Tribune Gets New Name Ahead of Split (TVSpy)
Tribune Company began operating under a new, but similar, name Monday: Tribune Media Company. The rebranding came as the broadcasting and publishing divisions of the 167-year-old company split. TVNewser Tribune Media Company includes Tribune Broadcasting, WGN America, Tribune Studios, Tribune Digital Ventures and Tribune Real Estate. Variety The overhaul comes with a new logo and corporate website. Tribune has labored under the cloud of bankruptcy and plunging ad revenues for years, leading to its fissure into two companies. Tribune’s papers, which include the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, will begin trading Tuesday as a new company, Tribune Publishing. It will be listed under the symbol TPUB on the New York Stock Exchange. It has been saddled with $350 million in debt and faces a cloudy future as revenues and readership of newspapers continue to decline. THR Tribune Media CEO Peter Liguori has said the separation will allow investors to put money into either the broadcast or print assets of Tribune, or both. The spinoff is mindful of the split of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and 21st Century Fox. USA Today Tribune’s shareholders receive a quarter of a share of Tribune Publishing’s common stock for each Tribune share they own. After years of management turmoil and dealing with heavy debt, Tribune, based in Chicago, emerged from a four-year bankruptcy process in early 2013 with the intent to focus on broadcasting. In July 2013, Tribune announced early plans to spin off the publishing unit that would operate on its own without affecting the financial performance of its other, more profitable businesses.
Gannett to Spin Off Publishing Business (USA Today)
Gannett, the owner of USA Today, said Tuesday that it will create two publicly traded companies as it moves to separate its broadcasting and digital businesses from its publishing division. TVSpy Earlier this year, Gannett announced it was acquiring the six-station London Broadcasting portfolio for $215 million. That came just months after it completed the acquisition of the 20-station Belo TV station group for $2.2 billion. Belo itself had split its TV and newspaper businesses in 2007. THR The planned separation of the publishing business will take place via a tax-free distribution of Gannett’s publishing assets to shareholders. “The transaction will create two focused companies with increased opportunities to grow organically across all businesses as well as pursue strategic acquisitions,” the company said. Bloomberg Newspapers have steadily lost money and readership since hitting a sales peak in 2005. Classified advertising has been hardest hit, dropping by more than half between 2000 and 2008 to $9.9 billion, according to the Pew Research Center. ABC News / AP Gannett Co. said Tuesday that the publishing business will basically be debt free once spun off, with the broadcasting and digital businesses holding the existing debt. The publishing business will keep the Gannett name, while the broadcasting and digital company has yet to be named. Both companies will remain headquartered in Virginia. Bloomberg Gannett has also agreed to buy out the other companies that own Cars.com for $1.8 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter. WSJ The business was put up for sale earlier this year, with hopes of generating a sale price of as much as $3 billion. The final deal values the site at $2.5 billion. One person familiar with Cars.com earlier this year estimated that it generates about $400 million to $500 million in revenue a year.
Former White House Press Secretary James Brady Dies at 73 (FishbowlDC)
James Brady, former White House press secretary for President Ronald Reagan, has died at the age of 73. TVNewser Brady was shot in the 1981 assassination attempt on the president. He was among four people shot that day. He was partially paralyzed in the attempt on Reagan’s life and required the use of a wheelchair for the rest of his life. NYT President Clinton awarded Brady the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor, in 1996, and in 2000, Clinton presided at the renaming of the room in which White House news briefings are held. It became the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room.
TMZ Says CNN Is Being Sued, CNN Says It’s ‘Not Aware’ of Lawsuit (TMZ)
CNN is reportedly being sued by two EMTs who claim one of the network’s reporters bit them in a drunken rage. Arwa Damon — the Beirut-based senior international correspondent for CNN — was in the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad back in July. HuffPost EMTs Tracy Lamar and Charles Simons reportedly said, according to TMZ, that Damon was “seriously intoxicated” at the American embassy in Baghdad, and when she became “unruly and violent,” they arrived at the scene to help. Damon allegedly bit them when they tried to intervene. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media The EMTs are reportedly suing the network for $1 million each. “We are not aware of the alleged lawsuit and therefore have no comment,” a CNN spokesperson said. Mediaite Damon’s reporting came to prominence earlier this year after U.S. special forces arrested Ahmed Abu Khattala in connection to the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Damon had interviewed Khattala, saying in June, “this was not a man who was in hiding.”
More Cable News Hosts Head to Israel (TVNewser)
Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity and CNN’s Jake Tapper and Anderson Cooper are the latest cable news anchors to make their way to Israel to cover the Israeli-Hamas war in Gaza. HuffPost NBC News correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin tweeted Sunday that he is voluntarily moving off Gaza coverage for the time being. Richard Engel, NBC News’ chief foreign correspondent, is still in the region. Mediaite Glenn Greenwald appeared on HuffPost Live Monday to discuss the media’s coverage of the crisis in Gaza, and overall, Greenwald gave the press an “F” for the way it’s handled coverage. He said the way news outlets have reported on the conflict “is based on the principal that Israeli lives are just inherently more valuable than Palestinian lives.” He singled out certain individuals, like Jake Tapper and Chris Hayes, whom Greenwald said were doing fair jobs. But as for the public at large, Greenwald charged that most people are “cowards” when it comes to saying anything remotely critical about the state of Israel.
David Kosse Ankles Universal to Become Head of U.K.’s Film4 (Deadline Hollywood)
Well-respected 10-year Universal exec David Kosse is joining the U.K.’s Channel 4 as director of Film4, its prolific and award-winning feature filmmaking arm. Kosse is currently president, international, Universal Pictures, a job he will exit on Oct. 1. He takes over the reins at Film4 on Nov. 1. Variety Kosse replaces Tessa Ross, who announced her departure in March to become chief executive of the National Theatre. Kosse will report directly to Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham. THR During his 10 years at Universal, Kosse started and built Universal Pictures International, the studio’s international marketing and distribution arm, into an operation based in 16 countries. It grossed more than $2 billion at the box office in 2014 alone.
