Amazon Halts Some Disney Movie Preorders (WSJ)
Amazon.com Inc. has halted preorders for some DVDs and Blu-ray discs from media giant Walt Disney Co., including popular titles such as Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in an apparent contract dispute. CNET However, preorders of digital versions on Amazon Instant Video are still available. The situation is reminiscent of an apparent dispute between Amazon and Warner Home Video in which preorders of discs for The Lego Movie, Transcendence, and 300: Rise of an Empire vanished from the site earlier this summer. Amazon hasn’t publicly commented on that situation, but it’s thought that the move is intended to apply pressure on Warner to gain greater margin on each sale. Time Amazon has been engaged in an increasingly acrimonious dispute with Hachette over eBook pricing, with Amazon restricting the sale of Hachette books until the two parties arrive at terms. More than 900 authors, including Malcolm Gladwell and Stephen King, have signed an open letter criticizing Amazon’s policies. Amazon hasn’t yet publicly commented on the apparent dispute with Disney. Variety Disney, on its U.S. homevideo site, is directing customers to Walmart and Best Buy for pre-orders of Maleficent and other upcoming releases. Muppets Most Wanted also is available for pre-order from Target. Deadline Hollywood Discussions will be continuing between Amazon and Disney throughout the week to try to resolve the pricing issue.
James Brady’s Death Was A Homicide, Medical Examiner Rules (NBC Washington)
The death of James Brady — President Ronald Reagan’s press secretary who was wounded in the attempt on Reagan’s life in March 1981 — was a homicide, a medical examiner ruled Friday. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media A Virginia medical examiner ruled that Brady was killed by injuries he suffered 33 years ago, meaning that John Hinckley Jr., the gunman who shot Brady, could now be charged with murder in federal court. Hinckley, 59, is currently in a mental ward at St. Elizabeths hospital in Washington. Mediaite Following the shooting, Brady remained unable to move the left side of his body and was confined to a wheelchair until he died last week at the age of 73. He dedicated his life to gun control reform, championing the Brady Bill of 1993 that required background checks for firearm purchases. NYT The U.S. attorney’s office said Friday that it was “reviewing the ruling on the death of Mr. Brady” and had no further comment. Hinckley was found not guilty in 1982 by reason of insanity on charges ranging from attempted assassination of the president to possession of an unlicensed pistol. The verdict was met with such outrage that many states and the federal government altered laws to make it harder to use the insanity defense.
Amazon Drags Authors, Readers, George Orwell Into Fight With Hachette (Re/code)
In an apparent pre-emptive strike, Amazon is appealing to readers and authors to take its side in an increasingly acrimonious pricing dispute with book publisher Hachette. Mashable In an open letter posted late Friday night, the Amazon Books team framed its ongoing dispute with Hachette as being about stopping the publisher from overcharging for books. Amazon then took the unusual step of revealing the email address of Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch, encouraging readers to share their complaints with him directly. NYT The freshest part of Amazon’s call to arms was the history lesson. It recounted how the book industry hated mass-market paperbacks when they were introduced in the 1930s, and said they would ruin the business when they really rejuvenated it. Unfortunately, to clinch its argument, it cited the wrong authority: “The famous author George Orwell came out publicly and said about the new paperback format, if ‘publishers had any sense, they would combine against them and suppress them.’ Yes, George Orwell was suggesting collusion.” This perceived slur on the memory of one of the 20th century’s most revered truth-tellers might prove to be one of Amazon’s biggest public relations blunders since it deleted copies of 1984 from readers’ Kindles in 2009. WSJ “Stop using [Hachette] authors as leverage and accept one of Amazon’s offers to take them out of the middle,” one of the talking points said. “eBooks can and should be less expensive,” Amazon said in the letter. GigaOM On Sunday, a letter denouncing Amazon’s tactics in the ongoing negotiations between it and book publisher Hachette ran as a paid, full-page advertisement in The New York Times. Signed by more than 900 authors, the “Authors United” letter called Amazon out for blocking sales of Hachette titles, singling out authors “for selective retaliation” and “inconveniencing and misleading its own customers with unfair pricing and delayed delivery.”
ESPN Suspends Max Kellerman for Inappropriate Conversation on Ravens RB Ray Rice, Domestic Violence (New York Daily News)
ESPN has suspended Max Kellerman for an inappropriate conversation on ESPN-LA Radio surrounding domestic abuse. Kellerman co-hosts a show on the station and is the co-anchor of ESPN TV’s SportsNation. He is also HBO Sports’ lead boxing analyst. Variety Kellerman explained that the incident in question happened years ago while the couple was at a college party and both had too much to drink. Kellerman said that while he was trying to get things under control, his girlfriend slapped him, and he slapped her back. The conversation was reportedly posted online as an ESPN podcast, but has since been removed. THR Kellerman is the third ESPN host to be suspended in the past two weeks and the second to be suspended for remarks related to domestic violence. Stephen A. Smith landed a week-long suspension on July 29 after making comments about NFL player Ray Rice’s suspension for assaulting his girlfriend. Earlier last week, Dan Le Batard received a two-day suspension for putting up a Miami billboard that mocks NBA star LeBron James.
