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Morning Media Newsfeed: Uproar Over Nikki Finke | Blitzer Rumors Swirl | Xanga Shutting Down


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Speculation Swirls Around Nikki Finke’s Future at Deadline Hollywood (LA Times)
Deadline Hollywood founder Nikki Finke is famous for breaking news on the entertainment industry. But on Sunday night the hot Hollywood gossip was being reported not by her but about her. Speculation about Finke’s future at Deadline Hollywood heated up after rival online publication TheWrap reported that Finke was dismissed from her position after clashing with Jay Penske, the chief executive of Penske Media Corp., or PMC, which owns Deadline Hollywood. Deadline Hollywood Here is an official response just sent internally: “This is a complete fabrication, with not an ounce of truth to it. Just to be clear, Nikki Finke has a multi-year contract with the company, and it is the company’s absolute intention to continue its obligations under the agreement. It is sad when a rival business feels the need to fabricate stories to create traffic and notoriety. Due to the defamatory and disparaging nature of some of the completely inaccurate statements made by Waxman, PMC has turned this matter over to our attorneys.” TheWrap / WaxWord Penske emailed TheWrap to say: “Sharon, your story isn’t true and all of the “facts” that you mention are completely erroneous.” When asked repeatedly if Finke was in fact leaving Deadline, he did not respond. Finke did not return an email or call seeking comment. BuzzFeed Let’s assume, though, that it’s the beginning of the end for Nikki’s Deadline. Penske isn’t going to stop owning Variety — reportedly the most recent cause of their friction, since he’s shut her out of having anything to do with it — and I’ve heard from multiple people that her contract is up soon. (TheWrap’s Sharon Waxman reported that it expires next year.) Penske knew he bought crazy, but he may just be sick of it at this point. FishbowlLA Waxman’s report has shot “Nikki Finke” onto Twitter’s Los Angeles Trends chart. All we know for sure right now is that the Deadline doyenne’s current contract ends in 2014. Anything else, including the idea that a removal or exit of Finke is a prelude to Penske folding Deadline into Variety, is pure speculation.

Sources Say Viewers Will See Less of Blitzer; More of Younger, Hunkier Newsmen (New York Daily News / Confidential)
He doesn’t know it Yet, but the CNN staff is whispering that Wolf Blitzer’s air time may be getting shorter and shorter. The struggling cable channel plans to make lots of changes as it tries to win back viewers it has lost, with the biggest shakeup being to on-air talent, including Blitzer, host of The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer. “Wolf is going to be gradually phased out and replaced with a younger, hipper host,” one CNN insider dishes to Confidential. “The decision has been made that people want to look at beautiful people, and although Wolf is no beast, they’re thinking younger.” TVNewser The Daily News’s gossip item about Blitzer contradicts current reality, a CNN spokesperson says. The spokesperson tells us, “The ‘CNN insider’ must not be watching CNN air. Wolf has been anchoring additional hours as of late.”

Xanga Is Shutting Down
(Valleywag)
Let’s feel nostalgic for 45 seconds or so: Xanga, the LiveJournal/MySpace hybrid that once boasted 30 million active users but never quite managed to capture enough weepy teenage hearts, is on the brink of death and begging for money. Unless the service — a relic of an older, poorly designed era of the Web — raises $60,000 from its own scant users by July 15, it’ll shutter forever. It almost certainly won’t. The Verge While the team could try to revamp the site or sell to a larger platform, they’re realistic about their prospects. “The thing is, it’s really hard to grow a social site that has fallen from previous heights. MySpace, Friendster, LiveJournal… lots of people have tried to resurrect these sites, and it has rarely, if ever, worked.”

Politico Hires FP‘s Susan Glasser to Head New Long-Form Journalism, Opinion Divisions (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
Some truly game-changing news on the Washington media scene Sunday night: Politico has hired Susan Glasser, the editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy, to serve as editor of new long-form journalism and opinion divisions — a move the editors call “the largest expansion of our company in three years.” NYT Politico, the website for those addicted to the machinations of Washington, has made a hire that will stir its own intrigue in the nation’s capital.

