54 category to MSNBC’s 201,000. Those numbers represent a 71 percent increase in the demo compared to March 2013. Variety The numbers come as MSNBC pushed hard during the period to cover the “Bridgegate” scandal surrounding New Jersey governor Chris Christie, and they raise the question of whether CNN will be able to sustain its March momentum when and if the MH 370 story loses the interest of news audiences.
60 Minutes Apologizes for Audio Editing in Tesla Report (TVNewser)
60 Minutes has apologized for an editing error in Scott Pelley‘s feature on Tesla founder Elon Musk Sunday night. As an electric car, the Tesla Model S doesn’t make a typical engine noise, so the editor added some sound for effect. Many of the 14 million viewers, including auto blog Jalopnik, picked up on it. HuffPost / AP Spokesman Kevin Tedesco said Tuesday that the loud car audio had been edited out of the online version of the story on Musk. Anchor Scott Pelley reported the story, and CBS said he wasn’t aware of the added audio ahead of time. PCMag CBS didn’t say outright that loud engine sounds were added to the footage of the famously near-silent Model S. But the admission that there was an “error” in editing seems to indicate the audio was inserted after filming rather than captured from a second vehicle riding alongside the Tesla sedan. Mashable The admission is another black mark against 60 Minutes, coming in the wake of criticism of a segment on the NSA that some found soft, and the suspension of Lara Logan for a report on the deaths of U.S. diplomats in Benghazi, which a CBS executive called “as big a mistake as there has been” in the show’s history.
@ColbertReport Deleted (The Daily Beast / Cheat Sheet)
In a segment with Twitter co-founder Biz Stone Monday, Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert deleted his show’s @ColbertReport Twitter account. The move came after the satirical host came under fire for a tweet about Asians from that account — which was taken out of context and led to a campaign on Twitter using the hashtag #CancelColbert. CBS News Colbert also defended himself against people who believe that he is racist beyond the Twitter debacle. The original tweet that set the “interwebs” aflame included a joke he made on his show last week, but failed to provide any context for those who had not seen the episode the joke was part of. The tweet, which has since been deleted, read: “I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.” LA Times / Show Tracker Some Twitter users thought the joke was offensive to Asian Americans, and within hours the hashtag #CancelColbert was a top trending subject on the social media website after Thursday’s broadcast. Colbert humorously referred to the controversy on his personal Twitter account, @StephenAtHome but waited until Monday night to issue a full response — and that he did, taking to task Comedy Central executives, the anonymous Web editor responsible for the problematic tweet, conservative pundit Michelle Malkin and the entire news media. Mediaite Colbert sent out one last tweet directing users to follow his Twitter handle @StephenAtHome before allowing Stone to kill the offending account. @StephenAtHome remains active with its 6.14 million followers intact, but historically at least, the account has served a very different purpose from @ColbertReport. Colbert’s personal account has mostly featured jokes with occasional plugs for The Colbert Report. By contrast, @ColbertReport served as the show’s marketing arm on Twitter, sending out links to segments, promoting upcoming guests and more.
News Corp. Wins Dismissal of U.S. Shareholder Lawsuit Over Phone Hacking Scandal (Reuters)
News Corp., its chairman Rupert Murdoch and other top officials have won the dismissal of a U.S. lawsuit accusing them of defrauding shareholders by concealing widespread, illegal phone hacking at two of its British newspapers. In a decision made public on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe in Manhattan said the defendants could not be held liable over statements predating the period for which shareholders sought to recoup alleged losses. Deadline New York Avon Pension Fund and others who owned News Corp. stock from mid-February to mid-July 2011 charged in the class action suit that Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch, former News of The World editor Rebekah Brooks, and other execs at News Corp. (before it split into two companies) committed fraud when the U.K. hacking scandal was unfolding. They told the public — including in testimony at Parliament — that it was just an isolated problem, and it wasn’t. When the widespread extent of the hacking became known in mid-2011, News Corp. shares fell 17 percent, and it derailed the company’s plan to buy British Sky Broadcasting. THR / Hollywood, Esq. The defect in the allegations, as spelled out by Judge Gardephe in an opinion on Monday, was that none of the allegedly misleading statements from News Corp. executives came during the relevant class period. The plaintiffs attempted to argue that the statements were actionable because they “remained alive” in 2011 and that the company had a duty to correct them. The judge dismisses the claims, but has given the plaintiffs an opportunity to amend their complaint. Separately, the judge refused to hold Brooks in the lawsuit because of a lack of personal jurisdiction.
