Morning Media Newsfeed: Palin Goes ‘Rogue’ | LA Times Scandal | Fox Cuts Brown Loose

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Sarah Palin Plans ‘Rogue TV’ (Capital New York)
Fox News contributor and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin will be launching her own digital video channel, tentatively called “Rogue TV,” a source familiar with the project said. Mediaite Rogue TV will be one of the first streaming channels on TAPP, a new service from former CNN president Jon Klein and former NBC entertainment chairman Jeff Gaspin. Adweek Subscriptions will cost $10 per month. The venture is an interesting one — Gaspin, former chairman of NBCUniversal and Klein, former president of CNN U.S., have both been out of the public eye for a few years, but the pair are teaming up on a streaming service not dissimilar to Netflix or Hulu and backed by “strong personalities.” Channels on the service are expected to go live in the next few weeks. Mashable Programming will reportedly be a mix of politics and current events as well as parts of the TLC reality show Sarah Palin’s AlaskaTVNewser Gaspin told Bloomberg TV TAPP would feature “personality-based” channels “with people who have super fans.”

LA Times Fires Reporter for Inappropriate Relationship And Big Error (LA Times)
The Los Angeles Times dismissed an investigative reporter Friday after discovering he had an inappropriate relationship with someone who was a source for a front-page story that the newspaper says contained an error. The editor’s note read, “A front-page article in the Los Angeles Times on Dec. 7, 2013, was incorrect in reporting that Occidental College failed to disclose 27 alleged sexual assaults that occurred in 2012.” Separately, as they began looking into the complaint, Times editors learned from the author of the articles, staff writer Jason Felch, that he had engaged in an inappropriate relationship with someone who was a source for the Dec. 7 story and others. Poynter / MediaWire The college approached the paper for a correction and the Times reviewed documents showing the 27 cases did not fall under the disclosure requirement, the paper said. Some were sexual harassment cases or inappropriate text messages, which are not covered by the act. NYT Felch was dismissed Friday, March 14. Felch, 40, said by email on Sunday that Occidental had declined opportunities to comment on the initial article before publication, or to make officials available to be interviewed. The first article was published before the relationship with the source began, Felch said. He said he did not rely on the person, who was not named by him or the newspaper, as a source after that. He did not describe the nature of the relationship. He was fired, he said, “for creating the appearance of a conflict of interest.”

Fox Terminates Scott Brown’s Contract Ahead of Senate Announcement (Roll Call / At The Races)
Fox News has terminated its contract with former Sen. Scott Brown ahead of his expected move toward a Senate bid, the network announced Friday. TVNewser “Scott Brown’s contributor agreement was officially terminated [Friday] once he notified Fox News of his intention to form an exploratory committee to run for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire,” EVP of programming for Fox News Bill Shine said in a statement. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media The decision came one day after The Associated Press reported that Brown, who recently relocated to his New Hampshire vacation home, has “spent much of the past two weeks calling key New Hampshire Republican officials and influential GOP activists, indicating that he was likely to run and seeking their support. At the same time, Brown’s camp has quietly begun offering paid positions to Republican operatives for a prospective New Hampshire campaign.” THR / The Live Feed Brown was hired in a contributor role in February 2013, several months after he lost his Massachusetts re-election bid to Democrat Elizabeth Warren. Brown is currently exploring a challenge to Democrat Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire.

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Malaysia Air Mystery A Draw for CNN (TVNewser)
CNN’s near nonstop coverage of the mystery of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 has boosted the network’s ratings to new heights. For three days in a row, the network came in second to Fox News in the cable news ratings for full-day viewing and in primetime. Mediaite One night after CNN’s Anderson Cooper beat Fox’s Bill O’Reilly in the 25-54 demo for the first time in nearly a year, he did it again, drawing 454,000 viewers in the demo to O’Reilly’s 429,000. With wall-to-wall coverage of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight, CNN’s Outfront With Erin Burnett and Piers Morgan Live had similarly rare victories over their respective Fox competition. Variety CNN’s victory is a partial one at best. Fox News Channel won primetime overall on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, according to Nielsen, with its 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. lineup averaging more in total viewers and viewers between 25 and 54 than either CNN or MSNBC. And MSNBC’s primetime lineup averaged more viewers overall than CNN’s on Tuesday and Wednesday. The question will be whether CNN’s results are being boosted for the short term by breaking-news coverage of the recent disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines flight or if CNN’s recent focus on primetime documentaries is gaining traction.

Sony Home Entertainment Exec Steps Down Amid Pending Layoffs (THR)
As Sony Pictures Entertainment prepares to inform a large number of people this week that they have been laid off, Matt Brown, one of the company’s top executives at home entertainment, is stepping down. Deadline Hollywood Brown, executive VP of worldwide commercial, is retiring effective March 31. In December, it was announced that David Bishop, president of the home entertainment division, was also departing this month after his contract wasn’t renewed. Variety The company laid off three dozen employees in January and announced it was shuttering its Sony Pictures Technologies unit and absorbing those operations into Sony Pictures Entertainment. All of Sony’s divisions are being scrutinized as the studio looks to cut $250 million. Bain & Co., which the studio hired in November, is in the midst of reviewing all of Sony Entertainment’s operations with additional layoffs expected over the next several months.

Popcorn Time Is Over: Potent Piracy App Quickly Calls It Quits (Time)
The creators of Popcorn Time have abruptly pulled the software from their website and shut it down. Even if you downloaded Popcorn Time already, it will no longer function. The Verge The movie-watching service hit the Internet last week, promising a Netflix-like experience for any movie you might want to watch, but using the expansive network of pirated BitTorrent movies to deliver content to users. It earned praise for its intuitive user interface, but its creators shut Popcorn Time down on Saturday, saying that the ongoing legal concerns were too much of a strain to deal with. TechCrunch The installer can still be found on several torrent sites and the open source nature of the project suggest that it’s not dead forever. The roaring success of Popcorn Time shows that there is a pent-up demand for such an app.

