Morning Media Newsfeed: ESPN Suspends Olbermann | Rothman Replaces Pascal

ESPN suspends Keith Olbermann. Tom Rothman to replace Amy Pascal at Sony. These stories and more in today's Morning Media Newsfeed

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ESPN Suspends Keith Olbermann After Penn State Tweets (TVNewser)
ESPN has suspended Keith Olbermann for the remainder of the week after a series of tweets criticizing Penn State University fans and students. HuffPost Olbermann got himself into a social media battle Monday night when he called Penn State students “pitiful” in response to an article about the campus raising more than $13 million to fight pediatric cancer during its annual THON fundraiser. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Olbermann has called Penn State one of the “World’s Worst in Sports” on his show before. And on Tuesday, when a woman tweeted at him about the school raising money for charity with Penn State slogan “We are,” he responded “pitiful.” He then went on to tweet at other Penn State supporters, calling them “stupid” and “morons.” Variety Olbermann, never known to shy away from engaging detractors with debate, has faced suspension in the past. In 2010, MSNBC suspended him for making donations to political candidates without getting approval from superiors, a violation of company policy at the time. NYT ESPN said in a statement that Olbermann’s actions were “completely inappropriate and [do] not reflect the views of ESPN.” “We have discussed it with Keith, who recognizes he was wrong,” the statement said. Adweek Olbermann’s more vocal critics are just chalking it up to him being a jerk. But more specifically and perhaps generously, there are three intersecting issues that likely led to his poor decision to lash out at Penn State’s entire student body as they celebrated saving children’s lives.

Tom Rothman Named Head of Sony Motion Picture Group (Variety)
Sony Pictures named Tom Rothman chairman of its motion picture group Tuesday in a surprise move that follows the ouster of Amy Pascal as co-chair of the studio. In Rothman, Sony has tapped an industry veteran with ties to A-list talent to lead it as it struggles to recover from a cyber-attack that exposed its emails, budgets, salaries and institutional information to public scrutiny. That hack led to Pascal’s ouster and cost the studio tens of millions of dollars in legal fees and lost ticket sales. THR Rothman, an 18-year veteran of 20th Century Fox who ran that studio with Jim Gianopulos before being ousted in 2012, beat out several suitors for the Sony job, most notably Columbia Pictures president Doug Belgrad. Steve Mosko, president of Sony Pictures Television, was also seen as a viable candidate thanks to his thriving division that has produced such hits as Breaking Bad and The Blacklist. WSJ The selection of Rothman, who has been running Sony’s TriStar Productions, serves as much as a signal by Sony to investors and business partners about a more cost-conscious approach to moviemaking as an actual change in strategy, according to people inside the studio and who do business with it. Re/code Michael Lynton, the Sony executive who oversees its entertainment business, including its embattled Hollywood studio, will stay with the company. Via a press release, Sony says it has extended Lynton’s contract, but didn’t provide other details.

DreamWorks Animation Takes $57 Million Write-Down on Penguins of Madagascar (THR)
DreamWorks Animation took a $57.1 million write-down primarily on the lackluster performance of Penguins of Madagascar as well as Mr. Peabody And Sherman, the beleaguered film studio announced Tuesday while posting less-than-expected quarterly financial results. Deadline In addition, DWA wrote off $54.6 million for layoffs, and $155.5 million from unreleased projects including B.O.O. and Monkeys of Mumbai. DWA says that it did not record any revenue from Penguins, released on Nov. 26, because distributor Fox had not yet recouped its costs. Same with home videos of Peabody And Sherman, released Oct. 14. Revenues for Television Series and Specials increased 7.7 percent to $50.7 million, but ended up with a loss of $2.6 million from a $7.3 million profit at the end of 2013 due to write-downs. WSJ DWA announced a fourth-quarter net loss of $263.2 million, or $3.08 a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected a loss of $3.01 a share. The loss compared with a year-earlier profit of $17.2 million, or 20 cents a share. Quarterly revenue was up nearly 15 percent from last year but also missed expectations — $234.2 million when analysts expected $246 million. Driving a significant portion of the loss is a $210.1 million pretax charge associated with the company’s recently announced restructuring, which will eliminate some 500 jobs, remove some titles from its release schedule and scale back the number of features released per year from three to two. Variety Wall Street didn’t react well to the results. Shares in DWA lost nearly 10 percent shortly after the results were released, or more than $2 in after-hours trading, after closing up nearly 2.5 percent to close at $21.13 on Tuesday.