Al Gore Sues Al Jazeera Over $500 Million Current TV Deal (Bloomberg)
Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore has sued Al Jazeera, claiming the satellite news provider owned by the Qatari royal family owes him and a partner $65 million from a deal to buy his network, Current TV. TVNewser “Our outside counsel is reviewing the complaint,” an Al Jazeera spokesperson said. “We think it relates to a commercial dispute between former shareholders of Current Media and Al Jazeera America. We may have further comment once they’ve fully reviewed everything.” Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Gore and business partner Joel Hyatt, the co-founders of Current Media, say that Al Jazeera has unlawfully refused to turn over tens of millions of dollars currently located in an escrow account. That money is owed to Current Media shareholders per the terms of the $500-million merger agreement made in January 2013, the plaintiffs say. New York Post Gore, 66, was set to personally pocket an estimated $100 million on the sale of his 20 percent stake in the network, which he helped found in 2004. Mediaite In a statement, Gore’s lawyer said, “Al Jazeera America wants to give itself a discount on the purchase price that was agreed to nearly two years ago. We are asking the court to order Al Jazeera America to stop wrongfully withholding the escrow funds that belong to Current’s former shareholders.” It should be noted that last year, Gore himself was sued for the sale of Current TV.
Meet The Press Pays Tribute to David Gregory (TVNewser)
On Meet The Press Sunday morning, Andrea Mitchell said a few words about David Gregory, who moderated his final show last Sunday. “Meet The Press makes a lot of history — and a great deal of it was with David at the helm since he started in December 2008,” she said. Deadline Hollywood Gregory didn’t get to say, “So long,” to Meet The Press viewers — his bosses at NBC News gave him the heave-ho Thursday, effective immediately, after two decades at the division, because his Sunday Beltway show was not doing as well in the ratings as competitors at ABC and CBS. Minutes after Gregory tweeted that he was out, NBC News announced that he would be replaced by Chuck Todd in September. Mediaite On Sunday, Meet The Press ran a short tribute to Gregory, who was removed as host of the iconic show after a protracted process that drew industry-wide and bipartisan condemnation of NBC News. Meet The Press has been plagued in recent years by declining ratings and fierce vitriol against Gregory, who took over the show after legendary host Tim Russert passed away in 2008. TVNewser Before Chuck Todd takes the reins of Meet The Press Sept. 7, his soon-to-be competitors are welcoming him into the fray. In statements to TVNewser, George Stephanopoulos said, “Chuck’s been preparing for this his whole career. Great to have him in the Sunday morning mix.” Chris Wallace added, “I welcome Chuck to the Sunday morning wars. Enjoy the last few Saturday nights out you’ll have for a long time. I expect Chuck to be solid competition, which will only make the game more interesting.” Bob Schieffer said, “David and Chuck are both friends of mine so I wish both of them the very best.”
Ann Compton to Retire After 41 Years at ABC (Politico Playbook)
Ann Compton, who has covered seven presidents as a White House correspondent for ABC News, will retire this fall. She’ll do one final foreign trip with President Obama — the NATO summit in Wales — then leave the booth for good. Ann’s contract was up in July, and she told her bosses in March that she wouldn’t sign another one. TVNewser She will officially retire Sept. 10, 41 years to the day after she started at ABC News. FishbowlDC Disney/ABC Television Group co-president Ben Sherwood told Politico, “Our first reaction when she shared the news: ‘Say it ain’t so.’ Our next: ABC News has been blessed every single day since she first walked in the door in 1973. We love her, we thank her, we wish her the very best, and we know she’s going to have a blast with Dr. Hughes and her wonderful family. She will always have a home in our White House booth and ABC News.” HuffPost In 1974, Compton made her way into the White House and became the first female to cover the White House for a network news organization. “It’s just a good moment to go,” she told Politico. “It’s going to be a different business.” Fans and colleagues of Compton celebrated her career on Twitter Friday after news of her retirement broke.
20/20 Anchor Elizabeth Vargas Back in Rehab (New York Post / Page Six)
ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas has entered rehab again as she continues her battle against alcohol addiction. The 20/20 anchor has confirmed she entered a treatment facility on Saturday after realizing she needed further help to maintain her sobriety while on vacation in California. TVNewser “As so many other recovering alcoholics know, overcoming the disease can be a long and incredibly difficult process,” Vargas writes in a statement. “I feel I have let myself, my co-workers and most importantly my family down and for that I am ashamed and sorry.” “Nothing is more important than Elizabeth’s health and well-being,” ABC says in a statement. “We stand squarely behind her. Our thoughts are with Elizabeth and her family, and we look forward to having her back at ABC News when she feels ready to return.” THR Vargas had previously entered rehab in November 2013. She discussed her alcoholism in January on Good Morning America. “I am an alcoholic,” she said at the time, adding that it took her a while to admit this to her family. In March, she announced plans to write a memoir about dealing with the disease, to be published in spring 2016.
Craig Ferguson in Final Negotiations With Tribune for 7 P.M. Syndicated Talk Show (Variety)
Craig Ferguson is in final negotiations with Tribune Media to host a daily syndicated half-hour talk show that would air in the 7 p.m. hour across Tribune Broadcasting’s 42 stations. THR / The Live Feed That will alleviate a lot of similar competition for Ferguson, though the earlier start time is relatively untested waters for the format. It will also tape in Ferguson’s current studio at CBS’ Television City lot and be quite similar to his current series, with occasional guest interviews. Deadline Hollywood Ferguson is set to leave the Late Late Show in December. The host plans to take his robot skeleton Geoff Peterson sidekick with him — along with Josh Robert Thompson, who does the robot voice, and his longtime showrunner Michael Naidus. It’s expected that the new show will target a fall 2016 launch.
