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Morning Media Newsfeed: Katie Canceled | Roberts Inks ABC Deal | Backlash Against A&E

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Katie Couric’s Talk Show Ending (TVNewser)
Katie Couric‘s syndicated daytime talk show Katie will end after two seasons, Couric and ABC announced Thursday. “While production will continue on Katie through June 2014, we’ve mutually agreed that there will not be a third season of the show,” Couric and Disney-ABC said in a statement. HuffPost The news follows Couric’s decision to leave ABC News early due to her new partnership with Yahoo!, where she will serve as the website’s “global anchor.” New York Daily News The end of Katie came as no surprise. There has been buzz for months that trouble has been brewing behind the scenes, which started when Couric’s close pal and executive producer Jeff Zucker left Katie to run CNN. Show insiders have also depicted a tug-of-war between Couric and producers: She had hoped to turn the show into a more news-driven production, while they have pushed to make the talk show more lighter and more gossip-focused. Ad Age / Media News It recently still ranked among the top 10 daytime syndicated shows, pulling about 2.2 million viewers on average, but ratings fell short of expectations, especially given the high cost of production and Couric’s celebrity. THR The end of Katie opens up time slots at 3 and 4 p.m. on ABC-owned stations and others in key markets. These are already being coveted by other shows; the stations also may opt to expand news into those time slots. Some stations had already chosen other shows for next fall, which is believed to have contributed to the decision to the show. Capital New York With her daytime show ending, Couric will presumably have some flexibility to pursue other TV options. One of the long-rumored options is CNN, which is being led by Zucker. In an interview with Capital earlier this month, Zucker shot down the reports that he had tried to woo Couric to the cable news channel. “We did not have any conversations with Katie about coming to CNN,” Zucker said.

Robin Roberts Re-Signs With ABC News (TVNewser)
Robin Roberts has signed a new deal with ABC News where she will remain co-anchor of Good Morning America. TVNewser reported earlier this month that she was close to signing a deal with the network. Roberts joined the show in 1995 as a feature reporter while also working for ESPN. She later became GMA‘s newsreader and in 2005 was named co-anchor, alongside Diane Sawyer. NY Post / Page Six A source close to the network insisted the pact is only in the “high-seven figures,” or just less than $10 million. “Over a month ago, they quietly inked a new, long-term, very high seven-figure deal with Robin that will keep [her] at the company for years to come… it was a friendly negotiation,” said an insider. Capital New York Putting aside the way the news broke, re-signing Roberts is an important move for ABC, which is trying to keep as much of the GMA team intact as it can, as the show celebrates a full year of topping NBC’s Today show, which had been the dominant morning leader for 20 years. The departure of Sam Champion was a big one for ABC, and the network didn’t want to risk losing one of its highest-profile anchors, too.

Fans Criticize Move to Suspend Duck Dynasty Star (NYT)
The A&E network was assailed on Thursday by thousands of fans of its most popular show over its decision to suspend the patriarch of the Duck Dynasty family, Phil Robertson, because of comments made in an interview in GQ magazine that the network deemed homophobic. Times Picayune Gov. Bobby Jindal Thursday issued a statement criticizing the television network over its decision to suspend Robertson for controversial comments he made about gay people and African Americans. “I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment. It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended,” said Jindal. THR / The Live Feed Several Fox News Channel hosts and commentators came to the defense of Robertson. On Hannity, host Sean Hannity said it was a “slippery slope” to begin firing people over things they said, adding he never advocated for the firings of liberals — including Alec Baldwin and Martin Bashir — who got in trouble for controversial comments. Megyn Kelly said on The Kelly File that Robertson’s indefinite hiatus preemptively stopped any conversation that might have arisen from his comments. Deadline Hollywood Nearly 82,000 people, in about nine hours, have signed the IStandWithPhil petition, calling for A&E to immediately reinstate Robertson.

Buyouts as New York Times Sales Chief Charts Her Course (Capital New York)
The New York Times has completed a round of business-side buyouts, Capital has learned. Three sources familiar with the matter put the total number of buyouts at around 20. The sources said long-serving sales executives like Jill Georgievski and John Geddes are among the people who accepted the early retirement packages, which targeted veteran account managers and telesales reps and were finalized this past Friday. A Times spokesperson said that this was not a cost-cutting measure, as was the case with the buyouts that rocked the newsroom earlier this year. Adweek It’s been more than a month since Hugo Lindgren confirmed his departure as editor of The New York Times Magazine, but don’t expect a successor to be named anytime soon. In a memo sent to the newspaper’s staff Thursday, executive editor Jill Abramson said that, rather than appointing a new editor by the end of the year as previously planned, the Times would be taking several months to reassess the Sunday magazine as a whole before choosing a new leader. NYT Seeking to allay potential newsroom concerns about the introduction of a new digital product called native advertising, the publisher of The New York Times on Thursday said that features like a color bar and the words “Paid Post” would enable readers to identify material as advertising content. In a letter to employees, the publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., also said there would be “strict separation between the newsroom and the job of creating content for the new native ads.” FishbowlNY It’s unfortunate that the Times even has to take the native ads route, but that’s how things go now.

