Morning Media Newsfeed: Netflix, Comcast Deal | Morgan to Be Canceled | Baldwin’s NY Mag Essay

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Netflix to Pay Comcast for Smoother Streaming (WSJ)
Netflix Inc. has agreed to pay Comcast Corp. to ensure Netflix movies and television shows stream smoothly to Comcast customers, a landmark pact that could set a precedent for Netflix’s dealings with other broadband providers, people familiar with the matter said. In exchange for payment, Netflix will get direct access to Comcast’s broadband network. Gizmodo The announcement comes after months of dispute between Netflix and broadband providers about who should pay for increasing bandwidth loads. NYT The deal is a milestone in the history of the Internet, where content providers like Netflix generally have not had to pay for access to the customers of a broadband provider. But the growing power of broadband companies like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T has given those companies increased leverage over sites whose traffic gobbles up chunks of a network’s capacity. Netflix is one of those sites, accounting for nearly 30 percent of all Internet traffic at peak hours. CNNMoney Comcast is the No. 1 cable company in the U.S., with about 23 million subscribers. This announcement comes just 10 days after Comcast entered into an agreement to buy Time Warner Cable. The Washington Post The Netflix deal is controversial because it shows Comcast’s sway over the media and technology industries. With its bid for Time Warner Cable, Comcast would have more than 30 million U.S. Internet subscribers in every major U.S. market, making it powerful in any negotiations for the carriage of programs and apps to cable television and Internet users, analysts say.

Piers Morgan And CNN Plan End to His Prime-Time Show (NYT)
Three years after taking over for Larry King, Piers Morgan has seen the ratings for Piers Morgan Live hit some new lows, drawing a fraction of viewers compared with competitors at Fox News and MSNBC, leading CNN to announce that the show will be canceled. TVNewser “CNN confirms that Piers Morgan Live is ending,” a network spokesperson confirmed, adding the final air date or a replacement show has not yet been determined. The Guardian A broadcast on Feb. 18 drew the show’s second smallest audience to date among adults aged 25-54 (50,000). Nielsen reported that the show also drew just 270,000 total viewers, its ninth smallest gathering at that time. The Washington Post Morgan is a former U.K. tabloid editor who reinvented himself as a TV personality with stints as a judge on Britain’s Got Talent and its U.S. spinoff, NBC’s America’s Got Talent, and as a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice.

Alec Baldwin: Good-Bye, Public Life (NY Mag)
Alec Baldwin: I’ve had a relatively charmed life. I loved to be out in the city. New York was my town. I’ve had people come up to me and say, “You’re a great New Yorker. You’ve given your time and money to so many New York charities. You’re a great supporter of the arts. I like some of your movies — and some of your movies suck, actually.” (It’s New York, so people give you their unvarnished opinion.) But people in general had been very kind to me for years. And then, last November, everything changed. New York Daily News Tantrum-prone Baldwin said in a whine-filled New York Magazine essay that he’s set to bolt the Big Apple. “I just can’t live in New York anymore,” he wrote in the cover story of the edition that hits stands Monday. “Everything I hated about L.A. I’m beginning to crave… I want my newest child to have as normal and decent a life as I can provide. New York doesn’t seem the place for that anymore,” he wore on. THR / The Live Feed While he admitted that he has reacted poorly in some situations, he insisted that he did not use a racial slur. It was over this incident that Baldwin was fired in late November from his talk show on MSNBC, a network he claims he never wanted to be part of in the first place. “I watched MSNBC, prior to working there, very sporadically,” he says. “Once I had signed a contract with them, I wanted to see more of what they were about. It turned out to be the same sh*t all day long.”

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CNN Told it Can Stay After Venezuela Orders it Out of Country (Poynter / MediaWire)
CNN was told it can remain in Venezuela just a day after it was ordered to leave the country where it has been covering ongoing anti-government protests, the network reported Friday night. CNN Earlier, President Nicolas Maduro had said he would expel CNN if it did not “rectify” its coverage of anti-government protests. During a news conference aired live on state-run TV, Maduro reversed his early position. HuffPost CNN Espanol was reportedly one of the few networks to shine any light on the country’s deadly rallies. Maduro announced during a televised speech Thursday that the network was creating “propaganda” and firmly stated, “Get out of Venezuela, CNN, get out.”

Veronica Mars Movie: Coming to A Living Room Near You (THR)
Hoping for a home entertainment bonanza, Warner Bros. has unusual plans for Rob Thomas’ upcoming Veronica Mars movie. The studio will make the movie available to rent or buy online on March 14, the same day it opens in theaters. Normally, exhibitors wouldn’t allow such a practice, but in this instance, Warner Bros. actually rented out the locations (most are AMC theaters). The Verge The move breaks the long-standing “theatrical window” rule that typically governs when major movies are available for home viewing. Veronica Mars will be distributed on 270 screens across the country, a much bigger outing for what might otherwise be considered an indie effort. Deadline Hollywood Additionally, the move stems from the rewards promised in the initial Veronica Mars Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to reboot the franchise. Donors who contributed $35 or more were promised a digital copy of the film in exchange to follow shortly after the film’s theatrical release. Variety Sources at Warner Bros. say the Veronica Mars strategy is a rare exception — a one-off release that isn’t meant to change the way the studio plans to release its films in the future.

AP Cautiously Commends DOJ Regulations (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
Associated Press president and CEO Gary Pruitt issued a statement late Friday night cautiously commending the Justice Department’s new press regulations, saying they should provide “significantly greater protection for journalists.” HuffPost The revised procedures are designed to give news organizations an opportunity to challenge any subpoenas or search warrants in federal court. News organizations are to be informed of an impending document demand unless the attorney general determines that notice would pose “a clear and substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation, risk grave harm to national security or present an imminent risk of death or serious bodily harm,” the new rule says. USA Today The DOJ’s action was prompted by disclosures last year that federal prosecutors had secretly obtained records from 21 telephone lines used by Associated Press journalists.

