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Archives: April 2013

Morgan Spurlock’s CNN Show Pushed Back

Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock‘s upcoming CNN series has been delayed until later this year, TVNewser hears. The show, “Inside Man,” has Spurlock sharing “an insider’s view into rarely-seen sectors of American life that include gun lovers, marijuana growers, migrant farm workers, and end-of-life caregivers.” We also hear that the format may have been tweaked slightly, resulting in the delay.

Spurlock’s “Inside Man” was announced in August, 2012 to much fanfare, as it was the second original series acquisition for the cable news channel. It was supposed to debut this month on the channel, paired with Anthony Bourdain‘s travel show “Parts Unknown.”

Rather than pair the show with Bourdain’s program, CNN may replace “Parts Unknown” with “Inside Man” once this season of “Parts” ends in a few months. With other unscripted projects still having a way to go in development, it will allow CNN to have some continuity in programming on Sunday nights.  A second season of “Parts” is slated for the Fall.

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George Stephanopoulos to Interview Jason Collins, First Openly Gay NBA Player, on ‘GMA’

ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos has snagged the first television interview with Jason Collins, the first openly gay NBA player. Collins, a free agent who played for the Boston Celtics and the Washington Wizards this season, penned this week’s Sports Illustrated cover story, writing: “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.”

Stephanopoulos’ interview, which is billed as an exclusive, will air Tuesday on “Good Morning America” and across the other ABC News platforms.

The Ticker: Investigations, Fusion, Road Trip

  • Fusion, the upcoming cable news channel from ABC and Univision, is adding Maritza Puello as the managing editor for Newscore. Puello joins Fusion from NY1 Noticias.

  • NBC’s “Today” has announced one of its May sweeps stunts: a cross-country road trip. The five lead anchors will host the show from Hawaii, Yellowstone, Chicago, Orlando and a mystery city from may 20-24. Meanwhile, ABC’s “GMA” will get a “Dancing With The Stars” boost.

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Wolf Blitzer Becomes Latest ‘SWATting’ Victim

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer became the latest public figure to become the victim of a “SWATting” attempt. “SWATting is when a hacker spoofs a phone call or text message from the target, pretending that they are in danger. Police and/or SWAT teams may respond expecting a dangerous confrontation, often terrorizing the unsuspecting victim. NBC News contributor Ryan Seacrest fell prey to the scam earlier this year.

Luckily, the person targeting Blitzer did so on Saturday night, and the CNN anchor was not in his Maryland home. The Washington Post has the details:

In the case involving Blitzer, the person or people behind the fraud wrote some form of text message, Starks said. The message was set up to seem like it was from Blitzer himself, and it included his address. It appeared to have been sent through a mobile phone company’s “relay” system, which is part of an arrangement to pass on urgent messages to the police’s emergency communications center, Starks said. But exactly where the message originated remains unclear, he said.

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How CBS’ John Miller Stood Out During Boston Bombing Coverage

While much has been made of the mistakes that were reported during the aftermath of the Boston bombings, the general consensus among media watchers has been that two journalists stood out for their accuracy and informative reports: NBC’s Pete Williams and CBS’ John Miller.

Miller gets a lengthy profile from the AP on how he got so much right. The short version: experience working for law enforcement agencies, and exceptional sources.

“Sources are people you meet on other stories and you develop them into sources of information,” he said. “I’m calling friends, and I’m asking them, ‘What’s happening here?

For his part, Miller said, “I am reluctant to criticize authorities.”

“My interpretation of when they need to be (criticized) and somebody else’s might be different,” he said. “If you’ve been there and you know how that works and what it’s like, and how easy it is to take potshots from the outside, your criticism is more measured, your analysis of what is worthy of criticism and what isn’t is slightly different.”

Iraq Suspends Al Jazeera, Nine Other Channels For ‘Encouraging Violence’

Iraq has suspended 10 TV channels, including Al Jazeera, for “encouraging violence and sectarianism.”

Iraq has experienced a number of violent sectarian attacks over the last week, resulting in hundreds of deaths. Al Jazeera has the details on what happened:

“We took a decision to suspend the licence of some satellite channels that adopted language encouraging violence and sectarianism,” Mujahid Abu al-Hail of the Communications and Media Commission (CMC) said on Sunday…

Responding to the accusation, Al Jazeera said in a statement: ”We are astonished by this development. We cover all sides of the stories in Iraq, and have done for many years. The fact that so many channels have been hit all at once though suggests this is an indiscriminate decision.

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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.

Brian Stelter On NBC’s Response to ‘Top of the Morning,’ Negative Reviews

Though the critics have skewered his first book, Brian Stelter chooses to see the coffee cup as half full.

“Honestly, I appreciate the feedback,” says Stelter, 27, author of Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV, and a media reporter for the New York Times. (Full disclosure: Stelter founded TVNewser when he was a college student)

“I’m not making this up,” he continues. “I want to learn how to be a better writer and reporter. I do think normal readers come away really happy, really entertained.”

‘Normal readers’ probably don’t include a trio of power players, past and present, from NBC. ‘Morning’ paints a less than flattering portrait of ‘Today’ co-anchor Matt Lauer; his former boss, Jim Bell; and ex-NBC News president Steve Capus.

All were involved, to varying degrees, in the ham-handed – and excruciatingly public — ouster of Lauer’s co-anchor, Ann Curry, according to the book. Bell had dubbed it ‘Operation Bambi,’ not knowing, of course, that Curry would come out looking as innocent and victimized as the white-tailed fawn in his title.

Lauer is the clear villain of the piece, prompting Entertainment Weekly to accuse Stelter of having a ‘vendetta’ against the mega-millionaire anchor.

Stelter labels the accusation as ‘preposterous.’

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‘The Onion’ Has a New TV News Parody, But It Needs Your Help

“The Onion” is trying to make a TV comeback… sort of. The faux-news experts have a new pilot for Amazon’s Prime video service, and Amazon is letting viewers decide which pilots should be ordered to series (Watch the pilot here).

The pilot, called “Onion News Empire,” is a takeoff on HBO’s “The Newsroom” as well as the world of cable news, and stars Jeffrey Tambor as a pompous anchor at the Onion News Network and Christopher Masterson as the grizzled news boss.

“Are you upset we are showing unattractive people? I’m sorry, I know the policy,” Masterson’s charcater says to the channel’s CEO.

“No, I’m upset because the ratings report came in this morning, even CNN is gaining on us,” she replies, noting the declines in the “lesbian barista” and “lonesome cowboy” demos.

Natalie Morales On Cosmopolitan ‘Fun Fearless Latina’ List

NBC’s Natalie Morales is one the recipients of Cosmopolitan for Latinas first-ever “Fun Fearless Latina” awards.

Morales is the only television news personality on the list. The “Today” news anchor told the magazine, “Women have to fight harder to get noticed. Put your best face forward, and be aggressive.”

Morales and the other winners, including actress LaLa Anthony and Olympic medalist Marlen Esparza, will be honored at an awards lunch May 23. “Daily Show” correspondent Al Madrigal, who won the magazine’s “Fun Fearless Latino” award, will also be honored.

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