Oprah Considering Los Angeles Clippers Bid (ESPN)
Oprah Winfrey, David Geffen and Larry Ellison will join together in a bid to buy the Los Angeles Clippers if the NBA’s board of governors votes to force Donald Sterling to sell the team, Geffen said Wednesday. FishbowlNY Others interested in buying the Clippers include Diddy (he even created his own hashtag #DiddyBuyTheClippers) and Floyd Mayweather. THR The OWN Network founder would pair with music mogul Geffen and Oracle co-founder Ellison in an investor role. On Tuesday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver pledged to force the sale of the Clippers after audio recordings of racist remarks made by owner Donald Sterling surfaced on TMZ days earlier. Sterling, who has owned the Clippers franchise since 1981, faces a ban from attending all NBA games as well as making any business decisions for the team. LA Times / Sports Now Winfrey, in reference to Sterling’s comments, told TMZ on Tuesday that “the plantation days are over.” She also denied having interest in purchasing the team on her own. However, Winfrey’s spokesperson, Nicole Nichols, issued a statement Wednesday confirming that she’s in talks about becoming an investor. Reuters The advisory finance committee of the NBA’s governing board scheduled a meeting for Thursday to review the next steps for forcing a sale of the Clippers, as urged on Tuesday by NBA commissioner Adam Silver, a league spokeswoman said. Sterling, who bought the Clippers in 1981 for $13 million when the team was based in San Diego, has not indicated whether he would relinquish ownership without a fight. Experts have estimated that the franchise, which moved to Los Angeles in 1984, could now be worth as much as $800 million.
Richard Desmond to Announce Sale of Channel 5 to U.S. Broadcaster Viacom (The Guardian)
Richard Desmond has sold the U.K.’s Channel 5 to Viacom, the U.S. broadcaster that owns MTV, for £450 million. WSJ Viacom will buy all of the British broadcaster’s brands and assets from Northern & Shell Media Group — which is owned by Desmond — and the acquisition is expected to immediately add to earnings, the company said. The disclosure was made as Viacom also posted higher earnings and revenue for the first three months of the year. Bloomberg Channel 5, which airs shows including Britain’s Crime Capitals and Celebrity Big Brother, will further Viacom’s international expansion with an English-speaking outlet for its U.S. television programming. Desmond initially sought more than £700 million for the station. He also considered an initial public offering instead of selling, people familiar with the plan said. Variety Viacom is the first American group to control a free-to-air broadcaster in the U.K. It already operates 20 pay TV channels in the territory, including MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central. Reuters The sale had reportedly drawn interest from more than 20 potential buyers, including Discovery Communications, Scripps Networks and British Sky Broadcasting Group.
Time Warner’s Profit Rises on Strength in Film Unit (NYT)
Time Warner reported on Wednesday that its first-quarter profit increased 71 percent, thanks largely to the successes of the Warner Bros. studio and Home Box Office. Variety Time Warner said the performance of two movies — The Lego Movie and 300: Rise of An Empire — helped the company increase its profit, while revenue increased at its three major divisions, the Warner Brothers studio, the Turner programming unit and HBO. WSJ Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said Wednesday that the company’s big TNT cable channel hadn’t taken “enough creative risk with its programming” in recent years and as a result had “lost ground with younger viewers,” an issue he said was now being addressed. The performance of Turner is vital for Time Warner, accounting for nearly half the company’s profit, in the wake of spinoffs of various businesses including Time Warner Cable, AOL and the pending divestiture of Time Inc. Bewkes’ comments are a rare acknowledgment of ratings challenges faced by some Turner networks. TNT’s prime-time viewership among adults 18 to 49 — an audience that advertisers pay a premium to reach — fell about 9 percent in the 12 months ending March 30. THR Bewkes said changes at the networks have been put in place, but will take time. Bewkes expects to grow Time Warner’s adjusted operating earnings at least in the low to mid teen percentage range for at least the next three or four years. He also predicted that the box-office success of The Lego Movie could create an “evergreen” film franchise.