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NBC Resurrects Heroes for A 2015 Comeback With Big Digital Tie-in (Mashable)
NBC is reviving Heroes, Tim Kring’s popular sci-fi TV drama about people with superhuman abilities, as a miniseries in 2015. The network revealed the comeback Saturday night, saying it has ordered 13 episodes “for a new standalone story arc” called Heroes Reborn. TV Guide Kring will return to helm the miniseries, though casting news and other information are being kept under wraps for now. “Until we get closer to air in 2015, the show will be appropriately shrouded in secrecy, but we won’t rule out the possibility of some of the show’s original cast members popping back in,” NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke said in a statement. E! Online / TV Scoop Heroes was canceled in 2010 after four seasons. NBC also revealed they will introduce new storylines and characters to the mythology via a Web series prior to Heroes‘ return in 2015. Heroes isn’t the first beloved series to be relaunched as a miniseries; Fox is set to bring back 24 in May with 24: Live Another Day, a 13-episode miniseries event.

Susan Rice: No Regrets on Benghazi Description (CBS News)
In an interview on Meet The Press Sunday, national security advisor Susan Rice said that she doesn’t regret blaming the September 2012 attack on a U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya, on a spontaneous protest against an anti-Islamic video when she first spoke publicly about the attack. That description has since been undermined by evidence that the incident was not spontaneous, but the result of a concerted terrorist effort. Politico / Politico Now Rice said that nobody in the Obama administration intended to mislead the American people when she appeared on Fox, ABC, CNN, NBC and CBS in 2012 shortly after the attacks. TVNewser Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace called out the White House Sunday morning over David Gregory‘s exclusive interview with Rice on Meet The Press. This was Rice’s first appearance on one of the Sunday public affairs shows since being named the president’s national security advisor.

Discovery in Talks With BSkyB Over Joint Channel 5 Bid (Financial Times)
Discovery Communications and NBCUniversal are in talks with British network BSkyB over joining a bid for Channel 5, which is being sold by owner Richard Desmond, in a deal that would give the American network a foothold in U.K. free-to-air broadcasting. Variety Bids for the company are due on Thursday. Desmond, a British publishing mogul, hopes to fetch more than $1 billion for the asset, which he bought in 2010 for about $173 million.

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Evening News Director Eric Shapiro Retires After 51 Years at CBS (TVNewser)
Veteran CBS News director Eric Shapiro directed his last Evening News broadcast Friday night — 51 years to the day after he first joined the network as a mailroom employee. “I can’t possibly have had a more exciting and gratifying career… I have witnessed first-hand television news’ coming of age (along with my own!),” Shapiro wrote in a goodbye note to CBS staffers.

Women’s Budget-Conscious Magazine All You Is Stepping Outside of Walmart (Adweek)
Bargains aren’t just for Walmart shoppers anymore. Starting in April, Time Inc.’s All You, the magazine for budget-conscious women, will be sold at stores outside the retail giant — the title’s sole newsstand distributor since launching 10 years ago. The exclusive deal with the world’s largest retailer let All You reach its target audience at scale with limited marketing costs, while circulation soared to more than 1 million in five years. But as the soft economy has made budget shoppers out of everyone, the title seemed to be missing out on potential sales and audience by limiting its distribution.

Six WaPo Hires And Promotions in 36 Hours (FishbowlDC)
The Washington Post has announced six new hires and promotions: Jason Millman is joining Wonkblog from Politico. Emily Badger, who was most recently at the Atlantic Cities blog, is also joining Wonkblog. Monica Hesse, a writer for the Style section and the author of two young adult books, will become an enterprise reporter at the National desk. Lenny Bernstein, who previously wrote a fitness column and worked as an editor on the National, Local and Sports desks, will be launching a new health and wellness blog. Colby Itkowitz, most recently Washington correspondent for The Morning Call of Allentown, Penn., is joining the Post to report and write In The Loop. Alyssa Rosenberg, the features editor of, will be joining the Opinions section as a pop culture blogger.

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Bartiromo Makes Fox Debut With Morning Show (USA Today)
Fox Business Network’s attempt to spice up the channel with some star power begins in earnest Monday, when Maria Bartiromo’s new show debuts. Her daily show — Opening Bell With Maria Bartiromo — will air for two hours from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. ET on weekdays, focusing on the day’s economic and business news. Her show essentially replaces Varney & Co., which has been pushed to the 11 a.m. slot. Bartiromo, who’s come to be known as “Money Honey” at CNBC for her reports from the stock market trading floor and interviews with CEOs, will also host a new one-hour Sunday talk show at 10 a.m. ET on Fox News Channel.

LinkedIn Finally Lets You Block Other Members (SocialTimes)
After a long period of demand from users, it was announced Friday that LinkedIn has introduced a member-blocking feature. In the post announcing the news, Paul Rockwell, head of trust and safety at the social network, explained, “While on the surface this may seem like a simple feature to develop, it was not. There were many different use cases to consider, products and features to integrate, as well as a user interface we had to create.”

Social Buzz for Jason Collins’ Season Debut (LostRemote)
During Sunday night’s game between the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers, Jason Collins became the first openly gay man to play in the NBA. Collins came out in May 2013 when he was a free agent and remained a free agent until Sunday, when the Brooklyn Nets announced that they signed him to a 10-day contract. The news caused a lot of excitement on Twitter — it was a worldwide trending topic — and the social buzz will surely drive tune-in across YES Network (Brooklyn Nets), Time Warner Cable SportsNet (Los Angeles Lakers) and NBA League Pass.

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