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Fusion

Should Jorge Ramos Be Worried About Anthony Weiner?

Weiner RamosFormer U.S. Congressman and recent New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner appeared with Jorge Ramos last night on Fusion, suggesting he has eyes on a certain anchor chair.

“You do a service every night with your program, so I believe there are other ways,” Weiner told Ramos about finding other ways to influence the political process than running for office. “For example, guest hosting your show.”

“Any day, of course,” Ramos responded. And in response to whether he is done sexting, Weiner told Ramos: “I think if anything at this point of my career I’ve earned the right to say it’s none of your business.”

Weiner is no stranger to TV-news hosting rumors. Last year, reports surfaced that he began reaching out to radio and TV agents before running for mayor. As a congressman, Weiner became known for buzzworthy cable news guest spots; he and Megyn Kelly got into a shouting match in 2011 over a potential conflict of interest Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas might have had when hearing Affordable Care Act cases.

Weiner casually lobbying for a guest-hosting gig on Fusion after the jump.

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Fusion Hires a Chief Cannabis Correspondent

nerzRyan Nerz is joining the ABC/Univision network Fusion as Chief Cannabis Correspondent. It’ll be the first such job title at a news network. Nerz, who has written for NPR, Esquire, and the History Channel, will contribute regularly to Fusion’s digital and TV platforms. The Yale-educated Nerz is the author of MARIJUANAMERICA: One Man’s Quest to Understand America’s Dysfunctional Love Affair with Weed.

Nerz’s hire comes a few months after the legalization of recreational marijuana in two states: Colorado and Washington. Nine other states allow medical marijuana use and decriminalize recreational use. In November, The Denver Post named entertainment reporter Ricardo Baca to the marijuana beat.

The coverage of cannabis has also been a boon to networks like CNBC which have generated strong ratings for documentaries on the subject.

Alicia Menendez Takes on Bill O’Reilly Over Beyonce Comments

Fusion’s de facto media critic, Alicia Menendez, didn’t like what her old friend Bill O’Reilly said about Beyonce on “The O’Reilly Factor” this week, so she “went on his show” (aired clips edited to look like she was part of the conversation) last night to address the comments in question. At issue: O’Reilly says Beyonce “glorifies having sex in the back of a limousine,” while Menendez says the singer “empowers young women to be whatever they want to be.” Watch:

Jorge Ramos: ‘It’s Incredible What Happens When You Don’t Need Translation’

Jorge Ramos 2After four months of being immersed in English-language media, veteran journalist Jorge Ramos says it’s rewarding to be recognized by a whole new audience. Ramos, who signed a contract extension with Fusion Tuesday, tells the Hollywood Reporter, “Members of Congress and the White House are responding almost immediately when we broadcast something on Fusion. Finally, they are paying attention to what I’ve been doing for 30 years.”

“It’s incredible what happens when you don’t need translation,” Ramos says. “I’ve done interviews in Spanish with national news makers that had no consequences whatsoever [in the English-speaking world] because they were done in Spanish.”

Fusion Added to Dish Network, Shifts Programming

Jorge RamosFour months in, Fusion, the joint venture between ABC News and Univision, is shaking up its programming while adding 14 million more homes. Dish Network will now carry the news and lifestyle channel geared toward millennials, making it available in about 35 million homes, well on the way to its goal of being in 60 million homes in its first 5 years.

Among the programming changes: the morning show moves to the evenings and two daily programs will scale back to weeklies. The changes come on the same day Univision and Fusion anchor Jorge Ramos signed a contract extension keeping him with Fusion through the 2016 election. “Even though Jorge has been on television longer than Walter Cronkite, many Americans are discovering Jorge for the first time now that he has a program in English,” says Fusion CEO Isaac Lee in a note to staff.

Ramos, who co-anchors the evening newscast on Univision, will scale back his nightly Fusion show “America” to Tuesday nights, allowing more time for field interviews and transforming the program from a daily newscast to a weekly news magazine. Leon Krauze‘s “Open Source” will also scale back from nightly to weekly. The move comes as Krauze, who is also the main anchor at Univision’s LA station KMEX, gears up for Fusion’s coverage of the World Cup in Brazil this summer.

“The Morning Show,” which Lee says “has exceeded our expectations,” will be rebranded and will now air at 8pmET and ”AM Tonight” anchored by Alicia Menendez moves to 9pmET.