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Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios Selling West Side Campus (Chicago Tribune)
Harpo Studios, the production company founded by Oprah Winfrey, will sell its four-building campus on the West Side to Chicago developer Sterling Bay Companies in a sale-leaseback transaction that would keep Winfrey’s studio at the site for at least the next two years. Crain’s Chicago Business For Winfrey, selling off the last of her commercial real estate represents a final step out of Chicago, which she left almost three years ago to form Oprah Winfrey Network in Los Angeles. HuffPost / AP Winfrey first came to Chicago in 1984 to WLS-TV’s morning talk show, A.M. Chicago. A month later, the show was No. 1 in the market and renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1985. Winfrey moved to Harpo Studios in 1990 and is credited with transforming the once-gritty industrial area to a neighborhood filled with families and trendy restaurants.

City of LA Suing Time Warner Cable for Millions in Franchise Fees (Deadline Hollywood)
L.A. city attorney Mike Feuer said Friday that he’s going after the cable giant in a nearly $10 million lawsuit alleging that TWC has refused to pay fees owed to the city since 2011 while at the same time raking in billions in revenue. Adweek The city’s attorneys said that the unpaid franchise fees and public, educational and government use fees represent millions that could be put to use to pay firefighter and police officer salaries and maintain parks and libraries. While the charges in the suit are characteristically byzantine, the city’s central argument would appear to boil down to the “precipitous and wrongful withholding” of contractually owed monies.

Disney Unit Greenlights Disney Channel’s Largest U.K. Production to-Date (THR)
The Walt Disney Co.’s Disney Europe, Middle East & Africa unit has greenlit what the company said is its largest-scale ever U.K. production in the form of four-part mystery adventure Evermoor. BBC News It will be produced by Liverpool-based Lime Pictures, the company behind Hollyoaks and The Only Way Is Essex. Billed as a mystery adventure, the film will see 14-year-old Tara Bailey move into beautiful but spooky Evermoor Manor, where she discovers a magical tapestry which seemingly predicts the future. Filming is planned to start at Arley Hall at the end of April.

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Dave Schwartz Returns to Weather Channel (TVNewser)
Dave Schwartz, longtime meteorologist for The Weather Channel, will return to the network next month. Schwartz, a fan favorite, spent more than 20 years at the Weather Channel. Since leaving the network in 2008, Schwartz wrote a weekly weather column and also worked at an Atlanta Macy’s. In January, The Washington Post reported Schwartz had joined weather start-up Network Weather, which was planning to launch in October. The Atlanta-based start-up had also brought on Rich Johnson, who spent 21 years at The Weather Channel, departing in 2009.

In The CAR, Journalism Hangs by A Thread (CJR / Behind The News)
The past year’s religious violence and revenge killings in the Central African Republic are not only causing a humanitarian crisis; they’re also causing a media crisis. Christian and Muslim fighters have threatened journalists and looted local newspapers and radio stations, curtailing access to reliable information throughout the country for the past year. Crippled by theft or frightened into silence by one or another of the warring factions, dozens of media outlets have closed. Among the few still functioning are a handful of radio stations, of which only one broadcasts on a daily basis, thanks to international support.

NBC Closes Burbank Studios (TVNewser)
Lawrence O’Donnell made history last Thursday night on MSNBC. “This is the last national primetime broadcast from NBC Burbank,” O’Donnell said. O’Donnell rattled off the “giants” who have originated from the West Alameda Avenue complex, including Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, Steve Allen, Jack Benny, Dean Martin and Elvis Presley. The building also served as NBC News’ west coast bureau and home to KNBC, which moved to a new facility last month in nearby Universal City. NBC News will also move its Los Angeles bureau to an adjacent building on the Universal lot, which will be home to O’Donnell’s studio when he’s in L.A.

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Judge Refuses to Alter Pandora’s Payments to Songwriters (NYT)
A federal judge on Friday left unchanged the royalty rate that the streaming service Pandora pays songwriters, a move that may fuel efforts by music groups to change the decades-old government regulation over licensing. Judge Denise L. Cote of Federal District Court in Manhattan ruled on Friday that for each year from 2011 to 2015, Pandora must pay 1.85 percent of its revenue to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers for the use of its members’ music, according to a statement by the society, better known as ASCAP, which was sued by Pandora in late 2012.

Manuel Abud Named President, CEO of Azteca America (TVSpy)
Manuel Abud has been named president and CEO of Azteca America. In his new role, Abud will lead the Azteca America broadcast network in the U.S., managing its 25 stations. Abud was previously the president of the Telemundo station group. He will join Azteca America’s new leadership team, which includes COO Martin Breidsprecher, EVP of network sales Court Stroud and EVP of station group Enrique Pérez.

‘Next Generation’ Cable Provider Layer3 TV Raises $21 Million (LostRemote)
Boston-based start-up Layer3 TV has raised $21 million series A funding in its push to become a “next generation cable provider.” The network, which hasn’t launched yet, is helmed by cable and technology veterans, including CEO Jeff Binder, who founded Broadbus Technologies; chief of technology Dave Fellows, who served as CTO at Comcast and AT&T Broadband; video technology chief Chuck Hasek, who was Time Warner Cable’s technology chief; and head of marketing Eric Kuhn, the former social media guru for CNN and United Talent Agency. No word yet on what kind of programming or social media elements will make up the new network.

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