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Posts Tagged ‘Ali Velshi’

The Morning Ticker: Velshi Expanding, ‘Today’ Gets SiriusXM, CEOs Score

  • Starting today, Al Jazeera America’s “Real Money with Ali Velshi” will expand to one hour. Velshi says the goal of the program, which airs Monday-Friday at 7pmET, “[I]s to shed a light on the needs of millions of Americans – not only by looking at Washington and policymakers, but by talking to real families and Americans experiencing economic struggles.”

  • SiriusXM and NBC News will launch “Today Show Radio” June 26. The new channel 108 will give SiriusXM listeners across the country access to live audio feeds of the show, including replays. “Today” joins other NBU channels on SiriusXM including CNBC on channel 112, and MSNBC on channel 117.

  • The Wrap is out with its 2013 Compensation Survey. CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves pulled in $66.9 million, a +7.6% gain over 2012. Steve Burke, president and CEO of NBCUniversal, earned $31.1 million, an increase of $4.8 million over the previous year, and Disney CEO Bob Iger took a -14% pay cut, still pulling in $34.3 million.

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Why You Won’t See Bieber’s Arrest on Al Jazeera America

al jazeera americaAt least one cable news network is staying away from today’s Justin Bieber drama: Al Jazeera America has not covered the pop star’s arrest aside from a brief mention in the 8amET hour.

An Al Jazeera America source tells TVNewser: “It didn’t hit the level of top news for us on a day when we have the Syrian talks, the Iranian President speaking at Davos, the West Virginia chemical spill continuing and other stories.”

The network has correspondents on location for each story: Nick Schifrin is in Switzerland for the peace talks, Ali Velshi is in Davos and Jonathan Martin is in Charleston. AJAM is also reporting today on Edward Snowden‘s online chat and the private security firm accused of defrauding the U.S. government by submitting 650,000 applications that were not fully vetted.

Glenn Beck‘s TheBlaze has also declared itself a Bieber-free zone.

The 10 Biggest TV News Stories of 2013

Screen Shot 2013-12-20 at 11.51.18 PM

How to describe a year in which TV news had more turnovers than Pepperidge Farm? Business as usual.

The dramatic departures and arrivals of A-List talent weren’t the only big story of 2013, of course. Two new networks launched. Fox News made some major changes in its prime-time lineup. Serious health issues affected at least three anchors. And CBS’s venerable ‘Sunday Morning’ continued to kick ass on the Sabbath.

Herewith my choices for TV news’ Top 10, in no particular order:

Open mouth, insert foot.

Hosts Martin Bashir and Alec Baldwin both left MSNBC after making what could charitably be called offensive comments.

On his November 15 broadcast, Bashir suggested that someone should defecate in the mouth of ex-vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin because of remarks she had made about slavery. Instead, it was Bashir who was forced to eat doo-doo. He resigned Dec. 4.

Actor-activist Baldwin hit the bricks Nov. 26, two weeks after he was caught on video calling a paparazzi a ‘cocksucking fag.’ His weekly show, ‘Up Late,’ lasted exactly five episodes. Maybe replacing ‘Lockup’ was bad karma.

Lara’s theme.

Ace ’60 Minutes’ correspondent Lara Logan was forced to take a leave of absence after her October 27 piece on the Benghazi attack was discredited. Politico says she’ll return early next month. CBS isn’t talking.

A CBS internal inquiry labeled Logan’s report ‘deficient in several respects.’ Among them: Over a full year’s reporting, she and her team somehow missed the fact that her major source, security contractor Dylan Davies, was a liar. Oops.

In a dubious distinction, Logan’s story led to ‘60’ winning Poynter’s Error of the Year award. If you call that winning.

A pair of newbies.

While other networks endured layoffs, two new cable channels debuted — Al Jazeera America on August 20 and Fusion on October 28.

AJA hired hundreds of journalists and staff – including many from U.S. networks. Among them: CNN chief business correspondent Ali Velshi, its first big-name hire; CNN International’s Joie Chen; MSNBC exile David Shuster and NBC’s John Seigenthaler.

AJA, whose corporate parent is based in Qatar, boasts 12 domestic bureaus and three broadcast centers. It reaches about 48 million homes.

Fusion, a joint production of Disney-ABC and Univision, features news and pop-culture fare targeted at English-speaking millenials. Based outside of Miami, it represents Univision’s first major foray into English-language programming.

Would you like your anchors scrambled or poached?

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Nelson Mandela Dies at 95

Anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, the first black president of South Africa, has died at the age of 95. His death was announced by Jacob Zuma, the current President of South Africa.