Music Executive Barry Weiss Steps Down as Island Def Jam Motown Reorganizes (THR)
Universal Music is reorganizing its Island Def Jam Motown group into three standalone labels and promoting some key executives in the process. Effective immediately, Island Def Jam will cease to exist, according to a press release issued by UMG. Def Jam will run as its own unit with long-time executive Steve Bartels at the helm as CEO (he was previously president and COO). Island will continue to run under David Massey but will be adding its own marketing, publicity and A&R departments. Variety Chief among these changes is the ankling of East Coast Label Group president and CEO Barry Weiss. Weiss will step down and “enter into discussions with UMG about a new venture together,” according to the UMG release. NYT But that venture is unclear, and many in the music industry expect that Weiss may leave the company. Weiss — a highly regarded executive who came to Universal as part of a swap that sent Universal’s former chairman, Doug Morris, to Sony — had never found a clear role at Universal. He had been hired to run the label’s New York labels, which include Republic and Island Def Jam, but that job was ill-defined and the labels remained somewhat autonomous.
Amazon Prime Instant Video Gets Exclusive Rights to 24 (GigaOM)
Amazon Prime Instant Video is now the only subscription service where U.S. users can stream Fox hit 24, the company said Tuesday. The show was no longer available for streaming on Netflix as of April 1. Episodes of the upcoming 12-episodes series 24: Live Another Day will also appear on Prime “later this year.” Deadline Hollywood It is part of a licensing agreement with Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution that covers all 192 episodes of 24. The eight seasons of the Emmy-winning political thriller and its TV movie 24: Redemption, which bridged Seasons 6 and 7, are already available on Prime Instant Video. The pact with Amazon follows the expiration of Fox’s deal for 24 with Netflix, which was the streaming home of the series until Tuesday. MarketWatch The move from Netflix to Amazon underscores the ongoing battles between streaming services to offer “exclusives” in terms of previously produced TV series as well as original content. And with Amazon raising the price of its Prime two-day delivery service — which includes a subscription to Prime Instant Video — to $99 a year from $79 the e-commerce giant knows it needs to make its video offering stand out as an extra benefit for its Prime members to remain with the service at its higher price point.
Fox News Corrects Itself on Obamacare Numbers, Almost Perfectly (The Washington Post / Erik Wemple)
Fox News Monday took a pounding among critics for putting up a misleading chart about Obamacare. The numbers were right, the proportions were off. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media The original graphic had the correct number of enrollees, about 6 million as of March 27, but placed the number in a bar graph that looked to be approximately one-third the size of the slightly more than 7 million enrollee goal for March 31. On Tuesday morning, America’s Newsroom host Bill Hemmer noted the mistake and showed a corrected graphic. “That was our mistake, correction noted,” Hemmer said.
‘Conan360’ Entertaining Late-Night Viewers From All Angles (LostRemote)
Conan O’Brien has become one of late-night TV’s most socially active hosts, and his show’s new feature, “Conan360,” appears to be a technology never-before-seen on TV. Variety Viewers who turn to the program’s website can view certain segments with a 360-degree perspective as the show airs, catching sight of not only the action, but the audience and everything else on set at a particular moment. As more of TV’s late-night programs open their sets to in-show advertising, Turner’s Conan gambit appears to take things to a new level: Putting an advertiser on the show without necessarily distracting the viewer with a too-obvious marketing message.