Senate Panel Floats Plans for TV Overhaul (The Hill)
Leaders of the Senate Commerce Committee have a new plan to overhaul the way cable, satellite and broadcast companies negotiate to bring channels to people’s televisions. Variety Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) are proposing that subscribers to cable and satellite services be allowed to choose which broadcast channels they want to pay for as part of their multichannel package. Their proposal was met with immediate opposition on Friday from the broadcast lobby — and praise from groups representing pay-TV providers and smaller cable systems. B&C The goal is to end blackouts and the pitched battle between MVPDs and broadcasters over retrans, and is being discussed in relation to reauthorizing of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act, which the committee is preparing to take up in earnest next month. The proposal, which was being billed as “Local Choice,” would essentially end retrans negotiations between cable/satellite and broadcasters for local station carriage, with cable operators essentially acting as collecting agents for the TV station payments made by subs to broadcasters.
Judge Grants Preliminary Injunction to Lionsgate Over Expendables 3 Piracy (Variety)
Lionsgate was granted a preliminary injunction on Friday in its attempt to limit the scope of piracy of The Expendables 3 after a leaked high-quality copy of the film showed up on file-sharing sites. U.S. district judge Margaret Morrow last week issued a temporary restraining order barring six sites from linking or hosting copies of the movie. But she extended that to an injunction after none of them responded. Deadline Hollywood After getting that TRO, Lionsgate earlier the week asked the court for permission to make Google, GoDaddy and other domain-name and server companies provide them with the information on exactly who is running some of the sites that the leaked film was downloadable from.
Paula Faris Joins Good Morning America (TVNewser)
Saturday morning, Paula Faris debuted as the new Weekend Good Morning America co-anchor. Faris takes over for Bianna Golodryga, who is joining Yahoo! News. Dan Harris, Ron Claiborne and Sara Haines welcomed the former ABC News correspondent and World News Now co-anchor to the team. Deadline Hollywood GMA Weekend’s team additions also include Rob Marciano, who last month was named senior meteorologist, joining the weekend program and also reporting on weather throughout the week across all ABC News broadcasts. Marciano, who had been co-anchor at ET since 2013, is maybe better known for the decade he spent at CNN.
Life & Style Gains Photographer (FishbowlNY)
Mary Pat Thibodeau is leaving the New York Daily News to rejoin Life & Style as a photographer. New York Post / Media Ink Thibodeau said she had survived the cuts at the Daily News, which sources said hit nine others in the photo department, but decided to return to an employer closer to her New Jersey home. The cutbacks two weeks earlier claimed 24 people, including Pulitzer Prize winner Heidi Evans and photographer David Handschuh, who survived being buried in rubble while photographing the 9/11 terror attacks for the paper.
Savannah Guthrie Announces Maternity Leave (TVNewser)
Savannah Guthrie announced on the Today show Friday that Monday will be her last day before she goes off to deliver her first child. HuffPost Guthrie revealed her pregnancy — and her secret wedding to husband Mike Feldman — in March, and has been chronicling her experience for viewers. Today has not revealed who will fill in for Guthrie, though there has been plenty of speculation. Earlier this year, NBC News president Deborah Turness told The New York Times that the show would rely on the network’s own “homegrown talent with perhaps a few surprises mixed in.”
CBS Sunday Morning Looks to Continue Ratings Growth As Jane Pauley Fills in (TVNewser)
Jane Pauley took the reins of CBS Sunday Morning Sunday for the first time as host. The former Today show co-anchor filled for Charles Osgood, and she’ll also sit in for Gayle King on CBS This Morning all this week. Pauley, who spent 13 years at the Today show, signed on as a contributor for CBS News in April.
The Guardian Reveals First Book Award Long List (GalleyCat)
The £10,000 Guardian First Book Award recognizes the debut publication of a writer each year. The 2014 long list includes five fiction titles, five non-fiction titles, and a short story collection. The Guardian will announce the short list in late October, and the winner will be revealed in December.
Cozying Up to Overseas Markets, Lionsgate Moves International Sales Ops to London (Deadline Hollywood)
Lionsgate says making London its international sales hub is a reflection of the “increasing globalization” of its business. The company has relocated from Santa Monica, Calif. several key executives including Motion Picture Group EVPs of international sales Wendy Reeds and Crystal Bourbeau. It’s also making a series of local hires.
Viacom Demands Cablevision Loses Rights to MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central (THR / Hollywood, Esq.)
Viacom is ramping up its defense of an antitrust lawsuit brought by Cablevision by alleging the cable operator committed fraud in the parties’ last TV carriage deal. In counterclaims lodged in New York federal court, Viacom is now demanding that its contract with Cablevision be rescinded. The charge focuses on the agreement worked out between the two sides in December 2012. Viacom now says that Cablevision had a “secret plan” during those negotiations and wouldn’t reveal the secret lest “negotiations would have come to a screeching halt.”
Re/code Hires Bloomberg’s Edmund Lee (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
Re/code has hired Bloomberg media reporter Edmund Lee as its newest managing editor, Lee announced on Twitter Friday morning. Kenneth Li, the current managing editor, has been promoted to editor-in-chief. Lee, who’s been with Bloomberg for nearly three years, starts in September. He has previously written for The New York Times, W Magazine and Advertising Age.
Turkish Journalist Beaten, Arrested for Defamation (HuffPost / AP)
A Turkish journalist critical of the government has been arrested in Istanbul. Istanbul chief public prosecutor Hadi Salihoglu said Saturday that Mehmet Baransu, who writes for the Taraf newspaper, was arrested overnight for defamation and “indicating counterterrorism officials as targets.” Salihoglu said Baransu resisted arrest.