Morning Media Newsfeed: SNL Special Breaks Twitter Record | Conan Goes to Cuba

SNL anniversary special nets record Twitter ratings. Conan O'Brien first late-night host to film in Cuba in 50 years. These stories and more in today's Morning Media Newsfeed

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SNL’s 40th Anniversary Special Breaks Two Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings Records (LostRemote)
It’s hard to capture people’s attention for three-and-a-half hours (four-and-a-half hours if you include the red carpet), but Saturday Night Live’s 40th Anniversary Special did just that, and it easily broke two Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings records. Deadline All told, according to Nielsen, the show spawned 1.3 million tweets seen by an unduplicated audience of 9.1 million people during the show and for the three hours before and after. Those tweets were sent by 449,000 people, a big but not extraordinary number. THR / The Live Feed Fast National returns from Nielsen give the three hours that aired in primetime an average 7.8 rating among adults 18-49 and 23.1 million viewers. (The final numbers, which will include the last half-hour, will likely be somewhat smaller.) Not far off from CBS’ showing the Sunday prior with the Grammy Awards, the massive haul rivaled many outings of the network’s Sunday Night Football franchise. Variety The 7.8 rating is the best for any NBC primetime entertainment telecast (excluding post-Super Bowl programs) since the Will & Grace finale in May 2006, and the 23.1 million total viewers is the net’s best since the night of the Frasier finale in May 2004. And among all SNL primetime specials, Sunday night’s is the highest-rated in 18-49 since a February 2001 edition following an episode of Friends (9.3) and the most-watched overall since an SNL Presidential Bash in November 1992 (28.8 million). Mediaite The hour-long red carpet special that ran before the show also did well for NBC, beating all its competition, including CBS’ 60 Minutes, with a 3.0 in the demo and 11.1 million viewers overall.

Conan O’Brien Films in Cuba (Deadline)
Jimmy Fallon may have taken NBC’s Tonight Show to Phoenix and Los Angeles — but Conan’s in Cuba. THR / The Live Feed The talk-show host spent the weekend in Havana to film an upcoming segment for his TBS series. He was there for several days, taking in the sights and experiencing daily life. TheWrap A U.S. talk show host hasn’t visited the Caribbean country’s shores since Jack Paar interviewed Fidel Castro in 1959. The U.S. has maintained a strict embargo against Cuba since 1960. Mashable In December, President Barack Obama announced a historic change to the country’s relations with Cuba, saying the U.S. and Cuba were poised to resume diplomatic relations after cutting ties in 1961. Since the announcement, ABC’s David Muir, CBS’ Scott Pelley and NBC’s Brian Williams have all broadcasted from the country.

With Addition of EPIX, Sling TV Keeps Getting Better (LostRemote)
Monday, Sling announced the addition of EPIX — giving customers access to more than 2,000 video-on-demand titles, plus linear channels with EPIX, EPIX2, EPIX3 and EPIX Drive-In. THR Dish’s recently launched Sling TV streaming video service said the deal grants it live and VOD multi-stream rights. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. EPIX is a joint venture of Viacom and its Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate and MGM. Variety Recent releases coming to Dish’s EPIX customers are to include Transformers: Age of Extinction, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Interstellar, Selma and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1. EPIX also offers documentaries as well as music and comedy specials. Dish officially launched Sling TV nationwide last week, offering a slimmed-down initial lineup of 14 networks — with ESPN the most prominent among them — for $20 per month. The company plans to add additional nets to the core package, including AMC, and also offers add-on packages. TheWrap Sling TV — Dish’s “alternative for live television to the millennial audience” — will announce the launch date, package and pricing of EPIX in the coming weeks.

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Kelsey Keith Named Editor of Curbed (FishbowlNY)
Vox Media has named Kelsey Keith the first editor-in-chief of Curbed, the architecture and real estate site. Keith comes to Curbed from Dwell, where she served as a special projects editors since 2011. This is a homecoming for Keith, as she served as an editor at Curbed New York prior to joining Dwell. She previously served as editor of Architizer and as a deputy editor of Flavorpill. WWD / Memo Pad Curbed will also get a new site at the end of the year, and a slate of new hires under Keith, who will report to Vox Media vice president and editorial director Lockhart Steele. Prior to the addition of an editor-in-chief, Curbed’s national editor and cities editor reported to Steele. The investment is part of Vox Media’s latest round of funding. The firm raised $46 million in the fall, and it has used the cash infusion to relaunch its sister sites, which include Racked and The Verge, as well as invest in new technologies.

