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Vice Media Co-Founder on CNN: ‘Disaster’ That’s ‘Spiraling Into Sh*t’

ViceAhead of “Vice’s” season two premiere on HBO tonight, Vice Media co-founder Shane Smith had some harsh words for traditional TV news—including HBO’s sister network CNN.

Smith told the New York Daily News CNN is a mess.

“CNN is a disaster. It’s spiraling into s—,” Smith said in an interview with the Daily News last week. “They are trying to young it down, but everything they do is a f—ing disaster. But what’s bad for CNN is good for me.”

Last year, Smith told The New Yorker that news is still a moneymaker—and that young people care about news—pointing out CNN was built on major events like the Gulf War.

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John Oliver Doesn’t Want CNN’s Slogan

The trailer for former “Daily Show” correspondent John Oliver‘s new HBO show “Last Week Tonight” is out, and Oliver brushes off the suggestion he use CNN’s long-term slogan.

“John Oliver…the most trusted name in news,” the trailer’s narrator says. “That’s CNN’s slogan,” Oliver shot back, seeming uninterested in stealing CNN’s thunder.

“The most relied upon name in news,” the narrator tried. “That’s a synonym,” Oliver again disapproved.

This isn’t the first time Oliver has joked at CNN’s expense: last summer, while filling in for Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show,” Oliver mocked “New Day’s” “rock block” segment for having rock music playing while reporting “unrocking” news like Pentagon department cuts and new cancer study information.

“Last Week Tonight” premieres April 27 at 11pmET on HBO.

‘The Newsroom’ Ending After Third Season

The-Newsroom-HBO-The-112th-Congress-Episode-3-4-550x366The third season of “The Newsroom” will be its last, HBO announced this afternoon. The Aaron Sorkin series will begin production on its last season this spring and debut in the fall.

“The Newsroom” debuted in 2012 to mostly negative reviews. The second season followed the “News Night” staff as they reported (and then retracted) “Operation Genoa,” a fake story about a U.S. military operation that was inspired by a similar situation at CNN, “Operation Tailwind,” in the late 1990s.

A number of cable news personalities, including MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield and S.E. Cupp, acted as consultants for season two.

‘Newsroom’ Gets a Season Three

Real newsman Brian Williams has returned to the anchor chair, so has fake newsman Jon Stewart. And now, we’ve learned real fake newsman Will McAvoy will be returning to the real fake “News Night.”

Jeff Daniels Tweeted the news that HBO’s “Newsroom” is getting a third season.

When last we left “Newsroom” (mid-way through season 2) Atlantis World Media boss, the exquisitely named Leona Lansing (played exquisitely by Jane Fonda) refused to allow McAvoy, his EP and news division president to resign after having to retract a report about “Operation Genoa.” The report claimed U.S. troops used sarin gas. (Oddly current given the situation in Syria). The producer of the report was fired for making a deceptive edit. (That’s happened too, for real).

If that storyline sounds familiar to some longtime tvnewsers, that’s by design. “Operation Genoa” is based on real events that engulfed CNN in 1998. Recall, Operation Tailwind.

Away From Daily News Grind, Soleded O’Brien Continues to Chart New News Path

Soledad O’Brien continues to blaze a trail for what she sees as a new news model — where journalists produce stories for any number of outlets, reporting on things they are passionate about, while immersing themselves in the communities they cover.

Today, along with actor Hill Harper, O’Brien will host the “Let Freedom Ring” 50th anniversary commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. O’Brien, who left CNN earlier this year, will end up appearing on all the networks at some point during today’s ceremony.

Tomorrow, O’Brien premieres her sixth installment of “Black in America” at Bishop T.D. Jakes‘ Megafest in Dallas. On Friday, O’Brien will return to CNN to promote “Black in America” on “New Day” — a show which replaced her morning program “Starting Point” a few months ago. She’ll then hit to road again for the People en Espanol festival in San Antonio.

All the while, two of her four children will be in tow. O’Brien phoned in from the top of Toronto’s CN Tower Tuesday — hours before a flight would take her to Washington — part of a 9th birthday trip for twins Charlie and Jackson, which included a Yankees-Blue Jays game (with Derek Jeter keepsakes), and visits with the Toronto Police marine and mounted units.

“What I have really enjoyed is I get to concentrate on the things I am passionate about,” says O’Brien who spent 10 years  at CNN and, before that, 7 years at NBC. “The challenge now is to say ‘no.’ You could book yourself constantly.”

Upon leaving CNN, O’Brien created Starfish Media Group. CNN is now one of her clients. She’s also putting together three stories following a recent trip to Haiti for another client, Al Jazeera America, (O’Brien will also be live on AJAM this morning from Washington) and she’s got two stories in the can for HBO’s “Real Sports.”

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How Real is ‘The Newsroom?’ Real TVNewsers Speak Out

No one expects total realism from HBO’s “The Newsroom,” but a scene in Sunday’s Season 2- opener would be virtually impossible in real life, technically speaking, say numerous network professionals.

