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Morning Media Newsfeed: Sawyer Steps Down | Broadcasters Beat Aereo

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Diane Sawyer Leaving ABC World News, David Muir Takes Over as Anchor And Managing Editor (TVNewser)
ABC’s Diane Sawyer is stepping down from anchoring World News and will focus on primetime specials, big interviews, and enterprise reporting for the network. David Muir, who has been sole anchor of the World News weekend editions since 2011, will take over as anchor and managing editor of the flagship broadcast on Sept. 2. FishbowlDC In his new role, Muir will no longer anchor World News on Saturdays and Sundays but will remain co-anchor of 20/20 with Elizabeth Vargas. In addition to the new roles for Sawyer and Muir, George Stephanopoulos, anchor of Good Morning America and This Week, has been promoted to chief anchor of ABC News. TVNewser Sawyer has been anchor since 2009. She came in following the retirement of Charles Gibson who, in 2006, succeeded the anchor team of Bob Woodruff and Elizabeth Vargas. Capital New York Late last year there were reports that Sawyer did not want Stephanopoulos to replace her as World News anchor, even though he was believed to have a clause in his contract assuring him the role should she step down. Stephanopoulos signed a new deal with ABC News earlier this year. Muir has long been rumored to be the favorite inside ABC to follow Sawyer. Deadline Hollywood World News won the May sweep in adults 25-54, the evening broadcast’s first sweeps victory in more than six years. Season to date, World News is up versus the same point last year in both total viewers and adults 25-54, delivering its most-watched season in five years and best news demo number in three years.

Supreme Court Sides With Broadcasters in Aereo Case (TVSpy)
The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the broadcasters in ABC vs. Aereo. LostRemote The Barry Diller-funded streaming television service launched in 2012, with broadcast networks filing lawsuits before it even launched. At launch, the service gave users access to broadcast TV via iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Roku for $12/month. Re/code In the ruling, the court ruled that Aereo is essentially a cable TV company, which needs to pay copyright owners if it wants to transmit their shows to subscribers, instead of an antenna rental company, as Aereo has argued. Key line: “We conclude that Aereo is not just an equipment supplier.” TVNewser The High Court heard oral arguments in the case in April. At the time, justices seemed conflicted over the broader implications the ruling could have over the cloud computing industry. As for what’s next for Aereo: both Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia and Diller have said that the streaming service would be shut down in the event of a Supreme Court loss.

Barnes & Noble to Spin Off Nook Unit as Sales Continue to Fall (NYT / DealBook)
When it introduced the Nook e-reader in the fall of 2009, Barnes & Noble celebrated it as its answer to Amazon.com and its popular Kindle device. More than four years later, the struggling retailer plans to shed the business once considered its best hope of surviving the digital age. WSJ The split, expected to occur by March, will make Nook Media a separate public company housing both Barnes & Noble’s Nook eBook and e-reader business as well as its college stores. Among Nook Media’s big shareholders will be Microsoft and Pearson, both of which have invested in the Nook Media division but don’t have a stake in the broader company. Mashable The announcement came as part of the company’s fourth quarter and year-end earnings results. Barnes & Noble reported that Nook revenues for the quarter declined by 22 percent compared to a year earlier and Nook revenues for the 2014 fiscal year were down 35 percent. GigaOM Barnes & Noble shares were up around 9 percent Wednesday morning. Barnes & Noble has wanted to offload Nook Media for awhile but couldn’t find a buyer. It first floated the idea of splitting Nook off as a completely separate company in 2012.

Judge Dismisses British Hacking Jury, Hung on Remaining Charges (NYT)
It was an unspectacular denouement to Britain’s spectacular phone hacking trial: The jury was dismissed Wednesday after failing to reach a verdict on two outstanding charges against Andy Coulson, a former tabloid editor who had been found guilty of conspiracy to intercept voicemail messages a day earlier. WSJ Coulson and Clive Goodman, a former royal reporter for News Corp’s now-closed News of The World paper, faced two counts each of conspiracy to commit misconduct, or bribery, by paying public officials in the pursuit of stories. Both defendants deny the charges. HuffPost / AP The judge also rebuked Prime Minister David Cameron for his televised comments about the case while it was still underway. Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of Murdoch’s British newspapers, was acquitted on charges related to phone hacking, bribing officials and obstructing police. Her husband Charlie Brooks and three of her former employees also were cleared.

Fox Upfront Commitments Fall 10 Percent to About $1.6 Billion (THR)
Fox is close to selling out its primetime upfront inventory for the 2014-15 television season. And like last year, the network is down about 10 percent in dollar volume, putting it at around $1.6 billion compared to last year’s upfront haul of $1.8 billion. WSJ / CMO Today The weak outcome reflects sharp ratings decreases the network suffered in its prime-time lineup last season, including at its singing-competition show American Idol. A contributing factor to the lower volume was that the network sold approximately 75 percent to 80 percent of its available ad inventory, a little less than it sold last year. Media buyers said that the Fox network managed to secure prices increases of between 2.5 percent and 3.5 percent. Deadline Hollywood Multiple agencies bought spots based on the number of viewers who watch them over a seven-day period after their air, up from the conventional three days.

