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Morning Media Newsfeed: Walters Signs Off | Abramson/NYT Fight Unfolds | FCC Approves Proposal

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Two Dozen Women of TV News, Barbara Walters’ Legacy, Join Her on Her Final View (TVNewser)
Thursday afternoon, the legacy of Barbara Walters came to life in the finale of her final The View, taped at ABC’s Westside studios and set to air Friday. Mediaite All 11 current and former co-hosts of The View turned up to send off Walters. In an emotional segment, the hosts shared their fondest memories of the program’s founding member and some of the advice that they said guides them in their present careers. THR / The Live Feed Oprah Winfrey and Hillary Clinton were among the surprise guests who showed up to say goodbye. After more than 50 years in TV news, Walters is officially retiring, leaving her co-hosting gig on The View, but she’ll continue to serve as the show’s executive producer and contribute to ABC News on an as-needed basis. The Associated Press Walters brought the hour to a close with a heartfelt statement looking back with amazement on her career, then signing off with a pledge to “take a deep breath and enjoy my View.” But a more telling moment took place during a break, as the throng of women she had paved the way for posed with her for a group portrait. TheWrap The cadre of A-List media stars who gathered for the photo included Winfrey, Katie Couric, Joan Lunden, Robin Roberts, Connie Chung, Gayle King, Maria Shriver, Paula Zahn, Jane Pauley, Savannah Guthrie, Elizabeth Vargas, Lara Spencer, Tamron Hall, Diane Sawyer, Cynthia McFadden, Natalie Morales, JuJu Chang, Amy Robach, Deborah Norville and Hoda Kotb, as well as Walters’ co-hosts, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Rosie O’Donnell, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Debbie Matenopoulos, Lisa Ling, Star Jones, Jenny McCarthy and Meredith Vieira.

Jill Abramson’s Departure Is Bad News for The New York Times (PRNewser)
Wednesday’s announcement that New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson was leaving the Grey Lady to be replaced by managing editor Dean Baquet came as a big surprise to all who don’t work in the NYT newsroom. The politics behind the move have unraveled at a record pace since then. Unfortunately, the more we learn about it, the more we can guarantee that the story won’t end well for the paper of record. The New Yorker / News Desk It is always hard to say what causes a final break — a firing, a divorce — but, clearly, a last straw came a few weeks ago, when Abramson, who made little secret of her displeasure with Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr., the paper’s publisher, decided to hire a lawyer to complain that her salary was not equal to that of her predecessor, Bill Keller. She had also been told by reliable sources at the paper that, as managing editor, she had once earned less than the managing editor of news operations, John Geddes. FiveThirtyEight / Data Lab If the pay gap did exist, Abramson wouldn’t have been the only woman in journalism paid less than her male peers. According to the Census Bureau’s 2008-2012 American Community Survey, the median annual earnings for a male editor was $59,183 (+/- $1,467). Female editors made $51,249 (+/- $844). TVNewser TV news personalities have been covering the shakeup at the Times. Howard Kurtz wrote a piece for Foxnews.com, noting how unusual an abrupt departure like this is at the Times; he also praised Abramson. On Fox And Friends Thursday morning, the co-hosts talked about the “war on women” at the Times, referencing reports that Abramson had made less than Keller. On Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski said she believes reports of the Times’ pay gap based on her own experience in the TV news business, also citing MSNBC.

The FCC Moves Closer to Killing Net Neutrality, Sparks Uproar (SocialTimes)
The FCC voted three-to-two to advance Tom Wheeler’s net neutrality proposal, which would allow websites to pay ISPs for special access to consumers. Critics of the plan have warned that the move would stifle innovation and give an unfair advantage to bigger companies. NYT The FCC voted to open for public debate new rules meant to guarantee an open Internet. Before the plan becomes final, though, Wheeler, the chairman of the commission, will need to convince his colleagues and an array of powerful lobbying groups that the plan follows the principle of net neutrality, the idea that all content running through the Internet’s pipes is treated equally. While the rules are meant to prevent Internet providers from knowingly slowing data, they would allow content providers to pay for a guaranteed fast lane of service. Mashable The proposal also asks for public comment on a second, more dramatic option — reclassifying broadband service as a public utility, making it eligible for stricter regulation including a ban on pay-for-preference deals. That move would please net neutrality advocates. Politico The vote, not surprisingly, fell along party lines, with Wheeler and fellow Democrats Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel approving the plan and Republicans Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly rejecting it. The action opens a four-month comment period for companies and members of the public to weigh in on the plan. After that, the FCC will write the final rule. FishbowlDC Thursday morning outside the Federal Communications Commission headquarters, hundreds of people in support of net neutrality protested Wheeler’s proposal to allow telecom companies to deny users access to certain content and applications. Following the protest, Free Press hosted a press conference to discuss the movement and day’s efforts.

