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Posts Tagged ‘Randy Michaels’

Even Without Abrams, Anchor-Less News Preps For Launch

Randy Michaels and Lee Abrams may have left Tribune Co., but the initiative they kicked off to launch an anchor-less newscast at KIAH in Houston is still going strong, TVNewsCheck reports.

“We are going ahead and it’s going to be anchorless, like envisioned,” KIAH General Manager Roger Bare told TVNewsCheck.

The program, called NewsFix, will rely more heavily on pre-produced stories and be more fast-paced, and will have, as mentioned many times, no anchors. Instead, Abrams told TVNewsCheck (he may not be working on the project anymore but he’s definitely opining on it), NewsFix will call to mind old-timey movie newsreels.


In news we can more easily wrap our minds around, the “imaginator” Tribune hired turned out to be Gary Jaffe, a Miami-area producer and director. He’s currently leading “the intense kind of training that comes with basically tossing out the way local news has always been done,” said TVNewsCheck, paraphrasing Bare. The show launches in January, and only one thing is yet certain: all eyes will be on Houston when it does.

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Trib Staffers Head Out, and More Comings and Goings

Among today’s games of Media Musical Chairs:

  • The ranks are thinning at the Tribune Co. in the wake of former president Randy Michaels’ departure. Reportedly exiting are Tribune Interactive president Marc Chase, senior vice president and chief operating officer Jeff Kapugi and executive vice president Carolyn Gilbert, among others. (Via FishbowlNY.)
  • Talking Biz News reports that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a new business editor, Brian Thevenot. He formerly served as managing editor of The Texas Tribune and also worked for more than a decade at the New Orleans Times-Picayune, where he contributed to Pulitzer-winning coverage of Hurricane Katrina.
  • Fran Farrell, who previously served as publisher of several titles, has been named president of Turnstile Publishing, reports minOnline. Turnstile oversees publications including Golfweek/Golfweek Custom Media, Art Calendar and The Art Wire. Turnstile’s previous chief was Clayton Morris.

Tribune’s Michaels Is Still Working

Randy Michaels, the former DJ and chief executive of Tribune Co., is still working as the day ends on Tuesday despite reports that he would be asked to resign.

The Los Angeles Times, a Tribune paper, reported earlier today that Michaels has not been asked to leave—at least, he wasn’t after a midmorning board meeting.

“I work here today, and I’m still working,” he told the LAT.

Tribune’s board members issued a statement that did not address the Michaels rumor, instead reading:
“Tribune’s board of directors is focused on filing the company’s plan of reorganization this Friday and has no comment on any other issue.”

But, the LAT says, “ources said board members were concerned that Michaels had publicly embarrassed an iconic Chicago institution, made many of its employees uncomfortable and had aggravated an already torturous 22-month-old bankruptcy process at a highly delicate stage.”

We’re staying on this story and will let you know as soon as we hear more.

Hopefully Not A Job Title Of The Future: ‘Chief Restructuring Officer’

The Tribune Co. has appointed Donald Liebentritt to be Chief Restructuring Officer, effective immediately, reports Tower Ticker. The company also promoted David Eldersveld to be Liebentritt’s successor as general counsel.

“As we enter the next phase of our Chapter 11 process and begin working with the mediator assigned to oversee negotiations with our creditor constituencies, Don needs to devote all his attention and energy entirely to our restructuring efforts,” Randy Michaels, Tribune Co.’s chief executive officer, said in the announcement. “He’s intimately familiar with the process and what needs to be done to achieve a restructuring plan that can win the votes of our creditors and be approved by the court.”

We have never heard of a “chief restructuring officer” but CROs have apparently been around for ages; restructuring specialist Stephen Cooper took the title when he led Enron through its bankruptcy and that seems to have catapulted the term into the national consciousness, at least among business-types.

What this means for the bankrupt-since-2008 Tribune, though, is that the company will (hopefully) finally be able to start digging itself out of the hole it’s in.

M-I-C-K-E-Y T-R-I-B-U-N-E?

minnie mouse ears

Former Disney chairman and CEO Michael Eisner is in talks to become chairman of the board of The Tribune Co., reports the LA Times.

Tribune Co., which owns the LA Times as well as the Chicago Tribune, has been going through a messy bankruptcy that’s lasted nearly two years.

Eisner, who would replace Sam Zell as chairman, would be joined by Jeff Shell, a former News Corp exec who’s now working at Comcast, who would replace current chief executive Randy Michaels.

Neither Eisner or Shell would comment for the LAT’s story, but rumor has it that Eisner has been looking for a challenge since leaving Disney in 2005.

If the deal goes through, which is not a sure thing since the company still hasn’t worked out an acceptable plan with its creditors, look for the LAT to launch a new section: All Hannah Montana, all the time.

photo: Marmella