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Archives: January 2010

Shelly Palmer’s MediaBytes

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Judge Allows Cameras for Grace’s Court Appearance

Associated Press

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX A judge has ruled that talk show host Nancy Grace can be videotaped while answering questions in a Florida wrongful death lawsuit.

But lawyers representing Melinda Duckett‘s family can’t share the recording with “any third party” or disclose any portion of the testimony without the federal magistrate’s permission. Grace’s lawyers wanted to bar the videotaping to spare Grace embarrassment.

Duckett’s family is suing the host of HLN, formerly CNN Headline News.

They blame her for inflicting emotional distress on the 21-year-old Florida mother during an appearance on her talk show in 2006 after her son Trenton went missing. More…

Comcast-NBCU Emphasize Local News in FCC Pitch

Broadcasting & Cable

Comcast sign With a lengthy pitch on the public interest value of creating a new content-focused joint venture that will boost quantity, quality, diversity and “local focus,” Comcast, NBC Universal and General Electric jointly filed a merger application/public interest statement with the Federal Communications Commission Thursday (Jan 28), launching what will likely be an almost year-long review.

That followed the filing earlier in the week with the Justice Department, which will look at competitive issues only. The FCC’s review goes beyond competition to look at the public interest impact of the deal, hence the lengthy filing (136 pages) accompanying the request for transfer of various cable and broadcast licenses. The $30 billion deal will also get scrutiny on Capitol Hill in hearings beginning next week.

The document lays out the public interest benefits in terms of the FCC’s four key interests: localism, diversity, competition and innovation. More…

Is Jay Leno Permanently Damaged By ‘Tonight’ Battle?

Associated Press

Jay Leno Certainly Jay Leno would love to wake up to find that the last six months were just a nightmare.

That way, he would be preparing another “Tonight” show monologue, not going on the national shrink’s sofa across from Oprah Winfrey, as he was Thursday. He would not have seen a photo of himself doctored to look battered on the cover of Entertainment Weekly, symbolizing television’s biggest flop ever. And he would not have heard the rough jokes with the serious subtext that he had sandbagged Conan O’Brien.

NBC is hoping that it all goes away, too. The network will not know until March 1 whether he has been damaged permanently by the disastrous decision to try him in nightly prime time and the clumsy way he recovered his old job. March 1 is when Leno returns to late night, opposite David Letterman on CBS. More…

MSNBC Scolds Anchor for ‘Inappropriate’ Tweets


XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX MSNBC may be obsessed with the four men arrested for trying to tamper with Sen. Mary Landrieu‘s telephones, but the network says reporter David Shuster crossed the line when he attacked one of them via Twitter.

Just before leaving for New Orleans to cover the story, Shuster used a Twitter message to tell conservative filmmaker James OKeefe– one of the four men arrested by the FBI–that he’s “not a journalist,” that he “intended to tap phones” and that he “will go to prison.”

“The comments were inappropriate,” an MSNBC spokesperson told POLITICO Thursday. “We have talked to David about them.”

Still, Shuster continues to cover the story for MSNBC. More…

Shuster and Breitbart in Shouting Match Over O’Keefe


David Shuster, Andrew Breitbart On his MSNBC show, David Shuster, anchoring from Louisiana, dove headlong into the coverage of the arrest of anti-ACORN video producer James O’Keefe, and three others earlier this week.

In back-to-back interviews, Shuster talked with Andrew Breitbart who published O’Keefe’s videos on his site, Big Government. Breitbart also reportedly pays O’Keefe a salary.

Shuster then interviewed Eric Boehlert of Media Matters for America, a Website that monitors conservative media.

Before the interview, Breitbart Tweeted, “I expect Shuster ambush. Already know its on ‘money trail’. But what other MSNBC gems can be expected now that Watergate Jr. is imploding?” More…

Birmingham TV Luminary Bill Bolen Set to Retire

The Birmingham News

Bill Bolen Broadcasting veteran Bill Bolen, whose gentlemanly demeanor, re-assuring delivery and unfailing decency have made him one of Birmingham’s most beloved newscasters, is signing off after more than half a century on radio and TV here.

The 81-year-old Bolen plans to announce his retirement during the 6 o’clock hour of Monday morning’s “Good Day Alabama” show on WBRC-TV/Fox 6, where he has worked for the past 40 years of his career. His last day at the station will be Jan. 28.

“That’s been the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make,” Bolen said Friday. “But my wife’s been on my back for two years, so I finally decided she’s always right and I better do it.”

The elder statesman of Birmingham TV newscasters, Bolen came to WBRC in 1969 More…

20 Years Later, Pittsburgh Anchors Still a Team

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Peggy Finnegan-David Johnson In the current broadcasting environment, it’s unusual for some anchor teams to last as long as five years. WPXI‘s Peggy Finnegan and David Johnson reached a milestone this month: They continue to anchor the news together 20 years after they were first paired in January 1990.

Ms. Finnegan and Mr. Johnson, who anchor Channel 11′s 90-minute news block at 5 p.m. weekdays, are the longest paired Pittsburgh TV news team currently and one of the, if not the most, durable TV coupling in local TV history.

Few would have believed it two decades ago when Ms. Finnegan joined Channel 11 from a station in Syracuse, N.Y. At the time, WPXI was the revolving-door station of the market with anchor teams getting put together and subsequently ripped apart with some regularity. More…

Fox and FNC Win as SOTU Draws Big Audience

The New York Times

State Of The Union President Obama‘s first State of the Union address was one of the longest in recent years, and it was also one of the most watched.

Mr. Obama reached an average of 48 million viewers in prime time on Wednesday, the Nielsen Company said. Nielsen combined the ratings for 11 networks to come up with the total.

Only two State of the Union addresses have drawn bigger audiences in the last 10 years: the first and second ones by President George W. Bush, which took place in 2002, after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and in 2003, shortly before the Iraq war began.

Among the cable news networks, Fox News Channel averaged 5.8 million viewers for coverage between 9 and 11 p.m., well ahead of CNNs 3.1 million, and MSNBCs 2.3 million. More…

Minnesota Anchor Quits Job to Help in Haiti

Duluth News Tribune

Julie Pearce Julie Pearce could no longer watch videos from the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti while working as a weekend anchor at Northland’s NewsCenter.

So she gave notice to the local NBC affiliate and bought a one-way ticket to Haiti.

“In good conscience, I could no longer sit back and read those headlines knowing that I have the skills they so desperately need right now and the ability to make a difference,” Pearce said in an e-mail interview.

Pearce, in addition to a being a journalist, is a newly licensed registered nurse who said she is being called in a new direction. The 29-year-old will anchor her final shows this weekend. She has been with the television station since 2006. More…