The Decline and Fall of David Gregory…

Posted in MSNBC on December 21, 2014 by icn2

The Washingtonian’s Luke Mullins turns in a must read on how David Gregory wound up losing Meet The Press. Lots of stuff in there to keep tongues wagging about NBC News but also some stuff pertaining to MSNBC…

Gregory had no shortage of rivals at NBC, and speculation centered on the two who were represented by powerful and media-savvy agents: Joe Scarborough, a client of Ari Emanuel, the Hollywood superagent and the inspiration for Ari Gold on HBO’s Entourage, and Todd, a client of Jay Sures at United Talent Agency.

Scarborough, the Republican congressman turned MSNBC talking head and host of Morning Joe, had been after Gregory’s job for years, according to former NBC employees. And inside MSNBC’s New York offices, Scarborough is known as a prima donna who doesn’t respond well to “no.”

“He constantly clashes with [MSNBC president] Phil Griffin,” says a former NBC employee. “There are times when he would just not even talk to [Griffin].”

When Gregory was in the hot seat, some thought Scarborough reached for the knives. And the staff wouldn’t have welcomed him in the moderator’s chair. In 2012, NBC executives had given Scarborough a shot at guest-hosting Meet the Press in Gregory’s absence, according to sources. But the network’s news division protested. Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum was booked for that week’s show, and letting Scarborough interview a fellow conservative would undercut the franchise’s nonpartisan bona fides. As a compromise, Savannah Guthrie moderated and Scarborough led the roundtable.

Spin Control…

Posted in FBN, FNC on December 21, 2014 by icn2

TVNewser’s Mark Joyella does FNC’s bidding in its renegotiation war with Dish Network by duly trotting out these numbers without context…

Since late Saturday night, talks have stopped. Fox News EVP of distribution Tim Carry tells TVNewser “our phone line is open, we’re willing to talk. Am I negotiating right now? I’m not.”

Fox viewers, however, are fully engaged. Since 6 a.m. Sunday, over 12,000 calls have been placed to Fox–and 7,000 of them asked to be connected to Dish to disconnect their service. The network reports 22,000 viewer emails have been sent to Dish to object to the Fox blackout, and viewers have swarmed the Dish Facebook page. Fox’s Carry says Dish has agitated a very powerful audience. “Relative to any other fight they’ve had, they’ve never had a viewer as personally invested as Fox News. Our viewers are invested. They have a personal relationship with us.”

Um…yeah.

Let’s see… 12,000 calls out of a 14 Million user subscriber base…that’s .00085%. 22,000 emails out of said base is much better. It’s a whopping 0.0015%. This is of course assuming that every one of those calls and email complaints is actually a Dish subscriber.

Oh, I almost forgot. There were also 7,000 who wanted to cancel their service as a result which is .0005% of Dish’s customers…which for Dish is the equivalent of a rounding error.

That’s some agitation going on over there…wake me when it gets to .002% of Dish’s subscribers, okay?

To be fair, it’s early and it’s a Sunday. Things may change dramatically come Monday when FNC’s regular M-Fr schedule kicks in. Then again it may not because it’s the holiday season and that’s historically been a low point in viewership for the year for everyone except football fans. There may not be real movement on a new deal until after New Years Day.

Dish, however, insists it’s Fox that has forced the two sides apart. “It’s like we’re about to close on a house and the realtor is trying to make us buy a new car as well,” said Warren Schlichting, Dish Network’s SVP of programming. “Fox blacked out two of its news channels, using them as leverage to triple rates on sports and entertainment channels that are not in this contract.”

Fox argues Dish has simply failed to change with the times–which are changing dramatically.”When you won’t accept that businesses evolve, that relationships and partnerships evolve. And the way we deliver content changes. And we both need to adapt. Dish hasn’t changed its packaging since 1993. That kind of marketing and that kind of packaging is outdated.”

Translation: We know we can’t get those rates on those other channels on their own so we’re going to extort the providers by threatening to withold FNC and FBN. But extortion is such a dirty word we shall rephrase it as needing to adapt to changing times.

Carry says Fox’s negotiating team knew this would be tough, deciding to do something they’d never done before: warn viewers they might lose their access to Fox News. “That’s why we messaged out seven days ago that this might happen.” Fox fans got the message, and they are clearly in action.

