Morning Media Newsfeed: Big Changes at TNR | CBS, Dish Deadline Passes Without Blackout

By Christine Zosche Comment

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Big Changes at The New Republic (FishbowlNY)
In this, the New Republic’s 100th year, a new direction. FishbowlDC Franklin Foer, editor of TNR, sent out a staff email Thursday announcing his resignation from the magazine. Capital New York Literary editor Leon Wieseltier is also out. Gabriel Snyder, a former editor of The Atlantic Wire and most recently a digital adviser at Bloomberg, has been tapped to succeed Foer, TNR chief executive Guy Vidra wrote in an email to staff. Furthermore, the magazine will be reducing its frequency from 20 to 10 issues a year, moving from Washington D.C. to an office in New York City’s Union Square and “making some changes to staff structure,” Vidra added. HuffPost Speculation had run rampant that Foer might leave the magazine, which he returned to edit in 2012 following its sale to Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes. Some staffers fear that Hughes and chief executive Vidra are too focused on increasing Web traffic, and that such a strategy could pull the magazine away from its legacy of narrative journalism and criticism. In his memo to staff Thursday, Foer acknowledged the competing plans for the magazine’s future. “Chris and Guy have significant plans for this place,” he wrote. “And their plans and my own vision for TNR meaningfully diverge.” Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Hughes bought TNR in 2012 at the age of 28 with ambitions of restoring its esteemed place in Washington media. Instead, TNR failed to hire marquee names, struggled to attract advertisers and failed to gain a prominent place in the conversation.

CBS, Dish Network Deadline Passes Without Blackout, for Now (TVNewser)
A threatened 7 p.m. ET deadline passed Thursday night without CBS going dark for Dish Network subscribers, with the network releasing a statement that negotiations “progress into the night.” THR Dish and CBS have been engaged in contentious, sometimes public, negotiations, and CBS has now extended a deadline three times, allowing Dish rights to content from CBS-owned TV stations, the CBS Sports Network and Showtime, all of which might have been lost without Thursday’s last-minute extension. Variety CBS set two short-term extensions last month to prevent a blackout, but on Tuesday the Eye made it clear the stations would go dark if a deal was not reached. Deadline Dish customers still could lose access to CBS-owned outlets in 14 cities: Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Baltimore, Boston, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Sacramento. Also at risk are seven CW stations in Atlanta, Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Francisco and Seattle; three independents in Dallas, Los Angeles and New York; and two MyNetworkTV affiliates in Boston and Miami.

Nook Takes A Hit: Microsoft Pulls Out of Partnership, Division Sees 41.3 Percent Drop in Revenues (GalleyCat)
Barnes & Noble released its earnings report for its fiscal 2015 second quarter Thursday, and things don’t sound great for the company’s Nook business. The Nook division reported $64 million in revenue for the quarter, which marks a 41.3 percent decrease from the comparable quarter last year. This includes sales of digital content, devices and accessories. GigaOM Retail sales, including bookstores and, were $888 million, down 3.6 percent compared to last year — a decrease “primarily attributable to lower sales of Nook products, leading to a comparable store sales decline of 1.5 percent for the quarter, as well as store closures.” NYT When Microsoft invested $300 million in Barnes & Noble’s Nook division in 2012, it appeared that the last big brick-and-mortar bookstore chain had found its savior. The deal valued the Nook business at $1.7 billion — more than the market capitalization of Barnes & Noble at the time. The bookseller’s stock jumped on the news. Microsoft was to invest millions more in the Nook business. And Barnes & Noble would create e-reading content for Microsoft products. Mashable Barnes & Noble has agreed to buy back Microsoft’s stake in its Nook division. The move, announced in an SEC filing on Thursday, was framed as paving the way for a standalone Nook business. “Such termination will allow the company to continue its rationalization of the Nook Digital business and enhances Barnes & Noble’s operational and strategic flexibility,” Barnes & Noble said in a statement.

North Korea Denies Involvement in Cyber Attack on Sony Pictures (Voice of America)
North Korea has firmly denied charges that it is behind a massive cyber attack against Sony Pictures. A North Korean diplomat in New York said Wednesday his country has nothing to do with the cyber attack that crippled the Hollywood studio’s computer system last week. THR The apparent denial of responsibility for the hacking follows a recent comment from a North Korean U.N. mission spokesperson who did not directly deny the country’s involvement. “The hostile forces are relating everything to the DPRK (North Korea). I kindly advise you to just wait and see,” said this also anonymous official to the BBC News for a Dec. 2 story. WSJ The hack at Sony Pictures Entertainment revealed far more personal information than previously believed, including the Social Security numbers of more than 47,000 current and former employees along with Hollywood celebrities like Sylvester Stallone. An analysis of 33,000 Sony documents by data-security firm Identity Finder LLC found personal data, including salaries and home addresses, posted online for people who stopped working at Sony Pictures as far back as 2000 and one who started in 1955.

