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HuffPost Live Joins The Cable News Ranks

HuffPost Live–The Huffington Post’s web-TV outfit–is coming to cable TV.

AXS TV, the cable channel owned by Mark Cuban, AEG, CAA and Ryan Seacrest, will now simulcast HuffPost Live programming from 10 AM-4 PM. HuffPost Live has been seeking cable distribution for months (as we have noted), though the deal with AXS will not result in lucrative carriage fees that makes cable such an appealing place for programmers, according to the NY TimesBrian Stelter.

In an interview, Roy Sekoff, the president and co-creator of HuffPost Live, did not rule out full-blown cable distribution in the future. He said AXS provided “a way to get on now,” emphasizing “now.”

The telecast will start on May 13. It will be shown weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern time (the first half of HuffPost Live’s daily output), replacing the random assortment of repeats that AXS currently schedules during the day. Mr. Sekoff said The Huffington Post was not paying for the distribution, and AXS is not paying for the programming; the arrangement is mutually beneficial, he suggested, something that Mr. Cuban affirmed in a separate interview.

The deal also unites The Huffington Post with Dan Rather, the former “CBS Evening News” anchor who now hosts “Dan Rather Reports” on the channel.

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Dan Rather On What It Takes To Get a ‘Break’ In TV News Today

On the next installment of the mediabistroTV series “My First Big Break” (Look for it Thursday afternoon!), we speak to HDNet’s “Dan Rather Reports” anchor and former “CBS Evening News” anchor Dan Rather about the moment that brought him to national attention. In the preview below, Rather talks about the challenges of getting a break in today’s crowded media marketplace.

‘Dan Rather Reports’ wins Robert Kennedy Award

“Dan Rather Reports” on HDNet has been awarded the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for the story, “The Price of an Afghan Bride” which aired on the network in March 2010 and was produced by Jenny Nordberg. “I could not be more proud of Dan and his team and the amazing product work that they do every single week, with a fraction of the budgets enjoyed by his counterparts.” said billionaire yet cost-conscious founder Mark Cuban. “This award is very well deserved by everyone working on this program and their dedication to excellence in reporting.”

Former NBC News correspondent Jennifer London joins HDNet

Jennifer London has joined “HDNet World Report” as a full-time correspondent. London has been contributing to the show on a freelance basis and has reported on a range of topics including claims of government-sponsored anti-Semitism in Venezuela, social entrepreneurship in Africa and civil-rights abuses in Argentina.

London was an LA-based correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC until 2007. Before joining NBC, she was a co-host and senior segment producer at TechTV.

“HDNet World Report” is a weekly newsmagazine airing on HDNet on Tuesday nights at 9pmET/PT.

Dan Rather crew strip searched in Israel

The AP reports an HDNet crew working for “Dan Rather Reports” was harassed and humiliated by Israeli security officials.

One of Rather’s producers, Andrew Glazer, wrote a letter in protest to Israeli officials about the January incident. That letter was obtained by the AP.

Glazer said problems mounted after they arrived. He said they were held up for hours at security checks. Israeli soldiers barred the crew’s veteran Palestinian cameramen — a Jerusalem resident — from accompanying Rather to a West Bank neighborhood. And then came the strip search before an interview with Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor.

“Mr. Rather said that in his career, he had never seen a crew forced to strip prior to an interview — including the one he conducted with Saddam Hussein,” Glazer wrote.

Rather’s crew was in the region to do a story about improving Israeli-Palestinian relations which was pitched by Israel’s Foreign Ministry.

Last month, Rather wrote about his recent trip to the region — his first in 10 years.

Dan Rather: ‘I felt like hell, of course I did’ After CBS Didn’t Renew His Contract

Mother Jones magazine has a wide-ranging piece on former “CBS Evening News” anchor Dan Rather and his current employer Mark Cuban.

Rather and Cuban get profiled, of course, but the most interesting section comes when Rather talks about the split between him and CBS. In particular when he claims that the reason why so few of his story ideas ended up on “60 Minutes” after he left the evening newscast were because Viacom was trying to curry favor with the Bush Administration.

