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Thursday, Mar 22

Morning Media Newsfeed 03.22.12

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AP Names Gary Pruitt New President, CEO (FishbowlNY)
Gary Pruitt, currently president and CEO of The McClatchy Co., has been named the new president and CEO of The Associated Press. Pruitt has been with McClatchy since 1995, and has served on the AP's board for nine years. He will succeed Tom Curley in July. paidContent The AP board didn't go far afield to hire the president and CEO who will succeed Curley this summer. Pruitt is as in-house as it gets without being a staffer. NYT / Media Decoder McClatchy, the third-largest owner of newspapers in the U.S., followed up by announcing that Pat Talamantes would become its chief executive, and that Kevin McClatchy, a fifth-generation family member, would become the chairman of the company's board. Talamantes will start in mid-May. Sacramento Bee Pruitt, 54, led the parent company of the Bee during one of the most dramatic eras in its history. He engineered the 2006 takeover of Knight Ridder for $4.4 billion, which effectively tripled the size of the company. The deal made Pruitt something of a superstar in the newspaper business.

Kagan: OWN Losses Could Climb To $142M (B&C)
OWN could saddle Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Communications with a $142.9 million loss this year, according to a report from SNL Kagan. Deadline New York "The report is riddled with inaccuracies and bad information. The venture is on more solid ground with more business momentum than ever before. Last Sunday, OWN was the No. 1 cable network for women and people at 10 p.m. We remain confident in the future of OWN and the long-term value we are building," Discovery Communications spokesman David Leavy emailed to Deadline. LA Times / Company Town Things may get darker before they get brighter at OWN. TheWrap.com SNL Kagan noted that the cancellation of Rosie O'Donnell's show last week ended hopes that it could boost the network's low ratings. OWN laid off 30 employees on Monday in another sign of problems for the network. The firm said there could be a "significant write-down" at OWN for the first quarter of this year for programming costs for failed shows and severance costs. THR Discovery, led by CEO David Zaslav, has not signaled any need for a write-down, and some sources have predicted that it would be able to avoid one. The cable network company also has said repeatedly that it remains optimistic that OWN will end up on the right trajectory, with one source saying Wednesday that recent layoffs came to improve OWN's financials. USA Today "I've never seen Discovery invest this much money in such a short period," says longtime cable analyst Derek Baine of SNL Kagan. "The ratings aren't coming in anywhere near as forecast. It would be a huge disappointment for Discovery to have to pull the plug, but it seems like that may be what they're considering at this point, given that they're taking control."

No One's Laughing (NY Post)
Not even SpongeBob SquarePants can bail them out of this one. The ratings woes that showed up at Nickelodeon last year have spread beyond the kiddie network to Viacom's other big cable properties, including MTV, Comedy Central, and BET, according to data released Wednesday.

MLB Exec Outlines New TV Deal Priorities (B&C)
Major League Baseball executive vice president Tim Brosnan said his organization is happy with the current TV partners, but as they enter talks over their TV future this year, other factors will also affect the strategy. Multichannel News MLB Network is teaming up with Fox Sports on an expanded pregame show before the broadcaster's game of the week.

Paywalls Coming To More Lee Papers (JimRomenesko.com)
Lee Enterprises CEO Mary Junck told shareholders Wednesday that the newspaper chain plans to introduce digital subscriber programs in more Lee markets within the next three months and expects to have them in most newspapers by the end of the year.

B-To-B Digital Revenue Up 22 Percent To $6.3 Million (Folio:)
B-to-b media industry revenue rose 6.9 percent last year, from a total of $24.7 million to $26.4 million between 2010 and 2011, according to the latest report from ABM's Business Information Network.

War On Women (FishbowlDC)
There's a lot of abrasive chatter on "The War on Women" these days.