Hulu Boasts 6 Million Subscribers, Highlights Original Shows (Mashable)
Hulu now has 6 million subscribers on its premium service, Hulu Plus, up from 4 million paying users at this time last year. The company touted the figure and its new and returning shows at its upfront presentation to advertisers and media in New York City on Wednesday. Deadline New York While Hulu’s 6 million subscribers is still far behind Netflix’s 35.7 million domestic online customers, Hulu’s forte is ad sales, and the company offered some impressive stats to buyers Wednesday: Desktop viewers spend about 50 minutes per session with Hulu, longer than any rival ad-supported premium video site in comScore’s top 100. It also will offer three new ad “experiences.” Variety Hulu is also in negotiations with U.S. pay TV operators to get a perch on set-top boxes, CEO Mike Hopkins disclosed. The disclosure comes on the heels of rival Netflix’s announcement last week that the service would be available on TiVo set-tops on three small MSOs. Netflix is already available on several overseas cable operators. Hulu has already renewed its entire slate of originals last year, including The Awesomes, Moone Boy, East Los High, Behind The Mask and Deadbeat. GigaOM Hulu will also begin streaming ad-supported TV shows to mobile devices for free this summer. Previously, Hulu’s free service was only accessible through the desktop, although subscribers to Hulu Plus were able to stream TV on mobile.
The Onion to Launch BuzzFeed, Upworthy Parody Site (FishbowlNY)
BuzzFeed and Upworthy have built their Web empires on the time-tested premise that most people are stupid and therefore will enjoy reading stupid content. The Onion has picked up on that similarity, and decided to take on both with the launch of the appropriately named ClickHole.com. 10,000 Words The new site will launch in June. Don’t worry if you can’t wait that long: There’s already a fun infographic-esque tutorial up on the home page where you can practice your clicking skills. Mediaite The site will include features such as “Which pizza should I have for dinner tonight? (presented by Pizza Hut)” and “What this adorable little girl says will melt your heart.” Another previewed item, a photo slideshow with no words titled “Six kinds of hay,” has precedent in meta gems like last year’s “40 Numbers Under 40” and “51 Blank Slides.”
FCC Chairman on Net Neutrality: All Options Are on The Table (GigaOM)
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler once again defended his commission’s proposed new net neutrality rules during a keynote given at the Cable Show in Los Angeles Wednesday, warning ISPs that they shouldn’t take this as an encouragement to introduce slow lanes. Mashable As the FCC prepares to rewrite regulations that will have a major impact on net neutrality, Wheeler has been on the warpath, seeking to allay fears that his proposed rules would open a Pandora’s box and ruin the openness of the Internet. “Put away the party hats,” he said, directing his comments at groups that opposed net neutrality, including broadband providers. “Let me be clear. If someone acts to divide the Internet between ‘haves’ and ‘have nots,’ we will use every power at our disposal to stop it,” Wheeler said. NYT Since taking over as the chief of the regulatory agency on Nov. 4, Wheeler has spoken frequently about the need to promote competition in Internet services and among the companies that provide online content. The tougher stand appears to be an effort by Wheeler to strike back at his critics, and it comes as the FCC faces vigorous criticism and lobbying over net neutrality and the effect that a merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable would have on competition in the market for cable television and home broadband.
Tess Gerritsen Sues Warner Bros. Over Gravity (THR / Hollywood, Esq.)
Best-selling author Tess Gerritsen is suing Warner Bros. with the allegation that its blockbuster film, Gravity, is derived from her 1999 book by the same name. Variety She claims she should receive screen credit and a percentage of the profits. Like the movie, Gerritsen’s novel features a female medical doctor/astronaut who is stranded alone on a space station after the rest of the crew is killed in a series of disasters. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Tuesday, does not claim copyright infringement, the typical route for idea-theft cases, but breach of contract. The suit seeks damages of at least $10 million, which would include a percentage of net proceeds. Deadline Hollywood In Tuesday’s filing in federal court, Gerritsen, upon whose books TNT’s flagship drama series Rizzoli & Isles is based, never provided a true smoking gun as to how her novel ended up as a 2013 movie with a similar main character with seemingly nothing to do with her. The hugely successful writer did claim in her court filing that recently she was “informed and believes, and on that basis alleges, that writer/director Alfonso Cuaron was attached to the Gerritsen Gravity Project and worked on developing the book into a picture.”
Cox, Univision, ESPN Add Members to Associated Press’ Board of Directors (HuffPost / AP)
The Associated Press has added three members to its board of directors. The new directors, announced at the news cooperative’s annual meeting Wednesday, are Bill Hoffman, president of Cox Media Group; Isaac Lee, president of news for Univision Communications Inc. and CEO of Fusion; and Rob King, senior vice president of SportsCenter and News for ESPN. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Jon Rust, the publisher of the Southeast Missourian and co-president of Rust Communications, was re-elected to the 21-member board.