NBC News and CBS both produced special reports beginning at 4:45pmET, with Brian Williams anchoring on NBC and Scott Pelley anchoring on CBS. David Muir anchored a special report on ABC News at 4:46pmET.

On the cable networks, CNN joined Zuma’s press conference at 4:44pmET. MNSBC began broadcasting NBC News’ special report at 4:45pmET, and Fox News joined Zuma’s press conference at 4:46pmET.

>More: President Obama will speak at 5:20pmET.

> “NBC Nightly News” will be expanded to an hour tonight.

> Anderson Cooper will anchor on CNN from 8pm-11pmET tonight. He will be joined by Wolf Blitzer, Christiane Amanpour and Robyn Curnow in Johannesburg.

>Fox News will preempt “The Five.” Shepard Smith will anchor from the Fox News deck. Juan Williams, who covered Mandela’s release from prison for The Washington Post, contributed to the breaking news coverage. Fox News senior correspondent Greg Palkot is headed to to South Africa and will report for FNC beginning this weekend.

>ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer” will be expanded to an hour tonight. ABC will also have a special edition of “Nightline” dedicated to Mandela’s life tonight. The show will be live on both coasts.

>Al Jazeera America will stay in breaking news coverage through midnight. Ali Velshi will join Tony Harris and John Siegenthaler, followed by “America Tonight” at 9pmET.

>ABC News has canceled the “Good Morning America” holiday party scheduled for tonight. “In light of tonight’s events and the death of Nelson Mandela, we will postpone the party tonight. We will reschedule,” senior EP Tom Cibrowski wrote in an email to “GMA” staffers. “Now let’s make a great GMA tribute to an incredible man who changed the world.”

CNN Diversity Chair Stepping Aside

cnn logo_304x200The chairwoman of CNN’s diversity council will be stepping aside from that role, a spokesperson for CNN tells TVNewser.

The chairwoman, Johnita Due, is an assistant general counsel for CNN, and was first named chair of the company’s diversity council in 2005. She will remain with CNN in her role as assistant general counsel, contrary to a report this morning.

CNN says the diversity council is not being disbanded, and a new chairperson will be named soon. Maria Ebrahimji, who also sat on the council, is leaving CNN however. There are a “few dozen” members of the diversity council, a CNN spokesperson says.

CNN president Jeff Zucker has shaken up his executive leadership team since taking over the channel, so changes at the top of internal executive groups like the diversity council are not surprising. Diversity has been a hot topic at CNN since Zucker’s arrival, as a number of prominent minority voices left, such as Soledad O’Brien, Ali Velshi and Mark Whitaker.

That said, Zucker has been very vocal about diversity being an important part of CNN’s DNA, and he met with black and Latino journalists early into his tenure to talk about the issue.

The Maynard Institute’s Richard Prince has more.

The Evening Ticker: Vieira, ALMA, Velshi

  • Former “Today” anchor Meredith Vieira is launching a YouTube channel called “LIVES.” The channel comes as Vieira plans a new syndicated talk show for Fall, 2014. HuffPost has more.

Bracing For ‘Impact,’ Al Jazeera America Prepares To Launch

AJAM interim CEO Ehab Al Shihabi

Al Jazeera America has a long, tough road ahead.

Ehab Al Shihabi, the interim CEO for the channel, acknowledges as much. Al Shihabi said that according to their market research, 75% of people surveyed that had never seen any Al Jazeera programming had a negative perception of the brand.

There was a silver lining however: among people who saw Al Jazeera programming, 90% had a positive perception of it. “There was a perception, but it wasn’t a reality,” Al Shihabi said.

The channel is embarking on a wide-ranging branding effort, encompassing both an advertising campaign and in-person meetings with politicians, interest groups and community leaders. The push will be in cities where AJAM has carriage, as well as in places it doesn’t.

“We have engaged in this opportunity by taking on a lot of dialogue, so that people understand our mission and journalistic identity,” Al Shihabi said. ”With the heavy public affairs, with the heavy communications, with the heavy dialogue building, I think we can see most of the media coverage and most of the interactions, we can now move it on the positive side.”

Feedback will come quickly, as AJAM is planning to be rated by Nielsen at launch, even though it lost a few million households after acquiring Current TV and taking over its spot on the lineup. There is still a chance it finds space on other cable and satellite operators before launch.

