Lara Spencer Named Co-Host of Good Morning America (TVNewser)
Lara Spencer has been promoted to co-host of Good Morning America, joining George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts, ABC News president James Goldston announced Friday. FishbowlDC Goldston sent a memo to staff with the announcement, highlighting Spencer’s “style, humor, sunny confidence, wonderful journalism and storytelling” and the two-year anniversary of GMA breaking “Today’s 852-week winning streak.” Mediaite Spencer rejoined ABC News three years ago as the lifestyle anchor on GMA after an extended stint in syndication and on CBS’ Early Show. Variety The move comes as GMA has been in the midst of change, with two members of the on-air staff that helped the show pass NBC’s Today in both total viewers as well as those between 25 and 54, the demo most coveted by advertisers, departed. Spencer is also now a veteran presence on the program, which has two new faces after the departures of meteorologist Sam Champion and news anchor Josh Elliott. ABC recently enlisted Michael Strahan, the former football player who has added new momentum to the company’s syndicated morning Live With Kelly And Michael, to take part in occasional GMA segments. The Associated Press The other current members of the GMA family are Amy Robach and Ginger Zee. Spencer was the show’s national correspondent from 1999 to 2004. Then, for seven years, she was a host of The Insider.
Discovery Cancels Everest Live Special After Avalanche (Capital New York)
Discovery Channel has canceled its planned Everest Jump Live special, which was slated to air in early May, after an avalanche on Friday killed 13 sherpas preparing the mountain for the season. Deadline Hollywood Friday morning NBC News, whose Peacock Productions was producing Discovery’s Mt. Everest live jump, had said “the future of the production will be assessed at the appropriate time” after the avalanche occurred Thursday night. Saturday, the project’s star, climber Joby Ogwyn, tweeted that the project would continue, but Discovery and other participants decided otherwise and the decision to pull the plug was made Sunday morning. TVNewser NBC News had a crew in place at a Mt. Everest base camp when the avalanche struck. Entertainment Weekly / Inside TV Everest Jump Live was set to air on May 11, chronicling Ogwyn’s planned leap off the top of Mt. Everest and gliding down in a wingsuit. The network also planned a five-night late-night talk show dedicated to promoting and discussing the special. Friday’s avalanche has been dubbed the single deadliest incident in Everest climbing history.
French Journalists Kidnapped in Syria Freed (Al Jazeera)
Four French journalists kidnapped in Syria last June by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group (ISIL) have been found by Turkish soldiers on the border with Syria with their hands and eyes bound. An unknown group brought the journalists to the border. CNN Edouard Elias, Didier François, Nicolas Henin and Pierre Torres are in good health despite the tough conditions they endured during their captivity, the Elysee Palace said in a statement. The four men had been held since June last year. NYT Two of the journalists, François and Elias, were working for Europe 1, a television channel. Henin was a freelance writer who had worked extensively for Le Point, a weekly magazine, as well as numerous other French-language news outlets, and Torres was a freelance photographer, according to several French news outlets. Reuters François and Elias were abducted in early June en route to Aleppo. Henin and Torres were captured later in June, but France did not announce their kidnapping until October. Syria is the most dangerous place in the world for journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Last month, two Spanish journalists were freed after being held hostage in Syria since September by the ISIL rebel group.
Veteran Fox TV Executive Fired Over Fundraising Campaign for Relatives of Missing Malaysia Plane Passengers (Deadline Hollywood)
Fox Cable Networks Group VP standards and practices Darlene Lieblich Tipton has been fired for using her company email address to organize a fundraising campaign to benefit relatives of passengers on Malaysia Airlines flight 370, which went missing last month. HuffPost / AP Tipton said Saturday she had wanted to arrange swift financial aid to families and other loved ones, sparing them lengthy court fights. She said she began by emailing Sarah Bajc, an American whose boyfriend, Philip Wood, was a passenger on Malaysia Airlines flight 370 and who has made frequent TV appearances since the plane’s March 8 disappearance. Fox spokesman Scott Grogin said Tipton’s “conduct and communications” violated company policy. Variety Tipton had been with Fox for at least a dozen years. In 2005, Tipton ran unsuccessfully for the post of second vice chair of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ executive committee.
Hillary Clinton’s Book Will Be Called Hard Choices (HuffPost / AP)
Hillary Rodham Clinton’s upcoming book will be called Hard Choices, a title that reflects how the potential 2016 presidential candidate may try to define her record as President Barack Obama’s secretary of state while she considers another White House campaign. Time Simon & Schuster unveiled a cover image of the new book Friday, describing it as an “inside account of the crises, choices and challenges she faced during her four years as America’s 67th Secretary of State, and how those experiences drive her view of the future.” The book is set for its release on June 10, and the subsequent book tour will be closely watched for clues about whether Clinton will mount another presidential run. Politico “All of us face hard choices in our lives,” Clinton writes, according to the book’s website. “Life is about making these choices, and how we handle them shapes the people we become.”
U.S. Government to Argue Against Aereo in Supreme Court Tuesday (THR / Hollywood, Esq.)
The Supreme Court has granted the U.S. government’s motion to argue against Aereo in Tuesday’s oral argument, the Court’s docket revealed. The government’s participation is likely to be highly influential, experts say. It’s expected that the government will have 10 minutes to argue, leaving the broadcasters with 20 minutes and Aereo with a half-hour. Deadline Hollywood The granting of the motion comes more than a month and a half after the federal government’s top legal office filed a brief supporting the broadcasters in their showdown with the Barry Diller-backed streaming service. NYT It will be up to the Court to decide whether the service is a consumer-friendly reskinning of the broadcast universe or just one more example of an Internet pirate trying to loot copyrighted content. A lot of people will be watching to see how the case plays out, less because of what it means for Aereo specifically than what it portends for the broader media ecosystem. A decision is expected this summer.
