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Chris Ariens

Chris joined Mediabistro in July 2007 as editor of TVNewser.com and executive producer of the blog network and was promoted to editorial director in June 2009. Before joining mediabistro, Chris spent seven years at MSNBC, as a producer, coordinating producer for the Olympics, and lastly as executive producer of daytime programs., Chris worked as a producer in local TV news in Green Bay (WLUK) and Tampa (WFTS). Email chris@mediabistro.com and follow @ChrisAriens on Twitter.

KIRO Anchor Chokes Up Covering Marysville-Pilchuck School Shooting

KIROSchoolMichelle Millman, a morning anchor at KIRO-TV, got choked up while covering today’s shooting at a high school north of Seattle.

Millman, the mother of a high school sophomore, got a voicemail message from her son’s school. “They just called all the parents to say there has been a tragic shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck high school,” Millman said during coverage. “This is heart breaking. You cannot imagine what’s going on at school districts across our area, parents are getting these calls.”

“As we can hear in your voice, this hits every parent and every student,” said Millman’s co-anchor Monique Ming Laven. “It really drives home that this is an issue that we are having to deal with today.”

As of this writing, police confirm the gunman, a student, is dead. KIRO reports at least four other students are injured, three critically.

How David Muir Got His First Big Break

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David Muir has known since he was 12 years old that he was going to be a TV news anchor. What he didn’t know is that four weeks into being named the main anchor of ABC’s “World News Tonight,” his show would be No. 1 in the ratings.

That happened last week.

While Muir’s biggest break came this summer, his first big break came when he was in middle school, growing up in Syracuse, NY, when he sent a letter to longtime WTVH anchorman Ron Curtis writing, “I hope to have your job one day.” Then, Curtis wrote back.

Ed Rabel Is News Again, On WCHS

rabel wchs_croppedFormer NBC News and CBS News correspondent Ed Rabel, is news once again in Charleston, WV, at least on one local TV station.

Rabel, who is running for Congress, had complained that managers at WCHS, the ABC affiliate in Charleston, told staffers not to cover Rabel’s campaign. That may have been payback for this 2013 op-ed Rabel penned in the Charleston Gazette in which he called local newscasts “a colossal waste of time.”

Well now the MorganCountyUSA website reports WCHS mentioned Rabel’s candidacy on Monday’s 5:30 newscast:

On the segment, WCHS TV newsman Kennie Bass reported on the campaign ads being run by the candidates in the second Congressional district race — Nick Casey (D), Alex Mooney (R) and Ed Rabel (I).

Late last week, WCHS news director Matt Snyder went on defense saying Rabel wasn’t being snubbed.

Gannett to Split Broadcasting and Newspaper Businesses

gannett logoIn the third such transaction in less than a week, Gannett is the latest company to announce it is splitting its publishing and broadcasting businesses into two separate companies. Speculation of the breakup has been brewing since earlier this year, when Bloomberg reported Gannett was one of the last media holdouts to shed its slower-growing publishing business.

Gannett’s Broadcasting and Digital company, which has yet to be named, will remain headquartered in McLean, Virginia, and will trade on the NYSE. Gracia Martore will continue as CEO.

Earlier this year, Gannett announced it was acquiring the 6-station London Broadcasting portfolio for $215 million. That came just months after it completed the acquisition of the 20-station Belo TV station group for $2.2 billion. Belo itself had split its TV and newspaper businesses in 2007.

“These acquisitions, combined with our successful initiatives over the past 2-1/2 years to strengthen our Publishing business, make this the right time for a separation into two market-leading companies,” Martore said. The deal is expected to be complete by mid-2015.  Read more

Tribune Gets New Name Ahead of Split

TribuneMedia_CMYK_pri_LrgTypeTribune Company begins operating under a new, but similar, name today: Tribune Media Company. The rebranding comes as the broadcasting and publishing divisions of the 167-year-old company split.

Tribune Media includes Tribune Broadcasting, WGN America, Tribune Studios, Tribune Digital Ventures, WGN Radio, and Tribune Real Estate. “In the last year, we have executed a strategy designed to embrace a rapidly changing media environment,” said Peter Liguori, President and CEO, Tribune Media Company. “We doubled the size of our broadcast group, re-launched our national cable network WGN America with high-quality original programming, and expanded our digital businesses that power some of the world’s leading media brands.” Tribune owns CW affiliates in markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami/Ft. Lauderdale. Last year, the company acquired Local TV Holdings adding 19 TV stations in 16 markets.

The other entity, Tribune Publishing Company, includes 10 major daily newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, South Florida Sun-SentinelOrlando Sentinel and Baltimore Sun. Tribune Publishing is expected to begin trading on the NYSE tomorrow. Its future as a stand-alone company is less clear.

 

Steve Hofstetter Brings ‘Laughs’ to FOX

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Steve Hofstetter can take the heat. The stand-up comedian has been heckled more times than he can remember. But that doesn’t faze the former Sports Illustrated columnist. “Stand-up, to some people, is a springboard. To me it is my life force,” he tells MediabistroTV. For his new show “Laughs,” debuting Saturday night on FOX and MyNetwork stations, Hofstetter has scoured the country to find the best club comedians. “Being a king and a kingmaker at the same time,” he says. And he doesn’t kid around when he predicts “Laughs” will be around for a long time. We caught up with Hofstetter last week at New York’s Gotham Comedy Club.

