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Monday, Apr 02

Morning Media Newsfeed 04.02.12

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Keith Olbermann Fired By Current TV; Replaced By Eliot Spitzer (HuffPost)
Keith Olbermann has been fired by Current TV, the network announced Friday. He will be replaced by former New York governor and CNN host Eliot Spitzer. NYT / Media Decoder Current said on Friday afternoon that it had fired Olbermann -- one of the nation's most prominent progressive speakers -- just a year into his five-year, $50 million contract. It was the culmination of months of murky disputes between Olbermann and the channel that he was supposed to save from the throes of ratings oblivion. The Daily Beast / Spin Cycle Just weeks after Olbermann launched his nightly program on Current TV last June, his team was complaining that the network founded by Al Gore and attorney Joel Hyatt wasn't living up to its promises to support a professional cable news show. The arguments escalated for months, with Olbermann directly appealing to the former vice president on three or four occasions, until relations had become so poisoned that, on Friday, Current fired Olbermann for breach of contract. He has vowed to take the matter to court and questioned the ethics of Gore and Hyatt. Daily Mail Olbermann changed car services eight times in the year he was at Current TV, complaining his chauffeurs "smelled" and even "talked to him" in the car, according to reports. THR / The Live Feed Eliot Spitzer introduced Viewpoint, Current TV's unexpected new program, just hours after the network announced its firing of Olbermann. The former New York governor made no mention of Olbermann during the opening segment of Viewpoint, which took the 8 p.m. ET timeslot vacated by Olbermann's Countdown. PRNewser With Olbermann promising a lawsuit following his dismissal from Current TV, the network has hired crisis PR experts Fabiani & Lehane. Washington Post / The TV Column David Letterman had booked Olbermann to guest on his CBS late-night talk show Tuesday.

NBC News To Launch Internal Investigation Into Trayvon Martin Story (TVNewser)
A story that aired on the Today show last week caught the attention of media watchdog group Media Research Center, whose founder then went on Fox News's Hannity Friday night to share what they'd uncovered: selective editing of a 911 call in the Trayvon Martin case. Washington Post / Erik Wemple NBC told this blog Saturday that it would investigate its handling of a piece on the Today show that ham-handedly abridged the conversation between George Zimmerman and a dispatcher in the moments before the death of Martin. THR In the NBC segment, Zimmerman says: "This guy looks like he's up to no good. He looks black." The full version, though, unfolds differently. Yahoo! News / The Cutline MSNBC contributor and author Touré apologized late Saturday for losing sight of the big picture in a fiery interview with CNN's Piers Morgan about the country's inflamed racial tensions in the wake of the Martin shooting. Mediaite On Fox News' Geraldo At Large Sunday night, Geraldo Rivera spoke with Martin's parents and asked them for their forgiveness over his controversial comments that Martin's hoodie was as much responsible for his death as shooter Zimmerman.

Olbermann Named CEO Of Global Grind? CNN Adding A Supercomputer Anchor? Nah, It's Just April Fools (TVNewser)
Never forget. Anything you read on the Internet on April 1 is probably fake. Trust no one. GlobalGrind GlobalGrind is pleased to announce that Keith Olbermann has become the new CEO of the Russell Simmons-founded website. In a dramatic turn of events, Mr. Olbermann became the new chief of GlobalGrind after his departure from Current TV. NewscastStudio CNN has pulled out another toy from its technology arsenal -- a supercomputer co-anchor for its election night coverage. Nicknamed "Uncle Sam," the supercomputer is actually housed in a climate-controlled room that was built especially for the racks of servers that fuel the computer. Washington Post / The Style Blog contributor Len Burman wrote and published a blog on the news organization's website headlined "Romney drops out of race, endorses Santorum," about 10:40 a.m. Sunday morning. Editors pulled it down about a half-hour later, but not before the "news" spread on Twitter and claimed the top spot on Google News, albeit briefly. WSJ / Digits Continuing a longstanding tradition on April Fool's Day, a number of companies on the Web issued phony announcements.

Huffington Post Bloggers' Suit Against AOL Is Dismissed (Bloomberg)
AOL Inc. won dismissal of a suit by unpaid bloggers seeking $105 million for their work on the Huffington Post. U.S. District Judge John Koeltl threw out the suit Friday, filed last April by writers seeking a share in AOL's $315 million purchase of the news and opinion website run by Arianna Huffington. Chicago Sun-Times / AP AOL had argued that the bloggers gained exposure and a place to attract a big audience in exchange for the content. Jonathan Tasini, the labor activist and blogger who filed the suit along with other bloggers, said his legal team is looking into the case for grounds for appeal.