NBCU Cable Offers Advertisers A Drink, Then Toasts Audience Aggregation (Variety)
NBCUniversal brought out everyone from Joan Rivers to Kim Kardashian to tout a wide range of programs across its entertainment-focused cable outlets Bravo, E!, Syfy, USA, Oxygen, Esquire and even kiddie-cabler Sprout at its upfront presentation Thursday. The massive presentation aimed to highlight the company’s suite of cable outlets, that are just as important financially — if not more so — than the NBC broadcast network. THR / The Live Feed NBCUniversal ad sales president Linda Yaccarino appealed to media buyers’ need to cobble together myriad deals on every conceivable platform and device by stressing the cable portfolio’s ability to “deliver unprecedented levels of engagement and effectiveness” at “unparalleled scale and targetability.” The company is rolling out its Symphony initiative — a cross-network and multi-platform marketing approach used to promote Universal Pictures’ Despicable Me and SyFy’s Defiance — to the general market. Andy Cohen was tapped to introduce a clip that rapidly scrolled through the various networks’ initiatives including TV Everywhere, participation TV, transmedia (epitomized by the Suits Recruits game), social commercials and social media integrations, including the E! News “Instagram wall” that tracks celebrities’ Instagram feeds. TheWrap The WWE announced that it would extend its partnership with NBCUniversal, which includes airing Raw on USA. LA Times / Show Tracker In another venue Thursday, CW network president Mark Pedowtiz emphasized — more than once — that the network is a “very different CW than a few years back.” The network was able to bring in more men with the addition of its breakout superhero drama Arrow two seasons ago, and this season was the its most-watched in three years.

Les Moonves Confirms CBS Developing Digital News Channel, David Rhodes Oversees (TVNewser)
CBS is in the “early stages” of developing a 24-hour digital news network, CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves says. Appearing on Bloomberg Thursday, Moonves said the digital channel will be “an exciting alternative to cable news.” CBS News president David Rhodes, who is a veteran of Fox News and Bloomberg TV, is heading up the effort. Mediaite Moonves also refuted two big rumors swirling about CBS late night: that Neil Patrick Harris was offered David Letterman’s job, and that Joel McHale was being strongly considered to take over the Late Late Show next year. Deadline Hollywood Moonves said there have been “no discussions” to have Joel McHale take over the Late Late Show – a rumor started by Moonves’ wife, Julie Chen, when she tweeted a photo of herself and Moonves chumming with McHale in the wee hours of the morning on the day of CBS’ upfront presentation. Harris this week told Howard Stern that Moonves had asked him in a general way if he would be interested in doing a late-night show for CBS.

Financial Times Appoints Female U.S. Managing Editor (FishbowlNY)
Gillian Tett doesn’t start her new position as U.S. managing editor of the Financial Times until Sept. 1. But perhaps sensing how extra-newsworthy this move is, the FT fired off a press release May 15. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Tett, who will continue her twice-weekly column on markets and finance, was U.S. managing editor until 2012, when she was succeeded by Martin Dickson. She then took on the role of columnist and assistant editor. Dickson is retiring after 37 years at FT, where he held multiple senior positions. Poynter / MediaWire Tett joined FT in 1993 and has served in editing and reporting roles in London, New York, Tokyo, Russia and Brussels. An anthropologist by training, she sounded an early (and mostly ignored) warning about the financial crisis.

