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Fusion

Fusion Chief Programming Officer Billy Kimball Stepping Down

Fusion304x200Executive changes at Fusion today as Billy Kimball, with the network as chief programming officer since its launch, is stepping down.

“Throughout his tenure, Billy has worked tirelessly to constantly improve our existing shows, nurture our talent, and develop exciting new projects, many of which are now reaching the pilot phase,” Fusion CEO Isaac Lee wrote in a memo to staff obtained by TVNewser.

“As you all know, Billy is a brilliant producer and we hope to continue working with him on a number of projects in the future.”

Replacing Kimball is Wade Beckett, who was most recently showrunner for ESPN’s SportsNation after six years as an executive at NBCUniversal’s G4 network. “Wade is an experienced producer with a demonstrated track record of developing and leading innovative programming that resonates with new audiences,” Lee says.

Lee’s full memo to staff after the jump.

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Mediabistro Course

Multimedia Journalism

Multimedia JournalismStarting September 25, learn how to create interactive packages with photos, audio, and video! Taught by a multiplatform journalist, Darragh Worland will teach you how to come up stories that would be best told in a multimedia format, and create original content for that package using photos, slideshows, and short video and audio pieces. Register now! 
 

Jorge Ramos Grills Bill O’Reilly on His Treatment of Pres. Obama vs. Pres. Bush

O'Reilly RamosThe interview might have taken place on the “O’Reilly Factor” set, but it was Fusion’s Jorge Ramos doing the interrogating in an interview between Ramos and Bill O’Reilly that aired last night on Fusion.

“You’ve destroyed President Barack Obama. In almost every single show you criticize President Barack Obama and you didn’t do the same with President George W. Bush,” Ramos said to O’Reilly. “Yes I did…I was hard on Bush and I was hard on Obama,” O’Reilly shot back. “No you were not, I saw one of your interviews, it was kind of weak with President Bush,” Ramos responded.

The verbal jousting continued back and forth on who has been hard—and not hard—on certain leaders, with Ramos then invoking FNC’s slogan. “You can do whatever you want, but that’s not fair and balanced. If you really want to be fair and balanced, you’d have to be as strong against a Republican president as under a Democratic president.”

WATCH:
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In Profile: Alicia Menendez, Erik Schatzker

Alicia Menendez talks to the New York Post about why she “doesn’t see herself filling one of the openings left on ‘The View’”:

aliciamenendez“One of the things that I’ve learned doing my show is that I don’t just want to be talent, I want to be a producer-talent, and it is really critical to me to have a hand in everything I create,” she says. “Right now I have the best gig in town.”

Bloomberg TV’s Erik Shatzker talks to Men’s Fitness about making fitness a priority after surgery on his hip:

schatzker davosSchatzker set a goal: He would ski— his favorite hobby— before the season ended. By January, Schatzker was going to a physical therapy clinic and working out in a gym. Though his job had him getting up at 4 a.m. to go to the studio and film his show, he was done by the afternoon and free to train.

“I skied in Vermont that Easter,” Schatzker says. “I went on the black diamond trails, and my wife said I was crazy. But I had put the work in, and I felt confident I could do it.” Remarkably, Schatzker’s hip felt better than ever.

Jorge Ramos Asks Hillary Clinton: ‘Do You Think You Have a Latino Problem?’

In a preview clip ahead of Tuesday’s full interview, Fusion’s Jorge Ramos asks former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton if she has a potential problem with a rising voting demographic.

“Do you think you have a Latino problem?” Ramos asked based on recent comments Clinton made on sending back Central American children who cross the U.S. border. “I hope not!” Clinton responded, laughing that she “never has before, so I hope not.” “Some of them should be sent back,” Clinton continued, adding she’d deport children who don’t have claims to asylum or family connections in America.

Fusion’s Pot Reporter Predicts when Marijuana Will be Legal Nationwide

NerzPotFollowing the New York Times Editorial Board decision calling for the repeal of the prohibition of pot, we wanted to know the possibility of it really happening. So we reached out to network TV’s only Chief Cannabis Correspondent, Fusion’s Ryan Nerz. He says, it’s high time:

TVNewser: How big of a deal is it that the Times editorial board came to this decision?

Nerz: Pretty damn big. The country’s most authoritative newspaper is saying that the United States federal government should repeal its 40-year-long ban on marijuana. And yet, you could make the case that they are actually late to the party. For me, the real tidal shift happened last year, when a Gallup poll said that a majority of Americans favored legalization for the first time. But this is still pretty huge.

TVNewser: The Times says marijuana should be legal only for people 21 and over because of “legitimate concerns about marijuana on the development of adolescent brains.” Do you agree with this or should the legal age be younger, say 18?

Nerz: I agree wholeheartedly with this age limit. The human brain doesn’t stop developing until at least the mid-20s, and there are credible studies that correlate marijuana use during the years of brain development to a 6-8 point drop in IQ.

