Morning Media Newsfeed: Nightly News Takes Ratings Hit | Sling TV Adds AMC

NBC Nightly News takes a ratings hit. Sling TV launches and adds AMC Networks. These stories and more in today's Morning Media Newsfeed

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Nightly News Takes Ratings Hit During Brian Williams Crises (TVNewser)
Preliminary Nielsen ratings show NBC Nightly News dropped 36 percent on Friday from last week’s Monday-Thursday average among adult 25-54 viewers. NBC’s competitors were down too, but not as much: ABC was down 16 percent while CBS was down 17 percent on Friday. Mediaite On Friday night, when coverage of the controversy over Brian Williams‘ exaggerated war story had reached its fever pitch, ABC World News Tonight With David Muir topped Williams’ broadcast in both total viewers and the 25-54 news demo. Variety NBC News president Deborah Turness on Friday said the network was conducting an investigation into the controversy surrounding Williams, whose claims that he was on a helicopter in Iraq that was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade in 2003 have been challenged by crew members of the aircraft. Williams on Saturday told NBC News staff members in a memo that he would be stepping aside “for several days,” with weekend anchor Lester Holt taking over the newscast starting Monday. TVNewser Stars And Stripes reporter Travis J. Tritten has released the full audio of an interview he did with Williams last Wednesday, before Williams’ on-air apology for misremembering a story in the early days of Iraq war coverage which has now led to an internal NBC News probe and Williams benching himself from Nightly News. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media The first time Williams heard that his helicopter was an hour behind the Chinook that got hit by an RPG — and not directly behind it — was last week, on Feb. 4, during the interview with Stars And Stripes. In the interview, Williams acted surprised to hear that soldiers who were with him that day told Stars And Stripes that Williams’ Chinook helicopter was not flying with the helicopters that were hit.

Mad Men, Walking Dead Coming to Dish’s Sling TV Streaming Service (THR)
Dish’s streaming TV service just got a bit more interesting with the addition of cable channels owned by AMC Networks. Under a deal announced Monday, Sling TV, the over-the-top streaming service Dish is offering to consumers for $20 per month without a satellite or cable TV subscription, will add the networks AMC, BBC America, BBC World News, IFC, Sundance TV and WE tv to its programming lineup. Variety Sling TV launched nationwide in the U.S Monday with 14 cable channels including ESPN. With the over-the-top service the satcaster is targeting younger consumers who have shunned traditional pay-TV services, typically priced at least three times higher. However, among the service’s current limitations, it currently excludes ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and broadcast channels, and Sling TV does not provide DVR features (although certain programming is available on-demand). GigaOM Sling subscribers can elect to add more channels through three different add-on packages that cost $5 each. These include a news and information package, a kids and family package and a sports add-on package that offers access to additional ESPN channels and a few other sports networks. Deadline Sling TV operates with iOS, Android, Mac and PC devices, plus current generation Roku devices. The company says it will support Amazon Fire TV, Google’s Nexus Player, webOS Smart TVs, some Samsung TVs and Xbox One “in the coming months.”

2015 Grammy Awards: 45 Million Interactions From 17 Million Facebook Users (SocialTimes)
More than 17 million Facebook users were responsible for more than 45 million posts, likes and comments related to the 2015 Grammy Awards Sunday night. LostRemote The top moment on Facebook was Sam Smith winning Record of The Year and Rhode Island was the most engaged state. THR / The Live Feed Shifting a little later in the calendar this year, CBS’ annual Grammy telecast topped Sunday’s broadcast ratings. A full picture of the sprawling three-hour and 45-minute telecast, which didn’t conclude until 11:40 p.m. ET, has the show down more than 3 million viewers from last year’s performance. That marks its lowest telecast since 2009. Variety The telecast averaged an 8.5 rating in adults 18-49 and 25.3 million viewers overall from 8 to 11:30 p.m. on Sunday — six-year lows in both categories. It was down 14 percent in the demo and 11 percent in overall audience from last year.

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CNN Digital Politics Nabs Pair From Politico (FishbowlDC)
Some staff news out of CNN Digital Politics: Executive editor Rachel Smolkin announced several new additions to her team Monday morning including Hilary Krieger and Daniella Diaz — who will both be joining CNN from Politico. Additionally, freelancer Jeremy Diamond, who has worked with CNN for some time now, will officially be joining the team as a breaking news reporter and Ashley Killough will be moving to CNN Political director David Chalian‘s team to cover the GOP campaign trail for 2016. Poynter / MediaWire Krieger will be the outlet’s enterprise editor. In her new job, she will help “shape and edit” enterprise coverage from her colleagues and create a global affairs and national security beat. Diaz, formerly a Web producer at Politico, will join the digital production team headed up by Politico alum Dianna Heitz. FishbowlNY Additionally, Melisa Goh is joining as a senior homepage editor. Goh comes to the site from NPR, where she most recently served as a weekend online editor. Additionally, Hope King has been named a technology reporter for CNNMoney. King most recently served as a digital media reporter for Business Insider.