FCC Unveils Roadmap for Auctioning Broadcast Spectrum (Variety)
The FCC unveiled rules on Friday that will guide its upcoming auction of broadcast airwaves for wireless use, a complex plan that nevertheless promises to remake the channel lineup. The details for an incentive auction are a key part of FCC chairman Tom Wheeler’s efforts to get enough stations to participate. Success of the auction depends on enough channels voluntarily deciding to give up their spectrum and, if they choose, go dark, share with another station or move to the VHF band. Deadline New York The process being circulated by Wheeler includes a reverse auction, where station owners would indicate how much cash they want for their spectrum and can drop out if the bidding is too low. There’s also a forward auction, where wireless companies would raise their offers in successive rounds. When it’s all done, the FCC will repack the spectrum — making usage efficient by assigning new channels to the broadcasters who stay on the air.
Newspaper Industry Narrowed Revenue Loss in 2013 as Paywall Plans Increased (Poynter)
The newspaper industry narrowed its total revenue loss in 2013 to 2.6 percent, the best performance since 2006, according to figures released Friday by the Newspaper Association of America. As suggested by earlier year-end reports from public companies, daily and Sunday print advertising revenues were down 8.6 percent and total advertising revenues down 6.5 percent. HuffPost / AP Circulation revenue rose 3.7 percent to $10.9 billion, the second straight year of growth. Revenue from businesses other than advertising and circulation rose 5 percent to $3.15 billion.
Frozen Is Highest Animated Int’l Grosser of All Time as Disney Reaches $1 Billion in Record Pace (Deadline Hollywood)
Based on the phenomenal grosses from Frozen and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Disney now can boast that it crossed $1B internationally in record time. Frozen has just become the worldwide leader as the highest-grossing animated film of all time in international markets. Variety Frozen has grossed $729.3 million, surpassing Ice Age: Continental Drift (with $715 million in 2012). Frozen has defied expectations in nearly every market: For instance, in Japan, where anime usually reigns supreme, the film has amassed an outstanding $104.1 million locally, making that territory the film’s largest contributor outside the U.S.
The Clintons’ ‘Conspiracy Commerce’ Memo Released (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
The famous Clinton White House document known as “the conspiracy commerce memo” finally surfaced Friday as part of the latest trove of documents released by the Clinton Presidential Library. The memo, which details how right-wing conspiracy theories made their way into the mainstream press, was written in 1995 and first acknowledged by the White House in 1997. The idea of a “conspiracy” was also famously referred to by Hillary Clinton in 1998, when she cited a “vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he ran for president.” Examples include White House deputy counsel Vince Foster’s suicide and the sexual accusations against the president made by Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones and Sally Perdue. A detailed timeline in the memo aims to connect Floyd Brown, co-founder of Citizens United, to curiously timed editorials in The Wall Street Journal.
Pat Shevlin Leaving CBS Evening News for 60 Minutes (TVNewser)
Patricia Shevlin produced her final CBS Evening News Friday and she’s moving across the street, to CBS’ 60 Minutes. Following the broadcast, Shevlin tweeted, “I’m looking forward to spending more time working w/ @ScottPelley on the greatest news program of our time.” Shevlin joined Evening News in May 2011 from the weekend edition of the program, where she had been EP since 2000. Shevlin has been with CBS News since 1973.
British Pathé Uploads Entire 85,000-Film Archive to YouTube in HD (Variety)
British Pathé, the U.K. newsreel archive company, has uploaded its entire 100-year collection of 85,000 historic films in high resolution to YouTube. The collection, which spans 1896 to 1976, comprises some 3,500 hours of historical footage of major events, notable figures, fashion, travel, sports and culture. It includes extensive film from both World War I and World War II. Personalities captured in the newsreels include Princess Diana, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Fidel Castro, John Lennon, Salvador Dali, Mother Teresa, Muhammad Ali and Charlie Chaplin.
Samsung, Amazon Team on New eBook Club (GalleyCat)
Samsung has partnered with Amazon on a new Kindle app for its line of Galaxy devices. Like other Kindle apps, Kindle for Samsung allows users to purchase and read eBooks and periodicals from Amazon. In addition, the two companies have launched a free book service called Samsung Book Deals, which is only accessible through the app. Samsung customers that download the app can choose one free eBook a month from Amazon for a year with their Samsung account.
Starting in June, Today Will Simulcast on SiriusXM (NYT)
NBC and SiriusXM will announce on Monday a deal to begin simulcasts of NBC’s franchise morning news show on the satellite radio service, beginning June 26. Viewers of Today will have the opportunity to become listeners in a move clearly intended to reach commuters in cars on the way to work. It is not the first time a morning show has tried to expand to radio: ABC’s Good Morning America had a brief run on XM radio before XM merged with Sirius.
Former CBS News President David Burke Dies (TVNewser)
Former CBS News president David W. Burke has died at the age of 78. Burke served as CBS News chief from 1988-1990, overseeing the network’s coverage of the Tiananmen Square protests, Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and the First Gulf War. Before CBS, Burke served as executive vice president at ABC News, where he helped lift the network to first place in the ratings while also building Peter Jennings into a major figure.
What’s on your reading list for this weekend?
GLHancock Cruising thru Garcia’s 100 YEARS OF SOLITUDE for the 1st time. Dense. Complicated. Interesting.
LHWH The Martian by Andy Weir
AndyMedici The labels of the various liquor bottles at my local store