Timsanity! Tebow Joins Lin In NYC; Can Internet Handle It? (Mashable)
Former Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow will be traded to the New York Jets, according to reports, after the Broncos signed quarterbacking legend Peyton Manning. If Tebow does indeed land in New York, an interesting question arises: Can the Internet survive? Yahoo! News / The Cutline To the shock of no one, news of Tebow's apparent trade to the New York Jets Wednesday exploded on Twitter. After all, the God-fearing Denver Broncos quarterback set a Twitter record in January, when his overtime touchdown pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers resulted in 9,420 tweets per second -- the most frenzied response for any sporting event, Twitter said at the time.

Democrat: Republicans Got Me Banned On Facebook (CNET / Technically Incorrect)
A poster to pro-Democratic Facebook pages such as that of Rachel Maddow says his posts are being flagged as spam by political opponents, earning him a Facebook suspension. He says he's not alone.

Denver Post Lays Off Columnists Parker And Littwin (JimRomenesko.com)
The Denver Post has laid off columnists Penny Parker and Mike Littwin, and "apparently, more is coming down," says Parker.

Traditional TV Use Flat In Q1 -- And It'll Stay That Way, One Analyst Says (paidContent)
No disruption to see here, folks, move along. A ratings analysis by Turner Networks and a report from Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser both said they aren't seeing a dramatic shift from traditional linear TV and toward emerging digital channels.

KIRO Slates Primetime Special To Highlight Benefits Of Social Media (TVSpy)
Seattle's KIRO will air a primetime special Thursday night to educate viewers on the benefits of social media.

Conservative Blogger 'Punked' By Bono Impersonator (Yahoo! News / The Cutline)
Jason Mattera, a conservative blogger and editor of Human Events, thought he had captured a video interview with U2's Bono proving that the singer had moved the offices of his ONE charity to avoid higher taxes. Only one problem for Mattera: It was a Bono impersonator. Mediaite Shortly after Mattera posted the video on YouTube and Big Hollywood, users began pointing out that the man in question doesn't particularly look or sound like the singer. One even pointed out that there was an impersonator hired to be in the building that very night. Gawker Breitbart.com guy and Human Events editor-at-large Mattera is "D.C.'s Bad Boy Reporter," and what says "bad boy" more than ambushing U2 frontman Bono for a "gotcha" interview about U2's taxes? Ha ha, except that Mattera actually ambushed a Bono impersonator, which may be why he couldn't really answer questions about U2's taxes. TheWrap.com In the wake of Andrew Breitbart's sudden death March 1, the future of his conservative media empire is up in the air. FishbowlDC The crew at Breitbart.com have it in for BuzzFeed.

Who Ripped Off TMZ With Phony Whitney Houston Tabloid Photos (Forbes)
I told you last week about the photo of Whitney Houston taken in her coffin and sold to the National Enquirer. The funeral parlor claimed they had an employee who saw Raffles van Exel, a sort of hanger-on in Whitney's posse and friend of Pat Houston, her sister in law, take the photo. Now comes word that other pictures that had appeared on TMZ.com, taken right after Whitney died, were also the work of van Exel. One picture, of a body covered with a white sheet being taken out of the Beverly Hilton Hotel on a gurney was headlined by TMZ as "Whitney on a gurney." The tabloid website will be sad to hear they were fooled. A person who was in the hallway tells me the "body" under the white sheet was Bobbi Kristina, Whitney's daughter. She was taken to Cedars Sinai Hospital twice after her mother died. Bobbi Kristina wrapped the sheet over her head so as not to be seen.

Sony Pictures Packages Dragon Tattoo DVD As A Pirated Disc (AdAge)
The DVD of David Fincher's adaption of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo bears no images or fancy typography. Instead, in a simple but clever marketing move, Sony Pictures designed the packaging to look like an everyday blank DVD, with the title carelessly written using what looks like a felt-tip pen. TheWrap.com The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo DVD release has created the sort of mystery that even Lisbeth Salander might have trouble solving.

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