• WGA Asks NBCU To Stop Blocking Unionization
    Writers from such NBCUniversal shows as "Community," "Parks and Recreation" and the various "Law & Order"s signed a letter asking NBCU President Steve Burke to let writers at the company's Peacock Productions become part of the writers' union. "Peacock produces nonfiction programming for basic cable networks, including such shows as 'Caught on Camera' and 'Skywire Live with Nik Wallenda,'" writes Tim Molloy. "The Writers Guild of America, East, has been trying to organize writer-producers at the company since 2009."
  • Yahoo's Mayer Considering Possible Couric Show & 'Vogue' Deal
    Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, bent on adding to the site's content, is reported to be working on two deals, according to sources cited by Kara Swisher. Mayer is "personally shepherding a new deal to put a Web interview show by high-profile television news personality Katie Couric right on [Yahoo's] home page," writes Swisher.  And Mayer's having "very preliminary talks" with Conde Nast folks for some kind of Vogue content deal (this after posing for her very own fashion spread in the glossy pub's giant September issue).
  • Tribune Papers Will NOT Be Sold To Koch Brothers
    Despite earlier reports that "billionaire industrialists" Charles and David Koch were considering a purchase of the Tribune Company's newspaper chain, the two brothers have decided against the deal, writes Brian Stelter. This comes as a relief to "liberal groups and media reform groups that cast the Kochs — who are prominent donors to libertarian causes and Republican politicians — as threats to independent journalism," writes Stelter. Tribune's plan to spin off its papers, which include the Los Angeles Times, from digital properties like CareerBuilder.com was one big reason for the Kochs' change of heart, according to an "anonymous …
  • Fox Says 85% Of Super Bowl Ad Inventory Already Sold
    Super Bowl 2014 ads are selling very well, with 85% of inventory already taken, and 90% set to be "gone by the time the NFL season begins in less than two weeks, Neil Mulcahy, executive vice president of Fox Sports sales, tells USA TODAY."  The average cost for a 30-second apot could be more than $4 million, up from $3.8 million, according to "top media buyers," writes Bruce Horovitz. In other trends, "Longer Super Bowl ads will likely continue in 2014, although there may be fewer ads that are two minutes or longer, and more ads that are …
  • 'NY Times' Tests Suggested Tweets In 'SNL' Article
    The New York Timesfeature on "Saturday Night Live" auditions includes an experiment: "highlighted sentences that you can click to tweet," writes Andrew Beaujon. Times Deputy Editor of Interactive News Marc Lavallee explains the thinking behind this test, noting that "he 'vastly' prefers seeing tweets that quote a story rather than share its headline and link, and the Times was curious to see if people would use quotes it planted through the story," according to Beaujon.If we were big tweeters, we'd definitely focus on this sentence from former "SNL" castmember Rachel Dratch: "They said: '
  • Dissecting 'Vogue''s 'Unusually Nerdy' September Ish
    Though the September Vogue fashion layout starring Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has generated a ton of coverage bemoaning the dumbing down of Mayer's professional image, Simon Dumenco is "more concerned about the photo because M[a]yer, awkwardly inverted like that, looks like she's waiting for the NSA to show up to waterboard her. I'm, like, worried for her." Check out his lighthearted take on the issue, which he dubs "unusually nerdy" since it's "littered with QR code" and contains "an extra-ridiculous 12-page
  • 'Good Morning America' Tops In Total Ratings For Full Year
    ABC's "Good Morning America" marked its 52nd consecutive week of topping the charts in total viewership. This year-long reign is the best the company has done in that metric since 1991-1992 season. For the week of Aug. 12, "GMA" beat NBC's "Today" -- long the champ in the morning-show category -- by 808,000 total viewers.
  • Apple TV's Talking To HBO, ESPN, Viacom
    Apple, with its TV strategy now focused on negotiating directly with content providers  instead of cable companies, is talking to "production studios and networks to provide content for a television set that would emphasize apps over cable TV, according to people familiar with those discussions," writes Quartz reporters. Those companies include HBO, ESPN, and Viacom, but everything's probably preliminary, so those reporters speculate a lot. "A deal with a top-tier content provider like ESPN or HBO could represent a tipping point that would encourage Apple to bring the product to market," they write.
  • MTV Broadens Social Strategy For VMA
    MTV, expecting a record total of tweets for Sunday's Video Music Awards -- last year it garnered over 19 million -- is moving beyond mere numbers, focusing instead "on the quality of how viewers interact by providing more tools for more dedicated activity -- and tweaking ways to explore the show outside the linear broadcast," writes Joan E. Solsman. For example, it developed "a real-time GIF-It tool that allows fans to generate their own animated GIFs of show moments to share with their social networks."
  • AT&T Sued Because It Refused To Air Al Jazeera America
    Al Jazeera is suing AT&T, whose AT&T's U-verse pay TV service, previously contracted to air the new Al Jazeera America network, refused to broadcast it, starting with yesterday's launch in the U.S. U-verse said "it wouldn’t carry Al Jazeera America because of a contract dispute," writes Jef Feeley.
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