Morning Media Newsfeed: ‘Blurred Lines’ Infringed, Jury Rules | CNN Adds Originals

Jury finds Thicke, Williams guilty of copyright infringement. CNN announces new original programming and documentaries. These stories and more in today's Morning Media Newsfeed

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‘Blurred Lines’ Infringed on Marvin Gaye Copyright, Jury Rules (NYT)
For the last year and a half, the music industry has been gripped by a lawsuit over whether Robin Thicke’s 2013 hit “Blurred Lines” was merely reminiscent of a song by Marvin Gaye, or had crossed the line into plagiarism. THR / Hollywood, Esq. The verdict was reached after eight days of trial testimony examining whether “Blurred Lines,” one of the most successful songs of the young century, was improperly drawn from a soulful hallmark from the prior one — Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up.” Mashable The jury on Tuesday found that Thicke and Pharrell Williams lifted “Blurred Lines” from “Got to Give It Up,” but conceded that they didn’t necessarily do it on purpose. On the question of whether they committed “willful” infringement, the jury voted “no”; but asked whether they were “innocent” of it, they also voted “no.” Variety The jury ordered songwriters Thicke and Williams to pay $7.3 million to the family of Gaye for copyright infringement. Overall, the Gaye family sought more than $25 million in damages. The attorney for the Gaye family, Richard Busch, will also seek to halt sales of “Blurred Lines,” and said he will file official paperwork by next week. LA Times / LA Now The song brought in $5.6 million for Thicke, $5.2 million for Williams and another $5 million to $6 million for the record company, as well as an additional $8 million in publishing revenue.

Reza Aslan, W. Kamau Bell to Host New CNN Series (TVNewser)
CNN is adding two new original series to the mix of programs already in the lineup. Author and religious scholar Reza Aslan will host the new spiritual adventure series Believer, and comedian W. Kamau Bell will travel across the U.S. for United Shades of America. Deadline These series will join the previously announced mini docu-series Race for The White House, narrated by Kevin Spacey. Believer is billed by CNN as a new “spiritual adventure series.” In each episode, Aslan will dive into a faith-based groups to experience life as a “true believer.” United Shades of America follows Bell as he explores the “far corners of our country” and its “subcultures,” CNN described. Variety Mike Rowe, John Walsh, Anthony Bourdain, Morgan Spurlock and Lisa Ling will all return for new seasons of their respective programs. CNN will co-produce five new films under its CNN Films unit, each of which is expected to debut in U.S. theaters before appearing on its U.S. network. The original programming “is a really important part of our agenda of audience and advertiser growth,” said Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide, in an interview. THR Among the documentaries are Steve Jobs: The Man in The Machine, the biographical doc of the Apple founder by Alex Gibney, which will premiere at SXSW on March 14; Unseen Enemy, Janet Tobias’ doc on virulent viruses and bacteria that could generate the next global pandemic; and Sunshine Superman, Marah Strauch’s portrait of “the father of BASE jumping,” Carl Boenish.

AccuWeather Channel Launches, Bumps The Weather Channel From FiOS (TVNewser)
With its first distribution deal in place, the AccuWeather Channel is now a reality. AccuWeather Channel is now the primary weather network on Verizon FiOS, bumping The Weather Channel from the lineup. Deadline The 5.6 million FiOS video customers can watch or stream AccuWeather or find the weather in their ZIP code areas via a FiOS TV WeatherBug “widget” accessible on channel 49. While cost was a factor, the distributor says it also decided to not renew its contract with TWC. “In today’s environment, customers are increasingly accessing weather information not only from their TV but from a variety of online sources and apps,” it says. Variety The showdown between Verizon and TWC comes after DirecTV — the No. 1 U.S. satellite broadcaster — dropped the net last winter. The satcaster restored TWC three months later, after the net agreed to reduce reality programming by half on weekdays, return instant local weather and grant in-home authenticated access.

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Evening News Ratings: Week of March 2 (TVNewser)
NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt continues to hold the lead in the evening news race, but World News Tonight With David Muir continues to show the most growth. Variety Nightly News snared 2.391 million viewers between the ages of 25 and 54, the demographic most desired by advertisers in news programming, for the five days between March 2 and March 6. That figure represents a 2.9 percent dip in viewers in that category from the previous five-day period. Meantime, World News attracted 2.30 million in the demo, approximately 2.95 percent less than the previous period, while CBS’ Evening News captured 1.78 million, representing nearly a 9.2 percent fall from the previous period’s figures. Deadline World News showed a 12 percent growth in total viewers and 4 percent in the news demo compared to same week last year. Meanwhile, NBC’s newscast was flat in overall audience and up just 1 percent in the news demo compared to last year. CBS Evening News likewise was flat in total viewers, dipping 12 percent demo-wise.