TVNewser: The editorial board says the criminalization of marijuana is racist, “falling disproportionately on young black men, ruining their lives and creating new generations of career criminals.” Is this what your reporting has found?

Nerz: The wording of their statement seems a little melodramatic, but the underpinnings are spot on. My reporting shows that the people making the big bucks off weed are disproportionately white, and yet the people getting busted are disproportionately black and Latino.

TVNewser: Do you expect the editorial boards of other media organizations to follow suit?

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From the Rio Grande to the Canyon of Heroes

ClintonRamosJust days after swimming the Rio Grande, Fusion anchor Jorge Ramos was glancing up at the World Trade Center, along with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

In the continuation of a series of interviews about her new memoir, Clinton and Ramos chose lower Manhattan for their interview, which will air Tuesday night on Fusion. The conversation touches on current global crises, the political climate leading up to the midterm and 2016 presidential elections, and immigration reform.

Why Jorge Ramos Swam the Rio Grande (It Wasn’t to Get to the Other Side)

JorgeRamosSwimsNo, that’s not Jorge Ramos taking a dip in the Atlantic Ocean off Miami Beach. In fact, the Fusion and Univision anchor swam across the Rio Grande as part of his Fusion special tonight on the border crises.

“I swam with my cameraman all the way to the Mexican side without actually touching the Mexican side because that’s illegal by treaty,” Ramos tells the Daily Beast. Also, even though Ramos has dual U.S./Mexican citizenship, he didn’t have his passport.

As for what it’s like:

It’s exactly what you think it is. There are very strong undercurrents, a lot of rocks and plants and a muddy bottom. If you try to stand up you might be stuck because it’s so muddy you can’t actually move your legs. It is very, very contaminated. And it’s dark. It’s impossible to look through the water. It took me about 15 minutes.

Isaac Lee Praises Fusion’s ‘Comprehensive, Truly Distinct’ World Cup Coverage

Fusion World Cup celebrationFusion staffers gathered in Miami last night to celebrate the end of the World Cup and welcome back the team who traveled to Brazil to lead the network’s coverage, including “Soccer Gods” hosts Nando Vila and Simon Carr and VP of news Mark Lima (pictured). In a note to staffers yesterday afternoon, Fusion CEO Isaac Lee called the World Cup coverage “comprehensive, truly distinct, and full of personality across our television and digital platforms”:

Nando and Simon did a terrific job anchoring our coverage in primetime with “The Soccer Gods” live from Copacabana Beach every night.  As two avid fans, they brought a level of passion, excitement, and humor to our coverage that struck exactly the right tone for Fusion. While they shined in front of the camera, it wouldn’t have been possible without Zach Rigg and Pablo Sanchis behind the scenes making them look good!

Fusion not only delivered a unique take on the action unfolding on the pitch every day, but it was the stories from the streets of Brazil that helped us stand out. From Mariana van Zeller watching the Brazil v Chile match in a favela with one of Brazil’s largest, most violent drug gangs to Pedro Andrade scoring interviews with some of the biggest soccer stars of all time includingPele and Marta. Jorge Ramos and Leon Krauze also contributed their unique insights both on “Soccer Gods” and by live-blogging several matches on Soccer.Fusion.net.

With the World Cup over and the midterm elections on the horizon, Fusion is building up its booking unit. Capital New York’s Alex Weprin has more on the new hires that will lead the effort to secure interviews with big-name guests.

Lee’s full note, after the jump. Read more

Germany or Argentina? Univision is Another Winner at the World Cup

SoccerGodsThe New York Times says the “biggest scorer” of the 2014 World Cup may be Univision.

An A1 story in today’s paper adds up what the World Cup has meant to the dominant Spanish-language U.S. network: Univision coverage has topped competitors ABC/ESPN in markets including Los Angeles, Miami and Houston. The network has averaged 80 million viewers, or about 60 percent more than the 2010 tournament. Univision has carried the World Cup since 1972. But this will be the final tournament until at least 2026. Univision rival, NBCU-owned Telemundo outbid Univision for the Spanish-language rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Over on Fusion, which is a joint venture between Univision and ABC, the host of “The Soccer Gods” Nando Vila and Simon Carr, gave their predictions for today’s Germany-Argentina final to Univison News anchor Jorge Ramos. Says Vila: “Simon, before the tournament, predicted that Germany was going to win. I predicted that Argentina was going to win… so we have a lot riding on this, mainly our entire credibility.”

Fusion Ponders Brazil’s Speedo Obsession

With the World Cup winding down in Brazil, Fusion’s Mariana van Zeller took to the beaches of Rio in search of the answer to one last important question: why do Brazilian men love their Speedos so much?

“It’s practical, it’s sexier, it dries very fast,” one woman told her. “You get a better tan line. With shorts, you’re all white,” a Speedo-wearing man responded. Watch:

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