Morning Media Newsfeed: Armisen Joins Late Night | CNN Hires Smerconish | Barnes & Noble Cuts Staff

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Fred Armisen to Lead Seth Meyers’ Late Night Band (THR / The Live Feed)
Fred Armisen is joining Seth Meyers at Late Night. The musician and Portlandia star and his 8G Band are joining his Saturday Night Live friend as the band leader for the revamped NBC talker. “Fred will curate and lead the band, and continue to run it even when he’s off shooting Portlandia,” Meyers tweeted Monday. Rolling Stone Armisen will sing and play guitar, and he’ll be backed by an eclectic group of players: guitarist Seth Jabour (Les Savy Fav), bassist Syd Butler (Les Savy Fav), keyboardist Eli Janney (Girls Against Boys) and drummer Kim Thompson (Beyoncé’s touring band). TV Guide Before switching gears to acting, Armisen played drums in the punk rock band Trenchmouth and in the Blue Man group back in the 1990s. He also often played musical instruments during sketches on SNL. Vulture Considering Meyers and Armisen spent many years at SNL together, including during Armisen’s many character bits on “Weekend Update,” hopefully this will mean Armisen will also act as the show’s sidekick — like a hipster Paul Shaffer. LA Times / Show Tracker Meyers’ reign on Late Night begins Feb. 24 and his first guest will be another former SNL colleague, Amy Poehler.

Barnes & Noble Cuts Jobs at Nook Division (NYT)
The bookseller Barnes & Noble laid off employees in its Nook device unit on Monday, the latest sign of the company’s difficulties in executing its digital strategy. Fewer than 100 people have lost their jobs, a person briefed on the layoffs said. Mary Ellen Keating, a spokeswoman for Barnes & Noble, declined to comment specifically on the job eliminations, but said that the company had “no plans to exit the device business.” The Verge Despite a $300 million shot in the arm from Microsoft in 2012, the Nook has only flagged in sales, dropping 66.7 percent for the 2013 holidays as compared to 2012. Reuters Barnes & Noble shares rose by as much as 9.6 percent on Monday after news that the bookseller cut jobs from its team of hardware engineers working on its money-losing Nook digital books and e-reader business.

Michael Smerconish Joins CNN (TVNewser)
The staffing and programming changes continue at CNN with the hire of Michael Smerconish, who will host a weekly Saturday morning show from New York. Smerconish, an MSNBC contributor who has served as the guest host of Hardball With Chris Matthews for the past four years, will join CNN this month. In his new role, he will also appear across all CNN’s programming. HuffPost “We are thrilled to have Michael join CNN,” Jeff Zucker said. “At a time when the cable news landscape has become increasingly polarized, his independence and passion for reasoned dialogue makes him the perfect fit for CNN.” TheWrap Smerconish will continue hosting his radio show The Michael Smerconish Program on SiriusXM Radio and writing a weekly column for The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Washington Post / Erik Wemple The accession of Smerconish to CNN may set up a nice little tete-a-tete in weekend cable TV. Over at MSNBC, Steve Kornacki hosts the well-regarded Up With Steve Kornacki from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Smerconish’s time slot is to be determined, a CNN spokesperson tells the Erik Wemple Blog.

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Upworthy Traffic Gets Crushed (Business Insider)
In November, viral-content-for-a-cause site Upworthy posted insane traffic numbers, reaching almost 90 million people around the world, according to Quantcast. Then, in December, Facebook announced a change to the algorithm it uses to determine what kinds of updates (“stories”) users see in the News Feeds. In a blog post, Facebook said it wanted to feature more “high quality” content and fewer “meme photos.” That same month, Upworthy’s traffic dropped 25 percent — reaching 67 million people around the world between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31.

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