A (Temporary) Home

Al Jazeera America’s New York headquarters sits inside a nondescript entrance on West 34th St. and 8th Avenue, inside the building that houses The New Yorker hotel (while the building does house the hotel, AJAM utilizes the Manhattan Center for services and utilities). There are TV screens on the sidewalk, though they have not been turned on yet, and a gold Al Jazeera America logo is emblazoned into the stone. The first thing you see when you walk in is a blindingly white lobby, while off to the right a security checkpoint looks like it would fit right in at a small airport.

Up a flight of stairs, the newsroom itself is vast, covering two floors (see photos in the slideshow below), with 150 or so desks flanked by 40 foot marble columns, while the walls are covered with flatscreen monitors and clocks. Natural light flows in through full-height frosted windows, a stark contrast to the cold, dark newsrooms at some other channels.

“It used to be a bank depository, and as I understand it was in quite decrepit shape,” Paul Eedle, Al Jazeera’s director of programming said on a tour this morning.

While it is now far from decrepit, the space is only slated to be temporary. Eedle says a search is underway to find a permanent home for all of AJAM’s New York staff. At the moment the network also uses Current TV’s old studio space on 33rd street, where Ali Velshi‘s program will originate. Eedle hopes to move to a permanent space in two years.

An Undercovered Mission

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John Seigenthaler: Al Jazeera America Will Be ‘Very Different’ Than Cable News Competition

The news that Al Jazeera America was hiring former NBC News anchor and correspondent John Seigenthaler took many in the business by surprise. Seigenthaler has been out of the public eye since leaving NBC in 2007, working as media consultant.

“I really didn’t have any intention of going back into journalism,” Seigenthaler tells TVNewser. “I was very happy with the consulting business that I had worked out with my family members.

Al Jazeera came to me and explained to me what they were doing, explained to me they were starting this new national news channel in the United States, and that they were opening 12 bureaus in the U.S., and they told me about their 70 bureaus worldwide, and their commitment to unbiased, serious reporting of the news and that they weren’t interested in the ratings,” he added. “As a journalist for 27 years, that is a dream come true.”

Jumping in he is. Later this month Seigenthaler will make his AJAM debut as the primetime news anchor, a big job for the nascent channel. Of course, there is still a lot of work to be done. When asked what his news program will look like, Seigenthaler laughs.

“I have been here for four days,” he says. “You know better than anyone, over the last five or six years, what we have seen is cutbacks, news organizations have cut back reporters and producers and editors, we have also seen a turn toward tabloid journalism. I think that Al Jazeera will be something very different than what you see on your traditional cable news channels or the networks in this country.”

Seigenthaler joins a “who’s who” list of journalists at AJAM, including former CNNers Ali Velshi and Soledad O’Brien, as well as veterans Joie Chen and Sheila MacVicar.

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AJAM Adds Three Business Correspondents, TheBlaze Adds a White House Correspondent

Al Jazeera America continues to staff up with abandon, announcing three new hires for “Real Money with Ali Velshi.” The new correspondents are Patricia Sabga, Stacey Tisdale and Duarte Geraldino, and all three will appear regularly on the daily half-hour newsmagazine.

Sabga is the former chief business news anchor for CNN Headline News, and is also a former CNN correspondent and NBC News foreign correspondent. Tisdale is the former financial correspondent for PBS “Need to Know,” and is former business correspondent for CBS News. Geraldino is a former analyst, and has contributed to Bloomberg TV, CBS News and American Public Media.

More information on all three below.

Meanwhile, Glenn Beck‘s TheBlaze is adding a White House correspondent. Fred Lucas, who had been the White House correspondent for CNSNews, will join TheBlaze in the same role, while Sara Carter joins as senior Washington correspondent. Video of Beck announcing the hires below.
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David Shuster To Join Al Jazeera America

Former MSNBC anchor David Shuster will be joining Al Jazeera as an anchor, a network source confirms to TVNewser. Shuster will likely anchor in the evenings, although a timeslot has not been confirmed. Shuster’s hire was first noted by Michael Calderone of The Huffington Post.

Shuster has been a regular on radio in Washington DC, and appeared frequently on Current TV after leaving MSNBC in 2010. MSNBC suspended Shuster in April of 2010 when it learned that he taped a pilot for CNN. The pilot never went anywhere, but MSNBC still felt compelled to lock him out until his contract with the network was completed.

At AJAM, Shuster is joining a bevy of TV news veterans, including former CNN anchors Ali Velshi and Soledad O’Brien and former HLN anchor Richelle Carey.

AJAM still does not have a chief executive or a head of programming, two roles that it should probably fill before it launches in a month’s time.

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