The Day That Should Change Tornado Actions And Storm Chasing Forever (The Washington Post / Capital Weather Gang)
Despite or perhaps due to accurate forecasts for violent tornadoes near Oklahoma City Friday afternoon and evening, motorists and storm chasers found themselves in harm’s way and some of the outcomes were tragic. Most likely, the vehicle deaths were preventable. Their occurrence should squash the idea that trying to flee a tornado in a car is a good idea. And storm chasers — who pursued the tornadic storms much too closely — set a poor example and need to re-examine their priorities. TVNewser The star of the Discovery Channel series Storm Chasers, Tim Samaras, was killed in a tornado that ripped through Oklahoma on Friday. He was killed just hours after he appeared on MSNBC’s The Cycle to talk about the severe weather pattern. Samaras’ son Paul and his storm-chasing partner Carl Young were also killed in the storm.

CBS Acquires Full Ownership of TV Guide Online And Mobile Units (Reuters)
CBS Corp said on Friday it acquired full ownership of TV Guide’s online and mobile apps divisions, buying out the 50 percent share held by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. CBS now owns TV Guide Digital, which includes the TVGuide.com website and TV Guide Mobile properties, the company said in a statement. CBS and Lions Gate share ownership of TV Guide’s cable network, known as TVGN. LostRemote The deal folds TVGuide.com and its mobile apps into CBS Interactive, which already runs TV.com and other entertainment brands like GameSpot and Last.fm.

The Painful Realities Behind The Demise of The Chicago Sun-Times Photo Desk (paidContent)
The Chicago Sun-Times’ decision to lay off its entire staff of 28 photographers was widely criticized as a knee-jerk response by clueless managers, but the fact remains that newspaper cost structures are too high, and crowdsourcing works.

NY Mag Hires New Online Deputy as Traffic Grows (Capital New York)
New York magazine has a new deputy editor for its website. Jebediah Reed started in the job on Tuesday, replacing Adam Pasick, who’s now at Quartz, Atlantic Media’s digital title for financial jetsetters. He joins New York at a time when its four online properties appear to be on a roll: April was their highest month on record for unique visitors, a spokesperson said, citing Omniture metrics that put the total audience at around 14.98 million, a 46 percent increase from April 2012.

Coming Soon: A Breakout Year for Black Films (NYT)
After years of complaint and self-criticism about the shortage of prominent movies by and about black Americans, film companies are poised to release an extraordinary cluster of them across an array of genres in the last five months of 2013. At least 10 new films will be released, including several awards contenders, from both independent and major distributors, like the Weinstein Company, Fox Searchlight and Universal Pictures.

Chicago Tribune Reporter Arrested on Suspicion of DUI (Chicago Tribune)
Chicago Tribune political reporter Rick Pearson was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving early Friday morning in Springfield, where he was covering the closing hours of the state legislative session. Pearson, a longtime Tribune reporter who also appears on Tribune Co.-owned WGN-Ch.9 and WGN-AM 720, was charged with driving under the influence after a 12:41 a.m. traffic stop, according to a Springfield official.

Rupert Murdoch Is Now an Old Man on A Lonely Throne at News Corp (The Guardian / The Observer)
In his 80s, with no clear successor, the media mogul and his spun-off newspaper operation are in a precarious position.

A Reading of Relief at Annual Book Show (NYT)
eBook sales are no longer growing at a nerve-rattling pace. The unpleasant and expensive price-fixing lawsuit last year, pitting the Justice Department against five major publishers, has been settled. Independent booksellers added 65 stores to their ranks in 2012, according to their trade association, despite competition from Amazon. After a turbulent few years in the book business, there was a feeling at BookExpo America, the publishing industry’s annual trade convention that convened in New York last week, that the disruption might have calmed.

R.I.P. The Rayne Independent (Neiman Journalism Lab)
In a small town in south Louisiana, two weekly newspapers have battled for more than four decades. Not any longer.

Who Needs Reporters? (NYT / Frank Bruni)
For her big announcement last week, Michele Bachmann neither convened a news conference nor waited for some other moment when she was in public, reporters and television cameras nearby. She didn’t even pick a favorably inclined journalist for the kind of one-on-one interview in which politicians have often parceled out their revelations and answered a few tame questions.

Anonymous Lays Out Plan for Its Independent News Site, Funded by $55,000 From Indiegogo (The Next Web)
It’s been some six weeks since “hacktivist” group Anonymous raised $55,000 from Indiegogo to build its own news site, and now the group has provided a few details about what it is cooking up.

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