Morning Media Newsfeed: Abrams Joins Nightline | Deen’s Alleged Racism | Plain Dealer Layoffs

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Dan Abrams Joins Nightline (FishbowlNY)
Dan Abrams, the man behind the Abrams Media empire, is joining ABC’s Nightline as an anchor and chief legal affairs anchor. Abrams is also getting an expanded role on Good Morning America and pretty much everywhere else. TVNewser Abrams will be stepping back from day-to-day oversight at Abrams Media, which includes Mediaite.com, to devote his attention to ABC. He is a TV news veteran, having previously served as anchor, legal analyst and general manager of MSNBC, and joined ABC News in 2011. HuffPost Abrams will replace Terry Moran who will move to London to become the network’s chief foreign correspondent later this summer but contribute to the network’s coverage of the upcoming Supreme Court decisions on cases including same-sex marriage and affirmative action. Moran’s role change came just months after ABC bumped Nightline to a later time slot so that Jimmy Kimmel’s late night program could move to 11:35 p.m., competing directly with David Letterman and Jay Leno’s shows. LA Times / Company Town The ratings for Nightline have tumbled since ABC moved it from 11:35 p.m. to 12:35 a.m. to give Jimmy Kimmel Live an earlier start time.

Food Network Responds to Paula Deen’s Racial Comments (TPM / LiveWire)
The Food Network has issued a statement responding to racial comments one of its star chefs, Paula Deen, made in deposition she gave for a discrimination suit against her and other defendants. “Food Network does not tolerate any form of discrimination and is a strong proponent of diversity and inclusion. We will continue to monitor the situation,” a Food Network spokeswoman said. Jezebel Paula Deen was questioned for three hours regarding the $1.2 million lawsuit filed by the general manager of their Savannah restaurant last year, which alleged that Paula and her brother Bubba made black and white employees use separate bathrooms, threw the N-word around and repeatedly told racist and sexist jokes. When Deen was asked if she used the N-word, she replied: “Yes, of course.” PRNewser Deen’s rep claims that she’s never used racial epithets and that she will be vindicated in court, but the Internet already passed judgement; as of Wednesday afternoon #PaulasBestDishes was the top trending hashtag on Twitter, and it inspired its share of winning puns. theGrio In a statement to theGrio, a representative for Deen said: “Contrary to media reports. Ms. Deen does not condone or find the use of racial epithets acceptable. She is looking forward to her day in court.”

Cleveland Plain Dealer Staffers Facing Layoffs (Poynter / MediaWire)
The Cleveland Plain Dealer plans to lay off staffers in the marketing, finance, information technology, pre-press and building service departments, according to the Save the Plain Dealer Campaign’s Facebook page. Poynter confirmed the information with two sources at the paper after seeing the Facebook post but has not yet heard back from management.

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Newsroom Season 2 Consultants: MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield, New Republic Editor (THR)
In a bid to make season two as realistic as possible, Aaron Sorkin enlisted 13 paid consultants whose experiences he could mine. “I’ll be coming to you for everything from simple research questions to: ‘What kinds of conversations would there be about how to cover Trayvon Martin? Sandra Fluke? The contradictory stories about the circumstances under which Bin Laden was shot?'” he wrote in a lengthy welcome note to the group last fall. TVNewser Among the notable names: MSNBC host Chris Matthews (whose son Thomas Matthews is an actor on the show), CNN anchors Ashleigh Banfield and Natalie Allen (CNN is a sister network to HBO), MSNBC’s S.E. Cupp and Alex Wagner and former CNN and MSNBC president Rick Kaplan.