Morning Media Newsfeed: Body of WSJ Reporter Found | Empire Nets Huge Ratings

Body of missing WSJ reporter found. Empire nets best first-season ratings in a decade. These stories and more in today's Morning Media Newsfeed

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Body of Missing Reporter Found in New Jersey (WSJ)
David Christopher Bird, a Wall Street Journal reporter who was missing for more than a year, has been found dead near the site of his disappearance, New Jersey police said. FishbowlNY According to the WSJ, canoers found a body in northern New Jersey’s Passaic River on Wednesday. It was identified as Bird through dental records on Thursday, police said. New York Post An investigation into the cause of death is under way. A website launched by Bird’s anguished family said he went out for a walk after helping relatives take down the Christmas decorations, then never returned. Dozens of law-enforcement agencies were involved in the search over the past 14 months, from local police to the FBI. New York Daily News Police previously searched the area where the body was found, Long Hill Township Police chief Michael Mazzeo told the Daily News. Authorities combed the woods, river and train tracks near Bird’s home but found no leads after his disappearance. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Bird had worked for the Journal, covering energy markets, for more than two decades.

Empire Finale Breaks Twitter, Sets Records (LostRemote)
And they say appointment viewing is dead. The two-hour finale of Empire was huge. According to Nielsen, the finale scored a 6.4 rating and 16.5 million viewers, which means the show’s ratings went up 11 percent since last week. Early reports are that the finale drove 2.4 million tweets. Deadline Wednesday night’s airing of the hip hop family drama delivered the best first-season result any new series on any broadcast network has had since the Shonda Rhimes-created Grey’s Anatomy ended its debut cycle on ABC in 2005. THR / The Live Feed Empire premiered Jan. 7 to a 3.8 rating among adults 18-49 and 9.9 million viewers. It subsequently grew its viewership every week for each of the 11 episodes that followed — and, with the exception last week’s penultimate outing, Empire also managed the same feat in the key demo. Variety The entire first season of Empire is now on Hulu, under a pact with Twentieth Century Fox Television giving the Internet TV site exclusive subscription video-on-demand rights to the show. CNN Its soundtrack scored a rare success this week, debuting in the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s top 200 album chart, topping Madonna’s Rebel Heart.

Reuters Names Kevin Krolicki Washington Bureau Chief (FishbowlNY)
Reuters has named Kevin Krolicki as its Washington bureau chief. Krolicki was most recently Reuters’ Tokyo bureau chief, a role he had held for the past three years. FishbowlDC Krolicki has been with Reuters since 1996 in many different roles, including West Coast equities editor-in-chief, West Coast bureau chief and Detroit bureau chief. Poynter / MediaWire Krolicki replaces Marilyn Thompson, who left the company in January to become a deputy editor at Politico. Krolicki’s appointment is the latest in a rapid succession of job moves at multiple news organizations as they shuffle staffers to cover the 2016 presidential campaign. Politico, Reuters, The New York Times, CNN, The Washington Post, The Associated Press and others have all made appointments in recent months in advance of the presidential contest.

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MGM Touts Record Profits in 2014 (THR)
MGM Holdings on Thursday reported net income of $156 million for calendar year 2014, which chairman/CEO Gary Barber described as “its highest annual profits in its modern history for the second consecutive year.” Variety Revenue at the entertainment company behind 007 and The Hobbit hit $1.44 billion, down 5.8 percent from $1.53 billion in the previous year. Net income at the company topped out at $156 million for the calendar year ending Dec. 31, up 27 percent from $122.2 million in 2013. Deadline MGM’s financial results, delivered to debt-holders, are complicated by the acquisition in September of a 55 percent stake in United Artists Media Group — a joint venture with Mark Burnett, Roma Downey and Hearst Productions. With that in the mix, MGM generated earnings of $41.7 million, up 241.2 percent vs. the last three months of 2013, on revenues of $559.1 million, up 20.6 percent.