Morning Media Newsfeed: Stuart Scott Dies at 49 | U.S.Sanctions N. Korea for Sony Hack

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ESPN Anchor Stuart Scott Dies at 49 (TVNewser)
ESPN’s Stuart Scott died Sunday morning following a long battle with cancer, a disease he fought three times. Scott was 49 and spent the last 21 years at the sports network. FishbowlNY Sunday morning on the NFL Network’s GameDay, Rich Eisen began by turning the clock back to 1996 and the moment when, as a “Jewish kid from New York City,” he walked on to the ESPN set to work alongside Scott. Rich Sandomir noted in his New York Times obit that at the 2014 ESPYs, Scott reminded everyone that, “When you die, that doesn’t mean you lose to cancer.” NYT “Booyah!” was Scott’s signature expression, and it spread well beyond sports and into mainstream culture. Other times he would enliven his offerings of scores, commentary and highlights with remarks like, “Cool as the other side of the pillow,” “Just call him butter ’cause he’s on a roll,” and “Wow! That was as hard-core as the Wu-Tang Clan on steroids!” THR Scott was first diagnosed with cancer in 2007 after he became ill while covering a Monday Night Football game, and his appendix was removed. He had four surgeries in the week leading to his emotional appearance at the ESPYs. In addition to his work on SportsCenter and the network’s pre- and post-game coverage of the NFL, Scott was a regular onsite contributor to ESPN/ABC’s NBA games. Mashable President Obama, a long-time fan of SportsCenter, issued a statement Sunday afternoon, saying, “I will miss Stuart Scott.”

Sony Cyber Attack: North Korea Faces New U.S. Sanctions (BBC News)
The U.S. has imposed new sanctions on North Korea in response to a cyber attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment. President Barack Obama signed an executive order on Friday allowing sanctions on three North Korean organizations and 10 individuals. NYT The executive order was part of what Obama had promised would be a “proportional response” against the country. But in briefings for reporters, officials said they could not establish that any of the 10 North Korean officials who the sanctions were made against had been directly involved in the destruction of much of the studio’s computing infrastructure. Mashable The sanctions are meant to further isolate key North Korean entities by increasing financial pressure on the government and its officials, secretary of the treasury Jacob J. Lew said, with officials calling on financial institutions around the world to “take note” of the sanctions and refuse to do business with their targets. Senior administration officials on Friday called them unprecedented, noting it was the first time the U.S. had used sanctions in response to a foreign country’s attack on a U.S. company. FishbowlDC Friday, former New Mexico governor and UN ambassador Bill Richardson had on some controversial remarks in response to the sanctions: “He’s been the victim, Kim Jong-Un, of a lot of bad press, a lot of bad international attention — with the Sony hacking, taken to the international criminal court by some UN countries,” Richardson told Ayman Mohyeldin on MSNBC’s NewsNation With Tamron Hall. Variety North Korea has blasted the latest round of sanctions as “repugnant” and “hostile.” “Sony Pictures Entertainment produced a disgusting movie openly agitating terrorism against a sovereign state only to invite bitter censure and criticism of public at home and abroad. But the U.S. is kicking off a noisy anti-DPRK campaign, deliberately linking the ‘cyber terror’ with the DPRK,” said the country’s foreign ministry in a statement Sunday.

Mike Huckabee’s Final Fox News Show Airs (TVNewser)
Mike Huckabee‘s final Huckabee aired Saturday. Huckabee announced on his show that he is parting ways with Fox News as he explores the possibility of a presidential run. THR Huckabee joined Fox News in 2008 as a commentator and regular contributor. Huckabee premiered in September 2008. Huckabee, who served as the governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007, previously ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 before withdrawing. John McCain earned the party’s nomination that year and lost to Barack Obama. WSJ This is not the first time Huckabee has used his Fox News show to ramp up speculation about his political plans. In 2011, he announced at the tail end of his show — after a jam session with rocker Ted Nugent — that he would not run for president. Deadline After announcing his departure on his show Saturday, Huckabee went on to note that Huckabee “has been the highest-rated weekend show on the network each week since we launched,” plug his upcoming book God, Guns, Grits And Gravy and praise Fox News president Roger Ailes as “the smartest guy in the room — and it doesn’t matter who else is in the room.” He added later, “Now, I’m not going to disappear, and I’ll probably make guest appearances on Fox — hope so — but no longer as a member of the staff.”

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College Football Playoffs Set Ratings Records at ESPN (THR / The Live Feed)
The new College Football Playoffs are working out quite nicely for ESPN. The network broke cable ratings records on New Year’s Day with back-to-back semifinals. Each of the matchups — Oregon’s win over Florida State at the Rose Bowl and Ohio State’s victory against Alabama at the Sugar Bowl — now rank as the largest audiences in cable history. Variety The Rose Bowl averaged 28.164 million viewers and the Sugar Bowl drew 28.271 million. Last year’s championship game between Auburn and Florida State drew 25.6 million viewers, and this year’s game on Jan. 12 between Ohio State and Oregon is expected to surpass the 30 million viewer mark. Mediaite The Rose and Sugar Bowls even did well online, with the WatchESPN app averaging 864,000 unique viewers despite technical difficulties. Back in 2013, ESPN made a pretty big bet when bidding for rights to the college football playoff, dropping a whopping $5.64 billion for a 12-year contract ($470 million annually).

