Morning Media Newsfeed: Tebow Joins GMA | EU Regulators Approve BSkyB Acquisitions

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Tim Tebow Joins Good Morning America as Contributor (TVNewser)
With football dominating much of the news this week, Good Morning America is adding another former NFL star to its roster. THR / The Live Feed Already ingrained in the Disney-ABC family as an ESPN analyst, Tim Tebow officially makes his debut on the current No. 1 morning talk show as the newest contributor on Sept. 15. HuffPost ABC News said that Tebow will help with the morning show’s “Motivate Me Monday” series, reporting from the studio and towns across the country on inspirational stories. The Sentinel Tebow’s first story will focus on 10-year-old Deven Jackson of Perry County, Pa. Two weeks ago, Jackson played in a midget football game, three years after losing both legs to a rare illness. Tebow spent the day with Jackson and his family at their home. Tebow also spoke to Jackson’s midget football team. The league is trying to raise $10,000 to purchase the proper equipment for Jackson. The Wire Tebow, 27, played college football at the University of Florida from 2007-2009, during which time he became the first underclassman to win the Heisman Trophy. Despite early success in the NFL with Denver Broncos, Tebow struggled in subsequent stints with the New York Jets and New England Patriots.

EU Regulators Clear BSkyB’s $9 Billion German, Italian Pay-TV Deals (Reuters)
European Union antitrust regulators approved on Thursday British broadcaster BSkyB’s planned $9 billion takeover of Rupert Murdoch’s pay-TV companies in Germany and Italy, which will make it the biggest pay-TV provider in Europe. WSJ In a statement published Thursday, the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, said that its investigation into the proposed acquisition showed that the scope of Sky Deutschland, Sky Italia and BSkyB is focused on the countries they operate in — or where the local language is spoken — and have no major overlaps which could harm competition. THR Murdoch’s Fox and BSkyB, in which the entertainment conglomerate owns a 39 percent stake, recently finalized the deal that would give the British company control over the two other firms.‎ Fox said it would receive approximately $9.3 billion in value from BSkyB in the planned deal, comprised of approximately $8.6 billion in cash and a further holding in National Geographic Channels International, which will raise Fox’s stake in that business to 73 percent. Variety Further hurdles remain: completion of the transaction remains conditional upon, amongst other things, approval of the independent shareholders of BSkyB and the receipt of relevant outstanding regulatory approvals, BSkyB said. The merged entity, which some observers are calling Sky Europe, will have 20 million pay TV subscribers in the U.K., Ireland, Italy, Germany and Austria. Potentially, Sky Europe will be able to reach up to 97 million households.

CBS Pulls Rihanna From Thursday Night Football Amid Ray Rice Scandal (HuffPost / AP)
The debut of CBS’ Thursday Night Football broadcast was revised because of controversy surrounding the video of Ray Rice knocking his then-fiancée unconscious, CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said. USA Today / For The Win The network cut an opening segment featuring Rihanna singing the Jay Z song “Run This Town” as well as a comedic segment that had been planned. Instead, it opened with James Brown introducing CBS News anchor Scott Pelley, who did a quick recap of Thursday’s news relating to the investigation into the NFL’s handling of Rice’s case. SI.com “It’s important to realize we are not overreacting to this story but it is as big a story as has faced the NFL,” McManus said Thursday afternoon. “We thought journalistically and from a tone standpoint, we needed to have the appropriate tone and coverage. A lot of the production elements we wanted in the show are being eliminated because of time or tone.” CBS Sports When asked how much pressure CBS Sports received from the league regarding its handling of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, McManus said, “zero.”