News Coalition Condemns Police Treatment of Journalists in Ferguson (HuffPost)
A large coalition of media and press freedom groups have written to police forces in Ferguson, Mo. to protest the harassment of journalists covering the events there. Reporters have been arrested, assaulted, teargassed and threatened repeatedly in the days following the shooting of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson. Poynter / MediaWire Forty-eight media organizations signed a letter to the Ferguson chief of police, the St. Louis County chief of police and the Missouri State Highway Patrol protesting police treatment of reporters in Ferguson. Several media organizations, including the National Press Photographers Association and Al Jazeera America, sent letters to Ferguson police on Wednesday. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media In Friday’s letter, the organizations — ranging from The Associated Press to Fox News to The New Yorker and the National Press Club — also ask for greater transparency regarding Brown’s death.
Anthony Bourdain, Vice Take Home Outstanding Informational Series Emmys (TVNewser)
In a rare occurrence, there were two winners for Outstanding Informational Series at Saturday night’s Creative Arts Emmy awards. CNN’s Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown was honored for the second straight year. And this year, Vice on HBO was also presented the award. Variety Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report won for writing for a variety series. Discovery’s Deadliest Catch hooked the Emmy for unstructured reality program; ABC’s Shark Tank won for structured reality program.
Facebook Testing ‘Satire’ Tags for Sites Like The Onion (Mashable)
Facebook is testing out a feature that marks fake news stories from sites such as The Onion with “satire” in its News Feed, a feature requested by some users, the social network confirmed. “We are running a small test which shows the text “[Satire]” in front of links to satirical articles in the related articles unit in News Feed. This is because we received feedback that people wanted a clearer way to distinguish satirical articles from others in these units,” a Facebook representative said. The tests have reportedly been going on for a month, and a variety of satirical sites are included in the program. VentureBeat The Washington Post fell for a prank story about Sarah Palin joining the Al Jazeera network. In one of the most embarrassing corrections in the newspaper’s history, it wrote “Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly reported that Sarah Palin planned to contribute to the Al Jazeera America news network.”
First New York, Now California: State Regulators Vow to Examine Comcast-TWC Merger (The Washington Post / The Switch)
Comcast’s campaign to win over Washington regulators continues apace. But even as the cable company lobbies at its hardest in the nation’s capital, regulators in other parts of the country are signaling that they’re going to take a hard look at the deal for themselves. The latest came Thursday when California’s public utility commission published a memo laying out questions for Comcast as part of a separate merger review, bringing the number of states looking critically at the merger up to two.
NBCNews.com’s Traffic Declines as MSN Referrals End (TVNewser)
The month of July marked the end of NBCNews.com’s referral traffic from MSN, with network executives expecting a sharp drop in traffic as a result. According to comScore, from January, which is right before NBCNews.com relaunched, through the end of July, the website’s unique visitors traffic is down 28 percent. In that timespan, it lost 12,222,000 visitors. Numbers were positive for Today.com, which also lost its MSN traffic referrals. From January through the end of July, the site was up 2 percent in unique visitors.
Thomas Claybaugh Named Publisher of Gannett Central New York Media (FishbowlNY)
Gannett has named Thomas Claybaugh the new president and publisher of Gannett Central New York Media, which includes the Press & Sun-Bulletin in Binghamton, the Star-Gazette in Elmira and The Ithaca Journal. Claybaugh most recently served as the general manager of the Delmarva Media Group, which publishes nine papers and their respective websites.
Vice to Introduce Gaming, Comedy, Photography Verticals (Capital New York)
Vice Media is approaching advertisers about sponsoring verticals covering video games, photography and comedy. The company’s 2014 media kit for advertisers includes a page listing all of the company’s current and forthcoming verticals. On the page, Vice News and Vice Food are listed as “launches February,” Vice Sports as “launches March,” and Vice Travel, Vice Gaming, +Capture and Vice Comedy as “coming soon.” The company has already launched news, food, sports and travel verticals this year, suggesting that the gaming, photography and comedy verticals could debut in the coming months.
Rich Eisen Talkin’ Football in New DirecTV Show (Deadline Hollywood)
The NFL Network’s main man has a new side job. Rich Eisen, poached from ESPN by the NFL Network to be its lead guy at launch in 2003, has signed to do a daily talk show on DirecTV’s Audience Network. The Rich Eisen Show will mix football analysis with pop culture and humor and interviews with big names in sports and entertainment. The show will air noon-3 p.m. ET as a leadout for The Dan Patrick Show. It also will be available digitally on NFL Now.
Bill Strickland Named EIC of Bicycling (FishbowlNY)
Rodale has named Bill Strickland editor-in-chief of Bicycling. Strickland has served as interim editor since Peter Flax left the magazine in April. This is Strickland’s second stint as editor of Bicycling; he served as its top editor from 1999 to 2003.
Premier League Warns About Posting Goal Videos Online (BBC / NewsBeat)
The Premier League has said it’s going to clamp down on fans posting unofficial videos of goals online. With the new Premier League season starting over the weekend, the trend was expected to continue. However, the Premier League has said that tweeting copyrighted material is illegal and is warning supporters not to do it. “It’s a breach of copyright and we would discourage fans from doing it; we’re developing technologies like gif crawlers, Vine crawlers [and] working with Twitter to look to curtail this kind of activity,” Dan Johnson, director of communications at the Premier League, said.