Warner Bros. Apologizes for Negative Foxcatcher Tweet, Fires Consultant (Variety)
Warner Bros. has apologized to Sony Pictures over a derogatory message about Sony’s Foxcatcher on a Twitter account, created by a consultant working for WB. Warner Bros. has also fired the unidentified consultant. The Twitter account “WB Digital” tweeted on Friday about Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz, criticizing Foxcatcher director Bennett Miller over how Schultz was portrayed in the film. THR On Saturday, the account was suspended after Warner Bros., presuming it was an imposter account, asked Twitter to shut it down. “The account ‘WB Digital’ is not an official Warner Bros. Entertainment account and was an impostor account,” the studio said initially. However, after further researching the matter, the studio discovered it was created by an outside consultant doing promotional work for the studio. Deadline In a later statement, Warner Bros. clarified: “The retweet was posted as a general entertainment story, but posting anything that can be seen as a negative comment about one of our competitors is totally unacceptable and contrary to our operating policies.”

Get Ready: FCC Says It Will Vote on Net Neutrality in February (The Washington Post)
Federal regulators looking to place restrictions on Internet providers will introduce and vote on new proposed net neutrality rules in February, Federal Communications Commission officials said Friday. Deadline The result of the FCC vote could affect the prices consumers pay for access to entertainment and other online content. The concept of net neutrality is that everyone with an Internet connection should have equal access to all legal content online, with no services or sites getting special treatment. Cable broadband providers including Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Charter disagree, arguing that they should be allowed to create tiers of service that enable some content providers to pay extra for speedy transmissions.

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Woman Says ABC’s NY Med Aired Husband’s Death Without Consent (ProPublica)
A woman says ABC’s NY Med showed the death of her husband without her consent. TVNewser The woman, Anita Chanko, said she had not given consent to ABC or anyone to shoot or air her husband’s treatment (the scene was blurred, but Chanko argued her husband was identifiable). ABC, which produces NY Med through the news division, did not dispute Chanko’s claims, and argued in a court case filed by the family that the producers were protected by the First Amendment.

Reza Sayah Leaves CNN (TVNewser)
Cairo-based CNN correspondent Reza Sayah has left the network. Sayah, who has been with CNN since 2008, was named Cairo correspondent in November 2012. Before that, he covered South Asia, based in Islamabad. Sayah joined CNN from WXYZ-TV in Detroit. Born in Tehran, Sayah’s family left for the U.S. in 1979 during the Islamic Revolution.

ESPN No. 1 in Cable Ratings for 2014 (Variety)
ESPN was last year’s top dog in cable ratings, sweeping the key demo categories while also winning in total viewers — leap-frogging the likes of USA and Disney Channel, which traditionally battle for the top spot but slumped in 2014.

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Two Top Producers Depart GMA (TVNewser)
Good Morning America, the nation’s No. 1 morning show, is losing two top producers. Senior broadcast producer and newlywed Denise Rehrig is taking a leave of absence for a year. She’s spent the last eight years at GMA. Also departing: Rich McHugh, who has been with GMA for nine years. McHugh is joining NBC News, where he will be a producer in the investigations unit.

Warner Bros. International Hits Studio-Best Box Office in 2014 (Deadline)
Warner Bros. Pictures International had a record year in 2014, grossing $3.17 billion. The studio said Saturday that it beat its previous best of $3.14 billion in 2013 by 1 percent. The haul was led by Interstellar with $472 million, which became Christopher Nolan’s biggest film ever in more than 10 territories, including an eye-popping $74 million in South Korea.

Fox Was The Only Cable Network That Didn’t Broadcast NYPD Funeral (Mediaite)
Just like two weeks ago, Fox News was the only of the three major cable stations not to carry the funeral of a slain NYPD officer live. CNN and MSNBC both broke into regular programming to cover mayor Bill de Blasio and commissioner Bill Bratton’s eulogies for officer Wenjian Liu, and led up to the event with live commentary.

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Bezos Loses $7.4 Billion in 2014, Still Makes List of Top 20 Billionaires (Puget Sound Business Journal)
Amazon.com Inc. CEO Jeff Bezos lost $7.4 billion of his net worth in 2014 thanks to the poor performance of his company’s stock. FishbowlDC The loss is the company’s worst since 2008, however, Bezos remains on Bloomberg’s list of the top 20 billionaires with an estimated net worth of $28.6 billion.

PlayStation Network Offers Extension, Discount to Members Affected by Christmas Day Hack (THR)
PlayStation is offering a member-wide discount and an extension of its free trial to all Plus members who suffered from the hack that led to its online network being down over Christmas Day.

ISIS Captive John Cantlie Appears in New Propaganda Video From Mosul (Mashable)
A British photojournalist held captive by the Islamic State appeared in a new militant video on Saturday more than two years after he was kidnapped in Syria.

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