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Pres. Obama’s ISIS Speech Ratings: FNC No. 1 (TVNewser)
During President Obama’s speech Wednesday night, which lasted just shy of 15 minutes, Fox News beat CNN and MSNBC combined in total viewers and tied them combined in the adults 25-54 demo. Variety According to Nielsen estimates, the speech (9-9:15 p.m. ET) attracted 4.45 million viewers on Fox News — more than double both MSNBC (1.89 million) and CNN (1.83 million). And in the key news demo of adults 25-54, Fox News (994,000) drew as many viewers as CNN (633,000) and MSNBC (361,000) combined. Deadline Hollywood In the 9 p.m. hour, FNC’s Megyn Kelly-hosted coverage clocked in at 4.5 million total viewers and 1.04 million demo viewers, marking an all-time high for The Kelly File. Compared with the address on Syria exactly one year ago, FNC is the only cable news network up in both metrics.

Kate Lanphear Named Editor of Maxim (FishbowlNY)
Kate Lanphear — yes, a woman — has been named the new editor-in-chief of Maxim. Lanphear comes to the magazine from T: The New York Times Style Magazine, where she served as style director. Prior to her time at T, Lanphear served as Elle’s style director for four years. WWD / Memo Pad The move is a major shift by Maxim’s new owner, Sardar Biglari — the multimillionaire who made his fortune with the national Steak ‘n Shake restaurant chain — to make the magazine profitable. The struggling men’s monthly was purchased by Biglari, of Biglari Holdings, this past February but has continued to see a steady decline. WSJ Lanphear is Maxim’s second female top editor after Clare McHugh, who launched the magazine in April 1997, but left after eight months. Biglari’s company, Biglari Holdings Inc., reported $4.5 million in losses at Maxim in its fiscal third quarter, as the result of “certain expenses deemed necessary to begin transforming the brand.”

Verizon Targets Online TV Service Launch in 2015 (THR)
Verizon Communications chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam said Thursday that the telecom giant was planning to launch an online TV service “probably late in the first half of 2015.” Speaking about over-the-top, or broadband, video services in general, McAdam said they are “around the corner” after Sony on Wednesday unveiled a deal with Viacom’s networks for its planned service and Dish Network continues to sign up content for its planned service. Variety The service would combine broadcast networks and an a-la-carte collection of cable and digital media channels. According to McAdam, there’s been an attitude shift among cable programmers toward accepting a new over-the-top model for delivering pay TV. Verizon’s wireless TV bundle will include “the Big Four for sure” — a reference to ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC — which would be delivered via multicast technology over wireless, McAdam said. The rest of the lineup, McAdam said, would be delivered via unicast and could include “very targeted” digital content such as DreamWorks Animation’s AwesomenessTV. The service will be separate from the Verizon FiOS TV service, he emphasized. Deadline Hollywood McAdam says Verizon’s still talking to big content providers, including some that once feared a virtual pay TV system might jeopardize their ability to require cable and satellite subscribers to pay for channels they don’t watch. But he adds that the days of the pay TV bundle are numbered. “No one wants to have 300 channels on your wireless. Everyone understands it will go to a-la-carte. The question is what does that transition look like.”

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Chuck Todd Wins in Meet The Press Debut (TVNewser)
Audiences meeting Chuck Todd for the first time liked what they saw, as Meet the Press won in viewers and the adults 25-54 demo in Todd’s debut Sept. 7. Meet, which featured an exclusive interview with President Obama as well as a return of the press as a prominent part of the show, saw its first win in either category since February, besting No. 2 CBS’ Face The Nation by 219,000 viewers. This Week ranked third, Fox News Sunday fourth, and Univision’s Al Punto fifth. Variety This was the biggest total-viewer advantage for Meet The Press over both Face The Nation and This Week since February (during the network’s coverage of the Sochi Winter Olympics). Excluding the Olympics, this marked the NBC broadcast’s biggest advantage over ABC since April 2013 and biggest advantage over CBS since early September of last year.

