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Thursday, Apr 11

Morning Media Newsfeed 04.11.13

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Disney Studios Lays Off 150 Employees (NYT)
Walt Disney Studios, which employs 7,000 people, on Wednesday laid off 150 workers, including a few relatively senior executives in movie publicity and the DVD department. The layoffs followed a yearlong review by the company. Disney said in a statement that the cuts ensured "that the studios' operational structure and economics align with the demands of the current marketplace." The layoffs do not appear to restructure the studio in any significant way, and no department was eliminated entirely. LA Times / Company Town Analysts said that the layoffs, which were confirmed by the Burbank-based company Wednesday, are probably related to redundancies created by Disney's recent acquisitions of Marvel Entertainment in 2009 and Lucasfilm in 2012. "I am sure there is some overlap from those acquisitions," said Disney analyst Harold Vogel, president of Vogel Capital Management. Variety Many at the studio had expected cuts to take place before the release of Disney's second quarter earnings on May 7. Top execs have emphasized that the reorg is aimed at better positioning the Mouse House for future growth. Bloomberg Disney is releasing 10 movies in 2013, down from 38 a decade ago, according to researcher Box Office Mojo. Sales from the home-entertainment unit, part of the film studio, fell 9 percent to $2.22 billion last year, on a 12 percent drop in units, according to the company's annual report.

NBC Renews Last Call With Carson Daly (NYT)
NBC announced on Wednesday that it had renewed its late-night show Last Call with Carson Daly as the host, confirming his spot in the network's prime-time lineup for a 13th year. The announcement came a day after reports that actor Alec Baldwin was in talks to take a late-night role on the network, possibly in the time period occupied by Last Call. Entertainment Weekly / InsideTV "We are thrilled to continue our relationship with Carson who has broken the mold, creating his own unique late-night show format with Last Call," said Paul Telegdy, president, alternative and late night at NBC. "The show has become a platform for emerging artists -- and Carson's engaging interview style has made it the place for insightful conversations with an eclectic group of new stars as well as established icons and news makers." LA Times / Show Tracker NBC has good reason to keep Daly happy: He happens to host its singing contest The Voice which is just about the only hit NBC has right now. On the other hand, Last Call is finishing up its 12th season now, so the renewal only commits NBC until the middle of 2014. At which point, anything could happen.

Orphaned Tumblr Storyboard Posts Find New Home on Mashable (Mashable)
In early 2012, Tumblr hired an editorial team to cover the "ideas, themes and people" of the vast blogging community. That team launched Storyboard, which produced hundreds of fascinating stories on everything from Hurricane Sandy relief to One Direction fandom. While we're sad to see Storyboard go, we're happy to announce that Mashable will be working with Tumblr's editors to find a home for as many of those planned stories as we can. PandoDaily To understand why Tumblr suddenly brought an end to its original-journalism project, Storyboard, after just a year, it helps to consider what outgoing Facebook managing editor Dan Fletcher told an audience at Washington State University last month. Gawker So why did Storyboard die? The conventional explanation would be that it experimented with doing wonderful things that don't generate profit, and it succeeded on both counts. Yet with a crew of three, it didn't exactly demand a massive subsidy. And if Tumblr's own sunshiney sales reports are to be believed, the company was already headed toward profitability this year.

Postal Service Withdraws Plan to End Saturday Mail Delivery (The Washington Post / Federal Eye)
The U.S. Postal Service announced Wednesday that it would cancel plans to end Saturday mail delivery this summer, saying the new stopgap budget that Congress recently passed would prohibit the move. Poynter / MediaWire The change would have landed hard on newsweeklies and community papers, many of which deliver on Saturdays. Bloomberg Businessweek announced last month that it had partnered with Gannett to have newspaper carriers deliver the magazine in some markets. It began rolling out its alternate delivery program in 2010.