Yahoo! Mulling Plans to Ax Its Shine Women’s Site, Opting for More Online Lifestyle ‘Magazines’ (Re/code)
Yahoo!’s Marissa Mayer is poised to take an ax to its longtime and massive women-focused content site Shine, closing it down by the second quarter, according to numerous sources close to the situation. Instead, said these sources, the company is considering chopping it all up and relaunching with a similar model to what it has done with Yahoo! Tech and the hiring of high-profile editor and reviewer David Pogue there. FishbowlNY Apparently Mayer has never been a fan of Shine. “She thought Shine was not attractive and she aspires to create an online version of Vogue,” a person close to the situation said. “But Shine is a mass-market content site, more like USA Today.” In Shine’s place, Mayer plans to launch several “digital magazines,” each with its own focus, such as fashion, beauty and interior design.
Sony Re-Ups TV Execs Zack Van Amburg, Jamie Erlicht (THR / The Live Feed)
Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht are staying put at Sony Pictures TV. The pair has inked new deals to remain with the prolific studio as presidents of programming and production. The news comes after a strong year, with a portfolio of 30 series, including NBC breakout The Blacklist, ABC reality hit Shark Tank and AMC’s since-departed Emmy winner Breaking Bad and its forthcoming spin-off Better Call Saul. Their recent gains have been so pronounced that Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton told investors in November that the company would shift its emphasis from film to “higher-margin television.”
Comedy Central’s New ‘First Screen’ App (LostRemote)
Comedy Central Tuesday released its new iPhone and iPad app, which includes full episodes from the most recent season of South Park and next-day availability of The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, and The Colbert Report. While many networks have focused resources on apps that offer a rich second screen experience, Comedy Central does not expect fans to use the app while concurrently watching its programming on TV.
Maria Bartiromo Debuts Strong on Fox News (TVNewser)
Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo won its timeslot in its debut Sunday. In fact, the new show beat CNN’s Fareed Zakaria and MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry combined in total viewers in the 10 a.m. hour. The show was down slightly in total viewers but up in the demo vs. last Sunday’s 10 a.m. offering. In fact, Bartiromo delivered FNC’s third-highest adults 25-54 number for the timeslot this year.
J.J. Gould Named Atlantic Digital Editor (FishbowlDC)
Newly installed Atlantic co-presidents Bob Cohn and James Bennett announced Tuesday that J.J. Gould will be the new editor for TheAtlantic.com. Cohn was formerly the digital editor, while Gould had been executive editor for the site. Gould was previously an editor at the Journal of Democracy, and he has also written for The Washington Monthly, The American Prospect, The Moscow Times, The Chronicle Herald and The European Journal of Political Theory.
Dish Launches ESPN, ABC, Disney Internet Video Services (Variety)
Dish Network is now officially on Disney’s TV Everywhere list. The development could help encourage Dish’s subscribers to stick with the pay-TV service, instead of switching to an over-the-top option — including the OTT package Dish itself is in the process of assembling. Dish’s 14 million subscribers now have access to five of Disney’s Internet video services with both live and on-demand programming on an array of devices: Watch ABC, WatchESPN, Watch ABC Family, Watch Disney Channel and WatchDisneyXD. Dish is adding the services under the multiyear distribution pact with Disney reached last month.
Megan Carpentier Joins Guardian U.S. (FishbowlNY)
The Guardian U.S. has named Megan Carpentier deputy opinion editor. Carpentier was previously Raw Story’s executive editor and an associate editor at Talking Points Memo. She has also served as an editor at Jezebel and an associate editor at Wonkette. Carpentier’s work has appeared in publications like Us Weekly, The Washington Post, The Guardian and Foreign Policy.
What’s the best April Fool’s day prank from a media outlet?
ItsTheBrandi CNN continuing to pretend it’s credible.
- Morning Media Newsfeed: Sony to Release The Interview | Disney, DirecTV Strike Deal
- Morning Media Newsfeed: Columbia to Review UVA Rape Story | TWC-Comcast Merger Halted
- Morning Media Newsfeed: Hackers Applaud Sony | Fox News, FBN Pulled From Dish
- Morning Media Newsfeed: White House Talks Sony Attack | Abrams to Leave Nightline