The Wall Street Journal’s Answer to AllThingsD Launches Next Month (BuzzFeed / Business)
The Wall Street Journal’s answer to its separation with AllThingsD, a global technology coverage section called “WSJD,” is launching next month, according to a source familiar with the company’s operations. The company will be launching a global technology conference to go with it — which it said it would when the separation was made public — branded under the “WSJD” name, though the exact name of the conference couldn’t be learned. It will also launch a section in the paper as part of the paper’s existing “Marketplace” business section, according to the source.

Fired KSN Anchor Justin Kraemer Loses Job Opportunity in Colorado Springs, Too (The Wichita Eagle)
Justin Kraemer said he thought he had a job waiting for him in Colorado Springs when he was fired from KSN earlier this week for accidentally letting an expletive fly on-air. Now, he’s looking for another job. Kraemer said Thursday that he had been in the final stages of negotiating for a job at KOAA-TV, the NBC affiliate in Colorado Springs, when the story about his slip-up went viral. He was planning to head to Colorado Springs this weekend to start apartment hunting, he said. But on Thursday morning, station managers called and told him they couldn’t offer him a job after all, he said.

Mag Publishers Await Outcome of USPS Rate Hike Request (NY Post / Media Ink)
Magazine publishers along with mailers everywhere are anxiously awaiting the outcome of the exigency rate hike request that the ailing United States Postal Service filed in a bid to raise up to $2 billion in new revenue. A broad range of postage hikes takes effect in January. A ruling could come Friday or Monday.

Omidyar Venture Will Be Named First Look Media (Poynter / MediaWire)
Pierre Omidyar has put $50 million into his new journalism venture, which will be named First Look Media, the organization said in a press release. FLM “will publish robust coverage of politics, government, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, arts and culture, business, technology, and investigative news,” the release says. The company will comprise “several entities,” including a for-profit tech company whose profits will support the journalism venture, which is yet unnamed. FishbowlNY First Look Media is not exactly a vanguard name; at first blush, it sounds a bit too much perhaps like Digital First Media. We do realize however that the chances of this operation being called something like Billion Dollar Baby were slim to none.

Matt Apuzzo Headed to The New York Times (Capital New York)
Matt Apuzzo, one half of the Associated Press duo that broke a bombshell series about constitutionally questionable NYPD surveillance, is leaving the newswire for a job at The New York Times, where he will pursue enterprise and investigative reporting focusing on the Justice Department, law and policy. HuffPost / The Backstory The final Apuzzo and Goldman story, published last week by the AP, was another blockbuster. They revealed how Robert Levinson, an American who went missing in Iran in 2007, had been working for the CIA at the time as part of a rogue intelligence-gathering mission. FishbowlNY Apuzzo will remain based in D.C., where he lives with his wife, an immigration lawyer, and their two young children. His beat will be the Justice Department, law and policy. Goldman left AP several months ago for The Washington Post.

Kathie Lee, Hoda Hosting NBC New Year’s Eve Special (HuffPost)
If the fourth hour of Today is already boozy, we wonder what New Year’s Eve with Kathie Lee and Hoda will look like. The colorful duo will host “A Toast to 2013!”, a two-hour NBC News special airing Tuesday, Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. ET. Kathie Lee and Hoda will look back at the year’s “buzziest” stories, from Pope Francis to twerking, according to a release from the network.

Darden Not Alpha Enough to Nail Maxim Mag (NY Post / Media Ink)
Negotiations by Darden Media to buy Maxim and its parent, Alpha Media, have collapsed, sources tell Media Ink. Cerberus Capital Management, Alpha’s majority owner, has now turned to the No. 2 bidder, a joint venture that includes Infinity Group, a licensing company, and Hilco Global, a buyer of distressed assets.

Picayune Shuffle (Capital New York)
Can’t find a full-time journalism job in New York? Tired of toiling away at the tabloids? High cost of living and mediocre pay getting you down? These are some of the reasons there’s been a mini-migration of New York bylines down to New Orleans, where the embattled Times-Picayune has made a significant number of newsroom hires since the mass culling that gutted the place of more than 200 employees in June of 2012.

U.K. Paper Hacked Phones of Prince William’s Wife, Brother (Reuters)
The phones of Prince William’s wife Kate Middleton and Prince Harry, Queen Elizabeth’s grandson, were hacked by staff working for Rupert Murdoch’s now-defunct News of The World tabloid, a London court was told on Thursday. Variety The hacked voicemail messages, which were left by William while he was at the military academy at Sandhurst, led to a series of exclusive stories for the paper, it was alleged by the prosecution in the trial of former execs at the paper.

In Major Deal, Random House Buys Elliott’s ‘Invisible Child’ Book (Publisher’s Weekly)
A nonfiction proposal creating buzz just before the holidays has been sold, in a major deal, to Random House’s Kate Medina. The proposal is based on Andrea Elliott’s five-part New York Times series about a homeless 11-year-old Brooklyn girl named Dasani. The series, called “Invisible Child,” has drawn a significant amount of attention from readers — it has over 2,000 comments online — and other press outlets.

Magazine Eats World: The Ever-Expanding Edible Empire (Modern Farmer)
If you have lived or traveled in the United States or Canada in the last 10 years and have any interest in local food, there’s a good chance you’ve come across a copy of an Edible magazine. The magazine franchise has grown like kudzu. A free monthly (or quarterly), it is found in neighborhood coffee shops, bookstores, local grocers, cheesemongers and farm-to-table restaurants in more than 80 communities throughout the U.S. and Canada. But how did they get inside every health food store from Maine to Arizona?

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