Top Gear Host Jeremy Clarkson Suspended by BBC Following ‘Fracas’ With Producer (THR)
The BBC’s Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended pending investigation “following a fracas with a BBC producer,” according to the U.K. public broadcaster. The BBC added that its flagship motoring show would not air as scheduled on Sunday. BBC News Clarkson, 54, has not commented, but has been joking on social media about films that could replace Sunday’s show. He was given what he called his “final warning” last May after claims he used a racist word during filming. At the time, he said the BBC had told him he would be sacked if he made “one more offensive remark, anywhere, at any time.” Variety Top Gear is the world’s most widely watched factual television program, with a global audience estimated at more than 350 million in 214 territories worldwide.

Univision Hires Underwriters for IPO (Reuters)
U.S. Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Communications Inc. has hired Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank to lead an initial public offering, according to people familiar with the matter. The IPO, expected to be one of the media industry’s biggest in years, could come in the second half of the year, raise more than $1 billion, and value the company at as much as $20 billion, including debt, the people said on Tuesday. Deadline Univision network targets Hispanic Americans, and Nielsen Media Research labels it the world’s most-watched Spanish-language network. The company was taken private in 2007, after it was acquired for $12.3 billion by a group of private-equity companies including Saban Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners.

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Glenn Thrush to Lead Politico’s 2016 Coverage as Chief Political Correspondent (FishbowlDC)
Senior staff writer for Politico Magazine, Glenn Thrush, will lead Politico’s 2016 presidential campaign coverage as chief political correspondent, announced Susan Glasser in a staff memo Tuesday. Poynter / MediaWire Before coming to Politico, Thrush worked at Newsday and Bloomberg, according to his bio on Politico. He has covered the White House, the Sept. 11 attacks and has contributed to The New York Times Magazine, New York and the New York Observer. In addition to Thrush’s appointment, Glasser also announced the hire of Annie Karni, who will cover Hillary Clinton.

Mashable Names Business Editor (FishbowlNY)
Mashable has hired Heidi Moore as its business editor. Moore most recently served as the Guardian U.S.’ finance and economics editor. Capital New York Moore is replacing Todd Wasserman, Mashable’s previous business editor, who is leaving the site after nearly four and a half years. Moore is one of the most popular business and finance journalists on Twitter, with nearly 53,000 followers, making her a natural fit for Mashable.

Cable Network Ranker: FNC No. 1 in Primetime for Week of March 2 (TVNewser)
Fox News Channel finished as the No. 1 primetime network in all of cable for the week of March 2. This is the first time since the week of March 10, 2014 that Fox news finished No. 1 in primetime, with the last time coming during coverage of the missing Malaysian Plane. FNC averaged 1.93 million viewers between 8-11 p.m. Deadline That’s 9 percent ahead of the No. 2 ranker of TBS, which had 1.767 million. The top five were rounded out by Walking Dead broadcaster AMC (1.745 million), USA (1.742 million) and Discovery (1.524 million).

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Atlantic Media to Unveil New State-Focused Site: Route Fifty (FishbowlDC)
Atlantic Media’s Government Executive is launching a new spin-off site this spring called Route Fifty, that will exclusively cover state and local governments across the U.S.

Game of Thrones Season 5 Set for Global Day-Date Release (THR / The Live Feed)
HBO announced it will simulcast its season five episodes of Game of Thrones across 170 countries during the 10-episode run. Viewers in New York will be able to see the episode as the same time as fans in Europe or Africa. In previous seasons, episodes were time shifted for other territories, or even delayed weeks or months.

Universal, Scholastic Ink Three-Year First Look Pact (Deadline)
Universal Pictures has inked a three-year first look production deal with Scholastic Inc. and Deborah Forte to develop and produce live-action features from the publisher’s well known titles.

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Wikipedia Files Lawsuit Against NSA (Mediaite)
The Wikimedia Foundation, the company that owns Wikipedia, is filing a lawsuit against the head of the NSA, director of national intelligence James Clapper, his office, Eric Holder, and the Justice Department for the NSA violating its rights and the rights of its users.

Layoffs Affect MTV, Other Networks, as Viacom Restructuring Continues (Variety)
Viacom continued to dismiss selected employees as part of a restructuring effort that is expected to play out for the rest of March. Many of the layoffs are related to Viacom’s decision to combine Comedy Central and Spike with MTV, VH1 and Logo, resulting in the elimination of some positions related to production, production management, research and digital, according to a person familiar with the matter.

CSI Breaks Guinness World Record for Largest TV Drama Simulcast of All Time (Variety)
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation broke the Guinness World Record for the largest television drama simulcast of all time, airing in 171 countries on March 4, dubbed “World CSI Day.” The net announced the achievement Tuesday.

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