Maddow, Cooper on Out's Annual Power List (TVNewser)
Out Magazine has published its seventh annual "50 Most Powerful Gay Men and Women in America" list. Apple CEO Tim Cook tops the list for the second year running, but television news is well-represented in the top five, with syndicated talk show host Ellen DeGeneres at No. 2, MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow at No. 4 and CNN anchor Anderson Cooper at No. 5.

Sony Entertainment's CEO Deal Quells Sale Talk (Financial Times)
Michael Lynton has signed a new deal to stay as chief executive of Sony Entertainment, a move that should quell speculation about Sony selling its film studio and music division.

Jeff Zucker Is Remaking CNN. Are Viewers Tuning In? (The Washington Post)
This isn't the old CNN, says new network chief Jeff Zucker. The old CNN, which created and defined cable news, has been wheezing and sputtering for years. The old CNN was bypassed in sizzle (and audience ratings) by Fox News Channel and MSNBC long ago. On most nights, safe-and-serious CNN finishes fourth in the cable news rankings, behind even little HLN, a sister network that specializes in lurid trials and whose star is Nancy Grace, cable's Cruella de Vil. TVNewser For Zucker, he has to try and raise the ratings without scaring away big brand advertisers, who may be jittery about advertising on MSNBC or FNC for fear of alienating core buying groups.

Hoda Kotb Getting Raves for Today Stint (HuffPost)
On Wednesday, New York Times reporter Brian Stelter noticed that a lot of people on Twitter were cheering about Hoda Kotb's week-long stint filling in for Savannah Guthrie on Today. Top of the Morning Who ever said Twitter is a cesspool of snark and cynicism?! Check out all the warm and fuzzy tweets about Kotb, who has been filling in for Guthrie since Monday.

Star Tribune Guild Workers Rally Outside of the Newspaper's Headquarters (CityPages / The Blotter)
Late Tuesday afternoon, about 135 people gathered outside the entrance of the Minneapolis Star Tribune downtown headquarters. They carried posters proclaiming "Show Us the Green in 2013" and "Re$tore Our Pay"; the most common sign said only "2,000," with each zero doing double-duty as a sad emoticon -- a reference to the number of days the 250 members of the Star Tribune Newspaper Guild have gone without a raise.

Jonathan Landman Joins Bloomberg View (FishbowlNY)
Bloomberg View has made another high profile hire. Jonathan Landman, who accepted a buyout from The New York Times in January, is coming aboard as an editor-at-large. Landman had been with the Times for more than two decades.

Microsoft's Next Xbox Will Take Over Your TV, Interact With Your Cable Box (The Verge)
Microsoft is investing in TV in a big way with its next Xbox console as part of a fight for the living room. Multiple sources familiar with the company's Xbox plans have revealed to The Verge that Microsoft will introduce a feature that lets its next-generation console take over a TV and set-top box in a similar way to Google TV.

Why Paywalls Are Scary (Reflections of A Newsosaur)
The case for paywalls would seem to be compelling: Stanch the decline in print circulation, get paid for producing valuable local content and tap into a fresh source of sorely needed revenue at a time advertising sales continue to shrink.

AP LA's Anthony McCartney on the Joys of Covering Celebrity Courtroom Drama (FishbowlLA)
Although there will be some fireworks during Katherine Jackson vs. AEG, this legal matter will in all likelihood not be as striking to AP entertainment reporter Anthony McCartney as the Conrad Murray trial. Speaking to FishbowlLA Tuesday morning ahead of a day of early jury selection for the Jackson-AEG battle, he cited last year's Murray trial as one that stands out during his five-plus years with AP.

More Added to Guest List for White House Correspondents' Dinner (Deadline Hollywood)
Hollywood is again the guest everyone seems to want at their table for this year's White House Correspondents' Dinner. Returning headliner Conan O'Brien is set to take up the court-jester role that Jimmy Kimmel played last year and news organizations have began to reveal guest lists for the April 27 event.

Jon Stewart Nips Mayoral Speculation in the Bud (NY Mag / Daily Intelligencer)
Stewart divulges why we won't see him toss his hat in the ring, or a crotch shot up on Twitter.

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