Spin Media Lays Off 19, Kills Vibe Print Edition (Capital New York)
Spin Media Group eliminated 19 positions on Tuesday, CEO Stephen Blackwell said Thursday. Blackwell said that Tuesday’s “reduction in force” affected about 14 percent of the company’s 127 staff members — mostly in the video, photo and sales departments. Some of the layoffs, he added, were due to the decision to end the print edition of Vibe, which the company acquired last year. FishbowlNY On Monday, the company let go of Tom Morrissy, its chief revenue officer, after only five months. Blackwell said vibe.com will continue as a digital-only publication. Vibe was founded by Quincy Jones in 1993.

Time Announces 3 New Hires, 2 Promotions (FishbowlDC)
Time magazine managing editor Nancy Gibbs and digital managing editor Edward Felsenthal issued a memo to staff Thursday morning announcing three new hires and two promotions. Alice Gabriner returns to Time from National Geographic and she’ll serve as international photo editor. Prevention’s Mandy Oaklander joins the magazine as a writer and editor for its health team. And recent Yale grad Jack Linshi will serve as a breaking news reporter and homepage editor. FishbowlNY Lily Rothman has been promoted to archive editor. She most recently covered pop culture for the magazine and its website. Reno Ong has been promoted to audience engagement and homepage editor in Hong Kong. For the past two years Ong has served as a copy editor in Hong Kong.

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Fusion Chief Programming Officer Billy Kimball Stepping Down (TVNewser)
Executive changes at Fusion Thursday as Billy Kimball, with the network as chief programming officer since its launch, is stepping down. Replacing Kimball is Wade Beckett, who was most recently showrunner for ESPN’s SportsNation after six years as an executive at NBCUniversal’s G4 network.

New Comic to Anchor ‘Update’ on SNL (NYT)
The new season of Saturday Night Live will have a significant change in its cast and its most prominent segment, “Weekend Update.” Michael Che, a comic perhaps best known for his role as a correspondent on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, will replace Cecily Strong, who will remain on SNL as a regular cast member. After trying out what he said were “a number of different combinations” in the last few weeks, Lorne Michaels, the show’s creator and executive producer, said he had selected Che, 31, who worked on the show last season as a writer, to be the partner of Colin Jost, who began co-anchoring “Weekend Update” in the middle of last season.

Tom Brokaw Says His Cancer ‘Appears to Be Gone’ (THR)
Tom Brokaw revealed that the cancer he’s been fighting is almost under control. Appearing on NBC’s Today show Thursday morning as one of the week’s guest co-hosts, Brokaw said that his multiple myeloma, a cancer affecting blood cells in the bone marrow, “appears to be gone.” He cautioned, though, that the disease will not completely go away, but it can be managed. The veteran NBC News correspondent revealed in February that he’d been diagnosed with the disease.

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New York Times to Launch 12 New Monthly Best Sellers Lists (GalleyCat)
The New York Times team plans to implement several changes to the book review section over the next few months. Henceforth, The New York Times‘ Book Review will feature twelve new best sellers lists. These new monthly lists will cover the following genres: politics, business, travel, humor, family, relationships, animals, religion, spirituality and faith, celebrities, food and fitness, science, and sports. Other additional lists will be introduced in 2015.

U.K.’s Channel 4 to Launch Online Hub for Live, On-Demand Content (THR)
Britain’s Channel 4 will next year launch a single online destination for all its content, whether live streaming or on-demand, CEO David Abraham said Thursday at IBC in Amsterdam. The broadcaster’s new online hub, dubbed “All 4,” will “deliver the most advanced [response] to changing user behavior,” he said, highlighting his desire to adjust the company’s offerings to changing viewer behavior in the digital age, including the rising usage of tablets and smartphones.

Senator Questions FCC’s Review of Pay-Television Acquisitions (WSJ)
A U.S. senator has called into question how the Federal Communications Commission is reviewing the proposed acquisitions of pay-television companies Time Warner Cable by Comcast Corp. and DirecTV by AT&T. In a Wednesday letter to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, Sen. Dean Heller (R., Nev.) requested information regarding any confidential meetings the agency has had with media companies as part of its regulatory review of the deals. Sen. Heller is a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

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