Morning Media Newsfeed: CNN Originals Debut Strong | ABC News Ups Vega, Llamas

CNN originals post big Sunday debuts. Vega, Llamas named weekend World News anchors. These stories and more in today's Morning Media Newsfeed

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CNN’s Two New Original Programs Have Strong Debuts (TVNewser)
CNN’s two new original series, Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery and The Wonder List With Bill Weir, both debuted Sunday night as the No. 1 cable news programs in their timeslots, among both total viewers and the key adult 25-54 demo. Deadline At 9 p.m., the Finding Jesus episode averaged 1.139 million viewers — 80 percent bigger than Fox News’ crowd of 634,000 and 314 percent better than MSNBC’s 275,000. Finding Jesus’ following in the news demo was 371,000 strong, while Fox News and MSNBC attracted 111,000 apiece, according to fast stats. THR Jesus now ranks as CNN’s second-biggest original series opening behind 2014’s The Sixties. CNN also debuted The Wonder List Sunday night. Though it lost much of its lead-in and boasted a much more narrow margin of victory over its cable news contemporaries, it brought in a solid 706,000 viewers and 294,000 adults 25-54. CNN Fox News trailed with 603,000 and MSNBC had 312,000. Among adults 25-54, the Weir-led program also ranked first with 294,000, 99 percent more than Fox News’ 148,000 and a 133 percent advantage over MSNBC’s 126,000. The Wonder List also saw the most growth among cable news in the time period vs. the prior four Sundays, increasing 122 percent in total viewers (706,000 vs. 318,000) and 160 percent in adults 25-54 (294,000 vs. 113,000). Mediaite As he’s done in the past with shows like Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, CNN president Jeff Zucker is taking advantage of the typically low-rated Sunday night cable news schedules in order to outperform the competition. While CNN is showing big, event premieres on Sunday night, Fox and MSNBC are mostly airing lightly promoted, repackaged specials.

Cecilia Vega, Tom Llamas Named Weekend World News Tonight Anchors (TVNewser)
ABC News correspondents Cecilia Vega and Tom Llamas have been named anchors of World News Tonight Saturday and Sunday, respectively, jobs they settled into several months ago when David Muir moved to the weekday editions. Variety Vega, an Emmy Award winner, joined ABC News in 2011, after working for San Francisco’s KGO. She will relocate to New York City from the West Coast and will jointly serve as a senior national correspondent. Llamas, a Murrow Award recipient, had served as the co-anchor of the 5 p.m. newscast for NBC 4 in New York and also as a contributing correspondent for NBC News. TheWrap In addition to anchoring the flagship evening news on the weekend, the pair will contribute to the network’s election coverage.

Savannah Guthrie Anchors Nightly News (TVNewser)
NBC’s Savannah Guthrie anchored NBC Nightly News Monday night, as Lester Holt dealt with a family medical emergency. Variety Holt is expected to return to the program. He has taken the anchor chair of the nation’s most-watched evening-news broadcast since NBCUniversal suspended Brian Williams for six months in the wake of his admission that he falsified details about a 2003 NBC News excursion to Iraq in which he took part. Mediaite Guthrie is not expected to be a permanent replacement anchor just yet. Williams, of course, is technically expected to return to NBC in just a few months, but there is a chance he may not come back. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Holt is widely seen as the front-runner to replace Williams if he is not reinstated on the program. Guthrie is also on the short list of potential replacements, and her appearance on Monday night’s broadcast will no doubt stoke suspicion that NBC’s front office is testing her out for that role. Guthrie had filled in for Williams several times before his suspension.

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David Corn Digs Up Bill O’Reilly’s Falklands Report From ’82 (Mother Jones)
Throughout the controversy set off by a recent Mother Jones article about Bill O’Reilly’s mischaracterizations of his wartime reporting experience, the Fox News host has angrily insisted that “everything” he has said about his journalistic track record has been accurate. TVNewser In response Monday, Mother Jones released footage of O’Reilly’s report from Buenos Aires on June 15, 1982. Corn says that the video contradicts O’Reilly’s “war zone” claims, but the report does show violent protests and mentions that journalists were hurt. HuffPost Beyond O’Reilly’s “combat” claims, another point of contention has been whether there were any civilian casualties in Buenos Aires immediately after the war at all. O’Reilly has described scenes of soldiers firing live ammunition into crowds of civilians and recounted dragging his bleeding cameraman to safety during the unrest. Though the footage fails to picture any protesters being killed, it does show journalists being injured “behind the lines” while soldiers charge the crowds.

