Morning Media Newsfeed: RIP, Joan Rivers | Wright to Replace Snider at DreamWorks

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RIP, Joan Rivers (FishbowlNY)
Comedian Joan Rivers died Thursday. TVNewser The news came from Rivers’ daughter, Melissa just before 3 p.m. ET. Rivers, who was 81, stopped breathing while undergoing outpatient surgery in New York City last Thursday. She was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital and put on life support. NYT The State Health Department is investigating the circumstances that led to her death, a state official said Thursday. A spokeswoman, Judy Katz, said the cause of death had not yet been determined. Deadline Hollywood During a minor endoscopic procedure last Thursday to check her vocal cords at an Upper East Side clinic, Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai, where she was put into a medically induced coma. Wednesday she was moved from intensive care to a private room at the Manhattan hospital. Mediaite Rivers got her start as a guest on the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1965, often filling in as host for Johnny Carson over the years. But after she took a job as a rival host on the Fox network without consulting Carson, he banned her from the Tonight Show, a situation that stayed in effect until she briefly appeared on Jimmy Fallon’s first night as host earlier this year. The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers only lasted one season, but she went on to a successful stint of reality shows later in life, including Fashion Police and Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best? with her daughter. The Daily Beast In her last big interview, Rivers spoke candidly to The Daily Beast in July about Hollywood celebrities’ thin skins, contemplating suicide after her husband’s suicide, sex, dating and her own mortality.

Michael Wright Joins DreamWorks Studios as CEO, Replacing Stacey Snider (Deadline Hollywood)
Michael Wright, the outgoing president and head of programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies, is opening a new career chapter with a clean slate, taking a top feature job at Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks Studios. Variety Wright is replacing Stacey Snider, who will leave the company at the beginning of January. Wright will not be a partner at the studio as Snider was, and will not be involved with Spielberg’s Amblin Television operations when he starts the job Jan. 3, 2015. THR The hire signals that DreamWorks chairman and CEO Snider is poised to take a top creative job at Fox. The news last week that Wright would exit his current post came amid major changes at the Turner entertainment group, which included Turner encouraging employees to take buyouts. Wright joined Turner in 2002, and has served as president and head of programming at the trio of nets since May 2012. NYT Lately, DreamWorks Studios, which operates separately from DreamWorks Animation, has had underperforming midmarket movies and unsuccessful highbrow films. The Hundred-Foot Journey, released last month, has had modest box-office success, but several recent efforts have done poorly, including Need for Speed, Delivery Man, The Fifth Estate and People Like Us.

Nicolle Wallace, Rosie Perez Join The View (TVNewser)
Rosie Perez and Nicolle Wallace are the new co-hosts of The View, joining moderator Whoopi Goldberg and Rosie O’Donnell. FishbowlDC Wallace served as director of communications in the George W. Bush White House and as a senior advisor to John McCain’s 2008 run for 1600 Penn. She was most recently a political analyst with MSNBC and has served in that capacity for both CBS News and ABC News. THR / The Live Feed Perez, an actress, is set to take Broadway early next year in Larry David’s Fish in The Dark.

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Former NFL Athlete Donté Stallworth Named HuffPost Politics Fellow (FishbowlDC)
The Huffington Post has named former NFL athlete Donté Stallworth a politics fellow to cover national security. Stallworth played for the Washington-area NFL team through August 2013 and prior, for the Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles. The Washington Post / Erik Wemple “Donté has a quick mind, an insatiable curiosity and a passion for politics — the necessary qualities of a great journalist,” said Ryan Grim, the Huffington Post’s Washington bureau chief, in a prepared statement on the hire. Poynter / MediaWire Huffington Post has between two and three such fellowships going at any time, Grim said. Former University of Maryland student Amber Ferguson will also have a politics fellowship this fall. The last class included Sam Levine, David McCabe and Marina Fang; Levine is now an associate politics editor. Others who’ve landed full-time gigs at HuffPost after the fellowship: Paige Lavender, Samantha Lachman, Ibrahim Balkhy, Ashley Alman and Shadee Ashtari. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media As a 9/11 truther, Stallworth has publicly stated that Osama bin Laden was not responsible for the attacks and that the Pentagon was not hit by a plane. “NO WAY 9/11 was carried out by ‘dying’ Bin Laden, 19 men who couldn’t fly a damn kite. STILL have NO EVIDENCE Osama was connected, like Iraq,” Stallworth tweeted in 2009. Stallworth also tweeted, “Gggrrrrrrrrrrrrr @ ppl who actually believe a plane hit the pentagon on 9/11… hole woulda been ASTRONOMICALLY bigger, God bless lost lives.”

Vice Media Receives $250 Million Boost From Silicon Valley’s TCV (Variety)
Vice Media has received a $250 million boost from Silicon Valley’s Technology Crossover Ventures, which has previously invested in Netflix, Electronic Arts and Facebook, among others. The investment follows the recently announced $250 million injection from A&E Networks. THR The youth-focused media company, led by CEO Shane Smith, said it was valued at more than $2.5 billion in the deals. TCV and A&E are each taking a 10 percent stake. The company has grown internationally and digitally and is expected to use the cash injections for further expansion. Mashable Vice has enjoyed a meteoric rise in value in the past year. The company had taken no known major investments until August 2013, when 21st Century Fox took a 5 percent stake that valued the company at $1.4 billion. Vice said the money will be used for a variety of development plans including building mobile distribution, an area that the company had not focused on in the past.