New CBS News chairman, and “60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager responded to that claim with a vehement denial:

“The fact that he keeps making these claims is outrageous,” says Jeff Fager, the show’s executive producer, who keeps pictures of Rather on his office wall even though the two have barely spoken in years. (Rather sued CBS, in part to unearth evidence of Viacom’s political meddling, but his case was dismissed in January 2010.) “I think he was distracted, and it was hard for him to focus on just doing stories,” Fager adds. “There might be something to his crusade, that the conglomerates in media don’t want to take the chance of investing in reporting because it is risky. But not this company.”

Rather responded to Fager’s comments by saying:

Read more

Dan Rather Explains ‘Watermelon’ Remark and How It Went ‘Viral’

rather_3-10.jpgIn a blog post this morning, Dan Rather explained his comments from the weekend’s “Chris Matthews Show” and the controversy that surrounded them. On Sunday, Rather used the expression “he couldn’t sell watermelons if you gave him the state troopers to flag down the traffic” in explaining the position of President Obama’s opponents.

Rather, known for his “folksy” sayings, writes at The Huffington Post, “It’s an expression that stretches to my boyhood roots in Southeast Texas, when country highways were lined with stands manned by sellers of all races. Now of course watermelons have become a stereotype for African Americans and so my analogy entered a charged environment.” He adds, “I’m sorry people took offense.”

Perhaps even more interesting is Rather’s take on how the news spread in the new media landscape:

But what has caused this comment to “go viral” is the trumpeting of an online and cable echo chamber that claims the banner of news but trades in gossip, gotcha, and innuendo. Furthermore, even for those who brook no prejudice, when everything is condensed to 140 characters or a small YouTube clip, many people who got this “news” did so without any context, just a headline that popped up on their phone or inbox.

“What saddens me is what this experience has made all too clear,” Rather writes. “Much of what we call news, isn’t.”

More: TVNewser sat down with Dan Rather for a Media Beat discussion about the changes happening in journalism.

Dan Rather Reports: The 100th Episode

Dan_Rather_HDNet_2.jpgDan Rather Reports — which debuted November 14, 2006 — marks a milestone tonight: the program’s 100th episode.

“Taking this program from a literal start-up,” Rather tells TVNewser, “to what it is now is among the happiest and most satisfying professional things in my memory.

“The whole Reports team and I feel a deep gratitude to [HDNet President and Co-Founder] Mark Cuban for being an owner who believes in hard news and doesn’t back up when the heat’s on.

“He said that he would give us complete, total and absolute creative control and he’s done so.”

Airing at 8pmET (with an 11pmET re-broadcast), tonight’s program, “A Border Runs Through It,” will take a look at Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Over the past two-plus years, Reports has focused on topics such as touch-screen voting machines, Mexican drug cartels, and post-Katrina FEMA trailers.

Rather says he is “proud to be a part” of the program, and, combined with his love of work, “I hope and expect to keep doing [the show] as long as God and Mark Cuban allow me to.”

“I don’t see a time,” Rather says, “when I will ‘retire.’”

(photo by Lynton Gardiner)

Rather Asks Himself: “WWMD?”

rather_12-10.jpgThe Columbia Journalism Review’s Jesse Sunenblick writes a nearly 5,000-word profile of Dan Rather, looking at where he is now in his professional life and how exactly he got there.

Rather says he’s happy with his HDNet gig. “This is sheer joy for me. I’ve never been happier or more satisfied. One reason I’m talking to you is to spread the word,” he said.

What is it about the job that excites him? “What we have to sell here is quality journalism. We play no favorites. We pull no punches. What we have is absolute editorial freedom,” he said.

Click continued to see what makes Rather ask himself, “What Would Murrow Do?”…

Read more

Dan Rather Moderates A Debate

Okay, it was a Senate debate. And, okay, it was on the ABC show, “Dirty Sexy Money.”

A tipster notes the HDNet anchor appeared on Wednesday’s program, to moderate a debate between Patrick Darling (William Baldwin) and Danielle Root (Mary Linda Phillips). According to the tipster: “Dan’s part was to ask the Baldwin a question, which he didn’t answer, but due to stuff seen in the audience shot, it was a ‘pivotal’ moment in the show.”

It was Rather’s second appearance on the program.

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