Media News

Tuesday, Feb 05

Morning Media Newsfeed: 02.05.13

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NBC Universal Puts Cable Units Under One Executive (NYT / Media Decoder)
NBCUniversal announced Monday that it was consolidating all of its cable entertainment properties under Bonnie Hammer, the longtime head of the USA network and other NBC cable channels. The move elevates Ms. Hammer to a position among the most prominent and powerful female executives in the television business. HuffPost / AP It also leaves Lauren Zalaznick, who previously controlled Bravo, Oxygen, Style and Sprout, to focus on innovation and emerging technology initiatives. NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke announced the shakeup and the creation of the Cable Entertainment Group in an internal memo. Hammer already controlled USA Network, Syfy, E!, G4 and other channels. LA Times / Company Town The management change becomes the third major organizational overhaul in two years in which NBCUniversal chief executive Steve Burke has sought to establish a more streamlined structure in a once-Balkanized company. "Assembling our cable entertainment assets together in one group under Bonnie Hammer's oversight is a logical and important step," Burke said in an email to employees on Monday to announce the changes. Adweek Zalaznick will keep on running NBCU's internal promotional apparatus, large chunks of which are of her own design. Zalaznick's Women at NBCU, Hispanics at NBCU, and NBCU Digital Council will continue to run under her oversight; she'll also be in charge of digital properties Fandango and Daily Candy; she'll also work closely with the consumer products division and on NBC's TV Everywhere initiatives. Variety "He had to make a choice of one (executive) to oversee cable, and he went with Bonnie's track record," a senior NBCU exec said. But insiders stressed that Burke is determined to keep Zalaznick in the fold. "He knows she is a smart and talented executive," the exec said, and believes she's suited to the job of serving as a strategist on issues such as digital licensing and windowing of NBCU content across all platforms. Reuters The moves come a few days after NBC News President Steve Capus said he would be leaving the network after struggles at the unit, including lower ratings for its flagship morning TV show, Today.

Super Bowl Ratings: CBS Coverage Down From Last Two Years (TVNewser)
Another year, another huge ratings night for the Super Bowl. CBS' coverage of Super Bowl XLVII delivered an estimated 108.4 million viewers, according to preliminary ratings from Nielsen. That is not a record audience, and is short of the last two Super Bowls. NYT / Media Decoder CBS came close to matching the audience levels of the two most-watched television events of all time Sunday night, turning an electrical failure in the New Orleans Superdome into a likely ratings advantage for its coverage of Super Bowl XLVII. The power failure also provided a subtitle for what will surely be among the most memorable games in National Football League history: "The Blackout Bowl." HuffPost The 2013 Super Bowl was the third-most watched television event in American history. 108.41 million tuned in to see the Baltimore Ravens eke out a win over the San Francisco 49ers. That's more than any broadcast ever -- except for the 2012 and 2011 Super Bowls, both of which drew slightly more viewers. (Last year's Super Bowl was viewed by just over 111 million.) THR / The Live Feed The final tally, also down from 2011's 111-million strong Super Bowl that pitted the Green Bay Packers against the Pittsburgh Steelers, comes after record overnight ratings for the CBS broadcast. Fast National returns give the game a 46.3 rating and a 69 share. Viewership peaked between 10:30 and 10:47 p.m. ET, with 113.92 million viewers on hand for the fourth quarter.

Fox News Monitors Geraldo as He Mulls Political Office (NYT / Media Decoder)
Geraldo Rivera's stated interest in running for a Senate seat in New Jersey has been derided as a joke and a publicity stunt. But his employers are taking it seriously. He'd have to leave his weekend Fox News Channel show, Geraldo at Large, as soon as he formally decided to run, a spokeswoman for the channel said. Washington Post / Erik Wemple Those Foxies may want to have a look at this little excerpt from Rivera's chat on the Factor last Friday night: "We can revive, we think, the moribund GOP in the Garden State, hopefully get the support of people like our incomparable governor, Chris Christie and others. "The guy's already courting endorsements. What more grounds do you need, Fox News?"

WaPo Names Merida Managing Editor (FishbowlDC)
WaPo announced Monday that Kevin Merida will be managing editor, responsible for news and features coverage as well as the Universal News Desk. They report that his new role is effective immediately. Most recently, Merida was in the role of national editor. Washington Post "He is a journalist of remarkable accomplishment, but also a warm and caring colleague," executive editor Martin Baron said in a statement. "My objective is just to create excitement about what we do and the importance of it and to nurture inspiration," Merida said in an interview. "I think we have a great news organization and want everyone to feel that way about it."