In the segment, an off-site reporter for cable news network ACN dictates a few words of important corrected information – via cellphone — for his package, which is then instantaneously re-tracked in the control room just in the nick of time on Will McAvoy’s (Jeff Daniels) show.

“Any suggestion you can drop new audio into a package a few seconds before air is definitely unrealistic; make that impossible,” says Candy Crowley, anchor of CNN’s ‘State of the Union.’

“I’ve seen some very exciting things happen in the control room,” says David Westin, ABC News president from 1997 through 2010, “but I never saw anything like that, or even heard about it. I can’t imagine running that kind of risk.”

Ditto, says CNN weekend anchor Don Lemon. “I’ve never seen nor heard of anyone adding audio via cellphone. Some people do narrate on their iPads, but it sounds like crap.”

Rand Morrison, executive producer of  ”CBS News Sunday Morning,” argues that the “huge” difference in audio quality would be “a small price to pay for accuracy.” He describes the ‘Newsroom’ scenario as “far-fetched, but not inconceivable. “

Sue Green of Arizona State’s Cronkite School of Journalism, formerly executive director at New York’s WABC, agrees that it can be done, but it shouldn’t have to be. “If the reporter had done his job correctly in the first place, the fix would not have been needed. That’s what is important here.”

Regardless, Green is a ‘Newsroom’ fan, particularly of executive producer MacKenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer.) “I can relate to having an anchor who doesn’t listen, and the frustrations an EP has to go through in dealing with feelings and egos” of a newsroom.

Speaking of egos, any similarities between McAvoy and the late, great Peter Jennings, David Westin?

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Ratings: HBO’s ‘The Newsroom’ Steady In Season Two Premiere

Season two of HBO’s “The Newsroom” returned to HBO Sunday night. The show that TV news staffers love to hate is back with an overarching plot surrounding a lawsuit, and Occupy Wall Street as the news item du jour. Dan Rather is once again reviewing the episodes for Gawker.

The season premiere drew 2.2 million viewers, with an additional 400,000 watching the replay later in the evening.

For comparison, the series debuted last June to 2.1 million viewers, with the season finale drawing 2.3 million viewers. In other words, “The Newsroom” looks to be picking up right where it left off.

Of course, HBO notes that last season a cumulative total of 7.1 million people watched each episode (HBO sees a lot of replays and on-demand viewing), so the numbers are slightly better than your typical cable drama.

“The Newsroom” relied on a number of high-profile consultants for season two, including MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield and S.E. Cupp.

Soledad O’Brien To Make ‘Real Sports’ Debut Tuesday

On Tuesday, HBO will debut the new season of ‘Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.”

It will also mark the show’s debut of former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien. O’Brien first report for “Real Sports” is called “The Fight Club,” and profiles an Iraq war veteran who organized a club to help veterans with PTSD alleviate their issues through mixed martial arts.

O’Brien also explained what she is looking for in her stories in a “Real Sports” video interview.

WATCH:

Chris Matthews And Ashleigh Banfield Among ‘The Newsroom’ Paid Consultants

With season two of HBO’s “The Newsroom” right around the corner, The Hollywood Reporter reveals that HBO and Aaron Sorkin put together an all-star list of paid consultants to help make the show as “real” as possible.

Among the notable names: MSNBC host Chris Matthews (whose son Thomas Matthews is an actor on the show), CNN anchors Ashleigh Banfield and Natalie Allen (CNN is a sister network to HBO), MSNBC’s S.E. Cupp and Alex Wagner and former CNN and MSNBC president Rick Kaplan. The full list is here.

“I’ll be coming to you for everything from simple research questions to: ‘What kinds of conversations would there be about how to cover Trayvon Martin? Sandra Fluke? The contradictory stories about the circumstances under which Bin Laden was shot?’” he wrote in a lengthy welcome note to the group last fall.

THR also wrote a lengthy cover story about season two of “The Newsroom.” You can read it here.

Soledad O’Brien, The Brand

For former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien, HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” is something of a reunion. A former low level staffer at NBC News, O’Brien recalls producing segments with then “Today” anchor Gumbel.

“I was terrified,” O’Brien tells TVNewser. “[Gumbel] was one of the smartest and best interviewers in the business, and it was kind of an overwhelming prospect to be in his space.”

Now O’Brien will be on-air contributing to Gumbel’s HBO program, widely regarded as one of the best sports journalism programs on television. O’Brien will join a correspondent team that includes Mary Carillo, Bernard Goldberg and Andrea Kramer.

“I will do what I do, interviews, and to really tell stories, more about the human struggle to overcome something, to get through something,” O’Brien says of her “Real Sports” role. “It is longer form, but for me it is often under-told stories about the human condition.”

Her deal with HBO also includes a “first look” clause, giving the pay cabler first dibs on scripted programming and “long-form programming concepts” from O’Brien’s production company Starfish Media Group. HBO is known for taking real stories and turning them into dramatic films, most recently with the critically-acclaimed Liberace biopic “Behind the Candelabra,” and also for “Game Change.”
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