New York Times Internal Report Painted Dire Digital Picture (BuzzFeed)
A 96-page internal New York Times report, sent to top executives last month by a committee led by the publisher’s son, paints a dark picture of a newsroom struggling more dramatically than is immediately visible to adjust to the digital world — a newsroom that is hampered primarily by its own storied culture. LostRemote The report says the paper has a problem giving up on second screen platforms not working, like its “Scoop” app, which is a guide to New York City’s best restaurants, bars, events and experiences. In contrast, the report suggests the NYT Now app has been a success. The report also sheds light on social media issues: the Times’ Twitter account is run by the newsroom, where as the Facebook account is run by the business side. More broadly, the report suggests the paper lacks “enough urgency’ to make digital a top priority, both in their practices and hires. Quartz Traffic to the Times homepage fell by half in the last two years, according to the report. That’s not necessarily a reflection of any problems at the Times but the reality of how news is now distributed on the Internet. Homepage traffic is declining at most news sites as readers increasingly find links to news articles from social media, email and other sources.

21st Century Fox in Preliminary Pact With Apollo for TV Venture (WSJ)
21st Century Fox said it has reached a preliminary agreement with Apollo Global Management to create a venture that would comprise three television production companies. The deal would put Apollo’s Endemol and Core Media Group under the same roof as Fox’s Shine Group, the U.K. production company founded by Elisabeth Murdoch. THR Should plans move forward, some of the biggest names in reality would be under one roof. Core, already acquired by Apollo in 2011, boasts American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. Endemol, which has a footprint that extends well beyond unscripted, has Big Brother and Deal or No Deal.

Alan Horn Extends Contract With The Walt Disney Co. Until 2018 (Deadline Hollywood)
Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn, who oversees worldwide operations for the company, has extended his contract for another four years to 2018. He was named chairman of the studio on May 31, 2012, after a long stint as the chairman of Warner Bros, and his first day at Disney was June 11, 2012. Variety Horn, 71, oversees worldwide operations for the studio, including production, distribution and marketing for live-action and animated films from Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm, as well as marketing and distribution for DreamWorks Studios films released under the Touchstone Pictures banner. He also oversees Disney’s music and theatrical groups.

MGM Chief Strategic Officer Ken Schapiro to Exit Studio (THR)
Metro Goldwyn Mayer announced strong results for the first quarter of 2014, although the revenue and earnings are down from the same period one year ago when the results of the Bond movie Skyfall were blowing up their bottom line. The studio also announced that Ken Schapiro is departing as chief strategic officer at the end of this month after playing a key role in restructuring the company following its exit from bankruptcy nearly three years ago. Deadline Hollywood Schapiro joined the company in 2011 as COO. He was a key figure at MGM in recent years, helping to guide the studio’s strategy, and was promoted in January to his current post. Analysts saw his promotion as a sign that MGM possibly was going public (which it indicated in 2012 was a distinct possibility).

Comcast, Charter Name Industry Veteran to Planned Cable Spinoff (WSJ)
Comcast Corp. and Charter Communications Inc. said industry veteran Michael Willner will be the chief executive of their planned cable company spinoff. The spinoff would follow Comcast’s $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable Inc. if that deal passes muster with federal regulators. Under the merger agreement, Comcast plans to divest about 3.9 million subscribers in total, some through a direct sale of subscribers to Charter and others through the spinoff.

CNBC Adds Squawk Alley to Daytime Lineup (TVNewser)
CNBC is launching Squawk Alley, a new weekday show that will “focus on the intersection of Wall Street and technology.” Beginning Monday, the show will air at 11 a.m. ET, replacing the third hour of Squawk on The Street.

British Journalists Freed After Kidnapping in Northern Syria (The Times of London)
Two Times of London journalists escaped over the Syrian border Wednesday after being kidnapped, beaten and shot by a rebel gang in the north of the country. Anthony Loyd, whose coverage of the Syrian conflict has won him several awards, was shot twice in the leg while being held hostage. Jack Hill, a Times photographer also decorated for his pictures from warzones, was savagely beaten after trying to escape from the trunk of a car.

Lawrence O’Donnell Updates Viewers on His Recovery (TVNewser)
He’s been off the air for more than a month after suffering injuries in an automobile accident, so Lawrence O’Donnell called up his MSNBC show Wednesday night to update viewers on his recovery. “I’m getting pretty good on crutches,” O’Donnell said, adding he’s doing OK in physical therapy after breaking his hip and injuring his legs in a taxi cab accident while vacationing. O’Donnell said he will return to host The Last Word in June.

Arianna Settles Claim She Stole Idea for Huffington Post (Forbes)
Arianna Huffington and her co-founder have quietly settled a high profile lawsuit in which two Democratic party consultants alleged that the two used their idea for what became the Huffington Post website, but then cut out them out of the business.

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