Maker Studios Snags AOL, Yahoo! Execs for Original Content Division (THR)
Maker Studios is making a significant bet on original content with two big digital media hires. In a coup for the Disney-owned firm, former AOL Studios head Gabriel Lewis has been tapped as executive VP development and strategy and Yahoo! programming veteran Bonnie Pan will join as executive VP programming. Both start Aug. 11 and will report to chief content officer Erin McPherson. Variety Danny Zappin, who was fired as CEO of Maker Studios and unsuccessfully tried to block a shareholder vote on Disney’s acquisition of the mulitchannel network he co-founded, announced Monday that he has raised $25 million from ex-Maker execs and talent to create digital studio Zealot Networks. The startup’s investors include Zappin along with more than 15 former and current Maker Studios employees, talent and executives, according to Zappin. The funding will support operations, acquisitions and investments.
TV News Report Wins Newspaper Guild Award (TVNewser)
For the first time ever, a TV news report has been awarded the prestigious Heywood Broun Award given by the Newspaper Guild. The ABC News investigative team along with their partners at Center for Public Integrity are being honored for their report on black lung disease. In March, ABC and CPI were awarded the 2014 Goldsmith Prize for investigative reporting for the series, called “Breathless and Burdened.” Deadline Hollywood In April, ABC News also felt it had become the first TV news division to win a Pulitzer Prize, for this same investigation of doctors and lawyers squashing benefits claims of miners dying of black lung at the behest of the coal industry. Back then, however, CPI claimed ABC News did not deserve to share the Pulitzer because it only parachuted in periodically on the lengthy investigation, produced “sporadic” reports for television — not print — and repeatedly had to be saved from making embarrassing factual errors on its broadcast segments about the investigation. ABC, in turn, claimed CPI threw its staffers under the bus to soak up all the Pulitzer glory.
Mike Nizza Named Executive Editor of Bloomberg’s Politics Site (Capital New York)
Bloomberg has hired Mike Nizza away from Esquire as part of the company’s efforts to develop a new suite of media brands aimed at a consumer audience. Nizza, who currently serves as Esquire‘s digital editor and was previously managing editor of The Daily, News Corp’s short-lived iPad newspaper, will begin his new job at Bloomberg Media Group in the coming weeks. He also has worked as an online editor at AOL and The New York Times. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Nizza, a digital editor, will oversee all content on the Bloomberg Politics website and report to Tom Johnson, the ABC News producer who was recently tapped to serve as executive editor of the Bloomberg Politics franchise, including television, digital and print. The Bloomberg Politics project will be anchored by a television program hosted by Game Change co-authors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, who were hired in May for more than $1 million each. Bloomberg Politics is scheduled to launch on Oct. 6.
HBO Ups Tom Woodbury to President, Global Distribution (Deadline Hollywood)
In the newly created position of president, global distribution, Tom Woodbury will have responsibility for domestic and international revenue operations and continued oversight of network business affairs for HBO. The promotion was announced Monday by Richard Plepler, chairman and CEO, HBO, to whom Woodbury reports. Woodbury most recently held the title of general counsel and EVP, network business affairs, serving as the company’s chief legal officer and chief legal liaison to Time Warner. Woodbury joined HBO in 1981 as associate counsel, sales and marketing.
NY Post’s ‘Decider’ Launches (FishbowlNY)
The New York Post’s Decider.com is now live. The site is not like the Onion’s now-shuttered Decider and doesn’t have anything to do with our former decider-in-chief, George W. According to the Post, its Decider is “the first pop culture and entertainment destination site dedicated to helping today’s on-demand generation discover the best streaming content.”
Kelly Cobiella Named NBC News London Correspondent (TVNewser)
Kelly Cobiella is joining NBC News as a network correspondent based in London. Cobiella has been a London-based foreign correspondent for both ABC News and CBS News since moving to London in 2011. Most recently, she’s been freelancing for CBS News, but before that was on staff for ABC News. Before the move to London, Cobiella was a CBS News correspondent based in several bureaus including New York, Dallas, and Miami.
TV Upfront Commitments Drop for First Time in Five Years (THR)
Now that television upfront deals for the 2014-2015 season nearly are complete, it’s clear that both broadcast and cable networks collectively have dropped for the first time since the recession-stifled 2009-2010 season. Total primetime commitments are down 6.2 percent compared with last season to $18.13 billion, according to consulting firm Media Dynamics Inc. NBC is the only network to not post a loss this selling season, booking $2.52 billion in commitments — a 12 percent jump from the prior year.
AMC Networks Rebrands MGM Channel as AMC in Int’l Territories (Variety)
AMC Networks is rebranding its MGM Channel in international territories as AMC. The rebrand marks the first distribution outside of North America for AMC. AMC will begin launching locally versioned channel feeds on cable and satellite platforms across Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East later this year. Also accompanying these channels will be AMC VOD, HD and TV everywhere services.
Amazon’s Fire TV Gets MLB.tv, Watch Disney, WWE (GigaOM)
Baseball, wrestling and Mickey are coming to Amazon’s Fire TV streaming box, which just got a few new apps: Fire TV owners can now access full episodes of Disney Channel shows through the Watch Disney and Watch Disney Jr. apps, provided that the cable network is part of their pay TV subscriptions. With the most recent update, the Fire TV also got an Animal Planet L!ve app, which promises live webcam feeds full of kittens and puppies, with the occasional penguin mixed in for good measure.