NYT’s Dean Baquet: ‘I Think We’ll Survive’ (Capital New York)
In the wake of the videotaped beheadings of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff at the hands of the jihadist group ISIS, New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet weighed in on a debate that has loomed large as footage of the killings spread like wildfire across the Web: to watch or not to watch? “Maybe I should have watched them, to be honest,” said Baquet. “But I’m a human being, too. Those are painful things to watch.” FishbowlNY Baquet cited the Times’ coverage of the gruesome — yet newsworthy — videos. “We do have to cover these things,” he said. “I can’t get away with saying, we’re not gonna cover these wars because they’re too dangerous. But it’s really hard. And that decision is not about making a buck or being competitive, it’s about the role a news organization like the New York Times plays in society.” Baquet isn’t worried about the future of the paper. He explained that as long as it provided vital information to smart people, all will be well.

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Kasie Hunt Named MSNBC Political Correspondent (TVNewser)
Kasie Hunt has been named an MSNBC political correspondent. It’s a new position for MSNBC as the network moves to having reporters exclusive of NBC News. Hunt has fronted the “States of Play” series on Morning Joe. FishbowlDC Hunt joined the peacock network in January 2013 as an off-air reporter and producer, appearing regularly on MSNBC as a political reporter.

CNN’s Reliable Sources Moving to New York Later This Month (Capital New York)
CNN is moving its Sunday morning media show Reliable Sources from Washington, D.C. to New York, host Brian Stelter said. “It looks like Sept. 21 will be the first show [in New York],” Stelter said in a brief phone interview. TVNewser Stelter said, “So many of the guests that I want on Reliable Sources are in New York, so it makes sense to have the show based there.”

NFL Now Launches New Platforms, New Original Content (LostRemote)
The NFL is taking the second screen seriously this season with the expansion of its NFL Now video service. If you want to watch replays of full games, you still have to pay for it with Game Rewind. But NFL Now offers fans video highlights and football news; users can customize their “channel” with their favorite teams, players and fantasy team filtering. THR The app is now available on Amazon’s Kindle Fire, Fire Phone and Fire TV; Yahoo! Screen and NFL Mobile phone and tablet apps. Those platforms join Apple TV; iOS, Android and Windows smartphone and tablet apps; XBox One and 360, Roku and online at

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FCC Chairman Says Regulators May Need to Promote Broadband Competition (Deadline Hollywood)
Look out cable operators: Most people only have two choices for broadband service — and when it comes to the speedy connections modern families need there’s “simply no competitive choice for most Americans,” FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said Thursday in a major speech. He wants to change that. And while he didn’t call for specific policy changes, he laid out a potential rationale for ambitious regulatory initiatives — a hot topic as the FCC considers ways to protect net neutrality, and deals for Comcast to buy Time Warner Cable and AT&T to buy DirecTV.

Journos React to News of Filtered Twitter (10,000 Words)
Thursday, Twitter made it clear that it is going to start filtering your timeline in a Facebook-like fashion. Or not, depending on who you read. If the tech industry is trying to delight us, this is not the way. At least for the media-minded who use Twitter for ideas, reporting and, well, everything.

Rob Grimshaw Out at The Financial Times (Capital New York)
Rob Grimshaw is out at The Financial Times, where he has worked for 16 years, most recently as managing director of Grimshaw is taking a new job at TES Global, a London-based online teachers community where he will serve as chief operating officer.

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After A 35-Year Run, NPR’s Programming Chief Is Leaving (NPR / The Two-Way)
After almost 35 years at NPR, Ellen McDonnell, the network’s executive editor for news programming, is stepping down. The network announced the news in a memo to staff on Thursday. In her role, McDonnell was tasked with overseeing all of NPR’s news programs, including the network’s flagship news magazines Morning Edition and All Things Considered. McDonnell joined NPR in 1979 as a news writer.

Mark Shapiro Joins IMG Unit (New York Post)
WME/IMG is making it official, hiring its long-time advisor Mark Shapiro as chief content officer at its IMG unit. Shapiro, best known for his stint running programming at ESPN, will join the firm in a newly created role aimed at identifying new revenue opportunities across IMG’s businesses which encompass sports, fashion, model representation and events. Shapiro was most recently CEO and an executive producer at Dick Clark Productions.

Apple PR Insider Spills Secrets: ‘This Isn’t PR — This Is Something Else’ (PRNewser)
Earlier this week, we posted on the biggest takeaways from 9to5Mac’s extensive inside look at Apple’s media relations strategy. The piece provided a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the company’s one-of-a-kind culture, and as a follow-up we were fortunate enough to speak with a source close to Apple’s international PR team for an insider’s take on the story… and more.

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