E.W. Scripps and Journal Broadcasting to Merge TV Stations, Spin Off Newspapers

JournalScrippsAnother big TV consolidation deal is in the works.

Tonight, Cincinnati-based E.W. Scripps, and Journal Communications of Milwaukee, announced they will merge their broadcasting operations, while spinning off their newspaper businesses into a new entity. As a result of the deal, which is expected to close in 2015, Scripps will be the 5th largest TV station ownership group operating 34 television stations in 24 cities, reaching 18 percent of the U.S. It will also own 35 radio stations. Five markets will include TV/radio combos. Interestingly, unlike other recent TV acquisitions, none of the TV stations will overlap in the same markets.

Scripps Stations:

WCPO (ABC) Cincinnati
WEWS (ABC) Cleveland
WXYZ (ABC) Detroit
WMYD (MyNet) Detroit
KMGH (ABC) Denver
KZCO (Azteca) Denver
KNXV (ABC) Phoenix
WFTS (ABC) Tampa
WMAR (ABC) Baltimore
WRTV (ABC) Indianapolis
WKBW (ABC) Buffalo
KGTV (ABC) San Diego
KZSD (Azteca) San Diego
KJRH (NBC) Tulsa
KSHB (NBC) Kansas City
KMCI (Ind.) Lawrence/Kansas City
WPTV (NBC) West Palm Beach
WFLX (FOX) West Palm Beach
KERO (ABC) Bakersfield
KZKC (Azteca) Bakersfield

Journal Stations:

WTMJ (NBC) Milwaukee
WGBA (CW) Green Bay
WACY (NBC) Green Bay
WTVF (CBS) Nashville
KTNV (ABC) Las Vegas
WFTX (FOX) Fort Myers
KGUN (ABC) Tucson
KWBA (CW) Tucson
KNIN (FOX) Boise
KIVI (ABC) Boise
KMTV (CBS) Omaha
WSYM (FOX) Lansing

The combined broadcasting company will be headquartered in Cincinnati while the new publishing company will be headquartered in Milwaukee. The flagship newspaper will be the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, but most of the publishing properties will come from the Scripps portfolio stretching from Redding, CA to Naples, FL. Edward Scripps founded the company in 1878.

In 2011, E.W. Scripps acquired the McGraw-Hill TV stations group of 9 stations for $212 million.

As WCPO, a Scripps station, reports the deal is a “tax-free transaction that makes shareholders of both companies owners of the surviving entity. Scripps shareholders will own 59 percent of the newspaper company following the transaction and 69 percent of the post-merger broadcast company.”

Amelia Earhart Completes ‘Round the World Flight

EarhartHomeAmelia Earhart, the former traffic reporter for KUSA in Denver, is back in Colorado after finishing an around the world flight.

Earhart, along with co-pilot Shane Jordan, flew a path similar to that of her namesake. They landed in Oakland, California Friday evening completing an 18-day, 14-country, 24,000-mile journey that makes her the youngest woman to travel around the world in a single-engine airplane. She returned to Colorado today landing at the Rocky Mountain Metro Airport.

Upon landing in Oakland, Earhart, no relation to the famous aviator who disappeared over the Pacific Ocean in 1937, Tweeted: “In the best way we knew how, we brought Amelia’s spirit home safely to Oakland.”

KUSA’s story, after the jump…

Read more

WOIO to Christen ‘LeBron James Sports Center’ If NBA Star Returns to Cleveland

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As LeBron James prepares for the sequel of “The Decision,” Cleveland’s CBS affiliate WOIO is going the extra mile to woo the hometown hero back to the Cavaliers.

The station is offering to name its sports studio “The LeBron James Sports Center,” if the NBA star returns to Cleveland, where he played from 2003-2010.

“There is no better player in the league than LeBron James,” says WOIO VP and GM Dominic Mancuso. “We’re ready to welcome him back with open arms and witness forgiveness!”

“We haven’t seen this much excitement about Cleveland sports since, well, the last “Decision,” adds News Director Dan Salamone, referring to the 2010 ESPN special during which James announced he was leaving Cleveland for the Miami Heat.

Mancuso adds, “19 Action News is committed to covering the King and giving Cleveland Cavaliers fans front row seats to all the action in our newscasts LIVE… hopefully from the LeBron James Sports Center.”

ESPN reports James has finished meeting with teams, and will now talk with his family and make his choice. James is reportedly planning to attend the World Cup final in Brazil this weekend, so a decision may come before then.

Mark Joyella Joins TVSpy

JoyellaA familiar face is joining us here at mediabistro. Starting today, Mark Joyella will be contributing to TVSpy. Mark has worked as a reporter and news anchor at local news stations across the country, including WFTS in Tampa/St. Pete, WPLG in Miami and WNYW in New York. Most recently Mark was an anchor at WFTV in Orlando.

Along the way, he’s won five regional Emmy Awards for reporting and writing, and covered stories around the world, including the Middle East, Central and South America and Cuba. Mark’s also worked as a digital producer at CNN. Mark lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter. On Twitter, you can find him here. Tip him early, and often.

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