April 2014 Ratings: Fox News Marks 148 Straight Months at No. 1 (TVNewser)
Fox News finished its 148th consecutive month as the top-rated cable news network. FNC’s hold on total viewers remains particularly strong, with the network beating CNN and MSNBC combined in every hour. For April 2014, CNN rose to No. 2 in total day viewers, and placed second in the total day and primetime demo category for the second consecutive month. The network remained in third place in primetime total viewers behind MSNBC.
Facebook’s Ad Network Promises to Make App Partners Rich (Adweek)
At Facebook’s F8 developers conference Wednesday, Mark Zuckerberg and his team showed off the highly anticipated mobile ad network that will be key for the social network’s financial goals, and will allow app partners to show very well-targeted ads. Facebook is now generating 60 percent of its ad revenue from mobile, a market it grew from nothing just two years ago. Re/code Dubbed the Facebook Audience Network, it will allow developers to run ads on their apps, sold by Facebook, using Facebook’s data for better targeting.
NBCU Names Vasant Prabhu New CFO (Deadline Hollywood)
NBCUniversal has named Vasant Prabhu its chief financial officer. Prabhu will be a member of the executive committee and report to NBCU’s CEO Steve Burke when he joins the company on June 1. In addition to serving as CFO, Prabhu will oversee operations and technical services, which includes NBCUniversal’s technical operations, physical plant, corporate services and information technology functions. TVNewser Prabhu joins NBCU from Starwood Hotels & Resorts where he was CFO and vice chairman.
DreamWorks to Put Short-Form Content on YouTube (WSJ)
This summer, DreamWorks plans to advance its latest effort to expand the scope of its business, this time to YouTube, with short-form content created for its DreamWorksTV channel. The new content effort will be run by Brian Robbins, creator of AwesomenessTV, a Web video company that DreamWorks acquired last year, and signals increased collaboration between the two firms. The channel on Google’s YouTube site will include DreamWorks characters like Puss in Boots from Shrek in daily pieces that Robbins characterized as short and reminiscent of video blog entries.
Documentary Sheds Light on How D.C.’s ‘Nerd Prom’ Became A Celebrity Swarm (Variety)
Journalist Patrick Gavin has covered the White House Correspondents Assn. dinner for nearly a decade, but he’s leaving Politico to put D.C.’s celebrity-driven gala under the microscope of a two-hour feature length documentary. His project, Nerd Prom: Washington’s Wildest Week, will focus on why dozens of celebrities would trek to D.C. at the same time every year to celebrate the White House press corps. The video, featuring interviews with President Obama and former President Bill Clinton, will chronicle the origins of the association in 1914, and its evolution over the past century.
Bob Barnett, Million Dollar Decorators And The Guys Behind Bradley Cooper’s Boxer-Briefs (FishbowlNY / Lunch)
We, not of the town car set, braved the elements to get to Michael’s Wednesday and once we dried off, found plenty of the usual suspects at their perches doing the power lunch thing, despite the monsoon. In attendance: attorney-to-the-A-List Bob Barnett with Susan Zirinsky, Bravolebrities Kathryn Ireland and Martyn Lawrence Bullard, the New York Post’s Keith Kelly and a squadron of publicists ordering Dover sole and billing their media clients for time served.
Lionsgate Names Nerdist Co-Founder Peter Levin President of Interactive Ventures
As part of its continued push into the digital and gaming space, Lionsgate has tapped Nerdist Industries co-founder Peter Levin as president of interactive ventures and games. In his new role, Levin will be responsible for expanding Lionsgate’s content creation into video games and other interactive ventures, including incubation of new properties, investment in existing games and digital media vehicles and leveraging Lionsgate’s franchises and other branded properties into the gaming space.
What is your favorite poem?
journotics Right now, it’s “The Good Life” by Tracy K. Smith.
VABVOX Diving into the Wreck by Adrienne Rich
dasha_i Philip Larkin – This Be the Verse (my favorite, especially today )
_bnw_ No Help for That by Bukowski or Howl by Ginsberg
Sailfish157 e.e. Cummings’s “For Cambridge Ladies Who Live in Furnished Souls”