E!’s John Najarian Named EVP News, Jen Neal Adds Esquire Marketing Role (Deadline)
On the heels of Esquire president Adam Stotsky expanding his role to also oversee E! Entertainment as general manager, he has promoted two executives. E!’s head of digital John Najarian has been named EVP, news and digital for E!, taking on oversight of the network’s News division and E! News series, while continuing to lead E!’s digital and business development. He takes over the E! News duties of veteran Cyndi McClellan, president of network strategy and E! News, who recently left the network. Variety Jen Neal was named executive vice president of marketing for E! Entertainment and Esquire Network, adding oversight of brand strategy and all marketing activity for Esquire Network to her existing responsibilities as head of E! marketing. She will continue her leadership role at E! as EVP, marketing for the multiplatform pop culture brand. THR / The Live Feed After stints at AOL and Disney, Najarian joined E! in 2001 and has been integral to the network’s digital growth and business development, including its position in mobile and social media, its licensing of digital video, and the development of original digital productions. Before joining the network in 2012, Neal served as chief marketing officer for BBDO North America.

Fox 21, Fox TV Studios Merge; Bert Salke to Lead (THR / The Live Feed)
Bert Salke’s ascent continues at Twentieth Century Fox Television. As many had predicted when Fox TV Group chairmen/CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman tapped former Fox TV Studios chief David Madden to join them at the broadcast network this past summer, a decision has been made to combine Fox TV Studios with Salke’s Fox 21. In doing so, Salke has been tapped to lead the combined cable studio, newly titled Fox 21 Television Studios. Deadline The new studio will have a portfolio of 20 cable series and pilots — 10 coming from each side. With Fox TV Studios and Fox 21’s business increasingly overlapping, the idea of merging the units had come up from time to time over the past few years. Variety At present, FTVS has 49 staffers; Fox 21 has 19. The combination of the two is not expected to yield any pinkslips in part because Fox 21 had relied on 20th TV for administrative and back-office support, so there aren’t many redundancies.

TheStreet Investors Calling for Jim Cramer to Quit CNBC (TVNewser)
Jim Cramer wears many hats: investor, cable news host, website founder. Now, some of his own investors are saying that’s one hat too many. Cramer hosts CNBC’s Mad Money, and is also the founder of investment and financial news site, which is under-performing. Shares of TheStreet are down 85 percent from a Dec. 2007 high (and down 4 percent Thursday alone). TheWrap One of TheStreet’s prominent investors, J. Carlo Cannell, gave an ultimatum to Cramer: give up his CNBC hosting gig or sell Cannell says Cramer’s responsibilities for CNBC preclude him from being an active leader with his website.

Terror Group Says it Will Kill British-American Journalist (Poynter / MediaWire)
British-American photojournalist Luke Somers appeared in a video by an Al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen. NYT Seething over an attempt last month by U.S. commandos to free Somers, Al Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate has threatened to kill him by the end of the week and warned the Obama administration against further “foolish action,” according to a video posted on YouTube. Somers has been missing since September 2013, when he was snatched off a street in Sana, the Yemeni capital.

HLN Holds All-Staff Meeting, Zucker Says Network ‘Not for Sale’ (TVNewser)
HLN held an all-staff meeting Wednesday in Atlanta where the future of the network — once on the verge of being shuttered — was discussed. HLN general manager Albie Hecht led the meeting at the W Hotel in Atlanta with CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker also on hand. HLN economy and business reporter Jennifer Westhoven tweeted one of the headlines of the meeting: “‘HLN is not for sale’ — Jeff Zucker.” The tweet was in response to a discussion of this summer’s negotiations — now dead — that would have turned HLN into the Vice channel. Earlier this week Vice founder Shane Smith called HLN “a distressed media asset.”

The Top Cable News Shows in November (TVNewser)
Fox News had the top 14 programs in total viewers and 12 of the top 15 programs in the key adults 25-54 demographic in November 2014. Delivering its best month of 2014, The O’Reilly Factor was the No. 1 program in cable news in total viewers, averaging 3,019,000 total viewers and second in the demo with 521,000 viewers.

Simon & Schuster Reorganizes Digital, Marketing Departments (GalleyCat)
Simon & Schuster is combining its digital department with its corporate marketing department in order to tap the full potential of its digital tools, the company reported Thursday. Liz Perl has been promoted to executive vice president, CMO, and will lead this newly formed group. At the same time Ellie Hirschhorn, the publisher’s current executive vice president, CDO, is leaving the company.

Mr. Colbert Comes to Washington (FishbowlDC)
Brace yourselves, GW students: Stephen Colbert will be returning to Lisner Auditorium on Monday, Dec. 8 for one of the final tapings of The Colbert Report. Lisner has hosted the satirist in the past, when he discussed his book I Am America (And So Can You!) with NBC’s Tim Russert, back in 2007.

Fusion Hires Four More, Including Editorial Director (Capital New York)
Fusion has hired four new staffers, including two senior editorial staffers from NBC News, according to an internal hiring note. The millennial-focused cable channel and digital media outlet has hired Hillary Frey, currently editorial director for, to serve as its new director of global news operations.

Australia’s Ten Network Confirms Takeover Bids (Variety)
Struggling Australian free-to-air broadcaster Ten Network said that it had received a number of definite offers for the company. Ten is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and is currently controlled by Lachlan Murdoch, James Packer and Gina Rinehart, a mining industry billionaire, as well as Bruce Gordon, who owns the WIN network. The proposals could result in a change of control at Ten or a refinancing of its existing debt facilities.

Sky to Sell Controlling Stake in Betting Unit for Up to $1.13 Billion (THR)
European pay TV giant Sky has agreed to sell a controlling stake in its betting unit Sky Bet for up to $1.13 billion in a deal that values the unit at $1.26 billion.

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