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.

Capital New York Tweaks Prices Ahead of Paywall (Adweek)
Capital New York has tweaked its pricing as it prepares to start charging for e-newsletters and news coverage Tuesday (Feb. 11), making it the latest startup to test consumers’ willingness pay for news. The experiment will no doubt be closely watched as news sites, new and established, search for successful models for content that balance advertising and subscriber revenue. And while parent Allbritton Communications already has substantial experience charging for content in the D.C. market with Politico, it faces questions as to whether it can replicate that model in New York, where Capital is attempting to charge for media as well as City Hall and Albany coverage.

Reshuffle at Time Inc: Entertainment Weekly Taps Sports Illustrated‘s Matt Bean for Editor Post (Ad Age / Media News)
Matt Bean, managing editor of Sports Illustrated‘s website, has been named editor of Entertainment Weekly, where he will oversee print and digital operations, according to Jess Cagle, editorial director of Entertainment Weekly and People. He began Monday and reports to Cagle. FishbowlNY “Matt’s arrival is a testament to Time Inc.’s confidence in EW,” said Cagle, in a statement. “He is a uniquely talented editor well-suited to this unique brand, and it will be a thrill to see where he and the extraordinary staff take EW in the years to come.”

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Hulu Signs CBS Deal to Bring 2,600 New Episodes to Its Paid-for Hulu Plus Streaming Service (The Next Web)
Hulu has inked a new deal with CBS to bring more of the U.S. broadcaster’s programming to Hulu Plus, its subscription-based TV and movie streaming service. The deal adds 2,600 new episodes to Hulu’s library, covering classic TV shows such as The Brady Brunch, Melrose Place and Taxi, as well as more recent programming such as Everybody Loves Raymond, Undercover Boss, United States of Tara and Ghost Whisperer. The fresh content nearly doubles the 2,700 CBS episodes that were added to Hulu’s catalog in November 2012, giving new and existing Hulu Plus subscribers access to over 5,300 installments in total. Variety Titles from the previous CBS-Hulu deal include The Good Wife, CSI: Miami, The Amazing Race, I Love Lucy, Star Trek and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. CBS and Hulu have been active on the deal front as of late, having secured separate deals to deliver previous seasons of current series Blue Bloods and Elementary on an exclusive basis.

FilmOn Launches New Remote TV Service (The Financial Times)
FilmOn, the controversial start-up from Greek billionaire Alki David, is raising the stakes in the battle over the future of television with a new service that lets viewers remotely watch local television broadcasts. Through its “Teleport Technology,” a person in New York can watch local television broadcast in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami and Denver, among other U.S. cities. The free service is launching in the U.S. but could extend internationally.

‘I’m Not Laurence Fishburne!’: Reporter Asks Samuel L. Jackson About Super Bowl Spot (TVSpy)
It’s a good thing KTLA entertainment reporter Sam Rubin didn’t have Samuel L. Jackson live in the studio Monday morning after Rubin asked Jackson about his role in a Super Bowl commercial. “What Super Bowl commercial?” asked Jackson who was live via satellite on the Los Angeles CW station. “You’re as crazy as the people on Twitter. I’m not Laurence Fishburne!” Fishburne reprised his role as Morpheus in The Matrix movies for a Kia Super Bowl spot.

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HLN to Become ‘First TV Home for The Social Media Generation’ (LostRemote)
HLN aims to become the TV home for the social media generation, network president Albie Hecht announced Monday. As part its full rebranding, the network will be curating its news from across social platforms and blogs, and highlight the most trending, viral stories while pointing out those social users creating the most buzz. “While others report on the conversation, HLN will be a part of it,” said @AlbieHechtHLN. TVNewser RightThisMinute will be the first new show rolled out, premiering Monday night at 10 p.m. ET. It will report on the most viral Web videos and the back stories behind them before they go viral.

BuzzFeed Denied Access to Labor Secretary Perez (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
A BuzzFeed reporter was denied access to labor secretary Thomas Perez on Monday despite the fact that all other reporters present at an event were given access. Labor officials told BuzzFeed reporter Chris Geidner he was being denied access because they “believed BuzzFeed would not be asking about veterans hiring” which was the focus of the event Perez was attending along with first lady Michelle Obama.

The Term ‘Digital Magazines’ May Sound Kind of Dumb, But First Look Media’s Approach Is Not (GigaOM)
Some of the new-media digerati have been having fun at the expense of First Look Media founder Pierre Omidyar, because the new company persists in describing its new family of media sites — including the just-launched Intercept from Glenn Greenwald — as “digital magazines.” Not only does the idea of a magazine seem almost antiquated by now, but most of the examples of the digital version are bloated proprietary apps from old-media standards like Vanity Fair and Time.

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Can Philly Newspapers Be Saved? Should The Daily News Close? Is There A Hero in The Ownership Battle? (Philadelphia Magazine)
Writer Steve Volk is a longtime observer of the Philadelphia media scene — so he brings a substantial foundation to this month’s Philly Mag print story that takes readers inside the furious battle for control of the city’s two major daily newspapers. It is also, he swears, the end of his media reporting days. He talked this week about what he learned reporting the story, what he’s learned from his time on the beat and what’s needed to finally, fully save the Inquirer and Daily News once and for all.

AOL’s Error Leads to A Study in ‘I’m Sorry’ (NYT / DealBook)
Was Tim Armstrong’s apology authentic? Last week, I wrote about the increasing tendency of leaders and executives to provide cheap apologies as an easy way to wash away problems. Dov Seidman, founder of LRN, a firm that advises companies on their cultures and how they can translate them into better performance, described the “I’m sorry” epidemic as “apology theater.” We pledged that we would begin tracking apologies and their aftermath. Almost on cue, a highly publicized case study arrived in the form of Armstrong, the chief executive of AOL.

Bill Keller’s Legacy Is The Decline of The New York Times (Gawker)
Former New York Times editor Bill Keller’s announcement that he’s leaving the paper for a news startup is a smart move. It’s also the final act in Keller’s long history of proving that The New York Times is not as important as it once was. Bill Keller was the Times‘ top editor from 2003-2011. He was not a bad editor. He did, however, pick a sh*tty time to be editor. He got to preside over not only a good deal of quality journalism, but also the Judith Miller fiasco and the grim post-recession slew of layoffs and buyouts at the paper. His time at the top was interesting, but not altogether enjoyable. He will go down in history — through no fault of his own — as the man who guided America’s greatest newspaper into the era in which newspapers lost their spot as the most important media outlets.

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