Amazon Adds Former MTV CEO Judy McGrath to Board (Re/code)
As Amazon continues its push into becoming a big creator of online TV shows, it’s adding some serious media expertise to its board. The company said on Friday that it had elected longtime former MTV CEO Judy McGrath to its board of directors, effective Oct. 1. Deadline Hollywood As an incentive to stay, she received rights to 2,520 shares convertible at a rate of 840 a year over three years beginning August 2015. Variety Since June 2013, McGrath has been president of Astronauts Wanted: No Experience Necessary, a digital-content joint venture between McGrath and Sony Music Entertainment. She had run Viacom’s MTV Networks from July 2004 until May 2011, and had been part of the startup team that launched the music cabler in 1981. THR McGrath was also appointed to the Leadership Development And Compensation Committee at Amazon, according to a Friday SEC filing. On Friday, Amazon’s shares were trading at $308 each. Amazon launched a streaming music service called Prime Music earlier this year, and it said a week ago it will be spending $100 million on original content this quarter to beef up its Prime Instant Video Service, which competes with Netflix, Hulu and other streaming video services. Forbes The appointment makes McGrath the third woman out of 10 current directors to sit alongside CEO and chairman Jeff Bezos, joining Patricia Stonesifer, CEO of non-profit Martha’s Table, and Jamie Gorelick, former deputy U.S. Attorney General.
Today The Musical (TVNewser)
Kathie Lee Gifford revealed Friday that she has written a musical about the Today show. Today Following NBC’s Sound of Music last year and in anticipation for the network’s version of Peter Pan coming in December, Gifford wrote an 18-minute musical featuring all the Today anchors and crew. HuffPost The musical will be called Not Today And Tomorrow’s Not Looking Good Either and will air sometime this year, NBC News said. But that’s not all. Regis Philbin wasn’t just a guest co-host Friday. Yep, you guessed it — he will also be appearing in the musical. Variety Gifford wrote the words and music for Scandalous, a musical that opened on Broadway in November of 2012, but closed in early December of that year. She has also long burnished a musical career, releasing several albums.
With Apple-Beats Deal Complete, Ian Rogers to Run iTunes Radio (WSJ / Digits)
Now that Apple has officially swallowed Beats, Ian Rogers, the head of Beats’ subscription-music service, will also oversee the iPhone-maker’s iTunes Radio efforts, according to people familiar with the matter. HuffPost Apple announced the completion of the Beats deal in a blog post on its website Friday. The post came complete with a “Welcome to The Family” banner. CNET Apple provided no insight into what it has planned for Beats now that it owns the company. Apple announced that it had acquired Beats for $3 billion in May. While the company was interested in Beats’ core business of headphones, it also made clear that it was enticed to make the move by Beats Music, a streaming-music service that Apple is in some way planning to leverage for its own product lineup. Forbes Although Apple disclosed its intention to buy Beats in May, it still required approval from U.S. regulators and the European Union. The European Union approved of the deal last week and Vivendi, the France-based media and telecommunications company, issued a press release Friday saying that Apple purchased its stake in Beats for $404 million.
Bloomberg Names Leadership for Politics Vertical (TVNewser)
Bloomberg has announced two key appointments for its newly-created politics vertical: Tom Johnson has been named executive editor and Pat King has been appointed senior producer. FishbowlDC Johnson joins Bloomberg from ABC News, where he served as a senior broadcast producer for ABC World News With Diane Sawyer. King comes from The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, where he was a segment producer. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Johnson and King will also act as executive producer and senior producer for the daily politics show with Game Change authors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. The politics vertical is expected to launch in early October. Last week the company hired Joshua Topolsky, co-founder of the technology website The Verge, to develop and run Bloomberg’s new online sections, including Bloomberg Politics. Heilemann and Halperin were hired in May to head the new politics vertical.
As YouTube Gets Ready to Launch Spotify Competitor, A Top Exec Heads to Spotify (Re/code)
Here’s another change for YouTube’s management team, which has been in flux for much of the year: Shiva Rajaraman, the executive in charge of the video site’s consumer products, is headed to Spotify. Variety It’s not clear what role Rajaraman will have at Spotify will be. A rep for the music-streaming service declined to comment. The exit by Rajaraman is the latest shakeup in YouTube’s management ranks since Google appointed Susan Wojcicki CEO of YouTube in February. Most recently, Chris LaRosa, YouTube’s product manager for music who had been spearheading the subscription-music service, left the company last month to join a small startup. Earlier this summer, YouTube VP of product Shishir Mehrotra shifted into an advisory role at Google. TheWrap YouTube executives said at the time that LaRosa’s departure would not impact the launch of the service, which is scheduled for later this year. YouTube had previously planned to launch it last year, and integrate it with Google’s existing music service.