New Yorker Celebrates 90 Years With Nine Covers (FishbowlNY)
The New Yorker is celebrating its 90th anniversary with nine different covers. Each features a different take on Eustace Tilley, the iconic New Yorker character that appeared on its first cover way back in 1925. “To celebrate the fact that we’re entering our 10th decade, we turned, as we do every week, to our artists for ideas, and this time we decided to publish more than one [cover],” wrote the magazine’s art editor, Françoise Mouly. “We picked nine covers for our 90 years, selecting images that reflect the talent and diversity of our contributors and the range of artistic media they use.” Poynter / MediaWire “That image, of a ‘starchy-looking gent with the beaver hat and the monocle,’ so effectively established the magazine’s tone that it was published, nearly unchanged, every February until 1994,” Mouly wrote. The butterfly, which you’ll see on almost all the new covers, appeared on the first cover with Eustace Tilley.

Fifty Shades Locks Up More Records — This Time for Fandango (Deadline)
Fandango said Monday it sold 29 percent of the domestic tickets for Fifty Shades of Grey‘s three-day opening weekend, the largest share for any film in its 15-year history. The adaptation of E.L. James’ novel also set a number of minor records for the online ticketer, including the most sold on Valentine’s Day and largest percentage of mobile ducats sold on a single day. Variety Grey made moviegoers its slave over President’s Day weekend, shattering records and heating up the box office with a staggering $94.4 million debut over the four-day holiday. That easily trumped the previous high of $63.1 million set by Valentine’s Day in 2010.

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Vice Media Names Head of $100 Million Toronto Studio (THR)
Vice Media has named Michael Kronish to head up its $100 million mobile and Web content studio, and upcoming 24-hour VICE TV Network in Canada. The Vice Media brand, launched in Montreal as a magazine in 1994 by current CEO Shane Smith, hired Kronish as senior vice president of production at Vice Media Canada. Kronish was most recently executive producer at Montreal-based indie producer Zone3.

Two Men Suspected of Helping Copenhagen Gunman Jailed for 10 Days (Mashable / AP)
Two men suspected of helping the gunman behind the deadly attacks in Copenhagen were jailed for 10 days Monday as Danes mourned the victims of a shooting spree that authorities said may have been inspired by last month’s terror attacks in Paris. They were accused of helping the gunman evade authorities and get rid of a weapon during the manhunt that ended early Sunday when the attacker was killed in a shootout with police, said Michael Juul Eriksen, the defense attorney for one of the two suspects.

NYT Mag Drops Chuck Klosterman (FishbowlNY)
Starting next Sunday, The New York Times Magazine is getting a massive revamp. Editor Jake Silverstein has already started making changes inside, such as dropping the much-maligned One Page Magazine section. In an editor’s note, Silverstein added that Chuck Klosterman, the magazine’s Ethicist for the past few years, will also not be a part of the new NYT Mag.

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The 2014 Polk Awards Winners (FishbowlNY)
The winners of the 2014 George Polk Awards — which honor special achievement in journalism — have been announced. The New York Times was represented well, and we were excited to see the Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates win for his moving essay “The Case for Reparations.”

Amazon Adds Russian Language Section to Kindle Store (GalleyCat)
Amazon has quietly added a Russian language eBook section to its site. While Russian Kindle books were available before, the site now counts 9,500 Kindle titles in Russian which are better indexed for discovery.

Princeton Inherits $300 Million Worth of Rare Books (GalleyCat)
William H. Scheide, a graduate of Princeton University, passed away last year and left a very valuable rare book collection to his alma mater. The collection includes about 2,500 books collectively worth about $300 million.

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Former Rhythm & Hues Owners Sued for Having ‘Pillaged’ Oscar-Winning VFX House (THR / Hollywood, Esq.)
When Rhythm & Hues declared bankruptcy in February 2013, laying off hundreds of employees and taking $17 million in loans just so it could complete VFX work for Universal and Fox, the court filings led to weeks of discussion about how a company that had worked on such films as The Hunger Games and The Lord of The Rings and won an Oscar for Life of Pi had gotten into such dire straits.

J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy Averages 6.6 Million Viewers in BBC Debut (THR)
The first episode of the TV adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy drew strong ratings for the BBC on Sunday night. The U.K. public broadcaster said its flagship network, BBC One, averaged 6.6 million viewers in the overnight ratings for the start of the miniseries.

NYT Corrects Scott Walker Column (Politico)
In a recent column about the Wisconsin governor, a conservative Republican, New York Times columnist Gail Collins wrote that Walker had cut state aid to education, causing teacher layoffs in 2010. But Walker didn’t take office until 2011.

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