Booking Battle At The Morning Shows (NYT / Media Decoder)
On Monday morning, Good Morning America on ABC will have Katie Couric; CBS This Morning will have Oprah Winfrey; and the Today show on NBC will have a surprise guest who isn't being revealed in advance. TVNewser "We're glad to have Katie Couric here," said George Stephanopoulos at the start of Monday morning's Good Morning America where Couric is sitting in all week for Robin Roberts. "It's a little strange and I'm a bit nervous," said Couric. "I first woke up at 1:15, like 'I'm ready to go!'" said the morning show veteran before showing a video montage of her attempting to wake up. Politico Sarah Palin and former CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric will face off once again this Tuesday -- only it's an NBC-ABC ratings battle and not an interview filled with "gotcha" questions. Chicago Sun-Times To fight back, CBS morning co-anchor Gayle King has secured her decades-long BFF Oprah Winfrey to come in for an interview Monday.

eBooks Settlement Talks Advancing: Sources (Reuters)
The Justice Department could reach a settlement in the next few weeks with Apple Inc. and some of the major publishers suspected of colluding to push up electronic book prices, according to two people close to the negotiations. eBookNewser Last month, the government agency brought charges against the iPad maker, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, Pearson, Penguin, Macmillan and HarperCollins Publishers, alleging collusion in eBook pricing.

Ryan Seacrest Is Said To Be Close To New Deal With Comcast (NYT / Media Decoder)
Ryan Seacrest is on the verge of completing a new contract with NBCUniversal, the company that owns the E! channel, where he is a host and a producer; Bravo, where he is a supplier of programming; and NBC, where he will soon appear sometimes on the Today show. THR On the eve of Katie Couric's week-long guest turn on Good Morning America, Today show executive producer Jim Bell attempted to bring the attention back to his morning show. "Tuesday morning live on the TODAY show in Studio 1A, Ryan Seacrest will make a big NBC announcement," he tweeted to his 3,000 followers, adding: "Would @RyanSeacrest have more fun doing the weather for Al [Roker] or having a cocktail in the 10am with Kathie Lee? What is your drink Ryan?"

Encyclopaedia Britannica's Last Print Edition Has A Sales Boom (NYT / Media Decoder)
When Encyclopaedia Britannica announced last month that it was discontinuing its print editions after 244 years, company executives noted that there were 4,000 sets of the final 32-volume 2010 edition left in a warehouse, the remnants of an old tradition. Less than three weeks later, the bulk of them are gone.

Pint-Size Football Players Are Taking Big-League Hits (PBS NewsHour / The Rundown)
Journalist Stone Phillips delved into never-before-conducted research by Virginia Tech that could have a long-lasting impact on how little kids suit up for football. Phillips' report is scheduled to air on Monday's NewsHour. NYT / Media Decoder The report, about 14 minutes long and featuring Phillips' on-camera interviews with researchers, would not have looked out of place on Dateline, where he was a co-anchor until 2007. But instead he posted it on his own barebones website, TVNewser In February, TVNewser spoke to Phillips about the story and his decision to publish online.

Bloomberg And Reuters: The Future Of News (Adweek)
Awash in subscriber revenue, Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters are those truly rare things: news organizations that not only are healthy but also are on a hiring spree. Bloomberg boasts about 2,400 edit staffers, up from 2,100 three years ago, while Thomson Reuters has added 600 full-time journalists over the past four years for a total of 3,000. Each employs more newspeople than The New York Times and The Washington Post combined.

Oprah Winfrey Network, Comcast Cut New Distribution Deal: Report (
Oprah Winfrey's cable channel has gotten a much-needed shot in the arm. OWN will see a boost in the number of homes in which the network can be seen as a result of a new distribution deal with Comcast, according to a new report.

Andy Rooney's Desk, Typewriter Donated To The Newseum (TVNewser)
Andy Rooney's family has donated the contents of his CBS office -- including his desk, typewriter and bookshelves -- to the Newseum.

Consumers Left In Dark During Fight Between Tribune And DirecTV (LA Times / Company Town)
Consumers are caught in the middle of a fight between media giants. This time, it's Tribune Co. and satellite broadcaster DirecTV who are squabbling. The debate is over fees that Tribune, the parent of the Los Angeles Times, wants DirecTV to pay to carry its local television stations, including KTLA-TV Channel 5 in Los Angeles.

AOL Extends Tim Armstrong's Contract Through 2016 ( / Media Alley)
AOL on Friday gave CEO Tim Armstrong a four-year contract extension running through 2016. Armstrong, who has been CEO since March of 2009, will continue to earn a base salary of $1 million and is eligible to earn an annual bonus of up to $2 million.

Pew Research Prez To Step Down (FishbowlDC)
Andy Kohut will step down as president of the Pew Research Center. He claims he won't really be leaving, but like many Washingtonians, he'll take on a more "advisory" role.

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