Cohn, Original CNBC Employee, Stepping Down From Full-Time Reporting (Talking Biz News)
A note was sent out by CNBC president Mark Hoffman and senior vice president Nik Deogun Friday announcing that CNBC reporter Scott Cohn will step down. TVNewser Cohn is leaving full-time work with the business channel and moving to Santa Cruz, Calif. where his wife will expand her business in the education field. Cohn will continue to contribute to the network. Cohn joined CNBC on March 20, 1989, a month before the network launched, as part of the original NY/NJ reporting team. In 1990, Cohn opened the Chicago Bureau, where he would stay for nine years, before returning to headquarters.
Weekend Morning Show Ratings: July Sweeps (TVNewser)
Good Morning America Saturday and CBS Sunday Morning were the winning weekend morning shows for the just-completed July sweeps period. On Saturdays, GMA won in both total viewers and the adult 25-54 demographic, winning its sixth consecutive sweep in total viewers and fifth consecutive sweep in the demo. Compared to the year-ago sweep, GMA was the only show to grow, up 2 percent in total viewers and 4 percent in the demo. The Saturday editions of CBS This Morning and NBC’s Today were down across the board. TVNewser For the week of July 21, ABC’s Nightline ranked No. 1 in total viewers, marking 14 out of the last 17 weeks the late-night news program has topped its broadcast competition. The program drew 1.539 million viewers, beating Late Night With Seth Meyers, by 76,000 viewers and The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson by 249,000 viewers. NBC’s Late Night is still tops in the 25-54 demo.
Former Self Editor Lucy Danziger Joins Penguin Random House (FishbowlNY)
Lucy Danziger, who served as Self’s editor-in-chief for more than a decade, is joining Penguin Random House’s Ballantine Bantam Dell division as an editor-at-large. Danziger was a casualty of Anna Wintour‘s desire to shake up Self. Danziger and Self’s publisher, Laura McEwen, were both bounced from the title in April. Wintour chose Joyce Chang to replace Danziger and Mary Murcko to succeed McEwen. FishbowlNY Friday, Chang and Murcko named Alex Postman deputy editor and Maureen Dempsey site director.
AOL Studios Chief Gabriel Lewis Exits, Nate Hayden Tapped to Run Originals (Variety)
AOL named Nate Hayden VP of originals and branded entertainment, following the departure of AOL Studios head Gabriel Lewis. Hayden now oversees AOL’s content creation and premium original programming. He had been creative director of AOL Studios since March 2013. Before joining the Internet-media company, he was VP of development at FremantleMedia North America, where he led cable development, and also has worked as a producer and director at Viacom’s MTV Networks and Mark Burnett Prods. THR Lewis, who became head of AOL Studios in January 2009 and head of AOL Originals in 2013, has been with AOL in some capacity since 2004. Along with Roy Sekoff, he helped create HuffPost Live, the streaming network from AOL-owned The Huffington Post, in 2012.
Jane Pauley Returns to Morning News (TVNewser)
Jane Pauley is returning to morning TV. The longtime Today show host will be filling in for Gayle King on CBS This Morning the week of Aug. 11. Pauley will also fill in for Charles Osgood on Sunday Morning on Aug. 10. Pauley signed on with CBS News as a contributor to Sunday Morning in April. She was co-anchor of the Today show for 13 years, from 1976-1989, and remained with NBC News for several years, anchoring Dateline and contributing to Today.
News Corp. Completes Harlequin Acquisition (GalleyCat)
News Corp has completed its acquisition of Harlequin Enterprises from Torstar Corporation. The romance imprint is now a part of HarperCollins Publishers, but will keep its headquarters in Toronto.
Hachette Revenues Up 5.6 Percent in First Half of 2014 (GalleyCat)
Hachette Book Group’s net revenues were up 5.6 percent in the first half of 2014, as compared to the first six months of 2013. The company attributed the growth to the integration of Hyperion, along with strong titles including The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling, The Goldfinch by Donna Tarrt and James Patterson’s Unlucky 13.
David Gregory Meets With CNN (New York Post / Page Six)
As rumors swirl that David Gregory could be replaced as host of Meet The Press, the embattled anchor may already be lining up his next move: He was seen meeting at CNN Thursday. Sources have said that Gregory’s days at Meet The Press are numbered, with ratings down, but that NBC would likely wait until after the midterm elections to make any change. But multiple sources told us that the former NBC White House correspondent was seen in CNN’s building Thursday afternoon, signaling he could be prepping a move himself.
Aereo Loses Bid for Emergency Court Ruling to Keep It From ‘Bleeding to Death’ (Deadline Hollywood)
U.S. District Court Judge Alison Nathan declined Friday to grant Aereo’s emergency motion to be defined as a kind of cable company — even after it said Thursday that it “will likely not survive” without a quick determination because it is “figuratively bleeding to death.” CEO Chet Kanojia warned that he’s spending about $1 million a month. Without help from the court, he said, the streaming service ”will not be able to generate additional revenue or additional investments.”
Jody Gerson Jumps From Sony/ATV to Universal, Becomes Highest Ranking Woman in Publishing (THR)
Jody Gerson will assume the reins of power at Universal Music Publishing Group beginning Jan. 1, when she joins that company as chairman/CEO. She replaces Zach Horowitz, who led the company for the past two years. His exit was revealed on July 31.