Sports Illustrated Launches Video Network (FishbowlNY)
Sports Illustrated is dipping its feet into the video pool with the launch of 120 Sports, a streaming sports network. The site and app will offer around-the-clock original programming and game highlights from NASCAR, MLB, NHL, NBA and more. Capital New York The channel, which will initially be available for iOS devices, is essentially a 24-hour sports-video channel, available for free, on whatever device happens to be convenient. At launch the channel will be live for eight hours every day, from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. ET, with a morning block to launch in a few months’ time. It will also stay live past two if news warrants, and may shift its schedule to accommodate other events, like the Olympics. THR The network represents a first-of-its-kind collaboration between the sports leagues, including Major League Baseball Advanced Media, the National Hockey League, the PGA Tour, the National Basketball Association and NASCAR. Digital sports media group Silver Chalice and college sports website Campus Insiders are also partners.

‘Peacock Lounge’ Part of 30 Rock Upgrades (TVNewser)
Comcast is looking beyond the top of the rock — it plans to replace the neon GE logo with the NBC peacock — to the inside of the art deco building. 30 Rock is about to get a comprehensive upgrade which will restore much of the original 1930s design of the NBC portion of the lobby. Deadline Hollywood The sweeping 16-foot-wide, marble Grand Stair that originally led from the lobby to the mezzanine level will return, along with a recreation of the Mezzanine Rotunda, which will be a “grand circular reception lobby in the style of the original 1930s-era lobby design.” Also in the works, a “Peacock Lounge,” i.e., waiting room for audience hopefuls for Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night With Seth Meyers and The Meredith Vieira Show.

‘Almost Half’ of NYT’s Blogs Will Close or Merge (Poynter / MediaWire)
The New York Times is ending its blog The Lede. That’s about the 10th blog the news organization has shuttered, assistant managing editor Ian Fisher said. And more will come. The Times has been “moving away from blogs over the past year and a half,” spokesperson Eileen Murphy said. Fisher declined to name which blogs would get the hook next, but he said, “There’s little chance that our marquee blogs, ones like DealBook, Well, Bits, will be going anywhere anytime soon.” Of the paper’s current blogs, though, “Almost half of them will be gone as a blog or will have merged into something else.” FishbowlNY The last posted item to The Lede is dated May 22, a gap that reflects editor Robert Mackey‘s move to the paper’s foreign desk.

Matt Lauer Scores Pippa Middleton’s First TV Interview Ever (HuffPost)
Matt Lauer sat down with Pippa Middleton for her first television interview ever. Lauer appeared on Today from London on Wednesday morning, saying that he was about to interview an unnamed guest who was later revealed as Middleton. LA Times / Show Tracker The interview is set to air on Today in two parts on Monday and Tuesday. Lauer teased some of the topics covered, which include the 3,000-mile, 12-state bike trip Middleton made for Bike for America.

AP Names Lisa Gibbs Business Editor (FishbowlNY)
The Associated Press has named Lisa Gibbs its business editor. Gibbs comes to the AP from Money, where she oversaw the website’s real estate section. She had been with Money since 2009.

Fox Stations Expand Newscasts in Several Markets, Including LA, Atlanta, Philly (TVSpy)
Fox Television Stations is adding newscasts in several major markets this year. Newly-announced expansions are at KTTV in Los Angeles, WAGA in Atlanta, KMSP in Minneapolis, WJZY in Charlotte, WTXF in Philadelphia, KTBC in Austin and WHBQ in Memphis (which Fox will give up control of later this year).

CNN Names Samantha Barry Senior Director of Social News (FishbowlDC)
Just in time for midterm coverage, CNN has named Samantha Barry its new senior director of social news. Originally from Ireland, Barry is a former media trainer for the U.S. Department of State and was most recently in London with BBC World News where she advanced its TV and digital news coverage through social platforms.

Tom Brokaw And The Inside Track From New York’s Democratic National Committeeman (FishbowlNY / Lunch)
It was business as usual at Michael’s Wednesday as the regulars (Jerry Inzerillo, William Lauder) packed the dining room before the summer vacation season kicks off next week. Plenty of heads swiveled in his direction as Tom Brokaw took his seat at Table Three, but mostly the crowd consisted of the usual suspects who were there to see and be seen between bites of their Cobb salads.

WSJ, USA Today, Mother Jones Top Award Winners in National Press Club Journalism Contest (National Press Club)
The Wall Street Journal won three awards, while USA Today and Mother Jones won a couple each in the 2014 National Press Club Journalism contest. Molly Ball of The Atlantic won the Lee Walczak Award for Political Analysis for her coverage of the divided Republican Party after the 2012 election. The Journal won the Joan M. Friedenberg Online Journalism Award for its detailed look at lobotomies.

Frontline Gets New Funding to Expand Investigative Reporting (TVNewser)
Frontline, PBS’ flagship investigative series produced by WGBH in Boston, has secured two new grants that will go toward a major expansion of investigative reporting across all the show’s platforms.

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