There Were 373,000 Tweets About House of Cards During Season 3 Premiere Weekend (LostRemote)
The third season of House of Cards was released over the weekend and the anticipation building for Frank Underwood’s stint in the White House was palpable: 203,000 unique authors sent 373,000 tweets about House of Cards on Netflix from 5 a.m. Thursday through 5 a.m. Monday, according to Nielsen. LostRemote Many took to Twitter to complain that the new season is stuffed with product placement. Netflix doesn’t talk openly about the product placement deals it makes. This season, it was the House of Cards production company, not Netflix, that secured the partnerships. FishbowlDC The season 3 release inconveniently coincided with the final day of CPAC for many loyal fans, including one very tired Bloomberg Politics producer. So, Bloomberg’s Matt Negrin figured he’d kill two birds with one stone — interviewing a few politicos at CPAC, while simultaneously binge watching the new season.

Daytime Emmys Returning to Television (THR)
After a one year exile to digital-only carriage, the Daytime Emmy Awards are returning to television Sunday, April 26 as part of a new two-year deal with the recently re-branded Pop cable channel (formerly the TV Guide Network). Deadline It starts with the 42nd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, which will be broadcast live across the country on Sunday, April 26 at 8 p.m. The Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards gala will take place two days earlier, April 24 at the Universal Hilton in Los Angeles. Variety As viewership of the telecast has steadily declined, the Daytime Emmy kudocast has bounced around several networks during the past decade, from CBS to ABC to CW to HLN. Last year, producers failed to secure a TV pact, so the ceremony from the Beverly Hilton was available only via a free livestream.

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Yahoo! Launches ‘Yahoo! TV’ (FishbowlNY)
Yahoo!’s latest singular-focused site — Yahoo! TV — is live. As has been Yahoo!’s strategy with its other similar sites, the publisher is referring to Yahoo! TV as a “digital magazine.” Variety The new Yahoo! TV digital magazine is the 11th title in the format to launch since January 2014; these include destinations for technology, food, fashion and beauty coverage. Yahoo! TV continues to provide daily video recaps of primetime and daytime TV on “TV in No Time” in the new design, which is supposed to marry the imagery of traditional print magazines with bite-sized stories, video and photos.

John Catsimatidis Is Mystery Man Behind Daily News Sale (New York Post)
Maverick supermarket billionaire John Catsimatidis is said to be the mystery suitor negotiating to buy the embattled Daily News from Mort Zuckerman. Zuckerman last week acknowledged that he had retained Lazard to test the market after receiving an unsolicited buyout overture from an undisclosed suitor. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Catsimatidis is the president, chairman and CEO of Gristedes, the largest grocery chain in Manhattan. He is also a major political donor, having given $435,500 to Republican and Democratic candidates and groups since 2011.

Google Trumpets Victory Over MPAA in Mississippi (THR / Hollywood, Esq.)
In a potentially big court ruling, Google has gotten a Mississippi federal court to issue a preliminary injunction against Jim Hood, the state attorney general. Hood has been probing the Web giant for facilitating the distribution of infringing content and goods. Variety Google filed suit against Hood in December, claiming that the investigation was motivated by lobbying by the MPAA and Hollywood’s six major studios. Some of the details of the lobbying effort were revealed in documents exposed in the hack on Sony Pictures Entertainment.

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Nielsen Reasserts Its Local TV Ratings Clout With New Tribune Deal (Deadline)
Tribune Media’s renewal with Nielsen comes about a month after the broadcaster surprised some in the industry by also agreeing to use Rentrak audience measurement data at its 42 TV stations — including for its TV Everywhere streaming efforts.

NCAA, Turner Launch March Madness YouTube Channel (Variety)
March Madness is coming to YouTube, with the launch of the first official channel dedicated to updates from the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on the Google-owned video service. But to watch full games online, you’ll still need a pay-TV subscription.

China Monthly Box Office Tops U.S. for First Time Ever (THR)
Chinese box-office revenue edged ahead of the U.S. in February for the first time ever as a record Lunar New Year bonanza brought in $650 million in the second-largest movie market, according to data from research firm Entgroup.

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Bangladesh Anti-Terrorism Unit Arrests Main Suspect in Slaying of American Blogger Avijit Roy (HuffPost / Reuters)
Bangladesh’s anti-terrorism unit said it had arrested on Monday the main suspect in the killing of a U.S. blogger who was hacked to death in Dhaka last week in the latest attack on critics of religious extremism in the Muslim-majority nation.

After 7 Months in Jail, U.S. Journalist in Iran Is Allowed to Hire Lawyer (NYT)
Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post’s Tehran correspondent who has been imprisoned by the Iranian authorities on undisclosed charges for more than seven months, has been allowed to hire a lawyer after extensive delays, his family has reported.

CBS Interactive Launches in-House Advertising Effort (Variety)
CBS Interactive is joining the parade of media companies launching in-house advertising-production efforts in an attempt to gain a stronger foothold with clients both current and potential.

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