Did Carry negotiate on behalf of the Weather Channel earlier this year? That last sentence sure makes it sound like he did…

FNC and FBN Go Dark on Dish…

Posted in FBN, FNC on December 21, 2014 by icn2

Variety’s Brian Steinberg writes about FNC and FBN going off Dish Network’s lineup in a contract renewal negotiation dispute. (via J$)

Dish said in a statement early Sunday morning that 21st Century Fox had blocked access to the two networks after Dish balked when rates for other networks owned by the media conglomerate were made a part of the negotiations. Tim Carry, executive vice president of distribution at Fox News Channel, countered in a statement that “Dish prematurely ceased distribution of Fox News in an attempt to intimidate and sway our negotiations. It is unfortunate that the millions of Fox News viewers on Dish were used as pawns by their provider. Hopefully they will vote with their hard earned money and seek another one of our other valued distributors immediately.”

Dish said it had offered a short-term contract extension that would have kept Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network on the air as the two parties continued to haggle over terms.

“Fox blacked out two of its news channels, using them as leverage to triple rates on sports and entertainment channels that are not in this contract.” said Warren Schlichting, senior vice president of programming for Dish, in a company statement. “It’s like we’re about to close on a house and the realtor is trying to make us buy a new car as well,” he said separately in the company’s release.

Hmmm one side says the provider blocked access…the other says the company yanked its channels…who to believe?

More Sony/CNN Fallout…

Posted in CNN, HLN on December 17, 2014 by icn2

The Wrap’s Jordan Chariton writes about a Turner memo telling its employees to change their passwords…

In response to the Sony hacking cyberattack, Turner Broadcasting is making its employees to change their computer passwords for precautionary purposes, TheWrap has exclusively learned.

(snip)

An insider familiar with the situation told TheWrap managers have expressed the urgency of employees changing their passwords, speaking with employees across Turner Wednesday.

Not quite sure why Turner is concerned about passwords after the Sony hack. There should be no direct fallout to Turner’s employees because Sony got hacked. Or, to put it another way, there should be no way that the Sony hackers should have any more insight into Turner employees’ passwords because Sony got hacked. This seems more like a knee jerk reaction bordering on paranoia.

Free for All: 12/16/14

Posted in Free For All on December 16, 2014 by icn2

What’s on your mind?

“A Cable News Network Gone Astray” “What is CNN Alex?”

Posted in CNN on December 15, 2014 by icn2

Radar Online’s Alan Duke writes about CNN getting dragged into Sony’s hell…(via J$)

CNN chief Jeff Zucker wants to add game shows to his channel’s programming, according to a new leaked Sony email.

Zucker, who headed NBC before joining CNN, approached Sony television executives in late October to propose the company produce a political version of their long-running game show Jeopardy, according to an email sent to Sony Pictures Television President Steve Mosko on November 6, 2014.

“Steve I met with Zucker this week and he asked if we would consider doing political jeopardy show for cnn. I’m guessing it’s a non starter but wanted to ask you how to respond to him,” read the e-mail from John Weiser, the president of Sony Pictures Television Distribution.

What’s next? A politics version of “Around The Horn”? Actually, now that I think about it I wouldn’t mind seeing some of CNN’s political contributors getting the mute button…

Charlie Gasparino’s Unique Lone Gunman Theory…

Posted in FBN on December 15, 2014 by icn2

Mediaite’s Andrew Desiderio writes about some provocative things FBN’s Charlie Gasparino put out on Twitter today…

While the hostage crisis was ongoing in Sydney, Australia Monday morning, Fox Business Network reporter Charlie Gasparino wondered whether waterboarding would have prevented Man Haron Monis‘s actions had they happened in New York City:

Charles Gasparino
Question: who wldnt be in favor of a little waterboarding to prevent a Sidney-like situation in NYC?

Some Twitter users questioned him, but Gasparino stuck to his guns:

TTN @TTN12
@CGasparino what a fallacy – how do you waterboard a lone gunman?

Charles Gasparino
Waterboarding may prevent the lone gun man @TTN12

Look, I don’t care about Gasparino’s opinions on waterboarding…whatever they may or may not be. Nor am I interested in the subject of the ethicacy, efficiancy, or utility of waterboarding.

But the idea that waterboarding could prevent a lone wolf (Gasparino called it a lone gunman) is just plain ridiculous. The definition of the lone wolf theory is predicated on the fact that the guy came up with it and executed it on his own without any outside communication or influence. If waterboarding were to prevent a lone wolf from carrying out his plan, then he was never a lone wolf to begin with because he had co-conspirators. That is a completely different scenario.

Gasparino should have known the difference before sticking his neck out like that.

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