What's The Real Story Behind The New York Times Buyouts? (BuzzFeed)
The intrigue behind the walls of the old-school media giants that I was obsessed with back in 2006 and 2007 -- the Times, the Wall Street Journal, Condé Nast -- seems much less, well, intriguing when the narrative hinges on layoffs, not innovation. So maybe that's why no one reported on last Friday's wake; it was just another depressing sign of an industry in the throes of wrenching contraction.

Ricki Lake Talk Show Canceled (USA Today)
The second time around was much harder for Ricki Lake. The talk show host's revival of her daytime talk show, which ran successfully from 1993-2004, is being canceled after one season.

Bookish, New Web Site, Provides Information on Books and Authors (NYT / Media Decoder)
Bookish, the Web site built by top publishers to provide information on their books and authors in a literary magazine-like format, opened for business Monday night. Although the site received financing from just three houses -- Simon & Schuster, Penguin Group USA and Hachette Book Group -- it will include books by 16 other publishers including Random House and Scholastic.

Andrew Sullivan's New Site Has a Super Friendly Paywall (Forbes / Mixed Media)
Monday was the day uber-blogger Andrew Sullivan declared independence, moving his Daily Dish blog from The Daily Beast to a new home at In case you haven't heard, Sullivan's foray into entrepreneurship also represents an experiment in digital news economics, with the new site attempting, at least initially, attempting to cover its costs entirely through subscriptions.

Gannett TV Revenue Up 46 Percent (B&C)
Gannett reported total television revenues of $280.2 million in the fourth quarter, 45.7 percent higher than the previous fourth quarter. The growth was driven by $91.2 million in political advertising during the fourth quarter of 2012, and $29.6 million in retransmission revenues, the latter showing double-digit growth.

Wendy Williams Launches Prod'n Shingle (Variety)
Talk show maven Wendy Williams Hunter and her husband and manager Kevin Hunter have teamed to form reality shingle Wendy Williams Prods. Lisa Knapp, former head of reality development for 44 Blue, has been tapped as senior veep of development. WWP will develop and produce unscripted content including reality programming, game shows and yakkers for cable and broadcast. Wendy Williams: My First Big Break (MediabistroTV) The talk show diva recalls how she landed her first job in radio and gives advice for others looking to break into broadcasting.

Can Publishers Make E-Tail Pay? (Adweek)
In an age where print media is trailing digital growth but display ads still aren't pulling their weight, publishers are looking to e-commerce to drum up some extra revenue. But while plenty of media companies are making an effort -- whether it's Harper's Bazaar launching e-boutique Bazaar Shops last fall, Better Homes and Gardens' new shopping channel or Lucky recently restructuring its executive team to focus on digital commerce -- many are still struggling to find a profitable model. Veterans of the space say it's a lot harder than it looks.

Sue Simmons, Candid in Rare Interview, 'Came Within Two Weeks of Being in a Wheelchair' (FishbowlNY)
There are broadcasting legends, and there is Sue Simmons. FishbowlNY caught up with the iconic anchorwoman for a rare one-on-one interview, as she was being named a Black Media Legend at the Plaza Hotel by McDonalds Friday.

How Bloggers Became the New Chick Lit Heroines (Poynter)
The Carrie Bradshaws of the literary world are out of vogue. Sex and the City's Bradshaw and other female protagonists in chick lit from the '90s and early 2000s had glamorous jobs in print journalism. Now, bloggers who work long hours and wear muumuus instead of tutus are the new literary heroines.

Kitty Kelley to Write Book About the Women of the U.S. Senate (GalleyCat)
Celebrity biographer Kitty Kelley has landed a book deal to write about the women of the U.S. Senate. Publication has been set for Spring 2016. The book will look at the 113th Congress, but focus on the "divinely diverse and one-fifth female" U.S. Senate. WSK Management CEO Wayne Kabak negotiated the deal with publisher Jamie Raab. Raab will also edit the book.

How ABC Veteran Bury is Keeping Himself 'In The Loop' (Time Out Chicago)
Back in the days when Nightline was the best nightly news program on television, you could always count on Chris Bury to deliver the goods. As one of Ted Koppel's go-to guys (and his principal substitute anchor), Bury earned a reputation as a world class journalist and a master storyteller. After 30 years as an award-winning national correspondent, Chris Bury left ABC News last July, telling colleagues: "It's been a good run -- through hurricanes, coup d'états, wars, presidential campaigns, scandals and all those quirky little stories along the way." Since then, he's been home in Chicago, making plans for the next phase of his career and waiting out the last six months of his contract, which ran through January 31.

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