Archive for January 2, 2013

Al Jazeera Buys (and Kills) Current TV…

Posted in Al Jazeera on January 2, 2013 by icn2

The New York Times’ Brian Stelter writes about Al Jazeera buying Current TV in order to kill it and take over its airspace in cable. This may prove to be one of the smartest moves of 2013…if the cable nets keep it at Current’s 60 million subscriber level and it doesn’t drastically drop off.

“Al Jazeera is planning to invest significantly in building ‘Al Jazeera America,’ a network focused on international news for the American audience,” the Current chief executive Joel Hyatt said in an e-mail to staffers on Wednesday evening. Referring to Mr. Gore, he said, “Al and I will both serve on the advisory board of Al Jazeera America, and we look forward to helping build an important news network.”

The plan will bring Al Jazeera, which is financed by the government of Qatar, into closer competition with CNN and other news channels in the United States.

For Al Jazeera, the acquisition is a coming-of-age moment. A decade ago, the Arabic-language channel was reviled by American politicians for showing video tapes and messages from al Qaeda members and sympathizers. Now it is acquiring an American channel.

That sound of nervous hand wringing you hear is coming from Atlanta. I really really like this move because it will finally put pressure on CNN US to be more international looking than it has needed to be in the past in ways that BBC World News coming to just Time Warner Cable couldn’t achieve. Consider it an “international rear guard action” that the Time Warner news network previously didn’t have to contend with when the only competition it faced was the overwhelmingly domestic (and US politics) focused FNC and MSNBC.

How big a deal is this? It’s big enough that I have now added an Al Jazeera category to my blog posts…

Update: If you didn’t believe me that this news is a direct threat to CNN, I offer this proof.

Update 2: Said proof is meaningless. I keep forgetting TWC was spun off…


Press Releases: 01/02/13

Posted in Press Releases on January 2, 2013 by icn2

HLN (1)


10 Episode Series Reveals Power of American Spirit by Spotlighting Today’s Pioneers

January 2, 2013—Ty Pennington (star of ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition) has been named host of HLN’s monthly half-hour news series American Journey premiering Saturday, January 12, it was announced by Scot Safon, executive vice president & general manager HLN. Sponsored by Chevrolet, each monthly installment of the 10-episode series will be presented four times a month during weekend prime. The first edition kicks off Saturday, January 12, 8-8:30 p.m. ET, with an encore the following day (Sunday, 8 p.m. ET).

American Journey covers stories of individuals and communities who have found inventive and surprising ways to address today’s challenges by applying the lessons of American pioneers. Hosted by Pennington, the series will follow these fascinating people (part of a growing subculture of entrepreneurs and creative thinkers) as they attempt to re-invent America.
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Free for All: 01/02/13

Posted in Free For All on January 2, 2013 by icn2

What’s on your mind?

Ann Curry Wants Out of NBC Contract?

Posted in CNN on January 2, 2013 by icn2

Radar Online’s Jen Heger is reporting that Ann Curry wants out of her NBC contract so that she can go to CNN. Color me skeptical but if Curry really wanted out of her contract she would have done it when she had the leverage last year when NBC wanted to remove her from Today.

“Ann wants out of her contract, big time. She has formally asked her attorney to explore exit options from the network. However, NBC bosses have indicated they are unwilling to release Ann from the contract. If Ann were to just quit, there is a non-compete clause, which would prohibit her from working for another news outlet for two years,” a source close to the situation exclusively tells Radar.

“Ann’s lawyer feels that there is a very strong case to be made that NBC has breached terms of the deal because Curry was demoted from TODAY. Furthermore, Ann has basically been sequestered from appearing on the network. Yes, she has been doing some work that has been assigned to her, but it hasn’t been steady,” the insider added.