More details in Lee’s note, after the jump…

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Fusion CEO: Young Hispanics Don’t ‘Want Us to Have a Separate Dialogue With Them’

isaac leeUSA Today looks at the challenge U.S. news companies face while trying to reach the fast-growing Hispanic market. On the heels of the closure of CNN Latino and NBCLatino.com, Isaac Lee talks about how to best reach Fusion’s target audience:

Fusion CEO Isaac Lee said the team spoke with thousands of young Hispanics and learned that they weren’t interested in programming that would appeal only to them.

“Young Hispanics do not want us to have a separate dialogue with them just because they are Hispanic. They want a broader conversation that acknowledges they are in the room and that speaks to their values,” Lee said. “Something we have talked a lot about is winking at Hispanics, focusing on the cultural nuances that a Hispanic consumer will certainly recognize, but a non-Hispanic might not see at all.”

Fusion Boss Highlights ‘Exceptional’ Week for New Network

abc_fusion_logo_130508The 4-month-old cable network Fusion is taking a victory lap following coverage of two major stories in Latin America: the chaos in Venezuela and the capture of the world’s most wanted drug lord. Fusion CEO Isaac Lee , who is also president of Univision News, praised the partnerships with the channel’s parents, ABC News and Univision, while taking a jab at the competition.

“With few national outlets covering the story from the streets of Caracas, Fusion filled a void for many,” Lee writes in a note to staff, obtained by TVNewser.

Lee also notes that Fusion “tapped into the global resources of ABC News to cover the unrest in Ukraine,” while at the same time helping ABC News cover the events in Caracas. Fusion anchor, and Venezuela native, Mariana Atencio reported for “ABC World News” last night. And when the news broke Saturday that Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán was captured, Fusion’s Mariana van Zeller, who reported a documentary on the drug lord, appeared on “World News,” “GMA,” and “This Week.”

Lee’s note after the jump…

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Alicia Menendez: ‘Piers Morgan is Making a Story That Was Never About Him … About Him’

alicia menendez fusionOn the recurring “Not Judging, Just Observing” segment of her Fusion show last night, Alicia Menendez criticized Piers Morgan over his continuing spat with transgender activist Janet Mock, who has appeared on “Piers Morgan Tonight” twice this month.

After Mock was interviewed on “The Colbert Report” Monday — and Colbert ridiculed Morgan’s reaction to the negative Twitter comments directed his way — Morgan tweeted, “Shame that @StephenAtHome bought into @janetmock’s ‘victim’ BS last night. He’s a smart guy, better than that.”

“By tweeting his outrage over Colbert giving Mock another platform, Piers Morgan is making a story — that was never about him — about him. Again,” Menendez said. “And that is why everyone hates cable news, and why I check the classifieds every morning.”

The Fusion segment comes just a day after “Piers Morgan Live” had its second-lowest ratings in the demo ever, delivering 50,000 A25-54 viewers on February 18. Morgan’s program also had its lowest-ever total viewer delivery earlier this month, averaging  235,000 viewers on February 7.

Watch Menendez’s commentary after the jump. Read more

Will Israeli-Palestinian Peace Be Brokered on Fusion?

RamosPeaceUnivision and Fusion anchor Jorge Ramos interviewed Maen Rashid Areikat, the Palestinian Ambassador to the U.S. and Ron Prosser, the Israeli Ambassador to the UN, separately last night. He invited both of them to come on his Fusion program “America” for a special one-hour program to discuss how to reach a solution on Middle East peace. Both men were open to the idea.

Both Ambassadors also spoke about the real possibility of a divided Jerusalem and when Ramos asked the Israeli Ambassador about the potential of the peace talks failing he said “failure is always an option.”

Fusion’s SOTU Coverage Will Be Hosted by Puppets and a Comedian

fusion puppetsA month after Fusion launched, CEO Isaac Lee encouraged the network’s staffers to “reach beyond the conventional.” They appear to be taking Lee’s advice to heart, especially when it comes to political coverage: tomorrow night, comedian Paul F. Tompkins and the puppets from “No, You Shut Up!” will helm the network’s State of the Union coverage.

Variety’s Brian Steinberg speaks with Fusion senior vice president and chief programming officer Billy Kimball about the decision:

Viewers will be able to hear President Obama’s every word, said Kimball. The creatures will only talk during gaps in the speech, such as when applause breaks out. Fusion has altered commercial loads so that it can present the event free of advertising, he said.

The off-beat attempt at political coverage marks what Fusion executives hope is a new calling card for the fledgling network: Satire of important current events about which a good chunk of the nation is curious. Fusion’s lineup is an unorthodox mix of hard-news coverage and satire – indeed, the satire takes up an entire hour starting at 9 p.m. Eastern and breaks up more traditional news programming. But Kimball says more is on the way. Read more

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