Netflix Is Now Officially Streaming in Cuba (Adweek)
Here’s hoping House of Cards has a Havana episode next season. Netflix Monday officially welcomed its first subscribers in Cuba. For Cubans with an Internet connection (which is about 25 percent, though the government heavily restricts the content) and “access to international payment methods,” Netflix is now streaming its original programs and several children’s shows produced for the service by DreamWorks Animation. Deadline The company’s suite of shows including House Of Cards, Orange Is The New Black and Marco Polo are available. The release doesn’t say how many subscribers it expects to add with the $7.99 a month offering of a “curated selection of popular movies and TV shows.” But the company says that it should grow, “as Internet access improves and credit and debit cards become more widely available.” Mashable Netflix began offering service in Latin America in 2011. The company now counts more than 5 million members in the region. The move comes after President Obama announced a surprise shift in diplomatic relations with Cuba in December.

Better Call Saul Premiere Sets Cable Record (THR / The Live Feed)
AMC roared back with a block of scripted originals on Sunday night and Better Call Saul earned record cable ratings in its launch. The Breaking Bad spinoff nabbed 6.9 million viewers and 3.4 rating among adults 18-49. Both of those stats make it the best series premiere in cable history. Variety The previous high for a cable premiere in the demo was USA’s The Dead Zone in 2002 with 4 million viewers in the demo. Among all series premieres during the 2014-15 season, Saul ranks third in 18-49 (3.4 rating), behind only ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder and Fox’s Empire (both 3.8). According to Nielsen estimates, Sunday’s Walking Dead on AMC averaged an 8.0 rating in adults 18-49 (about 10.1 million) and 15.6 million viewers overall, the third best scores for the show to date, behind only its season premieres in 2014 (8.65 demo rating, 17.29 million viewers overall) and 2013 (8.2 demo rating, 16.11 million viewers overall).

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Controversy Rages Over Harper Lee’s Second Novel (Yahoo! News / AFP)
A week after HarperCollins stunned the literary world with news that Harper Lee is publishing a second novel, controversy rages about whether the reclusive, 88-year-old novelist is of sound mind. It is well known that Lee has poor eye sight and is deaf. She has lived since 2007 in a nursing home in Monroeville, Ala., where all requests for visits reportedly go through her lawyer. BBC News Lee’s lawyer Tonja Carter found the script for Go Set A Watchman among the author’s things last year. Following the discovery, some people suggested Lee was manipulated into releasing the decades-old manuscript. HarperCollins announced last week that it planned to publish Go Set A Watchman later this year, with an initial print run of 2 million copies. The news was met with some skepticism about the timing, which comes months after the death of Lee’s sister, Alice, a lawyer who had shielded her younger sibling from the outside world.

Cooking Light Interviews Michelle Obama (FishbowlNY)
In the latest issue of Cooking Light, editor Hunter Lewis got Michelle Obama talking about food, family and more. Not only is Mrs. Obama the featured interview, she’s the first person to appear on Cooking Light’s cover in its 28-year history. FishbowlDC In the exclusive interview with Lewis entitled “The First Lady of Food,” Mrs. Obama discusses the state of the family dinner in America as well as her role as “the most food-focused first lady ever. ”

Tom Wheeler: FCC Looks to Act as ‘Referee’ to Insure Open Internet (THR)
Tom Wheeler has laid out an overview of his plans to keep the Internet open and free. In a speech on Monday at the Silicon Flatirons Center in Boulder, Colo., the FCC chairman defended his controversial decision to apply Title II of the communications act to insure the Internet remains open for traffic, commerce and innovation. Wheeler said the FCC will act like “a referee” to enforce “basic ground rules” so if there is any action that “hurts consumers, competition or innovation, the FCC will have the authority to throw the flag.”

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Kate Glassman Bennett to Be Politico’s New Gossip Girl (FishbowlDC)
Washingtonian editor and veteran gossip columnist Kate Glassman Bennett will join Politico at the end of the month to launch D.C.’s newest gossip column — The KGB File.

CNN’s New Day Accepts Fox & Friends Challenge (TVNewser)
CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, a former co-host of the weekend edition of Fox & Friends, took to Facebook and accepted the Beast Mode for The Brave Challenge. It’s kind of like the Ice Bucket Challenge, but raises awareness for PTSD.

DuJour Promotes Three (FishbowlNY)
DuJour has promoted three staffers. Sydney Wasserman has been promoted from senior market editor to market director. Natalia de Ory has been promoted from associate editor to managing editor. And Paul Frederick has been promoted from assistant fashion market editor to fashion market editor.

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Inside Rosie O’Donnell’s Dramatic Exit From The View (Variety)
When Rosie O’Donnell made her triumphant return to The View in September, she promised a calmer version of the host who previously fled the program in 2007 after a single season.

Defendants in $21 Million Movie Fraud Case Sentenced to Federal Prison (THR)
A Los Angeles federal judge on Monday sentenced Gigapix CEO Christopher Blauvelt and company president David Pritchard to eight and five years, respectively, in federal prison, the U.S. Attorney’s office announced, months after they were convicted of leading a fake movie investment scheme that defrauded approximately 730 victims of about $21 million.

Estrella TV, Comcast Spar Over Carriage in Three Markets (Variety)
Estrella TV says that it faces going dark on Comcast’s Houston, Denver and Salt Lake City systems in a carriage dispute that the Spanish-language channel says is a “David vs. Goliath” battle but the cable giant suggests is overblown.

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